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Āstika literally means "there is, there exists"[1] and nāstika means "not āstika". These have been concepts used to classify Indian philosophies by modern scholars, and some Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina texts.[2][3][5] Āstika has been defined in one of three ways; as those who accept the epistemic authority of the Vedas, as those who accept the existence of ātman, or as those who accept the existence of Ishvara.[6][7] In contrast, nāstika are those who deny the respective definitions of āstika.[6] The various definitions for āstika and nāstika philosophies has been disputed since ancient times, and there is no consensus.[6][8] Buddhism
Buddhism
is considered to be nāstika, but the Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
is considered an avatar of Vishnu
Vishnu
in some Hindu traditions.[9] The most studied Āstika schools of Indian philosophies, sometimes referred to as orthodox schools, are six: Nyāyá, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Mīmāṃsā, and Vedānta – all schools of Hinduism. The most studied Nāstika schools of Indian philosophies, sometimes referred to as heterodox schools, are four: Buddhism, Jainism, Cārvāka, and Ājīvika
Ājīvika
– last two are also schools of Hinduism.[10][11] This orthodox-heterodox terminology is a construct of Western languages, and lacks scholarly roots in Sanskrit. Recent scholarly studies[6] state that there have been various heresiological translations of Āstika and Nāstika in 20th century literature on Indian philosophies, but quite many are unsophisticated and flawed. Astika and Nāstika do not mean "theism" and "atheism" respectively in ancient or medieval era Sanskrit
Sanskrit
literature.[6] In current Indian languages like Hindi, āstika and its derivatives usually mean "theist", while nāstika and its derivatives denote an "atheist.”[12] However, the terms are used differently in Hindu philosophy.[13] For example, Sāṃkhya is both an atheist and āstika (Vedic) philosophy.[14]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Classification of schools

2.1 Āstika 2.2 Nāstika

3 Discussion

3.1 Hinduism

3.1.1 Definition without reference to Vedas 3.1.2 Definition based on belief in Atman

3.2 Jainism 3.3 Buddhism

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References

Etymology[edit] Āstika is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
adjective (and noun) that is derived from asti ("there is or exists").[1] meaning "knowing that which exists" or "pious";[15] Nāstika (na (not) + āstika) is its negative. As used in Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy
the differentiation between āstika and nāstika does not refer to theism or atheism.[6] The terms often, but not always, relate to accepting Vedic literature as an authority, particularly on their teachings on Self (Soul). The Veda and Hinduism do not subscribe to or include the concept of an almighty that is separate from oneself i.e. there is no concept of 'god' as in the Christian or Islamic sense. As N. N. Bhattacharyya writes:

The followers of Tantra
Tantra
were often branded as Nāstika by the political proponents of the Vedic tradition. The term Nāstika does not denote an atheist since the Veda presents a godless system with no singular almighty being or multiple almighty beings. It is applied only to those who do not believe in the Vedas. The Sāṃkhyas and Mīmāṃsakas do not believe in God, but they believe in the Vedas and hence they are not Nāstikas. The Buddhists, Jains, and Cārvākas do not believe in the Vedas; hence they are Nāstikas. — N. N. Bhattacharyya[16]

Astika is also a name, such as of a Vedic scholar born to goddess Manasa (mind) and sage Jaratkaru.[17] Classification of schools[edit] The terms Āstika and Nāstika have been used to classify various Indian intellectual traditions. Āstika[edit] A list of six systems or ṣaḍdarśanas (also spelled Sad Darshan) consider Vedas
Vedas
as a reliable source of knowledge and an authoritative source.[18] These are the Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimāṃsā
Mimāṃsā
and Vedanta
Vedanta
schools of Hinduism, and they are classified as the āstika schools:

Nyāyá, the school of logic Vaiśeṣika, the atomist school Sāṃkhya, the enumeration school Yoga, the school of Patañjali (which assumes the metaphysics of Sāṃkhya) Mimāṃsā, the tradition of Vedic exegesis Vedanta
Vedanta
or Uttara Mimāṃsā, the Upaniṣadic tradition.

These are often coupled into three groups for both historical and conceptual reasons: Nyāyá-Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkhya-Yoga, and Mimāṃsā-Vedanta. Nāstika[edit] The main schools of Indian philosophy
Indian philosophy
that reject the Vedas
Vedas
were regarded as heterodox in the Brahmanical tradition:[4]

Buddhism Jainism Cārvāka Ājīvika Ajñana

The use of the term nāstika to describe Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism
Jainism
in India is explained by Gavin Flood as follows:

At an early period, during the formation of the Upaniṣads and the rise of Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism, we must envisage a common heritage of meditation and mental discipline practiced by renouncers with varying affiliations to non-orthodox (Veda-rejecting) and orthodox (Veda-accepting) traditions.... These schools [such as Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism] are understandably regarded as heterodox (nāstika) by orthodox (āstika) Brahmanism. — Gavin Flood[19]

Tantric traditions in Hinduism
Hinduism
have both āstika and nāstika lines; as Banerji writes in " Tantra
Tantra
in Bengal":

Tantras are ... also divided as āstika or Vedic and nāstika or non-Vedic. In accordance with the predominance of the deity the āstika works are again divided as Śākta, Śaiva, Saura, Gāṇapatya and Vaiṣṇava. — Banerji[20]

Discussion[edit] Hinduism[edit] Manusmriti, in verse 2.11, defines Nāstika as those who revile "Vedic literature based on two roots of science of reasoning ( Śruti
Śruti
and Smriti)".[6] The 9th century Indian scholar Medhatithi analyzed this definition and stated that Nāstika does not mean someone who says "Vedic literature are untrue", but rather one who says "Vedic literature are immoral". Medhatithi further noted verse 8.309 of Manusmriti, to provide another aspect of the definition of Nāstika as one who believes, "there is no other world, there is no purpose in giving charity, there is no purpose in rituals and the teachings in the Vedic literature."[6] Manusmriti
Manusmriti
does not define, or imply a definition for Astika. It is also silent or contradictory on specific rituals such as animal sacrifices, asserting Ahimsa
Ahimsa
(non-violence, non-injury) is dharma in its verses such as verse 10.63 based on Upanishadic layer of Vedic literature, even though the older layer of Vedic literature mention such sacrifices unlike the later layer of Vedic literature.[21] Indian scholars, such as those from Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya
Nyaya
and Vedanta
Vedanta
schools, accepted Astika to be those that include Śabda (शब्द, Aptavacana, testimony of Vedic literature and reliable experts) as a reliable means of epistemology, but they accepted the later ancient layer of the Vedic literature to be superseding the earlier ancient layer.[6] Definition without reference to Vedas[edit] In contrast to Manusmiriti, the 6th century CE Jain scholar and doxographer Haribhadra, provided a different perspective in his writings on Astika and Nāstika. Haribhadra
Haribhadra
did not consider "reverence for Vedas" as a marker for an Astika. He and other 1st millennium CE Jaina scholars defined Astika as one who "affirms there exists another world, transmigration exists, virtue (punya) exists, vice (paap) exists".[6][8] The 7th century scholars Jayaditya and Vamana, in Kasikavrtti of Panini tradition, were silent on the role of or authority of Vedic literature in defining Astika and Nāstika. They state, "Astika is the one who believes there exists another world. The opposite of him is the Nāstika."[6][22] Similarly the widely studied 2nd-3rd century CE Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna, in Chapter 1 verses 60-61 of Ratnāvalī, wrote Vaiśeṣika and Sāṃkhya schools of Hinduism
Hinduism
were Nāstika, along with Jainism, his own school of Buddhism
Buddhism
and Pudgalavadins (Vātsīputrīya) school of Buddhism.[23][24] Definition based on belief in Atman[edit] Astika, in some texts, is defined as those who believe in the existence of Atman (Soul, Self, Spirit), while Nastika being those who deny there is any "soul, self" in human beings and other living beings.[7][25] All six schools of Hinduism
Hinduism
classified as Astika philosophies hold the premise, "Atman exists". Buddhism, in contrast, holds the premise, "Atman does not exist".[26][27] Asanga
Asanga
Tilakaratna translates Astika as "positivism" and Nastika as "negativism", with Astika illustrated by Brahmanic traditions who accepted "soul and God exists", while Nastika as those traditions, such as Buddhism, who denied "soul and God
God
exists".[28] Jainism[edit] According to G. S. Ghurye, the Jain texts define "na+astika" as one "denying what exists" or any school of philosophy that denies the existence of the soul.[29] The Vedanta
Vedanta
sub-traditions of Hinduism
Hinduism
are "astika" because they accept the existence of soul, while Buddhist traditions denying this are referred to as "nastika".[29] One of the earliest mentions of astika concept in Jain texts is by Manibhadra, who states that an astika is one who "accepts there exist another world (paraloka), transmigration of soul, virtue and vice that affect how a soul journeys through time".[30] The 5th–6th century Jainism
Jainism
scholar Haribhadra, states Andrew Nicholson, does not mention anything about accepting or rejecting the Vedas
Vedas
or god as a criterion for being an astika or nastika. Instead, Haribhadra
Haribhadra
explains nastika in the manner of the more ancient Jain scholar Manibhadra, by stating a nastika to be one "who says there is no other worlds, there is no purpose in charity, there is no purpose in offerings".[30] An astika, to Haribhadra, is one who believes that there is a purpose and merit in an ethical life such as ahimsa (non-violence) and ritual actions.[30] This exposition of the word astika and nastika by Haribhadra
Haribhadra
is similar to one by the Sanskrit grammarian and Hindu scholar Panini in section 4.4.60 of the Astadhyayi.[31] The 12th century Jaina scholar Hemachandra
Hemachandra
similarly states, in his text Abhidhana Cintamani, that a nastika is any philosophy that presumes or argues there is "no virtue and vice".[32] Buddhism[edit] Nagarjuna, according to Chandradhar Sharma, equates Nastikya to "nihilism".[33] The 4th century Buddhist scholar Asanga, in Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
Bhumi, calls nastika Buddhists as sarvavai nasika, describing them as who are complete deniers. To Asanga, nastika are those who say "nothing whatsoever exists", and the worst kind of nastika are those who deny all designation and reality.[34] Astika are those who accept merit in and practice a religious life.[34] According to Andrew Nicholson, later Buddhists understood Asanga
Asanga
to be targeting Madhyamaka
Madhyamaka
Buddhism as nastika, while considering his own Yogacara
Yogacara
Buddhist tradition to be astika.[34] Initial interpretations of the Buddhist texts
Buddhist texts
with the term astika and nastika, such as those composed by Nagarjuna
Nagarjuna
and Asvaghosa, were interpreted as being directed at the Hindu traditions. But, states John Kelly, most later scholarship considers this as incorrect, and that the astika and nastika terms were directed towards the competing Buddhist traditions and the intended audience of the texts were Buddhist monks debating an array of ideas across various Buddhist traditions.[35] The charges of being a nastika were serious threat to the social standing of a Buddhist, and could lead to expulsion from Buddhist monastic community. Thus, states Nicholson, the colonial era Indologist definition of astika and nastika schools of Indian philosophy, was based on a narrow study of literature such as a version of Manusmriti, while in truth these terms are more complex and contextually apply within the diverse schools of Indian philosophies.[34] The most common meaning of astika and nastika, in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism
Jainism
was the acceptance and adherence to ethical premises, and not textual validity or doctrinal premises, states Nicholson. It is likely that astika was translated as orthodox, and nastika as heterodox, because the early European Indologists carried the baggage of Christian theological traditions and extrapolated their own concepts to Asia, thereby distorting the complexity of Indian traditions and thought.[34] See also[edit]

Atman (Hinduism) Atman (Buddhism) Vedas Ishvara Hindu philosophy Atheism
Atheism
in Hinduism Theism

Notes[edit]

^ a b Monier-Williams 2006 ^ Roy Perrett (2000), Indian Philosophy, Routledge, ISBN 978-0815336112, page 88 ^ Sushil Mittal & Gene Thursby (2004), The Hindu World, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415772273, pages 729-730 ^ a b Flood 1996, pp. 82. ^ Flood: "These schools [such as Buddhism
Buddhism
and Jainism] are understandably regarded as heterodox (nāstika) by orthodox (āstika) Brahmanism."[4] ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Andrew J. Nicholson (2013), Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231149877, Chapter 9 ^ a b GS Ghurye, Indian Sociology Through Ghurye, a Dictionary, Ed: S. Devadas Pillai (2011), ISBN 978-8171548071, page 354 ^ a b Wendy Doniger (2014), On Hinduism, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199360079, page 46 ^ Literature review of secondary references of Buddha as Dashavatara which regard Buddha to be part of standard list:

Britannica A Dictionary of Asian Mythology By David Adams Leeming p. 19 "Avatar" Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide By Roshen Dalal p. 112 "Dashavatara" ""The standard and most accepted list found in Puranas
Puranas
and other texts is: ... Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki." The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M p. 73 "Avatar" Hindu Gods and Goddesses By Sunita Pant Bansal p. 27 "Vishnu Dashavatara" Hindu Myths (Penguin Books) pp. 62-63 The Book of Vishnu
Vishnu
(see index) Seven secrets of Vishnu
Vishnu
By Devdutt Pattanaik p. 203 "In the more popular list of ten avatars of Vishnu, the ninth avatar is shown as Buddha, not Balarama." A Dictionary of Hinduism
Hinduism
p. 47 "Avatara" BBC Gavin D. Flood (13 July 1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-521-43878-0. 

^ Flood 1996, pp. 82, 224–49 ^ For an overview of this method of classification, with detail on the grouping of schools, see: Radhakrishnan & Moore 1989 ^ For instance Archived 18 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine., the "Atheist Society of India" produces a monthly publications Nastika Yuga, which it translates as "The Age of Atheism". ^ Chatterjee, Satischandra; Datta, Dhirendramohan (1984), An Introduction to Indian Philosophy (Eighth Reprint ed.), University of Calcutta, pp. 5, footnote 1, In modern Indian languages, "āstika" and "nāstika" generally mean "theist" and "atheist,” respectively. But in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
philosophical literature, "āstika" means "one who believes in the authority of the Vedas". ("nāstika" means the opposite of these). The word is used here in the first sense. The six orthodox schools are "āstika", and the Cārvāka is "nāstika" in both the senses.  ^ "By Sāṃkhya reasoning, the material principle itself simply evolves into complex forms, and there is no need to hold that some spiritual power governs the material principle or its ultimate source." Francis Clooney, CJ, "Restoring 'Hindu Theology' as a category in Indian intellectual discourse", in Francis Clooney (2008). Gavin Flood, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Blackwell Academic. pp. 451–455. ISBN 978-0-470-99868-7.  ^ Apte 1965, pp. 240 ^ Bhattacharyya 1999, pp. 174 ^ George Williams (2003), Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195332612, page 65 ^ Flood 1996, pp. 231–2 ^ Flood 1996, pp. 82 ^ Banerji 1992, pp. 2 ^ Sanskrit: Manusmriti
Manusmriti
with six scholar commentaries VN Mandlik, page 1310 English: Manusmriti
Manusmriti
10.63 Berkeley Center for World Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University ^ P. Haag and V. Vergiani (Eds., 2009), Studies in the Kāśikāvṛtti, Firenze : Società Editrice Fiorentina, ISBN 978-8860321145 ^ Markus Dressler and Arvind Mandair (2011), Secularism and Religion-Making, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199782949, page 59 note 39 ^ Ernst Steinkellner (1991), Studies in the Buddhist Epistemological Tradition: Proceedings of the Second International Dharmakīrti Conference, Vienna, Volume 222, Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, ISBN 978-3700119159, pages 230-238 ^ C Sharma (2013), A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120803657, page 66 ^ Dae-Sook Suh (1994), Korean Studies: New Pacific Currents, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824815981, page 171 ^ John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120801585, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism". ^ Asanga
Asanga
Tilakaratna (2003, Editors: Anne Blackburn and Jeffrey Samuels), Approaching the Dhamma: Buddhist Texts and Practices in South and Southeast Asia, Pariyatti, ISBN 978-1928706199, pages 128-129; God, states Tilakaratna, in Brahmanic traditions is Parama-atma (universal soul, Ishvara, Brahman) ^ a b S. Devadas Pillai (1997). Indian Sociology Through Ghurye, a Dictionary. Popular Prakashan. pp. 353–354. ISBN 978-81-7154-807-1.  ^ a b c Andrew J. Nicholson (2013). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Columbia University Press. pp. 172–175. ISBN 978-0-231-14987-7.  ^ Andrew J. Nicholson (2013). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Columbia University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-231-14987-7.  ^ Ramkrishna Bhattacharya (2011). Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata. Anthem Press. pp. 164–166. ISBN 978-0-85728-433-4.  ^ Chandradhar Sharma (2000). A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 101. ISBN 978-81-208-0365-7.  ^ a b c d e Andrew J. Nicholson (2013). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Columbia University Press. pp. 174–176. ISBN 978-0-231-14987-7.  ^ John D Kelly (1996). Jan E. M. Houben, ed. Ideology and Status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Language. BRILL Academic. pp. 88–89. ISBN 90-04-10613-8. 

References[edit]

Apte, V. S. (1965), A Practical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary  Banerji, S. C. (1992), Tantra
Tantra
in Bengal (Second Revised and Enlarged ed.), Delhi: Manohar, ISBN 81-85425-63-9  Bhattacharyya, N. N. (1999), History of the Tantric Religion (Second Revised ed.), New Delhi: Manohar, ISBN 81-7304-025-7  Flood, Gavin (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 81-7596-028-0  Francis Clooney (2003). Flood, Gavin, ed. Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-21535-2.  Monier-Williams, Monier (2006), Monier-Williams Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary, Nataraj Books, ISBN 1-881338-58-4  Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; Moore, Charles A. (1989) [1957], A Source Book in Indian Philosophy (Princeton paperback 12th ed.), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-01958-4  Vivekananda, Swami (1900), Complete Works of, Volume 1, Lectures and Discourses, ISBN 978-8185301761 

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Indian philosophy

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Āstika

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Desika Raikva Sadananda Sakayanya Satyakama Jabala Madhvacharya Mahavira Guru Nanak Vidyaranya More...

Concepts

Abhava Abhasavada Abheda Adarsana Adrishta Advaita Aham Aishvarya Akrodha Aksara Anatta Ananta Anavastha Anupalabdhi Apauruṣheyā Artha Asiddhatva Asatkalpa Ātman Avyakta Brahman Brahmi sthiti Bhuman Bhumika Chaitanya Chidabhasa Cittabhumi Dāna Devatas Dharma Dhi Dravya Dhrti Ekagrata Guṇa Hitā Idam Ikshana Ishvaratva Jivatva Kama Karma Kasaya Kshetrajna Lakshana Mithyatva Mokṣa Nididhyasana Nirvāṇa Niyama Padārtha Paramatman Paramananda Parameshashakti Parinama-vada Pradhana Prajna Prakṛti Pratibimbavada Pratītyasamutpāda Puruṣa Rājamaṇḍala Ṛta Sakshi Samadhi Saṃsāra Sankalpa Satya Satkaryavada Shabda Brahman Sphoṭa Sthiti Śūnyatā Sutram Svātantrya Iccha-mrityu Syādvāda Taijasa Tajjalan Tanmatra Tyāga Uparati Upekkhā Utsaha Vivartavada Viraj Yamas Yoga More...

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Theology: Outline

Conceptions of God

Theism

Forms

Deism Dystheism Henotheism Hermeticism Kathenotheism Nontheism Monolatry Monotheism Mysticism Panentheism Pandeism Pantheism Polydeism Polytheism Spiritualism Theopanism

Concepts

Deity Divinity Gender of God
Gender of God
and gods

Male deity Goddess

Numen

Singular god theologies

By faith

Abrahamic religions

Judaism Christianity Islam

the Bahá'í Faith Buddhism Hinduism Jainism Sikhism Zoroastrianism

Concepts

Absolute Brahman Emanationism Logos Supreme Being

God
God
as

the Devil Sustainer Time

Trinitarianism

Athanasian Creed Comma Johanneum Consubstantiality Homoousian Homoiousian Hypostasis Perichoresis Shield of the Trinity Trinitarian formula Trinity Trinity
Trinity
of the Church Fathers Trinitarian Universalism

Eschatology

Afterlife Apocalypticism Buddhist Christian Heaven Hindu Islamic Jewish Taoist Zoroastrian

Feminist

Buddhism Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Mormonism Goddesses

Other concepts

The All Aristotelian view Attributes of God
God
in Christianity / in Islam Binitarianism Demiurge Divine simplicity Divine presence Egotheism Exotheology Holocaust Godhead in Christianity

Latter Day Saints

Great Architect of the Universe Great Spirit Apophatic theology Olelbis Open theism Personal god Phenomenological definition Philo's view Process Tian Unmoved mover

Names of God
God
in

Christianity Hinduism Islam Jainism Judaism

By Faith

Christian

History Outline Biblical canon Glossary Christology Cosmology Ecclesiology Ethics Hamartiology Messianism Nestorianism Philosophy Practical Sophiology Soteriology

Hindu

Ayyavazhi theology Krishnology

Islamic

Oneness of God Prophets Holy Scriptures Angels Predestination Last Judgment

Jewish

Abrahamic prophecy Aggadah Denominations K

.