By Swami Harshananda
Nyāyāmṛta literally means ‘nectar through polemics’.
Contribution of Madhvācārya
If Śaṇkara took to dialectical methods to counter the nihilism of the Buddhist philosophers and the ritualism of the mīmānsakas and establish his Advaita Vedānta based on the scripture the prasthānatraya, other Vedāntins who radically differed from him were equally pugnacious in attacking his views. The adherents of Dvaita Vedanta of Madhvācārya have contributed quite a voluminous literature in this regards.
Significance of Nyāyāmrta
The Nyāyāmrta of Vyāsatīrtha is one of the best works of this type. Vyāsatīrtha, also known as Vyāsa-rāya, wrote nine works of which three were considered as his masterpieces. Out of these, the Nyāyāmrta that has been regarded as his magnum opus. It aims at a thorough vindication of the philosophical power and prestige of the realistic metaphysics of Madhvācārya, dealing simultaneously with the concomitant problems.
Content of Nyāyāmrta
The work which is in elegant prose, is divided into four paricchedas or chapters. An overview of the topics of each section is delineated belows.
The first chapter examines thoroughly the various concepts put forward by Advaita Vedānta such as:
- Adhyāsa - superimposition
- Anirvacanīyatva - inexplicability
- Mithyātva - falsity of the world-appearance
The second chapter refutes some of the common and well-known advaitic doctrines such as:
- Brahman is nirguna or without attributes
- He is nirākāra
- He is svaprakāśa
- Establishes the doctrine of pañcabhedas which is a basic tenet of Dvaita Vedānta Darśana
The third chapter deals with the correct interpretation of certain statements in the scriptures dealing with sādhanās or spiritual practices.
The last chapter elucidates the doctrine of mukti or liberation according to Madhva, refuting the views of other schools. Thus this work gives an inkling into the genius of Vyāsatirtha’s highly analytical mind.
- He lived in A. D. 788-820.
- He lived in A. D. 1238-1317.
- He lived in A. D. 1478-1539.
- Nirākāra means formless.
- Svaprakāśa means shines by himself.
- Pañcabhedas means the five fundamental differences.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore