Samkhya-Yoga Epistemology by Mukta Biswas

Samkhya-Yoga Epistemology

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Samkhya-Yoga Epistemology
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The book present a comprehensive idea of the Samkhya-Yoga epistemology by examining in detail specific representative works including the Samkhyakarika of Isvarakrsna, Yogasutra of Patanjali, and Yuktidipika, Matharavrtti and other schools of Indian Philosophy.

Beginning with some fundamentals like origin of the words 'Samkhya' and ' Yoga' it discusses important tenets of each system, their reference in the Upanisads, the definition of epistemology and its relation with ontology and logic. It delves into the two kinds of knowledge, direct ( Prama) and indirect (Pramana) as understood by the Samkhya-Yoga system and examines these concepts from the viewpoints of other philosophical school as will. It defines perception (Pratyaksa Pramana ) and inference (anumana) and critically assesses the understanding of these in defferent philosophical systems focusing on the Sankhya-Yoga interpretation. It also deals with the components of perception and inference along with the types and fallacies associated with them. Verbal testimony or Sabda is again treated in a detailed manner. The work examines aspects like the nature of word and logical structure of a sentence as well.

The book will be useful for students and scholars of Indian philosophy who are keen to grasp the fundamentals of the Indian Philosophical systems even while gaining in- depth understanding of each school of ancient Indian Philosophy Particularly their interpretation of concepts of knowledge.

About the Author:

Dr. (Mrs) Mukta Biswas is a reader in the Department of Sanskrit, Gauhati University, Assam. She has authored a number of research papers on ancient Indian culture, Philosophy, literature and language. She has participated in numerous national seminars and conferences and has been honoured with gold medals for her scholarship. She is the winner of awards including Dr. V. Raghavan awards for best paper at the 42nd session of all India Oriental Conference held in Varanasi, 2004.


In the present work I have made an endeavour to give a comprehensive and critical ideal of the Samkhya-Yoga epistemology. Epistemology of the Samkhya-Yoga school is a wide subject. However, a systematic approach on the subject has remained so for elusive. Tough early works explicitly declare that Knowledge of the objects depends upon the extant texts Samkhya - Yoga leaves behind an impression that this aspect has not been dealt with extensively and such an observation prompts us to take a view that the philosophers of both the schools were interested in metaphysical doctrines rather than being involved in the logical explanation of epistemology. It therefore becomes imperative to study the status of epistemology in Samkhya-Yoga philosophy. Thus the present work encompasses the studies of epistemology as evidenced in the works like Samkhyakarikaof Isvarakrsna, Yogasutra of Patanjali, Yuktidipika, Matharavrtti, and other schools of Indian philosophy. Efforts have been made to include the various judgements of the critics of Samkhya- Yoga system in order to bring out a critical analysis of the subject. However, I am aware of the possibility that the entire existing relevant documents on the subject might not have been incorporated in the present discussion despite best attempt. I am hopeful that this book will be of immense help for students and researchers to comprehend the idea of epistemology of Samkhya- Yoga thought in the proper perspective.

I have no words to express my deep sense of gratitude to my teacher, professor Dr. Rajendra Nath Sarma, M.A., Ph. D., D. Lit, Mimamsa- Vyakarana Sastri, formerly Head of the deptt. of Sanskrit, Gauhati University for his ungrudging guidance and untiring help offered to me during the preparation of the work. Without his help, advice and supervision the work would have never come to completion.

My acknowledgment would remain incomplete if I do not express my deep sense of indebtedness to my husband Dr. Ranjan Kumar Biswas who has been instrumental and chief inspirator in my taking up this course of study and has made possible to see it the light of the day.

I am greatly thankful to Mr. Susheel K. Mittal of D. K. Printworld for kindly accepting the work for publication and evincing keen interest towards the completion of the work.

  Preface vii
  Key to Transliteration xv
  Abbreviations xvi
1 Introduction 1
  The nature of Philosophy 1
  Two Broad Divisions of Indian Philosophy 3
  The Significance of Samkhya Philosophy and the Origin of the Word Samkhya 6
  Samkhya Literature 9
  Sastitantra- The Samkhyakarika- the Tattvasamasa -The Samkhyasutra- The Samkhyasara- The Samkhya- tattva- pradipa- The Samkhya- tattva- kaumudi- The Yuktidipika- Samkhyacandrika- Samkhyataruvasantah  
  Samkhya Teachers 15
  Kapila- Asuri- Pancasikha- Vindhyavasa- Varsaganya-Jaigisavya-Vodhu- Devala- The Rest  
  Samkhya System 20
  The Important Tenets of the Samkhya System 27
  The Significance of Yoga Philosophy 27
  Origin of the Word Yoga 28
  Yoga Literature 32
  The Yoga System 33
  The Important Tenets of the Yoga System 38
  The relation of Samkhya System with Yoga 38
  Reference of Samkhya and Yoga in the Upanisads 41
  Samkhya in the Upanisads 41
  Yoga in the Upanisads 42
  Some Appreciation of Samkhya and yoga System 44
  The nature of Knowledge 44
  Epistemology of the Samkhya -Yoga School 52
  What is Epistemology 52
  Place of Epistemology in Philosophy 53
  Epistemology and Ontology or Metaphysics 54
  Epistemology and Logic 55
2 Valid and Invalid Knowledge 58
  Definitions of Valid Knowledge 59
  Buddha definition of valid knowledge 59
  The Nyaya View 60
  The Vedanta View 61
  The Bhatta Theory of Valid Knowledge 62
  The Prabhakara View 63
  The Vaisesika View 64
  The Jaina View 65
  The Samkhya- Yoga View 65
  The Sources of Valid Knowledge 67
  The Buddha View of Pramana 69
  The Jaina View of Pramana 70
  The Vaisesika View of Pramana 70
  The Nyaya View of Pramana 70
  The Bhatta View of Pramana 71
  The Prabhakara View of Pramana 72
  The Advaita View of Pramana 72
  The Samkhya- Yoga View of Pramana 73
  The Number of Pramanas According to Different Systems 80
  Forms of Invalid knowledge 83
  Asatkhyativada 91
  Atmakhyativada 92
  Anirvacaniyakhyati 93
  Satkhyativada 94
  Anyathakhyativada 95
  Sadasatkhyativada 96
  Memory (Smrit) 98
  Dream 100
  Doubt (Samsaya) 102
  Vikalpa 103
  Nidra (Sleep) 103
  Tarka(Hypothetical Argument) 105
  Reinculcation (Samvada) 106
3 Perception (Pratyaksa Pramana) 107
  Different Opinions of Pratyaksa 109
  Carvaka view of Pratyaksa 109
  The Jaina View of Pratyaksa 111
  Buddha view of Pratyaksa 113
  The view of Advaita Vedanta 114
  Vaisesika view of Pratyaksa 115
  The Mimamsa view of Pratyaksa 116
  The Samkhya- Yoga view of Pratyaksa 117
  Role of Senses in Perception 125
  Function of the Senses 127
  Modes of Perception 129
  The Buddhist View 129
  The Grammarian's View 130
  The Majority View 131
  Internal Perception and Its Objects 138
  Recognition (Pratyabhijna) 140
  Non- Sensuous Perception in Philosophy 141
  The Nyaya Theory of Alaukika Pratyksa 142
  The Advaita Theory of Non- Sensuous Perception 143
  The Vaisesika View 144
  The Buddhist View of Yogi- Pratyaksa 145
  The Jaina View 145
  The Samkhya View 146
  The Supernormal Powers in Yoga System 146
  Theory of Perceptual Error 147
4 Inference (Anumana) 151
  The Views of Anumana According to Different Systems 153
  The View of the Carvakas 153
  The Buddha View 154
  The Jaina View 155
  Nyaya View of Anumana 155
  Vaisesika View of Anumana 156
  Mimamsa View of Anumana 157
  Vedanta View 158
  Samkhya- Yoga View of Anumana 158
  Distinction Between Perception and Inference 161
  The Constituents of Inference 161
  The Ground of Inference 164
  Ascertainment of Vyapti 170
  The Carvaka View 170
  The Buddhist View 170
  The Jaina View 171
  The Vaisesika View 171
  The Bhatta View 171
  The Prabhakara View 171
  The Vedanta View 171
  The Nyaya View 172
  The Samkhya- Yoga View 172
  The Types of Anumana 173
  Purvavat, Sesavat and Samanyatodrsta 174
  Svartha and Parartha 178
  Kevalanyi, Kevalavyatireki and Anvayavyatireki 178
  Vita and Avita 179
  Fallacy 181
5 Verbal Testimony (Sabda Pramana) 183
  The Denial of the Validity of the validity of the Verbal Testimony by the Carvakas 185
  Buddha View of Verbal Testimony 186
  The Vaisesika View of Verbal Testimony 187
  Establishment and the Nature of Verbal Testimony 188
  Jaina View of Verbal Testimony 188
  Mimamsa View of Verbal Testimony 189
  Vedanta View of Verbal Testimony 189
  Nyaya View of Verbal Testimony 190
  Samkhya-Yoga View of Verbal Testimony 192
  The Nature of Word 197
  Logical Structure of a Sentence 202
  Expectancy 202
  Compability 203
  Contiguity 204
  Purport 204
  Classification of Verbal Testimony 207
6 Conclusion 210
  Upamana (Comparison) 211
  The Nyaya View of Upmana 212
  The Mimamsa View of Upmana 213
  Advaita View of Upmana 215
  The Samkhya Criticism of Upmana 216
  Arthapatti (Postulation) 218
  The Samkhya Criticism of Arthapatti 220
  Anupalabdhi (Non- Apprehension) 221
  The Mimamsa View of Anupalabdhi 222
  Advaita View of Anupalabdhi 223
  Sambhava (Probability) 226
  Aitihya (Tradition) 227
  Cesta (Gesture) 228
  Pratibha (Intuition) 229
  Bibliography 232
  Index 241

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