Upanga and Vedanga Terms

The progressions of Upanga and Vedanga start with the Self in seed (smaller than the smallest) or fundamental and basic form, go through Devata to the objective world, and return through Devata to the Self in fullness (bigger than the biggest). These progressions start with the subject (the Rishi value) in fundamental form, taking it through transformations that lead to objective knowledge, and then going through further transformations back to the subject (Rishi value), but now in the full glory of the Rishi value.


All Upangas are Shastras, giving information on how to gain knowledge from the perspective of the Absolute.

Relative viewed from Absolute

Nyaya Distinguish, Decide Rishi
Vaisheshika Specify Devata
Sankhya Enumerate Chhandas
Yoga Unify Chhandas
Karma Mimansa Analyze  Devata
Vedanta Being Rishi

Nyaya – The fundamental threads of Knowledge emerging from the Absolute, serving as the building blocks for further Knowledge.

Vaisheshika – Weaves together the fundamental threads to create the fabric of relativity, i.e., the objective universe.

Sankhya – Clarifies the distinction between the relative and the Absolute.

Yoga – Union. Integrates and brings it all together (e.g., Maharishi Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras”).

Karma Mimansa – Analysis of the laws of action, the mechanics.

Vedanta – The culmination of Knowledge, when all the pieces of the puzzle of life come together into a unified whole within the awareness of the individual, giving a complete picture of the tapestry of all existence.


The Absolute approached from the relative (often thought of as grammar). Relates to the process of Self-expression from first sounds (like Ma Ma) to perfect articulation of knowledge from within the Self. Vedangas follow the full progression of language, Self-expression, going through phonetics to words to sentences, and returning to the Rishi value in total Self-expression. You can think of it as a progression from childhood, first learning to speak to the total mastery of language, fulfilled in Self-expression.

Shiksha Expression, phonetics Rishi
Kalpa Transforming, procedure, organization Devata
Vyakarana Expansion, grammar Chhandas
Nirukta Self-referral, semantics Chhandas
Chhandas Measure, quantify, flow, composition Devata
Jyotish All Knowing/possibilities/expression, math precision Rishi

Shiksha – Talks about the Mantra letters (deeper in the Absolute than letters).

Kalpa – Talks about the words. Spacing between the letters to make words. Rhythm.

Vyakarana – How to put words together.

Nirukta – The structure (like grammatical structure of a sentence).

Chhandas – Spacing between words to create sentences. Rhythm. The sound system of grammar.

Jyotish – Jyoti = light, how letters, words, sentences relate to astronomy, the galaxy. All contained within sound. And, sound births light. Jyotish is the study of light. Vedangas culminate in light.