Yoga is the next most well known school of Indian philosophy after Vedanta, but for the wrong reasons. In the West it has become associated with
physical postures only, when in fact the Yoga school of philosophy is far more complex and postures is considered a minor limb of it. Please see
Skyfloating's thread, "5 Yogas" to gain more insight into the various Yogas.
Yoga's worldview is significantly derived from Samkhya. The quantum field and the core of the field of the Samkhya becomes the mind-field of Yoga and
pure consciousness/god. The Yoga philosophy is that all of reality is taking place within the mind-field and the reason we cannot perceive the pure
consciousness/god is because of flux in the mind-field which it analyses into 5 categories(correct knowledge, false knowledge, imagination, states of
awareness and memory) These together produce hundreds of thought-waves in the mind-field covering the pure consciousness. Basically it is our belief
systems, our fallacious reasoning, baseless speculations, relience on memory and poor states of awareness which prevent us from directly experiencing
the true being of anything. The Yoga solution is to cease all thinking and simply witness reality as it appears(Edmund Husserl, Phenomenology) In
order to do this it suggests an 8-fold method one should follow which will facilitate the the cessation of thought, they are: Moral and personal
observances, postures, breath control, sensory withdrawal and concentration exercises. These will logically lead to meditation when mastered. Yoga
also describes the various states one will pass through in meditation.
The Yoga school describes the mind as an cognitive processing system, with an internal representation of the world(cognitive psychology) where
thoughts become associated with other thoughts(conditioning) leading to complex networks of thoughts. It also says that the mind exists in various
levels conscious, subconscious and unconscious(Psychoanalysis) and mentions desire as the root cause for thoughts. Such as I perceive an object which
is desirable and think, "I want that object"(Freud) This desire-thought cycle sets up a complex cycle of karma.
I am including both of these under one heading because they offer similar worldview and because they are traditionally considered complimentary. The
Nyaya-Vaiseshika worldview is empiricst and pluralist, they believe in the existence of everything which can be empirically observed and logically
inferred. Let us begin with Vaiseshika.
Vaiseshika, considered to be the Indian physics school, considers reality to be made up of 9 main substances: solids, liquids,
light, forces and ether, space, time, mind and soul. In a substance inheres qualities which are innumerable, the main ones enunmerated by Vaiseshika
are: colour, taste, smell, touch, sound conjunction, disjunction, inherence, particularity, liquidity, gravity, number, proxmity, temporality, desire,
pleasure, pain and memory and so on. Vaiseshika assigns each quality to its substratum. Forces have only touch, colour has both touch and colour,
water has touch, colour and taste etc etc.
As Vaiseshika deals with particular things it concludes the existence of various types of atoms. Solid atoms, liquid atoms, light atoms, force atoms
and ether(non atomic). They are not as traditionally mistranslated as fire, earth, air, water, and reading the primary texts which describes the
properties of them, makes that clear as day light. Moreover the Sanskrit terms, "Pritvhi, Jaal, tejas, vayu and akasha" do not at all translate to
The Vaiseshika atom is a spherical point in space-time and it is completely imperceptible and the final limits of matter, and these atoms undergo a
process of aggregation where they first combine in pairs to form binary-atoms, binary atoms combine in pairs to form triplet atoms and so on(quarks,
subatomic particles) It is via a process of conjunction or nuclear binding that these aggregate atoms come into being and it is only under the
influence of heat energy that they combine(nuclear physics) The new atomic aggregates have properties that are different from their parent
particles(particle physics) What is remarkable about Vaiseshika description of the atomic structure of consisting of finer and finer atoms it
suggests a clear knowledge of nuclear physics. Could the ancient Indians have considered splitting the visible atom? If so, does this suggest the
nuclear-weapon like weapons descibed in ancient Indian epics are actually real? Food for thought.
Another remarkable idea of the Vaiseshika is that space and time are unified and actually one. The so-called divisions of past, present and future or
near and far are artificial and simply depend on ones frame of reference(General Relativity) space-time is actuallly infinite and whole.
Gravity seems to be given a special status by the Vaiseshika as it seems to be connected intrinsically to mass. It is because of mass that there is
gravity. The Vaiseshika describe the movement of an arrow in motion in what unquestionably sound like force vectors. The horizonal component of the
arrow is due to the momentum from the bow, the vertifical component is due to the the gravity causing the arrow to fall, hence its parabolic
The Vaiseshika seem to be aware of all of Newton's laws of mechanics, but have not given any equations. There is actually some evidence which
suggests Newton may have been aware of the Vaiseshika.
There is definite evidence that the Vaiseshika did actually conduct empirical observations and experiments to discover some of their postulates.
However, there is a metaphysical base to the Vaiseshika teaching which is often overlooked. The original atoms do not have mass, they exist in some
kind of virtual domain(Higgs field) but via aggregation they become physical. However, how can virtual entities combine together and produce a real
entities? Either this is a fatal contrdiction or Vaiseshika is suggesting that physical reality is fact a holographic ensemble.
Nyaya's worldview is a logical and empiricst one like Vaiseshikas. However, its emphasis is not on analysing substances, but analysing
reasoning itself to create a proper scientific method of reasoning from which certain conclusions can be derived. The name literally means that "From
premise to conclusion" All reasoning process begins with doubt and doubt is literally contradictory views on something. In order to settle doubts it
provides a method via which valid knowledge can be derived, known as the 5-step syllogism:
Thesis: There is fire on the mountain
Reason: Because there is smoke on the mountain
Premise: Where there is smoke there is fire(observation)
Application: There is smoke on the mountain
Conclusion: Therefore there is fire on the mountain
For those of you have studied logic you will instantly recognise this as an inductive form of reasoning. As the premise is based on observation of a
relationship. All scientiic reasoning is inductive, thus it is clear Nyaya is a scientific form of resoning as opposed to a deductive one. As the
reason, called the middle term, for stating a proposition is so crucial to the Nyaya argument, Nyaya dedicates most of its philosophy to fine-tuning
the middle term and analysing fallacious and rhetorical reasoning. In that sense it is both inductive and deductive at the same time. There are 5
types of formal fallacies mentioned:
1. Irregular middle: This is when the reason is too wide and can apply to many things. All Indigo children are intelligent. I am an Indigo chid.
Therefore I am intelligent. In Aristotle logic this is valid, but in Nyaya logic this a fallacy. There ias no exclusive relationship between Indigo
children and intelligence, because even non-Indigo children are intelligent. Therefore this is a fallacy of an irregular middle
2. Contradictory middle: This is when the reason contradicts the proposition it is trying to establish. All Greeks are geniuses, because they failed
their IQ test
3. Inferentically contradictory middle: This is when the reason can be contradicted by a counter-reason. Sound is eternal because it is audible(sound
waves are eternal) can be countered by sound is non-eternal because it is produced
4. Unproven middle: This is when reasoning does not prove the thesis, because the thesis does not exist. The invisible pink uncorn belongs to the
horse category, because it has horseness. There is no such thing as an invisible pink unicorn.
5. Non-inferential contradictory middle: This is when the reason can be contradicted by perception. There is no self because it is a memory is
contradicted by our perception of ourselves or the world does not exist because it is all in the mind is contradicted by the perception of the
The informal fallacies are huge in number including the well known ones like strawmans, equivocation, quibbiling etc
There is very little known about Carvaka as none of its texts have survived, we only know about them from other schools who refuted them.
The Carvaka were atheist and hedonists. They only believed in what they could see directly and considered logic to be a false means of knowing. They
refuted the existence of god, the authority of the Vedas, the soul and the afterlife. Like modern materialists they considered to be nothing more than
a biproduct of matter arranged in a certain way. They rejected the question of suffering which other Indian philosophers took seriously and announced
that life was to be enjoyed through absolute indulgence - eat, drink, have sex and be merry was their principal philosophy. Their philosophy was not
really all that developed and this is probably why they died out in face of the giants.
[edit on 8-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]