Nyaya Philosophy: The Basis of Indian Logic

Epistemology

Physical World in Nyaya Philosophy

Individual Self

God

  • The simplest proof is the Shabda pramana of the Vedas which Nayay philosophy considers to be valid.
  • Another proof provided is the causal proof which mentions that just as you need a potter to change a clay into a pot, similarly you need God to create this universe from its material constituents. Since these material constituents are arranged in an organized way, the agent which organizes them must be intelligent, because if he is not intelligent then this world will also be haphazard. Since the universe is not haphazard, therefore it proves that God exist.
  • Third proof is based on the idea of Adrishta, which is linked to the idea of karma. In this world, different people are born in different circumstances. Some people face more hardship then others, why is that? The answer provided in Indian context is that of the idea of karma. The deeds that you do today will bear fruits for you in the future. Therefore, if you are experiencing a lot of hardships in this life then you must have done bad deeds in your past life. Naiyayikas then say that this accrual of karma and manifestation of its fruits is not visible to us and therefore the mechanism behind it is invisible to us or Adrishta to us. This adrishta phenomenon cannot occur by itself, but must have an intelligent force driving it, therefore, there must be an omnipotent, omniscient divine God who manages the adrishta.

Conclusions

  1. The idea of self is not very satisfying. First of all the Naiyayaikas say that the self is our ego which attains consciousness after entering a body. Then it says that there are multiple selfs in this universe. Now think about it, if we are told that we are our ego, each person is his ego and that when attain liberation then we go into a suspended state of nothingness. One of the biggest fears in our life is losing our identity. If we are told that the ultimate aim of our life is to attain nothingness, then this will only lead to nihilism in us. Such a society will soon fall into materialism, just as we see in the Christian and Islamic societies.
  2. The idea that God is not the material cause of this universe but just an agent of its creation, preservation and destruction is again not very satisfying. It has the same issues that we point out in the idea of God in Islam and Christianity. If God is not the material cause of this universe but just the organizer, then he must be separate from this universe. If he is separate then he is not infinite and therefore cannot be omniscient, he basically just becomes an architect.
  3. Another issue with God just being the creator, preserver and annihilator of this universe is that, if he is doing it, what is the motivation for him to do it. If he created it because of desire then desire becomes higher than God. If he is doing it out of compassion, then he is not very successful as, living beings suffer in this universe and the only way out of it for them is to go back to nothingness. Actually, if God created this universe with any desire, then that desire becomes higher than God, so eventually what you end up with is that God created this universe for no reason whatsoever. However, this reason again takes us to nihilism.

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Rahul Yadav

Rahul Yadav

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