Indian moral thinkers

He was born in Santiniketan, West Bengal. Sen began his high-school education at St Gregory’s School in Dhaka. He studied in India at the Visva-Bharati University and Presidency College, Kolkata before moving to Trinity College, Cambridge.

Ethics – His ethics has the foundations of liberalism and welfare in it. His liberalism is one that accepts freedom, tolerance and democracy. He appreciates very much the intellectual plurality of Indian heritage and says question and dissent is there in Indian blood. He proves it in his book ‘the Argumentative Indian’ by quoting from ancient texts, like Bhagavad Gita, especially in the talk between Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

Ideology – He was inspired by Gandhian ideals of economic and social welfare based on ethics. He got Nobel Prize in 1988, “for restoring ethical dimension to economics”. His sensitivity to the marginalised is visible in his works and attitude towards capitalism and communism. According to him the slogans like “you have to break some eggs to make an omelette” is dreadfully misleading and mistaken in terms of understanding the nature of human. For him, economics without human welfare is fruitless.

Poverty and Famines– Poverty must be defined not as deprivation of food but in terms of illiteracy, health, gender inequality etc. In 1981, Sen published Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, in which he demonstrated that famine occurs not only from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food.

Capability approach – In his revolutionary article “Equality of what”, he defined capability approach as the one which focuses on positive freedom, a person’s actual ability to be or do something, rather than on negative freedom approaches which are common in economics. For instance, In Bengal famine, rural laborers’ negative freedom to buy food was not affected. However, they still starved because they

were not positively free to do anything. They did not have the functioning of

nourishment, nor the capability to escape morbidity.

Political philosophy – He argues that governments should be measured against the concrete capabilities of their citizens. This is because top-down development will always trump human rights. For instance, in India, citizens have a hypothetical “right” to vote. In order for citizens to have a capacity to vote, they first must have “functionings.” which includes availability of education, right to information and scope for dissent (Informed choices instead of forced one).

Inequality – His work on inequality provided an explanation for skewed sex ratio in India and China compared to West and medically unbiased countries. Sen claimed that this skewed ratio results from the better health treatment and childhood opportunities afforded to boys in those countries, as well as sex-specific abortion.

Economic philosophy – In order for economic growth to be achieved, social reforms (improvements in education and public health) must precede economic reform. For instance, Kerala model of Development led growth.

Religion – He respects Indian mind of tolerance and reasonableness but critical of its religious bend. He is a self-proclaimed atheist. For him, religion is to be the ‘handmaid’ of ethics and values.

He was born into a Telugu family at Tirutani in Tamil Nadu. He was inspired by the Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions.

Metaphysics – He was of the opinion that reality is Brahman who is spiritual, transcendent and absolute. He called it spiritual because it is not material. He called it transcendental because world cannot exhaust it and it is absolute because it is pure consciousness and pure freedom with infinite possibility.

Epistemology – Radhakrishnan accepts three sources of knowledge which are as follows;

    • Sense experience – It acquaints us with the outer characteristics of the external world, thereby we come to know the sensible qualities of the objects.
    • Intellectual cognition – It depends on analysis and synthesis of the data of perception. He calls logical knowledge indirect and symbolic. We are able to handle and control the objects of nature with such knowledge.
    • Intuitive Apprehension – It is a higher mode of apprehension where thought, feeling and volition are blended into a whole (there is no duality). It is a type of knowing by becoming. Here, the knower establishes an identity with the known. For example, No intellectual deliberation can give us any idea of the emotion of anger that can only be known by being angry.

Intuition – It finds expression in the world of action and social relations. Intuition is the ultimate form of experience, in the sense that it constitutes the fullest and therefore the most authentic realization of the Real (Brahman). In such experiences, thought and reality come together and a creative merging of subject and object results”. While the experience itself transcends expression, it also provokes it. The provocation of expression is testimony to the creative impulse of intuition.

Universality of outlook – It refers to his faith in the basic oneness of humanity, as all are identical with Brahman or sharing the same qualities of God from whom all came or received the common quest.

Religion – It is a personal intuitive experience which gives an insight into the nature and experience of reality. In his book, Idealistic view of Life, he calls it spiritual life – the culmination of intellectual, moral and aesthetic activity. Religion also means spirituality which is impossible without ethics. Religion is universal to the human race. Wherever justice and charity have force of law, there is God’s kingdom’, there is Religion.

Hindu ethics – Ancient Rishis of India were not only spiritual masters, they were also psychologists, who looked at the motives behind our actions and realized that desires are the very center of our life, thereby explained purushartas (the four supreme ends of human craving). Basically they are four – parental instincts and sexual instincts (Kama), desire for power and wealth (artha), desire for social harmony and common good (dharma), and union with the unseen (moksa). The greatness of the person consists in making a co-operation of the four and bringing an overarching unity in life.

Freedom is one of the foundations of ethics – It can be understood in three levels;

    • Psychological freedom – It is freedom to act in a way that one desires.
    • Moral freedom – It is freedom to choose between alternatives with knowledge and volition but here knowledge may not be perfect, so error may occur. For instance, we have made enormous progress in scientific inventions but in absence of moral and spiritual progress, our natures are becoming mechanized and we are reduced to atoms in a community.
    • Spiritual freedom – It leads to integral liberation (liberation of the ‘whole human’), not like economic or political liberation. For the cultivation of a complete human being, we require the cultivation of inward peace, the grace and joy of souls overflowing in love.

Education – The object of education is to bring forth the ethical human, the human in whom all the capacities are fully developed. Being truly educated means having the light to see the truth and the strength to make it prevail.

Social and Political Philosophy – All human beings are of equal worth, entitled to the same fundamental rights. Human being is the most concrete embodiment of the Spirit on earth and anything that damages one’s dignity is morally wrong. The state that governs least is the best, thus he supports Democratic form of government.

Economics – Social justice is possible with economic justice. He opposed both communism and capitalism. He advocated an international state in which the differences need not be fused, but they need not conflict.

Dr. Ambedkar belongs to one of the Hindu untouchable communities. He devoted his entire energies to the mission of uplifting the crores of untouchables. He was an eminent constitutionalist, distinguished parliamentarian, scholar and jurist, and above all the leader of the depressed classes.

PHILOSOPHY – He was influenced by the Western modernism. Though he admired the ideals of western liberalism and Marxism, he perceived their perfection in Buddhism. He suggested moderate ways to improve our political and economic system and radical methods for the social and religious reformation.

Caste system – His attack upon caste system was not an emotional outburst but principle based. He found caste system as out dated, impracticable, irrational and superstitious social practice. Caste has killed public spirit and has destroyed the sense of public charity. Virtue has become caste ridden and morality has become caste bound. He fought consistently for human dignity and social equality in order to establish an egalitarian society. He set annihilation of caste as his goal as he believed that the real independence of India was possible only by it.

Political Ideals – He was inspired by French Enlightenment -“If you ask me, my ideal would be a society based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” An ideal society should permit vertical and horizontal mobility of every member of the society. It works in a true democracy which is not merely a form of Government but primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience and an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellowmen.

Political Revolution – He wanted to have social revolution first and then political revolution. From history, Ambedkar learned that religious revolutions strengthened oppressed communities to fight for freedom. “It was Puritanism (religious movement) which won the war of American Independence. The political revolution led by Chandragupta was preceded by the religious and social revolution of Buddha. The political revolution led by Shivaji was preceded by the religious and social reform brought about by the saints of Maharashtra.”

Economic philosophy – It was based on the principles of Utilitarianism. An economic system was acceptable only if it had looked after the welfare of the majority who had been in the base of society. In his memorandum submitted to the British Government titled ‘States and Minorities’ in 1947, Dr. Ambedkar laid down a strategy for India’s economic development. The strategy placed “an obligation on the State to plan the economic life of the people on lines which would lead to highest point of productivity without closing every avenue to private enterprise and also provide for the equitable distribution of wealth”.

Religious Criticism – He was consistent in his attack upon Hinduism because it had inbuilt mechanism of oppression and exploitation. He believed that the Untouchables could never overcome their misery if they were attached to Hinduism. He worked hard to unite the depressed classes, separate them from Hindu fold against the wish of national leaders like Gandhi.

Conversion to Buddhism – He borrowed Buddha’s path after considering its theoretical and practical strengths such as a humanitarian and dominance-free attitude and denial of doctrinal control. He answered his critics, “My religious conversion is not inspired by any material motive. There is no other feeling than that of a spiritual feeling underlying my religious conversion. Hinduism does not appeal to my conscience. Why should you live under the fold of that religion which has deprived you of honor, money, food, and shelter?”

He was born on November 14, 1889 at Allahabad. He is widely regarded as Visionary and idealist, scholar and statesman of international stature.

Science – It has steadily advanced its frontiers and increased the corpus of human knowledge that is empirically verifiable. It has come to stay and has largely replaced the superstitions connected with religion. However, science cannot reveal the whole truth and its method of observation cannot always be applicable to all varieties of experiences. But limitations of science should not deter a person from holding on to them because it is better to understand a part of truth and than to understand nothing at all.

Religion – Some describe him as an atheist, while others call him agnostic. According to Nehru, Religions have helped greatly in the development of humanity by laying down values, standards and principles for the guidance of human life. But with all the good they have done, they have also tried to imprison truth in set forms and dogmas, and encouraged ceremonials and inhumane practices. Instead of encouraging curiosity and thought, they have preached a philosophy of submission to nature, to established churches and to the prevailing social order.

Communalism and Secularism – Communalism is the enemy of the unity and integrity of India. The alliance of religion and politics in the shape of communalism is a most dangerous alliance. Secularism is the only answer to this problem. In fact, secularism can save religion by preventing religious ideas from getting mixed up with ordinary life and government. Securalism is essential not only for the safe governance of the country, but for the growth of these religions themselves because no religion can grow in an atmosphere of tension and conflict.

PHILOSOPHY – Philosophy, according to Nehru, has avoided many of the pitfalls of religion and encouraged thought and inquiry. But it has usually lived in its ivory tower concentrating on ultimate purposes and failed to link philosophical speculations with the life and practical problems of human. It is guided by logic and reason which are too much the product of mind and unconcerned with facts of life.

Democratic Socialism – Nehru stood for socialism leading to the creation of a classless society with equal opportunities for all. However, he was not an uncritical admirer of the type of socialism which prevailed in the West and wanted to modify its principles to suit the Indian conditions. He was against that type of socialism which regulated the lives of the individuals to the extent of losing their rightful autonomy and freedom. His democratic socialism aimed at adopting the means consistent with the principles of democracy.

Humanism – Corliss Lamont defines humanism as ‘a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and advocating the methods of reason, science and democracy.’ Nehru was much closer to the liberal humanism. Despite being influenced by Marxian ideas, the Gandhian influence was so deep and pervasive that Nehru could not subscribe to the violence implicit in the Marxist view of conflict resolution.

Constitution of India – Nehru was of the firm opinion that nothing was permanent in the Constitution of India. He believed that the coming generation could change the basic features of the Constitution or could write a new Constitution. During one of the debates in the Constituent Assembly of India, Nehru said: “When the spirit of a nation breaks its bonds, it functions in peculiar ways. It may be that the Constitution this House may frame may not satisfy free India; this House cannot bind down the next generation or the people who will succeed us in this task.”

Foreign Policy – It was based on the considerations of long-term interests of India. He was a crusader of peace and believed that the security of South-East Asia depended on a policy of nonalignment. Its salient objectives are as follows:

    • To develop contacts with other nations and co-operate with them in furtherance of world peace and freedom.
    • As far as possible to keep away from power politics of groups, aligned against one another, which led to two World Wars in the past and may again lead to a disaster on a vaster scale.
    • To work for the emancipation of the colonial people and the welfare and progress of dependent people towards self-government.
    • To utterly repudiate the Nazi doctrine of racialism.
    • To work for one world based on co-operation of free people in which various groups shall not exploit each other.
    • To have friendly and co-operative relations with England and other countries of the British Common Wealth.

Kanad is the founder of Vaishesika philosophy. It is pluralistic realism which emphasizes that diversity is the soul of the universe. This philosophy is pluralistic and realistic but not materialistic since it admits spiritual substance.

THEORY OF ATOMISM – It explains only that part of the world which is non-eternal (subject to origin and destruction in time). The eternal constituents of the universe do not come within the purview of their atomic theory, because these can neither be created nor destroyed. Basic features of this theory are as follows;

    • The world is composed of four kinds of atoms – Earth, fire, water and air.
    • The atoms differ from one-another both in quantity and quality.
    • Motion of atoms – Atoms are inactive and motionless in themselves. Motion is imparted to them by the Unseen Power of merit and demerit which resides in the individual souls and wants to fructify in the form of enjoyment or suffering.
    • Creation and Destruction of Universe – It is based upon the will of the supreme Lord who conceives the will to create a universe in which individual beings may get their proper share of the pleasure and pain according to their deserts. Creation is followed by destruction since it cannot continue to exist and endure for all time to come. Just as after the stress and strain of the day’s work God allows us to rest at night, so after the trials and tribulations of many lives in one created world, God provides a way of escape from suffering for all living beings through the destruction of the world.

It was founded by Gautam who was also the founder of ancient Indian logic. So, Nyaya is also called the science of reasoning and critical study. According to it, objects of knowledge exist independently of the knower, knowledge or mind while ideas and feelings depend upon the mind. Valid knowledge is definite and unerring and non-reproductive experience

of an object. Knowledge is true if it corresponds to facts otherwise it is false. It accepts four

ways of knowing – Perception, Inference, Verbal testimony and Comparison.

Perception – It is immediate cognition which is produced by sense-object contact. For instance, if one sees a table, this is a contact of one’s senses with the table and one is sure that the object is a table. It may be ordinary or extraordinary.

    • Ordinary perception – In this, there is a sense-object contact. It is of 6 types – visual, auditory, tactual, gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell) and mental.
    • Extraordinary perception – In this, there is no sense-object contact. It is of three kinds:
      • Perception of classes – The sense by which we see an object also gives us knowledge of the class of that object.
      • Perception by Complication – For instance, ice looks cold and the stone looks hard. Modern psychologicsts like Wundt and Ward have accepted perception by complication.
      • Intuitive perception of the Yogis – Perfect yogis intuitively perceive all objects and even past objects.

According to another perspective, there are two modes of perception. They are:

    • Indeterminate and indefinite perception – It is a kind of bare sensation. Something is sensed but one fails to say anything definitely, it is indeterminate perception.
    • Determinate perception – In this, the character of an object of perception is cognized. Indeterminate perception precedes determinate perception.

Inference – It defined as a process of knowing something through the instrumentality or medium of a mark (Linga) that is invariably related to it. There are two types of inference:

      • Inference for oneself – It does not need any formal statement of inference
      • Inference for others– It must be stated in the form of five propositions which are as follows;
        • There is fire on the hill (Asserted fact).
        • Because there is smoke on the hill (Reason).
        • Where there is smoke, there is fire. E.g. Cooking (Universal proposition)
        • There is the same type of smoke on the hill (Application).
        • There is fire on the hill (Conclusion).

Verbal Testimony – It is testimony of a trustworthy person – one who knows the truth and communicates it correctly. The communicator or the speaker must be both competent and honest. According to Nyaya, the Vedas are the valid source of supra sensible knowledge because their author is the all-knowing God.

Comparison – It is generally about the connection between a name and a thing.

Remember the earlier example of wild cow.

‘Yoga’ literally means ‘union’- spiritual union of the individual soul with the Universal Soul. Bhagavad Gita defines Yoga as that state than which there is nothing higher or worth realising and firmly rooted in which a person is free from all pains and misery. According to Patanjali, Yoga is a spiritual effort to attain perfection through the control of the body, senses and mind and through right discrimination between Purusa and Prakrti.

Yoga is the practical path of realisation of the theoretical ideals of Samkhya Philosophy in order to achieve the Samkhya ideal of kaivalya. It includes moral restraints and spiritual imperatives to ultimately achieve meditation in which the self is completely and transparently understood.

Source of Knowledge –
Yoga accepts three pramanas which are agreed by the Samkhya – perception, inference and verbal testimony. Though Yoga states that there is only one Purusa (Supreme self) who is eternal, ubiquitous, beyond time and space whereas Samkhya expresses that there are many Purusas (innumerable number of selves).

Purusa is the eternally pure and transcendental consciousness. It is the chitta with the reflection of the Purusa in it, is the phenomenal ego (jiva), which is subject to birth and death and to all painful or pleasurable experiences. There are five kinds of sufferings (klesa) which it is subject to- ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, clinging to life and instinctive fear of death.

Yoga advocates control over the body, the senses and the mind. It does not want to kill the body but recommends its perfection. Sensual attachment and passions distract body as well as the mind. They must be conquered and to overcome them, Yoga gives us the Eightfold Path of Discipline or the Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga is described as the Samkhya with God. Yoga accepts the existence of God which is only one of the many objects on which Yogis can concentrate their mind, thus God in Yoga has only practical importance. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan has also supported this view. According to him, the God of Yoga is not the summum bonum of life. According to Patanjali, God is free from the law of karma, pain, pleasure, joys, and all sorts of worldly attachments. God does not need any kind of liberation since he is beyond law of karma. An individual seeks liberation because he has to bear the fruits of his karmas. There are three arguments offered by the Yoga school for the existence of God which are as follows;

      • Scriptural testimony – Scriptures are ancient and old but stands as references for the existence of god. In Vedas and the Upanishads, it is described that God is the ultimate existence, eternal and summum bonum of life.
      • The efficient cause – Prakrti and Purusa are different and distinct in their nature. They can’t come close to each other without intervention of an efficient cause. This efficient cause is ‘God’. He is responsible for bringing prakriti near to the purusa. As a result, the world and living beings in it are created.
      • The ultimate in hierarchy Human beings possess limited knowledge. But God is the ‘Supreme Being’ and the source of all substratum of the universe and became the creator of all living creatures in the earth. The whole world is so vast that an ordinary human being can neither create nor control over it. Hence, God’s existence is acclaimed.

The Yoga philosophy speaks about the theory and practice for the realization of the ultimate truth concerning human being and the world. It is closely associated with Samkhya philosophy. The Yoga presents a practical path for the realization of the self whereas the Samkhya emphasizes the attainment of knowledge of self by means of concentration and

meditation. As described by Bhagvad Gita, Yoga and Samkhya are the practical and theoretical sides of the same system.

Kapila is the founder of this system. The system is predominantly intellectual and theoretical which claims that Right knowledge is the knowledge of the separation of the purusa from the prakrti.

Source of Knowledge – Samkhya accepts only three valid sources of knowledge – PerceptionInference and Testimony. (Defined in Mimansa Philosophy)

Dualism – Samkhya is dualistic realism. It is dualistic because of its doctrine of two ultimate realities – Prakrti (matter) and Purusa (self or spirit). Samkhya is realism in that it holds that both matter and spirit are equally real.

        • PRAKRTI – It is the ultimate cause of all objects including our body senses, mind and intellect. Being the ultimate cause, Prakrti itself is uncaused, eternal and all pervading. It cannot be perceived but can only be inferred from its effects. It is devoid of consciousness and hence can only manifest itself as the various objects of experience of the purusa (the self). It is constituted of three gunas which are as follows;
            • Sattva – Its essence is purity, fineness, subtlety, lightness etc. and most closely associated with ego, consciousness, mind, and intelligence.
            • Rajas – It represents the principle of activity and motion which is the cause of activity, restlessness, and pain.
            • Tamas – It manifests itself as heaviness, as well as opposition and resistance to motion and activity. It is the cause of ignorance, stupidity, laziness, lack of sensitivity and indifference.
        • Purusa – Purusa is the soul or the self. It doesn’t possess the quality of Consciousnes but Consciousness is its essence. It is the ultimate knower which is the foundation of all knowledge. It is the pure subject and as such can never become an object of knowledge. It is beyond time, space, change and activity.

EVOLUTION OF THE WORLD – It begins with the contact between purusa and prakrti which leads to the disturbance of the equilibrium in which the gunas were held before creation. There is a gradual differentiation and integration of the three gunas, and as a result of their combination in different proportions, the various objects of the world originate.

This School was founded by Jaimini who was the author of ‘Mimansa sutra’. It deals with the initial part of the Veda (which concerns on human action, their rituals and the sacrifices) and is therefore called as Purva-Mimansa (PM).

Metaphysics – PM is a pluralistic realistic philosophy but it is not empirical as it accepts extra-sensory entities as being real. The World is eternal and uncreated (not a creation of god) and the dynamics of the world (creation and destruction) is governed by the laws of Karma.

EPISTEMOLOGY – It deals with knowledge of an object. When we recognize an object we possess knowledge of that object. To verify whether our knowledge of that object is correct or not, we have to consider four conditions which are as follows;

    •  It must not arise from defective causes.
    •  It must be free from contradiction i.e. it must be self-consistent and should not be contradicted by subsequent knowledge.
    •  It provides the experience of an object which has not experienced earlier.
    • It must represent the object.

Once these conditions are satisfied, our cognition of an object will be treated as valid. While considering these conditions, memory can’t be regarded as valid knowledge because it arises from the impression of a prior cognition which contradicts the third condition of valid knowledge.


    • Perception – It results from the contact between the object and the sense- organs. Whatever is perceived by our senses must be true because in perception, the objects are directly known through our sense-organs. For instance, by seeing and touching a table one can acquire the knowledge of that table.
    • Inference – Herein, an object is inferred to be present in a particular case because it has been invariably perceived to be present in all such similar cases. Thus the cognition of an object is based on our prior knowledge of it. For example, we see smoke in a distant hill and infer that there must be fire in the hill.
    • Comparison – It is determined by comparing it from other similar kinds of objects. For example, Suppose You have not seen a wild cow but a forester told you that a wild cow is like a country cow but she is more furious and has big horn in her forehead. Once you come across a wild cow and recognizes it by comparing the descriptions made by the forester.
    • Verbal Testimony – Testimony is a reliable statement uttered by a trust worthy person similar to Nyaya Philosophy.(Refer)
    • Postulation – It is the knowledge which resolves the conflict between two facts. It entails a presupposition which solves the problem that occurred between two facts. For example, Vinay is a fat man by fasting in the day. In this proposition we find two facts – Vinay is a fat human being alive and he is not eating in day time. In order to resolve this conflict, i.e. how a person will be fat and not eating anything in day time, we postulate the existence of third fact, i.e. he must be eating in the night.
    • Non-apprehension – It is the immediate knowledge of the non-existence of an object. Here, one does not perceive the book directly through his sense organs but the knowledge of non-existence of the book on the table arises because of the non-perception of the perceivable object.

Validity of Knowledge – For example, if I have to see a thing then my eye should be free of defect, otherwise, I cannot see the thing clearly. Hence, the condition that generates valid knowledge should be free of defect and also beyond doubt. This is known as the theory of intrinsic validity which means that truth is self-evident and not verified by any other conditions. The validity of any knowledge is evident only in the conditions that generate that knowledge.

THEORY OF ERROR – Truth is self evident and error is recognized by inference. For example, when we mistake a rope to be a snake we are afraid of the rope as long as we think it to be a snake. Only when we realize that it is not a snake and that it is a rope, we come out of that fear. Thus, knowledge of rope as a snake is an error due to inference.

THEORY OF REALITY – It is based on their theory of perception, and the theory of intrinsic validity of knowledge enables us to understand the reality of objects. For Mimamsaks, universe is real and is independent of the mind which perceives it. Thus, the world is neither created nor destroyed. They also seem to believe in souls, heaven, hell, deities to whom sacrifice is to be performed.

Theory of Causation – It is explained through ‘theory of energy’ – There are potent energies found in the cause which produces a particular effect and that has been observed or known by us. If the potent energy is absent, no effect would be observed. For instance, if we fry a seed and sown in the soil, it won’t sprout out. The reason is the potent energy of the seed is consumed in the process of burning it.

Vedas – Vedas are eternal and are not of human origin. Vedas are free from errors which would not be a characteristic of human creation. The sole purpose of the Vedas is to enjoin one to perform rituals to discharge one’s duty which leads to desirable goals such as attainment of heaven etc.

Gods – There are many eternal Vedic nature gods. However, these deities do not exist in space and time. They do not even give boons and benefits for the sacrificial offerings given to them. The deities cannot be on par or superior to the Vedas.

Religion – PM is perhaps the first truly religious Darshana. PM is all about action with emphasis on faithful observance of Vedic rituals. Although sacrifices were offered to the deities but the faith in the deities seems lacking.

NATURE OF SELF – There are innumerable selves exist in the world. Souls are of two sorts – liberated soul and living soul (individuals of the earth). This implies every living being possesses a distinct soul which is an eternal and imperishable substance. When a living being dies, soul won’t die with it but continues to live to reap the fruits of its deeds.

LIBERATION – Self moves in the cycle of birth and death because of its action and attachment towards worldly pleasures. The state of liberation can be attained only when the self gets emancipation from the bondages of mind, body, sense organs and objects of the world. In the state of liberation, the self cannot enjoy the experience

of pleasure and pain because it is devoid of consciousness. Thus, liberation is not a state of bliss but a state where the self achieves its real nature and dissociated from worldly pleasure and pain.

Atheism – The traditional conception of Mimamsa is atheistic. The Mimamsakas argue that if a creator (God) is accepted then he is liable to the charges of cruelty, partiality etc. Therefore, they deny any such creator-God.

Unlike other Darshanas, PM appears to be much more about faith than about inquiry. An abiding faith in the Vedas and an equally strong commitment to discharging the duties commanded by the Vedas is the core of PM. The Jainas and Bauddhas seem to have rebelled against the extreme ritualism of PM and Vedanta seems to be a reaction to the reaction of the Jainas and Bauddhas.

Madhva He was a 13th century philosopher from Karnataka. After several years of independent study and reflection, he produced his own interpretation of Vedanta which developed into the school of Dvaita Vedanta. He believes in Personalistic theism and holds that God who is Vishnu can be known only by the scriptures.

Dvaita Vedanta 
It distinguishes between the World (Dependent Reality) and Brahman (Independent Reality) and recognizes two kinds of reality to describe World and Brahman.

Madhva regards Shankar’s Nirguna-Brahman not as reality but as an empty and absurd concept and takes Shankar’s Saguna (qualified) –Brahman as ultimate reality. He teaches that Brahman is God – the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer of the world and is the Lord of Karma.

The soul is eternal (birth and death are due to its connection with and separation from body). Though the soul is dependent on God but it is also an active agent – performs right and wrong actions and acquires merits and demerits. However, soul doesn’t enjoy absolute freedom but only relative freedom given by its divine master.

Tat twam Asi 
Jivas (Soul) are different from God. God is the worshipped master whereas jivas are his worshipping servants. God is omniscient, omnipotent and perfect whereas jiva has finite knowledge, limited power and is absolutely dependent on God. God dwells in the soul but he does not experience its joys and sorrows.

Selves are eternal and atomic. Consciousness and bliss are intrinsic to them but owing to their past karma, selves become entangled with bodies and suffer pain and misery.

Liberation (Bhakti Marga)  
Total devotion and self-surrender to God are the only means of salvation. According to Madhva, Bhakti is defined as Eternal Love for God with full sense of His Greatness. The Jiva gets released through the grace of God.

Liberated soul and God
For Shankar, salvation consists in the loss of personal self and individuality in the impersonal Absolute. For Madhva, salvation does not result

in the loss of self or its individuality but liberated self retains its individuality and consciousness, and enjoys eternal bliss in the infinite glory of God. According to Madhva, the liberated self is only partially similar to God since it does not enjoy the full bliss of God.