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.
SOURCES 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.