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I have read in this forum that "Vedanta" if by far the most popular philosophy of Hinduism.

There many who believe that the Yoga is the most popular one and there are also other philosophies based on Shaivism , Shaktism , Agama etc.

I want to know which is the most famous hindu philosophy and what are the references for that claim?

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    All modern Hindus - who follow the system of Vyasa - fall under the category of Vedanta. Vaishnavites, Advaitists, Shakas, etc. fall under this category. Yoga refers to the philosophy of Yoga which is similar to Samkaya. Modern Hindus accept the meditation practices established in Yoga, but do not follow the philosophy of Yoga. Your question lacks understanding. – Swami Vishwananda Jun 27 '17 at 10:22
  • @SwamiVishwananda Already it is established that Shaivites, Tantra followers and many followers are agamas do not subscribe to Vedanta. There is nothing like Vyasa's system. Vedanta sutra is 400 AD creation. Further,all the schools of vedantas are mutually contradictory. BTW Which Vedanta did Bhairavi Brahmani follow before initiating RK ? – Rakesh Joshi Jun 27 '17 at 11:38
  • @SwamiVishwananda Vyasa did not create any new system at all. He only arranged the Vedas and asked his pupil to propagate. I think this is rudimentary knowledge every one knows about it. – Rakesh Joshi Jun 27 '17 at 11:41
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    @RakeshJoshi you are using famous and popular interchangeably here, and based on the discussion below, I think you mean a third term. Famous means 'known by a large group of people', Popular means 'liked by a large number of people'. I think you mean 'populous' meaning 'has the largest number of members'. Could you please clarify / edit the question? – user1952500 Jul 3 '17 at 4:19
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Let's distinguish between two things. It is clearly not true that the word Vedanta is more popular than the word Yoga; in modern times even white people in America know the word Yoga, whereas almost no one know what Vedanta is. What is true, however, if you look at any given major sect of Hinduism, almost all of them subscribe to the Vedanta school, regardless of the ignorance of individual members. Concerning Patanjali's Yoga school, in contrast, while it is the case that the Ashtanga Yoga procedure given in the Yoga Sutras is quite popular especially in recent times, that does not indicate the popularity of the actual philosophical commitments of the Yoga school; for instance, the Yoga school believed that the supreme being is the efficient cause but not the material cause of the Universe, a belief that most major sects of Hinduism disagree with. (There are a few sects that do believe that the supreme being is the efficient cause but not the material cause, like the Shaiva Siddhanta sect, but they disagree with the Yoga school for other reasons.)

Now without further ado, let me illustrate the wide acceptance of the Vedanta school, by enumerating major sects of Hinduism and how they view the Brahma Sutras, the defining text of the Vedanta school:

Accepts Vedanta:

  • Adi Shankaracharya's Smartha sect subscribes to Adi Shankaracharya's Brahma Sutra Bhashya, which you can read here and here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Advaita.
  • The Sri Vaishnava sect subscribes to Ramanujacharya's Sri Bhashya, which you can read here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Visistadvaita.
  • The Madhwa sect subscribes to Madhvacharya's Brahma Sutra Bhashya, which you can read here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Dvaita.
  • The Gaudiya Vaishnava sect subscribes to Baladeva Vidyabhushana's Govinda Bhashya, which you can read here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Achintya Bhedabheda.
  • Nimbarkacharya's sect subscribes to Nimbasrkacharya's Vedanta Parijata Saurabha, which you can read here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Dvaitadvaita.
  • The Shrauta Shaiva Siddhanta sect, to which Srikantha Sivacharya and Appaya Dikshitar belonged, subscribes to Srikantha Sivacharya's Srikantha Bhashya, which you can read here, and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Shivadvaita or Shiva Visistadvaita.
  • The Pushtimarga sect subscribes to Vallbhacharya's Anubhashya, which you can read in Sanskrit and Hindi here (I haven't found an English translation), and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Shuddhadvaita.
  • The Ramanandi sect subscribes to at least five commentaries on the Brahma Sutra, which I discuss in my question here, which don't seem to have been translated into English, and which preach a Vedantic philosophy called Visistadvaita which is likely quite similar to Ramanujacharya's philosophy of Visistadvaita.
  • The Swaminarayan sect subscribes to Muktanand Swami's Brahma Sutra Bhashya Ratnam, which you can read in Sanskrit and Gujarati here (I haven't found an English translation), and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Panchatattva Visistadvaita.
  • A subset of the Lingayata sect subscribes to Sripati Pandita's Shrikara Bhashya, which you can read in Sanskrit here (I haven't found an English translation), and which preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Shakti Visistadvaita, which I discuss here.
  • The Vaikhanasa sect subscribes to Srinivasan Dikshitar's Lakshmi-Visistadvaita Bhashya, which I haven't found in either Sanskrit or English as I discuss here, and which as the name suggests preaches a Vedantic philosophy called Visistadvaita.

Rejects Vedanta:

  • The mainstream Shaiva Siddhanta sect rejects the Vedanta school, as can be gleamed from the quote in my question here, and also from Sadyojyoti's Paramoksha Nirasa Karika, which you can order here. (It's interesting to note, by the way, that Sadyojyoti lived a century before Adi Shankaracharya, so he was writing at a time when Advaita was not yet popular in the Vedanta school, as is clear from his characterization of the Vedanta school.)
  • The Saiva Siddhanta Church rejects the Vedanta school, as you can see from the personal correspondence quoted in my answer here.
  • Abhinavagupta's Kashmiri Shaivite sect rejects the Vedanta school.
  • Bhaskararaya's Sri Vidya sect rejects the Vedanta school.
  • The mainstream Lingayata sect rejects the Vrdanta school.
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    It is not important whether which school accepts or rejects Vedanta. But the number of people who subscribe to such philosophy. Most of the names quoted by you are super minorities or minorities. Lingayat in general do not accept vedas as supere authority. Vaikhanasa, Nimbarka, Madhwa, Ramanadi etc are very low numbers which are insignificant. Further, all the smartas are not aware of the philophy. You cant brand 125 crore hindus as vedics cos hinduism accepts vedas. Only those should be considered who are actively following the practices and philosophy. – Rakesh Joshi Jun 26 '17 at 16:31
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    @RakeshJoshi I am not claiming that most Hindus know what Vedanta is, I am claiming that most Hindus belong to a sect which subscribes to the Vedanta school, regardless of the ignorance of those sects' individual members. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 26 '17 at 16:41
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    It should be based on majority number of population not on schools. There may be 100 sects of 1 lac each which support Vedanta and there could be 1 sect which reject it which would be 50 million. So have to be seen with respect to majority of population. – Rakesh Joshi Jun 26 '17 at 16:46
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    The way u are calculating does not prove that Vedanta is the most popular.. In any case philosophies ( the 6 darshanas) are the least popular among all Hindu scriptures. Nobody cares about them, more importantly nobody knows about them. – Rickross Jun 26 '17 at 17:06
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    What you have done is just enlisted some of sects which accept or reject Vedanta. But it does not say anything about numbers or stats. It is not the answer I am afraid. – Rakesh Joshi Jun 27 '17 at 11:39

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