In the first scripture, Nyaysutra of Nyay Darshan, there are five chapters.
Akshapad Gautam is the originator of Nyay Darshan. Nyaysutra is purely methodological
in nature. In the estimation of the matter, Nyay employs purpose, symptoms and
testing. Reciting or pointing anything by its name is purpose. Giving a full
profile of that thing is symptom and fixing these symptoms as per the name of
an object is testing. Evidences are the important part of testing.
It is believed in the Nyay Darshan that, essential knowledge regarding sixteen
materials like evidences, rational etc. is necessary for spiritual upliftment
in the present world and a place of comfort in the metaphysical world. Such
knowledge also helps in uprooting the sorrows. Principles of Nyay Darshan resemble
closly to those of Vaisheshik. Defining Nyay, sage Vatsyayana says -
Meaning- Testing of rational things through evidences is Nyay.
Nyay is basically estimation of metaphysical meaning. This estimation is helpful
in attaining all kinds of knowledge and carrying out all kinds of action. Hence,
it has major importance in Nyay Darshan. It is the rule of nomenclature that
after the main element, entire group can be named. Since, Nyay is the name of
metaphysical estimation and it is the main body of this philosophical stream,
hence it is named Nyay Darshan. Nyay also means major evidence or decision.
Hence, it is the main object of Nyay Darshan.
Nyay Darshan deeply discusses the appearance of evidences and the testing method
of an object.
All the five chapters of Nyay Sutra have two parts each, which are read all
through the day. In the first part of the first chapter, Gautam sheds light
on the symptoms of nine materials like evidences etc. In the second part, symptoms
of seven materials like ism have been discussed. In the first part of the second
chapter, doubt has been scrutinized and attempts have been made to remove the
doubts of those who question the authenticity of evidences. In the second part,
such reasoning is shown in which one topic is automatically proved with the
help of another. The first part of the third chapter tests soul, body, sense
organs and implications. The second part tests the mind and the intellect. In
the first part of fourth chapter, tendency, demerits, rebirth, result, sorrow
and heaven have been tested. In the second part, causes of the demerits have
been scrutinized. The first part of the fifth and last chapter contains a description
of the differences between the castes and in the second part, kinds of refraining
have been discussed.
In the beginning, Gautam discusses the purpose of the philosophy.
Meaning- Salvation is possible only through an essential knowledge of the matters
like evidence, rational etc. Lakshan (Symptom): After the purpose, Nyaysutra
discusses the symptoms Evidences: Rational of the materials is proved only through
the evidences. About evidence, Gautam says-
SAADHANASHREYAAVYATIRIKTATVE SATI PRAMAAVYAATAM |
Meaning- Evidence is something that can be experienced through the means of
realistic feeling like ear, nose, eyes, mind etc. and that is inseparable from
the soul. Evidence is the means of realistic experience. This realistic experience
has a continuous relation with the supreme soul. It should be noted that the
relation of realistic experience with microcosm soul is not continuous because
it remains in a state of confusion. Because of all pervasiveness of the realistic
experience, evidence is always related to it though the latter has a co-existence
with the microcosm. Such reasoning also proves the authenticity of the supreme
Even the great, learned sages also accept the authenticity of the supreme soul
through this reasoning. Sage Gautam says-
Meaning- Like the authenticity of mantra and Ayurveda, authenticity of the supreme
soul is also proved by the true words of a learned sage. Those sages, who see
only the truth face to face, always preach truth and nothing but truth. Hence,
believing their words is one’s duties. Thus, the Nyaysutra indicates the supremacy
of Vedas. Sages who conceptualized the Vedas also authored mantras and Ayurveda.
Hence, authenticity of both of them as well as of the Shuti is proved automatically.
Nyay Darshan believes that sixteen materials are the means to achieve the supreme
state. Through an essential knowledge of these can the salvation be attained?
These sixteen materials are-
Nigraha sthaan (place of controlling)
The Nyayasutra recognizes four kinds of evidence, the first of the sixteen materials. These are-
Prataksha (Direct evidence)
Anumaan ( estimation)
Shabdabheda (evidence based on sound)
Prataksha Pramaan (Direct evidence): It is based on the direct interaction between
the material and the sense organs. Seeing a picture for example with eyes is
direct evidence. In direct evidence, there exists no doubt regarding the reality
Anumaan (estimation): It is based on the pervasiveness of the object. Suppose,
only smoke is all that is visible but one can infer from it that there must
be a fire also. Estimation has three steps- 1) Visibility of something. 2) Estimation
and 3) Inference.
In Nyay Darshan, three kinds of estimation have been recognized. Inference of
the work on the basis of the reason. Inference of the reason on the basis of
the work.General inference such as inference of motion on the basis of change
Proponents of neo-Nyay recognize only two kinds of estimation- Swartha (Inference
by the self and for the self) Paraartha (Inference shared with other people)
Upamaan (comparison): Knowledge of an unknown object through comparison of it
with some renowned thing. For example, if someone, who has never seen a gaur
(Indian species of bison), when hears that it resembles a cow, he compares it
with the cow and decides that a gaur must be like a cow in appearance. Thus,
such knowledge is based on the comparison of an unknown thing with a well known
Shabda (Sound): Nyaysutra recognizes two kinds of sound- Drishtaarth and Adrishtaarth.
Sound that accompanies a visible thing is Drishtarth sound while sound describes
something that cannot be seen, it is known as Adrishtaarth. As for example,
someone goes to Siberia and describes the scene of snowfall verbally. Here the
words described something that can be seen. But if someone speaks of heaven,
then the words are describing something that cannot be seen. These two kinds
of sound are also known as physical and Vedic.
Through these four evidences, Nyay Shastra learns about and scrutinizes the
rational things. Evidence has an important place in Nyay philosophy. Neo-Nyay
is purely based on evidences. This gravity of discussion regarding evidences
as seen in Indian philosophy is absent in the western system of philosophy.
That is why, Nyay is known as the philosophy of the philosophies. All the other
streams of philosophy borrow words from Nyay to put forward their thoughts.
Hence, they are all indebted to Nyay.
OF RATIONAL THINGS
Rational things form the second material of Nyay Shastra. Sage Gautam has given
symptoms of rational things in the first chapter and methods of testing them
in the third and fourth chapters.
YADDHI PRATIBHAASTE TATPREMEYAM|
Meaning- The only that thing is rational which can be experienced in reality.
Thus, the material existence of which can be proved through true knowledge is
rational. According to sage Gautam, twelve things are rational that is existence
of which could be proved.
Meaning- Soul, body, sense organs, material, intellect, mind, tendency, demerits,
cycles of life and death, result, sorrow and salvation, these twelve things
Soul: Soul is all-pervasive and continuous. A soul full of knowledge can see
everyone and experience everyone. A soul exists as the supreme soul and the
microcosm. The omnipresent and all knowing supreme soul is one whereas a microcosm
soul present in trillions of organisms is nothing but different manifestation
of the supreme soul. Desire, jealousy, happiness, sorrow, efforts and knowledge
are the virtues of the soul. A soul has a sensation for these virtues.
Body: Body is the basis of soul’s enjoyment. All the efforts and actions are
carried out by the body for the soul.
Sense organs: Body is, in itself, incomplete without sense organs to carry out
the functions for the soul. It is the sense organs that act as the channel between
the soul and the external environment. Nose, ear, tongue, eyes and skin- these
five are the sense organs powered by earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Material: Everything that is enjoyed through the sense organs is known as material.
Like the number of the sense organs, the number of enjoyable material is also
five. These are- smell or scent, sound, taste, appearance or beauty and touch
enjoyed by the nose, ear, tongue, eyes and skin.
Intellect: It is full of conscience and is separate from the domain of the body
and the sense organs. Sage Gautam regards knowledge and wisdom synonymous with
Mind: Mind is the means of experiencing the feelings like happiness, sorrow
etc. Hence it is also regarded as the sixth sense that understands the inner
feelings. Its greatest feature is to prevent the arising of too many confusing
Tendency: According to Gautam, physical, verbal and mental activities are included
in the domain of tendency. In the consideration of auspicious and inauspicious,
all these three activities are of six types. It should be remembered that it
is because of tendency that the soul wanders through the cycle of life and death.
Demerits: Anything that produces tendency is known as demerit. Demerits are
also of three kinds- anger, jealousy and attachment. These three demerits leads
a person to sins or piousness. False knowledge produces anger and jealousy.
Soul bears the intensity of these demerits. Controlled by these demerits, an
organism wakes up to the action and receives comfort or discomforts as a result.
Cycles of life and death: Cycles of life and death continues till the last moment
before salvation. The soul takes birth in the physical body. The body passes
through various stages of life and eventually dies. Its constituent elements
mingle with the original source but the soul that had governed the body all
throughout life either annihilates with the supreme soul or is slated to wander
vast space. Then it finds another body, then another and the cycle of life and
death continues unless and until the soul attains salvation. Nyay Shastra believes
that a soul is related to the body, the sense organs and the feelings. With
the death of the body, this relationship exists no more. When the soul takes
rebirth, this relationship is established again.
Result: The outcome of the tendency and demerits is known as result. The result
involves the feeling of sorrow and happiness. Existence of body, sense organs,
subject and intellect is necessary to receive the result. Accepting and rejecting
these results constitute what is known as earthly affairs.
Sorrow: Materials that generate sad feelings are known as sorrow. There are
three kinds of sorrow- spiritual, physical and divine. In fact, sorrow is the
basis of all the philosophies. Joy or happiness can be experienced after treading
the path of sorrow. Sorrow caused by physical and mental reasons is known as
spiritual sorrow. Sorrow caused by animals like snake, dog etc. is known as
physical sorrow whereas sorrow caused by planetary influence is divine sorrow.
Liberation: It is getting rid of all the sorrows. Nyay Darshan describes the
liberation in a prohibiting way. In the eye of Nyay, liberation is rational.
Soul and liberation are the two highest things whereas rest of the things are
The knowledge that generates doubt is the third material of Nyay. Describing
the doubt, sage Gautam says -
Meaning-The knowledge from certainty is called as doubt. There are three kinds
of doubts.The doubt appearing between two objects. For example, height is the
common feature of a pole and a person but it is a main hurdle in the certain
acceptance of any of them.
Doubt arising in extraordinary situation. For example, doubt regarding the continuous
existence of earth. Being full with the smell is the special feature of the
earth. But whether it is continuous or discontinuous is not certain. Hence doubt
comes in existence.Doubt generated because of difference of opinions among the
Purpose is the fourth material and the powerful means to achieve supreme state.
According to sage Gautam, purpose is the main driving force for the tendency.
Without a purpose, tendency has no existence.
Meaning- The objective with which a man marches ahead on the path of action
is the purpose. Two kinds of purpose have been recognized- visible and invisible.
Vision is the fifth material recognized by Nyay Shastra. Pervasiveness is
the basis of vision. Vision is also of two kinds- Saadharmya (similar) and Vaidharmya
(dissimilar). Nyaysutra defines the vision thus -
Meaning- The material on the basis of which doubt can be removed is known as
vision.The subject regarding which common as well as intellectual people are
unanimous is taken as vision.
Statement arrived at finally after thorough deliberations is known as principle.
It has four different kinds- 1) Sarvatantra (Conversant with the scriptures).
2) Pratitantra (Not conversant with the scriptures) 3) Adhikaran (Support) 4)
This is the seventh material recognized in Nyay Darshan. It assists estimation.
It has five kinds- (1) Pratigya (Determination), (2) Hetu (Middle term), (3)
Udaharan (example), (4) Upanaya (comparing) and (5) Nigaman (conclusion). Ingredients
are not required in the estimation limited to the self. However, for the estimation
that involves others requires all the five ingredients. Determination involves
sound as evidence. Middle term involves estimation, example involves direct
evidence. Comparing involves comparison whereas conclusion involves all the
four evidences that is sound, estimation, direct, and comparison.
It is the eight material that helps an evidence with opposing thoughts regarding
an unknown subject. Logic too has five kinds- (1) Atmashraya (depending on the
self), (2) Anyonyashraya (depending on the others), (3) Chakrak (cyclic or mutual
dependence of more than two logical things), (4) Anavastha (state of non-existence
or instability) and (5) Anishtaprasang (fear of misfortune). Because of mutual
relativity between the knowledge and origin, these kinds of logic are regarded
more as demerits.
After thorough deliberation and consideration of pros and cons, the statement
arrived at it is known as conclusion or inference. It is the ninth material
of Nyay Darshan.
or DISCUSSION: It is the tenth material recognized in Nyay
Darshan. It represents an open deliberation between the teacher and the disciple
carried out with a curiosity to find out the ultimate fact.
or BALDERDASH: It is the eleventh material recognized in Nyay Darshan
and represents unmindful adherence to some logic either in favour or against
anything with a desire to win over the situation in any condition. The main
feature of balderdash is that a party tries to prove its point without solid
Doctrine based on balderdash. Hence, apparently, such a doctrine
has no solid footing.
In Nyay Darshan, five kinds of cause have been recognized. These are- 1) existence
in favour. 2) existence with favour. 3) non-existence against. 4) false opposition
and 5) unabated. In any form, other than these five, a cause becomes a hypothesis.
Hypothesis also therefore has five types.
or CRAFTINESS: Imagination of a meaning for a word other than
the real meaning is described as craftiness. It has three kinds- 1) common craftiness.
2) verbal craftiness and 3) craftiness related to treatment.
False answer in Nyay is known as ‘Jaati’. It has 24 kinds. These 24 kinds have
been described by the sage Gautam in the first part of the fifth chapter of
Nyay. These are as follows -
An opposing or anti-knowledge or ignorance is known as Nigrahasthaan. It is the
sixteenth material of Nyay Darshan and has twenty two kinds. These are as follows-
All these kinds of Nigrahasthaan are proved helpful as mediator in a debate. No debater can go past the Nigrahasthaan ignoring all these kinds.
In the first and the fifth chapter of Nyaysutra, the first scripture of Nyay Darshan, symptoms and kinds of the materials have been discussed. In the remaining chapters, testable materials have been scrutinized. For the well being of humans, Nyay Darshan uses two types of reflections. Method of analyzing the materials, purpose, symptoms and method of testing them have been clearly proposed by the exponents of Nyay Darshan. This philosophy also points to the essential knowledge as an effective means to attain salvation.
Ingredients as materials are the most important part of Nyay philosophy. It won’t be an exaggeration, if we say that these ingredients are in a way Nyay itself. In fact, Nyay philosophy circles around the ingredients.