Indian philosophy is generally divided into two parts, the first of which comprises the six orthodox schools, viz. Purvamimansa, Uttaramimansa, Yoga, Vais'eshika, and Nyaya, while the second includes all the heterodox ones, the most prominent of which are those of the Lokayatikas, Bauddhas, and Jainas. The purvamimansa is mainly engaged in construing and interpreting Vedic texts with a view to propound the doctrine that the performance of sacrifices results in conferring on a sacrificer heavenly bliss. But something higher than the mere material pleasures of heaven was the goal of the philosophy of the Upanishads. The Vedanta system, developed out of the Upanishads, aimed at establishing the importance of knowledge, and the natural consequence of this was that less value came to be attached to the Karma philosophy. Men's minds were then more vigourously directed to the questions as to who the creator of the universe is, what his motive in its creation is, why a man is compelled to experience misery in life, how he is to liberate himself from it, and several others of a like nature. These questions had a natural interest in them and consequently four different schools sprang up along with that of the Vedanta, each proposing a different solution of the above problems. Thus while the Vedantins on the one hand supposed Brahma to be the cause of the universe, on the other there arose the Sankhyas maintaining that it was Pradhana out of which the world has evolved, the followers of Yoga system echoing the same opinion with some slight changes; likewise there arouse the Vaiseshikas and the Naiyayikas, both propounding the atomic theory to explain the creation of the world. Out of these discussing the above questions, dwells at full length on the laws of reasoning, and hence it has gained for itself the double character of metaphysics and logic. The latter, however, occupies there a subordinate position inasmuch as it comes in only as an instrument of right knowledge, necessary for the attainment of Moksha, which is the principal and the Shastra. The relation between Nyaya and Vaiseshika, like the one between Sankhya and Yoga, is that of brotherhood General their doctrines are not mutually antagonistic, and they seem to be parts of one common system, each developing only a different branch of the common subject. Thus the atomic theory is brought to its perfection by the Vais'eshika School, while Nyaya is occupied with the investigation of the laws of reasoning. The original work of the Nyaya School is the Sutras of Gautama. They are commented upon by Vatsyayana in his Bhashya. Thus in its turn in commented upon by Udyotakaracharya in his Nyayavartika Nyaya-vartika-tatparya-tika is again a commentary on the Nyaya-vartika by Vachaspatimisra. And this series of commentaries on commentaries ends with that of Udayancharya, which is styled as Nyaya-vartika-tatparya-parisuddhi. Viswanatha, at a comparatively modern date, has ably explained the original Nyaya Sutras of Gautama in an independent Vriti. In addition to these works are not immediately connected with the Sutras of any of the commentaries thereon. Among other the tarkabhasha of Kesavamisra, the present text, may be mentioned as an elementary creatise, best adapted to meet the wants of a beginner of the science of Nyaya.
Nothing is known about the personal history of Kesavamis'ra. Even the question as to what other books he has written cannot be solved with any great certainty. Several works are, no doubt, attributed to the authorship of Kes'avamis'ra, but the name of Kes'avamis'ra, as is the case with many others names, is borne not only by the author of the Tarkabhasha but by several others, for which reason no positive conclusion can be drawn in the absence of any other more definite and reliable grounds. An enquiry into his date, however, promises to crown the effort with some success. Kes'avamis'ra refers to Udayana (vide page 102, 1.2) who is generally supposed to have flourished about the end of the twelfth century. And thus 1200 A. D. may be looked upon the terminus aqus in the date of the author of the Tarkabhasha. Again out of the commentaries of the Tarkabhasha, whose dates can be determined with some certainty, the earliest is that of one Chinnabhatta or Chennubhatta, son of Vishnudevaradhya. And he is known to have written the commentary under the auspices of Harihara, brother of Bukharaya, patron and master of the famous Madhavacharya. The date of the above-mentioned princes is generally supposed to be lying between 1350 and 1400 A. D. (vide Colebrooke's essays, Vol. II. P.325). This circumstance enables one to fix the terminus ad quem to be 1400 A. D. Hence this much is quite certain that the author of the Tarkabhasha must have lived at a period lying somewhere between 1200 and 1400 A. D.
As for the commentaries on the Tarkabhasha Prof. Aufrecht in one place notes no less than twenty-three of them. The commentary in the present edition is written by Govardhana, son of Balabhadra, and younger brother of Viswanatha and Padmanabha. This Padmanabha is known to have written a Virabhadradevachampu in praise of the king Virabhadra, about the year 1578 (Aufrecht's catalogue of MSS.). And consequently his brother, viz. the commentator Govardhana, must have lived about the end of the sixteen century. This commentary by Govardhana is again commented upon by Akhandananda and Gunaratnagani. Some are of opinion that this Govardhana is the same as the author of the Nyayabodhini a gloss on the Tarkasangraha. He alludes to other writing of his own without naming them and to those of his father, Balabhadra, who also, from the constant reference to him by other commentators, seems to have written a gloss on the Tarkabhasha. Reference is also made to the Lilavati, an original Nyaya treatise by Vallabhanyayacharya, the Chintamani, the most famous work of Ganeshopadhyaya and the Ratnakosha, a work whose author, Dr. Hall remarks, has not been ascertained. In one place he refers to a certain Sanatani, whose name is not known to have occurred elsewhere in connection with any of the question by Gaurikanta and Madhavadeva. His value is not, however, commentary it must be confessed that I have not been able to give to the public a perfectly correct text of it owing to the want of sufficient time and a sufficient number of MSS.
The next commentary I mean to notice is that of Gaurikanta Bhattacharya. Its means, as it is given by its writer, is Bhavarthadipika. From the little portion that I have got of this commentary it seems that it is in many respects superior to those of Govardhana and Madhavadeva. The date of Gaurikanta cannot be precisely determind. It can, however, be said with certainty that he must have flourished between 1578 and 1681 A. D. For Gaurikanta frequently refers to Govardhana, and is in his turn several times referred to by Madhavadeva, and thus he must evidently be placed between the two commentators, of whom the former is shown above to have lived about 1578 A. D., and the latter, as will be shown below, must have lived some time before 1681 A. D. Gopinatha, son of Thakkurabhavanatha of Goghota family, has written a gloss on the Tarkabhasha, called the Tarkabhashabhavaprakasika, wherein also Gaurikanta is quoted many times. But as the date of Gopinatha himself is not known, the above circumstance will be of very little use in determining the date of Gaurikanta. Other works of Gaurikanta are given by Professor Aufrecht to be Ananda-lahari-tari, Tarka-bhushan-tika, Tarka-sangrahatika & c. But from a verse quoted in the Critical Notice it appears that he must have also commented upon some works of Raghunatha S'iromani, the founder of the famous of school of Nuddea. And besides the following remark, passed by him in the course of his discussion regarding the leaves no room for a doubt on that point: Udayanacharya, under the respectable title of Acharyapada, is quoted several time, and allusions to the author of the Chintamani are not less frequent. And Govardhana and Balabhadra, either single or unitedly, are in many places spoken of in very disparaging terms. In his discussion on the question of the Mangalavada the shows his acquaintance with the science of Poetics also.
Of the three commentaries, which I possess and of the contents of which I can give some detailed account, the last is that of Madhavadeva, son of Lakshmanadeva, of Benares. It is styled as Saramanjari. Its author must have lived before the year 1681 A. D. For Dr. Hall in his Bibliographical Index speaks of having examined a MS. Of this commentary that was copied in the Samvat year 1737, corresponding to the above-mentioned year of the Christian era. Other works of this Madhavadeva are Pramanadiprakas' ika; Guna-rahasya-prakas'a, a commentary by ramabhadra Bhattacharya on Gunarahasya (which, in its turn, is also a commentary on the second book of the Kiranavali); and Nyaya-sara, a work referred to in the Saramanjri not less then thirty-two times. Gaurikanta is quoted by Madhavadeva nineteen time, and Govardhana and Balabhadra about ten times. The Chintamani and the Didhiti are also constantly alluded to. Besides these the following works and writers occasionally mentioned: Lilavati-prakas'a, Vishnupurana, Vardhamana and Tippanakara.
The commentaries of Chinnabhatta and Gopinatha are already spoken of above. According to Dr. Hall there is also a commentary on the Tarkabhasha by Kaundinya Dikshita, pupil of Muraribhatta. Nyaya-sangraha is another commentary by Ramalinga, son of Rukmangada. And Rajendralal Mitra in his catalogue of manuscripts mentions one more, by name Tarkabhasha-vivarana, written by Madhavabhatta, pupil of Prakasananda.
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