Author Topic: Nayyaayika's objection: pramaaNam for Iswara is anumaanam  (Read 489 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Nayyaayika's objection: pramaaNam for Iswara is anumaanam
« on: February 26, 2015, 12:01:07 PM »
Nayyaayika's objection: pramaaNam for Iswara is anumaanam


      After the conclusion he enters into another discussion by introducing a puurvapaksha or objection from nayyayika -s (nyaaya philosophers). Because of its importance we will discuss that aspect here.

      The first suutra says that we have to do Brahman inquiry. This can be done only after it is established that there is something called Brahman. To establish Brahman, it was said that - lakshaNa pramaaNaabhyaam vastu siddhiH - we need a lakshaNam or a definition and pramaaNa and means of knowing it. The second suutra provides that lakshaNa for Brahman and the third suutra will provide pramaaNa required. In the third suutra it is said that the pramaaNam for Brahman is shaastram - shaastra yonitvaat. Now nayyaayika comes up with a suggestion. He says why cannot one take the second suutra itself as a pramaaNam for Brahman also. According to him, the second suutra defines Brahman or Iswara as jagat kaaraNam, cause for the world. Since jagat kaaraNam is Brahman, conversely jagat is kaaryam of Brahman. That is if Brahman or Iswara is defined as the cause or kaaraNam, then the world is the effect or kaaryam of Iswara (nayyayika-s use Iswara instead of Brahman). Hence naayayika-s say that the invisible Iswara can be inferred from the visible world just as the invisible fire can be inferred from the visible smoke. Hence nayyayika-s say the pramaaNam for Iswara can be simply anumaanam or inference or logic. This anumaanam is popularly known in tarka shaastra as - kaarya li~Ngaka anumaanam - the inference of invisible kaaraNam or cause from visible kaaryam, or effect. From this nayyayika arrives at a conclusion that shaastra pramaaNam is not required to prove the existence of Iswara. Logic itself can do the job without the need of shaastra. Generally it is understood that if direct perception, pratyaksha, can establish an object, then we do not need logic. Likewise, if pratyaksha cannot but logic can do the job, then we do not need the next one, shabda pramaaNa to establish the object. Hence nayyaayika -s argue that there is no need for shaastra pramaaNa to establish Iswara.

      Advaitin as well as other vedantins would not agree for that. Iswara cannot be established by pure logic without the help of shaastram. There is a radical difference between taarkika and the vedantin. For taarkika the logic is the primary means of knowledge with regard to Iswara and shaastra is only of secondary importance while for Vedantin it is the other way around (see Notes I for reference). We will analyze this in detail since the relative roles of shaastra pramaaNa versus anumaana pramaaNa will be established from the point of two different philosophies, aastika -s vs. naastika -s.

      nayyayika-s argue that we do not need shaastra to prove the existence of the Iswara. Just as when we see a person, even though we do not know any thing about his parents, we know that he must have parents.

      The very presence of an effect presupposes the existence of the cause. Hence if there is a product there must be a producer whose existence I can infer. Since the world or jagat is seen, there must be a creator, Iswara. Thus by inference or anumaana, I can know the existence of Iswara without the need of shaastra -s. Hence for establishing Iswara or Brahman, anumaanam can serve as pramaaNam and shaastram is not required - this is nayyaayika's argument.

      Shankara says it is not so. The second suutra does not provide anumaana pramaaNam for brahma siddhi or iishwara sidhhi. Shankara gives a simple reason for this, but the subcommentators provide additional reasons. The argument is as follows. Vyasacharya does not propound a new philosophy by using his reasoning power. This is in contrast to many of darshanams (see Ch.I-for details) where the basis of their new philosophy is the or anumaana pramaaNa. These include saa~Nkhya, yoga, nyaaya, vaisheshhika, etc. all of which propound new philosophies primarily based on tarka or anumaanam; and Shankara calls all of them together as taarkika -s. They accept the shruti pramaaNam only as subservient to anumaaNa. Uniqueness of Brahmasutra is Vyasacharya does not establish the philosophy through reasoning. He uses reasoning not to propound a new philosophy but only to derive a cogent systematic philosophy of the Vedas. Hence every suutra has got one or many Vedanta vaakyam -s or vishhaya vaakyam -s as its basis. If one claims that the second suutra establishes Iswara by anumaana pramaaNa then the very purpose of Brahasuutra is defeated. Hence Shankara uses a beautiful line which is often quoted and which was provided in Ch. I - vedaanta vaakya kusuma grathanaarthatvaat suutraaNaam - every suutra is providing an anumaaNam or reasoning alright but this reasoning is not an independent anumaanam. It is used only to bring out the Vedantic teaching in cogent form. It is like a thread to create a necklace or garland of the flowers of vedaanta vaakyam -s. Here the garland is the vedaanta darshanam and the flowers are the veda vaakyam -s.

      The tarka - thread is only hiding behind the flowers as subservient factor and has no independent utility other than tying the flowers together to form a beautiful garland of cogent vedantic philosophy.

      Hence the second suutra does not provide an independent anumaana pramaaNa but it is there to analyze the vedaanta vaakyam quoted before: "etova imaani bhuutaani jaayante...." to provide lakshaNa suutra but not pramaaNa suutra. 

      This is the simpler answer Shankara gives. The subcommentators provide further arguments.

      It is clear from their puurvapaksha, nayyaayika -s believe that Iswara can be logically established. Vedantins vehemently disagree with nayyayika -s in this aspect. Vedantins strongly believe that Iswara or Brahman is revealed through shaastra alone.

      For Vedantins, Iswara that is revealed through shaastra can be assimilated through logic. In the discussions that follow we will see that nayaayika -s use anumaana pramaaNam to establish Iswara and Vedantins take the position like that of DMK politicians in Madras to show that their logic is defective.

      Now nayyayika -s arguments: They deduce Iswara through three anumaanam -s or logical statements. (See Ch. II for discussion of anumaana pramaaNa.) 1. kshitya~Nkuradhikam (or jagat) sakartR^ikam, kaaryatvaat, ghaTavat. - That is, the world must have a creator, because it is an effect or product like a pot. The vyaapti vaakyam for this is - yat yat kaaryam tat tat sakartR^ikam, that is, whatever is product, it must have been created (by a creator). From this anumaanam, they deduce first that there is a creator. 2. The second anumaana vaakyam is, jagat kartaa iishvaraH, jiiva bhinnatve sati chetanatvaat, vyatirekeNa kulaalavat. In this anumaanam, nayyayika establishes that the creator must be Iswara alone, because no jiiva can create this world and since the creator has to be an intelligent or conscious being. Since there are only three entities, jiiva, jagat and iishvara, conscious intelligent being other than jiiva is only Iswara, and hence the creator of this world has to be Iswara. This is called paarisheshha nyaaya, the logic by elimination and residue. It is unlike a pot-maker, since like example cannot be given as it is one of a kind. The vyaapti vaakyam is yat jiiva bhinnatve sati chetanam tat iishvaraH - whatever is conscious being other than jiiva that must be IswaraH. 3. The third anumaana vaakyam is - iishvaraH sarva-j~naH sarva-kartR^itvaat vyatirekeNa kulaalavat - that is IswaraH is omniscient since he is a creator of everything unlike alpa-j~na kulaalaH or our good old pot maker who has knowledge of only how to make a pot. The vyaapti vaakyam is yatra sarva kartR^itvam tatra sarva-j~natvam api bhavati. This is called lakshaNa li~Ngaka anumaanam. Thus nayyayika logically establishes sarva-j~na iishvaraH, omniscient Lord. Therefore he argues that existence of Iswara can be established logically and we do not need Vedas to do that. A modern day rational intellect is more happy with a nayyayika than a Vedantin who relies on shaastra which requires a faith.

      Vedantin claims all these anumaana vaakyam -s or logical statements are defective. Let us examine the first anumaanam - jagat sakartR^ikam, kaaryatvaat, ghaTavat - the world is a creation because it is a product, like a pot. For this nayyayika uses a vyaapti j~naanam - yat yat kaaryam sakartR^ikam, wherever there is product there must be a creator - example is like a pot. Every anumaana vaakyam must require a vyaapti and this vyaapti vaakyam (statement expressing concomitant relationship between hetu and saadhya - see Ch. II) is derived from pratyaksha pramaaNa only. anumaanam requires vyaapti j~naanam and vyaapti j~naanam is established by pratyaksha pramaaNam alone. If vyaapti j~naanam is established by another anumaanam then that second anumaanam requires another vyaapti and this leads to infinite regress problem. It cannot be by shaastram either, since nayyaayika -s have already rejected shaastra pramaaNam.

      Like the example we gave in Ch. II - yatra yatra dhuumaH tatra tatra agniH - this vyaapti j~naanam is arrived only by pratyaksha pramaaNam only - or by direct observation. vyaapti arrived by observation is valid only if it holds good in all the cases. Hence wherever there is a smoke there is a fire is a valid vyaapti but the converse wherever there is fire there is smoke is not a valid vyaapti, since it does not hold good all the time.

      Now Vedantin argues - if you say where there is product there is a creator - this is proved by pratyaksha only if the products are man-made. How about natural products - there the creator for these products are not perceptually proved. Therefore the defect in the first anumaana is vyaapti asiddhiH since there is no pratyaksha or direct observation of the creation of the universe by Iswara.

      Let us examine the second anumaana - jagat kartaa iishvaraH, jiiva bhinnatve sati chetanatvaat, vyatirekeNa kulaalavat - Iswara is the creator of jagat, since He is a conscious entity different from jiiva. For this vyaapti j~naanam involves establishing that wherever there is a conscious being other than jiiva is involved, it must be Iswara.

      That means the vyaapti statement involves a presupposition of the existence of Ishwara who is other than jiiva. But vyaapti j~naanam must be gathered by pratyaksha pramaaNam only or by direct perception since nayyayika has already discarded shaashtra pramaaNam. But through perception we cannot talk about a conscious being other than jiiva. Hence the second anumaanam is also defective since vyaapti vaakyam cannot be established by pratyaksha.

      Now the third anumaana: iishvaraH sarva-j~naH sarva-kartR^itvaat vyatirekeNa kulaalavat - Iswara is omniscient since He is the creator of everything. Now to negate this anumaana we need to examine some 'axioms' that nayyayika -s have assumed in developing their philosophy. nayyayika-s say that every knowledge is born out of mind. - yat j~naanam tat manojanyam - This axiomatic statement is made since they depend heavily on the perceptions and inferences for their philosophy. There may not be any problem with this statement but in a different place they make another statement which appears to be unrelated to this - iishvaraH asshariiraH - that is Ishwara does not have body- that statement includes sthuula suuksham kaaraNa shariiraaNi - gross, subtle and causal bodies - which obviously includes the mind which is part of subtle body. The reason they took mind away from Iswara is of their presumption that wherever there is mind there is sa.nsaara - since Ishwara cannot have sa.nsaara, He is made devoid of mind. Since according to nayyayikaa 's own statements - that the mind is required for j~naanam and Iswara does not have mind - hence it follows that Iswara being mind-less cannot have any knowledge leave alone the sarva-j~natvam. This defect is called  swa abhyupagama virodhaH - defect involving self-contradiction or contradicting ones own statements. Thus Vedantin proves that nayyayika -s third anumaanam is also defective. (For the record, these arguments are from the commentary called puurNaanandiiyam by Purnananda Saraswati which itself is a commentary on bhaashya ratnaprabhaa by Govindananda Saraswati which is in turn a commentary on Shankara Bhashya).

      Hence anumaanam which is based on pratyaksha cannot be a pramaaNa for establishing Ishwara, who is beyond the human perception and hence beyond inference. Iswara established by anumaanam can be negated by anumaanam. Hence shaastra alone is the valid pramaaNa for that which is beyond the perceptual knowledge. If vedantin uses logic it is blessed by shaastram - shruti sammata tarkeNa iishvara sidhhiH, na tu kevala tarkeNa, or shushhka tarkeNa iishvara sidhhiH. That is logic supported by the shaashtra is only valid for entities that cannot be established by direct perception. The logic supported by direct perceptions are invalid to establish Iswara since He is beyond direct perception.

      One more point Shankara makes in his bhaashyam. The discussion does not mean that tarka is totally useless in the inquiry. Shankara emphasizes that tarka is important when properly used with the support of shaastra. - shrotavyaH, mantavyaH, nidhidhyaasitavyaH - the word mantavyaH indicates tarka is imporant for understanding Vedanta. In fact the whole Brahmasutra is called nyaaya prasthaanam - logical analysis of upanishhad -s. Hence the use of tarka as subservient in understanding Vedanta. Shankara gives the reason why tarka is important in Vedanta. He contrasts the karma kaandam and j~nana kaandam - in karma kaanDa tarka has got a limited role.

      There procedures of rituals is more important - what should be done rather than why should it be done - There the knowledge of a ritual does not produce the results - performance of the ritual does. The benefit is the result of accomplishment of a ritual in time or time-bound. Hence Shankara's language - karma-kaandasya saadhya-vishhayatvaat karma pradhaanam, j~naanam apradhaanam - since it deals with something to be produced in future doing is important and knowing has only an indirect role. Suppose if moksha is something to be produced in future then like karma kaanDa, procedure is important than knowledge - hence people say I have studied Vedanta and now I have to practice or do more practice - some meditation or something else. Shankara says this is the common misconception.

      Vedanta does not deal with a future event - the result of a process or procedure. We are not learning any procedure, any technique or method of meditation through Vedanta or implement something after Vedantic study. It is dealing with the fact of moksha - which is an accomplished fact! - which one has to understand. The whole Vedantic saadhana is only a process of understanding and there is nothing to implement after understanding. With the understanding the end is accomplished. Whatever the obstruction in understanding need to be eliminated. One of the obstruction is the intellect itself in the form of sa.nshayaH or doubt - Hence tarka or mananam is very important - it is not an independent tarka but to remove the intellectual obstacles created in assimilating the Vedantic teaching.

      Hence tarka serves in the understanding the Vedantic teaching and in assimilating that teaching as one's own. There is nothing to do after understanding since the very understanding involves - I am akarthaa and abhoktaa. - I have nothing to do as I am ever liberated. - Hence Shankara says shruti is imporant, yukti is important and finally anubhava, which involves assimilating the knowledge as one's own, is important. anubhava is important only because our samsaara is present only in the form of anubhava - I am limited, I am small, the helplessness- the feeling of inadequacy, the misery due to that feeling, the doubt about oneself, the doubt about the teaching of Vedanta, etc. The moksha is freedom from these sensations - the puurNatvam, the samatvam - it is not anubhava or experience in the form of mystic experience that comes and goes, but anubhava in the form of full freedom from all limitations. The understanding is complete when the sa.nsaara bhaavana or vipariita bhaavana goes away- Hence the benefit of this understanding is HERE and NOW - That I am eternally free and never was bound for any process of un-binding required. Hence inquiry is to be done using shaastra sammata tarka.

      With this Shankara's commentary on the second suutra is over. Next the conclusion part.