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 4.2.5 - The Prakaranas (e): Tarkasamgraha by Annam Bhatta

Annam Bhatta who lived in Andhra and later in Benaras belonged to 17th century A.D.[1] His master piece ‘Tarkasamgraha’ is the most popular introductory work on the Nyaya-Vaisheshika system. He also wrote a commentary on Tarkasamgraha known as Dipika which is considered as the famous introductory work on Indian Logic. These two works of Annam Bhatta contain the essence of both the Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools of thought.

Tarkasamgraha deals with seven categories, viz. dravya, guna, karma, samanya vishesha, samavaya, and abhava. Guna according to him is of twenty four kinds, of which buddhi is one of them. He divides buddhi into viz. smriti and anubhava. Anubhava or experience may be right or wrong. The right experience (yatharthanubhava) is of four kinds: perceptional knowledge (pratyaksha), inferential knowledge (anumiti), comparative knowledge (upamiti) and verbal knowledge (shabda). The means to obtain yatharthanubhava are through pratyaksha (perception), anumana (inference), upamana (comparison) and shabda (verbal testimony). He describes a cause or karana as that which invariably precedes the effect, which cannot otherwise take place. For instance, clay is the material cause of the pot. An effect or karya on the other hand is the counter positive of an antecedent which dissolves into nonexistence. For example, a pot is the effect of the clay. Causes or karana are of three types, viz., samavayi, asamavayi and nimitta.

According to Annam Bhatta, Anumana or inference is the means for drawing inferential knowledge which comes from the consideration i.e., paramarsha.[2] Paramarsha is a complex cognition which arises from a combination of the knowledge of invariable concomitance (vyaptijnana) and that of the presence of Hetu (reason) in the subject (paksha) technically known as pakshadharmatajnana.[3] It is the knowledge that the reason or the middle term, which possesses invariable concomitance with major term, abides in the minor term. Invariable concomitance is the certainty of co-existence.[4] For example, ‘where there is smoke there is fire’. He defines vyapti as that which consists in the hetu (reason or probans) being co-existent with the sadhya (probandum or the thing to be inferentially established) which is pervasive of the hetu (hetuvyapaka) (Hetuvyapakasadhyasamanadhi-karanyam vyaptih). It comes to include: hetutavacchedakadharma, sadhyatvvacchedakadharma, hetutavacchedakasambandha and sadhyata-vacchedakasambandha.

Anumana involves syllogism that consists of five members as in Naiyayikas viz. pratijna (the proposition), hetu (reason), udaharanam (example), upanaya (correlation) and nigamana (the conclusion). In the case of inferential cognition for oneself and for others, it is the subsumptive reflection of the reason that serves as the efficient and special cause (karana). Hence, lingaparamarsha here is the instrument of inferential cognition (anumana).

Linga or probans is of three kinds, viz. anvayavyatireki, kevalanvayi and kevalavyatireki. The anvayavyatireki probans is that which has affirmative concomitance and negative concomitance with the probandum as smoke when fire is the probandum. For instance, where there is smoke there is fire as in earth (affirmative concomitance); where there is no smoke there is no fire (negative concomitance.)

Kevalanvayi probans refers to affirmative concomitance alone as jar is nameable because it is knowable like a cloth.

The kevalavyatireki probans indicate negative concomitance alone as earth is different from the rest (not earth) for it has smell.

He classifies anumana into two types: svarthanumana (inference for one’s self) and pararthanumana (inference for the sake of others).

All inferences drawn may not lead to accurate and right knowledge. The flaw in the process of inference can result in fallacies. Annam Bhatta mentions about five types of Hetvabhasas that prevents the inferential knowledge. They are savyabhicara, viruddha, satpratipaksha, asiddha and badhita.

Commentaries on Tarkasamgraha

Tarkasamgraha dipika by Annam Bhatta, Nyayabodhini by Govardhana Mishra, Siddhanta-candrodaya by Shrikrishna Dhorjati Diksita, Nirukti by Jagannatha Sastrin, Vakyavrtti by Meru Sastri, Padakrtya by Candraja Simha, Tarkasamgraha -tattva-prakasa by Nilakantha etc. are some of the major commentaries on Tarkasamgraha. The number of commentaries written on the book indicates the significance of the text in Indian Logic.

Footnotes and references:


Swami virupaksanda (Tr.)–Tarkasamgraha, Sri Rama Krisna Math Madras. 1994. p.22


- Tarkasamgrah, p. 34


- Ibid., p. 34


Ibid., p. 34

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