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How does Nyaya prove the existence of God?

Who is God?

According to Nyaya, God is the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the universe. He is the efficient, not the material cause of the universe. He directs the activities of living souls. Just as an intelligent and benevolent father inspires the son to act according to his intelligence, capability and qualities, god also, in the same way, inspires living beings to act according to the tendencies acquired by them in the past and to win rewards appropriate to their action. It is he who determines the pains and pleasures to their action. It is he who determines the pains and pleasures of the Jivas, provides their merits and awards their action appropriately. He creates the universe from the eternal entities such as atoms, space, time, either, mind and souls which live with him. It is because of his desire that the universe remains in its state of stability. In this way it is he who also sustains the universe.

Does God Exist?

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He employs his powers of destruction when it becomes imperative that the universe be destroyed. In this way, he also destroyer of the universe. Substances such as space, time etc., have the relation of body and soul to God, consequently they do not limit him. He is, all powerful even though man proceeds according to virtues and sins. He has real knowledge of all objects and occurrences. He is therefore, omniscient. He is the substratum in which knowledge exists. He himself is the knowledge. In him the six perfections – majesty, almighty, all-glorious, infinitely beautiful, and infinite knowledge and perfect freedom from attachment – are present in full measure.

Proof for the Existence of God:

Nyaya philosophers have put forward all the ten proofs the existence of God. Some of the important ones are the following:

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God is the creator of the organic objects of the universe:

There are two kinds of objects in the universe – Organic and inorganic. The  atoms of space, time, ether, mind and earth, water, fire and air are perfect and eternal. Hence there can be no question of their creator. But objects other than these are neither atomic nor all pervading (Vibhu). Hence, they must necessarily have some cause. Without the guidance and direction by an intelligent agent their material causes cannot possess the form or shape they are found possessing. This agent  must possess the knowledge, the desire to attain the objective, and the power to make an effect. He must also be omniscient, otherwise how can he have knowledge of such microscopic existence as the atoms? All these qualities of such an agent are to be found only in God. Hence the existence of God as the creator of the universe is proved.

God is the cause of difference in fortune and the rules of past tendencies:

In this world, the fortunes of everyone are different. One is born in a rich family and another in the house of a pauper. Some do not get a full meal even after back breaking labor while others have everything at their back and call. Some are intelligent and others foolish. It is the belief of the Naiyayikas that this difference is due to their past adrsta. The entity, called adrsta is a conglomeration of merits and demerits developing from good or bad actions of the past. Good action create merit in our souls and bad actions create demerit, in this way, adrsta is the collection of good and bad actions of the present and the previous lives. Good action have good and bad actions bad results.

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According to this adrsta the individual is the recipient of pleasure and of pain in this life as well as in the next. But adrsta is unintelligent and hence it can not of itself create correlation in the past actions and their results; for this an intelligent director and guide is needed. The Jivatma cannot be the guide of the adrsta, because it does not have any knowledge of its past tendencies, besides which, the result of past tendencies have been known to run counter to the desire of the Jivatma. Thus according to the Naiyayikas, only God who is immortal, all powerful and omniscient, can be the guide of past tendencies. In this way, difference in fortunes and the influence of past tendencies prove the existence of God.

God is the cause of the validity of religious texts:

Vedas are valid and authoritative, hence their creator God, is also authoritative. Just as a science can be declared valid after testing only a part of it, the entire Vedas including its super-natural provision can be accepted as valid after testing the validity of its pronouncements about the worldly things. The validity of the Vedas depends upon their author. The author of the Vedas cannot be Jiva since he cannot be cognizant of their supernatural and extra-sensory subjects. The author of the Vedas can only be one who can have perceptual and actual knowledge of the past, present and future, atoms and cosmos, sensible and extra-sensory objects. In this way, the creator of the Vedas is God and their validity transpires from him. Just as the validity of the sciences depends upon their creator so does the validity of the Vedas depend upon God.

Divine utterance also prove the existence of God:

The fourth proof that God exists is forth coming from sruti, the Vedic script. The existence of God has been accepted by the Veda, Upanishads and the Gita. The existence of God can be proved by experience and not by logic. For this reason, those individuals who do not have personal experience should depend upon sruti or divine utterance. According to Kusumanjali, Just as the sciences themselves and signification are proofs of the truth of scientific laws, the sruti also is evidence for proving the existence of God.

Udayan’s Arguments:

Udayan has deduced nine arguments for proving the existence of God.

Karyat:

The universe is an effect, hence it must have an instrumental cause. This cause is God.

Ayojanat:

Atoms are inactive hence they must be provided with motion by God, which is necessary for their conjunction. Past tendency cannot impart motion to the atoms without God.

Dhrtyadeh:

The creator and the destroyer of the universe is God. It is due to his decision that creation, stability and destruction take place.

Padat:

Words get their power of giving meaning to their subjects from God.

Pratyayatah:

God is the another of the authoritative Vedas.

Shreteh:

Sruti establishes on existence of God.

Vakyat:

Vedic sentences give utterance to moral laws. God is the author of moral laws. Vedic laws are divine.

Samkhya Visesachcha:

According to Nyaya. Vaisesika the diatomic structure is not formed of the microscopic substance of two atoms but of their number two. The numeral one is perceptible, but all the other numerals are mental concepts. At the time of creation, the souls, atoms, adrsta, space, time, manas, etc., are all unconscious or unintelligent. For this reason number will be dependent upon the mind of God and will be created by it. In this way it is necessary to believe in the existence of God.

Adrustat:

We experience the result of our actions and our qualities, Actions lead to merit and demerit, and adrusta is the collection of merits and demerits. But the adrusta is unintelligent. Hence, in order that there may be experience of the results of the adrsta there must be God.

Objections to God and their Answers:

Some arguments have been given against the proofs for the existence of God which Naiyayikas have put forward. They have been answered by the Nyaya philosophers. The major ones among them are:

In connection with the foregoing third and fourth proofs for the existence of God. It can be objected that they are interdependent, and are consequently defective. But according to the Sarva Darsana Samgraha, this interdependence is no defect because it can be a defect only when two subjects are interdependent from the same point of view. In this case from the view point of existence Vedas are dependent upon God because God is their author while from the view point of human knowledge, God is dependent upon the Vedas because it is through the vedas that the human beings set to know God.

The second objection to the Nyaya conception of God is that if God is the creator of this Universe he must possess a body because without a body no activity can be indulged in Naiyayikas answer this by saying that existence of God is either proved by the Sruti or it is disproved. If it has not been proved then what is the use of raising this objection?

The third objection to the Nyaya conception of God is concerned with the purpose which God has in creating the universe God can have no purpose of his own in creating the universe because he is perfect. His purpose in doing it cannot be said to be for others because one who works for the good of others cannot be wise. If this purpose is benevolence then why are there so many unhappy individuals in this world? Answering this objection the naiyayikas say that God has created this world out of compassion.

The world having been created it is only natural that there should be pain and pleasure in the world, because the jivatmas are attended by their respective adrsta. But God is not limited to his creation. Just as mind is not the slave of his body, it helps him in the achievement of his objective and acting to this end; in much the same way the universe does not make the God dependent upon another but helps him in the realization of his objective.

The conception of God professed by the Nyayaa-Vaisesika philosophy does not appear correct at all. Samkara has criticized this view. This Nyaya theism is undeveloped and incomplete.

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