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Pragabhava – Term Of Negation In Nyaya Vaisheshika Logic

In Hindu philosophy, Pragabhava is a term of negation and is found in Nyaya Vaisheshika logic. The Nyaya Vaisesika metaphysics accepts two types of realities – bhava (positive) and abhava (negative). Purva Mimamsakas of Kumarila Bhatta School also accept abhava as a category. Together with positive reality, the negative of existence has also to be accepted. “The rose is on the table” – here the positive existence is perceptible, so negative existence is also realized when the rose is removed from the place. We say, “The rose is not on the table.” Thus according to naiyayikas, negation also is a category.

The naiyayikas accept four types of negation – Pragabhava, Pradhavamshabhava, Anyonya Abhava and Atyantabhava.

Pragabhava (anterior non-existence) is the non-existence of an object before its coming into existence. The potter, the clay, the wheel and the rod did exist but the pot was not there. If a potter puts clay on the wheel and turns the wheel with the rod and produces a pot out of the clay, only then will the pot have an existence. Otherwise, the pot will be a non-entity. The pragabhava has no beginning, because the pot did not exist from time immemorial; but it has an end, because the pragabhava of that particular pot comes to an end no sooner than the pot comes into existence. Other innumerable pots might have been produced before this particular pot, but this pot did not exist at any time. So pragabhava is in the case of this particular pot, and it is a cognizable fact.

  • The other abhavas are –
  • Pradhvamsabhava (destructive negation) when the pot is broken and exists no longer
  • Anyonya Abhava (mutual negative) – the paper is not a pen and a pen is not a paper
  • Atyantabhava (total negation) – the son of a barren woman, the horns of a hare,the color of the air, the flower of the sky are some examples.