Bring out the salient features of key heterodox schools of Indian Philosophy.

Bring out the salient features of key heterodox schools of Indian Philosophy.


  • Introduce heterodox school of Indian Philosophy.
  • Discuss the key features of different schools within the heterodox school of Indian Philosophy.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Schools that do not accept the authority of Vedas are by definition unorthodox or heterodox (nastika) schools of Indian philosophy. The following schools are considered as heterodox schools:


  • Its founder was Charvaka, author of the Barhaspatya Sutras.
  • This school is also known as Lokayata, which means keen attachment to the physical and material world (Loka).
  • Charvaka is a materialistic, sceptical and atheistic school of thought.
  • Charvaka argued against the need to achieve salvation and also denied the existence of God and soul.
  • This schools advocated hedonism and propound the theory of ‘eat, drink and make merry’.


  • The founder of the school is Gautama Buddha.
  • The question of God is largely irrelevant in Buddhism, and one should not trust the Vedas blindly.
  • Buddhism believes that the world is full of suffering, the theory of which is encoded in four noble truths.
  • It advocates Noble Eightfold Path for ending the suffering and attain nirvana.
  • Buddhism is majorly divided into two sects i.e. Hinayana and the Mahayana.


  • The founder of Jain philosophy is Mahavira, the 24 th Tirthankara, although Jainism as a religion is much older.
  • Their basic principle is anekantavada i.e. reality is perceived differently from different points of view, and that no single point of view is completely true.
  • According to Jainism, only Kevalis have infinite knowledge and can know the true answer. All others would only know a part of the answer.
  • They argue that controlling the mind and regulating one’s conduct can stop the suffering faced by human beings. The mind can be controlled by seeking right knowledge and perception.
  • Jain philosophy advocates following the panch-mahavratas i.e. nonviolence, abstinence, truth, non-stealing and celibacy.

Although differing in many features, almost all the schools of Indian philosophy, except Charvaka, are intimately associated with spirituality and have a common goal to improve the human life.

Subjects : History and Culture