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Nyaya

shastras, system, knowledge, hindus and six

NYAYA, a system of philosophy of the Hindus, a syllogism ; Nyaya means going into, or analysis. This school of philosophy, or logical system of Gautama, considers, by means of subtle and logical argument, the true mode of inquiring after truth ; and it has surveyed the whole field of this argument more exactly and completely than any other of the Hindu systems.

The first inquiry of this system is what is the way to attain perfect beatitude ? and the answer given is, that deliverance is only to be secured by a knowledge of the truth.

It then proceeds to examine what instruments are best adapted for the acquisition of that de liverance, and comes to the conclusion that they are four in number, namely, perception, inference, comparison, and testimony.

It then minutely examines the various objects of knowledge which are required to be proved and known, which objects are twelve in number,— soul, body, sense, object, knowledge, the mind, activity, fault, transmigration, fruit, pain, and beatitude.

The Nyaya system is one of six orthodox philosophical schools of the Hindus. Of these philo sophical schools, the Nyaya seems analogous to the Peripatetic of Greece, or to the dialectal school of Xenophanes ; the second, sometimes called Vaisi shica or Vaiseshka, to the Ionic; the two Mimansa —the Mimansa of Jahnini and the Mimansa or Vedant of Vyasa (the second of which being often distinguished by the name of Vedanta)—to the Platonic ; the first Sanchya to the Italic, and the second, or Patanjala, to the Stoic philosophy.

So that Gautama corresponds with Aristotle, Kanada. with Thales, Jaimini with Socrates, Vyasa with Plato, Kapila with Pythagoras, and Patanjali with Zeno ; but an accurate comparison between the Grecian and Indian schools would require a considerable volume. The original works of those philosophers are very succinct; but, like all the other shastras, they are explained or obscured by Upadarsana, or commentaries, with out end. The Veda, Upa Veda, Vedanga, Purana, Dharma, and Darsana are their six great shastras, in which all knowledge, divine and human, is supposed to be comprehended. The word shastra, derived from a root signifying to ordain, means generally an ordinance, and particularly a sacred ordinance, delivered byinspiration; properly, there fore, the word is applied only to sacred literature. The Sudras, or fourth class of Hindus, are not permitted to study the six proper shastras before mentioned ; but an ample field remains for them in the study of profane literature, comprised in a multitude of popular books, which correspond with the several shastras. All the tracts on medicine must, indeed, be studied by the Vaidyas, or hereditary' physicians, who have often more learning, with far less pride, than any of the Brahmans ; they are usually poets, grammarians, rhetoricians, moralists, and may be esteemed, in general, the most virtuous and amiable of the. Hindus. See Darsana ; Veda ; Vidya.