The six orthodox schools are called as shatdarshanas and include Nyaya, Sankhya, Yoga, Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa, and Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta Philosophy). Most of these schools of thought believe in the theory of Karma and rebirth.

What are the principal texts of each school of philosophy and interpretation here? (Just like Upanishads and Vedas for Vedanta) - Their foundational texts?

As far as I know, I can recall only Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Sankhya school of philosophy as a fundamental text.

1 Answer 1


The 6 orthodox (astika) schools of Indian philosophy and their main texts are:

Samkhya: The key text is the Samkhyakarika by Ishvarakrishna.

Yoga: The main texts are the Yogasutras by Patanjali and the Yogabhashya.

Nyaya: The Nyayasutra by Aksapada Gautama and Nyayabhashya by Vatsyayana are the foundational texts.

Vaisheshika: The Vaisheshika Sutra by Kanada contains the concepts.

Mimamsa: The Purvamimamsa Sutras by Jaimini and Shabarabhashya are the key texts.

Vedanta: There are 3 main Vedanta schools - Advaita (key text is Brahmasutra Bhashya by Adi Shankaracharya), Vishishtadvaita (Brahmasutra Bhashya by Ramanujacharya) and Dvaita (Brahmasutra Bhashya by Madhvacharya).

The main sutra texts summarize the core philosophical concepts, which are explained in detail through the bhashya commentaries on them by later authors.

  • Samkhyakarika is astika? From what I've read - the text is purely nastika (doesn't affirm existence of the god), neither ishvara being taken as supreme?
    – User 29449
    Dec 3, 2023 at 5:24
  • @AbhasKumarSinha Samkhya categorically rejects the existence of God. But it accepts the authority of the Vedas and the existence of souls and devas (Devas are not Ishvara, the creator; Devas are created beings). Dec 17, 2023 at 3:56
  • @AmritenduMukhopadhyay Thank you so much. I'm a bit confused in case if you can help me. The answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/21976/29449 The first argument, Yoga seems to talk about brahman as god and Nyaya seems to talk about Ishvara (one who enforces the laws of karma) and they both seem different under the same heading of god? Right?
    – User 29449
    Dec 17, 2023 at 6:45
  • @AbhasKumarSinha The definition of God in the Yoga philosophy is the most interesting one. It is unique too. Yoga is based on Samkhya, so it accepts the entire doctrine of Samkhya. It is like an appendix to Samkhya. It added a few new things to the already existing structure of Samkhya. As Samkhya does not have a creator (the non-living Prakriti is the source of creation according to Samkhya. No intelligent being is involved.) Yoga also accepts that. According to Samkhya apart from Prakriti, there are many Purusha (consciousness). Some are Jivas born on this plane of existence. Some are Devas. Dec 18, 2023 at 11:02
  • @AbhasKumarSinha Yoga says there is one Purusha who has infinite knowledge and it never gets entangled in the Prakriti. That is God. So the Yoga God is not Brahman and he is not the creator. Different Purushas have different amounts of knowledge. The "God" is infinitely knowledgeable. So much knowledgeable that he never gets entangled in this material world like us (partially knowledgable Purushas). You will find the definition of God in Yogasutra 1.25 or 1.24 if I am not wrong. The symbol of this God is Om. That is also found in another sutra. Probably the next one. Dec 18, 2023 at 11:10

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