Hindu Philosophy is divided into six systems or (astra, namely, the Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhyd, Yoga, Mimansa, and Vedanta. The Sankhya and Yoga agree in all essentials, except that the former is atheistic and the latter theistic. The systems generally unite on certain points:
1. The Mimansa excepted, their end is to inculcate expedients for "salvation," which is deliverance from "bondage."
2. The soul, though distinct from the mind, the senses, and the body, yet identifies itself with them. As a consequence of this delusion, it conceives the thought of ownership in itself and others, and supposes that it receives pleasure and pain through the body. As a farther consequence, it engages in good and evil works, which have merit or demerit. As this merit or demerit must be awarded, the soul must pass to Ely-sium or Hell, and repeatedly be born and die. This is bondage caused by ignorance, from which, when the soul is delivered, it gains absorption into the deity.
3. As a consequence of the foregoing, good deeds and their reward are only a less curse than their opposites, and are to be deprecated, as they compel the soul till the award is experienced to abide in the body of a god, or a man, or other superior being.
4. Release from transmigration can only be had through "right apprehension," which consists, of course, in the recognition by the soul of itself as distinct from the mind and all else. To gain this "right apprehension" one must study the Shastras; and, in order to clearness of intellect and heart for this "work, such good works as sacrifices, alms, pilgrimages, repetitions of sacred words, and the like, are to be performed, but without desire for reward.
5. They all maintain that the soul has existed from everlasting, and that it is exempt from liability to extinction, though it may be again and again invested with a corporeal body.
6. All the systematists teach the eternity of matter.
7. They all receive the words of the Veda as unquestionable authority. See Refutation of Hindu Systems, by N. Gore (Calcutta, 1862); Aphorisms of the Yogd, Sankhya, etc. (Allahabad, India, 1864). (J. T. G.)