Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Mimamsa Mean?

Mimamsa is a Sanskrit word meaning “reflection” or “revered thought.” It is one of the six darshans, or ways of viewing the world, according to Hindu philosophy. The other five darshans are yoga, samkhya, vaisheshika, nyaya and vedanta.

Mimamsa is generally believed to be the oldest of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy and has had a significant influence on Hindu law. Mimamsa provides rules for interpreting the early Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas and offers philosophical rationale for observing Vedic rituals.


Yogapedia Explains Mimamsa

Mimamsa is also called karma-mimamsa (“study of actions”) or purva-mimamsa (“prior study”) because it is concerned with the earliest of the Vedas, the Samhitas and the Brahmanas, which focus on the rituals. Another of the six darshans, vedanta, is also called uttara-mimamsa (“posterior study”) because it focuses on the Upanishads, which are the later part of Vedic scripture.

The Mimamsa school’s goal is enlightenment about dharma, which Mimamsa scholars define as ritual obligations and privileges that maintain harmony for the individual and the world. The Vedas are seen as infallible and, therefore, as the authority for knowing dharma.

On a metaphysical level, the Mimamsa school believes in the reality of the individual soul and the external world, but postulates that there is no reason to believe that God exists or ever did exist. Everything in the universe came, and continues to come, into existence via natural processes.

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