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Dive into Indian philosophy and reflect over the great philosophers of India

Indian philosophy focuses on the various structures of thought and reflection that have been formulated by generations of scholars and philosophers belonging to the Indian subcontinent. Indian philosophy primarily includes two schools of thought - the astika systems (Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-Mimamsa and Vedanta) and the nastika systems (Buddhism and Jainism). The common concepts touched upon in Indian philosophy are questions on the nature of the world (cosmology), the nature of reality (metaphysics), reasoning and logic, the nature of knowledge (epistemology), ethics and the philosophy of religion and spirituality. 

Indian philosophers played a monumental role in exploring new domains of philosophy by asking new questions. With original formulations and arguments that had never been seen before in the philosophy space, Indian philosophers were making an impact in the history of philosophical studies. The problems addressed by them revolved around the concepts of origin (utpatti), apprehension (jnaapti) and truth (pramanya). These new advancements made by Indian philosophers have greatly impacted world philosophy. The Vedic hymns and literature are some of the oldest records of how the mind creates deep psychological processes and the role it plays in myth-making and cosmology. One of the first postulations of a common, all-comprehensive, spiritual reality, which, in turn sparked radical monism, was seen in the Upanishads.

These sacred texts also encompass the early findings of Indian philosophers concerning nature, life, the mind and the human body. The main goal of all Indian philosophical texts was to help lead mankind down the path to liberation (moksha). While Islam and Hinduism are two seperate religions that are usually on opposing sides of the spectrum, the dawn of Muslim Rishism in Kashmir, helped philosophers understand how similar their teachings are, with the common theme being actualization and deliverance. 

Some of the most popular Indian philosophers to ever exist are, Ramakrishna Chattopadhyaya was a Hindu philosopher and religious leader. He studied elements of Tantra, Vaishnav Bhakti,  and Advaita Vedanta to understand the path of devotion and moksha. According to his insights, he regarded the world’s many religions as different paths to reach the same goal. His disciple was Swami Vivekananda. We, then, have Nagarjuna, who was a renowned Indian Mahayana Buddhist scholar and thinker. He is regarded as the creator of the Madhyamaka sect of Buddhist philosophy. This text explores the philosophy of emptiness and serves as an important inspiration to many commentaries, even to this day. Coming to the South Indian region, we have Jiddu Krishnamurti, a popular philosopher, speaker and writer. His main areas of interest were change in the structures of psychological texts, the nature of mind, meditation, holistic development, human connection, and radical difference in society functions.

As an avid traveler, Krishnamurti wrote of his findings from his voyages around the world and spoke at many discussions and conferences on the human mind and other philosophical ideas. He also put forth many interesting ideologies on education. Another important philosophical leader of India was Kabir Das, an Indian mystic poet and saint. His work heavily influenced the Bhakti movement, Sikhism scriptures such as the Guru Granth Sahib, Satguru Granth Sahib of Saint Garib Das and Kabir Sagar. Kabir’s teachings were a great influence on Hindu and Islamic teachings as well. He believed that truth was the most sacred instrument to attain righteousness. Then came the more popular of the later years, Swami Vivekanada and Sri Aurobindo who helped aid the popularity of Yoga and meditation methods to achieve liberation. 


Q1. Who is considered the first philosopher of India? 

Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata is one of the earliest Indian philosophers according to historians. He founded the Pippalada school of thought, which, in turn, greatly influenced the Atharvaveda. 

Q2. Which philosopher was responsible for the Yoga darshana? 

The philosopher who was influential in the creation of the Yoga darshana was Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras. Yoga is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. It is regarded as one of the most popular disciplines in Indian philosophy.