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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Anyonyāśraya literally means ‘mutual dependence’.

Darśanas or philosophical systems often take recourse to dispute the claims of other schools and establish their own. In order to achieve this they have to resort to :

  • Logic and reasoning
  • Arguments and counter-arguments
  • Pushing their opponent to a dead end or a vicious circle

Such positions are accepted as fallacious and hence invalidated.

Anyonyāśraya is one such defect. To illustrate it can be described as :

  • If the body is produced by karma?
  • How is karma produced?
  • When I look at this pot and get the knowledge that this is a pot, how did I obtain it? By seeing it.
  • How could I get that knowledge unless I had recognized it as a pot? That means, I must have already known it as a pot!

To sum up it can be mentioned as follows :

  1. A situation in which a concept cannot be understood without reference to another concept and vice-versa, is a position of ‘anyonyāśraya’ or mutual dependence which is held to be a defect in reasoning.
  2. Works on logic sometimes go into details or categorization of this fallacy, which however do not add to our basic knowledge of the concept as such.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore