--> Skip to main content

Anyathasiddhi In Hindu Philosophy

Anyathasiddhi is cause and effect relationship in Hindu philosophy. The Nyaya School of Hindu philosophy defines cause as a necessary (anyathasiddha) and invariable (niyata) antecedent (purvavarti) of an event, namely effect. The necessary and invariable antecedents are to be distinguished from the contingent yet invariable antecedents or the anyathasiddhas.

Anyatha Siddhas are not directly responsible for producing the effect. Hence, they are described as the superfluous antecedents. However, their invariable accompaniment of the true cause is responsible for their invariable antecedence. Anyatha Siddhas are not really necessary for producing the effect. Also, they are not directly responsible for producing the effect. Also, they are not directly responsible for producing the effect. The existence and nature of the cause itself depends on the various anyathasiddhas. As such, anyatha siddhas may be appropriately called secondary or remote (causal) antecedents.

Nyaya accepts five kinds of anyatha siddhas –

  1. The universal (samanya) of the cause, always inhering in the cause and thus becoming an invariable antecedent to the effect, is the first kind of anyathasiddha. For example, the universal attribute of potter’s staff (dandatva) is an anyathasiddha with respect to the produced jar.
  2. The second variety of anyathasiddhas are those antecedents which do not have any independent relation with the effect; rather their antecedence to the effect flows from their association with the cause, e.g. color of the potter’s staff and the potter’s complexion.
  3. The general and necessary antecedents of the causes come under the third category of anyathasiddhas e.g. space, time, ether, etc.
  4. The fourth category of anyathasiddhas are those, the antecedence of which to the effect, is known only after knowing their antecedence to the cause, e.g., the potter’s parents. These anyathasiddhas are the cause of the cause itself.
  5. All antecedents to the effect, which are other than it is necessary, immediate and invariable antecedents, come under the fifth category of anyathasiddhas, e.g. the potter’s donkey or his cart.

This fifth category of anyatha siddha gives the crux of this concept and it covers the earlier four kinds of anyathasiddhas as well.