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The Nyaya Conception of Reasoning

The Nyaya Conception of Reasoning
Item Code: NAV407
Author: satyamurti
Publisher: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan
Language: English Text with Sanskrit Transliterations
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 978170845582
Pages: 142
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Foreword It gives me great pleasure in writing this foreword. I extend my compliments to Dr. Satyamurti, the author of this work for choosing a very important topic as the theme, namely, the Concept of tarka in Nydyagastra. I appreciate it because, (1) there has been no detailed discussion so far on this topic at one place and (2) because, all the source materials on tarka which have been studied and analyzed by Dr. Satyamurti have been put in the Appendix of this book. This has added additional value to this work since the reader will have direct access to the original statements of the classical Indian philosophers and logicians. The depth in Indian Epistemology is acquired because of very close dialogues with the participants in a discourse. The thinkers have gone very deep in analyzing the indirect process of acquiring knowledge. The journey of going from known to unknown is also not that smooth. Often, a lot of gap is required to be filled in. The postulation of the concept of tarka is the outcome of such a journey. Take, for instance, the case of an inference. This indirect process of knowing is dependent on the definite knowledge of the invariable concomitance between the known and the unknown i.e. 'to be known. This implies that one must be aware of the relationship of all x with all y, where y is to be known from the x. But how is it possible to know all instances of x and their relationship with all instances of y? And unless one knows this for certain, how can one infer the association of a particular y with the place where the x is known to exist? This leaves behind ample scope for doubt. The only way to terminate the scope of such doubt is to point out to the causal relationship between x and y. This task is performed by the concept of tarka in such cases. In his way, various roles are performed by the concept of tarka in the indirect process of knowing. Dr. Satyamurti has done a commendable job by presenting the concept of tarka with all its variety, right from Gautama's Nyayasatra through Udyotakara's Varttika, Jayantabhatta's Nyayamatijari and Udayana's Tatparyatikapariguddhi up to Sriharsa's Kharjclana-kharidakhadya. I am sure Dr. Satyamurti will continue the study of tarka and will extend it to incorporate the data from the Navya Nyaya texts too and will offer a richer and broader analysis of this concept in future. I wish him all success in that. I have no doubt in my mind regarding the utility of this book. I am sure; the present work will be received by scholars and students with joy.


As long as we project Sanskrit merely as the repository of ancient wisdom & culture, we cannot convince the modern society, which is wedded to materialistic and utilitarian values. We will have to meet contemporary challenges and cater to the utilitarian aspirations of today as well. We would have to make the society understand that Sanskrit is not just confined to preaching sermons. Like other academic disciplines, Sanskrit, too, is perfectly in tune with the modern times. Keeping this view in mind, I, along with my teachers & colleagues, had an earnest desire to introduce those things in our curriculum, which are relevant in today's world. Therefore, we felt that Indian Logic could be one of the areas, which could appeal to many. In this way, the idea to bring great Indian tradition in logic to the fore came into being.

Confutation is an important tool in the art of debate. Its history is as old as that of Indian culture. Travelling from Srutis & Smrtis, the conception of confutation entered the philosophical realm. The seed found in the Vedic literature became a giant tree in the philosophical texts. In the philosophical arena, the Mimaiiisakas pioneered in the use of confutation (tarka) as a tool in the context of the Vedic exegesis. Initially, the Vedantins, too, followed them to establish their own doctrines on the basis of the Upaniads. But, for the first time, the Naiyayikas gave it a technical dimension and used as an accessory to the means of valid cognition. The Buddhists, also, used it in a technical sense. But, their understanding of confutation (tarka) is different from that of the Nyaya school. To them, tarka and inference are synonimous. Initially, scholars of the ancient Nyaya followed the aphorism of Gautama (Nyayasutra; 1.1.40) and expanded the cocept of confutation mutatis mutandis. But, it was Udayana (984 AD), who gave a new dimension to the definition of tarka. Among the Naiyayikas, the contribution of Udayana is unique. He developed the concept of confutation (tarka) in a novel way. He is the one, who defined tarka as a conjecture of the illlogical (anistaprasariga) and the neo-logicians, specially Varadaraja (1150 AD), merely emulated him. In the later phase, even the Advaita scholar Sriharsa (1110 AD) and the Vaignavite scholars VeclantadeSika (1330 AD) and Jayatirtha (1370 AD), too, left their indelible marks in the realm of logic as they refuted many ideas of the Naiyayikas in this regard. Understanding the vastness of the subject, I confined myself only to the Nyaya philosophy. This work is a modest endeavor to elucidate the concept of tarka in a simple language. Along with the Sastric examples, I have tried to give illustrations from our day to day life. If the Sastra can not have connection with real world situation, it would become meaningless. Hence, I have also tried to bring the doctrines out of the philosophical arena. I have taken the dates of various scholars from Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies by Karl H. Potter as it is considered to be the most authentic source.

After the English version, I have rewritten the entire text in Hindi to give access to those; who are more comfortable in Hindi. In the end, I have given some of the original texts to help the teachers & researcher visiting in the primary for sources further enquiry into the subject. When Delhi University was undergoing a complete metamorphosis through adopting semester system, the department of Sanskrit, D. U. took it as an opportunity to change the stereo-type earlier course. It redesigned the curriculum of M. A. (Sanskrit), B. A. (Hons.) in Sanskrit & four year semester course of B. A. (Hons.) in a manner, through which Sanskrit could be projected not merely as a language but as an independent discipline as well. For projecting Sanskrit much beyond a language, the department introduced papers like Mathematics & Astronomy, Scientific Heritage of India, Indian Logic and Debate, Self-Management in The Gita, Introduction to Indian Philosophy, and so on. The current topic is the brain-child of Prof. Madan Mohan Agrawal, the then Head of the department. At his initiative, the portion on reasoning was introduced in the syllabi of B.A. (Hons.) Sanskrit as a paper in third year. It has been titled as 'Reasoning: Ontology, Epistemology and Logic'.

It was a big challenge to prepare material on this topic because the area of confutation is given less attention in the academic world. There are a few useful works on the topic. But, with their very complex exposition, they were not found suitable for students. With the inspiration and guidance of Prof. Madan Mohan Agrawal, I embarked upon the onerous task of writing this book. I, indeed, owe to him a lot because he has always been my greatest academic support. I express my utmost reverence to my parents, who are my perennial source of inspiration.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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