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Nyaya Varttika

Nyaya Varttika is a commentary by Udyotakara on Nyaya Bhashya of Vatsyayana. The explanatory commentary of Vatsyayana on Nyaya Sutra (aphorisms of the system of philosophy based on logic) was vehemently attacked by Buddhist scholars like Dignaga, Vasubandhu and so on. By way of replying to them and to defend the principles of the Nyaya philosophy, Acharya Udyotakara wrote an interpretative commentary (tika).

Udyotakara has interpreted Nyaya Bhashya and, of course, Nyayasutra, extensively in a lucid style and fluent language. He refuted, attacked and replied to the objections of the Buddhists. In between, in interpreting Nyaya Sutra and their bhashya by Vatsyayana, he quotes the Buddhist views here and there and contradicts them. This shows his deep knowledge of Buddhist thought. But he did not mention the names of the scholars whose opinions he attacked. That information was later supplied by the stalwart scholar Vacaspati Mishra in his Nyaya-Vartika-Tatparyatika.

At certain places, Udyotakara has also taken an independent stand in interpreting Nyayasutra, putting aside the commentary of Vatsyayana. Udayancarya, in his work Nyaya Vartika Tatparya Pratisuddhi tika, which he wrote as a further commentary on Vacaspati Mishra’s Tika, pinpoints the places where Udyotakara has expressed his views independent of Vatsyayana’s.

It was Udyotakara who, in his Nyaya Vartika, profoundly illustrated the importance of pramana – the adequate and appropriate evidence, as the basic means of knowledge and distinguished the pramana from prama (knowledge). In fact, Nyaya Vartika proved to be an important document of epistemology.