(Sample Material) UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit "Indian Philosophy (The Nyaya-vaisesika Philosophy)"

Sample Material of UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit

Topic: Indian Philosophy (The Nyaya-vaisesika Philosophy)

Criticism of Buddhism and Samkhya from the Nyaya standpoint.

THE Buddhists had upset all common sense convictions of substance and attribute, cause and effect, and permanence of things, on the ground that all collocations are momentary; each group of collocations exhausts itself in giving rise to another group and that to another and so on. But if a col location representing milk generates the collocation of curd it is said to be due to a joint action of the elements forming the cause-collocation and the modus operandi is unintelligible; the elements composing the cause-collocation cannot separately generate the elements composing the effect-collocation, for on such a supposition it becomes hard to maintain the doctrine of momentariness as the individual and separate exercise of in fluence on the part of the cause-elements and their coordination and manifestation as effect cannot but take more than one moment. The supposition that the whole of the effect-collocation is the result of the joint action of the elements of cause-collocation is against our universal uncontradicted experience that specific elements constituting the cause (e.g. the whiteness of milk) are the cause of other corresponding elements of the effect (e.g. the whiteness of the curd); and we could not say that the hardness, blackness, and other properties of the atoms of iron in a lump state should not be regarded as the cause of similar qualities in the iron ball, for this is against the testimony of experience. Moreover there would be no difference between material (updddna, e.g. clay of the jug), instrumental and concomitant causes (nimitta and sahakdri, such as the potter, and the wheel, the stick etc. in forming the jug), for the causes jointly produce the effect, and there was no room for distinguishing the material and the instru mental causes, as such.

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Again at the very moment in which a cause-collocation is brought into being, it cannot exert its influence to produce its effect-collocation. Thus after coming into being it would take the cause-collocation at least another moment to exercise its influence to produce the effect. How can the thing which is destroyed the moment after it is born produce any effect ? The truth is that causal elements remain and when they are properly collocated the effect is produced. Ordinary experience also shows that we perceive things as existing from a past time. The past time is perceived by us as past, the present as present and the future as future and things are perceived as existing from a past time on wards. The Samkhya assumption that effects are but the actualized states of the potential cause, and that the causal entity holds within it all the future series of effects, and that thus the effect is already existent even before the causal movement for the pro duction of the effect, is also baseless. Samkhya says that the oil was already existent in the sesamum and not in the stone, and that it is thus that oil can be got from sesamum and not from the stone. The action of the instrumental cause with them consists only in actualizing or manifesting what was already existent in a potential form in the cause. This is all nonsense. A lump of clay is called the cause and the jug the effect ; of what good is it to say that the jug exists in the clay since with clay we can never carry water ? A jug is made out of clay, but clay is not a jug. What is meant by saying that the jug was unmanifested or was in a potential state before, and that it has now become manifest or actual ? What does potential state mean ? The potential state of the jug is not the same as its actual state; thus the actual state of the jug must be admitted as non-existent before. If it is meant that the jug is made up of the same parts (the atoms) of which the clay is made up, of course we admit it, but this does not mean that the jug was existent in the atoms of the lump of clay. The potency inherent in the clay by virtue of which it can expose itself to the influence of other agents, such as the potter, for being transformed into a jug is not the same as the effect, the jug. Had it been so, then we should rather have said that the jug came out of the jug. The assumption of Samkhya that the substance and attribute have the same reality is also against all experience, for we all perceive that movement and attribute belong to substance and not to attribute. Again Samkhya holds a preposterous doctrine that buddhi is different from intelligence. It is absolutely unmeaning to call buddhi non- intelligent. Again what is the good of all this fictitious fuss that the qualities of buddhi are reflected on purusa and then again on buddhi. Evidently in all our experience we find that the soul (dtman) knows, feels and wills, and it is difficult to understand why Samkhya does not accept this patent fact and declare that know ledge, feeling, and willing, all belonged to buddhi. Then again in order to explain experience it brought forth a theory of double reflection. Again Samkhya prakrti is non-intelligent, and where is the guarantee that she (prakrti) will not bind the wise again and will emancipate him once for all ? Why did the purusa be come bound down ? Prakrti is being utilized for enjoyment by the infinite number of purusas, and she is no delicate girl (as Samkhya supposes) who will leave the presence of the purusa ashamed as soon as her real nature is discovered. Again pleasure (snkha), sorrow (duhkhd) and a blinding feeling through ignorance (moha) are but the feeling-experiences of the soul, and with what impudence could Samkhya think of these as material substances? Again their cosmology of a mahat, ahamkara, the tanmatras, is all a series of assumptions never testified by experience nor by reason. They are all a series of hopeless and foolish blunders. The phenomena of experience thus call for a new careful recon struction in the light of reason and experience such as cannot be found in other systems.

Nyaya and Vaisesika sutras

It is very probable that the earliest beginnings of Nyaya are to be found in the disputations and debates amongst scholars trying to find out the right meanings of the Vedic texts for use in sacrifices and also in those disputations which took place be tween the adherents of different schools of thought trying to defeat one another. I suppose that such disputations occurred in the days of the Upanisads, and the art of disputation was regarded even then as a subject of study, and it probably passed then by the name vi vdkovdkya. Mr Bodas has pointed out that Apastamba who according to Buhler lived before the third century B.C. used the word Nyaya in the sense of Mimamsa. The word Nyaya derived from the root and is sometimes explained as that by which sentences and words could be interpreted as having one particular meaning and not another, and on the strength of this even Vedic accents of words (which indicate the meaning of compound words by pointing out the particular kind of compound in which the words entered into combination) were called Nyaya 1 . Prof. Jacobi on the strength of Kautilya s enumeration of the vidyd (sciences) as Anvlksikl (the science of testing the perceptual and scriptural knowledge by further scrutiny), trayi (the three Vedas), vdrttd (the sciences of agriculture, cattle keeping etc.), and dandantti (polity), and the enumeration of the philosophies as Samkhya, Yoga, Lokayata and Anvlksikl, supposes that the Nyaya sutra was not in existence in Kautilya s time 300 B.C.) 2 . Kautilya s reference to Nyaya as Anvlksikl only suggests that the word Nyaya was not a familiar name for Anvlksikl in Kautilya s time. He seems to misunderstand Vatsyayana in thinking that Vatsyayana distinguishes Nyaya from the Anvlksikl in holding that while the latter only means the science of logic the former means logic as well as metaphysics. What appears from Vatsyayana s statement in Nyaya sutra I. i. I is this that he points out that the science which was known in his time as Nyaya was the same as was referred to as Anvlksikl by Kautilya. He distinctly identifies Nyayavidya with Anvlksikl, but justifies the separate enumeration of certain logical categories such as samsaya (doubt) etc., though these were already contained within the first two terms pratndna (means of cognition) and prameya (objects of cognition), by holding that unless these its special and separate branches (prthakprastkdna) were treated, Nyayavidya would simply become metaphysics (adhydtmavidya) like the Upanisads. The old meaning of Nyaya as the means of de termining the right meaning or the right thing is also agreed upon by Vatsyayana and is sanctioned by Vacaspati in his Nydyavdrt- tikatdtparyatlkd I. i. i). He compares the meaning of the word Nyaya (pramdnairarthapariksanam to scrutinize an object by means of logical proof) with the etymological meaning of the word an vlksikl (to scrutinize anything after it has been known by percep tion and scriptures). Vatsyayana of course points out that so far as this logical side of Nyaya is concerned it has the widest scope for itself as it includes all beings, all their actions, and all the sciences 1 . He quotes Kautilya to show that in this capacity Nyaya is like light illumining all sciences and is the means of all works. In its capacity as dealing with the truths of metaphysics it may show the way to salvation. I do not dispute Prof. Jacobi s main point that the metaphysical portion of the work was a later addition, for this seems to me to be a very probable view. In fact Vatsyayana him self designates the logical portion as a prthakprasthana (separate branch). But I do not find that any statement of Vatsyayana or Kautilya can justify us in concluding that this addition was made after Kautilya. Vatsyayana has no doubt put more stress on the importance of the logical side of the work, but the reason of that seems to be quite obvious, for the importance of metaphysics or adhydtmavidyd was acknowledged by all. But the importance of the mere logical side would not appeal to most people. None of the dharmaSastras (religious scriptures) or the Vedas would lend any support to It, and Vatsyayana had to seek the support of Kautilya in the matter as the last resource. The fact that Kau tilya was not satisfied by counting Anvlksikl as one of the four vidyas but also named it as one of the philosophies side by side with Samkhya seems to lead to the presumption that probably even in Kautilya s time Nyaya was composed of two branches, one as adhyatmavidya and another as a science of logic or rather of debate. This combination is on the face of it loose and external, and it is not improbable that the metaphysical portion was added to increase the popularity of the logical part, which by itself might not attract sufficient attention. Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasada astri in an article in the Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society 1905 says that as Vacaspati made two attempts to collect the Nyaya sutras, one as Nydyasuci and the other as Nydyasutroddhdra, it seems that even in Vacaspati s time he was not certain as to the authenticity of many of the Nyaya sutras. He further points out that there are unmistakable signs that many of the sutras were interpolated, and relates the Buddhist tradition from China and Japan that Mirok mingled Nyaya and Yoga. He also thinks that the sutras underwent two additions, one at the hands of some Buddhists and another at the hands of some Hindu who put in Hindu arguments against the Buddhist ones. These suggestions of this learned scholar seem to be very probable, but we have no clue by which we can ascertain the time when such additions were made.

The fact that there are unmistakable proofs of the interpolation of many of the sutras makes the fixing of the date of the original part of the Nyaya sutras still more diffi cult, for the Buddhist references can hardly be of any help, and Prof. Jacobi s attempt to fix the date of the Nydya sutras. on the basis of references to Sunyavada naturally loses its value, except on the supposition that all references to Sunyavada must be later than Nagarjuna, which is not correct, since the Mahdydna sutras written before Nagarjuna also held the Sunyavada doctrine.

The late Dr S. C. Vidyabhusana in J.R.A.S. 1918 thinks that the earlier part of Nyaya was written by Gautama about 550 B.C. whereas the Nydya sutras of Aksapada were written about 1 50 A.D. and says that the use of the word Nyaya in the sense of logic in Mahdbhdrata I. I. 67, I. 70. 42-51, must be regarded as interpolations. He, however, does not give any reasons in support of his assumption. It appears from his treatment of the subject that the fixing of the date of Aksapada was made to fit in somehow with his idea that Aksapada wrote his Nydya sutras under the influence of Aristotle a supposition which does not require serious refutation, at least so far as Dr Vidyabhusana has proved it. Thus after all this discussion we have not advanced a step towards the ascertainment of the date of the original part of the Nyaya. Goldstiicker says that both Patafljali (140 B.C.) and Katyayana (fourth century B.C.) knew the Nydya sutras*. We know that Kautilya knew the Nyaya in some form as Anvlksikl in 300 B.C., and on the strength of this we may venture to say that the Nyaya existed in some form as early as the fourth century B.C. But there are other reasons which lead me to think that at least some of the present sutras were written some time in the second century A.D. Bodas points out that Badarayana s sutras make allusions to the VaiSesika doctrines and not to Nyaya. On this ground he thinks that Vaisesika sutras were written be fore Badarayana s Brahma-sutras, whereas the Nydya sutras were written later. Candrakanta Tarkalamkara also contends in his edition of Vateesika that the Vaisesika sutras were earlier than the Nyaya. It seems to me to be perfectly certain that the Vaisesika sutras were written before Caraka (80 A.D.) ; for he not only quotes one of the Vaisesika sutras, but the whole foundation of his medical physics is based on the Vaisesika physics 1 . The Lankdvatara sutra (which as it was quoted by Asvaghosa is earlier than 80 A.D.) also makes allusions to the atomic doctrine. There are other weightier grounds, as we shall see later on, for supposing that the Vaisesika sutras are probably pre-Buddhistic.

It is certain that even the logical part of the present Nyaya sutras was preceded by previous speculations on the subject by thinkers of other schools. Thus in commenting on I. i. 32 in which the sutra states that a syllogism consists of five premisses (avayava) Vatsyayana says that this sutra was written to refute the views of those who held that there should be ten premisses. The Vaisesika sutras also give us some of the earliest types of inference, which do not show any acquaintance with the technic of the Nyaya doctrine of inference.

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