Six Orthodox Hindu Schools

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The Six Orthodox Hindu Schools — the most common grouping of orthodox Hindu schools. After some Shramana movements like Buddhism and Jainism gained strength, Hindu scholars began to define some schools as orthodox (Skt. āstika) and some as heterodox (Skt. nāstika). As long as one accepted the revelatory status of the Vedas, and the cast system, the school was considered orthodox. There have been many debates about the exact classifications. For example, some schools asserted the Buddha to be an incarnation of Vishnu. However, the most common list of orthodox schools consist of the following six:

The Samkhya and Yoga schools share a common metaphysics in their earliest writings, Nyaya and Vaisheshika both deal with logic and proto-science, and Mimamsa and Vedanta are based on the interpretation of Vedic literature.[1] Buddhist, Jain and Charvaka schools were considered heterodox.


  1. See Hillary Rodrigues, Introducing Hinduism (New York: Routledge, 2006), 193.