Nyaya-Vaisheshik darshan

Vaisheshik system is earlier and excersized considerable influence on the Nyaya system. Both systems aim at critical analysis of the universe by logical methods i.e. are yukti-pradhan. In the opinion of Surendranath Dasgupta (A History of Indian Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 282), Vaisheshik system is pre-Buddhistic. Its founder or the first known exponent was Ulook, better known as Kanada who systematized his system in Vaisheshik Sutras. The name Vaisheshik derives from vishesha, which refers to the particularity or individual character of thing emphasized by this system. Nyaya primarily means logic, the process of inference. The system is based on Nyaya sutras of Gautam who is supposed to have lived around 3rd BC.This system investigates into both physical and metaphysical subjects by the syllogistic method. Thus, it includes metaphysics as well as the science of logic.

Though Nyaya and Vaisheshik are separate systems, they have more similarities than dissimilarities. Later Nyaya school, Navya Nyaya, developed as a result of the blending of the two. Swami Prabhavanand has pointed out that the two systems differ mainly in their approach to the central problems of philosophy. The Vaisheshik begins with the conception of being and develops its ideas from that while Nyaya begings with knowing. Vaisheshik acknowledges two pramanas– perception (pratyaksha) and inference (anuman) while Nyaya adda two more to these- Verbal testimony (shabda) and comparison (upaman). These two are included in inference by Vaisheshik.

Both these systems are realistic and pluralistic. Basic postulates of the two systems are:

  1. God is the efficient cause of the universe.

  2. Physical objects exist independently of the mind, although their perception depends on the mind aided by the sense organs.

  3. Seven categories (padarthas) are ultimately real. These are substance (dravya), quality (guna), activity (karma), generality (samanya), particularity (vishesha), inherence (samavaya) and non-existence (abhava).

  4. Only substance (dravya) is independent entity, the rest belong to it.

  5. Nine fundamental substances are- earth (prithvi), water (jala), air (vayu), fire (agni), ether (akasha), time (kala), space (dik), self (atman) and mind (manas). First seven substances compose thephysical universe.

  6. Each Earth, water, fire and air are atomic in their original state and four different types of atoms are their basic constituents.

  7. Ether, time and space are infinite and pervasive.

  8. Self is eternal and pervasive but mind is eternal but infinitesimal.

  9. There are innumerable selves ever distinct from one another and consciousness is neither an intrinsic quality of self nor its essence. In its disembodied state, the self will have no knowledge or consciousness.

  10. The self is bound being associated with the mind, organs and body through ignorance.

  11. Only true knowledge dissociates the self from these adjuncts and leads to attainment of liberation (apavarga). It is a state of complete release from all sufferings without any positive attainment.

  12. Righteous deeds and contemplation on truth conduce to true knowledge.

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