Nyaya-Manjari, Volume 1: The Compendium of Indian Speculative Logic

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Nyaya-Manjari, Volume 1: The Compendium of Indian Speculative Logic
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This book, of numerous references, is an encyclopedia of logic, metaphysics, ethics and theology and represents the history of Indian Philosophy of a particular period. A popular saying credits the author, Jayanta, with the reputation of being a master scholar of Indian logic. No study of Indian logic can be considered to be complete without having recourse to this work.

The main task of the author in this book is to defend the views of Vatsyayana as expressed in his Nyaya-bhasya on the sutras of Gautama against the criticisms offered by the adversaries. He has criticised the views not only of the Buddhists but also of the Grammarian bhartrhari and the Mimamsakas-Kumarila and Prabhakara. his condemnation of the Prabhakaras as plagiarists who borrowed from the Buddhists shows his intimate knowledge both of the Buddhists and the mimamsaka schools. In his lengthy discussion on the pramanas in this volume, he refuted the hypothesis of the Bhattas and the prabhakaras. Thus the book provides knowledge not only of the details of the Nyaya School but also of the systems of logic followed by the rival schools.

Of the two-Volume-project of its English translation, the present Volume is numbered I. It covers the first six ahnikas which deal primarily with the means of Valid Knowledge (Pramanas). His refutation of the views of rival schools is logical and appealing. This voluminous work, full of arguments and counter-arguments has seldom any parallel in Indian history.

Both in the selection of the subject matter and the method of its treatment, the author has displayed his wide learning and scholarship.



Jayanta's Nyayamanjari became obscure in the course of time in North East India because of the eminence of Vacaspati Mira, Udayana, Gangega Upadhyaya and Mimamsakas. The rise of Navyanyaya in Bengal is another prominent factor since the Neo-logicians eclipsed the name and fame of their predecessors to a great extent. The decline of the glory of Kashmir as a scat of learning owing to political reasons is also a great factor which stood in the way of the attraction of aspiring students from other states. Jayanta rose to prominence in his advanced age in Kashmir. Before the adequate publicity of Jayanta's masterpiece `Nyaya-manjari' the sun of the glory of Kashmir went down. The cultural vacuum in India was filled up by the rise of the Prablakaras and the Naiyayikas around Mithila and other seats of learning in the eastern zone in the latter half of the middle ages. The rise of the Jaina logicians in the western zone is another factor which led to the isolation of Kashmirian culture round about the same period. Jayanta was known to Prabhicandra Suri and Gangeia Upadhyaya. The latter knew him as jarannaiyayika. Most probably he was not familiar with his great work. Vacaspati Migra and Udayana Acarya became the focus of attention of all students of the Nyaya-Vaisesika systems. Moreover, Jayanta was not a systematic interpreter of the Nyaya-Sutra. He selected all the important topics of Logic and defended the essential features of the Realistic views of the Nyaya system to the best of his abilities_ He selected the right channel of defence and shattered all barriers between the Idealists and the Poet-philosophers. His contributions to Philosophy, Ethics, and Theology are of no mean order. His Catholicity in Religion even in the present day wins the admiration of religious reformers and thoughtful persons, devoted to social service. It is undoubtedly the good fortune of the twentieth century that the great work of Jayanta was unearthed in Southern India and was published by the late Gat Gadhara Sastri. The discovery of the text of Nyaya-manjari proves its excellence. It led to acceptance in the remotest seat of the national culture of independent India. The political turmoil is the predominant reason for its non-circulation in the states of India which were cut off from Kashmir by foreign invasion and internal feuds and constant political unrest in the intervening countries.

Through the grace of God, I have been able to present the first volume of Nyaya-Manjari which embodies the ways of true knowledge of the Indian Logic to the enlightened societies of the East and the West through the medium of English. This volume also comprises Epistemology and the fundamental elements of Theology and Religion. I completed my work long ago and got it published in the Calcutta Review. During the period of publication, I could not read the proof sheets owing to my protracted illness. I depended upon the office staff for the correction of the published pages. I got them retyped and sent them for publication. Bad health stood in the way of revising the printed and retyped pages. Also, I have not been able to go through the proof sheets of the present volume myself owing to the want of prompt communication for unavoidable reasons. I am sorry to state that I have noticed a few errata and lacunas in the final stage since I had to depend solely upon a corrupt text. I have no opportunity of getting them corrected at present. I take the sole responsibility on my own shoulders and lay the blame on no other doors for these shortcomings. I have made up my mind to do justice to the published work and to annex all corrections to the second volume which will be published in the near future. I simply beg the apology of the present readers for the adverse circumstances which stand in the way of my prompt action to rectify the book to the best of my abilities. To err is human and as such I may crave the indulgence of the sagacions readers for the same.

I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to my beloved parents, teachers, friends and well-wishers whose constant encouragement has given me the impetus to complete my work. My distinguished students and near ones have promised to help me with their suggestions and constructive criticism In anticipation I express my thanks to them. I invite criticism and valuable suggestions from all sympathetic readers. I think that it is a work of national importance which will help the future to raise the standard of research work both in India and abroad.

I acknowledge my indebtedness to my late father, Panchanana Tarkavagisa who had acted as a pioneer in the translation of Nyaya-manjari in Bengali. He paved the way which I have followed in English. He had to give up his work after making some progress since his weak eyes could not bear the strain of overexertion in his old age.

I express my thanks with gratitude to my publishers who have encouraged me all along with ungrudging cooperation and also to all my well-wishers.



Jayanta Bhatta is an obscure great scholar whom India may be proud of. He is like the moon in the misty night of December. He has written the monumental work ‘Nyaya-manjari’. Though it should have been widely studied and discussed yet unfortunately it has not attracted the attention of Indian scholars as much as it deserves to do. We shall not try to find out the circumstances which were unfavourable to its study. We thank our stars that such a precious book was discovered and published by M. M. Gangadhara Sastri towards the end of the 19th century A. D. In this introduction we shall not discuss so much about the merits of Nyayamajfijari as its author.

Abhinanda, son of Jayanta Bhatta, gave his pedigree in his family in his introduction to Kadambari-katha-sara. We learn from it that Jayanta Bhatta’s remote ancestor Sakti migrated to Kashmir from Bengal in the seventh century. He belonged to the Bharadvaja family of the Gauda section of Brahmins. The long journey undertaken by Sakti as described by Abhinanda, suggests that Sakti most probably migrated from Bengal to Kashmir. As he was a Gauda Brahmana the home of his ancestors was Bengal. But it is difficult to say with absolute certainty that Sakti migrated from Bengal. His grandson was Sakti Svamin. He was a minister of Muktapida, also known as Lalitaditya. The great-grandson of Sakti Svamin was Jayanta. We also learn from Abhinanda that Jayanta was a poet of no mean order and was also endowed with the gift of the gab. He was well-versed in the Vedic lore and the different branches of studies subordinate to the Vedas. Nay, he was well-acquainted with all the branches of the Sastras. Nyaya-manjari was composed by him, for its author acquired the title of Vrttikara (the writer of a commentary). This glorious title, conferred upon him by a circle of scholars, points to the unqualified merit of the work.

The date of Jayanta is not clearly stated in the Nyaya- Manjari. Prof. A. B. Keith holds that Abhinanda composed the synopsis of Kadambari in the ninth century A.D. He takes pride in his father’s title ‘Vrtti-kara’. This title suggests that Nyaya-Manjari had been appreciated by the learned scholars of his time. In other words, Nyaya-manjari precedes Kadambari-katha-sara. If we accept the view of Dr Keith, Nydaya- manjari was composed in the ninth century A.D. But Dr Keith has not elaborately discussed the problem of the date of Abhinanda. So there is room for doubt about its certainty. Let us discuss the problem of Jayanta’s date de novo.

There are some incidental personal references, in the Nyaya- manjari of Jayanta, which throw some light on the age of its author. Jayanta mentions the name of Samkaravarman, the king of Kashmir.

Yadapurvamiti viditva nivarayamasa dharmatattvajnah /

Raja Sarnkaravarma na punar Jainadi-matamevam //

(p. 248 N, M, Benares edition)

King Samkaravarma stopped some religious customs as it had been unprecedented. Jayanta uses the verb in the past perfect tense (dif). Does the verb ‘nivarayamdsa’ suggest that Samkara varman had reigned long before Jayanta was born? If it is so how is it that Jayanta’s great-grandfather was contemporaneous with King Lalitaditya? The reign of Muktapida extended over the period of thirty-six years (from 733 A.D. to 769 A.D.) From this datum alone we are in a position to infer the date of Jayanta. Jayanta must have been born in the middle of the ninth century A.D.

Let us cite another verse from Nyaya-Manjari, which will help us to understand the meaning of the verb in the past perfect tense mentioned above.

Raja tu gahvare ’sminnaSabdake bandhane vinthito ’ham /

Grantha-racana-vinodadiha hi maya vatsara gamitah //

(p.363 N. M. Banares edition)

Jayanta was imprisoned in a cave at the mandate of the king of Kashmir. He utilised his dreary days. He took to the writing of Nyaya-Manjari. Thus, he got relief from the pain of confinement. During the period of confinement, King Sarmkaravarman most probably put a ban on the Nilambara custom. Jayanta defends the action of the king as the said custom is immoral and not religious. The use of the verb in the past perfect tense suggests the skill of Jayanta in introducing bitter incidents without provoking the wrath of the then-ruler.

Now the question ‘Why was Jayanta imprisoned by King Samkaravarman?’ arises in our mind. Jayanta remains silent on this point. Kalhana in his Rajatarangini furnishes us with a ‘clue. If we rightly grasp it then the reason behind Jayanta’s imprisonment becomes clear.

Dvijastayor nayakakhyo Gaurisa-sura-sadmanoh /

Caturvidyah krtam tena Vagdevikula-mandiram //

(Raja-tarangini 5/159)

Who is this Nayaka? Stéin thinks that the rhetorician Bhatta Nayaka has been referred to in this verse. There is no sound reason at the back of this conjecture except the surname ‘Nayaka’ itself.

A rhetorician is not necessarily a Vedic scholar, Nayaka was not the name of the scholar. The title ‘Nayaka’ was most probably converted into a name. Jayanta deserved the title "Nayaka’ in the fitness of things. In his versatile scholarship erudition in the Vedic lore, oratory and skill in composing poems he was second to none. He was honoured by the king who appointed him a teacher of the royal institute of learning attached to the newly built temples of Siva. My revered father the late Pandit Pancanana Tarka-vagisa in his introduction to Nyaya-manjari rightly identified Nayaka with Jayanta. Thus, Jayanta became the most exalted teacher in Kashmir during the reign of Samkaravarman.

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