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"The Six religions "

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Aug 05 1999 - 19:39:15 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

I would like to add a few more points to
Sri Mani VaradaraAjan"s posting in the context of 
the ThiruvAimozhi Paasuram : 4.10.5:

viLampumARu samayumum avaiyAhium maRRUm tanpAl
aLanthu kaaNdaRkariyanAhiya Aadhip pirAnamarum
vaLamkoLL taNNpaNai soozhnthu azhahAya Thirukkukuranai
uLamkoLL jn~Anathtu vaimin ummai uyyak koNDu pORilE

(meaning): There are six systems religion ranging from totally 
Vedic to those with different degrees of connection to the VedAs.
He became these religions and others , which declare themselves to
be based on the VedAs , but are misguided ( Kudhrushti mathams).
They shout in shrill tones of logic and get hoarse .None of them 
can however surpass the greatness of Lord AdhippirAn , who presides
over ThirukkuruhUr known for its shady groves . Hold Him (AadhippirAN)
deep in Your heart before the external senses ambush you and make 
you go astray.Holding Him tightly  would be the only way to secure 
your salvation .

The six darsanams that NammAzhwAr refers to here have been 
counted in number of ways to add up to a total of Six :

(1) The six religionslisted by  AchArya RaamAnujA are 
    Bhouddham , ChArvAkam , NaiyAyka-VaisEshikams of GouthamA , 
    Jainam , Saankhyam and Yogam .These six are also known as
    Saakhya , ulUkhya , AkshapAtha ,KshapaNa , Kapila and 
    Pathanjali darsanams based on the people , who developed
    them or wrote commentaries .

(2) In another counting , these six are recognized as 
    Saankhyam , Yogam ,Bhouddham ,VaisEshikam ,Jainam and 
    Paasupatham .

(3) In yet another counting , these six are : ChArvAkam ,
    Jainam and four types of Bhouddham ( VaibhAshikam and 
    SautrAntikam of HeenayAnam and yOgAchAram and nihilism of 
    MahAyAnam sects).

The various darsanams listed above fall into the categories 
of Naasthika and Aasthika darsanams . The Naasthika darsanams
like ChArvAkam ( materialistic atheism as described by 
Sri Mani VaradarAjan ) , Buddhism and Jainism are systems of
thought that do not accept the authority of the VedAs and deny  
the tattvams such as Soul (Jevan ) and God (Isvaran ), which Aasthika
mathams accept as fundamental to their beliefs .Naasthika mathams 
are called Veda Baahya mathams and the Aasthika Mathams are
saluted as Vaidhika Mathams .

The six Aasthika mathams are: NyAya , VaisEshika ,Saankhya ,
Yoga , MimAmsa and VEDHAANTHA darsanams . Around 1000 A.D ,
the NyAyA and vaisEshikA systems came together and became
amalgamated into one system.There is not much of a difference
between them now.

Even among the set of six Aasthika mathams , there are 
different degrees of acceptance of the VedAs . NyAya , 
VaisEshika , Saankhya and YogA have admitted the validity
of the VedAs in a tangential way , while staking their claims
to be aasthika mathams.The MimAmsA and the VedAnthA are 
the truly Aasthika mathams . 

Swami Desikan describes at great length these darsanams and 
their deficencies and sufficencies in His Paramatha Bhangam ,
Tattva muktha kalApam and its commentary , SarvArtha siddhi.
Swami Desikan thoroughly evaluates these darsanams to establish
the unimpeachable doctrines of Sri VisihtAdvaidham over 
all the other darsanams .

Among the mathams rooted in VedAntham , there are many
such as Adhvaitham of SankarA , Dhvaitham of MaadhvAchArya  , 
VisishtAdhvaitham of Naathamuni-AalavandhAr-RaamAnujA-Vadakku
Thiruveethi PiLLai-ApuLLAr -Swami Desikan ,SuddhAdhvaitham of 
VallabhAchAryA , BhEdhAbhEdham , DhvaidhAdhvaitham of Nimbarkar 
et al. Among these VedAthantha darsanams , VisishtAdhvaitham , 
Dhvaitham , SuddhAdhvaitham and dhvaithAdhvaitham accept 
a personal God in the form of VISHNU . 

In his SathadhUshaNi , Swami Desikan has severely
criticized the deficiencies of Adhvaitham with clarity and 
precision .Swami Desikan dealt in great detail about 
the untenability of key doctrines of Adhvaitham in one of 
his magnum opus , Tattva Muktha kalApA and focused on 
proving the untenability of these Adhvaithic concepts:
(1) NirguNa Brahmam (2) nature of nescience (avidhyA)
(3) anivarchanIyakhyAti (4) AkhaNDArtha Vaadham
and (5) Illusory nature of the world.Swami used 
the teachings of AchArya RaamAnujA in Sri Bhaashyam 
and its commentary , Srutha PrakAsikA in constructing
his irrefutable arguments . 

Swami Desikan went on to correct the misreadings of 
the NyAya and MeemAmsa darsanams that were prevalent
and established their compatibility with VisishtAdhvaic
doctrines in his Sri Sookthis known as NyAya parisudhdi ,
NyAya SiddhAnkjanam , SEsvara MeemAmsA . In the first two
Sri Sookthis , Swami travelled on the  path pointed out
by AchArya  Naathamuni in his Sri Sookthi, NyAya tattvam .
In that classic Sri Sookthi , AchArya Naathamuni recast 
the NyAyA darsanam to suit the needs of VisishtAdhvaitham .
Swami Desikan refined the presentation of the NyAyA system by 
AkshapAdhA ;in NyAya SiddhAnjanam , Swami Desikan clarified 
the metaphysical concepts of VaisEshikA system in the light 
of VisishtAdhvaitham . In SEsvara MimAmsA , Swami Desikan 
showed that the Poorva MimAmsa SoothrAs of Jaimini is in
harmony with the Brahma soothrAs of BaadarAyaNA .He rejected 
the view that PoorvamimAmsA was opposed to Uttara MimAmsA or
VedAnthA .Swami established that MimAmsA is a unitary 
Saasthram (Yeka Saasthram ) in two parts (Poorva 
and Uttara ).

The greatness of the Swami Desikan's  contributions 
is very evident in the Para matha Bhangam created
in front of Sri DevanAtha PerumAL on the banks of
Garuda nathi in the environs of ThiriuvahIdhrapuram 
to defend Sri VisishtAdhvaitham as the soundest 
among all VedAntha darsanams .

Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan