The Concept of Sharira as Prameya

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

This page relates ‘Concept of God’ 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.

Concept of God

The earlier stage of Nyāyaśāstras the theistic learning were not seen. The later Naiyāyikas were elaborately discusses the proof for the existence of God. They believe that God is the efficient cause of the world. He is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the world. He is also the creator of Vedas. God is booked upon as special soul possessing the attributes of omnipotent and omniscient. He is guided by the law of karma representing the unseen power of merits and demerits. In Nyāyasiddhāntamuktāvali Viswanātha established God in anumāna pramāṇa. Udayana’s Nyāyakusumāṃjali is a classic work of the Nyāya proof for the existence of God in nine arguments.

Gaṃgeśa tries to prove the existence of God through Anumāna. By denying śakti (causal power) and sādṛśya (similarity) it shows striking originality which makes the philosophy unique in this field. While talking about God or Soul Nyāyaśāstra is seen dealing with the subject in a psychological way.

Books which were written after Tattvacintāmaṇi borrowed several ideas from Gaṃgeśa. In a way, it can be said that all these books are just commentaries of the main book, Tattvacintāmaṇi, though each one of them has its own way of thinking. Nyāya Kusumāṅjali of Udayanacārya, Vyutpattivāda of Gadādhara Bhaṭṭacārya are a few among the great books which appeared in the field of Navyanyāya. Unlike the first book of Nyāya namely Nyāya Sūtras of Gautama, the books of Navya Nyāya do not deal with the scientific truth of nature. When the means of right knowledge accepted by Naiyāyikas namely Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference), Upamāna (Similarity) and Śabda (Speech) from the main subject of this branch of logical study, in a way, the science can be seen identified with philosophy. As such, one cannot expect more than the philosophical thoughts which are highly depended on Ātma or Soul. Though these books speak of memory, recognition, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, etc, since the bottom of these feelings is nothing but soul, the science becomes confined with the study of soul. Though the four means of right knowledge are studied elaborately in these books, it can be seen the thoughts coming to an end, though they seem to have achieved their aim. It is true that though one cannot expect the scientific way of reasoning in the field of logic.

The first two books of Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika namely Nyāya Sūtras of Gautama and Vaiśeṣika sūtras of Kaṇāda are seen given importance to some kind of scientific thoughts. When the theory of atom attains a place in the closing chapters of Nyāya sūtras, they have much importance in Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣika Sūtras. Śaṃkara, the great philosopher, refutes the theory of atom conveyed by Kaṇāda. He asks Kaṇāda how two atoms can be united to form dvyaṇuka (molecule). This question was arising by taking in to account the conception division of union namely samyoga, samavāya etc. Śaṃkara’s argument was that two things can be united by samyoga only if they have organs apart from them. When atom is said as a unique object having no avayava (organ) how two of them can be united by samyoga. Also they cannot be united by samavāya since two things united by samavāya will become a single one. So the conception of molecule will not exist. But, when the modern science developed and shed light to the minute particles of atoms through microscope, the conception of Kaṇāda regarding molecule was proved to be true. Unfortunately, the great Vaiśeṣika teacher lived in a period when no scientific devices existed. At the same time Śaṃkara’s argument is also true since the union of atoms take place neither by samyoga nor by samavāya. Now the true nature of atom has become visible by which it is clear that there is a nucleus surrounded by proton, neutron and electron. Thus the study of atom has attained its extreme stage when one looks back Kaṇāda, the first teacher of atom, though not properly recognized.

Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika are considered the base for all other darśanas. The Indian soil has a tendency to bend towards the spiritual thoughts from which these two sciences also could not escape. Gautama, while introducing the sixteen categories started with Pramāṇa (the means of right knowledge), says that though the branch of study will attain fulfillment with the study of the first two categories called Pramāṇa and Prameya, the other categories started with saṃśaya were established to attain a specialty for the branch of study different from Vedanta philosophy. Almost all scholars of various darśanas like Sāṅkya, Yoga, Pūrvamīmaṃsa, Uttaramīmaṃsa, etc. are seemed depending on Nyāya to get their arguments to be proved true. In this way, Nyāyaśāstra is a lamp to other Śāstras. At the same time, it is noteworthy to see that the great logicians belonging to both ancient and modern periods did not forget to keep their philosophy having its own ideas in each matter of discussion. So while studying the great books of Nyāya, one can see a peculiar way of thinking on each subject. In this way, the Nyāya philosophy developed accepting and denying the thoughts of other philosophies in its own way. So, sometimes, the same logic can be seen applied to prove two different ways of thought, which one can agree only if he has undertaken a long journey in the path of Nyāya.

It is a fact that ancient Indian scholars were not at all interested in revealing their own History or life style in any way. As a result, in the present century, when the history plays a very important role than any other field of study, the historians find it very difficult to come in to a conclusion regarding the period of ancient Sanskrit scholars. Dr. Satiscandra Vidyā Bhuṣaṇa who wrote the noteworthy book namely ‘A History of Indian Logic’ really owes an appreciation since he has undertaken a tough task. The unavailability of facts makes him to think Akṣapāda Gautama as different from Medhādithi Gautama. When he confirms them as different person, the latest scholars do not agree with him. The same problem arises in deciding the authorship of certain works, the identity of authors and even the antiquity of several authors and poets. Ancient scholars were so selfless that they did justification to the interior matter of the work than proclaiming their own name or their life history. Inspire of having several names of sages ascribed to sūktas in Vedas, scholars yet believe that all the Vedas are told by a single person who should not be other than the great Omnipotent.

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