chapter  7
17 Pages

The Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯ Dars´ana

Etymologically the term “Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯” means “solution of a problem by critical examination and reflection.” The Vedas, the foundational texts of Indian philosophy, are divided into Karma ka¯n. d. a (the Portion of Actions in the ritualistic sense) and Jn¯a¯na ka¯n. d. a (the Portion of Knowledge). The Mı¯ma¯m

. sa¯ school has developed out of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas. As a school of Indian philosophy, Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯ undertakes a systematic study of the bra¯hman.as (guidelines for the performance of sacrifices) and subordinates the other part of the Vedas (relating to hymns in praise of various deities and philosophic speculations and interpretations) to them. Veda¯nta, generally referred to as Uttara Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯, primarily analyzes the last (uttara) sections of the Vedas, that is, the Upanis.ads, which provide the philosophical interpretation of the texts. Accordingly, Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯ school is known as “Pu¯rva (previous) Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯.” It may be noted as a matter of interest from the philosophical perspective that there is a common assumption underlying the genre of Mı¯ma¯m. sa¯, both Pu¯rva and Uttara, that Vedic terms and concepts must be explicated in light of an understanding reflected in the language of the world.1