[Advaita-l] Existence of God according to Nyaya Kusumanjali of Sri Udayanacharya, a Nyaya Text

Sriram Krishnamurthy asksriramjobs at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 03:49:54 CST 2008

Hi Astikas,
Please find the extracts from Nyaya Kusumanjali which proves the existence
of God

Source: http://www.aspiringindia.org/darshanas/nyaya/nyayakusumanjali

 Nyaya Kusumanjali

Early Naiyanikas wrote very little about God or the existence of a Supreme
Being. However, the contemporary Buddhist community in India had turned from
agnostic to strictly atheistic; as a reaction, the later Naiyanikas entered
into disputes with the Buddhists and tried to prove the existence of God
through logic. They made this question a challenge to their own existence.
Udayana's Nyaya Kusumanjali challenges popular arguments for the
non-existence of God and gives nine proofs in return. Below are some popular

Now, although with regard to that Being whom all men alike worship,
whichever of the (four well known) ends of mans they may desire:
thus the followers of the Upanisads worship it as the very knower,
the disciples of Kapila as the perfect first Wise,
those of Patanjali as Him who, untouched by pain, action, fruit or desert,
having assumed a body in order to create, revealed the tradition of the Veda
and is gracious to all living beings,
the Mahapasupatas as the Independent one, undefiled by vaidic [Vedic] or
secular violations,
the Saivas as Siva,
the Vaisnavas as Purusottama,
the followers of the Puranas as the great Father (Brahma),
the Ceremonialists as the Soul of the sacrifice,
thc Saugatas as the Omniscient,
the Jainas as the Unobstructed,
the Mimamsakas as Him who is pointed out as to be worshipped,
the Carvakas as Him who is established by the conventions of the world,
the followers of the Nyaya as Him who is all that is said worthy of Him,
why farther detail whom even the artizans themselves worship as the great
artizan Visvakarman?
Although, I say, with regard to that Being, the adorable Siva, whom all
recognise throughout the world as universally acknowledged like castes,
families, family invocations of Agni, schools, social customs, how can there
arise any doubt? and what then is there to be ascertained?

1.3. Still this logical investigation may be well called the contemplation
of God, and this is really worship when it follows the hearing of the sruti
([revealed scriptures]).

Therefore that adorable one who hath been often heard mentioned ir. the
sruti, smrti (traditional texts), narrative poems, Puranas, &c., must
now be contemplated according to such a sruti as "He is to be heard and to
be contemplated" and such a smrti as "by the Veda, inference and the delight
of continued meditation, in this threefold manner producing knowledge, a man
obtains the highest concentration."
Now there is, in short, a fivefold opposition to our theory, based, first,
on the nonexistence of any supernatural cause of another world (as adarsta,
the merit and demerit of our actions);' or secondly, on the possibility of
our putting in action certain causes of another world (as sacrifices) even
if God be allowed to be non existent; or thirdly, on the existence of proofs
which show the non existence of God; or fourthly, on the opinion that, even
if God does exist, he cannot be a cause of true knowledge to us; or fifthly,
on the absence of any argument to prove his existence.

1.4 From dependence, from eternity, from diversity, fromuniversal practice,
and from the apportionment to each individual self, mundane enjoyment
implies a supernatural cause [i.e., "desert"].

Our proposition is that there exists a supernatural cause of another world,
i.e., a cause beOnd the reach of the senses.
(a) First of all, then, to establish the class of causes in general, he
says, "from dependence." Dependence means here that the effect is
occasional. All effects must have a cause since they are occasional, like
the grati cation produced by food [otherwise, if they did not depend on a
cause, they could be found anywhere and always],

(b) (Objection:) "But if the cause of a jar were eternal, would it not
follow that the jar, would also be eternal, and therefore we must assume the
jar's cause to be itself only occasional, and therefore the perpetual series
of causes must be all occasional, each dependent on its previous cause?"
To meet this objection of a regressus ad infinitum, he says, "from the
eternity [of the succession of cause and effect]"; like the continued series
of seed and shoot, the meaning being that a regressus ad infinitum ceases to
be a fault, if, like this one alleged in our illustration, it can be proved
by the evidence of our senses.

(c) (Objection:) " But [if Ou require a cause], why not say [with the
Vedintin] that Brahma ([Brahman]) alone is the cause, or [with the Sarhkhya]
Nature in the form of various individual intellects?"
To meet this, he says, "from the diversity [of effects, as heaven, hell]" as
the effects imply a diversity of causes, from their being diverse as

(d) (Objection:) " But why not accept a visible cause as sacrifices, why
have recourse to an invisible desert (adrsta) ?";
To meet this, he adds, "from the universal practice", i.e., from the fact
that all men, desiring fruit in another world, do engage in sacrifices. It
is only the conviction that they do produce heaven as their iruit, which
makes men engage in sacrifices, and these [passing away when the action is
over] cannot produce this fruit unless by means of some influence which
continues to act after the rite is over, and hence is this invisible
influence, called merit or demerit, established.

(e) (Objection:) "But why not say that this desert does not reside in the
same subject as the enjoyment [i.e., the individual self], but produces the
enjoyment by abiding in the thing enjoyed? He replies, "from the
apportionment to each self." Since the enjoyment resides in each word
severally, we should be unwarranted to attribute its production to a desert
residing elsewhere.

The second objection was that there is no proof of God, since the means of
attaining paradise can be practised independently of any such being. That is
to say "sacrifices, which are the instruments of obtaining paradise, can be
performed even without a God, since it is proved in the Veda that sacrifices
arc a means of obtaining heaven, and the Veda possesses authority from its
eternity and freedom from defects, and we can also gather its authority from
its having been accepted by great saints [as Manu and others] and therefore
Ou cannot establish the existence of God on the ground that he is the author
of the Veda; or we may suppose that the Veda was made by sages like Kapila
and others, who gained omniscience by their preeminence in concentrated

He replies:

(Introductory commentary, II.1.)

II. 1. Since right knowledge requires an external source, since creation and
destruction take place, and since none other than He can be relied on, there
is no other way open.

The right knowledge caused by testimony is one which is produced by a
quality in the speaker, viz., his knowledge of the exact meaning of the
words used; hence the existence of God is proved, as he must be the subject
of such a quality in the case of the Veda.

[Objection:] "But may we not allow that such a quality as the knowledge of
the exact meaning of the words used is required in the case of an effect
which implies an agent; but in the case of the uncreated Veda it is its
freedom from defects which produces its authoritativeness, and we can know
its authoritativeness from its aving been accepted by great saints?"

He replies, "because creation and destruction take place." After a mundane
destruction, when the former Veda is destroyed, how can the subsequent Veda
possess authority, since there will then be no possibility of its having
been accepted by great saints ? ...

(Objection:) "Well, then, let us say that at the beginning of a creation
Kapila and others were its authors, who had acquired omniscience by the
power of merit gained by the practice of concentrated devotion in the former

He replies, "none other than He can be relied on." If Ou mean by omniscient
beings, those endowed with the various superhuman faculties of assuming
infinitesimal size and capable of creating everything, then we reply that
the law of parsimony bids us assume only one such, namely Him, the adorable
Lord. There can be no confidence in a non-eternal and non omniscient being,
and hence it follows that according to the system which rejects God, the
tradition of the Veda is simultaneously overthrown, "there is no other way

The third objection was that there were positive arguments to prove God's
non existcricc.
"Just as we infer a jar's absence in a given space of ground [i.e., its non
existcnce there, so we infer God's non existence from His not being
perceived. If you reply that 'the Supreme Being is not a legitimate object
of perception, and, therefore, since we cannot here have a valid non
perception, we cannot assume His non existence,' we retort that in the same
way we might prove that a hare's horns may exist since we have only to
maintain that it is not a legitimate object of our Perccption."

He answers:

(Introductory commentaryg III.l.)

III.l. In an illegitimate object [of perception] how can there be a valid
non perception? and still more, how can Ou establish Our contradiction? How
can the hare's horn be precluded as absurd if it is an illegitimate object?
and how can Ou have an inference without a subject to base it on?

In the case of the Supreme Being who is not a legitimate object, how can
there be a valid non perception? It is only this which precludes a thing's
existence; but the absence of perception which obtains in the case of God
cannot exert this precluding influence, as otherwise we should equally be
forced to deny the existence of either merit, demerit. But a horn must be a
legitimate object of perception, how then can our retort contradict our
argument? If Ou say that a hare's horn is an illegitimate object of
perception, then of course its existence is not necessarily precluded, there
is only an absence of proof to establish it; but this cannot be retorted
against us as the fifth Cluster will fully show that there are positive
arguments to establish God's existence.

([Objection:]) "But may we not infer God's non existence from the absence,
in His case, of a body, and also of any assignable motive for action? He
replies, how can Ou have an inference where the minor term is itself
controverted? while on the other hand the very proof which will establish
the existence of the subjet (God) is itself sufficient to debar Our
subsequent inference [that there is no God].

The fourth objection was that even if God did exist, he could not be a cause
of right knowledge to us. "God cannot be an authority to us, because he has
no right knowledge, as his knowledge lacks the indispensable characteristic
of cognizing an object uncognized before; hence he neither possesses right
knowledge himself nor can produce it in us, and who would trust the words of
a . being who cannot be a cause of right knowledge?"

He replies, (Introductory commentary, IV.1.)

IV.1. Cognizing for the first time is no true mark, as it is both too narrow
and too wide; we hold right knowledge to be an independent impression which
corresponds to the reality.

<br />Your "cognizing an object uncognized before" is not an
indispensable characteristic mark of right knowledge, as it fails to apply
in such an affirmative instance as repeated knowledge [i.e., seeing a thing
a second or third time], and wrongly applies to such a negative instance as
the erroneous judgment that "this [nacre before me] is silver.". .

(Objection:) "May we not, however, still maintain that God's knowledge is
not properly 'right knowledge' since it is not produced by proof; and
therefore God can neither be a right knower Himself nor be a cause of right
knowledge to us, since the essential conditions for both are absent in Him?"
He replies,

(Introductory commentary, iv.5.)

IV.5. Right knowledge is accurate comprehension and right knowing is the
possession thereof, authoritativeness is, according to Gautama's school
([Nyaya]), the being separated from all absence thereof.

Right knowledge is a notion corresponding to the object; and this is not
inconsistent with God's knowledge, even though His knowing be not produced
[but eternal]. "Right knowing"... means the being connected with right
knowledge by intimate relation ... and this can be established of God, even
though He be not a cause of right knowledge to us. In the same way God is an
authority as being Himself ever connected with right knowledge, i.e., as
being ever " separated from all absence thereof. " There is no
need to include as absolutely necessary in Our definition that He must be an
instrument of right knowledge to others, since God's authoritativeness is
thus declared in the Nyaya Saitra (ii.i.68). "The fact of the Veda being an
authority [i.e., an instrument of right knowledge], like the spells [against
poison] and the medical science, follows from the authoritativeness of the
fit person (who gave it)". . .

The fifth objection was "from the absence of positive proof".:
"May we not say that there are no proofs to establish God's existence?"

He replies, (Introductory commentary, V. 1.)

V.1. From effects, combination, support, &c., traditional arts,
authoritativeness, hud (revealed scriptures), the sentences thereof, and
particular numbers, an everlasting omniscient Being is to be established.

(a) The earth, must have had a maker because they have the nature of
"effects" like a jar; by a thing's having a maker we mean that it is
produced by some agent who possesses the wish to make, and has also a
perceptive knowledge of the material cause out of which it is to be made.

(b) "Combination" is an action, and therefore the action which produced the
conjunction of two atoms, initiating the binary compound, at the beginning
of a creation, must have been accompanied by the volition of an intelligent
being, because it has the nature of an action, like the actions of bodies
such as ours.

(c) "Support": The world depends upon some being who possesses a volition
which hinders it from falling, because it has the nature of being supported,
like a stick supported by a bird in the air; by being supported we mean the
absence of falling in the case of bodies possessing weight. By the {?} we
include destruction. Thus the world can be destroyed by a being possessed of
volition, because it is destructible, like cloth which is rent.

(d) "From traditional arts".. The traditional arts now current, as that of
making cloth, must have been originated by an independent being, from the
very fact that they are traditional usages like the tradition of modern
modes of writing [invented by men independently, as systems of short hand,

(e) "From authoritativeness"; The knowledge produced by the Veda is produced
by a virtue residing in its cause, because it is right knowledge, just as is
the case in the right knowledge produced by perception

(f) From sruti, i.e., the Veda. The Veda must have been produced by a person
from its having the nature of a Veda like the Ayur Veda [ ... treating of
medical science].

(g) Again, the Veda must have been produced by a person because it has the
nature of "sentences, like the Mahabhdarata; or, in other words, the
sentences of the Veda were produced by a person because they have the nature
of sentences, just as the sentences of beings like ourselves.

(h) "From particular numbers." The measure of a binary compound is produced
by number since it is a derived [not eternal) measure and at the same time
is not produced by measure or aggregation,. . . the measure of an atom does
not produce measure because its measure is eternal (and therefore incapable
of change] or because it is the measure of an atom. Hence at the beginning
of a creation there must be the number of duality abiding in the atoms,
which is the cause of the measure of the binary compound, but this number
cannot be produced at that time by the distinguishing perception of beings
like ourselves. Therefore we can only assume this distinguishing faculty as
then existing in God. By the last words of the text it is meant that it is
the Being, possessed of this attribute [of omniscience], who is everlasting,
and hence is established his eternal omniscience.

(Objection:) "But how does the fact of a thing's being an effect necessitate
that it should have been produced by volition?" He replies,
(Introductory commentary, v.4.)

v.4. If it [the atom] acts independently, it ceases to be brute matter; if
there be no cause there is no effect; a particular effect has a particular

There cannot be an effect without a causer. If the atom were endued with
volition it would follow that the atom was intelligent, since an
unintelligent thing can produce an effect only when impelled by an
intelligent being;...

v.6. Activity is really volition, and this springs from the desire to act,
and this from knowledge, and the object of this knowledge is a command, or
[as he would hold] it is rather that which causes a command to be inferred.

v.14. The primary meaning of the potential used imperatively, (i.e., the
true meaning of a command) is the will of the speaker in the form of a
command enjoining activity or ccssation therefrom, while we conclude by
inference that it is the means to a desired end for the doer.

The will of a fit person, i.e., God, having for its object engagement in the
performance of an act [i.e., as in command] or refraining therefrom [i.e.,
as in prohibition], is the primary meaning of the affix of the potential,
and from these is to be inferred that it is the means to obtain a desired
end, [and hence the existence of "command" proves the existence of a
commander, God...].

Source: http://www.aspiringindia.org/darshanas/nyaya/nyayakusumanjali

Warm Regards,

Om Tat Sat,


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