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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 00:32:56 CDT 2011

I would not have taken the "unreasonable position" or "too technical
position" as I would call it being sympathetic to myself of taking nyaya to
mean the whole and tarka to mean the part because I know the intent of the
speaker is to refer to a system of thought. But I took that position because
of the following reasons.

   1. The whole discussion was using loose terms, which one of the members
   admitted to in a private exchange. But loose terms can only give general
   understanding and not particular understanding. I was trying to control
   loose terms and realize I might have hurt people - apologies.
   2. There was a ridicule of nyaya system with the elephant example to say
   that nyaya complicates simple things. I do not know the context of the joke
   or the intent of the speaker of the joke. As far as I am concerned, I  was
   quoting nyaya used by Madhusudana. He  does not complicate but clarifies a
   complex subject (avidya).
   3. The member  said that nyaya is minimally used and mainly in polemics.
   I disagreed with that because our acharyas interpret texts according to
   valid system of logic. Madhusudana extensively uses Nyaya even in
   Bhaktirasayana, a text on bhakti and not a polemical text. It is not because
   he wanted to show his learning but because it is critical to correctly
   understand the position of bhakti in advaita.

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 6:05 AM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Sir
> What Sri Rajaram Venkataramani refers to can be better understood from the
> following:
> Originally there were two distinct but related systems - nyAya and
> vaiSehika - which got later fused into navya-nyAya circa 13th century AD. As
> time passed, the adjective navya got dropped, and nyAya started referring to
> navya nyAya, which by the way is also referred to as tarka. The
> tarkasangraha was written in circa 16th century AD and really covers
> navya-nyAya. What is interesting is that mImAmsa is also called Jaimini-naya
> and sometimes nyAya. Apart from this, nyAya also refers to certain
> principles when used in phrases like sthAlipulAkanyAya (the principle of
> sample testing, as with checking whether rice grains are boiled)  or
> ksheeraneeranyAya (complete mixture to the extent that the constituents
> cannot be differentiated as in milk and water). The vyAkaraNamahAbhAshya
> refers to 27 such nyAyas.
> The first sutra of Gautama-nyAya-sUtras enumerates 16 substances namely -
> 1) pramANa, 2) prameya, 3) samSaya, 4) prayojana, 5) drishTanta, 6)
> siddhAnta, 7) avayava, 8) tarka, 9) nirNaya, 10) vAda, 11) jalpa, 12)
> vitaNDa, 13) hetvAbhAsa, 14) chala, 15) jAti, 16) nigrahasthAn [AnAm
> tattvaj~nAnAnniSreyasaadhigamah). As a part of this 16, tarka means a
> hypothetical argument, leading to a reduction to absurdity - reductio ad
> absurdum in Latin. If has five further varieties and so on, but we will stop
> here.
> The way you used the word, "tarka", any reasonable person would take it to
> mean nyAya as a whole, but Sri Rajaram Venkataramani chose to make fun by
> invoking vitaNDa (destructive criticism), jalpa (sophistry, arguing) etc.
> thereby referring to tarka as one of the 16 padArthas of nyAya. There is a
> famous example in nyAya that the intent of the speaker guides the
> interpretation. For example, nava-kambala can mean both nine blankets and a
> new blanket; the interpretation depends on the speaker's intent, if that can
> be known (as in the present instance), or by the context when we cannot
> reach the speaker. By both means, your usage would mean nyAya.
> Regards
> N. Siva Senani
> From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
> >To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> >Sent: Friday, July 8, 2011 6:58 AM
> >Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] 'nyAya' and 'tarka'
> >
> >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?
> >
> >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.
> >
> >Regards,
> >subrahmanian.v
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