>Mahesh Chandra Nyayaratna wrote the text of Navya-nyaya-bhasa-pradipa in a very lucid and easily understandable Sanskrit to explain some technical aspects of Navya-nyaya language. A Bengali translation and even a Bengali commentary of the text has been available for quite some time (since 1973 to be precise). But there was no English translation or any exposition of the same and hence readers and researchers who can not read and understand Bengali and Sanskrit were deprived of making use of the text
The present work, therefore, will bridge that gap in its own modest way. The work contains English translation along with detailed notes and diagrams which aim at making the abstract ideas not visible. It will be useful to the beginners as well as advanced learners of Navya-nyaya.
Even students and scholars of Logic and Computer Science may find this work interesting and profitable.
About the Author:
Dr. Ujjwala Jha, Reader, Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Pune, has been working in the centre since February, 1987. Her fields of interest are: Mimamsa, Nyaya, Dharmasastra and Veda. She has been engaged in active research in these fields.
She has been associated with the course in Navya-nyaya in different levels since the year 2000. The Text of Navyanyayabhasapradipa has been taught in these courses by her at least five times.
Dr. Mrs. Jha has five books and more than fifty research papers to her credit.
Navya Nyaya represents one of the finest products of human intellect that has been sustaining India's intellectual culture for the last few centuries. It offers devices of logical argumentation and supplies us with a novel set of terminology for mapping reality. It originated at Mithila, flourished in Bengal and traversed the whole of India to influence the thought processes of Indian intelligentsia in diverse fields. It exerted influence on different systems of thought so much so that they adopted the Navya Nyaya methods to counter their opponents and propagate their thesis. That Navya Nyaya can still serve our academic needs need not be overemphasised. Are-look of Navya Nyaya language and methodology at this I. T. age may be highly rewarding.
The Asiatic Society, Kolkata has been successfully organizing Courses on Navya Nyaya : Language and Methodology since October, 2000. It was conceived, developed and imparted by Professor V. N. Jha, Director, CASS and. by him with Dr Mrs Jha of CASS, Pune at the Asiatic Society. On the first level course Navya- Nyaya-Bhasa-Pradipa by Mahesh Chandra Nyayaratna was taught by Mrs [ha. The mission is to revive the rich intellectual tradition of Nyaya and to relate it to the universal model of thinking and modern theories of language communication. At the first level (repeatedly given in various parts of India including Kolkata), the course was primarily concerned with the methodology of the philosophical understanding of the Nyaya system. In the more selective second level (Kolkata having the rare experience of being one), Professor [ha concentrated exclusively on the language communication theory of the Naiyayikas. The issue is seminally important to the diverse disciplines of modern know ledge system from humanities to sciences including social sciences, where the need for perfect communication through language is very important. Before entering into the intellectual dialogue, one can learn different aspects of the problem of communication from this rich Nyaya tradition. The Sabdabodha process explained on the basis of Navya-Nyaya-Bhasa -Pradipa and Bhasa Pariccheda with Siddha nta-Muktavali is really enchanting in many respects.
The Asiatic Society is happy to publish the Navya- Nyaya- Bhasa-Prad ipa with Introduction, translation and annotations in English, prepared by Dr Mrs Ujjwala [ha in the light of deliberations and interactions in the workshops held earlier. The book will serve as a primer of Navya Nyaya Language and Methodology for those interested in understanding our rich cultural heritage in modern context.
In May, 2000 Prof. V. N. JHA began his mission of spreading Navya-Nyaya studies country-wide. He had conceived the idea of an intensive course in Navya-Nyaya Language and Methodology since long but the mission of teaching this course in various places in India actually began in May 2000. Prof. N. P. Unni, the then Vice-chancellor' of Sri Sankaracharya university, Kalady , took an initiative in organising the said course in his university from 15 th May to 26th May 2000. The course attracted the attention of Sanskrit teachers as well as philosophy- teachers. In this very first course of its kind around 20 to 25 teachers from different colleges of Kerala and university departments participated.
The course was deviced as having two components : ( I) Exposition on basics of Indian Philosophy and (2) Reading of a 19th Century Navya-Nyaya-text. Both the components were taught every-day in two sessions of two hours each. Prof. Jha alone taught this course. It was welcomed and well appreciated by all the participants.
The same course was repeated in Kolkata at the Asiatic Society from Oct., 22 to Nov. 3, 2000. Prof. Manabendu Banerji was the secretary of Asiatic society. It is because of him that the course was organised at the society. He insisted that I must take at least some classes. Prof. Jha suggested I should read some portion of the text. So, for three days I taught the text of Navya-nyaya-bhasa-pradipa, the 19th century text at the Asiatic society. It was well-received by the participants coming from Sanskrit and philosophy departments of universities and colleges. It was here that I thought of helping prof. Jha more meaningfully by reading the whole text. It would serve two purposes: (i) the text-reading could be completed within stipulated time and (ii) more importantly, for me, it would give . some relief to Prof. Jha. Otherwise it was certainly a strenuous job. Thus, when the same course was organised at the oriental Research Institute, Baroda, I taught the whole of the above- mentioned text written by Maheshachandra Nyayaratna. This course was held between 17th May and 28th May 2001.
In Kolkata and in Baroda teachers from philosophy- departments participated enthusiastically. In Kolkata about twenty teachers participated and in Baroda the number went to above forty. The demand for the course by those who participated was ever-increasing. Many of them wanted to repeat the same course and some teachers actually did do so. And why not? Here was an opportunity to listen to an ideal teacher with his unique way of presentation and collect the vast panorama of Indian Philosophy in the most palatable and lucid manner just in the span of ten-twelve days. Another speciality was that those who were really interested in studies alone participated as the course would end in an examination. Though, procuring higher number of marks was not the aim of the mature teachers and participants, still, the spirit of examination could achieve quite a great amount of seriousness on the part of the participants as desired and anticipated.
The same course was repeated in two more places : Pune and New Delhi. (1) It was conducted at the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Pune from 17th Sept. to 29th Sept. 2001. This course was sponsored by the Indian council of philosophical Research, New Delhi. and (2) It was conducted at the Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU, New Delhi from 1st Oct. to 12th Oct. 2002. This was sponsored by Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan, New Delhi.
In both these courses also I shared the responsibility of leaching the same text. I had started translating the text into Englsh in the period of Baroda and Pune-courses but I could complete the same only after I taught it for the third time in JNU, New Delhi. Thus, readers will find an English translation of the text of Navya-Nyaya-Bhasa-Pradipa (NNBP), in this work, along with notes and the same graphs and diagrams which I used while teaching the text all the three times. In some places some more diagrams nave been added. These diagrams really make the point more understandable. In this attempt the original text has been edited carefully and some of the lacunae have been removed from it. Still, if some mistakes are left in the text, they are always revisable.
In this context let me express my gratefulness towards those because of whom I could complete this work. My husband is my sole source of inspiration. He not only works hard himself but is never tired of asking me just one question, "Did you complete your work?" This work is some times translation, some times a critical edition still some times an article or some times a monograph! His question induces me into 'work' like anything, refuting all mimamsa declarations that only 'optative suffix' induces an activity in a listener !! I must be grateful to god Almighty for giving me my most revered 'guru' and husband in just one act of kindness and compassion.
I must mention also a very special person's name here. It is Vedashree, our daughter. Though she helps me in every writing of mine in her own small little ways always, she has a special relationship with this course. She has been 'the invigilator' of the examination held at the end of the course since the course at Kolkata in 2000. She is addressed as 'the strict invigilator' or 'the special person' or sometimes 'the youngest participant' by many an honourable person of this country. May God bless her.
I am sincerely thankful to Prof. Manabendu Banerji, the then secretary, Asiatic Society, for inspiring me into coming forward and teaching the text. It is because of his insistence that I could help Prof. Jha more meaningfully in conducting these courses.
I am grateful to Prof. Rajendra Nanavati, the then director, Oriental Institute,Baroda, who organised the course in his Institute. He took all possible measures to make our stay at Baroda comfortable in the scorching Sun of May !
I sincerely thank all the particiipants of the four courses mentioned above for both listening to me patiently and also for their appreciation.
I should specifically mention here the name of Prof. Sitamshu Mehta, famous Gujrathi Poet, Ex- Vice-Chancellor, Saurashtra University, who participated in the Baroda-course. He not only attended the course with all patience and sincerety but also appeared for the examination with all seriousness. He admired my way of reading the text so much that I felt really embarrassed. But, he himself being a poet, a lover of language, perhaps, could enjoy the real rhythn of Sanskrit language in his heart. He also praised my way of controlling the class and technique of teaching. I take Prof. Mehta's comments as his blessings and affection for me and bow down to him' as he IS quite senior to me in all respects. I should also remember Prof. Kane, the then V.c. of the M S University, Baroda, who did not only grace the Inauguration and valedictory sessions but also attended our classes for one whole day! I am thankful to him.
Dr. Uma, Dr. Madhu, Dr. Anamika:, Dr. Piyali, Dr. Bhavani etc. were quite senior participants to listen to me in the Kolkata- course. I am grateful to them for their genuine appreciation of the course. Mrs. Reeta and Miss Meeta also deserve mention for their love and care. Dr. Uma and Dr. Piyali Palit repeatedly attended the course.
Dr. Kanshiram, Dr. Mithilesh Chaturvedi, Dr. Shashiprabha Kumar etc. were some senior persons who participated in the course at JNU, New Delhi. (The number of participants was fifty-nine). Dr. Kanshiram and Dr. Mithilesh attended the course with all sincerity and also appeared for the examination wholeheartedly! I am thankful to them.
The Nyaya system of Indian philosophy has two phases: (i) ancient and (ii) modern. The first phase marks the beginning of the Christian era and continues almost up to 10th century A.D. The second phase begins around the 10th century A.D. and continues up to the date. The second phase, though began around IOth cent. A.D., reached its best around 14th cent. A.D. when the magnum opus of Gangesopadhyaya, namely, the Tattvacinttimani was written. As the ancient nyaya developed through the commentary of Vatsyayana (on the Nyaya-sutra of Gautama) and then many sub-commentaries over one thousand years, the modern nyaya also developed through the commentaries and sub-commentaries on the Tattvacintamani of Gangesa over centuries.
The main focus of modern i.e. navyanyaya was to difine terms in a precise manner and then to formulate or evolve a language which may be called 'the precise medium of communication'. It was necessary to evolve a new or should we sayan artificial language to do away with the possible amibiguity which is a basic quality of any natural language. Natural language cannot be totally ambiguity-free. Let us take an example: Suppose someone syas : 'x ' is in the room; someone else says: 'x ' is not in the room. Both of them claim that there statements are true. If both these are true and we conjoin them by adding one 'and' what will be the result? Let us see: After joining both the statements the following statement will emerge : 'x' is in the room and 'x' is not in the room. Now, if we name the first statement, , 'x ' is in the room' by the name 'p ' then the statement after conjoining both of them will be: 'p: and 'not p' which is written in the symolic logic as : P: ~ po This is an obvious contradication. In other words, both of them cannot be true simultaneously. One can notice that we have introduced the notion of 'time' to understand the contradication. In other words, the two statements are not contradictory if they are made in two different segments of time, say, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Thus, by inserting the element of 'time' , apparent contradiction is removed.
Let us think of another possiblity. One may agrue that both the statements stand 'true' at 'the same time'. Yes, this also is possible, only if we modify the meaning of the word 'room' in the original statement. As 'x ' has a limited size, 'x ' cannot pervade the whole of the room. Accordingly, 'x ' may be present in the room at a particular point, say, a chair, and certainly everywhere else in the room 'x ' is not present i.e. 'x ' is absent. Thus, if we are talking about, 'x"s existence and absence in the same room at the same time, then 'the part' or 'portion of the room' may be inserted in the statement by which ali contradiction, doubt, ambiguity are removed. This, precisely, is the technique adopted by the modern nyaya to remove any ambiguity that may occur by the use of natural language.
Now, why should navya-nyaya focus its attention to this feature alone? This was the need of the hour. Let us begin at the very beginning. 'Dialectics' is the only method for any philosophical discussion. This was adopted by all philosophers and the same was going on through many centuries, particularly, between buddhist logicians and naiyayikas. Many a time, the discussion, the definitions, the arguments made by one side were mistaken to be otherwise by the other side. If one goes through the texts on ancient nyaya , one finds ample proof to the statement made here. This is why the definitions have been revised and restated by the later philosophers. This situation must have led to the evolving of a new language, which, if used in 'dialectics' will not lead to any ambiguous or misunderestood conception. Thus, navya-nyaya language is an outcome of rigorous thinking of indian philosophers in this direction.
One can expereience the focus of navya-nyaya on the precise means of communication if one goes through the Tattva- cinuimani and the commentaries on the same. From this it may be clear why the ancient nyaya is described as issue-oriented and the modern one as epistemotology-oriented (or rather methodology-oriented) Even our author of Navya-nyaya-bhasa-pradipa (NNBP) Maheshchandra Nyayaratna comments: "A hair -splitting subtlety in the discussion of mean- ings of terms is, thus, the distinguishing characteristic of modern nyaya. Poverty of matter is its great drawback" but adds in the same breath, "Notwithstanding this drawback, howerver, it is an excellent training for the intellect, which, under its discipline, acquires a power of precise thinking that is beyond all price. Without a study of modern nyaya, it is impossible, again, to thor- oughly understand certain Sanskrit works on philosophy, Law, Rhetoric and even Grammar; for exmple, the Citsukhi, a com- mentary by Citsukhacarya on Nyayamakaranda (a treatise on the Vedanta philosophy by Anandabodha), the Dayabhaga- prabodhini, a commentary by Srikrsna Trakalankara on Dayabhaga (a treatise on the Hindu Law of inheritance), the Kavyaprakasadarsa, a commentary by Mahesvara Nyayalankara on Kavyaprakasa (a work on Rhetoric),and Paribhasendu- sekhara and Manjusa (works on Grammar) by Nagesa Bhatta". (vide : pp 2-3 of the NNBP under the sub-title "Brief Notes on the Modern Nyaya system of philosophy and Its Technical Terms)
This comment of our author of the Navyanyayabhasapradipa makes the scope as well as limitation of navyanyaya amply clear. This is not the occasion to discuss the limitation of modern nyaya rather we should get acquainted with the scope of it here. Our author has mentioned a few sastric texts, which cannot be under- stood in a proper manner unless one is well versed in navyanyaya. This is so, because, once the language and method- ology were evolved, all systems adopted it as the means of communicaion. Hence almost all texts after 14th century AD. are written in navya-nyaya language.
If one wishes to study different texts he must know the modem nyaya. It is like this; If one does not know mathematics one cannot do physics or chemistry or biology (or even psychology or sociology for that matter) in a perfect manner. The same is the case with navya nyaya. Thus, it makes it essential for one to learn and master the language and methodology of navya-nyaya (of coures, if one cares to study any sastric texts written after 14th centuey AD.) to understand various systems.
To facilitate his very learning of the same, our author presented the methodology through his learned, lucid and simple paper on navya-nyaya technicalities.Yes, the text of Navyanyayabhasapradipa was originally a paper written by our authour Maheshcandra. He wrote it somewhere in early ninetys of 19th century A.D. It turned into the form of a book when Kalipada Tarkacharya added his Bengali translation and the commentary Suprabha to the paper. The same is published by the Sanskrit College, Kolkata in 1973 in the Book-form. (vide : Calcutta Sanskrit College resaarch Series No. Lxxix)
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