Please Wait...

समवायविमर्श: Samavaya Vimarsah (A Critique of Samavaya)


The Principle of being inseparable

It gives me an immense pleasure to write a prefatory note to the dialectical work - A Critique of Semavaya - authored by my friends and scholars - Sri Pandurangi Brothers. This monograph is an abridged and improved version of the thesis on the "Doctrine of Samavaya" submitted to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, through Poornaprajna Samshodhana Mandiram, Bangalore in 1999. Based on the original thesis written by Dr. Pandurangavitthala Pandurangi, which covers the entire range of the topic, the present monograph is prepared by Dr. Veeranarayana Pandurangi. He not only improves upon existing ideas, but also adds his own. Now, the work is in the hands of scholars.

Samavaya - an intrinsic relation

Samavaya- a special kind of relation proposed by the Nyaya - Vaisesika school of thought, has been an issue of scholastic debate for centuries in Indian philosophy. The relation between substance and its quality and action, between the universal and its particular etc., is not caused by any external factor but is natural, unlike the contact between my fingers and pen, which is purely because of external factors and is temporary. For example, cowness is present in the cow from the moment of its birth till the moment of its death. Likewise, the qualities like color, smell etc., cannot exist without a substance, where they are inherent. This intrinsic relation is called 'Samavaya' (Inherence). As a relation between different but naturally inseparable entities, Samavaya plays a vital role in the Nyaya- Vaisesika ontology. Five pairs of such entities are identified. They are -

1. The whole and its parts

[avayavi -avayava]

E.g.: - A pot and its parts

2. Substance and quality


E.g.: - A flower and its fragrance

3. Substance and action


E.g.:-A car and its motion

4. Universal and particular

[jati -vyakti]

E.g.: - A cow and its universal - cowness

5. Eternal substance and particularizer


E.g.:-An atom and particularizer

Samavaya, which is said to be eternal and solitary, belongs to a unique category, which is a single member set.

Samavaya - Panacea or Pandora's Box?

The history of Indian philosophy has witnessed a long debate on Samavaya. This debate is majorly based on two notions, viz., l. the nature of Samavaya and 2. the difference between inseparable entities.

1. The notion of eternality and solitariness of Samavaya has raised a series of pro and counter arguments within the Nyaya School. A complicated question faced by the Pro-Samavaya - thinkers was - If the Samavaya of color in the pot and that of touch in the air are NOT different, why does then, the cognition grasping the color in the air, not happen to any- body? All the attempts to solve this problem seemed to go in vain, as they gave opportunities for the opponents to pose more questions. The Vedantins and Mimamsakas, the critics of Samavaya have tried to show how the Self-linking relation [Svarupasambandha] itself can be crowned in the place of Samavaya. It is argued that if the solitariness of Samavaya is given up then there is no room for the objection aforesaid.

Ultimately this objection remains uncountered. A detailed account of all these discussions can be found in this work. The author his presented systematically all these arguments that were raised by the genius thinkers of various schools. Latest developments are also evaluated in detail.

An interesting point to be noted here is that finally the author observes that Samavaya, sans the notion of solitariness, eternality and difference between the relatives, is acceptable to him. This offer from the author to the Nyaya School seems to be unusual (see the upasamhara section).

2. Another root of the dispute that has been discussed in detail here is the dualistic approach of Nyaya- Vaisesika system with regard to the aforesaid pairs of inseparable entities. They postulate that the entities i.e., substance and quality etc, belong to different categories. According to the opponents, including even dualist Dvaita Vedantins, on the other hand, all these pairs of inseparable entities like substance and its quality and action etc., are not different, but are one and the same. To paraphrase this, they don't see color and substance to be totally different. The arguments of the opponents of the Samavaya theory that were strongly objected by Naiyayikas till this century are strengthened with sufficient justifications by Dr.Pandurangi. To show the novelty of these justifications, some examples are given here from the book.

Study of Logical Economy

Prof. Ramanuja Tatacharya, defending the Nyaya view in his thesis 'Pratyaksatattvacintamanivimarsa', puts forth the conceptual economy (laghava) in the Nyaya view as follows -

In the case of 'absence of a pot' and 'its locus' - the floor, the relatives themselves will serve the purpose of a relation owing to the lack of any other alternative. In other words, no special kind of relation other than the Self-link [Svarupasambandha] is needed to link them. However, the case of 'whole and its parts' differs from the former since it is not yet established that the relatives themselves play the role of a relation and hence they do not get linked by the Self-linking relation. It is logically economical to accept a relation newly postulated than accepting many relatives as relation, when it is not proved that the relatives can play the role of a relation. Therefore Samavaya is conceived to link them as a relation.

Thus by taking fewer concepts into account, instead of admitting infinite self-linking relations between them, which gives room to unnecessary conceptual burden, the Samavaya theory seems to be more economical than the opposition theory.

Dr. Pandurangi exhibits more economy in the theory of Dvaita Vedanta. It is as follows: According to Naiyayikas, the absence of pot-absence in pot-components is related to pot-components by the relation of self-link.



Samavayasvarupavivecanam is a thesis submitted for the Vidyavaridhi degree by Panduranga Vitthala Pandurangi. He obtained the degree for the same from the Rashtriya Sanskrita Samsthan, New Delhi.

In this volume, a comparative and critical evaluation of the concept of Sarnavaya of Nyaya - Vaisesikas is presented. The problem of Samavaya is closely connected with the prob- lem of distinction between the distinguishability and separa- bility. When we say there is a flower on the table, the flower and the table are distinguishable and also separable. One can take out the flower from the table. Here the relation between the flower and the table is conjunction i.e., Samyoga. But when we say there is a blue lotus, lotus and the blue colour are distinguishable but not separable. In such cases, Nyaya- Vaisesikas envisage a relation called Samavaya.

In the case of the table and the flower, the two are brought together and the conjunction is made. However, in the case of lotus and blue, these have arisen together. They were not separate. The 'table and the flower' type of pair is called yutasiddha i.e. made by joining. The 'lotus and the colour' type of pair is called ayutasiddha i.e., not made by joining. But these are inherently together. This position in- volves a further problem, whether the lotus and the blue colour are different or identical, or both identical and different. This leads to the discussion of bheda, abheda and bhedabheda.

Nyaya-vaisesikas have taken the stand that lotus and the colour are different from each other. Since these are different, a relation to relate these has to be envisaged. Samavaya is envisaged as the relation to serve this purpose.

The concept of Samavaya is introduced in the Vaisesika Strra (7.2.26). It is developed in Prasastapadabhasya and later works like VyomavatI, Kiranavali, Nyayakandali , Tattvacintamani, Nyayamuktavali and Tarkasangrahadipika. The author of this book gives a detailed account of all the points made in these works and gives a comprehensive presentation of the concept of Samavaya.

Samavaya is defined as

(i) ayutasiddhsyoh sambsndhah samavayah. In fact Samavaya is accepted for this purpose only. It is also defined as "adharyadharabhutayoh sambandhah samavayah". This explanation is intended to highlight the difference between the two of ayutasiddha as locus and located to justify the introduction of Samavaya as a relation between these two. Samavaya is considered as one, though it is between different pairs, in order to avoid gaurava. It is also considered as nitya i.e., permanent.

Prabhakaras also accept Samavaya, but consider it as anitya and aneka.

The following five pairs are considered as ayutasiddha.

1. dravya-guna i.e., substance and qualities. e.g.: lotus and blue colour.

2. dravya-karman i.e., substance and action. e.g.: A moving ball and its movement.

3. avayava-avayavin. The constituent parts and the whole of a substance. e.g.: threads and cloth.

4. jati-vyakti: The universal and the individual. e.g.: cowness and cow.

5. nityadravya-visesa: e.g. akasa and visesa.

These are distinguishable, but not seperable, so long as they are together, until one of them perishes. In the case of substance and quality when one colour of the substance changes to another, the colour perishes. Till then, it is not seperable. In the case of movement also, it may cease after sometime but, so long as it is there, it can only be distinguished, not seperated. In the case of universal and individual, the in- dividual may perish. However, so long as it is present, it is only distinguishable but not separable. Same is the case with constituent parts and the whole. However in the case of nityadravya-visesa since both are permanent there is no question of any separation. In the case of substance and qualities, to distinguish between such qualities that remain with the sub- stance so long as the substance continues and such other qualities that do not remain even when the substance continues, the concepts of yavaddravyabhavi-ayavaddravyabhavi are developed.

For accepting Samavaya, pratyaksa and anumana are considered as pramana by Nyaya and Vaisesika respectively. (i) When one perceives a blue lotus, he perceives the lotus and blue colour, and the relation between the two. He never perceives the lotus and the colour without perceiving the relation. Hence perception is the evidence for Samavaya.

The syllogism is of the form that the cognition of cloth as it is located in the threads cognises the relation between the two also, because this cognition occurs as the cloth is in the threads.

iha tantusu pata ityadipratyayah sambandhapurvakah abadhitehapratyayatvat iha kunde badaraniti pratyayavat.

The author elaborately discusses the above definition and the evidence, extensively quoting from all important works of Nyaya- Vaisesika and makes the critical observations.

On closer examination of the whole discussion it will be found that the Nyaya-Vaisesika-s have taken for granted the difference between guna-guni etc. and formulated the definition and the evidence.

This is contested by Bhattamimamsakas and Vedantins, The Bhattamimamsakas envisage the relation of identity and difference i.e., bhedabheda. This relation appears to be contradictory. We cannot think of the identity and difference in respect of one and the same object. Hence a lot of debate has been taking place on this subject. Prabhakaras also oppose this concept of abheda. We need not go into all the details of this controversy. We will briefly put the justification given by Bhattamimamsakas in support of the concept of bhedabheda, In the statement, 'blue-lotus', both the words refer to one and the same object. This is technically known as samanadhikaranya. This clearly indicates that the two are identical. At the same time two different words are used to refer to blue and lotus. This ground is technically called aparyayatva. These two words are not synonyms. This indicates that the two are different.



Director's Note
Authors' Notexxi-xxv
English Introductionxxvii-xxxiv
1नवीनन्याये समवाये प्रमाणप्रदर्शनम्1-28
3तर्कतांडवे समवायविमर्श51-92
5उपयुक्तग्रंथसूची 109-115
6परिशिष्टम् - 1 - प्रभोक्तरीत्या नित्यसम्बन्धत्वपरिष्कार116-121
7परिशिष्टम् - 2 - मूलप्रबन्धस्य विषयानुक्रमणिका 122-126
Sample Pages

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy


Related Items