[Advaita-l] Visheshana and Lakshana

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 17 03:01:29 EST 2017

Shri Sadanandaji,
I am looking for an equivalent word that defines the necessary and
sufficient condition provides swaruupa lakshaNa or an object. Cowness or
Horseness - supposed to define the jaati, but still what is cowness becomes
vague as you discussed.
For necessary and sufficient condition, as you know, the converse has to be
valid. When scripture defines Brahman as prajnaanam brahma - I feel it is
providing a converse definition- Hence it is necessary and sufficient
condition - hence if there is a conscious entity then it has to be Brahman.
Because of anantatvam it becomes only a lakshyaartha or indicatory

In terms of modern logic, a condition or property A is necessary for some B
when B -> A, i.e B implies A. For example, if we say "having horns"(A)
means "cow" (B) , this may be accepted as a necessary condition, since an
animal being a cow implies it has horns. B->A. However, this is not a
sufficient condition, because there are other species of animals with
horns. A condition or property A is sufficient for some B when A->B, i.e. A
implies B. For example, we may define "animal yielding milk and other
products for preparation of panchagavya " (A) as "cow" (B). In this case,
A-> B, since any animal that yields milk and other products required for
panchagavya is indeed a cow. So this is a sufficient condition. However, it
is not necessary, since there are cows (barren cows) that do not give milk,
and such cows are also to be accounted for. A necessary but not sufficient
condition leads to what is termed as ativyApti, as I explained in my
earlier post. A sufficient but not necessary condition leads to what is
termed as avyApti. The absence of the three defects mentioned earlier- the
dUShaNatrayarAhitya- ensures a set of properties is both necessary and
sufficient. In the ancient Indian context, "gotvam" is defined as
"sAsnAdimatvam" (having a dewlap), which is considered both necessary and

In the case of Brahman, yes, all words can only indicate Brahman through
lakShyArtha only.


On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 9:54 PM, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The nyAyakosha lists several definitions for lakShaNa. uddiShTasya-atattva-vyavacchedako
> dharmaH, that property which excludes anything other than the thing being
> defined, as stated by vAtsyAyana. He gives an example -
> indriyArthasaMnikarShotpannaM jnAnaM pratyakSham, the knowledge resulting
> from contact of sense organ and the sense object is perception. A
> definition must be free from what logicians call dUShaNatraya, the three
> defects - ativyApti, avyApti, and asaMbhava. ativyApti (too wide) is
> explained as lakShyavRttitve sati alakShyavRttitvam, being present not only
> in the lakShya (thing that is being defined) but also in a thing not being
> defined. Example- defining "cow" as "having horns" (shRngitvam) makes it
> too wide, since other animals such as deer, buffalos, etc. too have horns.
> avyApti (too narrow) is explained as lakShya-ekadeshavRttitvam, being
> partially present in the thing being defined. Example- defining "cow" as
> "being of black color" makes it too narrow, since there are cows that are
> not black but brown, white, etc. asaMbhava is explained as
> lakShya-avRttitvam, not being present in the thing being defined. Example-
> defining "cow" as "having one (unsplit) hoof" makes it plain wrong and
> impossible, since cows have split (cloven) hooves.
> As the nyAyakosha mentions, vedAntinastu yo dharmo lakShye vyAptyA vartate
> na vartate chAnyatra sa dharmaH, that property which pervades the thing
> being defined and does not exist elsewhere. Pervasion is in the sense of
> pervasion of smoke by fire, as in "where there is smoke there is fire."
> Where the thing being defined is found there the lakShaNa is also found.
> yathA gotvaM sAsnAdimatvam, "cowness" is defined as "having a dewlap".
> Although, in modern zoology a dewlap is admitted in  many vertebrates, such
> as dogs and rabbits, the "sAsnA" (dewlap) was admitted only for cows in the
> ancient Indian context.
> Anand

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list