Philosophy, Darshana & Tattva

In Indian context, philosophy is considered as darshana or tattva. Before going into Indian philosophy we must understand the relation between the words philosophy, darshana and tattva; and discuss about how the meaning of these words correlates with each other.

If we see the meaning of darshana in Indian context it relates to ‘drisyate anena iti darshanam‘ which means the one through which it is seen.

See: to become aware of somebody/something by using your eyes or to look at something in order to find information
– Oxford Dictionaries

In philosophical sense the word ‘see’ means to ‘realize’ which is not different from its literal meaning. So we can understand that darshana means to realize.

Realise: to understand or become aware of a particular fact or situation
– Oxford Dictionaries

We must understand that the verb ‘realize’ is a transitive verb. Transitive means, this verb is always used with a direct object. Realize means to realize ‘something’. Realize ‘nothing’ means to have no realization at all. If we see the meaning of the word ‘know’ it is used for realize too. So we can say that realization corresponds to knowledge.

Know: to realize, understand or be aware of something
– Oxford Dictionaries

The word tattva is made from the two words ‘tat’ and ‘tva’. Tat means ‘it’ or ‘that’ and tva means ‘you’. So, in etymological sense the word tattva, means ‘you are that’ or ‘you are it’.

The meaning of ‘tat’ according to Indian thought is ultimate reality and the word ‘tva’ means ‘you’ which stands for the knower. So the word ‘tat’ talks about an important metaphysical component and the word ‘tva’ talks about the epistemological subject – the knower.

So darshana means to realize or to know, tat means ultimate reality and tva means the knower more or less completes the definition of philosophy in Indian context.

10 thoughts on “Philosophy, Darshana & Tattva

  1. Thank you for sharing this serie of articles on Indian philosophy.
    This is accurate, accessible and of great clarity. _/_ 🙂

  2. Hello Dear Sir,
    Really Nice, your all article gives a better clarity …. thanks for writing …. Blessings 🙂

  3. hello brother,
    thanks for sharing your insight doing great job and you can elaborate darshan by adding samyak =samyak darshan , samyak gyan finally if this 2 are attained it becomes samyak charitra.
    the main 3 pillars of jainism

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