The term Indian philosophy (Sanskrit: Darshanas), may refer to any of several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy. Having the same or rather intertwined origins, all of these philosophies have a common underlying theme of Dharma, and similarly attempt to explain the attainment of emancipation.

They have been formalized and promulgated chiefly between 1,000 BC to a few centuries A.D, with residual commentaries and reformations continuing up to as late as the 20th century by Aurobindo and ISKCON among others, who provided stylized interpretations.

The characteristic of these schools is that they may belong to one “masthead” and disagree with each other, or be in agreement while professing allegiance to different banners. An example of the latter is the non-Vedic Jain and the Vedic Samkhya schools, both of which have similar ideas on pluralism; an example of the former would be the Dvaita and the Advaita schools, both of whom are Vedic. However, every school has subtle differences.

Competition between the various schools was intense during their formative years, especially between 800 BC to 200 AD. Some like the Jain, Buddhist, Shaiva and Advaita schools survived, while others like Samkhya and Ajivika did not. The Sanskrit term for “philosopher” is dārśanika, one who is familiar with the systems of philosophy, or darśanas.(wiki ends)

  • Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas and Gita.
  • Baddhism: Its Metaphysics and Ethics, Hinayana and Mahayana School
  • Six Systems of Indian Philosophy with special emphasis on Yog, Vedanta, and the Theism of Ramanuja.
  • Bhagti Movement.
  • Contemporary Indian Thought: Swami Vivakedande, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Gandhi, Radakrishnan, Sri Aurobindo Gosh, Modern Western Influence on Indian Philosophers.

Books Recommended


1. Chattopadhyya, Debiprasa, Studies in the History of Indian Philosophy. 3 Volumes. Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi & Co. 1978.

2. Frauwallner, Erich, History of Indian Philosophy. Translated from German by V.M. Bedekar. 2 volumes. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1973.

3. Hiriyanna, M., The Essentials of Indian Philosophy. London: George Allan & Unwin, 1960

4. Radhakrishnan, S., Indian Philosophy. 2 vols. New York: MacMillan, 1962

5. Radhakrishnan, S., Contemporary Indian Philosophy London: George Allan & Unwin, 1958

6. Raju, P. T., The Philosophical Traditions of India. London: George Allan & Unwin, 1971.

7. Zimmer, Heinrich, Philosophies of India. New York: Meridian Books. 1951