The validity of Anumana (inference) in Nyaya system

by Babu C. D | 2018 | 44,340 words

This thesis is called: The validity of Anumana (inference) in Nyaya system. It tries to establish the validity of Anumana through citing its application either consciously or unconsciously in every sphere of human life. Anumana in Nyaya system is the knowledge of any object not by direct observation but by means of the knowledge of a liṅga or sign ...

Chapter 4.1 - Amalgamation of Nyaya-Vaisheshika

The Nyaya School grounded in Gautama Akshapada’s Nyaya sutra and the Vaisheshika School grounded in Kanada’s Vaisheshika Sutra developed in parallel until around 10th, 11thand 12th century and later merged to form a new school–Syncretic school or Nyaya -Vaisheshika school. The two schools are basically so akin that Dr. Radhakrishnan opines that they might have branched off from a hypothetical common original system. It is also observed that both systems supplement each other and finally merge into a single system. Due to their affinity in certain theories and principles, they were called as samanatantras. While Nyaya school mainly deals with logic, epistemology and theory of debate, the Vaisheshika school deals with Ontology. Regardless of the name, Nyaya-Vaisheshika incorporates and develops classical Vaisheshika metaphysics as well as classical Nyaya epistemology. The Vaisheshika School represented the positive, constructive or creative side of the combined school, whereas the Nyaya represented the defensive side. Nyaya Vaisheshika system reflects a purely scientific and philosophical attitude and belongs to a secular school of thought and has no immediate connection, either with Vedic literature or with tradition.

The alliance between these two systems is traced as early as Vatsyayana, whose bhasya is the earliest extant commentary on the Sutra of Gautama. However, a formal synthesis did not appear until tenth century, when Sapta-padarthi of Shivaditya began to appear. Besides these two stages in the history of the systems, a third stage may be noted when the NyayaVaisheshika as representing an independent world-view was practically ignored and it became reduced as mere logic to a position ancillary to the study of philosophy in general and of the Vedanta in particular. Nyaya Vaisheshika exhibits certain differences in the doctrines as taught by the separate schools.

From the beginning of the tenth century, the two systems were formally amalgamated. Jayanta in his Nyayamamjari states that Vaisheshikas are not a separate system, but merely the followers of the Nyaya school of thought. A complete merging of the two into one could be viewed by the time of Udayana and it was referred as Nyaya-Vaisheshika system. Udayanacarya was expert in Nyaya and Vaisheshika philosophy and his works is considered to have laid the foundation for the Nyaya-Vaisheshika philosophy. The commentaries on Prasastapadabhasya like Nyayakandali and Kiranavali belong to a period when the Vaisheshika already combined with the Nyaya

School. The Nyayasutras and Vaisheshika sutras show certain interdependence. From the subsequent works of Nyaya-Vaisheshika system, it is evident that they developed together borrowing from each other as they grew. Vaisheshika mainly deals with physics, ontology and metaphysics but Nyaya develops logic and epistemology.

Reflecting on various works during this period, it could be noted that the two systems developed and grew together through a mutual borrowing or give and take policy. The syncretic writers borrowed a new textual form from the work of medieval school. They realized the need to combine the category of pramana with other fifteen categories like prameya which was treated as subordinates by Nyaya. The syncretic spirit could be viewed from the time of Vatsyayana. According to him, Vaisheshika is an allied system. He quotes only the six categories of Vaisheshika. Nyaya scholars like Udyotakara introduced the Vaisheshika ideas and phraseology at a later stage.

Both the schools of thought prove the existence of atma with the help of inference (anumana) and are recognized as systems of the same status (samanatantra). Yet the two schools of thought reveal certain distinctive features maintaining their identity. The Naiyayikas recognize sixteen categories while the Vaisheshikas only six.

Prashastapada who wrote the Bhasya on Kanada’s Vaisheshika sutra introduced God into the system and he was assigned the dual function of creating and destroying the universe. Saptapadarthi accepted abhava as a seventh category. Viswanatha in his Bhashapariccheda says that the Naiyayikas are not opposed to the recognition of seven categories of Vaisheshikas. Vatsyayana in his Nyayabhasya admits that the six padarthas viz., Dravya, Guna, Karma, Samshaya, Vishesha and Samavaya are to be recognized under the prameya in the list of the sixteen categories of Gautama.[1] Even here it is to be noticed, that although the seven padarthas are considered common to both schools, the Naiyayikas recognition of nine other padarthas serves as a differentiating point. Further, the Vaisheshika cognition of vishesha as a separate category is a distinguishing feature between the two. Moreover, the Naiyayikas recognize four pramanas as against the two (Pratyaksha and Anumana) by the Vaisheshika.

Kanada, in his Vaisheshikasutra states that all objects of knowledge or all real, comes under padartha.[2] According to him there are only six padarthas viz., dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma (action), samanya (generality), vishesha (particularity), and samavaya (inherence).[3] Although he does not mention ‘abhava’ as a separate category, yet from Vaisheshikasutras 1-2-1 and 9-1-1, it could be observed that Kanada takes due cognizance of Abhava as a Padartha. It is not mentioned because the idea of Abhava invariably depends on the idea of bhava padarthas and the idea of bhava padarthas should automatically lead to the idea of relative category of Abhava. Clarifying on this, Shridhara, in his Nyayakandali mentions that Kanada did not mention abhava separately because abhava depends on bhava (existence). That means non-existence depends on existence for its knowledge and therefore, there is no need to state abhava separately.[4] Later Nyaya-Vaisheshika writers adopt the seven categories of the Vaisheshikas. Udayana classifies the seven categories into bhava (existence) and abhava (non-existence) and subdivides existence into first six of them.[5]

The Vaisheshika philosophy gives a considerable help to the development of Nyaya philosophy. The categories of Vaisheshika philosophy was entirely absorbed in the treatise of the Nyaya Vaisheshika philosophy.

Inclusion of Vaisheshika categories could be seen in the works of later syncretic school writers. Tarkikaraksha of Varadaraja includes all the seven Vaisheshika categories in the scheme of sixteen categories. He combines the twelve prameyas by Gautama with six padarthas viz., dravya, guna, karma, samanya, vishesha and samavaya in his prameya of Nyayasutra.[6]

Keshava Mishra’s Tarkabhasha incorporated the categories of Vaisheshika system in artha, the fourth prameya. Unlike the meaning of Artha in the Nyayasutra-the objects of senses, artha here indicates the six categories of the Vaisheshika philosophy. He also includes the sixteen categories of Nyaya philosophy in the six categories.[7] Annambhatta also speaks of seven categories of Vaisheshikas and brings pramana under Guna. Vallabhacarya, Vishvanatha Nyayapancanana, Laugakshi Bhaskara and other syncretic writers mentions about the six categories only. Some of them include pramana under guna, while others incorporate pramana in atman.

Pramana is considered as the first category in the Nyayasutra of Gautama. He, however does not give any definition. Jayanta defines pramana as that collection of conscious and unconscious things which gives rise to the apprehension of objects that are different from error and doubt.[8] It is that which produces uncontradicted knowledge that is also free of doubt. Annambhatta describes it as the instrument of valid knowledge (pramayah karanamiti pramanasamanyalakshanam).[9] He has discussed prama and pramana under quality buddhi.

Since 10th century, a number of syncretic works have been produced. The term used to refer the works composed in the modern period is known as ‘Prakaranas or Manuals of Logic.’[10] It refers to books which concern itself with the topic of a portion of a Shastra which may deal even with matters not included in the Shastras. Unlike the ancient works, the manuals elaborately treat the concept of syllogism. The manuals are expository and differ in their style from ancient work. The prakaranas are also remarkable for their accuracy and lucidity.

The prakaranas may be divided into four classes: (i) the Nyaya works treating only of the pramana to which the remaining fifteen categories were subordinated;(ii) the Nyaya works which embody in them the categories of the Vaisheshika philosophy; (iii) the works which treats of the six or seven categories assimilating in them the Nyaya category of pramana and (iv) the work which treat certain topics of Nyaya and certain topics of Vaisheshika.

The basic text of Nyaya Vaisheshika School is Gangesha’s brilliant and innovative work titled, ‘Tattva-Cintamani (Jewel of Reflection on the Truth). The school continued to develop for about four centuries, reaching its heights with the works of Raghunatha, Jagadisha and Gadadhara. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries several manuals were written and published to explain the basic tenets of the school lucidly. Following are the important writers and works of Nyaya-Vaisheshika system.

Footnotes and references:


Vaisheshika Sutra, VII. 1-8


Sinha, J.N., Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 339


Vaisheshikasutra, 1.1.4


abhavasya prithaganupadeshah bhshvaparatantryshnnatvabhshvat. Nyshyakandali. p. 6


Lakshanavali, p.1


cf. Vidyabhusana, S.C., A History of Indian Logic, p.375


Tarkabhasha, p. 304


Nyayamanjari, p.71


Dipika on Tarkasamgraha, p. 24


‐ PPB. Intro P. 27

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