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The Sanskrit word is formed from the root "drś", which means "viewing" or "looking at". Its sense in the Hindu Vedas was just this, but came to include the viewing of a holy person, or image, as a religious act that brought special blessing. As the final, more philosophical part of the Vedas, the Upanishads, were written and contemplated, "darshana" went on to refer also to the different ways in which the Vedas could be viewed. These ways crystallised into the six "points of view", or six orthodox formulations of Hindu philosophy.
Each darshana was presented by one canonical author in the form of sutras (aphorisms) which became the obligatory point of reference for further commentary and development of the viewpoint. Western schools of philosophy are often seen in conflict with one another – for example, Platonists and Aristotelians, rationalists and empiricists, etc. – whereas the darshanas of Hinduism, despite often presenting contrasting articulations, are inspired by an at least implicit unity. They are presented indeed as points of view, different above all in perspective and not in ultimate content.
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