Hindu philosophy is not mere speculation or
guesswork, but organized doctrine based on mystic experience. The subjects it deals with
may, for our purposes, be classified thus: - God and His creation, and man and his
salvation. There are several schools of philosophy-all based on
Sruti-which deal with these
subjects. We have systems of Samkara, Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Madhva,Vishnusvami,
Nimbarka, Vallabha and Caitanya and the two schools, Northern and Southern, of
But we will confine ourselves here .to the Advaita of Samkara,
the Visistadvaita of Ramanuja, the Dvaita of Madhva and the Saiva Siddhanta of Meykandar.
The first systematic exponent of the Advaita is Gaudapada, who is said to have lived about
the beginning of the eighth century A.D. His pupil was Govinda, who afterward became
the teacher of Samkara. Samkara flourished in the first half of the ninth century and has
left behind him a system, which commands the admiration of the world.
Thibaut, who has translated the Bhasyas of Samkara and Ramanuja
in the "Sacred Books of the East" series, writes: - "The doctrine
advocated by Samkara is, from a purely philosophical point of view and apart from all
theological considerations, the most Important and interesting one which has arisen on the
Indian soil; neither those forms of the Vedanta, which diverge from the view represented
by Samkara, nor any of the non-Vedantic systems can be compared with the so-called
orthodox Vedanta in boldness, depth and subtlety of speculation."