The Concept of Sharira as Prameya

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

This page relates ‘Chapter 6: Conclusion’ 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.

Chapter 6: Conclusion

All six schools of thought Nyāya is an ancient orthodox school of Indian philosophy. Goutama is the founder of this system. The goal of Nyāya is liberation through true knowledge of ultimate reality. Nyāya is chiefly concerned with the canons of correct thinking as valid reasoning as methodological tools for acquiring knowledge of reality. So Nyāya is called Tarkaśāstra-the science of reasoning. Nyāya as a term is derived from the root ‘ni’ which means to leads up to right knowledge. The word Nyāya also signifies right or justice. So it is called the science of right judgement. It is also called Hetuvidya, Pramāṇaśāstra, Ānvīkṣikī hetu-vidya etc.

Gautama’s Nyāya sūtra is the basic text of this system. It deals with the sixteen philosophical topics called padārthas. He declares the right knowledge of sixteen categories leads to the ultimate good. Out of sixteen padarthas, Prameya or the object of right knowledge occupies a rather subordinate position in the Nyāyasūtra, it seems to be directly connected with the study of the object that is knowable. In Nyāyaśāstra constituting twelve cognizable of the category of prameya. They are soul, body, senses, object of sense, intelligent, mind, activity, faults, transmigration, fruits pain and release. The first category Pramāṇa or instrument of valid knowledge is invariably connected with prameya or the object of knowledge without pramāṇa there is no cognition of an object. Release can be acquired the true knowledge of twelve prameyas and the realization of soul. So prameya give important place.

Today the scientists give more importance to know the hidden truth mostly concerned with the external world than with internal. But may be due to the lack of scientific devices, the ancient thinkers of India indulged more in the studies of mind that they believed eternal and liable to change according to the situation over which nobody could have any control.

Investigations proceeded further took them to realize the existence of soul, the sole controller of the mind on which the other things including the body are attached. The Vedas, often called, ‘apauruṣeya’ meaning ‘told by some super human, contain the answer for all questions to be arise in the mind of thinkers. Almost all darśanas did sprout in this soil, depending on the Vedas either directly or indirectly.

Realizing the importance of something is different from indulging in the study of such objects realized. Gautama, the worshipped author of the Nyāyasūtras, listed in his text what the objects are to be known. This he called ‘prameya’ and included in it twelve such objects starting with soul. Body comes second in importance.

There are evidences to show that the studies on the interrelationship between the body and the mind took place in India from earlier times. As for Āyurveda the body and the mind are two separate entities. Āyurveda which minded integration more than separation allowed their studies to grow keeping soul at the position of the nucleus. They did not hesitate to proclaim that the human body is a complex integration of the body, mind and soul. The interest of the Āyurvedic seers lied in this subject due to the fact that their sole ambition was to keep health free from diseases.

The Nyāya very may promptly found out the importance of the organs to which the combination of mind is unavoidable to procure knowledge. They proceeded further in this way of investigation so as to find out the fact that the connection of the soul with the external objects is restricted by a mediator in the form of manas (mind), that at a time, would not mingle with more than one organ. In the Nyāyasūtras, Gautama uses this principle to prove the existence of mind or manas.

Both the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣikas believe that the enjoyment of pleasure and pain for soul is carried out through body. For them, though the knowledge is derived through the sense organs combined with the mind, the different types of knowledge are harmonized in the consciousness letting the message-bearers to be unconscious. Hence the organs are merely the instruments of knowledge.

Before arriving to knowledge, the Nyāya. Vaiśeṣikas observe the series of processes enduring inside the body. According to it, the soul first unites with the mind, mind with the organs, and finally the organs with the objects. The role of body in the external and the internal affairs cannot be ignored. The performance of mind which is one for each body is confined to the body while the sense organs which are eternally projected act accordingly.

In a way, the basic problem underlying all darśanas is regarding the relationship occurring between the mind and the body. In this, the Sāṅkhyas hold the view that this sort of origination is indebted to the interaction that occurred between the prakṛti (matter) and puruṣa (soul). According to them, both prakṛti and puruṣa have separate entity. They visualize the prakṛti as having three types of guṇas (qualities) which are sattva (goodness), rajas (activity) and tamas (darkness). They place sattva in mind and tamas in physical state.

Among the nine substances accepted by the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣikas, the first three, pṛthvī (earth) , ap (water) and tejas (light) are visible while the other six substances are vāyu (air), ākāśa (ether), kāla (time), dik (corner) , ātma (soul) and manas (mind) are invisible, but inferable through reasons. Manas (mind) which plays a vital role throughout the human-life is given the form of an atom by the NyāyaVaiśeṣikas, while the Pūrvamīmāṃsakas want to describe it in terms of vibhu (all pervasive). On one of the arguments, the Naiyāyikas find fault with the theory of Mīmāṃsakas regarding the measure of mind.

If, they argue the mind all pervasive, the relation of it with the sensual organs will be permanent as a result of which there is the danger of all sorts of knowledge occurring at all time. The phenomenon that confirms a single type of knowledge being arrived at a time due to the interaction of mind with the corresponding sensual-organ is a proof for the atomic state of the mind. Besides this, Gautama’s sūtra that reads, ‘yugapatjñānānutpattihimanasoliṅgam, (the fact that all sorts of knowledge do not occur simultaneously) very well suits to the occasion since it is a definite proof for the microscopic nature of mind.

The Yoga philosophy, propounded by Jaimini holds the view that the functions of the body and the mind are inter related. A healthy body alone can have a healthy mind. To prove the interaction between the body and the mind they cite the example of fear, though related more to mind, is expressed by tumbling, sweating, etc., which happen on body.

The Vedāntiṃs have more observances on this. For them, both the mind and the body are material. They consider it resulting from Māya (illusion). The mind is subtle while the body is gross. In the Bhagavadgīta which is a crude form of the sacred Upaniṣads there are explanations regarding the nature of food to be consumed to increase sāttvika-bhāva (the nature of goodness).

Body is earthen? There is a discussion regarding the origination of human body, According to the Vedāntiṃs, the human body in pāñcabhautika (made of five elements). The presence of the quality of each element made them to take such a decision. It is true that there is the presence of gandha (odour) the quality of earth kledal (moisture), the quality of water, colour or form, the quality of tejas, touch the quality of air, and sound, the quality of ether. It is already proved that each element possesses a quality of its own to be observed by each sense organ, which has also sprung from each element.

The Vaiśeṣikas for whom the human body is earthly, had to prove the views of the opponents faulty through reasons. One of the reasons put forth in favor of their views is that the conjunctionsamyoga taking place between visible objects would be perceivable as the conjunction formed between a book and hand when the former is at hand. But the conjunction of air and a tree is not visible owing to the invisibility of the former, air. From this it is tried to prove that when a visible and an invisible object undergo combination the resulted conjunction would be invisible. In accepting the human body as a combination of the five elements, as the Vedāntiṃs claim, there in the possibility of its going invisible since among the five elements, the last two vāyu (air) and ākāśa (ether) are not perceivable. Hence their combination with the first three would beget no perceivable object.

On the way of refutation, the Vaiśeṣikas reject the possibility of its being the combination of three elements, pṛthvī (earth), jala (water) and tejas (light) by fetching the benefit of their visibility. For this, they find the reason that no beginnings would be noted among the elements which are dissimilar in nature. It is obviously known that the three elements, viz. earth, water and light have separate entity that would prevent them from begetting a common issue like a human body.

The introductory chapter deals with origin and development of Nyāyaśāstra, the important texts and commentaries. It is primarily concerned with epistemology and logic. It also deals with the nature of world, soul, psychology, and the sources of knowledge perception, inference, comparison and testimony. The Nyāya system has definitely enhanced Indian philosophy through the discussion of categories such as samaśaya and prayojana etc. It has given to Indian philosophy robust system of logic without which no philosophy can make any programs.

The second chapter discusses concept of prameyas. It means the object of valid knowledge. All objects are known by pramāta, pramāṇa, prameya and pramiti. Paramāta means one who attains true knowledge and the valid knowledge attained valid through valid means of knowledge is pramiti. All the orthodox systems of Indian philosophies aim at salvation. It can be attain only through right knowledge of objects that objects to be known as prameya. All the objects can be included in prameyas. So prameya is an important category in Nyāyaśāstra. In this chapter discusses prameyas in other Indian Philosophies like Sañkhya, Yoga, Vaiśeṣika, Vedānta etc.

The third and fourth chapter discusses prameya in Nyāyaśāstra. Prameya mean the object of right knowledge. In this śāstra twelve prameyas. The knowledge of prameyas is an inevitable for attain release. Soul, body, senses, object, intellect, mind, activity, faults, rebirth, fruit and apavarga are twelve prameyas. All are directly related to apavarga. In this chapter explained the prameyas in detailed.

According to Nyāya system dukhajanmapravṛttidoṣa middhyāñjnānanām uttarottarāpāye tadanantharāpayad Apavarga. A person by the true knowledge of sixteen categories is able to remove his apprehension. When this is done, his faults, affection, aversion, stupidly are disappearing. He is then no longer subject to any activity and consequently freed from transmigration and pains. This is the way to reach Apavarga. Ātma is considered as the most important among the objects of knowledge. It is seer of all the experience of all the all, knower, the all reached. Body or śarīra in the field of souls experience, the acquisition or avoidance of an object that taken place in the śarīra. Senses are the instruments of the experience, artha means indriyārthas, and it is the powers of smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing. Buddhi plays a very important role in the science of logic as in all other branches of study. Unlike the Naiyāyikas other thinkers do not consider intellect as a special one. Some identify this with mind. According to the Vedādiṃs the active part of Intellect is mind. So mind became a part of intellect. So Nyāyayikas give separate entity for both buddhi and mana.

The fourth chapter discusses other prameyas mind activity fault re-birth, fruit, pain and release. According to Nyāya mana is the form of an atom. It is not at all pervading manas is an inner instrument and is eternal. Cognition does not arise from the contact of a sense organ with its objects but also with the conjunction of the mind. Activity is the start or action of the body, speech and mind. Three kinds of activity vocal, mental and bodily. Doṣa have the characteristic of causing activity. Affection, aversion and stupidity are doṣas. Pretyābhava in the series of births and deaths. Birth is the connection of soul with body and death is the souls separation from them. Fruit is the thing produced by activity and faults. One can enjoy the result of his deeds either in the form of pleasure or in the form of sorrow only when he bears a body. Pain has the characteristic of causing uneasiness. Pain plays a very important role almost in all darśanas. All the six orthodox systems mainly advise to attain mokṣa, merely because there are only sufferings in the world. Naiyāyikas define sorrow as suffering. They accept twenty one dukkhas or pains.

The main principle of Nyāyaśāstra is to attain liberation or apavarga. In this śāstra it is in a negative way as the absolute deliverance from pain. Release can be acquired only true knowledge and realization of the self. With the realization man became free from all kelśās and the self does not adopt another body. Final release consists in absolute freedom from all pains. Birth is pain. Pain, birth, activity, faults and misapprehension on the successive annihilation of these in the reverse order there follows release. A person by the true knowledge of sixteen categories is able to remove his misapprehension (then his faults, affection aversion and stupidity in disappear). It dissolves the delusive identification of the self with the mind, body complex the doṣas causing us to like and dislike a thing. When this disappears there will no longer be any desire. He is no longer subject to any activity. Cessation from action will break the eternal bond of karma. This will then free us from rebirth and pain. The cause of all sorrow and suffering and enable us to achieve mokṣa the supreme end of life. This can be attained by thoroughly studying and understanding the topics presented in the Nyāyastūra.

The fifth chapter is Śarīra in Nyāyaśāstra. This chapter discusses the prospects of definition given to sarīra (body), its nature, its treatment in other philosophies, its difference from ātma (soul) indriyas (sense organs) manas (mind) etc. Sarīra or body is an object of real knowledge according to Gautama. Synonyms of body are Sarīra, Kāya and deha. Sarīra is derived from the root ‘sir’ the means to be rendered to pieces. Gautama defines the body as the locus of gestures (ceṣṭa) sense organs (indriyas) pleasure and pain (viṣaya). The self desires to obtain or discard an object to it perform an action (ceṣṭa). Both pain and pleasures are come under the enjoyments. Śarīra is described as anthyāvayavi (a composite whole) since its does not produced another composite whole. It is the seat of all actions. According to Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika system the human body is earthily. Philosophers like Sāñkhyas, Vedāntiṃs, etc. Find the human body as pāṃcabhautika (made of five elements). It is proved earthly by Nyāya Vaiśeṣika as the inherent cause is prthvi. According to Vātsyāyana the body is the field of the souls experiences. It is the seat of the senses the field of the activity of the soul, mind and experience of pressure, pain and cognition. The Nyāya declines to admit pāṃcabhautika nature of the body as combination of five physical elements.

According to Gautama, the body comes in to being because of the function of the stock of actions performed in pervious birth. The actions are of two kinds, good and bad. Good actions produce merit in the self and the bad actions produce demerit. Merit produces happiness and demerits produce pain. Actions may be performed over many lives; their consequences of actions performed over many lives must belong to the self which survives bodily death. Hence the body that one gets in this life is determined by his self. The body is composed of material elements. The adṛṣṭa determining cause of the body may be shown by the fact that every union of the father and the mother does not result in the conception. Gautama also holds that not merely the body is determined relation of the body with the self. Because of this intimate connection of the body and the soul the pleasure and the pain which the self enjoys or suffers is determined by bodily states.

In Nyāya sūtra explains the present body has been composed of earth endowed with the fruits of merits and demerits of our previous life. Vātsyāyana again explains the previous action done by the person through the activity of speech, mind and body and the fruits of these merits and demerits, the co-ordination with the soul and five gross elements, cause the origin of the body. Again he says that body is produced from the seeds that is from the mixture of fathers karaman and mother karman of the personality himself and the karma of presents. The commentator further explained the pregnancy happens only by adṛṣṭa and has a new baby born he again explained the body has so much complicated structure and he described the formation of a baby the internal organs formed mouth, throat, chest, stomach, skin, vain,wind bile etc.

Cārvaka gives more importance to body. According to them there is no ātma. They deny the existence of ātma. They nourish the body to enjoy the passions of the World and also spend their life by consuming tasty food even with borrowed money. They did not believe in the result of karma, so they say once dead there is no question of coming again. Vedāntiṃs also accept the importance of body. They had to admit that one can do enquires of soul only through a healthy body. So in both ways the body becomes important which made the author of Nyāya sūtra to unfold the secrets of human body.

The sixth chapter is conclusion. Nyāya philosophy considers body is stand for the shape of living being. Gesture senses, sentiments abide in it. It is born and perishable. It is produced by the cause of adṛṣṭa. Some persons are found healthy while others are unhealthy, some are beautiful some are rich, some are poor. Inequality in the formation of the body is due to the cause of adṛṣṭa. Sarīra (body) plays an important role in modern world also. All the objects in the world come under prameya among which body plays an important role in human life. The treatments of body in different systems are informative as well as interesting.

Body is an important prameya in Nyāyaśāstra soul, senses object of senses, buddhi, mind activity faults, Re–birth, fruit, pain these prameyas are also connected with the body. Senses, soul, actions are abided in the body. No connection between body and soul desire aversion pleasure, pain, etc are not known. Three types of activities, faults, fruits that pleasure and pain is inevitable for the connection of body. Pain is also cognize our body. All human beings are longing a good life it can be attained by thoroughly studying and understanding the four topics presented in the Nyāyaśātra that is the thing to be avoided (dukkha), its cause (desire, attachment and ignorance), its solution (absolute avoidance) and the means of such avoidance. The true knowledge of things as they really are. This is the peculiarity of Nyāyaśāstra.

In India, the philosophical movement was highly influenced by the canons whose vision strengthened the main aspect of the philosophy of the country. In that great endeavor, the philosophers of noble view allowed to a certain extent the revolutionary thinkers like Cārvakas, Bauddhas and Jainas also to put saddle on wrong horse for unknown reasons. In the article, it is tried to bring out the thoughts prevailed on those days regarding the second subject of thought, namely body. While analyzing the core aspect of the subject, all those connected with it also are taken for discussion.

What is body? How it is made? The varying thoughts prevailed regarding it in each system of thought, etc., are discussed giving equal importance. In the present materialistic world some of those thoughts would appear irrelevant. Even then one cannot but appreciate the effort taken by those ancient seers in bringing out more or less all the facts relating to the human body.

In the bonafide teaching of the Vedāntiṃs, Brahma sathyam, jagat mithya, jīvo brahmaiva nāparā the reality is God alone, the world is a myth, the body is also included in the jagat. But no thinker ever advised to ignore it since all practices including those for emancipation could not be conducted without depending on body why not this be remembered at this stage, the great saying of Mahākavi Kālidasa in his Kumāra Sambhava, ‘śarīram ādyam khalu dharmasādhanam’, ‘it is the body which is the primary instrument of an individual to carryout his/her sacred rites’.

In the celebrated Bhāṣya of Brahmasūtras Ācārya Śaṃkara mentions the text as ‘Śārīrikamīmaṃsa. When the soul itself resides in the body, its importance can be connected without doubt. The Āyurvediṃs clearly realized its importance and hence the ways to protect it from diseases have been made by them the main topic of study.

For all the functions of the soul, the body acts as the mediator. May be this awareness the reason for Cārvakas considering it alone the most important one for which they advice,‘Ṛṇaṃkṛtyaghṛtampibe tbhasmībhūtasyadhehasya punarāgamanaṃkutaha?’ consume ghee even by debiting, once the body is turned to ashes, there is no question of is returning, at any cause.

It is a matter of fact that from the Cārvākas to the Vedāntiṃs, the body is the only element that goes not without mentioning. As among the eight accepted pramāṇas, pratykṣa alone draws the attraction of all, the body, the second subject of investigation included in the prameya, padārthas, knowable categories, deserves a major note.

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