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Hindu philosophy


Samkhya · Yoga · Nyaya · Vaisheshika · Purva Mimamsa · Vedanta (Advaita · Vishishtadvaita · Dvaita · Achintya Bheda Abheda)



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There are currents of idealism in classical Hindu philosophy. Idealism and materialism are the principal monist ontologies. A related branch is the Buddhist concept of consciousness-only.

Idealist notions have been supported by the Vedanta and Yoga schools opposed by dualist Samkhya, the atomist Vaisheshika, the materialist Nyaya and Mimamsa as well as the atheist Cārvāka schools.

Like Platonic idealism, Hindu idealism is essentially monotheist, espousing the view that consciousness, which at its root emanates from God (Brahman,Purusha or Svayam bhagavan), is the essence or meaning of the phenomenal reality.

The presence of idealist concepts in Indian thought has been emphasized by Rupert Sheldrake and Fritjof Capra. These ideas have also been developed by P.R. Sarkar and advanced by his disciple Sohail Inayatullah, notably in the theory of Microvitum.


The essence of Hindu Idealism is captured by such modern spiritual teachers as Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Sri Aurobindo and Sri Anandamurti, also known as P.R. Sarkar. Sri Nisargadatta advocated discovery of the real self. By establishing oneself in the earnestness of spiritual pursuits, it is possible to transcend the temporal self, limited by desires, fears, memories and mental constructs, and gain blissful immersion in the pure consciousness of God. Sarkar went further by emphasising that liberation was best achieved through service to self and society, exemplified by his socio-spiritual movement Ananda Marga, or the "Path of Bliss".


  • Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973), I Am That (Chetana, Mumbai, India), ISBN 81-85300-53-4 (paperback).
  • Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar (1984), Human Society . Vols. I and II. (Ananda Marga Publications, Calcutta, India).
  • Sri Aurobindo (1984), The Life Divine, (Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, USA) ISBN 0-941524-61-2.
  • Surendranath Dasgupta (1969), Indian Idealism (Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA), ISBN 0-521-09194-2
  • Fritjof Capra (2002), The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (Shambhala Publications of Berkeley, California, USA), ISBN 1-57062-519-0.
  • Sohail Inayatullah (2001), Understanding P. R. Sarkar: The Indian Episteme, Macrohistory and Transformative Knowledge, (Leiden, Brill) ISBN 90-04-12193-5.
  • Rupert Sheldrake (1982), A New Science of Life (Tarcher).


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