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Problem of Relations in Indian Philosophy (An Old and Rare Book)

Problem of Relations in Indian Philosophy (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAP580
Author: Dr. Sarita Gupta
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Language: English
Edition: 1984
Pages: 123
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch

Dr. Mrs. Sarita Gupta has produced a comprehensive study of the problem of relations in Indian Philosophy. This problem has been in the centre of philosophical deliberations because almost all the branches of philosophy have to clarify and explain concepts which are never unitary. The edifice of a philosophical system too stands on relations which provide the ground for the structure of thought to expand.

Dr. Mrs. Gupta has considered a few important relations in her book. Those chosen by her for consideration have all been discussed, accepted or rejected by all the schools of Indian Philosophy. So far as my knowledge goes, no work of this kind has come to light.

I congratulate the writer for producing this important work. It will be highly useful for those who are looking for thematic rather than historical treatment of Indian Philosophy. I hope Mrs. Gupta will keep up her interest in the subject and will come out with books on other themes.


The present work is the reproduction of my thesis entitled 'Problem of Relations in Indian Phlosophy' accepted for the award of Ph.D. degree by Delhi University in 1978. The main scheme of the work remains the same except a few changes here and there. The work aims at an exposition, elucidation and criticism of different theories of relations propounded in various schools.

The first chapter deals with sathyoga sambandha. Here our discussion begins with different types of sathyoga relation as propounded by the adherents of the Nyaya-Vaisesika School. The problem of its objective reality, specially with reference to its denial by the Buddhist school of thought, is taken up at the end. The second chapter deals with samavaya sambandha. The Nyaya-Vaiesika school postulate it in order to uphold their realistic pluralism. But in conflict with other schools of Indian philosophy, it is not successful in answering the question implied in the conception and in the Navya-Nyaya period, after the introduction of svarupa-sambandha, the position of samavaya became redundant, The third chapter deals with svarupa-sambandha in Navya-Nyaya. The basic theories of Navya-Nyaya, like avacchedakata, Pratiyogita, prakdrata, viesyata, etc. on which the entire edifice of Navya-Nyaya logic is built, have been dealt. The fourth chapter deals with kararja-karya-sambandha. Here we shall take into consideration the relation of causation analysed by Satilkhya, Nyaya-Vaiesika, Vedanta and Buddhism. The fifth chapter deals with ontological relations. Under ontological relations, the relation of identity (tadatmya-sambandha) in Advaita Vedanta, identity-in-difference (aprthaksiddhi sambandha) in Visisttadvaita Vedanta, and identity and difference (bhedabheda) in Jainas have been discussed at length. The English expression 'ontological relation' has been used in the absence of a comprehensive term in Sanskrit, which may encompass these various types of relations. The last part of the thesis is the concluding portion. In an attempt to give a critical constructive interpretation of the problem of relations, I have tried to consider the various relations on comparative basis as far as possible. The criticism is fairly exhaustive in relation to other relations but I have made no attempt to compare and contrast the relations with the problem of relations in Western Philosophy. This is because the main purpose of this work is to bring to light the problem of relations on the basis of Indian Philosophy.

This work has been completed under the supervision of Dr. S. R. Bhatt, Reader, and Deptt. of Philosophy, University of Delhi, to whom I owe a great deal. I am grateful to Prof. R.C. Pandeya, Prof. and Head of the Deptt. of Philosophy, University of Delhi, for the affectionate and encouraging concern with which he viewed my progress and the help he gladly rendered to me whenever I needed. I find no words to thank Dr. M.C. Bharatiya, Head of the Deptt. of Sanskrit, M.M.H. College, Ghaziabad for helping me in translating the original works from Sanskrit into English and explaining the ideas underlying them. I am also grateful to all the scholars whose works I have freely quoted and consulted.

I have been so vitally helped by my husband, Sh. R.K. Gupta, that it is impossible for me to thank him enough. Of course, my views are my own and so are my errors. But for his laborious help, however, the expression of these views would have been much more clumsy.

I am grateful to Prof. Laxmi Narain, Dean Faculty of Management, Osmania University Hyderabad for his constant Persuasion for getting the present work published. I express my thanks to my Publishers, for taking pains in getting this book published. Unfortunately despite all efforts, some printing mistakes have crept in for which I may be forgiven by my generous readers. I am thankful to Delhi University for making me available the comments offered by the examiners and the permission for publication of the work. The remarks have helped me to improve the work and present the same for the benefit of philosophers and students of philosophy as well.


The problem of relation is one of the most debated issues in Indian philosophical thought. In almost all philosophicai controversies this problem comes in as they directly or indirectly touch upon it. Many major epistemological and ontological problems centre around it and that is why analysis of this problem attracted the attention of the prominent Indian philosophical thinkers. There are several aspects of it which demand our attention. In an attempt to analyse it several questions can be asked. Are relations real existents or are they mere mental constructions ? In case they are to be regarded as existent, do they exist prior to the objects they relate or are they later additions? Apart from the question of the ontological status of relations it can be inquired as to how we apprehend relations. Do we get them from our experience or are they a priori? It can also be inquired as to whether relations make any difference to the nature of the objects they relate. Lastly, it can be discussed as to how many types of relations there are, and what is the basis for their classification.

These and a score of allied problems crop up in every philosophical consideration, whether it is metaphysical or epistemological or logical. In the different schools of Indian philosophical thought these problems have been analysed and each school has attempted its analysis in the light of its own basic philosophical perspective. Not all the schools have taken up all these problems for analysis; but, depending upon their interest and requirements, they have concentrated on some select ones. For the sake of classified study we do not propose to discuss these problems school-wise; instead, we shall classify them as epistemological, logical and contological.

In epistemology, the key concepts are prama, pramana, pramata and prameya. The problem concerning relation which strikes us most is that of their interrelations. With regard to the relation between pramata and prameya, different theories have been put forth, prominent among them being the Nyaya theory of sarhyoga. Similarly, with regard to the relation between prama and pramana, most of the schools treated it as a causal relation but the Nydya School subsumes causal relation under samavaya which it postulates to describe all relations of inseparability. The problems pertaining to the relation of sathyoga, samavaya and causation thus constitute the focal point of all epistemological deliberations which we shall discuss. Since the relation of samavaya could not stand the attacks of the adversaries, the Navya-Nyaya thinkers were obliged to accept sambandha, an account of which also be given.

The problem of relation is basic to every ontological discussion. The basic ontological issue is with regard to the nature of reality, and a corollary of it is the question as to whether reality is unitary or multiple. Our experience and reasoning give us contradictory verdicts on this issue. We are compelled to believe that it is one, and at the same time we are not obliged to deny its being multiple; and therefore, the question arises as to what is the relation between 'one' and `many'. This takes us to the problem of identity, identity-in-difference and identity-and-difference. In the absence of a comprehensive term in Sanskrit which may encompass these various types of relations, we have used the English expression `ontological relations'.

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