[Advaita-l] Advaita Siddhi series 002 - nyAya basics - an aide memoire

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sat Aug 26 19:00:02 EDT 2017


Before we make a deep dive into the advaita siddhi, it would be good to
briefly mention some basics of nyAya shAstra. You may well be aware of
these, in which please ignore. For others, it could serve as a useful aide
memoire, as we will soon be treated to a barrage of these (and more) terms.
Here is the website link, in case you want to bookmark the page:

pancha avayava vAkya
anumAna, or inference, is of two kinds - svArthAnumAna and parArthAnumAna.
The former is a situation where a person makes an inference themselves, and
the latter is a situation where a person conveys information that allows
another person to draw an inference. The naiyyAyika (logician) believes
there are five components that are required for parArthAnumAna.  Let us
consider the classic inference example: The mountain is on fire, as smoke
is seen. Like the smoky kitchen fire. parvato vahnimAn, dhUmatvAt;

1) pratijnA - a hypothesis that needs to be proved.  In our example,
parvato vahnimAn - the mountain is on fire. This is the statement that
needs to be proved. The pratijnA consists of two elements - the  sAdhya
(the idea to be proved) and the paksha (the locus where it should be
2) hetu - reason. dhUmatvAt - on account of the smoke.
3) driShTAnta - example. yo ya: dhUmavAn sa: vahnimAn. mahAnAsavat.
Wherever there is smoke, there is fire - like the invariable concomitance
observed in instances like the kitchen fire (we are talking of old-school
wood-fired kitchens.)
4) upanaya: - application. ayam dhUmavAn - there is smoke on this mountain.
5) nigamanam - conclusion. tasmAt vahnimAn - therefore this mountain must
be on fire.

According to the naiyyAyika a parArthAnumAna consists of these five parts
(pancha avayava), it is certain to generate anumiti, inferential
understanding, in the hearer.

The mImAmsaka, on the other hand, says that it is sufficient if any three
are present (1-3 or 3-5), for anumiti to be generated.

Types of hetvAbhAsa (fallacious reasons)
The naiyyAyika outlines the basis errors in reasoning that are possible in
the inferential process. He categorises them into five groups. Whether the
defect is present in the hetu, sAdhya, paksha or drishTAnta, the naiyyAyika
chooses to call it a hetvAbhAsa, an error in the hetu.

1) vyabhichAra - where the hetu, the reason, is present in the paksha, but
the sAdhya, the thing to be proved is absent from the paksha. For example,
wherever there is smoke, there is fire. However, the reverse is not true.
Where there is fire, there is no necessity for smoke. So if someone wanted
to argue that there is smoke in the mountain, because of perceived fire -
in this reverse of the classic anumAna, fire is the hetu and smoke is
sAdhya. There are several instances where fire (the hetu) is present, but
smoke (the sAdhya) is absent. This would be a case of vyabhichAra.
2) asiddhi - the hetu is not present in the paksha. in the parvato vahnimAn
dhUmatvAt, if there is no dhUma (smoke), no inference can be drawn. This is
an instance of svarUpAsiddhi. There are two other kinds of asiddhis
outlined. AshrayAsiddhi, where the paksha itself is absent (the sky lotus
is fragrant, like a lotus, is an oft-cited example). vyApyatvAsiddhi, where
the hetu is dependent on some extraneous factors. In the inference, the
mountain is smoky, because of fire - the hetu, fire, is dependent on wet
fuel for smoke to be present. This factor, upon which the hetu is dependent
to indicate the sAdhya, is termed (quite confusingly from an advaitin's
perspective) as upAdhi. That conditionality is an instance
of vyApyatvAsiddhi. If the paksha is not well-known (aprasiddha paksha),
that is another instance of vyApyatvAsiddhi.
3) bAdham - if the sAdhya is not present in paksha. For example, if someone
tries to argue that fire is cold, that is an instance where coldness
(sAdhya) can never be present in the paksha (fire). This is usually
established by some other contradicting means of knowledge, like
perception, etc.
4) viruddham - if the sAdhya and hetu are in contradiction. If the hetu
proves the opposite of the sAdhya, it is a case of viruddham. For example,
if the anumAna is parvato vahnimAn, jalatvAt (the mountain is on fire,
because of water being present there), that would be an instance of
5) sapratipaksha - if the opponents in a debate give two hetus - one to
prove a sAdhya and the other to prove its opposite. If both the hetus are
equally strong, then it is an instance of sapratipaksha doSha. One of the
two hetus could even be correct, but unless the hearer knows which, no
anumiti is generated.


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