Nyaya-Vaisheshika categories (Study)

by Diptimani Goswami | 2014 | 61,072 words

This page relates ‘Samavaya’ of the study on the Nyaya-Vaisheshika categories with special reference to the Tarkasangraha by Annambhatta. Both Nyaya and Vaisesika are schools of ancient Indian Philosophy, and accepted in their system various padarthas or objects of valid knowledge. This study investigates how the Tarkasamgraha reflects these categories in the combined Nyayavaisesika school.

[Full title: 3. Vṛttiniyāmaka sambandha (Occurrent-Exacting relation) (2): Samavāya]

Samavāya is another kind of Vṛttiniyāmaka sambandha. Samavāya is the most important and the corner stone of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system. It is regarded as a separate category by them. Samavāya is regarded as an intimate relation between two things which are inseparable. This sambandha is found between the part and the whole (avayava-avayavi), the generic character and the individual manifestation (jātivyakti), the quality and the substance qualified (guṇa and karma) and the eternal substance and the ultimate difference (nitya-viśeṣa).[1] A composite whole remains in its constituent parts e.g., the cloth exists in the yarns, through which it is composed. A generic character remains in an individual e.g., manuṣyatva (manness) exists in all men, ghaṭatva exists in all ghaṭas. A quality exists in substance e.g., colour exists in the rose, rose is a dravya, colour is a guṇa. An action exists in a dravya, e.g., the horse is running, horse is dravya and running is action. A particularity (viśeṣa) exists in eternal substance (nitya-dravya).[2]

Samavāya can be established by the following inference:

The cognition that a thing is qualified by qualities, actions etc. depends on three things, viz., viśeṣya (something that is qualified or substantive), viśeṣaṇa (the qualifier or attribute) and a relation between the two, because it is the cognition of a qualified entity, like the notion of the qualified entity daṇḍi puruṣaḥ (a man holding a staff).[3] Now, this relation cannot be saṃyoga, since saṃyoga happens between two dravyas which are separable. But here the relation is between substance and colour or action, i.e., between the jar and its colour or the jar and its action etc. which are inseparable. It cannot be the relation of svarūpa (self-sameness) where the relation is denoted by the two relata themselves without reference to a further relation. In that case infinite numbers of relation will have to be assumed which is cumbrous. Hence, for the sake of simplicity, inherence, which is one is to be accepted. Samavāya is eternal relation[4] and it is one.[5]

Samavāya establishes relation among first five categories–dravya, guṇa, karma, sāmānya and viśeṣa. As a whole, samavāya is a unique device to make the metaphysical structure of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system.[6] In other works it may be stated that when two different things inseparably connected like substance and attribute, substance and karma, substance and sāmānya, cause and effect, atoms and viśeṣa which appear as one whole or one inseparable entity (ayutasiddha) there is the relation of samavāya.

S.N. Dasgupta mentions that:

“This peculiar relation of inseparable inherence is the cause why substance, action and attribute, cause and effect and jāti in substance and attribute appear as indissolubly connected as if they are one and the same thing.”[7]

Kaṇāda gives the definition of samavāya as that relation which is the cause of the notion that something is here (iha) as between cause and effect.[8] Praśastapāda defines samavāya as that relation which is found between inseparable entities, related as the container and the contained and the cause of the latter existing in the former.[9] If that two things are separable then the relation of that two things cannot be samavāya e.g., a paṭa (cloth) remains in its composite tantus. The paṭa cannot be separated from tantus. Therefore, this relation between tantus and paṭa is samavāya. It is also self-subsistent (svātmasatta), it is marked by knowledge, effectless, causeless, eternal and nameless as objects.[10] In his bhāṣya, it is found that samavāya is one and independent but its substance and contents are different. It exists as container and contained. The genus of dravya remains in dravya, the genus of guṇa are found in guṇa, the genus of karma exists in karma.[11] Jayanta Bhaṭṭa says that there is difference between the parts and the whole or a substance and its qualities etc. but the difference of the space between these parts and the whole or the substance and its qualities etc. cannot be accepted. Hence in such cases, relation is accepted which is called samavāya.[12]

According to Srīdhara, that relation is called samavāya which exists between two inseparable entities which are of the nature of container and content.[13] This samavāya relation cannot remain between two entities which are able to be separated and which exist in different substrates. Separable things can exist in different substrates. A cloth remains in yarns through which it is constituted. Yarns can exist independently apart from cloth but cloth has no independent existence apart from them. The yarns are the container and the cloth is its content.[14] He also states that samavāya has existence, nature, it can be expressed by name. In the different states, its essential nature can be made through the knowability and nameability.[15] It is also found in his work that samavāya is known as self-subsistent, it does not accept community, does not relate to being. It does not remain in beings through any other relation.[16]

Śivāditya[17] and Keśava Miśra[18] give similar definition. In the Bhāṣāpariccheda, Viśvanātha states that samavāya is the relation of a jar etc. With its two parts etc., the relation of the substance with quality and action and relation of the generic attribute with these three i.e., substance, quality and action.[19] He also defines in his Nyāyasiddhāntamuktāvalī, that samavāya is an eternal relation.[20] The relation which exists between the parts and the whole, genus and the individual, quality and qualified, action and moving thing, particular and eternal substance is known as samavāya.[21] He also mentions that samavāya can be inferred from the substance, quality and relation between them. The svarūpasambandha between the cause (part) and the effect (whole) undermine the doctrine of asatkāryavāda. According to this doctrine the effect is a new beginning (arambha), it is different from its cause. The whole exists in its parts from which it is different. Hence, samavāya is not svarupasambandha.[22]

Annaṃbhaṭṭa gives the definition of samavāya as an eternal relation.[23] Samavāya has no production and destruction, so, it is eternal. He also states that samavāya exists in inseparable pairs (ayutasiddha). He then proceeds to explain the term ayutasiddha. Two things are said to be ayutasiddha (inseparable) if one of them exists as contained in other so long as it is not destroyed. This means that the things, which are in the relation of inherence, cannot be separated without one of them being destroyed[24], e.g., threads and a piece of cloth. Here, threads are the parts; the cloth is the whole. Threads are independent of the cloth, but the cloth is not independent of threads as the cloth exists only in the threads till it is not destroyed. These two things are called ayutasiddha and the relation between these two ayutasiddha things is samavāya. Similarly, the relation between the quality and the qualified, like the red colour which is a quality existing in a substance like a flower is inherence. Though a substance can exist independently, quality cannot exist apart from the substance. So, they are ayutasiddha in as much as a quality, as long as it lasts, has to subsist in a substance. Similar is the relation between action and substance of which it is an action. The ayutasiddha relation between jāti and vyakti is the fourth one. Individual cows cannot exist independent of the universal cowness which can exist independent of particular cows. Therefore, they are ayutasiddha. Lastly, the relation between viśeṣa and eternal substance is inherence.[25] In his Dīpikā, Annaṃbhaṭṭa points out that the word nitya is added in the definition to avoid over-pervasion to conjunction. Because conjunction is also a relation, but it being non-eternal, then is no over-pervasion. The word sambandha is given here to avoid over-pervasion to ākāśa etc. Ākāśa etc. are eternal substances, but ākāśa is not a saṃbandha.[26] Annaṃbhaṭṭa also forwards the same argument as given by Viśvanātha to prove the existence of samavāya. In his view, the cognition in the form of ‘blue jar’ which is a qualified cognition is based on the qualifier, the thing qualified and the relation of the two, as it is a qualified cognition like the cognition of ‘the man with a staff’. From this inference the existence of samavāya can be proved.[27]

According to Naiyāyikas, samavāya is perceptible but Vaiśeṣikas state that samavāya is not perceptible, it is atīndriya and anumeya.[28] If the dravyas are perceptible then the samavāya sambandha between those dravyas can be perceived. But all dravyas are not perceptible. Then their sambandha is also not perceptible. Samavāya does not possess a jāti as there is jātibādhaka called asambandha in case of samavāya. According to the Vedāntins and Sāṃkhya philosophers, samavāya is not acceptable as a padārtha, because they believe in svarūpasambandha or tādātmyasambandha but do ot believe in the five pairs of ayutasiddha things.[29]

Prābhākaras state about samavāya, in which two separateless dravyas(yutasiddha) are intimately connected with each other, that is samavāya. Its eternality depends upon the dravyas, if the dravyas are eternal, it is also eternal and when the dravyas are non-eternal, it is also non-eternal. Naiyāyikas opinion that samavāya is nitya and one. The Bhāṭṭas and Advaitins accept the samavāya as tādātmya sambandha.[30]

Samavāya and Causation

The reality of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system is dependent upon their theoryof causation which is called the asatkāryavāda. According to this theory, the effect does not exist in the cause, the cause and the effect are two separate substances, e.g., threads and cloth are two different things. These two separate substances exists in the same place by this samavāya relation.[31] In the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system, the material cause is known as samavāyi-kāraṇa that means the cause remains in its effect by samavāya relation. Therefore, samavāya relation is the basis of the NyāyaVaiśeṣika theory of causation. It is to be noted here that the theory of samavāya has at first, been postulated as a relation of cause and effect. Kaṇāda tries to explain the subsistence of an effect in its cause with the help of samavāya. In fact the problem for the Nyāya-vaiśeṣikas is to explain how two things, viz., cause and effect, which has separate realities, can remain occupying the same space. Kaṇāda takes resort to the concept of samavāya in order to explain the subsistence of one substance in another in such a way that both of them occupy the same space. However, Kaṇāda has not mentioned about qualities, actions and universals residing in substances in the relation of samavāya. Later on the scope of this samavāya relation spreads to the existence of qualities, movement or universals in their substances. The viśeṣa also exists in atoms or eternal substance through this relation.[32]

Athalye and Bodas mention that:

“The conception of samavāya is in fact a key to the whole theory of causation as viewed from the Nyāya standpoint and consequently the doctrine has been strongly animadverted by writers of the Sāṃkhya and Vedāntic schools who hold different views”.[33]

The cause and the effect are connected together inseparably, this union is called samavāya.[34]

Saṃyoga and Samavāya

There are some distinction between saṃyoga and samavāya

(a) Saṃyoga exists between two substances. But samavāya exists between two substances which remain as cause and effect, between one substance and one other non-substance like quality, movement etc. between two non-substances like qualities and universals as also movement and its universal.

(b) Saṃyoga is relation between two things which can be separated. Samavāya exists between those things which cannot be separated. For example, the saṃyoga between a man and a stick can be separated, but in case of the samavāya relation between the effect and the cause, the effect cannot be separated from the cause.

(c) Samavāya relation exists between two things as container and contained (ādhāraādheya bhāva). Saṃyoga relation also abides between two substances. But in this relation, the container and the contained (ādhāraādheya bhāva) sambandha is not necessary.

“That which cannot exist without the other is always the contained (ādheya), and the other which can exist independently is always the container, the substratum, e.g., effect, qualities, etc., are always the contained and the substance in which they reside is the container or the substratum.”[35]

In case of saṃyoga, the substance are not necessarily connected in the relation of container and contained. That means there may be the relation of container and contained, but this is not the necessary condition, as in the case of samavāya.

(d) Samavāya is one but the saṃyoga is many.

(e) In saṃyoga, the two related objects are distinctly perceived as two, but in samavāya, although the relata are two, they appear as one

(f) Samavāya is eternal because it has no production and destruction, but saṃyoga is non-eternal.[36]

(g) Samavāya relation is internal but saṃyoga relation is external.

(h) Samavāya is a separate category. But saṃyoga is not a separate category; it is a division of guṇa.

Samavāya is One and Eternal

The Nyāya-Vaiśeṣikas generally accept samavāya as one. Though the substrates where samavāya resides are different, samavāya is the same in all cases. It is Praśastapāda who first established refuting the opponents view that samavāya is one only. The opponents argue that if samavāya is one, then there will be cross-division (saṃkara) among the categories of substance, quality, action etc. the relation of dravya, guṇa and karma with dravyatva, guṇatva and karmatva being one and the same.[37] He refutes this view by the argument that though dravyatva and guṇatva have the same samavāya, yet there is the different potentiality of manifestation (vyaṅgya–vyañjaka–śakti) on account of which there will be a restriction in the relation of the container (ādhāra) and the contained (ādheya).[38] Though samavāya is one, yet there is some restriction for the different ādhāra and ādheya. The genus of substance exists in substance. The genus of guṇa exists in guṇa. The genus of karma exists in karma.[39] Viśvanātha also refers to the view of the opponents and says that it can be contended that since inherence is one, so it will give rise to the notion that air has colour. But this argument is not tenable, for although there is the inherence of colour in air, yet there is no colour in it.[40] The reason is that in the notion of a qualified thing, the knowledge of the relation as well as of the qualifier is necessary. This relation is, therefore, not mere inherence, but the inherence of colour. The inherence of colour is absent in air and as such there is no inconsistence in accepting samavāya as one.

Footnotes and references:


Bhattachārya, J., Bharatiya Darsan, pp.194-195


guṇakriyādiviśiṣṭabuddhiviśeṣaṇaviśeṣyasambandhaviṣayā viśiṣṭabuddhitvāt ḍaṇḍī puruṣaḥ iti viśiṣṭabuddhitvāt ityanumānam. Nyāyasiddhāntamuktāvalī, p.47


samavāyatvaṃ nityasambandhatvam. Ibid


samavāyastveka eva. Tarkasaṃgraha, p. 18


The Philosophy of Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Its Conflict with the Buddhist Dignāga School, p.375.


A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 319


ihedamiti yataḥ kāryakāraṇayoḥ samavāyaḥ. Vaiśeṣikasūtra, 7.2.26


ayuta-siddhānām ādhāryādhārabhūtānāṃ yaḥ sambandha iha pratyaya-hetuḥ sa samavāyaḥ. Vaiśeṣikadarśanam with Praśastapādabhāṣya, p. 289


sāmānyādīnāṃ trayānām api svātmasattvaṃ buddhilakṣaṇatyam akāryatvam asāmānyaviśeṣavattvam nityatvam … Ibid., p.9


yadyapyekaḥ samavāyaḥ sarvatra svatantraḥ tathāpyādhārā-dheyaniyamo’sti. dravyeṣu eva dravyatvaṃ, guneṣveva guṇatvaṃ karmasveva karmatvamiti. Ibid., p.293


pratīti-bhedad bhedo’sti deśa-bhedastu nesyate, tenātra kalpyate vṛttiḥ samavāyaḥ sa ucyate. Nyāyamañjarī, p.235


ayutasiddhayorāśrayāśrsayibhāvaḥ sasamavāyaḥ. Nyāyakandalī, 15


Ibid., p. 14


astitvaṃ svarūpavattvam.abhidheyatvamapi vastunaḥ svarupam eva. bhāvasvarupam avasthābhedena jñeyatvamabhidheyatvaṃ cocyate. Ibid., p.16


teṣāṃ sattvaṃ na sattāyogaḥ. Ibid., p.19


nityasambandhaḥ samavāyaḥ. Saptapadārthī, p. 51


ayutasiddhayoḥ sambandhaḥ samavāyaḥ. Tarkabhāṣā, p.513


ghatādīnāṃ kapālādau dravyeṣu guṇakarmanoḥ/ teṣu jāteśca saṃbandhaḥ samavāyaḥ prakirtitaḥ// Bhāṣāpariccheda p. 13


samavāyatvaṃ nityasambandhatvam. Nyayasiddhāntamuktāvalī, p. 47




na ca svarūpasambandhena siddhasādhanamarthāntaraṃ vā. Ibid., p. 48


nityasaṃbandhaḥ samavāyaḥ. Tarkasaṃgraha, p.61


yayordvayormadhye ekamavinasyadapara’śritamevavatiṣṭhate tāvayutasiddhou. Ibid.




Dīpikā on Tarkasaṃgraha, p. 62


nīlo ghaṭa iti viśiṣṭapratītiviśeṣaṇaviśeṣyasaṃbandhaviṣayā viśiṣṭapratyayatvādaṇḍīti pratyayavaditi samavāyasiddhiḥ. Ibid


samavāyasya pratyakṣa-varṇanaṃ nyāya-matena, vaiśeṣikamate tu samavāyo’ tīndriyaḥ. Tarka-kaumudī, p. 8.


Vide., Gajendragadkar, A.B. and Karmakar, R.D., Tarkasaṃgraha, p.33.


A Primer of Indian Logic, p. 33


The Philosophy of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika and Its Conflict with the Buddhist Dignāga School, pp. 376-378




Tarkasaṃgraha, p. 98


cf. Ibid.


The Philosophy of Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Its Conflict with the Buddhist Dignāga School, p. 379


Sinha, Jadunatha, Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 372


nanu yadyekaḥ samavāyo dravya-guṇa-karmaṇāṃ dravyatva-guṇatva-karmatvādi-viśeṣaṇaiḥ saha saṃbandhaikatvātpadārthasaṃkaraprasaṅga. Vaiśeṣikadarśanam with Praśastapādabhāṣya, p. 293


dravyatvādīnāmapi samavāyaikatvepi vyaṅgyavyañjakaśaktibhedādādhā-rādheyaniyama. Ibid., 294


yadyapyekaḥ samavāyaḥ … ādhārādheyaniyamo’sti … dravyeṣveva dravyatvaṃ, guṇeṣveva guṇatvaṃkarmasvev karmatvamiti. Vaiśeṣikadarśanam with Praśastapādabhāṣya, p. 293


tatra rūpasamavāyasattve’pi rūpa’bhāvāt. Nyāyasiddhāntamuktāvalī, p.49

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