- The Happening of Tradition: Vallabha on Anumāna in Nyāyalīlāvatī
Nyāya-Vaiśeika (or Navyanyāya) scholars, who flourished from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries, have enjoyed minimal attention among modern researchers in terms of drawing out the history of this school. One of the main reasons for this seems to be that they have often been viewed as merely existing in the shadows of two major thinkers: Udayana, whose Nyāyavārttikatātparyatīkāis considered to represent the summit of the Nyāyasūtracommentarial tradition, and Gageśa, whose Tattvacintāma iprovided the Nyāya-Vaiśeika school with a point of departure [End Page 394]from which a new sequence of commentaries followed. Some research has been done to trace the ridge between these two high mountains, especially in terms of the question regarding the point of transition from the old (pracīna)Nyāya school to the new (navya)school. The works of Matilal, Potter, Wada, and Phillips are representative examples. However, Anna-Pya Sjödin’s The Happening of Tradition: Vallabha on Anumāna in Nyāyalīlāvatīis one of the few that focuses on a specificscholar or work of this period.
Sjödin’s work turns the spotlight on Vallabha, a Nyāya-Vaiśeika/Navyanyāya scholar who, typically, lived in this “shadow” period. Primarily dealing with the anumānachapter of Vallabha’s Nyāyalīlāvatī(the word “chapter” here is a mere convention, as she notes in the book), Sjödin makes Vallabha’s thought clear, especially regarding the epistemological aspect of inference. The work consists of the transliterated Sanskrit text, its translation, and its analysis, which follow an introductory explanation of her methodology. The anumānachapter of the Nyāyalīlāvatīis relatively short, and thus the work of translation itself is also comparatively small. And, as the author herself notes, the text used for the translation is not critically edited with manuscripts. These features may disappoint some researchers, especially those who expect a strict philological approach. However, I am convinced that this book is a remarkable contribution to the field, as it offers a number of benefits that philological works, theoretically, cannot.
Sjödin first divides the text into four sections: anumāna, vyāpti, tarka, and parāmarśa, the last three of which are, in her opinion, arranged by Vallabha according to the process of inferential knowledge itself. She investigates each section, with breadth and depth, referring often to relevant supporting texts and secondary sources. In the first section, she highlights a discussion between Vallabha and the Cārvākas in which the eligibility of inference (anumāna)as a means of knowledge (pramāa)is raised as a topic. Here she points out parallels, not only to Nyāya-Vaiśeika texts such as the Nyāyabhāya, the Nyāyamañjalī, the Vyomavatī, and the Nyayakandalī, but also to Jaina texts such as the Prameyakamalamārtaaand the Nyāyakumudacandra. In the second section, the definition of invariable relationship (vyāpti), the way of grasping this relationship (vyāptigraha), and upādhiare dealt with. Mainly utilizing Oberhammer’s work as a secondary source, Sjödin here finds parallels with Vācaspati and Udayana. Here her investigation of upādhi, which she describes as “an entity whose presence points to a relation as being variable or contingent as opposed to an invariable relation,” seems to be especially based on Phillip’s recent achievement. In the third section, she deals with tarka, a term that is difficult to translate into English. Sjödin presents the role of tarkaas a means of ascertainment of vyāptias well as upādhi, and notes that this section is more similar to the texts of the Nyāya commentarial tradition than to the Vaiśeika. In the last section she deals with consideration (parāmar...