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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nyāya approach to the validity of Sacred Texts

The Nyāya approach to the justification of Sacred Texts considers the Veda as an instance of Testimony. Just like testimony is an instrument of knowledge if the speaker is reliable, similarly the Veda is realiable since it has been uttered by a reliable speaker. Consequently, Nyāya authors need to show that the author of the Veda is indeed reliable.

Early Nyāya authors (namely Gautama, Vātsyāyana and Uddyotakara) have proven (or thought that they had proven) the reliability of the Veda author out of the fact that the same author(s) also composed the Āyurveda, which is certainly valid, since one can check its validity through other instruments of knowledge.

Jayanta refutes this argument (since he claims that the Āyurveda texts have been composed by Caraka and other human authors, whereas the Veda has been authored by God himself) and, instead, makes room for the argument of the consensus of the great people (mahājanaparigraha): the Veda must be reliable, since exemplary people agree on its validity.

To which extent does this approach resemble the Christian and Hebrew way of justifying the validity of the Bible? How much does it differ from it?

For the Mīmāṃsā approach to the same topic, see this post.

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