[Advaita-l] anvaya vyatireka
Siva Senani Nori
sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 22 12:02:52 CDT 2010
I will attempt to explain the anvyaya-vyatireka logic. This is a part of anumAna
pramANa, which itself is preferred as a means of knowledge after Sruti and
pratyaksha. Thus, when something is not told to us by an authoritative source
and is not directly experienced by us, then we resort to anumAna.
In anumAna we see a symptom, hetu or li~Nga and from that infer the sAdhya or
reality. Thus when we see smoke emanating from a mountain, we infer the
agnimatvam of the mountain, that is we infer that the mountain has a fire on it.
The actual process has five steps:
a) First is the pratij~nA, hypothesis: The mountain has fire; b) next we state
the symptom (hetu): because there is smoke emanating from the mountain; c) then
given an example (udAharaNa): wherever there is smoke there is fire, like in the
case of a kitchen; d) now, we make the induction (upanaya), that is extend the
logic in example to the present case: like the kitchen, this mountain has the
smoke which co-exists with fire; e) and finally state the conclusion (nigamana):
Since the moutain has that smoke which co-exists with fire, we say that there is
fire on the mountain.
In the above logic, the co-existence of smoke and fire is the key, underlying
factor. This co-existence is called vyApti in tarka. vyApti is of three kinds:
anvaya-vyatireki, kevalAnvayI and kevalavyatireki. The anvaya-vyatireki hetu is
the strongest hetu, other two are weaker. Then there are hetvAbhAsas. The whole
point of applying the logic of inference is to examine the evidence, that is
symptoms or hetus, and if they are saddhetus or good symptoms and if yes, then
the truth inferred from them is also a strong one. So, one aims to prove that
the hetu or symptom used by one is of the highest quality - that is it is an
Now, what is anvaya-vyatireki?
First anvaya: Wherever there is smoke, there ought to be fire (as in the
kitchen); vyatireka: where there is no fire, there ought to be no smoke (as in a
lake or a river). In the above, note that there may be a case where there is a
fire, but there is no smoke, like in a red hot iron rod. The fire in the iron
rod can be readily experienced by touching it (pratyaksha) and there is no need
to resort to anumAna there. So even in the absence of smoke, fire is realised.
To come back to our main discussion, if smoke and fire co-exist in an
anvaya-vyatireki fashion, the presence of smoke will always confirm the
existence of fire. So, if one shows that the symptom exists, and symptom and the
sAdhya, the truth to be established, co-exist in an anvayi-vyatireki fashion,
one has proven one's hypothesis.
We omit the discussion of why the anvaya-vyatireki hetu is the strongest as it
requires introduction of additional terms (or their equivalents) of vyApyam,
vyApakam, paksha, sapaksha, vipaksha, pratipaksha, asatpratipaksha and so on. We
will end the discussion by giving an example of a kevalavyatireki: prithivI
lakshaNam gandhavatvam. Earth has the quality of smell. Here smell is the
symptom, hetu and Earthness of a given substance needs to be established. Smell
as a hetu of Earth, has only a kevalavyatireki co-existence. Wherever there is
no earth, there is no smell, as by definition, earth is that which has the
quality of smell. We can't show the anvaya that wherever there is smell there is
earth because, the earthness of every substance is open to question till the
inference of smell showing earthness is established.
I hope any confusion is due to the inherent complication in the subject and not
due to faults in presentation.
From: Varadaraja Sharma <rishyasrunga at rediffmail.com>
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sent: Wed, September 22, 2010 1:23:18 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] anvaya vyatireka
Shriman subrahmanian, Radhe Krishna
I wanted to know about anvaya vyatireka logic. and here,in the post, Jnani's
feeling of physical pain, the facts were explained with anvaya vyatireka logic.
I was not able to grasp the purport. could you please explain the logic per se
and if I am not asking more could you please explain the same with another
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