صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

in its connexion with material and immaterial phenomena, is much more distinctly conceived than in other systems of the Hindus. We find indeed the same material elements as in other systems; viz., earth, water, light, air, and ether with the same qualities; but while in all others they are only generally described, here there is made an attempt to explain the special phenomena as well as the sources of our perception of them, or in one word, we find here the basis of observation, and of the first lineaments of the consequent reflection upon the results of that observation. We meet here also the first remarks about space and time, and even some correct notions about their nature, and although both of them are placed among the substances, we must not forget the intrinsic difficulties of this subject; which in our times only has been more satisfactorily investigated by Kant, Fichte, and Herbart. The error of considering space and time as substances, is a consequence of the notion the Nyáya had formed of substance, viz. as the substrate of qualities and actions. This idea would, indeed, have been correct, had the notion of existence been preserved. The Védánta certainly had a much more exact idea of existence, maintaining, that what exists (TO OVTWC ov) must be simply existent, without any attribute whatever, and should strictly not be even considered by a plurality of notions. The Védánta, however, by denying the reality of phenomena, had nothing to explain, while the Nyáya, retaining the crude notions, given by observation, had no principles whereby to explain them. The most interesting point in this part of the system is the investigation into the nature of matter, an investigation which was indeed entered into by other Hindu systems, although not with the same success. The Védánta for instance, reduced the objects of the senses, or the things, composed of the gross elements, to elements, which are finer and imperceptible to the senses, undoubtedly for the same reasons as the Nyáya, viz. because the origin, the changes, and the destruction of the material things compelled the mind to fix the notion of existence upon some other natures, not affected by those conditions. But according to the Védánta, the simpler elements are only simple, because they are unmixed with others. As regards, however, space, no reduction was made, and their view on this point is very like the doctrine of Anaxagoras, who also started from an original homogenousity of the elements. The Védánta indeed did not confine its thoughts to those elements, but

proceeded to the supposition of a substance, in which there is no difference whatever, but for what reason this supposition was here made, it would be difficult to give a satisfactory reply, and as regards the principal point, space filled out by matter, it was not even touched upon. The Nyaya, on the other hand, has examined matter under this point of view, and arrived at the theory of atoms, in the same way as Leucipp and Democrit. It proceeded even further than either. With Leucipp and Democrit atoms have some, though imperceptible, extent, and also different figures and motions, while the Nyáya held them to be absolute units of space without any dimensions and motions, that is, mathematical points as regards space. They are eternal and unchangeable, and while they are without cause themselves, they are the causes of the material universe. They are imperceptible to the senses, and their knowledge is obtained by inference.

The same clearness and to a certain degree comprehensiveness is met with in their psychological enquiries. The faculties of the soul and its relations to the material things, and other objects of knowledge, are methodically described. The Nyáya draws a marked line between matter and spirit, by distinctly stating the notions, under which either is per ceived.

The soul has, according to the Nyáya, qualities, opposite to the qualities of the substances, perceived by the senses, and is therefore distinct from these substances, that is to say, as regards special qualities; for as to qualities, ascribed to substances, as far as they are substances, both must of course agree. Qualities of the soul are the emotions and desires, volition and aversion, etc., and knowledge. Knowledge is produced by intellect, which is one of the (faculties) qualities of the soul. Intellect is again fourfold, it is perception, inference, analogy and verbal knowledge. Perception is the source from which all other knowledge flows, or rather, without objects of perception the other faculties of intellect have no materials to work upon. All knowledge, that is perceived, is perceived through a medium, through an instrument, by which the soul is in communion either with objects from without or from within itself. External objects are perceived through five external senses, these being in contact with the mind, while internal objects, and by them the soul, are directly perceived through the mind. The doctrine of the communication of the soul with external objects is very curious

[ocr errors]

and interesting, not only because it is original, but because it shows a remarkable acuteness in overcoming difficulties, met with in every system, which considers substances not only as individual beings, but also as a common essence that exsists, although dependent upon the individual substances. To perceive individual external substances, and their properties in common with others, it is necessary that the intercourse of the senses with the external objects should take place accordingly, that is to say, that individual substances should be perceived by the connexion of the senses with these individual substances, and the common properties by the connexion of the senses with these common properties. Substances are then perceived by the soul as in their different relations, viz. first, as in relation of this individual substance and this individual quality, of this individual substance and this individual act, further, as in the relation, which this individual substance has with its class (general essence) or with its generality; and lastly, as in the relation, which this individual quality or this individual act of this individual substance has with its class or generality.

This, however is not sufficient; for a full comprehension, there are required also general notions, corresponding with those relations. A tree for instance would not be perceived, without the general notion of a tree, by which a tree at any place and at any time is perceived. This general notion requires again a kind of special knowledge, by which the general notion of a tree is referred to a certain tree. This kind of knowledge, though corresponding with the relations of all substances, which have both general and special properties, and though it is (implicitly) contained in every object of perception, still differs from the general properties of the things. It is a conception of the soul, produced by its own activity. This knowledge then is internal perception, that is to say, it is not produced by inference, or analogy, or verbal communication, but it is immediate and complete, as all knowledge by perception. Every perception then, according to this exposition, is based upon two elements, an external and an internal, or as these expressions do not exactly represent their notions, an immediate and mediate, an objective and ideal knowledge. In the same way are the objects of the soul perceived, viz. its different qualities, as aversion, volition, &c. are called. Though the soul is the object of the mind, it is not directly perceived by it, but it is inferred from its qualities. It is not necessary here to explain the other faculties

of intellect, viz. inference, comparison, and verbal communication, as they are discussed in another part of this paper. We here only add, that they must be considered as parts of the quality of knowledge, or, as we would express it, as modified operations of one and the same mental activity.

The mind, by which all knowledge is perceived, is not a quality or faculty of the soul itself, but it is an independent substance, atomistic in its nature. Hence only a single perception or idea is at one time perceived by the soul.

The soul itself is eternal, and therefore so also are its qualities, we should say, also its knowledge, although this knowledge be not perceived by the soul itself. It is at the same time every where, not, however, as an infinite soul, as the universal soul of the Védánta, where all things constitute the pervading soul, be it even a piece of matter, though bound by ignorance to a state of apparent material existence, but according to the Nyáya there are infinite units of soul every where present, through all the worlds of material creation. There is a general soul, and there are individual souls. The general soul has the same qualities with the individual souls, with the exception of aversion, pleasure, pain, merit and demerit, because these qualities would involve imperfections. The individual soul is subject to the law of transmigration, and happiness and misery are the consequences of its good or bad actions. It is, however, possible for the individual soul to emerge from the vicissitudes of worldly existence by the attainment of true knowledge.

It would be superfluous to point out the marked distinction, drawn here, between body and soul. Though a higher development of philosophy may destroy the distinctions between soul and matter, that is, may recognise matter, or what is perceived as matter, as the same with the soul (as for instance Leibnitz did), it is nevertheless certain, that no true knowledge of the soul is possible, without first drawing a most decided line of demarcation between the phenomena of matter and of the soul. In the Nyáya there is even an approximation to the doctrine, that soul and matter are as to their principles one and the same, viz. in the theory of atoms, according to which atoms are the negation of space. From this notion we may draw the inference, which has not been drawn by the Nyáya, it is true, but which would have been only a necessary consequence from the premises, that matter, being a compound of atoms, is only a phenomenon, as regards its extension through space. Where then

is here shown the difference between the soul and the true substratum of matter? Let us see then, what is the soul? The soul is different from matter, as this last is perceived by the senses as extended through space. This distinction is true, but further to conclude, that the soul is also different from matter in its real nature, where matter is not extended, is certainly hasty, and does not follow from the premises. What then is the soul according to them? It is all-pervading, infinite, like ether, space and time. This answer, though far from satisfactory, shows, that they felt the difficulty in determining the notion of the soul, when their other notions had undergone a decided alteration. The most peculiar notion in their psychological theory is the existence of the mind independent of the soul, although most intimately connected with it; for through the mind only the soul perceives, as well its own qualities, as the qualities of external substances. How could the Nyáya have made a supposition in which the contradiction is so evident? For it is easy to conclude, that if the mind is independent, its perception is also independent. If the mind perceives, this perception is not in the soul, and if this perception is in the soul, it is not perceived. The soul then has knowledge, which is not real knowledge, because not perceived, and the mind has no knowledge, though it perceives.

We may solve this difficulty at least in some way. The mind was first undoubtedly considered as an internal sense according to the analogy of external senses, in order that there be a unity of perception, and also that, as the external objects are perceived through different media, so the objects of the soul be perceived through an analogous internal medium, a supposition, which has also been made in modern (English) philosophy. So far the Nyáya might have also considered the mind as an internal sense, but they met with a difficulty, which was not felt in the same intensity by modern philosophers. If the knowledge be perceived by the soul through the medium of the mind (the internal sense), why is knowledge not always present in the mind? why does it disappear and give place to other objects of perception? Locke was surprised at the narrowness of the human mind, without being able to account for it; the Nyaya in endeavouring to account for it, invented an independent substance, the mind, which is an atom, and according to its atomistic nature is only able to represent or to perceive one object at one and the same time.

« السابقةمتابعة »