Nitin Singhania CRUX : Art & Culture For Prelims 2020

Nitin Singhania CRUX: Art & Culture


Sr no. Topics 
1. Indian Architecture, Sculpture and Pottery
2. Indian Paintings
3. Indian Handicrafts
4. UNESCO’s List of Tangible World Heritage Sites in India
5. Indian Music
6. Indian Dance Forms
7. Indian Theatre
8. Indian Puppetry
9. Indian Circus
10. UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage
11.  Languages in India
12. Religions in India 
13. Indian Literature
14. Schools of Philosophy
15. Indian Cinema
16. Science and Technology through the Ages
17. Calendars in India
18. Fairs and Festivals of India
19. Awards and Honours
20. Law and Culture
21. Martial Arts in India
22. Cultural Institutions in India
23. Coins in Ancient and Medieval India
24. Indian Culture Abroad

CHAPTER 14- SCHOOLS OF PHILOSOPHY: Nitin Singhania CRUX: Art & Culture

  • Philosophy- a long tradition in the literature of ancient India. All schools said man should strive for the fulfillment of four goals:

for Life

Meaning Treatise on the Goal
Artha Economic means or wealth Matters related to the economy were discussed in Arthashastras
Dharma Regulation of social orders Matters related to the State were discussed in the Dharmasastra
Kama Physical pleasures or


The Kamasastra/Kamasutra were written to elaborate on sexual matters.
Moksha Salvation There are several texts on Darshana or philosophy that deal with salvation too.


  • Despite similar goals, differences on means to achieve salvation, emerged between the schools.
  • By the beginning of the Christian Era- two different schools of philosophy, as follows emerged:
Orthodox Schools
  • Vedas- supreme revealed scriptures that hold secrets to salvation. 
  • Did not question the authenticity of the Vedas
  • Had six sub-schools- called Shada Darshana.
Heterodox Schools
  • Do not believe in the originality of Vedas & questioned the existence of God.
  •  Three major sub-schools
Six Major Sub-schools of the Orthodox School


  1. Samkhya School
  • The oldest school of philosophy 
  • Founded by Kapil Muni who wrote Samkhya Sutra
  • ‘Samkhya’ or ‘Sankhya’ literally means ‘count’. 
  • Two phases of development as follows:
Original Samkhya View New Samkhya View
This view is considered to be early Samkhya philosophy & dates around 1st century AD. This view emerged when newer elements merged with the older Samkhya view during the 4th century AD.
They believed that  presence of any divine agency was not necessary for the creation of the universe. They argued that along with the element of nature, Purusha or spirit was necessary for the creation of the universe.
They propounded a rational & scientific view of the creation of the universe. They propounded a spiritual view of the creation of the universe
They also argued that the world owed its existence to nature or Prakriti. They argued that the coming together of nature and spiritual elements created world.
This view is considered to be a materialistic school of philosophy. This view is considered to be belonging to the more spiritual school of philosophy.
  • Both schools argued that salvation could be attained through knowledge, the lack of which is the root cause for misery of man.
  • Believed in dualism or dvaitavada, i.e. the soul & matter are separate entities
  • This concept- basis of real knowledge
  • Knowledge- acquired through three main concepts: Pratyaksha: Perception; Anumana: Inference & Shabda: Hearing
  • Have a scientific system of inquiry.
  • Prakriti & Purusha- basis of reality & absolutely independent. 
  • Purusha- closer to attributes of a male & associated with consciousness & cannot be changed or altered. 
  • Prakriti three major attributes: thought, movement & transformation; closer to the physiognomy of a woman.
  1. Yoga School
  • Yoga school literally means union of two major entities.
  • Say that salvation can be achieved by combining meditation & physical application of yogic techniques. 
  • Techniques lead to release of Purusha from Prakriti.
  • Origin of Yoga & school- in Yogasutra of Patanjali (2nd century BCE).
  • Physical aspects of this school- various postures called asanas
  • Breathing exercises- pranayams
  • Other means of achieving Mukti or freedom are:
Means of Achieving Freedom Meanings/Ways of achieving it
Yama Practicing self-control
Niyama Observation of the rules governing one’s life
Pratyahara Choosing an object
Dharna Fixing the mind (over the chosen object)
Dhyana Concentrating on the (above-mentioned) chosen object
Samadhi The merging of mind & object leads to final dissolution of the self.
  • These techniques help humans to control their mind, body & sensory organs
  • These exercises help one believe in the existence of God as a guide, mentor & teacher. 
  • Help individuals to move away from worldly matter & achieve the concentration required to get salvation. 
  1. Nyaya School
  • Believe in logical thinking to achieve salvation. 
  • Consider life, death & salvation to be like mysteries that can be solved through logical & analytical thinking. 
  • Argue that acquiring ‘real knowledge’ can only accrue salvation. 
  • Founded by Gautama, author of Nyaya Sutra.
  • Argue that use of logical tools like inference, hearing & analogy; a human being could verify truth of a proposition or statement. 
  • Argue that the creation of the Universe- was through God’s hands. 
  • Believe that God not only created the Universe but also sustained & destroyed it. 
  • Constantly stressed on systematic reasoning & thinking.
  1. Vaisheshika School
  • Believes in the physicality of Universe
  • Realistic & objective philosophy that governs the universe. 
  • Founder- Kanada who wrote the text governing Vaisheshika philosophy 
  • Argue that everything in-universe is created by five main elements (called Dravya): fire, air, water, earth & ether (sky)
  • Argue that reality has many categories- action, attribute, genus, inherence, substance & distinct quality.
  • Has a very scientific approach- developed atomic theory, i.e. all material objects are made of atoms. 
  • Was also responsible for the beginning of physics in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Are propounders of the mechanical process of formation of the Universe.
  • Believe in God and consider him as guiding principal.
  • Believe in-laws of karma guide this universe, i.e. everything is based on the actions of human beings.
  • Believed in salvation, parallel to creation & destruction of the universe, which was acyclic process decided by God.
  1. Mimamsa School BY NITIN SINGHANIA
  • ‘Mimamsa’ means art of reasoning, interpretation & application
  • Focuses on the analysis of texts of Samhita & Brahmana.
  • Argue that Vedas contain eternal truth & are repositories of all knowledge. 
  • To acquire heaven & salvation, they would have to fulfill all the duties prescribed by the Vedas.
  • Described in – Sutras of Jaimini of 3rd century BCE. 
  • Greatest proponents: Sabar Swami and Kumarila Bhatta.
  • Argue that salvation is possible through performing rituals but justification & reasoning behind Vedic rituals, should be understood. 
  • Said humans not free of cycle of life & death, until they achieve salvation.
  • Main focus- ritualistic part of Vedas, i.e. to achieve salvation one has to perform Vedic rituals
  • Involves the assistance of priests, hence it inherently legitimized the social distance between various classes. 
  • Used as a device by Brahmans to maintain their clout over people.
  1. Vedanta School
  • Vedanta- two words- ‘Veda’ & ‘ant’, i.e.  end of the Vedas
  • Upholds the philosophies of life elaborated in Upanishads
  • Oldest text that formed its basis- Brahmasutra of Badrayana (2nd century BCE). 
  • Brahma- the reality of life & everything else is unreal or Maya.
  • Atma or consciousness of self is similar to brahma
  • This argument equalizes atma &brahma, knowledge of the self, would amount to understanding Brahma & lead to salvation.
  • Brahma & atma indestructible and eternal. 
  • Evolved in 9th century AD with the philosophical intervention of Shankaracharya who wrote commentaries on Upanishads & Bhagavad Gita🡪 led to the development of Advaita Vedanta
  • Ramanujan- major philosopher (wrote in12th century AD). His intervention led to some differences in this school:
Shankaracharya’s View Ramanujan’s View
Considers Brahma to be without any attributes. Considers Brahma to possess certain attributes
Considers Knowledge or jnana/Gyan to be the main means of attaining salvation Considers loving faith & practicing devotion as a path to attain salvation
  • Gave credence to the Theory of Karma.
  • Believed in the theory of Punarjanama or rebirth and that person has to bear the brunt of their previous actions- remedy to which is finding of one’s Brahma.
Three subdivisions of the Heterodox School(NITIN SINGHANIA)
  1. Buddhist Philosophy BY NITIN SINGHANIA
  • Founder- Gautama Buddha 
  • After his death- his disciples called a council at Rajagriha where the main teachings of Buddhism were codified. These were:
Name of the Disciple who

write it

Buddhas’ Pitakas
Upali Vinaya Pitaka (Rules of order for Buddhists)
Ananda Sutta Pitaka (Buddha’s sermons and doctrines)
Mahakashyap Abhidhamma Pitaka (Buddhist philosophy)
  • According to this philosophy- traditional teachings imbibed in Vedas are not useful for achieving salvation & one should not trust them blindly
  • Buddha said every human being should try to seek liberation through the realization of four noble truthsSuffering in human life; Desire– the fundamental cause of all the suffering; Destroy passions, desires & love for materialistic things to attain nirvana; lastly liberation & optimism. 
  •  Nirvana/Salvation- is through an eight-fold path:
  • Right Vision
  • Right, Resolve: develop a strong will-power to destroy the desires.
  • Right Speech: control one’s speech through cultivating right speech
  • Right Conduct: move away from desire for materialistic things.
  • Right Means of Livelihood: do not use any unfair means to earn their livelihood. 
  • Right effort: avoid bad feelings and impressions. 
  • Right Mindfulness: keep one’s body, mind and health in correct form. 
  1. Right Concentration.
  1. Jain Philosophy
  • First elaborated by Jain tirthankar or wise person Rishabha Deva, who was one amongst the 24 Tirthankaras
  • Adinath- the source of all Jain philosophy. 
  • Aristanemi & AjitNath– also disseminated Jain philosophy
  • Also oppose the primacy of Vedas to achieve salvation. 
  • Argue that a man should control his mind by seeking right perception & knowledge
  • If coupled with right conduct, would lead to salvation.
  • Says man should practice brahmacharya or celibacy, to achieve liberation 
  • Major fundamentals:
  • Natural & supernatural things in this universe are based on seven fundamental elements, i.e. jiva, ajivaa, asrava, bandha, samvara, nirjara and moksha.
  • Two basic types of existences: Astikaya or something that has a physical shape like body & Anastakiya i.e. that which has no physical shape, like ‘time’.
  • Everything that has a substance is called dharma, which is basis of qualities possessed by an object or man. 
  • The substance is eternal and unchangeable.
  1. Charvaka School or Lokayata Philosophy  BY NITIN  SINGHANIA
  • Founder- Brihaspati 
  • One of the earliest schools that developed a philosophical theory. 
  • Finds mention in Vedas & Brihadarankya Upanishad. 
  • Charvaka School- main propounder of materialistic view to achieve salvation
  • Was dubbed as Lokayata or something derived from common people.
  • ‘Lokayata’- meant keen attachment to the physical & material world (loka). 
  • Denied the existence of any supernatural or divine agent who could regulate our conduct on earth. 
  • Argued against the need to achieve salvation and also denied the existence of Brahma and God.
  • Main teachings:
  • Against Gods and their representatives on earth – priestly class. 
  • Man- centre of all activities.
  • Do not consider ‘ether’ as one of the five essential elements, say the universe consists of only four elements: fire, earth, water and air.
  • No other world after this one,
  • Pleasure should be the ultimate objective of life. 
  • Propound theory of ‘eat, drink and make merry’.
  • Materialistic philosophies dominated over idealist ones.

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