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Pūrva-mīmāṃsā (Skt., pūrva, ‘earlier’ + mīmāṃsā, ‘investigation’). One of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, usually referred to simply as Mīmāṃsā. It is concerned with the interpretation of the ritualistic and ceremonial portion (karma-kāṇḍa) of the Vedas. It is to be distinguished from the later Uttara Mīmāṃsā, also called Vedānta, which deals with the teachings of the Upaniṣads.

Mīmāṃsā, extant perhaps as early as the 3rd cent. BCE, was later formulated by Jaimini in the Mīmāṃsā-sūtra (Mīmāṃsādarśana) which is the oldest and basic text of the Mīmāṃsā school. The Vedas are held to be eternal, uncreated, and need no further authority; any discrepancy within them, therefore, is only apparent.

After the 8th cent., two schools developed as a result of disputes over the interpretations of the commentaries of Kumārila and Prabhākara, noted teachers of Mīmāṃsā.

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