[Advaita-l] 'nyAya' and 'tarka'

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 00:05:57 CDT 2011

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 2:28 AM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
> rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > RV: My original criticism was with respect to interchangeably using nyaya
> > (whole) and tarka (part)
> >
> From the above observation of yours I am unable to understand what exactly
> you mean.
> Do you object to the interchange of the use of the terms 'nyaya' and
> 'tarka'?
> Is it your understanding that 'nyaya' is a certain 'whole' as in a 'set'
> and
> tarka is a part of it?

RV:Yes. There are different parts to nyaya of which vada (discussion) and
tarka (hypothetical argument) are two of them.  In his commentary to BG
10.32, Sankara enumerates three of them vada (discussion), jalpa (wrangling)
and vitanda (irrational reasoning). He explains that vada is pre-eminent
because it is a means to determining the true purport. Pl. note that I am
only taking general  meanings instead of going to the  roots of these words.
This is very important in sanskrit because each word is scientifically

> Pl. clarify your stand with appropriate support from standard texts.  Pl.
> give at least one instance each of the usage of the two terms from whatever
> work you have read with your justification of the usages and why they
> cannot
> be interchanged.
> RV: Nyaya Sastra is based on Nyaya Sutras of Gautama. It is a logical
system of thought and is useful in arriving at truth and avoid distortion.
It is useful even when you don't have some one else to discuss with or a
text to interpret. Tarka Sastra is based on Tarka Samgraha. It is focussed
on guidelines for debate or discussion. It is primarily useful when you
discuss with someone or a group on a text or a topic. The related subject is
Mimamsa which is based on Jaimini Sutras and is useful when you interpret
Vedic texts. In common usage, people may interchangeably use these terms
because they have overlaps and are aimed at arriving at truth but
technically there are differences.

It is incorrect to use the term nyaya and tarka interchangeably, without
qualifying with the word sastra, because tarka is one of the components of
the nyaya system. It may be lead to valid conclusion but vada will lead to
valid conclusion.

> Regards,
> subrahmanian.v
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