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Siddhanta Muktavali

Siddhanta Muktavali is a commentary on Bhashapariccheda, also known as Karikavali. Siddhanta Muktavali is basically a Vaiseshika treatise in 168 karikas. Literally, it means a string of pearls of logical truths. Bhasha Pariccheda and its commentary (Nyaya Muktavali) were for centuries considered to be the work of Visvanatha Pancanana, son of Vidyanivasa. He quotes the invocatory verse of Muktavali, where, instead of Visvanathakrtina, the reading Krishnadasakrtina is found. A scholar named Visvanatha wrote a commentary called Ullasa on Muktavali in 1611 CE. Visvanatha Pancanana would have been too young to write Bhashapariccheda and Muktavali by that time. Visvanatha, the author of Ullasa on Muktavali, seems to have been confused with the author of Muktavali.

Siddhanta Muktavali also called ‘Nyaya Siddhanta Muktavali’, is a commentary by Visvanatha Pancanana on his own Karikavali, which is a metrical exposition of Nyaya Vaiseshika.

An Indian write, Mrs Umesh Mishra in her History of Indian Philosophy, questioned the tradition ascribing both Bhashapariccheda and Siddhanta Muktavali to Visvanatha Pancanana. Here the old method, which consists of enumeration, classification, definition and careful investigation, is blended with the new epistemological method dealing with the four means of valid cognition.

Siddhanta Muktavali has at least ten commentaries, the most popular among them being the Dinakari or Muktavali Prakasha of Mahadevabhatta. He seems to have left it incomplete and it was completed later by his son Dinakarbhatta. The commentary by Ramarudra on Dinakari is named Ramarudri. A former ruler of Cochin State, Rama Varma Parikshit of Cochin (now Kochi), has written an expository gloss called Subodhini on Muktavali Dinakari.

In the enumeration of categories he follows Annambhatta generally. But Visvanatha enters into a detailed discussion of the various means of knowledge even when defining the substance, self as possessing knowledge. Thus only after defining the four means of valid knowledge (perception, inference, comparison and verbal testimony) does he discuss recollection or smriti as a kind of knowledge, and then the last substance, namely, the mind.

The work consists of seven chapters namely

  1. Pratyaksha khanda (perception)
  2. Anumana Khanda (inference)
  3. Upamana Khanda (comparison)
  4. Sabda Khanda (verbal testimony)
  5. Smriti (Memory)
  6. Manas (Mind)
  7. Guna (Property)

Siddhanta Muktavali, along with its commentaries, represents an advanced stage of navya nyaya dialectics.