Navya-Nyāya

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  • #14495
    Sunil Sharma
    Participant

    Hi Ashish

    What is the philosophy navya-nyāya? And what is the difference between the philosophies of nyaya and navya-nyāya?

    #14496
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    Sorry. I don’t know.

    #14497
    Sunil Sharma
    Participant

    No problem. While reading Jaiva dharma I came across this passage:-

    At twenty-one, Vrajanātha Nyāya-pañcānana had been crowned the unconquerable regent of debate and scholasticism—the dig-vijayī paṇḍita, one who has conquered all four directions. Voraciously, he had read the complete works of Śrī Gaṅgeśopādhyāya, who had initiated a new system of logic known as navya-nyāya. In addition, he had picked out many logical fallacies in Raghunātha (Kāṇābhaṭṭa) Śiromaṇi’s Dīdhiti, which was a famous commentary on Gaṅgeśopādhyāya’s dissertation on nyāya, the Tattva-cintāmaṇi. Thereafter, he had started writing his own independent purports. Material life had no attraction for him and he spent no time in its contemplation; instead, the subjects of nyāya: semantics, rhetoric, sophism, devising new counter-arguments, and so on, filled his world. Using the logical tools of ghaṭa, a clay pot; paṭa, a piece of cloth; avaccheda, the distinguishing property of an object; and vyavaccheda, the separation of one object from another, he constantly considered the nature of objects, the nature of time, and the peculiarities of liquids and solids, even while eating, sleeping and walking. Still, he had never even heard of paramārtha, the ultimate spiritual destination—pure devotion to the Supreme Lord.

    One evening, while sitting on the bank of the Gaṅgā, Vrajanātha was deeply contemplating the enumeration of the sixteen elements of nyāya by the sage Gautama. All at once, a young student of nyāya-śāstra came up to him and enquired as follows, “Dear Nyāya-pañcānana Mahāśaya, are you familiar with the aphorisms of Nimāi Paṇḍita that repudiate the theory of paramāṇu, the theory of creation based upon the material atom?”

    Vrajanātha’s immediate response boomed out like the roar of a lion, “Who is this Nimāi Paṇḍita? Are you referring to the son of Śrī Jagannātha Miśra? Tell me about His subtle arguments.”

    The student replied, “Not so long ago, here in Navadvīpa, an extraordinary personality named Nimāi Paṇḍita composed a myriad of aphorisms on nyāya and with them He succeeded in unsettling even the famous Raghunātha Śiromaṇi. Since then Nimāi Paṇḍita has ruled the roost as the undisputed Master amongst all stalwart scholars of nyāya-śāstra. Yet, despite His great command of nyāya, eventually He came to view it with contempt, in fact becoming derisive of material existence as a whole. He embraced the renounced order as a sannyāsī mendicant and roamed far and wide, propagating the congregational chanting of harināma. Present-day Vaiṣṇavas worship Him as the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and thus dedicatedly chant His Śrī Gaurahari mantra. Śrī Nyāya-pañcānana Mahāśaya, kindly go through his aphorisms and see what you think.”

    Impressed and enticed by this unreserved eulogy of Nimāi Paṇḍita’s aphorisms, Vrajanātha began to search for them and within a short time discovered a number of Nimāi Paṇḍita’s aphorisms from different scholarly sources. Out of human nature, one automatically venerates the pre-eminent teachers of the subjects in which one is interested. Moreover, for various reasons people generally tend to have more esteem for great personalities after their death and, in contrast, be even neglectful of such personalities whilst they live. Thus, it was only natural for Vrajanātha after delving into Nimāi Paṇḍita’s aphorisms to develop great deference for Him.

    Acutely feeling the absence of Nimāi Paṇḍita, Vrajanātha would express his feelings in prayer, “O Nimāi Paṇḍita! If only I had been there when you were present, perhaps I could have gained great knowledge from you. Dear Nimāi Paṇḍita! Kindly enthrone yourself in my heart. Truly, you must be the Absolute Supreme Brahman, otherwise how could your intellect construct such extraordinary rhetorical aphorisms? You are indeed the Golden Avatāra, Śrī Gaurahari! Your philosophy and profound insight has given vision to persons blinded by nescience. Ignorance is black and dark, which Your brilliant golden hue as Śrī Gaura Gaurāṅga has dissipated. You are the Supreme Lord, Śrī Hari, because you are able to steal the heart of everyone. In truth, I have lost my heart to Your wonderful aphorisms.”

    Reading this passage, I felt that this philosophy of navya-nyaya is comparatively more advanced than the nyaya philosophy due to which it seemed to me that this might be relevant to your work. Therefore I asked.

    #14498
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    When I was 7 or 8 years old, I read a Hindi translation of “Chaitanya Charitāvali” by Prabhudutta Brahmachāri. It used to be in five volumes earlier, but it seems like they shrunk it to one volume. Anyway, in that book, there was a color picture of Lord Chaitanya throwing away His navya-nyāya commentary in Ganga just to please His friend Raghunātha who was hoping to become the greatest Nyāya philosopher, but upon seeing that Lord Chaitanya’s commentary was far superior to his, he started crying. Then Lord Chaitanya threw away His commentary in Ganga just to please his friend. That picture of Lord Chaitanya throwing away His Nyāya commentary in Ganga stuck in my mind, even as a child. It is equally fresh today.

    I’m aware that Lord Chaitanya wrote a new Nyāya commentary in which He rejected navya-nyāya conclusions. But He threw it away and the remaining commentaries survived. This is why I don’t give much value to it. If Lord Chaitanya has rejected it, then it has no value for me. So, when you asked if I know the difference between Nyāya and Navya-Nyāya I told you honestly that I don’t know. It’s because I never studied Navya-Nyāya. But I know about Lord Chaitanya’s commentary.

    In the mid 90s, I met a Navya-Nyāya scholar in Calcutta. I think it was in Jadavpur University, but I don’t remember clearly now. He was wearing white dhoti and kurta and proud of being a Brāhmana. He treated me like a servant, which I don’t blame him for, because I did not have good clothes and I was not well-dressed by ordinary standards. Nevertheless, I saw the pride in his demeanor and I thought to myself: This guy knows nothing. As the saying goes: vidyā dadāti vinayam, or knowledge makes a person humble. And he was apparently the greatest scholar of Navya-Nyāya at that time. That is yet another reason why I never went in that direction.

    Long story short, I don’t know about Navya-Nyāya and I’m not curious about it. If for some reason a necessity arises, I will read. Until then, I focus on the job at hand.

    #14499
    Sunil Sharma
    Participant

    I’m aware that Lord Chaitanya wrote a new Nyaya commentary in which He rejected navya-nyaya conclusions. But He threw it away and the remaining commentaries survived. This is why I don’t give much value to it. If Lord Chaitanya has rejected it, then it has no value for me.

    Oh, I actually misunderstood in that case. I understood that Mahaprabhu’s commentary was supporting navya-nyaya conclusions. Thank you for informing me that it wasn’t like that.

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