The Relation of Nyaya Vaisesika and the Upanisads!

In spite of sufficient distinction between the standpoint of Nyaya Vaisesika and the Upanishads, one finds some relation between the two.

This relation can be observed from the following:

(i) Puritat:

The Nyaya Vaisesika principle of ‘Puritat’ has been bor­rowed from the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

(ii) Categories:


Of the categories of Vaisesika philosophy the five elements and time, mind, soul and ether, are mentioned in the Svetasvatara Upanishad.

(iii) Quality of Akasa:

The quality of Akasa as found in Vaisesika philosophy has been mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad

(iv) Liberation:

The Nyaya Vaisesika conception of liberation is also based upon the Upanishad.

5. Mimamsa and the Upanishads:

Mimamsa is based upon ritualism, while the Upanishad follows the path of knowledge. Hence the two are not very much related. But the synthesis of knowledge and action as found in the Isavasyopanishad, is very similar to the view of Kumarila.

6. Advaita Vedanta and the Upanishads:

The Vedanta philosophy is based upon the Brahma Sutra, Gita and the Upanishads. Of these, the Gita and the Brahma sutra contain the essence of the Upanishads. Hence it is clear that the Vedanta philosophy is based upon the Upanishads. This will be clear by an analysis of the Vedanta represented by Samkara and Ramanuja.


Samkara has developed his monistic philosophy on the basis of the Upanishads. It goes without saying that he has not taken the Upanisadic thoughts as they were because, in spite of being called a commentator, his philosophy stands as one of the most significant among the world philosophies. The basic tenets, however, are the same as those of the Upanishads.

Some of the similarities are as follows:

(i) In the Upanisads, Brahman has been said to be without qualities, substratum of the universe, all-pervading the cause of the world, etc. In the context of the discussion between Svetketu and Aruni in the Chandogya Upanishad, Brahman is said to be the substratum of the world. In the Brhadaranyak Upanishad, Yajnavalkya in his discus­sion with his wife, Maitreyee, points out that whatever exists in the world is self. Yajnavalkya has further called Brahman or self, the knower. “Who can know that who knows everyone? He is the eternal, knower, by whom can be he known?” In this same Upanishad, Brahman has been described by saying “not this, not this”.


(ii) Samkara’s doctrine of the relation of Brahman and Atman is also based upon the Upanishads. It has been said in the Chandogya Upanishad, “The soul living in the body is really the Brahman and as soon as it transcends this mundane bondage, it will be merged into Brahman.” In the same way, in other Upanishads, e.g., Mundak, Kath, and Svetasvatara, Brahman and Atman have been identified and Brahman is held to the bee alpha and omega of the soul.

(iii) Samkara’s doctrine of Maya also has its roots in the Upanishads. Blindness, ignorance, asatya, death, non-existence, falsehood, il­lusion, God’s power. Prakrti, network, reflections, name and form, etc., are mentioned in the Upanishads to describe the world. Even the very word, ‘Maya has been taken from the Upanishads: