Anvaya

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Anvaya literally means ‘following or succession’.

The two words, anvaya and vyatireka, are frequently used in philosophical works and logic to prove a point. They invariably go together. Anvaya is a positive statement indicating a universal agreement whereas vyatireka is the opposite of it, proving the same point by indicating the universal absence of the contrary. To illustrate :

  • Smoke is seen on the yonder hill.
  • We conclude that there is fire on that hill.

This conclusion is based on two premises from our previous experience :

  1. Wherever there is smoke, there is fire
  2. Wherever there is no fire, there is no smoke.

Of these, the first one is a positive statement, asserting the presence of fire wherever there is smoke. Hence it is called anvaya-vyāpti, or simply anvaya. The second statement asserts a negative factor, the universal absence of smoke when there is no fire. This is called vyatireka-vyāpti or vyatireka (negation or contrariety). To prove the existence of fire on the hill on the evidence of smoke, both these methods of argument are necessary.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore