During the later Vedic period definite ideas and philosophies about the true nature of soul andthe cosmic principle or Brahman, who represented the ultimate reality, were developed. TheseVedic philosophical concepts later on gave rise to six different schools of philosophies called’Shada-darshana’ –I. Samkhya System – It talks of ‘Dukha’ and its remedy in Karma and Discipline.
Thefounder of this philosophy was Kapila, who wrote the ‘Samkhya-sutra’. It does notrecognize god. According to it, liberation is possible only through real knowledge andknowledge can be acquired through observation, inferences and words. According to it,the world is a production of natural forces.II. Yoga – Yoga literally means the union of the two principal entities. The origin of yoga isfound in the ‘Yogasutra’ of Patanjali believed to have been written in the 1000 BC. Yogictechniques control the body, mind and sense organs.
Freedom could be attained bypracticing self-control (yama), observation of rules (niyama), fixed postures (asana),breath control (pranayama), choosing an object (pratyahara) and fixing the mind(dharna), concentrating on the chosen object (dhyana) and complete dissolution of self,merging the mind and the object (samadhi). Yoga admits the existence of God as ateacher and guide.III.
Nyaya – Nyaya is considered as a technique of logical thinking. According to Nyaya, validknowledge is defined as the real knowledge, that is, one knows about the object as itexists. Gautama is said to be the author of the ‘Nyaya-sutras’.
IV. Vaisheshika – Vaisheshika system is considered as the realistic and objective philosophyof universe. Vaisheshika thinkers believe that all objects of the universe are composedof five basic atomic elements – earth, water, air, fire and ether. Kanada wrote the basictext of Vaisheshika philosophy and he got this name as he was always interested intothe smallest of particles ‘Kana’.V. Purva Mimamsa or Mimansa – Mimamsa philosophy is basically the analysis ofinterpretation, application and the use of the text of the Samhita and Brahmanaportions of the Veda. According to Mimamsa philosophy Vedas are eternal and possessall knowledge, and religion means the fulfillment of duties prescribed by the Vedas.
Itwas given by Jaimini.VI. Uttar Mimamsa or Vedantic Philosophy – It deals with Vedanta or it implies thephilosophy of the Upanishad, the concluding portion of the Vedas. It rejected the ritualsand propounded the philosophy of atma-parmatma monism. It was given by Badrayana,but popularized by Adi Shankaracharya who wrote the commentaries on theUpanishads, Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita. This philosophy largely shapedcontemporary Indian culture.Manu Smriti is officially called Manav Dharam Shastra. It is a metrical (one that is written in poeticverses) text, which presents a discourse given by the Prajapati Manu – the legendary first man andlawgiver, to a congregation of seers after a Mahapralaya (great Floods) in ancient India.
In its presentform it dates from the 1st century BC. It prescribes the dharma of each Hindu, stating the obligationsattached to his or her social class and stage of life.According to Hindu tradition, the Manusmriti records thewords of Brahma. It contains the source of law, origin ofuniverse and most importantly division of society into foursubtypes or varnas.
Brahmanas are given the highest place.It is the most authoritative of the books of the Hindu lawcode (Dharma-shastra) covering a wide range of topicssuch as creation of the world, sacraments like ‘Upanayana'(wearing of sacred thread by upper castes) and marriage;duties of men and women placed in different strata ofsociety and stages of life; penitential rites for violation of codes of conduct; and so on.