The Similarity and Differences between Nyaya and Vaisesika Philosophies

Read this article to learn about the similarity and differences between Nyaya and Vaisesika Philosophies!


Nyaya and Vaisesika philosophies are allied.

The main points that they have in common are the following:

(1) The aim of both is moksha or liberation of the jiva.


(2) The root cause of pain is lack of knowledge.

(3) Moksha implies complete freedom from pain.

(4) Both have identical conception of the soul.

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(5) Both admit the same ways of knowing the soul.

(6) Delineation of intelligence, knowledge, perception, inference, doubt, illusion, etc., is identical in both the systems.

(7) Both have postulated five distinctions of action.

(8) Both are agreed on the nature of the universe.


Nyaya and Vaisesika philosophies differ in the following ‘respects:


1. Scope:

Nyaya is particularly devoted to the study of the sources of knowledge. It has dealt only briefly, and that too from the general viewpoint, with the elements. In the Vaisesika School, the elements have been discussed in detail. In metaphysics, the Vaisesika philosophers do not restrict themselves to the ordinary, but their vision comprehends even the microscopic universe.

2. Categories and substances:

In the Nyaya view, there are sixteen categories and nine substances whereas in the Vaisesika School there are seven categories and nine substances.

3. Sources of knowledge:

In Nyaya, perception, inference, comparison and testimony have been accepted as the four sources of valid knowledge. Vaisesikas accept only, two, perception and inference, as the sources of knowledge. Both comparison and testimony are included in inference.

4. Perception:

According to Nyaya, there are five kinds of perception con­curring with the kinds of sense organs—visual, tactual, auditory, olfactory and gustatory. But Vaisesika accepts only visual perception.

5. Samavaya:

According to Nyaya philosophy, the knowledge of samavaya can be had through perception. But according to the Vaisesika view, samavaya is known only by inference.

6. Hetvabhasa:

According to Nyaya, there are five kinds of fallacies. On the other hand, Vaisesika accepts only three fallacies.

7. Dreams:

According to the Nyaya as opposed to the Vaisesika view, dreams arising out of merit are true, while those arising out of demerit are false.

8. Deity:

Naiyayikas are the followers of ‘Shiva’ while the Vaisesikas, look upon ‘Maheshwar’ as the God of all.

9. Other Subjects:

In addition to these, Nyaya and Vaisesika also differ regarding the status of action, etc.

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