Siddhanta Sangraha of Sri Sailacharya

by E. Sowmya Narayanan | 2008 | 30,562 words

Siddhanta Sangraha Chapter 31 (English translation), entitled “the validity of inference” as included in the critical edition and study. The Siddhanta Samgraha is a Sanskrit philosophical text dealing with Vishishtadvaita in five hundred Sanskrit verses. It was written by Shri Shailacarya (18th century) and closely follows the philosophy of Vedanta Deshika (13th century).

Chapter 31 - The Validity of Inference

309. Here, the inference is to be explained in a nutshell. Inferential knowledge is that which is established through a specific reasoning.

310. That which is the instrument of anumiti is termed as anumāna or inferential knowledge. The reasons of the past and the future become the cause for such an inferential knowledge.

311. Inferential knowledge too is self-luminous. In the statement that ‘I infer fire in a mountain’ when the knowledge arise, it is self-luminous at the time of origination itself.

312-313. In the knowledge ‘I infer’, it is self-luminous. In this knowledge there is the relation of vyāpya and vyāpaka. Therefore in the inferential knowledge like the generation of the knowledge of sādhya there is the generation of the knowledge of hetu or probans.

314. Because of the distinction among hetu and sādhya the vyāpti is manifold. Therefore the fallacy called ātmāśraya (self-dependency) is not to be doubted.

315. vyāpti is twofold, namely, kālikī (that which is related to time) and daiśikī (that which is related to place). The comprehending element of vyāpti is perception only.

316. The vyāptidarśana should be without the fallacy called upādhi (adventious condition). This vyāptidarśana may differ as single observation or a repeated observation, depending on the time and place.

317. Those who are adept in the system of Nyāya declare that the doubt regarding upādhi may be due to the absence of cause or through syllogism (tarka).

318. Syllogism (tarka) is that wherein there is a vyāpya (less pervasive entity) and the vyāpaka (more pervasive than vyāpya) thereby giving rise to syllogism. When such a condition prevail it cannot be negated. Therefore, tarka or syllogism is a vital element in an inferential cognition.

319-320. Now a doubt arises; it is admitted by the Viśiṣṭādvaitins that all knowledge is real. If this is so then there is no scope for syllogism in the cases of super impositions (āropa). This means that either there should be no erroneous cognition or there is no syllogism.

An un-intelligent person might argue that ‘let the smoke be there and the fire need not be there’. To make him understand the following syllogism is said, ‘where there is the absence of fire there is the absence of smoke’. Here we do not use the āropa tarka but only in the absence of one factor there is the absence of another factor.

321. (If it is doubted that how one can infer the absence of smoke through the statement ‘vahnyabhāva vyāpakam dhūmābhāvam’) then; the person accepts the existence of fire only after seeing the smoke. He could not get the knowledge of fire if he does not know that the absence of fire is nothing but the absence of smoke.

322. Thus, the real knowledge is the absence of smoke is the non-existence of fire is understood. Thus, the real knowledge is understood in the same way removing the doubt.

323. The saṃśaya or doubt is that which arises regarding an object when there is a recollection of the different adjectival features as well as the non-realisation of the distinctive features.

(If it is doubted that when all the knowledge is real, then the saṃśaya should be treated as the unreal knowledge as we get both the right and wrong element in a single knowledge in the sentence ‘sthānurvā ayam puruṣovā’. But according to our system saṃśaya is not accepted as a single knowledge (eka jñāna) and it is the combination of three, namely, dharmi pratyakṣa, viruddha koṭi smaraṇa and bheda agraha. Therefore saṃśaya is real knowledge only.

324-325. If it is doubted that, as the anugatajāti (repetition of jāti) is not accepted, how there can be the vyāpti which is gained only with the help of relationship of different genus (jātis) in various objects, then the śaktigraha is possible for the words denoting the jāti and vyakti (configuration) without the repetition of jāti. In the same manner the relationship (sāmanyā pratyāsatti) is also possible. The pervader (vyāpaka) or the probandum (sādhya) that is, the fire is established based on the smoke the pervaded (vyāpya) or the relation of the subject. Here, the need of the repetition of jāti does not arise.

326. The subject (pakṣa) is that which possesses the subject matter (pakṣatā). The pakṣatā or subject matter is the non-existence of the inferential cognition (anumiti). The anumitsa (the desire of the inferential cognition) will not arise when there is anumiti (inferential cognition).

327. As there is no desire (icchā) exists in the accomplished elements, the accomplishment or siddhi is an obstacle (pratibandhaka) for the desire. The desire of the inferential cognition is possible only in a place which is different from the place of inferential cognition.

328-329. While witnessing the smoke in the mountain there arise the vyāpti jñāna for the smoke and fire through the recollection of their relation and the instinct (udbodha). Thus, we have the elements of inferential cognition namely, the knowledge of pervasion, the pervadedness of the pervaded (vyāpya) and the non-acceptence of the distinctive features (bheda-agraha). Therefore, there is no need of the special knowledge called parāmarśa and there is no difficulty in attaining the inferential knowledge.

330. If it is doubted that there need not be any source called inference when there is the certainty of fire in the mountain with the knowledge of smoke and also through the natural relationship we can establish the fire as the direct knowledge than saying it as an indirect (parokṣa) by the statement ‘I infer’.

331. It is not so. It is because there is no prior knowledge that 'all the mountains with smoke are with fire'. Therefore, in the statement T infer' which is the subject matter of the inference is achieved with the knowledge of pervasion should be accepted as the activity of the mind (mānasam vṛtti).

332. The vyāpti is twofold, namely, anvyaya vyatirekī (the affirmative cum the negative) and kevalānvayi (bare co-affirmation). This has been accepted by the Vedāntins. The other one, namely, kevalavyatirakī (bare negation) is not accepted.

333-334. (The right probans accompanied by the five forms causes the inference of fire). The existence (sattā) of sapakṣa (similar instance), the existence of pakṣa (subject), the non-existence of vipakṣa (counter instance), the distinctive feature (vaidurya) of pratipakṣa (non-subject) and the absence of obstacle in probandum (sādhya) are the five forms which establish and always present in right probans (saddhetu). The anvyaya vyatirekī has all these five forms in it.

335. The kevalānvayi which exists in vipakṣa and devoid of fallacies also consists of the above five forms and it is also the right proban.

336. As the kevalavyatirakī has the fallacy called asādhāraṇatā (uncommon fallacy) it is included with the hetvābhāsas (fallacious reasons). It doesn't have the aforesaid five forms of the right probans.

337. The five forms are formed as the five member syllogism (pañcāvayava vākya) has been described by the advocates of Nyāya.

338. pratijñā, hetu, udāharaṇa, upanaya and nigamana are considered as the five members, which generates the inference of the fire.

339. The practical usage of the five members is possible only by the existence of five forms (rūpa pañcakam). Of these, only the last two, (i.e.) upanaya and nigamana have been accepted by the Buddhists (saigatāḥ).

340. There is no restriction for the probans (hetu) that it should be conveyed only in Ablative case. It can be said even in the Instrumental case (i.e.) ‘dhūmena’ as it gives rise to inference and often used by the learned.

341. The fallacious reasons are two fold, namely, avyāpya (non-pervaded) apakṣadharma (non-subjective element). The five fallacious reasons such as anaikāntya are included in this itself.

342. Thus, the inference has been explained. Then, the best among the sources (pramāṇā) namely, verbal testimony (śabda) is being explained.


Rasasastra category This concludes The Validity of Inference according to Vishishtadvaita philosophy explained by Shri Shailacarya. This book follows the model of Vedanta Deshika although the Vishishta Advaita school was originally expounded by Shri Ramanuja. Vishishta-Advaita is one of the various sub-schools of Vedanta which itself represents one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy. They highlight the importance of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.

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