The Navyanyaya literature is extensive and its study and appreciation has been hampered by lack of editions of the texts. The editions of Calcutta or Banaras are either not available easily or out of print. Prof. Tatacharya, an eminent scholar in different sastras has edited these Navya Nyaya texts on the basis of manuscripts procured from different manuscript libraries. Sanskrit introduction given in the text (Vol. 1) presents the emergence and development of Navya Nyaya. The publication of these volumes is expected to play a prominent role in preserving the Navyanyaya tradition and also to make students understand the texts easily.
Suffering has been part of the nature of human being. It is varied and diverse. Remedies that were taken up to counter these did not produce the intended result. Saints and sages, imbued with sympathy for the suffering humanity, turned their attention inward and found solutions and offered them to people.
Man suffers. Man requires relief. Ignorance of reality causes misery. It could be removed only by the correct knowledge of reality. The sages declared as their own panacea. In a way, what they prescribed was based on the Veda-s as directly or otherwise. With the passage of time, what they taught became not fully comprehensible. An attempt was therefore made by the sages to put forth their concepts in the form of sutra-s.
The sages were many. They lived in different places at different periods. Their approaches to the problems were different and their findings too were different, the goal remaining the same. They believed in the infallibility of the Veda-s and so were known as having founded system of thought called Astikadarsana-s. The systems with their appellation are six in number with the names, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta. The first two systems have much in common by way of concepts and so are treated as samanatantra-s. Gautama, Kanada, Kapila, Patanjali, Jaimini and Badarayana are the promulgators of the sutra-s respectively representing the six systems.
Apart from these six Astika systems, there were the Nastika systems, three in number namely, Carvakaa, Bauddha and Jaina. They did not subscribed to the vedic authority.
In the long period of development of the darsana-s, there was mutual influence between them. The approaches, concepts and ideals were different right from the periods which were different and when they took their rise. Ideologies were different in each school, resulting in the rise of two camps of disputants called holding prima facie (pruvapaksa) and having settled conclusions (Siddhantin): Even the interpretation of the sutra-s has to take note of the prima facie view and offer an effective reply. The commentaries on the sutra-s are therefore replete with arguments and counter arguments.
One noteworthy feature in the development of the system of thought is the full freedom given to the scholars who take to the study of a particular system to express their opinion on the treatment of particular topics. Even the vedic texts were allowed to be questioned on the justifiability or otherwise at certain interpretations offered even by accredited commentators. A scholar who takes to the study of a particular system may question the appropriateness of arguments given in the other systems against particular matters. The Buddhists and Jains too had the freedom to study and discuss the contents of the works written in the Astikadarsana-s. Liberalism of this kind tended to make the scholars of a particular system note the weakness in the arguments given by the followers of their own system, revise them wherever necessary and put forward new arguments in their defence. Thus the systems of thought grew up and developed further and further.
Among the two systems Nyaya and Vaisesika, the Vaisesika system was earlier in point of time. The doctrines and concepts which formed the fundamental basis for the development of these two systems had already been in existence before the fourth century B.C., the probable period when the sutra-s of these system were redacted and assumed the present shape.
The name Vaisesika for the system of Kanada is derived from the word Visesa which means particularity, speciality and difference. It is not known whether the system got this name on the strength of the word Visesa which occurs in the sutra of kanada enumerating the categories in which case this name came to be applied to the system after the sutra-s were composed by kanada. In this sutra which enumerates the categories, there is the word sadharmya vaidharmyabhyam which means the knowledge of the real nature of the six categories must be acquired. This shows that difference exists among the objects denoted by these terms of the categories. Such a difference is the sense of the word Visesa. This name indicates that realism and pluralism mark the Vaisesika concept of the categories.
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