[Advaita-l] Anvaya Vyatireka Method (Was: Re: Fw: Adhyaropa-Apavada Nyaya.)

Ramakrishna Upadrasta uramakrishna at gmail.com
Mon Feb 14 07:47:05 CST 2011

namaste Shri Siva Senani-ji and Shri Sadananda-ji

Here are some excerpts from "Methods of Knowledge -- according to
Advaita Vedanta" by Swami Satprakashananda, chapter on anumaana, which
I think can help this discussion. The book is available from RK-Math

2011/2/13 Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>:
> Now, if we examine TarkabhAshA, an introductory manual of logic, anvaya and
> vyatireka are established quite differently [3]. That may be summarised as:
> Ta) Mountain has fire; as there is smoke on the mountain; since wherever there
> is smoke, there is fire (anvaya)
> Tb) also, since whereever there is no fire, there is no smoke. (vyatireka) (This
> is not normally stated as it is unreasonable to use a crooked path when a
> straight path is available).
> The key aspect in the above is that the sAdhya (what is to be established) and
> sAdhana (the reason, hetu or symptom which proves the sAdhya) change order when
> we move from anvaya to vyatireka. If we use gross body and Atma in the above
> framework, the third part (vyApti) ought to be written as:
> T/Va) wherever there is not gross body, Atma ought to be there, but it is not so
> as in the dream state.
> T/Vb) wherever there is not Atma, there ought to be no gross body, but no
> instance of this can be found as Atma is omni-preesnt.
> Michale Comans [4] gives three different examples of Anvaya Vyatireka logic used
> in Advaita (I was unable to follow-up the references cited by him because I
> checked it on Google Books and the relevant endnotes page where the references
> were given was out of preview)

p 150: The advaitins do not accept the three fold classification of
inference of Nyaya school. Why they do not:

The advaitins do not agree to the naiyaayika classification of
tnference into three different types, namely --

1. affirmative negative (anvaya-vyatireki)
2. Purely affirmative (kevalaanvayi)
3. Purely negative (kevala-vyatireki)

This classification is based on the nature of the invariable comitance
which can be either affirmative or negative. The affirmative
invariable concomitance (anvaya-vyaapti) is that in which the mark
(linga, eg., smoke) is positively related to the thing to be inferred
(saadhya, eg., fire). It is determined by the observation of agreement
in presence between the two objects, as for instance, 'whenever there
is smoke there is fire'. The nagative invariable concomitance is that
in which the mark (li~nga, eg., smoke) is negatively related to the
thing to be inferred (saadhya, eg., fire). It is determined by the
observation of agreement in absence between the two objects, as for
instance, 'when there is no fire there is no smoke'.

The naiyaayikaa's affirmative-negative (anvaya-vyatireki) inference is
one in which the invariable concomitance can be either affirmative or
negative. For instance, the inference, 'the hill has fire, because it
has smoke' can be based on either of the two major premises: (1)
Whenever there is smoke there is fire, as in kitchen; (2) where there
is no fire there is no smoke, as in lake.

The purely negative (kevala-vyatireki) inference is that whicvh is
based solely on negative invariable concomitance. For instance, the
inference, 'God is Omnoscient, because He is the Creator', has for its
basis the negative invariable concomitance, 'whoever is not Omniscient
is not the Creator'. No knowledge of afffirmative, invariable
concomitance is possible in this case, because the co-presence of
'Omniscience' and 'Creatorship' is nowhere to be observed. We can
observe only their agreement in absence and determine the negative
invariable concomitance, 'Whoever is not Omniscient is not the

The advaitins, like the mimamsakas, do not acknowledge negative
invariable concomitance as the basis of inference. The knowledge of
negative invariable concomitance is not possible, according to them,
without the knowledge of affirmative invariable concomitance. The
conclusion derived from the knowledge of negative invariable
concomitance is treated by them under a separate pramaaNa (means of
knowledge) called arthaapatti (postulation). This they reject both
forms of vyatireki inference -- affirmative-negative and purely
negative. They admit only one kind of inference, anvayi (affirmative),
which incluses the type of inference designated kevalaanvayi (purely
affirmative) by the naiyaayikaas. But the advaitins repudiate the term
'kevalaanvayi (purely affirmative)', which is too narrow and not in
accord with the nature of Reality as known to them. There is absence
of every attribute in Brahman. It is beyond all predication.

The naiyayikas definve kevalaanvayi (purely affirmative) as the type
of inference, whereof the saadhya (the thing to be inferred) is
present everywhere, in other words, it not a counter-positive
(pratiyogi) of non-existence [Tarka Samhita 70]. 'The jar is nameable,
because it is knowable' is an instance of the purely affirmative type
of inference, according to them; because 'nameability' (the thing
inferred) is present everywhere. This inference is based solely on the
affirmative invariable concomitance, viz., 'Whatever is knowable is
nameable.' Since the absence of 'knowability' and nameability is
nowhere to be observed, the knowledge of negative invariable
concomitance is not possible in this case.

But the advaitins view every predicate as non-essential in nondual
brahman, which precludes all affirmation. So, they accept only one
kind of inference, viz., affirmative, but not purely affirmative. To
quote vedaanta paribhaasha:

'That inference is only of one form, namely "affirmative (anvayi)",
but not "purely affirmative (kevalaanvayi)", for according to our
view, every attribute is the counter-positive of the absolute
non-existence abiding in brahman, and there is no scope for the
*purely* affirmative inference, in which the thing to be inferred must
not be the counterpositive of non-existence [Chapter on Inference]'.

We have dwelt on the threefold classification of inference according
to later naiyaayikas. Gautama, the father of nyaaya system, has made a
different classification, viz.:

1. Inference a priori (pUrvatvat), that is, to the effect from the
perceived cause
2. Inference a posteriori (seshhatvaat), that is, of the cause from
the perceived effect
3. Inference from analogy (saamaanyato-dRSTam), that is from something
perceived as similar [Nyaya Sutras 1.1.5]

We shall discuss these three types of inference later [chapter on
"Sence perception, reason and vedic testimony", section "Why reason
independently of the Sruti cannot determine the nature of God. Neither
syllogistic inference not analogical argument is capable. The views of
Samkhya, Nyaya and Vedanta"].

8. Inference as a means to suprasensuous knowledge.
Inference is used in advaita vedanta to corroborate the metaphysical
truths declared by the Sruti. Reason is not an independent means to
suprasensuous knowledge, since it cannot decisively establish
transcendental facts, such as brahman, atman, liberation and its
means, but can only show their possibility.

> I am keen to know the historical development of these differences and would be
> thankful for any pointers.

Hope the above helps!
Thanks for the threads on Potter too, I have been reading them with interest.

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