I am aware that Mimamsa is about philosophy and means critical reflection.But I am interested in the actual etymology of the word so please stick to that point.

  • Have you checked Nirukta?
    – MathGod
    Mar 29, 2018 at 19:54
  • I believe its migiladha mamsa is mimamsa migiladha(highest of all) mamsa (knowledge) one which is highest of knowledge is mimamsa. if you take literrally mi - one which exclusive mamsa is meat.. exlusive meat
    – Prasanna R
    Oct 19, 2020 at 9:54

3 Answers 3


A translation is 'revered thought'. In Chapter 13 of A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Chandradhar Sharma writes (https://archive.org/stream/IndianPhilosophyACriticalSurvey/Indian-Philosophy-A-Critical-Survey_djvu.txt):

Chapter Thirteen




The word 'Mimamsa' literally means 'revered thought’ and was originally applied to the interpretation of the Vedic rituals which commanded highest reverence. The word is now used in the sense of any critical investigation. The school of Mimamsa justifies both these meanings by giving us rules according to which the commandments of the Veda are to be interpreted and by giving a philosophical justification for the Vedic ritualism. Just as Sankhya and Yoga, Vaishesika and Nyaya are regarded as allied systems, similarly Mimamsa and Vedanta are also treated as allied systems of thought. Both are based on and both try to interpret the Veda. The earlier portion of the Veda, i.e., the Mantra and the Brahmana portion, is called Karmakanda, while the later portion, i.e., the Upanisads is called Jnanakanda, because the former deals with action, with the rituals and the sacrifices, while the latter deals with the knowledge of reality. Mimamsa deals with the earlier portion of the Veda and is therefore called Purva-Mimamsa and also Karma-Mimamsa, while Vedanta deals with the later portion of the Veda and is therefore called Uttara-Mimamsa and also Jnana- Mlmamsa. The former deals with Dharma and the latter with Brahma and therefore the former is also called Dharma-Mlmamsa, while the latter is also called Brahma-Mimamsa. There has been a long line of pre-Shankarite teachers of Vedanta of whom Mandana Mishra seems to be the last, who have regarded Mimamsa and Vedanta as forming a single system and who have advocated the combination of action and knowledge, known as Karma-Jnana-samuchchaya-vada. According to them, the sutras, beginning with the first sutra of Jaimini and ending with the last sutra of Badarayapa, form one compact shastra. These teachers held that Karma (action) and Upasana (meditation) were absolutely essential to hasten the dawn of true knowledge.

  • 1
    Thanks but I was more interested in the actual etymology of the word 'mimamsa'. Does one break it up as mi+mamsa or mim-amsa or another way? Mar 26, 2018 at 14:25

Mīmāṃsā, f. reflection, consideration, opinion, investigation, examination, discussion

desiderative of man - "think"

analagous to jignasa - desiderative of jna (know) - "desire to know".


The root is Maan मान् which means noble thoughts पूज्य विचार. Mimansa is the science which interprets vedic sentences.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .