The Concept of Sharira as Prameya

by Elizabeth T. Jones | 2019 | 42,971 words

This page relates ‘Works on Nyaya’ of the study on the concept of Sharira as Prameya Based on Nyaya (shastra), which represents one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Nyaya philosophy basically represents the “science of reasoning” and primarily deals with epistemology and logic. Sharira (“body”) refers to one of the twelve Prameyas (“objects of valid knowledge”), as defined in the Nyayashastra literature.

Works on Nyāya

The sage Gautama collected these thoughts and wrote the first book of Nyāya called the Nyāya sūtras. This book is the basic of Nyāyaśāstra it includes five chapters in which more than five hundred aphorisms are discussed. Some scholars are of opinion that only the first two chapters were written by Gautama while the others were compiled later. Dr. Satiṣcandra Vidyā Bhūṣana, the author of the famous book ‘A History of Indian Logic’, is also having the same opinion. The reason for thinking so is that the later portions of the Nyāya sūtras are having some resemblances with the Laṃkāvatāra sūtra which was written later. But all scholars do not agree with this opinion of Vidyā Bhūṣana. They say that any book born in the Indian soil will have definitely some common opinions since the origin of all these is the sacred Vedas.

The Nyāya philosophy developed in two ways. One is Prācīna and the other is Navīna or Navyanyāya. Prācīna or the ancient period started with Gautama. In pracīnanyāya gives more importance to prameyas and the languages are very simple. Vidyā Bhūṣana mentions two Gautamas. One is Akṣapāda Gautama and the other is Medhātithi Gautama. According to him Nyāya śāstra in the sense of logic was not known to Akṣapāda Gautama. From Medhātithi onwards this Śāstra attained the name ‘Nyāya Śāstra’. There are some quotations like ‘Medhātitheh Nyāya Śāstra’ which he quotes in support of his opinion.

No new book has been seen written after the compiling of Nyāyasūtras, for a long period. Commentaries on Nyāyasūtras have been written by Vātsyāyana (400 AD). Udyotakara (600 AD) wrote Nyāyavārtika. Vācaspati Miśra (1000 AD) wrote a commentary on Nyāyavārtikatātparyatīka, Udayana’s Nyāyavārtikatātparyatīkapariśuddhi. Among these commentaries that of Vātsyāyana gained much popularity among scholars. Udayana’s (150 AD) Nyāyakusumāñjali and Jayanta Bhatta’s (1000

AD) Nyāyamaṃjari are the important works of this school. Gaṃgeśopādhyaya (1200 AD) was the founder of the Navya Nyāya. His Tattvacintamaṇi is a classical work, which deals with pratyakṣa, anumāna, upamāna and śabda. Vardhamāna (1250 AD) Vasudeva, Rakhunātha, Madhuranatha, Jagadeeśa and Gadadhara are the eminent logicians of this school. The syncretism writers combined with Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika system in to one recognized. Varadarāja’s Tārkikarakṣa, Keśavamiśra’s Tarkabhāṣa, Annambhatta’s Tarkasaṃgraha, Viswanātha’s Bhāṣāparicheda and Siddhānta Muktāvali are important works of syncretic school.

Several commentaries are written on the Nyāya sūtras of Gautama among which that one of Vātsyāyana gained much popularity. Vātsyāyana otherwise known as Pakhila swami lived about 450 AD. His commentary is a regular one and includes all conflicting opinions, additions an inter pollutions deletions etc. His commentary is impartial and helps much to understand the real idea of the original writer.

There are several other commentaries written along with this from time to time which are noted below:


Nyāya-sūtra by Goutama or Akṣapāda (550 BC).


Nyāya-bhāṣya by Vātsyāyana;
Nyāya-vārtika by Udyotakara;
Nyāya-vārtika-tātparaya-tīka by Vācaspatimiśra;
Nyāya-vārtika-tātparaya-tīka-pariśuddhi by Udayanācārya;
Pariśuddhi-prakāśa by Vardhamāna;
Vardhamānendu by Padmanābhamiśra;
Nyāyālaṃkara by Śrikāntha;
Nyāyalaṃkara-vṭtti by Jayanta;
Nyāyamañjari by Jayanta;
Nyāya-vṛtti by Abhayatilakopādhyāya;
Nyāya-vṛtti by Viśvanātha;
Mitabhāṣiṇi-vṛtti by Mahādeva Vedānti;
Nyāya-prakāśa by Keśava Miśra;
Nyaya-bodhini by Govardhana;
Nyāya-sūtra-vākya by Madhuranātha;

Bauddhas have also contributed much to the development of Nyāya philosophy. This was called Bauddha Nyāya though it had much resemblance with the original Nyāya. To mention a few Nagārjuna, Diṅgnāga and Dharmakīrti are the Buddhist monks who have worked in this field. Bauddha Nyāya differed from the original Nyāya only in the fact that they did not accept the authenticity of Vedas. A gradual development can be seen in the field of Nyāya which finally resulted in the emerging of Navya Nyāya.

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