I am extremely happy to publish in book form the fifth ‘Prof. MS. Menon Endowment Lectures entitled Contribution of Nyaya System to Indian Thought Structure by Dr.V.N. Jha, Director. Centre of Advanced Study En Sanskrit. University of Poona. This is the sixth book in the ‘Calicut University Sanskrit [)eparatmental Series’, the others being the Catalogue of Manuscripts edited b Prof. MS. Menon and Dr. N.V.P. Unithiri. Minims Contribution to Language Studies by Dr. K Kunjunni Raja, The Traditional Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala by Dr. C. Rajendran. The Ethics of Sankara by Dr. K.N. Neelakantan Elayath and Observational Astronomy in India by Prof. K.V. Sarma.
The Department of Sanskrit in this University started in 1977. Prof. M.S. Menon. a renowned scholar-critic and founder head of the Department, retired from service on 30th September, 1985. Then his colleagues and students decided to raise a fund to start a series of annual endowment lectures on different topics of Sanskrit 1anguge and literature and Indian Philosophy. With the encouragement showered on them by the University authorities. especially. The then Vice-Chancellor Mr. TN. Jayachandran. ‘Prof MS. Menon Endowment was instituted soon. Dr. K. Kunjunni Raja. [Ion. Director of the Adyar Library and Research Centre, Dr.V, Swaminathan, former Principal of Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth. Guruvayur late Dr. N.V. Krishna Warrier, a well-known poet-critic and the former Chief Editor of Mathrubhumi. Calicut; Prof. K.V. Sarma, Hon. Professor of Sanskrit, Adyar Library and Research Centre; Dr. V.N. Jha, Director, CASS, University of Poona; Prof. D. Prahlada Char, Department of Sanskrit, Bangalore University; the late Dr. E.R. Sreekrishna Sarma, former Professor and Head of the Department of S.V. University. Tirupati; and Sri. E.M.S. Namboodiripad, veteran Marxist leader and Director of AKG Centre for studies and Research, Trivandrum, delivered the first eight lectures on “Mimamsa Contribution to Language Studies”, “Some Cardinal Doctrines of Advaita Vedanta”, “Vyakarana Paribhasas:,” “Observational Astronomy in India”, “Contribution of Nyaya System to Indian Thought Structure”, “Khyativada”, “Vedic Tradition in Kerala” and “Swami Vivekananda-Philosopher of Indian Renaissance”, respectively.
Dr. V.N. Jha is well-known in the world of Indological research and he is now accepted by all in the field as an authority on Navya Nyaya system of philosophy and logic. He has several works on this subject to his credit like Studies in Language, Logic and Epistemology, Visayatavada, The Philosophy of Injunction, The Logic of Intermediate Casual Link and The Philosophy of Relations.
In this small but scholarly treatise contribution of Nyaya System to Indian Thought Structure, Prof. V.N. Jha deals with all the essential topics connected with Nyaya Philosophy and logic. In the first chapter he prepares the background tracing the origin and growth of Nyaya system. The next chapter is devoted to deal with the contribution of Buddhist logicians. Dr. Jha rightly concludes the chapter thus: “I do not think there can be any doubt by now about the contribution the Buddhist philosophers and logicians made with regard to the development of Indian rational thinking. They contributed both directly and indirectly, directly by convincing the rationalists about their stand which forced the rationalists to incorporate the views of the Buddhists in their own frame-work and indirectly by compelling the rationalists to rethink and by helping them win the impact of emotion over rationale.” In the third chapter he presents a lucid exposition of Pramanas in ancient Indian Philosophy with special reference to Nyaya System. Philosophy of Language from Indian Perspective is discussed in some detail in the next chapter. The author systematically concludes it as follows: “it is clear that the ancient Indian Philosophers had paid great attention to the analysis of verbal behaviour.
This entire attempt to analyse the language has been from listener’s or hearer’s point of view. That is why we find meticulous analysis of the process of verbal understanding, i.e., the epistemology of the cognition that arises from a sentence, i.e., the Sabdabodha. As philosophers of language, they took divergent stands - right from saying that language does not speak the truth to saying that it cannot speak but the truth through saying that it speaks both, truth and untruth.” The fifth chapter is on “Meaning and Referent: An Indian Perspective”. Describing the process of Sabdabodha, Dr. Jha meticulously summarises there the contents of the dialogues between Naiyayikas and Vaiykaranas on the topic. Earnestly speaking, it is an exciting experience to go through that part of this booklet. Concluding the chapter Dr. Jha points out that “for the Naiyayikas a morpheme expresses its referent through a straight line relation and not via any concept, but it is so for the grammarians and for majority of the Western philosophers and linguists”. The main conclusions of the study are put together in the sixth and last chapter.
In short, I hope. this booklet will be highly useful for scholars and general readers who are interested in ancient Indian Philosophy in general and Nyaya Philosophy and logic and linguistics in particular.
I express my deep gratitude to the University authorities for allotting sufficient fund for publishing this endowment lecture. Thanks are due to Dr. V.N. Jha for delivering the lecture and giving permission for including this treatise in the Calicut University Sanskrit Departmental Series. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Sanskrit for their active cooperation in all the works of the Department, especially for the help extended by them in conducting the Endowment lectures and publishing this work.
The present monograph is an elaborated form of Prf. M.S. Menon Endowment Lecture delivered by me on “Contribution of Nyaya System to Indian thought Structure” on 12.10.1990.
I am thankful to the authorities of the University of Calicut, particularly, Prof. N.V.P. Unithiri, Head of the Department of Sanskrit of the University and his team for giving me this opportunity to present my thinking on a subject which is so dear to me.
Professor Unithiri expressed his desire to publish the lecture and requested me to put it in an elaborated form. Accordingly, I made a little elaboration by highlighting some of the issues which are considered to be very important in tracing the history of rational thinking of ancient India.
What I have tried here is merely to generate a perspective for the study of Nyaya-Vaisesika philosophy and logic. I shall feel amply rewarded if this volume creates at least an interest in looking at the huge literature of Nyaya-Vaisesika System of Indian Philosophy from such an angle.
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