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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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5. Mimansa and Vedanta

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Keywords: ritualism, language, monism, Maya, Shankara

5.1 Mimansa

The word Mimansa means spiritual thinking, but also critical exploration. The main aim of this school is the interpretation of Vedas: how to understand them and how to live according to them. It represents a very strange stream – atheistic ritualism. Originally, this Darshana discussed questions of sacrifice, but under the influence of Buddhism the deity was denied. This school later accepted the idea of God, but against its own learning. Sutras of the Mimansa system are accredited to the monk Jaimini who lived in the 3rd century A.D. The later representatives were Prabhakara and Kumarila (around 7th century A.D.).

For the ontology of Mimansa, it is typical to consider Vedas as the highest, eternal, and non-created reality. ← 49 | 50 → According to Mimansa, the Vedas are present in the whole universe; its carrier is a ubiquitous sound. An objective reality really exists irrespective of our consciousness and it consists of an infinite amount of atoms. An infinite amount of eternal souls and the accumulated force of Karma in the form of an invisible power of Apurva also exists.

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