Astika

Definition - What does Astika mean?

Astika is a Sanskrit word meaning “faithful,” “pious” or “having a belief in God.” The word comes from the root asti, meaning “it is” or “exists.” It is sometimes defined as “theism.”

In Indian philosophy, astika refers to any of the schools of thought that accept the existence of an eternal God or the eternal Self. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism that are classified as astika. The others are:

  • Nyaya
  • Vaisheshika
  • Samkhya
  • Mimamsa
  • Vedanta

In contrast, Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka and Ajivika are classified as nastika, or not believing in a supreme deity.

Yogapedia explains Astika

Astika can also be more narrowly defined as those who accept:

  • The authority of the ancient sacred scriptures the Vedas
  • The authority of the Brahmin priest class
  • A society composed of the four traditional social classes known as varnas (Brahmin, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras).

Astika is also the name of an ancient Hindu rishi, whose mother was the serpent goddess Manasa. Astika saved the life of the serpent king Takshaka and was instrumental in ending the practice of sacrificing serpents. The festival of Nag Panchami arose from a celebration of this event and is still celebrated today.

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