Astika and Nastika

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Oct 25 20:42:01 CDT 1999

On Mon, 25 Oct 1999, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> Namaste All,
> I am trying to find out the differences between the Astika traditions and
> Nastika ones.

Basically there are three questions

1.  Does the soul (atma) exist?
2.  Is there a God?
3.  Are the Vedas and their ancillary shastras authoritative?

Those who say "asti" (it is so) to these are astikas and those who say no
to one or more are nastikas.

> The question I have is this :
> While both Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta consider Sruti as Pramana, the other
> Astika ones don't always take this line.

By definition they do (see 3. above) but sometimes for radically different

>  AFAIK, the Nastika traditions such
> as Buddhism draws heavily from the Upanishads

You are probably right but Buddhists themselves might object to such a

> but rejects the Karma Kand.

We have no evidence that in their daily lives Buddhists didn't behave
exactly the same as everyone else around them.  Philosophically they
rejected the entire Veda.

> Also, they (Buddhists) don't consider the Sruti to be Pramana. But neither
> do schools such as Sankhya. So why is one considered Nastika and the other
> Astika when both draw from Sruti but don't consider it to be Pramana?

Samkya/Yoga does consider Shruti to be a pramana but for different
reasons. For them, the Vedas are the recorded experiences of omniescent
Yogis of the past.  This gives them their authority.  While for
Mimamsa/Vedanta, the Vedas are anauthored and completely impersonal.  In
Nyaya/Vaisheshika, The authority of the Vedas stems from them having been
written by God who is perfectly knowledgeable.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list