A dictionary will tell you that Philosophy is a way of thinking deeply about the world, the universe, and society. It works by asking very basic questions about the nature of human thought, the nature of the universe, and the connections between them.  Also, Philosophy focuses on the search for wisdom.  The original meaning of the word philosophy comes from the Greek roots philo, meaning “love” and sophos, meaning “wisdom.”  In other words, Philosophy is more or less a love of/for wisdom.  

 

The Sanskrit word Darshana goes much deeper.  Sanskrit etymology defines Darshana as Drishyate anena iti darshanam, meaning that [knowledge] by which all this [reality] is perceived is called Darshana.  Take an example.  You and I, as ordinary folks, see a house.  Looking at it, all we see is a huge, tall building, with several rooms and conveniences, painted in a nice color.  A professional builder, however, knows that this building is fixed on a foundation; he can quickly estimate the amount of cement, sand, timber, and steel used to construct the building.  He will identify possible flaws in the construction.  In other words, you and I will see what’s merely on the surface whereas the builder sees what is deep – what is causal and substantial.   

 

Ordinary folks can only focus on the pleasures that living in the house will yield.  The builder will know how to ensure that the building is maintained and lasts long.  In the same way, in daily life, you and I see the world filled with fascinating material possessions. We see nothing of depth and cannot perceive root causes for specific experiences, so, we experience recurring pleasure and pain.  On the other hand, a genuine person of Darshana, a true philosopher, will explore who he is, where he came from, why he was born in this world, what is his relationship with things around him, why he is in agony [if he is], how to overcome that agony, and in achieving freedom, where he goes from here.  The objective of Vedic Philosophy is to train the human mind to answer all these questions.