Mimamsa literally translates to “theart of thinking, interpretation, and application.”
Also refers to examination of the Vedas. This school focuses on the interpretation of Vedic writings such as the Samhita and Brahmana.
All known as Purva Mimamsa because of its focus on the earlier Vedic texts dealing with ritual actions, and similarly as Karma- Mīmāṃsā due to its focus on ritual action (karma).
The Mīmāṃsā school was foundational and influential for the vedāntic schools, which were also known asUttara Mīmāṃsā (Jnana Mimamsa) for their focus on the “later” (uttara) portions of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads.
While both “earlier” and “later” Mīmāṃsā investigate the aim of human action, they do so with different attitudes towards the necessity of ritual praxis.
Mīmāṃsā has several sub-schools, each defined by its epistemology.
The Prābhākara sub-school, which takes its name from the seventh- century philosopher Prabhākara, described the five epistemically reliable means to gaining knowledge:
Pratyakṣa or perception;
Anumāna or inference;
Upamāṇa, by comparison and analogy
Arthāpatti, the use of postulation and derivation from circumstances;
Sabda, the word or testimony of past or present reliable experts.
The Bhāṭṭa sub-school, from philosopher Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, added a sixth means to its canon;
Anupalabdhi meant non-perception, or proof by the absence of cognition (e.g., the lack of gunpowder on a suspect’s hand)
The school of Mīmāṃsā consists of both atheistic and theistic doctrines, but the school showed little interest in systematic examination of the existence of Gods.
Rather, it held that the soul is an eternal, omnipresent, inherently active spiritual essence, and focused on the epistemology and metaphysics of dharma.
For the Mīmāṃsā school, dharma meant rituals and social duties, not devas, or gods, because gods existed only in name.
They say that practicing rituals can lead to salvation, but that understanding the explanation and reasoning behind Vedic rites is also required.
It was vital to comprehend this logic if one wished to follow the rituals flawlessly and thereby achieve redemption.
The merits and demerits of a person were determined by their activities, and a person would experience the bliss of paradise as long as their virtuous acts lasted.
They would not, however, be exempt from the cycle of life and death. They will be able to break away from this never-ending cycle after they have found redemption.
The Mīmāṃsakas also held that Vedas are “eternal, author-less, infallible”, that Vedic vidhi, or injunctions and mantras in rituals are prescriptive kārya or actions, and the rituals are of primary importance and merit.
They considered the Upaniṣads and other texts related to self- knowledge and spirituality as subsidiary, a philosophical view that Vedānta disagreed with.
Mīmāṃsakas considered the purpose and power of language was to clearly prescribe the proper, correct and right.
In contrast, Vedāntins extended the scope and value of language as a tool to also describe, develop and derive.
Mīmāṃsakas considered orderly, law driven, procedural life as central purpose and noblest necessity of dharma and society, and divine (theistic) sustenance means to that end.
Purva Mimamsa is a karma-Mimamsa system that examines Vedic teachings through the lens of karma-kanda rituals.
Purva Mimamsa (or simply Mimamsa) emphasizes the yagya’s performance in order to gain various spiritual and worldly benefits. As a result, this philosophy is based on the Brahmana (and Samhita) portions of the Vedas.
The major focus of this ideology was on the Vedic ceremonial aspect, i.e., performing Vedic rites to gain salvation.
Because most people did not comprehend the ceremonies, they would have to enlist the help of priests.
As a result, this theory implicitly legitimized the social divide between classes.
The Brahmanas utilized this as a tactic to preserve their power over people, and they continued to rule the social structure.