What is Philosophy?
What is Philosophy (Darshan Shastra)
Philosophy deals with intellect, logic, reasoning, analysis, and conclusion. It helps you in questioning everything including scientific knowledge, scriptures, traditions, culture, the ways of acquiring knowledge, the existence of God, the existence of your own, and try to understand abstract concepts like Akaasha, Time, the idea of Atman, different states of living like deep sleep, dream and awake. The origin of cosmos, and the origin of life. In fact philosophy deals with every subject in deep and not the obvious dimensions of any subject. That is why the highest degree for all streams of knowledge is called a Ph.D. (Doctorate in Philosophy). It explores the foundations, methods, history, implications, and purpose of science.
Great Rishis of Bharat (India)
In India Rishis are called Mantra Drusta therefore the subject is called Darshan. Darshan is an experiential framework to know the self and God. Vedas and Upanishads, which are many thousands years old are full with the names of these Mantra Drusta Rishis. We had both, male and female Rishis.
Giants of Western Philosophy (Greek/Athens:
The word philosophy is a western term. Philosophy = Philos (love) + Sophia (Gyan / wisdom). Love for knowledge is philosophy. When you fall in love with knowledge and you want to know the deeper dimension of everything then you are moving towards philosophy. A human being is an intellectual, and thinking being, therefore, everyone is a small philosopher or occasional philosopher. But there are some, who spent their whole life on this. Contrary to Darshan, which is an experiential framework, Philosophy is an intellectual framework. Below is the chronological order of philosophers of the western world.
- Thales of Miletus - 626/623 to 548/545 BC : Greek mathematician, astronomer, statesman
- Pythagoras - 570 – 495 BC
- Leucippus - 5th century BC : Atomic theory of the universe
- Parmenides - 500 - 475 BC
- Heraclitus - 5th century BCE
- Democritus - 460 - 370 BC: Atomic theory of the universe.
- Herodotus - 484 - 425 BC
- Socrates - 470–399 BC
- Plato - 424/423 – 348/347 BC
- Aristotle - 384–322 BC
- Jesus Christ - 1AD
- René Descartes (France) - 31 March 1596 - 11 February 1650 (He said, I think therefore I am)
- Isaac Newton (English) - 4 January 1643 - 31 March 1727
- Immanuel Kant (Germany) - 22 April 1724 - 12 February 1804 (Enlightenment thinkers, transcendental idealism, he said “God is unknowable, it is a matter of belief”)
- Charles Darwin (English) - 12 February 1809 - 19 April 1882
Summary of Believes & Important Terms
- Tao & Confucious are Chinese Philosophers, who don’t believe in God.
- Jainism & Buddhism don’t believe in God.
- Buddhism doesn’t believe in Atman.
- Diatheism believes God is beyond the world.
- Pantheism believes God is in the world.
- Panentheism believes God is within the world and outside also.
- Semitic Religions = Abrahamic religions. It includes Judaism, Christianity and Islam together.
Deals with experience and does not take the help of intellect or emotions much but uses your own unbiased experiences. Becoming Sakshi of everything around, including Sakshi of your body. Becoming one with God. There is no second, which is away from the experiencer.
Religion deals with the beliefs of people, cultural knowledge, and traditional practices. It impacts your food, clothing, style, and time of prayers, and defines God and his role in creating us and the world around us. It deals with the methods of keeping God happy so that you get his love and blessing. It deals with the likes and dislikes of God. What are the different types of God? How to connect with them? Religion defines dos and don’ts for males, females, and children.
Deals with a non-physical dimension of life. Uses experiences, intellect, and devotion in a way that you can transcend your physical nature and live like you are spirit, Atman.
Meta Physics (Tatva Mimansha)
It deals with the question that physics cannot answer. The questions beyond physics are the questions of metaphysics. How creation happened. The world is made of what? Why this world is made?
Three Subjects under Metaphysics
Cosmology (Shriti Mimamsha)
It deals with the following questions. How this world came into existence? Is it created by someone? It existed always? How the creator created this universe? In what order? What was the material used for creation? What is the purpose of the creation of the cosmos? Will it ever end?
Theology (Ishwar Mimansha)
Those religions that believe in Ishwar are discussed in Theology. Like Vedanta, and the Semitic religion. Theology deals with questions like, is God part of the world or away from the world or both? How does he interact with humans or other lives and how he solves the problem?
Psychology (Mano Vigyan)
It is about Consciousness. Who am I? What are the different kinds of minds? Why does a conflict happen? How am I different from body, intellect, and mind? What happens to consciousness when the body dies? The body cannot think but there is something in the body that thinks. If the brain thinks then why does the brain not think when a person dies? What is death? What becomes less in humans when death happens? Who is the thinker?
Epistemology (Gyan Mimanshaa)
Epistimo = Knowledge, Logos = process of knowing. Epistemology deals with the methods of acquiring knowledge. Epistemology deals with situations where acquired knowledge may be incorrect or incomplete. The axiom of physical sciences is for every effect there must be a cause. Therefore search for that, and go to the root of that cause. Epistemology says, even this cause-effect axiom is not valid always. Sometimes there may not be any reason, or the reason is beyond the physical realm, where we find the cause or method of establishing the relationship may be faulty. It discusses various methods of acquiring knowledge, and the value of those methods. Knowledge should be free from illusion and hallucination. Illusion is when you think A is B, e.g. a mirage is a water. Hallucination is when the mind is in an emotive state and not able to think properly. When nobody is knocking on the door but you think somebody is knocking, then it is because of hallucination. Or you smell something that doesn’t exist around is a hallucination. The process of acquiring knowledge can introduce errors at many levels. It may be due to signal, noise, and signal processing.
Axilogy (Mulya Siddhant):
Axilogy studies what is that which people value. Why do they value that? What is good? What is bad? Why something is good or bad? Axiology is studied with two subjects ethics and aesthetics.
Ethics (Niti / Naithik Shastra):
Ethics deals with good and bad behavior so that all people in the society can live peacefully. What is good, and what is bad? Shall this good and bad change with time and place? Can there be something called absolutely good or bad? What is sin? If we do something wrong but with a good intention to help him or to serve the larger cause then is it still a sin? Ethics should be rigid or flexible? Is there any other aim of life beyond acquiring money, name, fame, and luxury? If yes then what is that?
Aesthetics ( Saundharya Shastra)
What is beauty? Is it absolute? Does it lie in the objects or in the mind of a seer? Why something is beautiful in one culture or at one place, and it is not beautiful in another culture or place? Why something ugly in one culture or a place is beautiful in another culture or place?
Three Kinds of Philosophies
Philosophy of Religion
This subject discusses the existence of God, defines God, how many God?, and where God exists. He is part of this world or outside of this world? How does He communicate with this world? Whether God is He or She or Neutral? What is the form of God? What makes God happy? What is the nature of God? Role of reason and faith in understanding God, the epistemology of religion, religion and science, religious experiences, the afterlife, the existence of the soul, pluralism, and limitation of language in dealing with religious experience.
Define what is a state, nation, government, and the relationship between individual and state. Relationship between communities and state. It deals with the law, morality, ethics, property, duties, and rights of individuals and the state, aesthetics, good and bad, and the value of individuals, communities, societies, and the state. Individual freedom.
Philosophy of science
It applies to all kinds of sciences and arts. For example, in Biology, this will study what is the purpose of this subject? what are tools & processes to acquire knowledge in Biology? How do you know that this knowledge is correct and complete? How to know or explore what we do not know in Biology or specific problem in Biology? What is the origin of life? How to improve life expectancy etc.
I hope this discussion helped you understanding about what is the difference between Philosophy and Darashana. You could enumerate the different components of Philosophy and different kinds of philosophy.