ASTIKA (Sanskrit one who assert that he exists; a realist)—the traditional name designating certains groups of systems in Indian philosophy.

In the Hindu classification, the it designates a group of systems that hold that revealed writings exist, or that that of which revealed writings speak exists, that is, they accept the authority of the Vedas as revealed texts (if it is a question of knowledge about the soul, the absolute, sacrifice, and a reality beyond the senses), and consequently as orthodox with respect to Hinduism. Six classical Brahman systems (darshans) are listed in this group: vaishesika, nyaya, samkhya, yoga, mimansa, and vedanta, was well as their variants. The great majority of systems included under Shivaism, Vishnuism, and Shaktism (Tantrism) are considered to belong to this group as well. The classical heterodox philosophical systems are called “nastika”.

In the Buddhist classification, in Pali texts, the term is applied to systems that accept the moral law (karma, dharma), that is, all Buddhist, Jainist, and Hindu systems. Systems that reject this law (that is, systems of akriyavada) are called nihilistic (nastika).

In the threefold classification of the madhyamists, the term astika is applied to realistic systems (Brahmanic darshana), as systems that accept at least one persistent reality (substance) that is absolute and is the foundation of the external and internal world. This classification, apart from an opposed group of followers of nastika (ontological nihilists), includes a third group: transcendentalists (advayavadinists), that is, ontological agnostics who go beyond the dichotomy of the world’s existence and non- existence and accent neither its positive or negative aspect, in which they include themselves as followers of the middle way, and all other Buddhists.

S. C. Vidyabhusana, ERE I 47–48; L. Cyboran, Klasyczna joga indyjska [Classical Indian yoga], Wwa 1986, 329–330.

Maciej St. Zięba

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