Posts Tagged ‘logic’

Darshan (Philosophy) XXVII

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm

Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part V

God is sarvagna (all-knower). He is Karma-fal-pradātā (the judge and the reward giver of the deeds or actions). He does not have any of the worldly attributes. He is also called Nirgun, because He is beyond any attributes of maya. He is sarva-vyāpak (omnipresent) by His antaryāmi (inner guiding, inspiring, and controlling) power yet forever remains present in His abode. This is like space or energy that is inherently present in an atom yet no one can see it. The same way, God is present in every atom or subatomic particle of His Creation, but we cannot see Him. The same figure of God that is present in His abode is also present in every brahmand. This omnipresence quality of God, known as His “yogakalā” is beyond our human imagination or common logic (atārkya). While remaining there in His abode, He manifests in many different forms in many different brahmands according to His will. Wherever He resides in whatever form becomes the center of His abode as there are no limits to His abode. Thus, He never leaves His abode. This how Shri Swaminarayan describes in his Vachanamrut, “… In the same way, Purushottam Bhagwan manifests in whatever form is required in whichever brahmand – while simultaneously dwelling in Akshardham. Actually, He Himself forever dwells in Akshardham. In fact, wherever that form of Purushottam resides, that is the very center of Akshardham.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā II-42)

He resides in Atma (souls) and in Aksharbrahm penetratingly (Vyāpak), because souls are akshar-like and though both are ontologically different, they are characteristically same. Atma (soul) and Akshar (Brahm) are both under His authority (ādhin) and dependant and penetrable compared to Him. He is all-capable. Purushottam (God) creates and enters the various types of life forms as their cause and as their inner-guide (antaryami) or controller (niyanta) and inspires them to different degrees according to the hierarchy (taratamataha). “Sva-kruta-vichitra-yonishu vishann iva hetutayā | Taratamatashchakāssyanalavat svakrutānukrutiha ||” (Shrimad Bhagwat: 10.87.19) Purushottam is distinct from Brahm and is the cause, the supporter, and inspirer of even the transcendental Brahm. Purushottam is described as different, distinct, and transcendental from both – Kshar (perishable) and Akshar (imperishable) in Gita (Bhagwad Gita: 15.17). Purushottam is also described, in Gita, to be transcendental and supporter of lifeless (jad) or non-transcendental (aparā) and live (chaitanya) or transcendental (parā) both kinds of prakruti (Bhagwad Gita: 7.4, 5). Hierarchy should be understood as follows. Among living (chaitanya) things, as per the knowledge (gnan), power (shakti), capability and potential (sāmarthya) humans are higher than animals and animals are higher than plants; devas are higher than human beings; and ishwars (purushas) are higher than devas. Brahm is transcendental to purushas and everything else, whereas Parabrahm Purushottam Narayan Paramatma (God) is transcendental to even Brahm. There is absolutely nothing higher than Purushottam. Just as tremendous energy resides in an atom without even being noticed or seen by anybody, God resides within the souls, universal souls (ishwars), His whole creation (maya), and Brahm. He is present in every little thing, though not equally but hierarchically (tāratamya). In common people He is present as the judge or the rewards giver for their deeds (karma fal pradātā), in His devotees He is present as an eyewitness (sākshi), and in God-realized Sant or Satpurush He is present entirely, fully, completely, and wholly (sāngopāng).

Shri Swaminarayan says that, God resides in the heart of a person who understands that the infinite numbers of wonders or miracles that happen at every moment in the world and cosmos are only due to God that I have presently realized or attained and no one else is the cause of all these wonders; who also realizes that, infinite numbers of wonders that have happened in the past, are happening now, and are going to happen in the future are all due to God that I have presently attained; who (is very stable minded, sthitpragna,  and) feels indifference even if someone were to humiliate or honor him; who also possesses countless noble virtues of the sant described in the scriptures, such as atma-gnan, brahm-gnan, devotion, dispassion, etc.; who, despite of possessing number of powers and potential to empower and liberate number of people, tolerates insults as well as praises of common and insignificant people; and yet who is a great forgiver. In such a person God resides forever.

And lastly, Shri Swaminarayan says that, “Everyone wants to worship God, but the difference is in the understanding.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā I-27)

Darshan (Philosophy) II

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Nyaya and Vaisheshika:


The other two philosophical systems of Hinduism, namely, Nyay (Nyaya) and Vaisheshik (Vaisheshika) are more or less scientific systems developed to understand God and His Creation simply because we cannot fully test or reproduce both of them in our laboratory systems. To understand all that we see, observe, feel, think, and experience with our five senses and four antahkarans (mind) the Vedic Hindu thinkers or philosophers had developed theses two alternative systems in ancient times. Nyay is a system of logic or rules whereas Vaisheshik is system of cosmology or particles (Kan or Kana), though the evolution of universe from Prakruti is elaborately discussed in Sankhya Shashtras. Historians of science have shown unawareness about the contribution of Hindu scriptures in the fields of logic, physics, mathematics, philosophy, language, sociology, psychology, cosmology, etc. or in science in general.


Nyaya or the system of logic was developed by rishi Gautam. According to Nyaya, obtaining the valid knowledge through logic helps to attain liberation. Nyaya philosophy describes 16 systems or points of understanding, called “Padārtha,” to extract “basic meanings” of any entity. These are: 1. Pramāna (evidences), 2. Prameya (theorem or analysis), 3. Samshaya (doubt or questioning), 4. Prayojana (aim, goal, or purpose), 5. Drashtānta (examples), 6. Siddhānta (conclusion or abstract), 7. Avayava (subdivisions, part, or sections), 8. Tarka (logic or hypothetical reasoning), 9. Nirnaya (descision, final verdict, or settlement), 10. Vāda (doctrine, principle, or arguments), 11. Jalpa (debate, hot discussion), 12. Vitanda (quibble or caviling), 13. Hetavābhāsa (gross purpose), 14. Chhala (fallacy or tricking), 15. Jāti (kind or descent), and 16. Nigrahasthāna (point of defeat). All 16 padarthas are further explored. For example, Nyaya school describes four types of reasoning or evidences (pramāna): A. Evidences in favor of validity of the knowledge are: direct perception (pratyaksh pramana), inference or guess work (anumāna pramana), comparative evidence (upamāna pramana), and verbal or testimonial evidence (shabda pramana). B. Evidences in favor of invalidity of the knowledge are: memory (smruti), doubt (samshaya), errors, variability, or vicissitudes (viparyāya), and hypothetical reasoning (tarka). All kinds of the evidences are further explored. For example: direct perception. It can also be of two kinds: laukika or sādhārana (ordinary or sensory), and alaukika or asādhārana (extra ordinary or extra sensory). Both are further explored. For example, ordinary perceptions can be divided into six categories, namely, auditory, tactile, visual, gustatory, olfactory, and mental. Extra ordinary perceptions are further divided into three varieties: sāmanya-lakshana (common sense or intuition), gnān-lakshana (calculated or knowledge based from the previous experience), and yogaja (ESP). Perceptions are also divided into: savikalpa (relative) and nirvikalpa (absolute).

This is just to have its idea. Voluminous information can be found from the Nyaya texts.


Vaisheshik system was developed by rishi Kanād, from whose name the particles got the name “Kan” or “Kana.” His teaching was that liberation can only be achieved or attained by thoroughly understanding the nature and our existence. Vaisheshika accepts the cosmology or the evolution of the Nature or Universe. Prakruti is considered to be the cause of cosmic evolution. Prakruti has three constituent qualities (guna), namely, sattva, rajas, and tamas in equilibrium. That is why it is also known as “trigunātmikā.” According to Vaisheshika, all objects in nature (Prakruti) are made of tiniest, indivisible, invisible, indestructible, and eternal particles that are neither created nor destroyed (meaning they were there at the beginning of the creation and they will be there at the end of dissolution) and are called “paramānu.” They are like elementary particles of modern physics. Paramanus make anu. Two paramanu make one dvyanuka. Two, three, four, and more dvyanuka make one tryanuka, chaturanuka, and so on. These anu possess continuous vibratory motion which can be regarded as the spin or wave function. These paramanus are distinct from the soul. Each atomic substances has individual (vishesha) characteristics which distinguishes them from other non-atomic substances (dravyas), such as time (kāl), three dimensional space (dig, dishā) (directions or dimensions), soul (ātmā or ātman), and mind (manas). Vaisheshika has definitions for, ākāsh, time, and space. They have no lower constituents, meaning they are elementary. (Vaisheshika Sutra: 2.1.27-31) The qualities of akash are: sound, number, dimension, distinctness (individuality or separateness), conjunction, and disjunction. (Vaisheshika Sutra: 7.1.22) Time marks past, present, and future; succession, lateness and earliness. (Vaisheshika Sutra: 2.2.6) Time marks beginning, persistence, and end. (Vaisheshika Sutra: 2.2.9) Space is the cause of directions and dimensions between two objects. Vaisheshika clearly defines and describes the principle of cause (kāran) and effect (kārya).

Time can flow at different rates for different observers. Time and space are not absolute. Space and time are relative. There exist countless universes with their own Brahmā, Vishnu, and Mahesh. The universal is taken to be timeless and ubiquitous. Whatever can be defines with respect to space and time cannot be a universal. The processes that mark the passage of time on an object would thus be relative. It is only the universals which are true for all time and space are absolute or transcendental. The only such universals are Brahm and Parabrahm. These ideas are elaborated in the Purans, Agama Shashtras, and in the books such as Yoga-Vashishtha.

Substances can be grouped according to their actions or activities, common characteristics, specific characteristics, and their relationships with the cause and effect. According to Vaisheshika, there are six basic categories (padārtha) associated with reality: dravya (substance), guna (quality or characteristic), karma (motion or actions), sāmānya (common or general), vishesha (specific), and samavāya (inherent or comparative).

Dravyas include 9 basic realities, namely, Pruthwi (earth or solid), Jal (water or liquid), Tej (light or fire), Vayu (air or gas), Akash (ether or void), Desh or Dishā (place or the three dimensional space), Kal (time), Mana (mind), and Atma (soul or spirit).

Seventeen kinds of gunas (qualities or characteristics) of objects are originally described. They are: Rupa (appearance or form), Rasa (taste), Gandh (smell), Sparsh (feel or touch), Sankyā (number), Parimāna (dimensions, size, or quantity), Pruthakatva (individuality, separateness, or isolation), Samyoga or sanjog (conjugation), Vibhāga (parts, divisions, or disjunctions), Paratva (remoteness, farness or superiority), Aparatva (nearness or inferiority), Buddhi (intelligence or judgment), Sukha (happiness or pleasure), Dukha (unhappiness or pain), Ichchhā (desire), Dvesha (aversion or animosity), Prayatna (effort –  easy or hard).

Karma means action, activity, motion, or work done. It has four features: Akash (in space or in vacuum), Kāl (time), Dik or Dishā (direction), and Atman (inherent – size, magnitude, etc).