Definition - What does Nyaya mean?

Nyaya is Sanskrit word that means “method,” “rules” or “judgment.” It is one of the six darshans, or ways of viewing the world, according to Hindu philosophy. The other five darshans are yoga, samkhya, vaisheshika, mimamsa and vedanta.

The Nyaya school of thought developed a system of logic that most of the other Hindu schools of philosophy adopted. Metaphysically, it is most similar to the Vaisheshika school - so much so that the two schools of thought are often studied together as the Nyaya-Vaisheshika school.

Yogapedia explains Nyaya

The ultimate concern of Nyaya is ending human suffering, which this school of philosophy postulates is the result of ignorance of reality. Liberation from suffering – a key component of yoga dashana – comes through right knowledge, according to Nyaya scholars.

The Nyaya school made significant contributions to epistemology, the branch of philosophy concerning knowledge, belief, nature and origin. Nyaya followers believe in four pramanas, or sources of knowledge:

  • Pratyaksha (perception)
  • Anumana (inference)
  • Upamana (comparison)
  • Shabda (testimony)

Nyaya scholars have argued for the existence of God and for monotheism.

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