Vaada - Hindu and Indian logic

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by niranjan, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Vaada: discussion; a kind of debate between two parties -- the exponent and the opponent -- on a particular subject. Each party tries to establish its own position and to refute that of the other, arguing against any theory propounded by the other. Both, however, are trying to arrive at the truth by applying the methods of reasoning and logic. This is an effective and efficient way to reach valid knowledge if both parties are honest and free from prejudices.
  2. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Vaada, Jalpa and Vitandaa
    A Very Short Introduction to the Three Types of Kathaa

    The second chapter of the first book of the Nyaaya Sutras discusses the various kinds of kathaa or dialogue as well as the different types of argumentation that can arise during them. I present a partial summary of the contents of that chapter below.

    Vaada (discussion) is that kind of dialogue in which a thesis (paksha) and an anti-thesis (prati-paksha) regarding the same subject are advanced by opposing sides. Each side seeks to support their position and defeat that of their opponent by means of taking recourse to proofs (pramaana) and syllogistic reasoning (avayavaa). The overall purpose of Vaada for both parties is to discover the truth – whether they ‘win’ or ‘lose’ the argument is of little to no importance. For this reason, Vaada is traditionally associated with the quality of sattva or purity.

    By ‘proofs’, something very specific is meant, and this is directly related to how syllogistic reasoning is to be employed. The system of Nyaaya recognizes four primary means of acquiring right knowledge, also referred to as ‘proof’ or ‘pramaanas’. These are:

    1. Perception: This is that knowledge which arises from the contact of a power of perception (indriya) with its object (artha). The qualifications of a perception are:

    • (a) It must be determinate.
      (b) It must not be prefigured by linguistic constructs imposed by the mind.
      (c) It must not be based on an illusion or deception of any kind.
    2. Inference: This is that knowledge gained of a thing through reasoning based on a prior perception. The kinds of inference are:

    • (a) From cause to effect: We see dark clouds and infer that there will be rain.
      (b) From effect to cause: We see a swollen river and infer that there was rain.
      (c) From concomitance: We see smoke and infer that there is also fire.
    3. Comparison: This is that knowledge gained of a thing through its similarity or dissimilarity to a thing previously known.

    4. Verbal Testimony: This is that knowledge gained through the declaration of a reliable person. It can refer to two types of thing:

    • (a) To that which is seen, i.e. that which can be directly verified through personal observation.
      (b) To that which is unseen, i.e. that which cannot be directly verified through personal observation.
    Nyaaya also accepts the existence of other means of acquiring right knowledge, but sees them as being included under the four above-mentioned categories. These four, however, have been chosen for their role in how the syllogism is formed.

    The logically correct syllogism consists of five members (avayavaa). They are:

    1. Proposition: This is the statement of that which is to be proven. In traditional discussions, the proposition is typically one derived from a scriptural statement of which the meaning is not clear and which is to be clarified through dialogue with the learned. For this reason, it is aligned with Verbal Testimony.

    2. Reason: This is the grounds upon which the Proposition is based, usually formulated as a general rule. The Reason is directly connected with Inference.

    3. Example: This is a familiar instance which demonstrates the reliability of the Reason and which (usually) anyone can verify for themselves. The Example, therefore, is based upon Perception.

    4. Application: This is the demonstration of the way in which the Reason pertains to the case in the Proposition. The Application is the result of Comparison.

    5. Conclusion: This is the restatement of the Proposition in light of the Reason, Example and Application. It is the summary of the entire syllogism, and is therefore connected to all the means of acquiring right knowledge.

    Example 1:

    Proposition: There is fire on the hill.
    Reason: For there is smoke coming from the hill, and wherever there is smoke, there is fire.
    Example: That wherever there is smoke, there is fire can be seen in the case of a kitchen.
    Application: Now, just as in the case of a kitchen, there is smoke coming from the hill.
    Conclusion: Therefore, there is fire on the hill.

    Example 2:

    Proposition: Sound is non-eternal.
    Reason: For sound is produced, and whatever is produced is non-eternal.
    Example: That whatever is produced is non-eternal can be seen in the case of a pot.
    Application: Now, just as in the case of a pot, sound is something which is produced.
    Conclusion: Therefore, sound is non-eternal.

    Jalpa (wrangling) is that kind of dialogue in which one or both of the parties involved is primarily interested in victory rather than establishing the truth. For this reason, it is traditionally associated with the quality of rajas or passion. It is similar to Vaada in that both sides are advancing a thesis which is supported by proof and syllogistic reasoning. In Jalpa, however, one or both of the opponents resorts to the use of less-than-honourable tactics to defeat the argument of the opposition. These are:

    1. Quibbling: This is intentionally misinterpreting something the other party has said. It has three primary forms:

    • (a) Verbal Quibble: To take a word or phrase as indicating something that the speaker clearly did not intend but which he technically did not exclude.
      (b) Generalising Quibble: To argue against a general rule based on a rare or freak exception.
      (c) Figurative Quibble: To take something the speaker said literally when it was intended figuratively or metaphorically and vice versa.
    2. Futile Rejoinder: This is to oppose an argument which is clearly formally correct on the grounds that its Reason does not warrant the Conclusion due to some extraneous or exaggerated defect.

    Vitandaa (cavil) is that kind of dialogue in which the only interest of one of the parties involved is to attack and defame the other. For this reason, it is traditionally associated with the quality of tamas or ignorance. It is formally similar to Jalpa, except one side, rather than setting up and defending an anti-thesis, simply resorts to attacking the thesis of his opponent by any means available, honourable or dishonourable.
  3. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    The Nyaaya Sutras

    The Nyaaya Sutras are said to have been composed by Gotama (also sometimes referred to as Akshapaada or Gautama Akshapaada) sometime around 550 B.C.E., and is one of the Shad Darshana or Six Branches of Vedic Philosophy (the others being Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa a.k.a. Vedanta). Although it has been greatly overshadowed by the presently popular schools of Yoga and Vedanta, scholars understand that Nyaaya is the foundation of all the other Darshanas, for it expounds the means whereby one may determine the truth in regards to any particular subject matter. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find many references to Nyaaya principles in all the other Darshana Sutras, and many of the arguments put forth in those Sutras rely upon Nyaaya-style reasoning. Thus, for example, when we read in the Brahma Sutras (Vedanta) short, almost cryptic phrases like: "On account of uniformity of teaching" (I:10), we can only correctly understand it if we have a solid background knowledge in the techniques of Nyaaya, for the statement is actually a condensed part of a syllogism, namely, a Reason (as described above). It is my personal opinion that if people spent more time on Nyaaya as a preparation, then the time later spent on Scriptural Study, Yoga and Meditation would be much more fruitful.
  4. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Guys and gals, Krishna advices us to be sattvic . So let us indulge in the sattvic vaada , as a means of argumentation and discussion, and keep away from the rajasic jalpa and the tamasic Vitandaa, as is taught by Vedic philosophy and the Nyaaya Sutras.

    Let everyone study Vaada, and implement them. This will go a long way in vastly improving the quality of this forum, and get rid of negative discussions.

    And all those who do not do so, will be sinners or error prone in the eyes of Krishna.
  5. Jedi

    Jedi Self Banned

    Very nice niranjan, Sattvic Vaada is an excellent way to construct an argument... ofcourse one may not have to construct it the way examples show... but if it follows the lines of such a construction, one will progress toward the truth of the matter rather than get lost in one's own vasanas and illusions.
  6. Jedi

    Jedi Self Banned

    Thank you for posting this :)
  7. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Vasishta to Prince Rama.

    Yoga Vasishta Ramayan (II-18) says:
    Though human in origin, an exposition of truth is to be accepted; otherwise even what is regarded as divine revelation is to be rejected. Even a young boy's words are to be accepted if they are words of wisdom; else reject it like straw even if uttered by Brahma the creator."


    Sri Sankara, the famous Advaita philosopher, makes this point in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita 18.66:

    " ...... The appeal to the infallibility of the Vedic injunction is misconceived. The infallibility in question refers only to the unseen force or apurva, and is admissable only in regard to matters not confined to the sphere of direct perceptions etc. ..... Even a hundred statements of sruti to the effect that fire is cold and non-luminous won't prove valid. If it does make
    such a statement, its import will have to be interpreted differently. Otherwise , validity won't attach to it. Nothing in conflict with the means of valid cognition or with its own statement may be imputed to sruti."


    Vacaspati Misra, the author of Vamati, says, "Even one thousand scriptural statements cannot transform a jar into a piece of cloth".


    We must take up the study of the superconscious state just as any other science. On reason we must have to lay our foundation, we must follow reason as far as it leads, and when reason fails, reason itself will show us the way to the highest plane. When you hear a man say, “I am inspired” , and then talk irrationally, reject it. Why? Because these three states-instinct, reason, and superconsciousness , or the unconscious, conscious, and superconscious states-belong to one and the same mind. There are not three minds in one man, but one state of it develops into the others. Instinct develops into reason, and reason into the transcendental consciousness; therefore, not one of the states contradicts the others. Real inspiration never contradicts reason, but fulfils it. Just as you find the great prophets saying, “ I come not to destroy but to fulfil” , so inspiration always comes to fulfil reason, and is in harmony with it.
    ---Swami Vivekananda

    Is religion to justify itself by the discoveries of reason, through which every other concrete science justifies itself? Are the same methods of investigation which we apply to sciences and knowledge outside, to be applied to the science of Religion ? In my opinion, this must be so, and I am also of opinion that the sooner it is done the better. If a religion is destroyed by such investigations, it was then all the time useless, unworthy superstition; and the sooner it goes the better. I am thoroughly convinced that its destruction would be the best thing that could happen. All that is dross will be taken off, no doubt, but the essential parts of religion will emerge triumphant out of this investigation. Not only will it be made scientific, as scientific, at least, as any of the conclusions of physics or chemistry, but will have greater strength, because physics or chemistry has no internal mandate to vouch for its truth, which religion has.
    -----Swami Vivekananda


    Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

    --- Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

    --- Buddha
  8. Re: Vaada

    Great post, Niranjan!

    I'll give it a very thorough read later.
  9. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Of the disputants and debaters, I am Vaada ( logic and reasoning) .

    ---Krishna ( Bhagavad Gita).
  10. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Logic as an explicit analysis of the methods of reasoning received sustained development originally in India before the other civilizations , the chinese and the greek , which are the only civilizations along with India that developed the systems of logic in a clear, detailed and unambigous manner.

    So India was the first nation and civilization that studied and emphasized logic as the study of principles and criteria of valid inference and the method of reasoning.
  11. asilos vulnerado

    asilos vulnerado Senior Member

    I didn't read this whole thing, I don't have time right now. But I have to say that I love being able to argue/talk to someone about something when neither person is unwilling to change their views. Most people I get in arguments with are so focused upon being "right" and care little about learning new things. But simply talking about a subject and trying to prove your point could easily result in an entire change of your views. Unfourtunately, few people are willing to keep an open mind at all times :(
  12. snake sedrick

    snake sedrick Banned

    Hoorah! (waves Indian flag).
  13. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Stick to Vaada always, as I stated in the OP.
  14. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Thank you. :)
  15. Jedi

    Jedi Self Banned

    No no, don't do that just yet.
    Do it after I tell you, that all the scientific advances actually come from India. Newton was an Indian too, we have proof that he used too much white make up , and left India to enlighten the foolish british.
    Now you can say Hoorah! :) .

    Oh yea Einstein was Indian too...
  16. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Speaking of Einstein, he was the one who said this....

    We have to be grateful to the Indians for teaching us how to count without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.

    ----Albert Einstein.

    And it is a fact that when the Indian numeral system and mathematics came to Europe, the Pope condemned it as the 'Devils numbers'.

    Now the same 'devils numbers' are the foundation of modern science and technology, without which Europe would still have been in the Dark Ages.
  17. philuk

    philuk Member

    True the west has much to be grateful for.

    But I must say it has done a goddd job of running with the ball.

    The advances in medical care, putting the first human in space and on the moon, global communication / the Internet which will maybe be the greatest.
  18. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    And all of which would have been impossible without the Indian numeral sytem and Indian mathematics.

    And even in the modern era, our own scientists have contributed to modern science and technology, as is shown by the case of the nobel prize winning Physicist C.V.Raman, for the Raman Effect, the world famous botanist Jagadish Chandra Bose, the world famous mathematician and genius Ramanujan, the world famous physicist and statistician Satyendra Nath Bose, who provided the foundation for the world famous Bose-Einstein Statistics(the boson is named after Bose in his honour ),Dr. Hargobind Khorana, the 1968 Nobel prize winner for medicine was responsible for producing the first man-made gene in his laboratory in the early seventies,the world famous astronomer and physicist and Nobel prize winner Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar , who founded the famous Chandrasekhar Limit in astronomy.

    Chandrasekhar Limit.

    If a white dwarf exceeds a certain mass, about 1.4 , it is no longer able to support itself by electron degeneracy pressure. This limit is called the Chandrasekhar limit, after the physicist who derived it in terms of fundamental constants.

    And what basics. We have our own basics.

    Our ayurveda system of medicine, which is milleniums old, is world famous, and many people from all over the world comes for ayurveda treatment, famous for its lack of side-effects .

    We have our own traditional engineering and architectural skills, and many houses are still being built like that.

    When the cyclone in Orissa hit the coast, all the modern built houses were destroyed while the traditionally constructed temples were left standing without any problems.

    And we have our own traditional skills in many areas, and many follow that even now as well, with some coupling with western methods as well.

    Our yogic techniques like hatha yoga, transcendental meditation and sudarshan kriya and others has given health in all dimensions to people all over the world.

    Our own allopathic sector is also going great guns, with a lot of patients from all over the world, including the west, coming for treatment which is very cost-effective. As a result of medical tourism , we are getting a lot of money.

    And the Indian armed forces is the third largest in the world, and has nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, which makes us the fourth most powerful nation on earth after the U.S.A., Russia and China.

    We are now making our own tanks, fighter jets (Lakshya ), warships, missiles, radars, and all other military hardware and material.

    Currently we are in the process of making an indigenous nuclear submarine, in addition to the one we have bought from Russia.

    Our space programme is also going well, and we have send indigenous sattelites with our own indigenous rockets to space , only among the few nations in the world to do so. In fact we are sending sattelites of other countries to space as well, and making a lot of valuable money as well. Many countries have come to India for this purpose, as our processes is more cost-effective in comparison to the western nations and U.S.A.

    We have also , through a recent test of ours, acquired the capability to not only send a sattelite to space, but retrieve it as well, making us the fourth nation in the world to do so.

    India is the only three countries in the world , along with Japan and U.S.A., to create supercomputers. And we have exported this to other countries as well, earning valuable money in the process.

    Also India has the second largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world , next only to the U.S.A. And the way our government and NGOs and spiritual organisations are building up colleges and universities all over India, we will overcome them as well.

    In the economic scenario the outlook is also promising as India is rapidly improving her economy and her economy is growing at the rate of 8 % per annum.

    Ever since the economic reforms in India in 1990 , the economy is plunging ahead and many poor have become affluent. Research has shown that poverty in India has reduced considerably, and within a span of time , we can eradicate poverty completely.

    Due to the IT revolution itself, thousands of Indians have become mult-millionaires (dollar terms ), and the Silicon Valley itself has 1000000 Indian millionaires.

    Sabeer Bhatia sold Hotmail to Microsoft for 400 million dollars.

    Azim Premji, the Indian owner of Wipro, is the 10 th richest man in the world and is a billionaire ( dollar terms. )

    Speaking of billionaires, India has pipped Japan as the country with the most number of billionaires in Asia.

    The Steel King Laxmi Mittal is the 5th richest man in the world with assets of more than 40 billion dollars, and which is still growing.

    And the IT sector by 2010 itself, is estimated by expert economists to generate 100 billion dollars in India per annum.

    And we would also like to point out the BPO sector, the pharmaceutical sector, the biotechnology sector, which are going great guns in India, and generating billions of dollars, and not to mention the KPO sector, the PPO sector, the manufacturing sector, the tourism sector, ( we are indeed the land of Krishna and Buddha , who have millions of devotees in the world, along with the other enlightened masters ), the medical sector and other sectors as well.

    And coupling this fact with the fantastic genetic potential that comes with being an ancient civilization, and good leadership at the present moment, we are indeed forging our way ahead into being a powerful military, economic and political power to reckon with.

    And what UK rule. You mean the one which the UK imposed on India, after begging from us bases to launch commercial operations in India , which we gave out of sympathy.

    That indeed was our biggest mistake.

    After the Britishers got their bases after begging from our rulers, they then cunningly build up their power and with machiavellian tactics , subjugated India, which was followed by wars and battles, till they were thrashed out of India by the disciples of Vivekananda, Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose.

    And India through her own example , boosted the morale of the african and asian nations under the heel of british and western imperialism and gave them the spine to rebel successfully, thus forcing the sun down on the British empire.

    Also before the british invasion, India was the richest nation on earth, which has been confirmed by Forbes magazine as well.

    And the British invasion reduced India from the richest nation on earth to one of the poorest nations on earth due to relentless unethical exploitation of Indias resources by the British.

    Indian cottage industries were systematically destroyed by the britishers, who dumped their own goods in India.

    I know of Indian lady weavers, who wove valuable cloth which were prized very much, and whose fingers were chopped off by british troops, so that they will not be able to weave again , and who later committed suicide.

    There were no districts, only kingdoms, and even then it was not wars all the time like what happened between european nations ,such as the 100 years war.

    And we had good emperors in Chandragupta Maurya, Samudragupta , Ashoka the Great ( who is considered by scholars all over the world as the greatest benevolent emperor ever ), Vikramaditya, Akbar, Shivaji, Ranjit Singh who were very good rulers and were loved by the people.

    We had also great kings like Rana Kumbha, Rana Sanga, Rana Pratap, Durgadas, Kerala Varma, Rajendra Chola, Marthanda Varma, Swati Thirunal, Harsha , Kanishka, and other great kings, and queens like Rani Laxmi Bai, Ahalya Bai, Durgavati and other great queens as well.

    And the kingdoms in India was forged into one entity by Gandhis disciple , the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, in 1948 , into a republic, like the way Bismarck united the prussian nations into Germany in the 19th century.

    And our own spiritual masters and spiritual organisations are trying to clear this mess, in the spirit of Karma Yoga , as taught by Krishna and the enlightened masters, by trying to eradicate poverty, by opening up schools , colleges and hospitals and orphanages in India for the poor and giving jobs to the poor.

    Many prostitutes in India have been rescued by spiritual organisations like the MATA AMRITANANDAMAYI MISSION, THE ART OF LIVING institution, and others, and these ladies are given vocational training and jobs, so that they can take care of themselves.

    Child slave labour is banned in our constitution and many culprits have been arrested. This happens mainly in rural areas, outside the jurisdiction of the police. Even then the media has highlighted many of these evils as well, and the government , NGOs and spiritual organisations as well, have rescued many children and gave them homes, free education, nutrition, health care and other amenities.

    And same with starving people . They are helped by the government , NGOs and spiritual organisations to stand up on their feet and be employed.

    The caste system and untouchability has been banned in India 60 years back, in the constitution , created by Ambedkar, an untouchable himself, and Indias first law minister.

    Many idiots who had flouted these rules were arrested, prosecuted, and made an example of , and the media too helps very much in this.

    Most of the so-called discriminative practices happen in some rural areas, which is not under the jurisdiction of the police , and the government is trying to implement measures to rectifty this , which is also aided by spiritual organisations as well.

    The rapidly improving economy of India will ensure more modernised police forces, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and a more effective judiciary as well, which will eradicate all the evils taking place .

    Also Indias improving economy as well will automatically take care of starvation, and ensure better houses as well.

    It should also be borne in mind that India is a nation of 1 billion 200 million, almost one fifth of humanity. We have a 400 million strong middle class as well, which is more than the size of U.S.A and britain.

    So one should understand the proportions of which we are talking about. India is no ordinary country.

    We have our own resources and knowledge to handle our problems and at the same time we are also eager for knowledge as well, not only from the west, but also from every progressive nation and culture on earth.

    And I believe the west can learn a lot from us in terms of spirituality and culture and philosophy. I pretty well know the astounding number of divorces in the west, the number of mental patients, abused children, teenage pregnancy and unmarried mothers, racism, violence,sexual abuse, greed and immoral materialism in the west.

    Perhaps it might do the west some good to introspect on Indian philosophy and giants like Krishna, Buddha, Vivekananda, and Gandhi and the other Indian enlightened masters.
  19. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Even If I am a minority of one, truth is still the truth.

    --- Mahatma Gandhi.

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.

    ---- Mahatma Gandhi.

    Righteousness is truth in action.

    ---Hindu proverb

    Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

    ---Albert Einstein

    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

    ---Albert Einstein

    “Faith... Must be enforced by reason...When faith becomes blind it dies.”


    The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.

    ---Thomas Paine

    Reason is the slow and torturous method by which those who do not know the truth discover it

    ---Blaise Pascal

    Hope you guys understand the importance of reasoning, questioning authority from this. Why ! Because only then will we find the truth, and only when we find the truth can we implement it in action, to act righteously.

    Got it......[​IMG]
  20. niranjan

    niranjan Member

    Even If I am a minority of one, truth is still the truth.

    --- Mahatma Gandhi.

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.

    ---- Mahatma Gandhi.

    Righteousness is truth in action.

    ---Hindu proverb

    Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

    ---Albert Einstein

    Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

    ---Albert Einstein

    “Faith... Must be enforced by reason...When faith becomes blind it dies.”


    The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.

    ---Thomas Paine

    Reason is the slow and torturous method by which those who do not know the truth discover it

    ---Blaise Pascal

    Hope you guys understand the importance of reasoning, questioning authority from this. Why ! Because only then will we find the truth, and only when we find the truth can we implement it in action, to act righteously.

    Got it......[​IMG]


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