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Udayana – Exponent Of Nyaya Philosophy

Udayana is a leading exponent of the Nyaya philosophy. He was a 10th century commentator on the Nyaya theory. Udayana is known for his work Nyaya Kusumanjali and Atmatattva Viveka. Intensely logical in his approach to the Nyaya theory, he expounded his doctrine of Nyaya Mimamsa. He sought to validate God’s existence with profound insight and analytical force. He belongs to the scholastic period, which starts from the 2nd century BCE.

The word nyaya is taken from the root ni. What leads to a conclusion is called nyaya. Disputations and debates occurred among scholars to derive that right explanations of the Vedic texts. Such disputations led Apastamba, who probably lived before 3rd century BCE to call Nyaya as Mimamsa. Vatsyayana agreed upon the meaning of Nyaya as it exists from ancient times. He regarded the right meaning of a word as an illustration of Nyaya. He put more emphasis upon the logical side because of the prevalent importance of metaphysics. Katyayana of the 4th century BCE was aware of Nyaya Sutras.

Udayana’s Kirnavali, his sub-commentary on Tatparya Tika called Tatparyatikaparisuddhi, and his Kusumanjali which tries to prove the existence and Ishwara. In addition to these, Udayana’s, Atma Tattva Viveka is polemical and denounces the Buddhists. In this work, he endeavors towards the Nyaya theory regarding the self.

The Buddhist effort to establish the doctrine of ‘momentariness’ was the rejection of the theory of nitya (eternal), inherent in the concept of the Brahman and Ishwara. The Nyaya Vaisheshika considers the common-sense view of things. In it, things are regarded as permanent. The Buddhist view states that things exist because they can produce an impression or are useful. The Nyaya view disagrees with that. The Nyaya-Vaisheshika rests on experience and valid reasons. The Samkhya view of the cosmos, is rejected. However, the atomic doctrine of the elements asserts that atoms are eternal. The four bhutas, like air and water, are permanent.

The Nyaya – Vaisheshika is built on the theory of Jnana-Mimamsa and other factors. The bhashyas (commentaries) on Gautam Rishi’s Nyaya Sutra are to develop these theories.

The Nyaya – Vaisheshika is a pluralistic system of philosophy. It regards experience and perception as padarthas or categories. These categories are – dravya, guna, karma, samanya, visesha and samavaya.

Dravya is the important entity called asraya (substratum) and other entities depend on it. The first guna is rupa (color). The second is rasa (taste) – sweet, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter. The third is gandha (odor), experienced through the nose and attached to the earth. The fourth is spars (touch), related to the skin and experienced as hot or cold. The fifth is sabda (sound) and is associated with akasha. The sixth is samkhya or number. The seventh is parimiti (measure), denoting the smallness of greatness of things.

Karma is a movement; all kinds of karmas rest on substances. Samanya means an aspect of generality. This sat or existence is the case of sameness. It is also called jati and is regarded as a separate thing. It depends upon dravya, guna or karma. Visesha refers to substances which are eternal and alike. Every single sensation from the external world is different from all other sensations. Samavaya refers to the relationship of different things – substance and karma.

The Nyaya theory of Udayana discards Samkhya’s explanation that the prakriti is adequate to explain the structure of the cosmos. The Mimamsa philosophers, the Buddhists and other deny God’s existence. The Nyaya theory believes that Ishwara is the cause of all creation. God is always merciful and is doing good for all of us.

Udayana says that the solar heat is the basic source of all heat.