Shad Darshan – Mimamsa and Vedanta:
Purva Mimamsa (Mimamsa):
Mimamsa is also known as Purva Mimamsa, as against Uttara Mimamsa. Mimamsa was developed by rishi Jaimini and was described in his text “Mimamsa Sutra.” Mimamsa means detail investigation or analysis of the subject. According to Mimamsa, the correct performance of the Vedic rites or rituals is the means of salvation. It discusses in detail the nature of ritual obligations (karma-kānda) and ethical and moral duties (dharma) based on correct interpretation of the scriptures. It deals with linguistic methods. It describes critical analysis and explanations of scriptural texts – words, sentences, and the language as whole. We can say that, like Nyaya (system of logical analysis) and Vaisheshika (system of particles and cosmic analysis), Mimamsa is a creditworthy ancient Hindu scientific system of linguistic analysis for the study of scriptural texts. When any ritualism over the time becomes monotonous and meaningless, that is, losing its original meaning, the further detailed study and reanalysis of it is surely warranted. The origin of Mimamsa was timely when the Vedic system of ritualism was marginalized by many religious, historical, and political factors. Mimamsa has tried to reestablish the validity of Vedic ritualism portion which had become monotonous and meaningless over the time. For that, Mimamsa has used the science of Nyaya system for its Vedic interpretation. Mimamsa believes not in proving the truth of the knowledge rather in disproving the falsity of the knowledge. Just take out the untruth from a system, and what remains is the truth.
Mimamsa has gone in every detail of the meanings of the words rather than sentences of the Vedic literature and the actions prescribed by them. In this manner it has emphasized more of the “yāgnic karmakānds”, leaving behind the essence of knowledge contained in Upanishads – the end parts of the Vedas for the Vedanta philosophy to be originated in future. Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa never contradict with each other.
Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta):
Vedanta marks the “trivenisangam” – meeting point of three understandings of the Vedic scriptures, namely, pantheistic understanding of Vedic Arya society, atheistic understanding of Buddhism and Jainism, and monotheistic understanding of mainstream Hinduism. It also marks the beginning of the separate identification of Brahm and Parabrahm. Vedanta means the end (“anta”) part of the Vedas. The philosophies based on the end part of Veda are known as Vedanta philosophies or in short “Vedanta”. Thus, Vedanta is not just one philosophy but the group of philosophies that include Advaita (Non-Dualism), Vishishtadvaita (Qualified Non-Dualism), Dvaita (Dualism), and other philosophies having the same common source. Vedanta is also called Uttara Mimamsa, because the term Vedanta had become almost synonymous to Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Shankaracharya. All Vedanta philosophies are developed around the teachings of Upanishads and Aranyakas rather than the hymns (mantras) and the ritual parts (karma kānds) of the Vedas. The texts “Vedanta Sutras” or “Brahm Sutras” were composed by rishi Bādarāyan, also known as Vyasa. According to some Vedanta there is one Absolute Reality called “Brahm.” According to other Vedanta the Absolute Reality is called “Parabrahm,” “Purushottam,” or “Narayan.” Other realities are merely an illusion, like a dream, meaning, not the permanent. The object of life is to realize that Truth by knowledge, intuition and experience. According to Vedanta, Brahm is all pervading, (sarva-vyāpak), omnipresent, the cause of all (sarva-kāran), supporter of all (sarvādhār), beyond any qualities or attributes (nirgun), non-dual (advaita), untainted or without any impurities of maya (niranjan), the all-doer (sarva-kartā) yet appear to be non-doer (akartā) (meaning, kartā thakā akartā), and without any worldly attributes but possessing divine attributes. By describing Brahm having no attributes the followers of some Vedanta (Vedantis or Vedantists), believe that Brahm is “nirākār” or formless. By describing Brahm having no worldly attribute doesn’t mean Brahm do not have any form. In the same scriptures Brahm is described to have divine attributes, “divya sākār” form. In fact the scriptures describe Brahm having two forms at the same time, one impersonal and the other personified. When Brahm is described as the abode of God and supporting brahmands it is described as impersonal. When Brahm is described as the consort, “shakti”, companion, best Bhakta, or humble servant of God, it is described to have personification.
This is, in short, about the six basic philosophical systems of Hinduism. They were developed on different bases of the same original authentic Vedic scriptures in such a way that they become complementary to each other. Sankhya took care of the psychological or thinking aspect of the Vedic knowledge while Yoga took care of the physiological or behavioral aspect of the Vedic knowledge; Nyaya took care of the logical aspect of the Vedic science while Vaisheshika took care of the physical aspect of the Vedic science; Purva Mimamsa took care of the ritual aspect of the Vedas while Uttar Mimamsa took care of the intellectual aspect of the Vedas. The beauty of Hinduism is that, any of its six systems never contradicted to each other instead they added to each other in understanding the “Truth” or “Absolute” of Hinduism. Even though having total diversity in understanding and in practice, Hinduism has remained one religion and has flourished under one umbrella of main stream Hinduism. This is probably, due to its inherent belief in tolerance and freedom – 1. Freedom of religion – freedom of both the aspects of religion: freedom of religious practice and freedom of philosophical thinking. 2. Freedom from worldly attachments – freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Hinduism has always remained open to the mankind. It has never tried to enforce its doctrine on others. On the contrarily it has remained rather more conservatively among the intellectual class, in well control practicing and in letting others learn its Sanskrit language. These could be the two main reasons of its major loss of its lots of wealthy information.