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The Navya Nyaya Logic (Concept of abhava)

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Item Code: NAR587
Author: Vibha Gaur
Language: English
Edition: 1990
ISBN: 8121700663
Pages: 136
Other Details 9.00 X 5.50 inch
Weight 270 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Now a day’s Navya-Nayaya logic-is being given very high importance it philosophising. Though the Navya-Nyaya deals with almost all the problems of philosophy, but the author 'Dr. VIBHA GAUR, has Concerntrated mainly on the concept of Negation (abhava). There are the rare works available, particularly on this concept.

How the Negation on things can be-regarded as real and factual. The discussion on the ontological and epistemological dimensions of Negation (abhava) is the another attraction of this book.


The present book is a slightly revised version of my Doctoral thesis. The contents of this book furnish an objective, comprehensive, critical and analytical exposition of the concept of abhava. The concept of abhava, in its diverse facets as it is put forth by the Nyaya and Navya-Nyaya logicians, has been dealt and exposed with care.

To understand the Navya-Nyaya, Nyaya metaphysics and logic in the depth study (thread bare) of the abhava is not only useful but necessary. I have tried my best to show in the book what a pivotal role, the concept of abhava plays in the Nyaya system. I should not hesitate to indicate that it was the role of the concept of abhava which compelled the Naiyayikas to hypothesize it into padartha.

Not only this, the concept of abhava is in the very foundation of the Nyaya as well as the Navya-Nyaya Logic. I do not find any doctrine in the Nyaya System, which directly or indirectly has not grounded in it.

In order to trace the origin and development of the concept of abhava one has to study the Nyaya System from its start. Right from the tenth century, the period of givaditya and Udayanacarya, the concept of abhava has been enjoying the status of separate category.

Another important question is as to where does the idea of abhava as an objective reality occur first in time. For the best of my knowledge, the foremost indication of this idea is met within the Nyaya-Vartika of Uddyotakara in connection with the discussion on the sense-object-contact (Sannikarsa). According to Uddyotakara Samavaya and abhava are perceived through the relation of attribute of the substantive (the sixth contact called Vigoapa-vigeya-bhava.' It is stated there that abhava is perceived by our senses which is possible only if the abhava is accepted as an external objective reality. Vacaspati Mira tries to establish the reality of abhdva separate from its substratum.2 Jayanta has also discussed this point in his Nydya Mafijari in great length. It, therefore, seems that Uddyotakara was the first who assigned objective reality to abhava. But there are scholars who held that Vdtsyayana was also of the opinion that abhava was an aspect of reality.3 Since the Nyaya thinkers, according to Stcherbatsky, held the view that everything possesses bhdva as well as abhava (non-existence), they added a seventh category viz , abhava to the six categories of old Vaigesika school. But the above mentioned view of Stcherbatsky seems to be misleading. What Vatsyayana had said was simply this "When an existent object is comprehended as existent, it is a real knowledge because it is in accordance with the reality, and not contradictory to it. Similarly, when a non-existent object is comprehended as non-existent it is also real knowledge for the same reason:4 Vatsyayana further says : "that Being so, what is existent is comprehended by one of the means of knowledge (pramana), and therefore, what is not comprehended by pramana in the same way is nonexistent. If it had been existent, it would have been comprehended, it does not exist. Thus, a pramana which comprehends the existent also comprehends the non-existent.'


The Navya-Nyaya originated in Bihar and in course of time spread over different centres, Navadvipa in Bengal, Banaras and south India. Navya-Nyaya is basically an epistemological and linguistic system. Analysis of statements and concepts and theory of knowledge etc. form here the subject of discussion. In fact, Navya-Nyaya is the turning point in pioneering an altogether new method of philosophical investigation. Truely speaking, Navya-Nyaya made its appearance as a rigorous sys-tem with Gangega. The Tattvacintamani of Gange§a gained so much popularity that the devlopment of this school for the next six hundred ycars is based only on the commenteries and sub-commentaries of this great work.

With Raghunatha giromani, the period of earlier commentators on the Tattvacintamani of Gange§n came to an end and then commenced a period marked by a new style of presentation, new terminology and above all formal linguistic approach to epistemological and metaphysical problems.

The present work is an attempt to put forth the views of prominent Nyaya-Vai§oika and Navya-Nyaya thinkers on the concept of abhava (Nigation). As has already been mentioned in the preface, this chapter considers the inner constraints in the Nyaya-Vaigesika tradition not only to regard the conception of abhdva as pivotal to it but also to assign it a distinct status of a padartha.

Abhava as a Padartha

Abhava is considered by Nyaya to be a fundamental category (padartha).1 The judgement, 'The table has no inkpot on it' would represent the perceptual cognition of the absence of an inkpot which should be recognized as a fundamental category (padartha), which is distinct from such positive categories as substance, quality etc.

When we talk of abhava, we talk of two things-the thing, which is absent, is called pratiyogi, the counter positive, and that on which it is absent or the locus of absence, which is called anuyogi. We shall deal with these two concepts in chapter third of the thesis, while discussing the nature of abhava.

In fact, abhava stands for a negative fact which, in other words, means absence of something in relation to another thing. Wh n we reflect upon our experience we find that there are a few things which are present but we are aware of only those things which are amenable to experience and attended by us (yogya-upalabdhi). Just as we experience things which are pre-sent, similarly we also experience things which are absent.

There are innumerable things which are absent in a given knowledge-situation, but we may be aware of the absence of only a few of them depending upon our interest, requirements etc. Just as we are aware of the presence of things, we are also aware of the absence of things (Yogyanupalabdhi). In a way the presence of things is regarded as real and factual by us. In the same way, the absence of things should also be regarded as real and factual. For example, the presence of a book on the table is a fact, if really there is a book on the table. Similarly the absence of a book on the table is also a fact, if really there is no book on the table. The book can or cannot be there on the table. It has the yogyata of presence as well as of absence with respect to the table. If it is present on the table it is regarded as a positive fact and if it is absent from the table it should be regarded as a negative fact. The absence of the book is as good a fact as its presence.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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