Talk:Āstika and nāstika

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I propose that the articles Astika and Nastika be merged into one for the following reasons:

  • It is difficult to define and discuss either one of these concepts without talking about the other (compare with Flammable and Nonflammable)
  • Neither of the articles are likely to be very long, since specific astika and nastika schools are likely to be discussed in detail in individual articles.
  • It will be easier to write about, maintain content and references, and link to the concepts on a single page.

Note that even after merger, a user will be able to reach the article by searching for or typing either Astika or Nastika due to redirects. I would appreciate other editors' comments of approval/disapproval and suggestions as to whether the single page should be title "Astika", "Nastika" or something else altogether. Thanks. Abecedare 23:54, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree they should be merged, with the title "Nastika" kept as the main title, as that is the word most often used incorrectly. Buddhipriya 23:57, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Hearing no objections, I have performed the merge. Abecedare 01:05, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Was there any discussion on any other merges? Wikidās ॐ

My edits[edit]

I have edited the "Nastika" article after merger of content from "Astika", to reduce redundancy/repetition (mainly in the definition of the terms) and hopefully improve flow. There is still some repeated content in the article in the form of specification of which schools are astika and which are nastika; for the moment I have let this be - hopefully after the "Classification" section is expanded somewhat the repetition will not be so glaring.
One point: I am not certain if the use of nastika as atheist is wrong, or simply non-technical. For instance in physics speed and velocity have different meanings; but they are often used synonymously in non-technical writing incorrect. Also the Monier-Williams dictionary does define astika as "one who believes in the existence (of God, of another world, etc.)" (see [1]). I have accordingly cut out the following paragraph from the article:

The incorrect belief that the word nāstika means "atheist" is sometimes based on a false derivation of the word from na ("not") + asti (3rd person singular of the verb "to be", translated as "he is", "she is", or "it is"). The fact that this is a false derivation can be shown by referring to the index of books on Indian philosophy, which list the primary term āstika (आस्तिक, orthodox) with a long initial ā (आ) rather than a short initial a (अ) as is used in conjugation of the verb "to be".

not because it is necessarily wrong; but because I think it will qualify as original research.
In summary: I have tried to make clear the distinction between the "common" and "technical" uasge of the terms - I think the Bhattacharyya quote is very helpful for the latter purpose. However if you think that the article language is not clear on this (important) point; or if you simply disagree with my contention that nastika can mean atheist in some usage - we can definitely discuss this here and look for specific references to clarify the issue. Abecedare 02:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I think it is important that I defend against any possible claim of original research by copying a thread on this issue here. I will redact it somewhat to emphasize the main idea, which is that much confusion is created by failure to use IAST. The entire drift of my edit was to look at the derivation of the word nāstika, not the word āstika, but as the thread shows it is difficult to get to the point without using IAST. Buddhipriya 23:40, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for doing the merge. It will be interesting to work out the combined language. I notice that in your edits you are removing the IAST, which makes it very difficult for me to make the case that the word is not based on the verb form "asti" as the article now says. It is based on the adjective āstika ("believing"), which is a completely unrelated concept. The article now uses the common false etymology. The footnotes are now somewhat misplaced as well, as they do not prove the points with which they are associated. Overall these are minor concerns, and your general improvements to the article are excellent as always. If you let me know when you have completed your pass, I would like to go through it again to find points where the sources no longer support the arguments. It is always enjoyable working with you!

The difficulty is that Devanagari has (at least) 46 letters of the alphabet, while English has but 26. This means that when discussing these ideas in simple English we must throw out 43% of the Devanagari writing system (20/46). If a similar burden were imposed on English, it would be necessary to omit eleven letters of the English alphabet (.43 * 26). Which ones would be easiest to do away with? To make it fair, at least one of the vowels would need to go. I suggest "i" since it causes the most trouble. (This is a Sanskrit joke). :) Cheers! Buddhipriya 04:02, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I retained the IAST in the lead and the etymology sections, but removed it from the remainder of remainder of the article - since my personal taste is to use standard English as far as possible. :-) As for the asti origin, I got that from the MW dictionary (the online link, [2]; not the cited 2006 edition which I don't have with me right now). It may be wrong, but we will need a source that either (1) says that MW is wrong, or (2) at least provides an alternate derivation, which we can cite. Does Apte provide the word's etymology ? About the footnotes: I had meant to leave a note requesting you to check my edits to make sure that my changes had not caused them to be misrepresented. It slipped my mind to do so though, so thanks for bringing that up ! Can you please make sure that the associations are correct ? To be clear: I have no personal take on the derivation/usage/preference of nastika/astika - I just want to make sure that whatever we claim can be backed up by references. Unfortunately for us, AFAIK, Sanskrit has no analog of the Oxford English Dictionary which would serve as a authoritative reference for the etymology and (different) uses of the terms. So we may have to do the best we can with whatever is available. I am done with the major edits in the article - so feel free to take over the baton. Abecedare 04:18, 2 March 2007 (UTC) Should we ever meet I will be sure to give you a mālā (garland) and not a handful of dirt (mala). :) Cheers! Buddhipriya 04:20, 2 March 2007 (UTC) LOL. By the way, "I causes the most trouble" would also be a good Marathi pun. Abecedare 04:23, 2 March 2007 (UTC) Here are my reasons for wanting to avoid IAST within an article: Very few Indians and even fewer non-Indians know IAST and the others should not be forced to learn it just to understand the content of a India/Hinduism related article. For example, I can read the French and Greek alphabets and we can surely learn the Cyrillic within an hour - however I (ashamedly) will skip over some articles related to Russia if every city was spelled out in Cyrillic, even though that would provide a better guide to the pronunciation. I agree with your idea of English possessing fewer alphabets, but I disagree with your math above, because many Devanagari characters are accurately transliterated by letter pairs, for example "sh" and "ch". So the main problem is with vowels and with sounds like त which English simply does not possess.(On the other hand, Hindi does not have the "F" sound used in "fool" and can only approximate it as "pool" or "phool" :-)) If getting across the pronunciation is the aim, then IPA should be preferred to IAST, since the former is not restricted to Sanskrit (and related languages) and therefore is accessible by a larger audience. I list the above points only for your general interest. I don't insist on my reasoning being accepted, since I think improving article content (which is sometimes very woeful) is of higher priority. I am certain we agree on that :-) Abecedare 04:43, 2 March 2007 (UTC) I am glad to discuss the IAST issue, but almost missed your comments here because they were embedded in an older thread. I find it hard to keep track of the location of discussions, sorry. I notice that you sometimes edit articles related to math, which baffles me. I am unable to balance my checkbook. I disliked Calculus and quickly forgot all of it a long time ago. I wonder, would it be good to remove all of the mathematical systems from the math articles in order to help users like myself? Perhaps a form of simple English could be used, so strange symbols are not needed. I also feel that there is unnecessary use of details like showing what ranges a differential is made over. Could we not just say that a lot of numbers are involved and leave it at that? I think any mathematician would recoil in disgust at such a proposal. In order to be credible, Wikipedia must present content in a form that makes sense not to the most ignorant user, such as myself, but to the mathematician. Do you really wish to discuss the details you raise? If so I will do so, but I hesitate to do so here as the ideas need to be preserved somewhere else. IAST is the academic standard. All of the books on the subject directed at an academic audience are in IAST. Transliterations such as sh are meaningless because there are two aspirated sibilants, not one. All of the cerebrals are lost in simple English, etc. I repeat the assertion that you cannot throw out 43% of the writing system without loss of clarity. This is not primarily an issue of how to pronouce the words, it is about what the words are. This confusion over nastika was a perfect example, and led to a possible claim that I was presenting original research when I was simply looking words up in the indexs of academic books on the subject, all of which use IAST, and which make the derivation obvious simply by looking at the characters used. The root problem in my view is a lack of standarization on this question across the Indic articles. I will do it however the rule is. But the rules should be influenced by academic standards. Anyone submitting a paper that contained only simple English would be laughed at. This is the problem. I have decided to found a new sect, which I am naming IASTarianism. It is in the Vedas! I have just had a similar conversation trying to promote this new sect which fell on fertile grounds with another editor. You too may eventually be converted. Buddhipriya 23:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

My proofs were based on first looking at the primary term (flammable), and then applying negation. The references were to the indices of books using the word as a term of art in philosophy, where āstika ("believing") is in the index and text, but no word "astika" can be found. I would be interested to know if you can confirm this in any other sources you may have. Buddhipriya 04:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC) I am not sure that I am following the logic, since if I recall my sandhi rules correctly the complex of na + astika will also equal nāstika (I have had to use IAST here! :-) ). Is that wrong, or am I missing the point completely ? Abecedare 04:43, 2 March 2007 (UTC) I am not sure if this online tool (that I just discovered!) is reliable, but it confirms my memory: [3] and [4] ... although that may not be your point at all. Abecedare I think I see why we may have accidentally been talking past one another, as seems to happen often with lack of face to face communication. I think we are both correct, but are looking at different aspects of the etymology. I was trying to show the derivation of the term nāstika, not the derivation of the term āstika. :) The derivation of āstika is what MW has (and I am not arguing with Panini). The actual page from MW is also available here: [5]. See bottom of first column. So the derivation of āstika from asti is not in dispute. It is the derivation of nāstika that I was working on, which is not from asti directly, but from the derivative āstika. To find the derivation of nāstika as a term of art in philosphy, you must ask if the term "astika" is used to mean "orthodox"? The answer is no, it is always "āstika", that is, the derived term meaning "believing" (from whatever the original root may have been). The adjective "believing" may indeed have come from asti as a source, but the word "heterodox" comes from na + āstika, not from na + astika. Since the sandhi resolves both possibilities to nāstika, either could be true in theory. (That is, you are completely right about the sandhi being ambiguous.) That is why we must turn to the books that use it as a term of art and see, does the term "astika" ever appear. Since it does not, the derivation is na + āstika. I suspect we are the only two people on the internet who will care about this, by the way. But it is refreshing to have the exchange.  :) Buddhipriya 05:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Agree with all your points (including the last)! The question now is if the article states the issue correctly. Do you think the following description is clear enough, or would you recommend a change ? "Astika is a Sanskrit adjective (and noun) that is derived from asti ("there is or exists")[4] and literally means "believing" or "pious"[5]; or "one who believes in the existence (of God, of another world, etc.)."[4] Nastika (na (not) + āstika) is its negative, literally meaning "not believing" or "not pious"." Abecedare 05:10, 2 March 2007 (UTC) I think I would need to read the whole article again to be sure, but the idea I am concerned about is that when applied to great religions such as Buddhism or Jainism, they are defined by lack of belief in the Vedas. The crucial issue is rejection of Vedic authority, which drove the orthodox mad with anger at the time. That is the crux of the matter. It is not that they are atheists. Many of the orthodox were atheists. I think this is where this whole question began, because the false derivation of nāstika as na + asti + ka is taken to mean "they do not believe in God". I think at least the two of us have finally worked out what we are trying to say, now the trick is to explain it to someone else. Buddhipriya 05:16, 2 March 2007 (UTC) Phew, good to know we agree (and with hindsight its apparent that we always did). :-) I did attempt to get that meaning across in the article, while also specifying that there is a layman (not "wrong") use of the term as "atheist" (see also my note on Talk:Nastika). It would be good to get your view, whether the notion is clear or not. So feel free to edit the language as you see fit, and/or drop me a line here or on the article's talk page. Cheers Abecedare 05:25, 2 March 2007 (UTC) Also, can you add this link for the "Nasthika Yoga" trivia. I don't want to create an edit conflict by adding it myself. Abecedare 05:28, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Excellent improvements overall. I will give it a going over again with finer sandpaper and then it will go back to you again. Buddhipriya 06:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Need to clarify Sikhism[edit]

In the older astika article Sikhism was listed as a nastika school, but it is not so listed in the references I have. I do not think it was considered at the time the classification was developed (medieval period) but I may be wrong. I am parking the idea here while I search for references. Can anyone find it in a book? Buddhipriya 06:26, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Sikhism definitely came after the astika/nastika classification was introduced. The only reason I see modern Hindus or academics classify it as nastika is because it is Dharmic, but non-Hindu like the other nastika philosophies. Btw, what I said is my own understanding and I have no sources to back it up! GizzaChat © 08:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Gizza, User:Buddhipriya and I also came to the same conclusion; so unless someone finds a reliable reference for classifying Sikhism as nastika, we can limit the list of nastika schools to three for now. That aside, what do you think of the merged article ? PS: Is carvaka non-hindu ? Abecedare 09:37, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I support the reasoning of the merge but I would prefer the combined article to be called Astika or maybe Astika/Nastika(?) Well, actually astika and nastika constitute of the entire Ancient Indian philosophy, so I wonder if it can be moved to a section in Indian philosophy (at the moment, this article is shocking). GizzaChat © 09:48, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I am neutral about the name of this article: astika, nastika, ..., so i'll let other editors brainstorm on that.
The Indian philosophy article is indeed very shocking ! But I don't think we should move this articles there. Ideally that article should be written in a summary style covering Indian "religious" philosophy (Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist), as well as "secular" philosophy (such as, say, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,the Krishnamurtis, or Gandhian non-violence) etc. Project for some day ... Abecedare 10:06, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Need to clarify mimamsa periods[edit]

In reading this again I am seeing a need to get more granular regarding the term Mimamsa when we refer to it in the opening sentences, with regard to its theistic or non-theistic bent. I am not sure of the periods but I know that there are issues with age strata. There are also multiple uses of terms such as x-mimamsa versus y-mimamsa. In the lists below I use the terminology of Radhakrishnan and Moore, which is Purva Mimamsa. Just another detail to work out. Buddhipriya 07:15, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

My edits are done too[edit]

I have gone over it all and have moved a couple of points that are not clear to me to the talk page for further work. I welcome further passes. We also could use an additional editor to look it over with a completely fresh perspective. Buddhipriya 07:25, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice job, especially at correcting the conceptual error I introduced regarding the Flood quote. I have deleted the extraneous sentence you had marked and made a coupld of minor typographical edits. I think the page is in a good shape now ... till the next editor comes along and improves/vandalizes it :-) Abecedare 08:43, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I found a reference I was thinking of[edit]

I added another quote from Chatterjee and Datta regarding these terms. This reference brings in belief in life after death as another interpretation, which is the Buddhist usage I mentioned somewhere during an earlier edit cycle. I am still trying to find a good reference for it, but in other Buddhist usage the "it" which is being denied is the persistent Self (atman). The Chatterjee and Datta quote does not mention that but I know it is true and eventually will find a reference for it. Buddhipriya 23:46, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Merger with Indian philosophy[edit]

I am unsure about the proposal to merge the article on Nastika with Indian philosophy because on a practical basis I have seen a number of instances where there is confusion over the definition of the term Nastika and it is handy to be able to quickly link to this article. I am concerned that if there is a merger it will not be so easy to refer people to the defined answer for this question in particular. Also, the use of the term nastika in general parlance to mean atheist is not a use specific to India philosophy, so that issue would not be as clear if the articles were merged. On the other hand, I see that proliferation of articles makes it more difficult to maintain the whole set that are needed for this subject. So on balance I could go either way with the proposal. But I feel that the Nastika article is currently well-sourced, and it is important that if they are merged that it be done in a careful manner that does not result in the loss of sourced references. On balance I would hold off on merger unless there is a strong argument in favor. Buddhipriya 01:28, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I have removed the merge tag for now, since no discussion regarding the subject took place for a long time. I certainly agree with Buddhipriya, but still I am open for any discussion regarding its proposed merger. Thanks--nids(♂) 19:08, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

This is a Racial slur[edit]

"Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism are considered nastika schools."

There are 66 more religions in the world who do not accept Vedas, but the text is specifically just mentioning the two/three religion. The text is crossing NPOV. Check list of religions, it is stating all List of religions other then Hinduism as Nastiks.

Crossing NPOV There are not just 2 but 66 more religions. This is a strict no-no at wikipedia.

FYI.. "nāstika" this is a very cheaply looked up term in India. It is very similar to calling niggers etc. They should be removed from Wiki I suppose.

All nastika related pages should be removed.


"Dayanand Commemoration Volume: A Homage to Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, from India and the World"

  • By Har Bilas Sarda
  • Page 154
  • Published 1933 Chandmal Chandak

"It conveys simply the derogatory sense of a general character. By using Nastika, the writers want us to understand a negator, one not abiding by the Vedas"BalanceRestored 11:35, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Hey man, relax. Its just that only these three schools were traditionally considered Nastikas. I dont think that Nastika is or was a racist slur, but you are always welcome to add that if you have some citation.--nids(♂) 11:45, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Complaint is registered at

BalanceRestored 11:51, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

False accusation[edit]

Please see Definition from Samsad Dictionary which states:

নাস্তিক (p. 0568) [ nāstika ] a disbelieving in the existence of God, atheistical; disbelieving in the Vedas or scriptures. ☐ n. an atheist; an infidel.

Not a slur or derogatory word/term by any means. --Ragib 06:53, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

SO what about the citations are they too false?BalanceRestored 07:15, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Another citation that says Nastik = Unfaithful....
  • By Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Bangalore
  • Published 1957 Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society
  • Original from the University of Michigan Page 28
BalanceRestored 07:19, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Nastik = Unfaithful ... that is NOT a pejorative word by any sense. --Ragib 07:21, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Would you mind any religion name mentioned with a word that has been used with different meanings.??BalanceRestored 07:20, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Does that not mean ones who do not follow Vedas are unfaithful?BalanceRestored 07:23, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Ok.. let's stop.. BalanceRestored 07:24, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Bulgarian beer[edit]

Astika is also a Bulgarian brand of beer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

There is currently no way to get from this article to Astika_(disambiguation).Krum Stanoev (talk) 15:13, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

This problem is still standing, I may try to correct this myself then. Krum Stanoev (talk) 15:57, 23 December 2008 (UTC)


Dear Wikidas, I think you misunderstood my edit. Please see Wikipedia:Otheruses templates (example usage) and Template:Redirect. What I did was completely right. I hope you understand now. Thanks. --Mankar CamoranTalk 10:59, 2 September 2008 (UTC)


Is Ājīvika a nāstika school? I was under the impression that they were. But I can't find anything referenceable that says that right now. --SJK (talk) 12:19, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Psychological aspects of orthodoxy / heterodoxy[edit]

Orthodoxy is typically used to mean adhering to "the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion" wheras heterodoxy generally means "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position".

Most religions have these aspects to them. It is not only the authority of the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures, but Yogis, Buddhists and Jains may also be considered "orthodox" or "heterodox", and possibly a mixture of both ! To define Yoga as an orthodoxy and Buddhism as a hetrodoxy in this way seems unhelpful.

Yoga Mat (talk) 09:11, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Sectarian diatribe?[edit]

"Of the six orthodox philosophies of Vedic tradition — Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Mimamsa and Vedanta — only the Vedanta of Badarayana Vyasa is free of error, and even that only as properly explained by the bona fide Vaisnava acaryas...

Can someone please remove this Hare Krishna nonsense?

Thank you, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Reference of Chatterji and Dutta in the first section must be moved to latter sections of this article[edit]

I found the reference of Chatterji and Dutta in the introductory para as "Not Required". Excerpts from their work is making readers to make an opinion about non-verifyable dichotomic "Theist - Atheist" nature of Indian Philosophy and Samkhya/ Mimamsa schools. This could be their individual research or opinion where they have made no reference of the scripture,text etc. in their work; this should be moved to the latter sections of this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:46, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Jainism and Buddhism sections[edit]

The sections for Jainism and Buddhism were added in 2007 by someone who, although never blocked as a sock, is definitely a sockpuppet of Goldenhawk 0 (talk · contribs), who in turn has probably reincarnated (sic) as Buddhakahika (talk · contribs). Both are prolific sockmasters, both have a thing about inserting the subject matter and both have a very distinctive citation style. The B. C. Law book is, in any event, not a reliable source but the entire pair of sections could do with a set of knowledgeable eyes. Thanks. - Sitush (talk) 10:14, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

Hm, actually Buddhipriya (talk · contribs) appears to be an older account than Goldenhawk. No matter: it is POV pushing one way or the other, usually involving misrepresentation of sources, obscure sources etc. - Sitush (talk) 10:18, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

Relevance of Vivekananda quote and OR-Synthesis?[edit]

@HemaChandra88: How is the content you added relevant and WP:Due to this article. What has "Vivekananda: It is the most curious fact that the disciples and descendants of Krishna have no name for their religion [although] foreigners call it Hinduism or Brâhmanism" got to do with Astika and Nastika? Please don't edit war. Ms Sarah Welch (talk) 17:43, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

This does not belong in the lead, indeed. Polemical pov-pushing. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:06, 13 November 2016 (UTC)