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CHRONOLOGY OF THE NYAYA SYSTEM.
BY MAHAMAHOPADHYAYA HARAPRASAD
SASTRI, M.A., C.I.E.
Any one who carefully reads the Nyaya Sutras will perceive that they are not the work of one man, of one age, of the professors of one science, or even of the professors of one system of religion. It would seem apparent that at different age philosophers, logicians and divines have interpolated various sections into an already existing work on what we may, for the want of a better name, call Logic.
It is evident that such a book would be full of contradictions, inconsistencies and irreconciliable passages. So the Nyaya Sutras are. The Hindu commentators from Vātsyāyana, in the 4th century A. D. to Rādhāmohan Goswami in the 19th, have attempted to evolve a harmonious system of Logic and Philosophy from the Sutras. The task is an impossible one, and so every one of them has failed, and that miserably. They have imported later and more modern ideas into the commentaries, but without success. The acute logicians of Bengal thought it was a difficult work; and they have recourse to various shifts to explain the Bhashya and other commentaries. They have changed some passages and imported extraordinary meanings into others.
But unfortunately the idea of studying the Sutras by themselves did not occur to any one of them. Ninety-nine per cent of the MSS. of this work are accompanied with some commentary or other. MSS. giving the Sutras only are extremely rare. I got one from Midnapore, and gave a copy of it to my friend, Dr. Venis, and it was published at Benares. It is known as the Nyāyasuttroddhāra. My friend Mahamahopadhyaya. Pandit Vindhyesvari Prasad Dube got one at Benares, and he published it in the Bibliotheca Indica as an appendix to his edition of the Nyāyavārttika. This is known as Nyāyasūcinibandha. But from what I know of the habits of pandits, I am sure nobody has
studied the Sutras by themselves. They have been used only as works of reference.
I took up the Nyāyasūcinib indha for independent study. On comparing the Sutras as given there, with Sutras in edition accompanied by commentaries, and also with the Nyāyasūṭtroddhāra I was struck with the variety of readings which the Nyayr Sutras presented. A number of sutras are regarded as spurious, The readings of a large number of Sutras are irreconcilliably different in different editions. This is not the case with the Vedānti Sutras, and with the Mimamsa Sutras, in which various readings are extremely rare, almost non-existent, and interpolated Sutras there are none. I am not speaking of the Sankhya and the Yoga Sutras, which are comparatively modern. The difficulty which I feel in regard to the Nyaya Sutras was also felt about a thousand years ago, when Vacaspati Misra, who flourished about the end of the 10th century, attempted to fix the number of the sutras and their readings in Nyayasucinibandha.
For convenience sake, I took up the Nyayasucinibandha dated 898 of a certain era either Saka or Samvat, that is 976 A. D. or 842 A. D. and that for three reasons,-(1) because it counts the number of the Sutras, number of words, and even the number of letters in the Nyaya Sutras; (2) because it divides the Sutras into sections, each dealing with a single topic; (3) because it is dated, and there are internal evidences to show that it was written by the great Vacaspati, the commentaor on the six systems.
The study of the Sutras makes it apparent that works of two different sciences have been mixed up. One is a work on Logic, or rather the science of Reasoning, or as Sadajiro Sigiura terms it, "science of discriminating true knowledge from the false" ; and the other is a work on some system of philosophy. The work on Logic is confined almost exclusively to the first and fifth chapters. I say 'almost' because some sections of the second chapter also may belong to the Logic part. The rest of the work with about eight sutras in the first chapter belong to the philosophical part.
Let us analyze the Logic section. This section seems to contain three separate treatises. The first chapter, with the exception of the
Sutras mentioned above, constitutes the first and the most important treatise. It is complete in itself. The first sutra enume. rates the 16 topics essential in Debate, and all the sixteen topics are fully treated of in the first chapter. It is fully self-contained and nothing farther is needed to complete it. The first Sutra gives, so to say, the objects and reasons for the science. It says that any one who has a complete knowledge of the sixteen topics attains the highest proficiency in every walk of life, and the first chapter deals with the complete knowledge of all the sixteen topics.
I may remark in passing that the science embodied in the first chapter of these Sutras is not Logic, in the present signi fication of the term, but, Logic in its primitive and rudimentary stage. It may better be called the Science of Debate. And all the requisites of a well-regulated Debate are included in the sixteen topics. They are not always the requisites of the science of Logic, as known at present. The second treatise on Logic embodied in the Sutras, is the first 'daily lecture' (Ahnika) of the fifth chapter. The last Sutra of the first chapter simply says that Fallacies (Jāti) and Points of Defeat (Nigrahasthāna) are many, thus leaving no room for any elaborate subdivision of these two topics. But the first lecture of the fifth chapter not only enumerates twenty-four sub-divisions of the Jatis, but gives careful definitions of every one of them. The author who wrote the first chapter is not the author of the first lecture of the fifth chapter. (The last section of the first lecture of the fifth chapter, which has nothing to do with the definitions of the subdivisions of Jatis, but which limits the extent of a fruitless Debate, is no part of the second treatise, and seems to be an addition.) The third treatise consists of the second daily lecture of chapter five. It enumerates the various Points of Defeat and defines them.
One of the most cogent reasons for considering these treatises as separate, and also for considering them to be composed by different authors, is the fact that the same technical terms have been used and defined in these, but in very different senses. The definition of Jāti as given in the first, does not cover all the sub-divisions enumerated in the second. The terms Prakaraṇasama and Sadhyasama are defined among the Semblances of Reason
(Hetrabhasa) in the first treatise, but these appear to have been differently defined as sub-divisions of Jatis. The term, Matanujñā has been defined one way in the second and another way in the third. If all the three have been written by one and the same person, the same technical terms would not receive at his hands two such wide definitions.
It is difficult to say whether the composition of the second and third treatises preceded or followed that of the first treatise which is a comprehensive work on the Science of Debate. Many, scholars hold that such comprehensive treatises generally follow separate and partial treatises on parts, just as the Upadi Sutras and the Gana Sutras preceded Pāņini, and that these separate treatises after the composition of the comprehensive treatise, formed its appendices.
One would be tempted to believe that all the sections of the first lecture of chapter second, with the exception of the last, and the first and last sections of the second Daily lecture of that chapter, may be included in the logical part, because they have a direct bearing on Pramaņa or the instruments of true knowledge which forms the first essential topic in the Science of Debate.
The commentators and modern Pandits, in order to make this incoherent collection of Sutras a harmonious whole, are obliged to say that the Nyayasutras consists of the enumeration (uddeśa), definition (nirdeśa) and the examination (pariksha) of the sixteen topics. The enumeration is complete in the first Sutra, the definition in the first chapter and the examination in the other chapters. There would have been no cause of complaint if all this were a fact. The examination is, however not complete. It does not comprehend all the sixteen topics. The topics examined in fact are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 15th, and 16th. The examination of others have been altogether omitted. If there is any, it is of a very nebulous character. So a complete examination of the sixteen topics is not to be found in the sutras, and this is exceedingly suspicious. The examinations, are as a rule, examinations of the definitions given in the first chap ter at least so the commentators say. If so, the examination of Jati and the Points of Defcat (Nigrahasthana) are not really the
examination intended by the commentators. On the other hand, in the case of Jati, we find that the definition as given in the first chapter depending simply upon homogeneity and heterogeneity does not apply to a number of sub-divisions of Jātis as given in the fifth chapter. The examination of the other three topics, too, contains so much of heterogeneous matter, besides an examination of the definition, that one is tempted to say that the whole of the examination affair, i. e, all the chapters 2-4 are an addition. So far about the Logical portion.
The Philosophical portion has its beginning in the second Sutra of the first chapter. The first sutra of chapter one, as has been already said, gives the objects and reasons of the work, And these objects and reasons seem to be all secular. There was no need for a second enunciation of the objects and reasons. But the second sutra again enunciates them. And in this case they are philosophical and spiritual. Vacaspati Misra puts the two together in one section, and call the section" objects and reasons". The commentators have tried to reconcile this double enunciation of object and reasons, but without success. The only reasonable explanation of this double enunciation seems to be that some latter writer has interpolated the second sutra with a view to add philosophical sections to thework. The second Sutra contains topics which are not enumerated in the first, and the thoughtful reader is struck with the introduce tion of new matter so early as in the second Sutra. These topics are misery, birth, activity, fault and false knowledge together with "apavarga". The introduction of these new topics is defended by saying that they fall under the sub-divisions of the second topic, in the first Sutra, namely, "objects of true knowledge". The object of true knowledge is a topic which is so vast that all topics of the world may come under its sub divisions. And, as a result of this, the interpolator has tampered with the definition of 'Prameya', Sutra 1-1-9, which is virtually an enumeration of its sub-divisions, and put in six new topics into it. That the prameyasutra at one time was different from what it is now, is apparent from the statement of Haribhadra Suri, a Jain writer, who in his Saddarsana Samuccaya describes the prameyasutra in the following terms:— Prameyam hyātmadehādyam buddhindriyasukhāni ca (Bibliotheca Edition) or, as in the Beuares edition, Prameyam hyālma lehārthabuddhindriyasukhāni ca. The order of words is different: sukha or