Nyāyāmṛta

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Nyayamrta, NyAyAmRta, Nyaayaamrrita


Nyāyāmṛta (‘nectar [through] polemics’)

If Śaṇkara (A. D. 788-820) took to dialectical methods to counter the nihilism of the Buddhist philosophers and the ritualism of the mīmāmsakas and establish his Advaita Vedānta based on the Hindu scriptures — the prasthānatraya — other Vedāntins who radically differed from him were equally pugnacious in attacking his

views. The adherents of Dvaita Vedanta of Madhvācārya (A. D. 1238-1317) have contributed quite a voluminous literature in this regard.

The Nyāyāmrta of Vyāsatīrtha (A. D. 1478-1539)) is one of the best works of this type.

Vyāsatīrtha—also known as Vyāsa-rāya—wrote nine works of which three were considered as his masterpieces. Out of these, again, it is the Nyāyāmrta that has been regarded as his magnum opus.

The Nyāyāmrta aims at a thorough vindication of the philosophical power and prestige of the realistic metaphysics of Madhvācārya, dealing simultaneously with the concomitant problems.

The work which is in elegant prose, is divided into four paricchedas or chapters.

The first chapter examines thoroughly the various concepts put forward by Advaita Vedānta such as adhyāsa (superimposition), anirvacanīyatva (inexplicability), mithyātva (falsity of the world-appearance) and so on.

The second chapter refutes some of the common and well-known advaitic doctrines such as that Brahman is nirguna (without attributes), nirākāra (formless), svaprakāśa (shines by himself) and establishes the doctrine of pañcabhedas (five fundamental differences) which is a basic tenet of Dvaita Vedānta Darśana.

The third chapter deals with the correct interpretation of certain statements in the scriptures dealing with sādhanās or spiritual practices.

The last chapter elucidates the

doctrine of mukti or liberation according

to Madhva, refuting the views of other schools.

Thus, this work gives an inkling into the genius of Vyāsatirtha’s highly analytical mind.

Nyāyapariśuddhi (‘[a work that] purifies the Nyāya philosophy’)

Next only to Rāmānuja (A. D. 1017-1137) Vedānta Deśika (A. D. 1268-1370) was the most important teacher of the philosophy of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. Realising the importance of logic in establishing one’s own school and in countering the arguments of the opposing schools, he composed two works-the Nyāyapariśuddhi and the Nyāyasiddhāñjana—which are complementary.

The Nyāyasīitras of Gautama (550

B. C.) had been accepted by all the Hindu philosophers who believed in the final authority of the Vedas as a basic work of logic. However, the commentators who developed the Nyāya system, paid overwhelming attention to the pramāṇas (means of knowledge) rather than the prameyas (objects of knowledge).

With a view to ‘purifying’ or correcting this imbalance (pariśuddhi = purifying), Deśika wrote these two works wherein he has tried to show that the philosophy of the Nyāyasīitras with regard to the pramāṇas, is the same as that of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta.

This work has five chapters. They are: pratyakṣādhyāya, anumānādhyāya, śabdādhyāya, smṛtyadhyāya and prameyā-dhyāya.

They respectively deal with the subjects of direct perception, inference, scriptural testimony, the secondary scriptures and the objects of knowledge like the world, the soul and God.

The second chapter is the longest.

Since he could not amplify the pra-meya part sufficiently in this work, he wrote the second work, the Nyāya-siddhāñjana, wherein his objective was fulfilled.


References

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

OLD CONTENT

Nyāyāmṛta (‘nectar [through] polemics’) If Śaṇkara (A. D. 788-820) took to dialectical methods to counter the nihilism of the Buddhist philosophers and the ritualism of the mīmāiṅsakas and establish his Advaita Vedānta based on the Hindu scriptures — the prasthānatraya — other Vedāntins who radically differed from him were equally pugnacious in attacking his views. The adherents of Dvaita Vedanta of Madhvācārya (A. D. 1238-1317) have contributed quite a voluminous literature in this regard. The Nyāyāmrta of Vyāsatīrtha (A. D. 1478-1539)) is one of the best works of this type. Vyāsatīrtha—also known as Vyāsa- rāya—wrote nine works of which three were considered as his masterpieces. Out of these, again, it is the Nyāyāmrta that has been regarded as his magnum opus. The Nyāyāmrta aims at a thorough vindication of the philosophical power and prestige of the realistic metaphysics of Madhvācārya, dealing simultaneously with the concomitant problems. The work which is in elegant prose, is divided into four paricchedas or chapters. The first chapter examines thor¬oughly the various concepts put forward by Advaita Vedānta such as adhyāsa (superimposition), anirvacanīyatva (inex¬plicability), mithyātva (falsity of the world- appearance) and so on. The second chapter refutes some of the common and well-known advaitic doctrines such as that Brahman is nirguṇa (without attributes), nirākāra (formless), svaprakāśa (shines by himself) and estab¬lishes the doctrine of pañcabhedas (five fundamental differences) which is a basic tenet of Dvaita Vedānta Darśana. The third chapter deals with the correct interpretation of certain statements in the scriptures dealing with sādhanās or spiritual practices. The last chapter elucidates the doctrine of mukti or liberation according to Madhva, refuting the views of other schools. Thus, this work gives an inkling into the genius of Vyāsatirtha’s highly analytical mind.