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The Nyaya is intended to furnish a correct method of philosophical enquiry into all the objects and subjects of human knowledge including the process of reasoning and laws of thought. The evidence of the senses is submitted to a critical enquiry. The Nyaya gives a description of the mechanism of' knowledge in detail. The Nyaya and the Vaiseshika explore the significance of time, space, cause, matters, mind, soul and knowledge for experience, and give the results in the form of a theory of the universe. The Nyaya and the \/aiseshika are regarded as parts of one whole. The Vaiseshika is a supplement to the Nyaya. They both believe in a Personal God, a plurality of souls and an atomic universe. Further, they use many arguments in common.
The Nyaya is the basis of all Sanskrit philosophical Studies.
It is an introduction to all systematic philosophy. It is the preliminary course for a student of philosophy. You cannnot understand the Brahma-Sutras of Sri Vyasa without a knowledge of' the Nyaya. A study of the Nyaya develops the power of reasoning or arguing. It renders the intellect sharp and subtle. You cannot make vedantic enquiry without a sharp and subtle intellect. The Kathopanishad says: Drisyate Tyagryaya Buddhya Sukhmaya Sukshma Darsibhita- it (the Atman) is beheld by subtle seers through their sharp and subtle intellect.
The 'Nyaya Sutra by Gautama is the first work on Nyaya philosophy. This is the most
famous book of the school. Numerous commentaries have been written on this book by various authors, viz, Nyaya-Bhashya by 'Vatsyayana, Nyayalankara by Srikantha, Nyaya-Manjari by Jayanta, Nyaya-Bodhini by Govardhana, Nyaya-Varttika-Tatparya-Tika by Vachaspati Misra, etc.
Knowledge All knowledge implies four conditions: (i) the subject or the Pramata, the cogniser, (ii) the object or the Prameya, (iii) the resulting state of coganition or the Pramiti and (iv) the means of knowledge or the Pramana.
Prameya or the objects, of which right knowledge is to be obtained, are twelve. viz.. (i) Soul (Atman),(ii) Body (Sarira) (iii) Senses (Indriyas), (iv) Objects of senses (Artha), (v) Intellect (Buddhi), (vi) Mind(Manas), (vii) Actitvity (Pravritti), (viii) Fault (Dosha), (ix) Transmigration (Pretyabhava), (x) Fruit (Phala).,(xi) Pain (Duhkha), and (xii) Salvation (Apavarga).
Perception (Pratyaksha), inference (Anumana), comparison (Upamana), and word, or verbal testimony (Sabda,) are the Pramanas or the means of right knowledge. Sabdha, or verbal testimony, includes Vedic revelation. Pratyaksha is perception by the senses.