Gangesha is the founder of the school of navya nyAya and his twelfth century work tattvachintAmaNi (a refutation of khandanakhandakhAdya) initiated the trend of navya nyAya. It may not be incorrect to state that every later scholar of this school has been influenced by tattvachintAmaNi. Tattva chintAmaNi constitutes of four parts based on the four pramANas: pratyakShya, anumAna, upamAna and shabda. He states the objective of his work thus:
pramANatattvamatra vivichyate ||
Thus, the term pramANa shAstra is used frequently to refer to navya nyAya.
Gangesha seems to have been sufficiently influenced not only by prAchIna nyAya but also by pUrva mImAmsA of the prAbhAkara school. Unlike udayanAchArya of the past, his opponents were not bauddhas but those belonging to the prAbhAkara school instead. Thus, his thoughts can be seen as generally centered on opposing the prAbhAkara mata. His son vardhamAna praises Gangesha as a great poet. In fact, even Gangesha states thus:
anAsvAdya gauDImanArAdya gaurIM
vinA mantramantrairvinA shabdachauryAt |
prasiddhaprabuddha prabandha pravaktA
viri~nchiM prapadye madanyaH kaviH kaH ||
It is known that he belonged to ChAdanA grAma in mithilA and had three sons: vardhamAna, sUpana and harisharma. He gotra was kAshyapa. Though mImAmsAchArya describes him as va~Nga deshIya in his nyAyakosha, it is clearly a mistake. Prof. Dinesh Chandra Bhattacharya establishes his period as 1300 A.D. Some name his village as Mangrauni close to Madhuvani in Mithila.
Mishra secured himself a prominent place in navya nyAya through his scholarly commentary Aloka on tattvachintAmaNi of Gangesha upAdhyAya. This commentary which covers all the chapters of tattvachintAmaNi except the upamAna khaNDa, is a valuable text book of navya nyAya. He is also the author of two other works, dravya viveka and nyAya lIlAvatI. Dravya viveka is a TIkA on dravya prakAsha of vardhamAna upAdhyAya. Mishra is also known to have authored another independent commentary on tattvachintAmaNi named TippaNI and a work named shashadhara vyAkhyA. His nephew vAsudeva also lists pramANa pallava among the list of works authored by Pakshadhara Mishra.
Pakshadhara’s actual name was Jayadeva Mishra. Due to his scholarly exposition of a single topic for an entire pakSha during a shAstrArtha, he came to be known as Pakshadhara. Incidentally, a similar tale is also recounted in the case of poet Jayadeva, the author of the splendid gIta govinda kAvya and chandrAloka.
It is also said that Raghunatha Shiromani, after studying the entire gamut of nyAya shAstra from vAsudeva sArvabhauma, did not attain satisfaction. He approached Pakshadhara Mishra for instruction. But it was not easy to approach Mishra. There were three scholars stationed at the outer entrance of his residence and two at the inner entrance. One who successfully defeated them gained an audience with Mishra. Raghunatha Shiromani defeated all the five of them with ease and obtained instruction from Mishra.
Though Mishra uses the theories of Gangesha upAdhyAya as the basis of his works, his own independent brilliance is amply showcased in them as well. For example, while dealing with pakShatA prakaraNa in anumAna khaNDa, he asserts the pakShatA of saMshaya and saMshaya yogyatA brilliantly. His thoughts on sAmAnya lakShaNa, prAgbhAva etc. have greatly influenced the stand of later scholars of navya nyAya.
The period of Pakshadhara Mishra is identified as the thirteenth century. A stone idol of Mishra can found today in nadiyA village of navadvIpa. This idol is said to have been dedicated by Raghunatha Shromani to his master.
tArkika shiromaNi raghunAtha belonged to navadvIpa in Bengal. He lost his father in childhood and grew up under the care of vAsudeva sArvabhauma. raghunAtha received his primary education from vAsudeva sArvabhauma. During that time, pakShadhara mishra was known as the greatest naiyAyika in the country. He was undefeated in shAstrArtha. It is said that even shankara and vAchaspati have equals in Adi shankara and vAchaspati mishra, but there is none to equal pakShadhara mishra:
sha~NkaravAchaspatyoH sadR^ishau sha~NkaravAchaspatI |
pakShadharapratipakShI lakShmIbhUto na cha kvApi ||
raghunAtha arrived in mithilA to study under pakShadhara mishra. On seeing raghunAtha, mishra made fun of his eyesight thus:
AkhaNDalaH sahasrAkShaH virUpAkShastrilochanaH |
vayaM dvilochanAH sarve ko bhavAnekalochanaH ||
raghunAtha replied thus:
AkhaNDalaH sahasrAkShaH virUpAkShastrilochanaH |
yUyaM vilochanAH sarve vayaM nyAyaikalochanAH ||
Pleased with his wit, mishra accepted him as a disciple and trained him in nyAya shAstra. raghunAtha soon earned greater fame than his guru mishra and even refuted his views in his TIkA dIdhiti on tattvachintAmaNi. Mishra’s commentary on tattvachintAmaNi named Aloka was till then considered to be free from blemishes. He states the objective behind such a refutation thus:
viduShAM nivahairihaikamatyA yadaduShTaM niraTa~Nki yaccha duShTam |
mayi jalpati jalpanAdhinAthe raghunAthe manutAM tadanyathaiva ||
His disagreement with mishra regarding sAmAnya lakShaNA is evident from his writings. His commentary dIdhiti on tattvachintAmaNi, the foundational work of navya nyAya, is considered to be the best among the several commentaries. jagadIsha tarkAla~NkAra gadAdhara bhaTTAchArya and mathurAnAtha tarkavAgIsha have written vyAkhyAs on dIdhiti. Apart from dIdhiti, raghunAtha shiromaNi has also commented on khaNDana khaNDa khadya, kusumAnjali, Atmatattvaviveka, kiraNAvaLI etc. His independent work padArtha dharma saMgraha is also popular among the naiyAyikas.
In his works, we find the refutation of several siddhAntas propounded by pUrvavartI naiyAyikas. Some examples include sAmAnya lakShaNA khaNDana, kevalAnvayi khaNDana, kevala vyatireka khaNDana, prAgbhAva khaNDana etc. Thus, it can stated without hesitation that raghunAtha is indeed the shiromaNi of navya nyAya, second only to Acharya gangesha. His birth year is described as 1477 by modern scholars.
yajnapati upAdhyAya was a maithili brAhmaNa, pautra of of ga~NgesgopAdhyAya and son of vardhamAna upAdhyAya. His period is estimated to be around the beginning of fourteenth century. He is primarily known as the author of a vyAkhyA on tattvachintAmaNi. His vyAkhyA named prabhA covers three chapters of tattvachintAmaNi (pratyakShya, anumAna and shabda) but skips upamAna. Mostly manuscripts in pANDu lipi of prabhA are available and the current acceptable copy of the work belongs to darabhangA library. Professor Dinesh Chandra Bhattacharya contests the claim that yajnapati was the pautra of ga~Ngesha and son of vardhamAna. He also rejects the view of shabdakalpadruma that yajnapati was a disciple of ga~Ngesha or vardhamAna. He is of the opinion that yajnapati was the son of one shivapati upAdhyAya, who himself was a naiyAyika and an author of a work on navya nyAya.
mathurAnAtha was a brAhmaNa from Bengal and the son of a naiyAyika named shrIrAma tarkAla~NkAra. mathurAnatha underwent his primary education in nyAya under his father. He then studied nyAya under the great teacher, shrI raghunAtha shiromaNi. He is known to have lived in a village named manoharI in Bengal and his period is estimated to be around sixteenth century. mathurAnAtha has commented both on tattvachintAmaNi and tattvachintAmaNidIdhiti; his works are named mAthurI and rahasya. He has also written a commentary named mAthurI on Atmatattvaviveka and kusumA~njali. He has also authored a tIkA on Aloka of pakShadhara mishra, again named mAthurI. Both Aloka and mAthurI have never been printed till date. He has also written an independent work named nyAya rahasya.
jagadIsha was the primary disciple of bhavAnanda tarkavAgIsha and his TIkA on dIdhiti is popularly known as jagadIshI. Through his exhaustive commentary, especially on the anumAna khaNDa and on vyAptivAda, he has outshined even ga~Ngesha and mathurAnAtha. He is also known to have written a commentary of pakShadhara’s Aloka. shabdashaktiprakAshikA, tarkAmR^ita and nyAyAdarsha are his independent works. He is believed to have lived in the sixteenth century.
vishvanAtha panchAnana bhaTTAcharya
vishvanAtha was a brAhmaNa from Bengal and the son of shrInivAsa bhaTTAchArya. To teach his disciple named rAjIva, he authored nyAyasiddhAnta muktAvali in 1556. He has also written a TIkA on the nyAyasUtras named vishvanAtha vR^itti. Though he originally belonged to navadvIpa, he later settled in vR^indAvana. He is believed to have belonged to the same lineage of naiyAyikas as raghunAtha shiromaNi. There are many commentaries available today on his nyAyasiddhAnta muktAvali of which dinakarI and rAmarudrI deserve special mention.
shrI gadAdhara bhaTTAchArya was the son of jIvAchArya from Bengal. He studied nyAya shAstra from harirAma tarkavAgIsha of navadvIpa. He is the author of several well-known works such as nyAyakusumAnjali TIkA, Aloka TIkA, dIdhiti TIkA, durgA saptashatI TIkA, bAhya nirNaya, Atmatattva viveka dIDhiti prakAshikA gadAdharI etc. He is also the author of sixty-four vAda granthas many of which are unavailable today. The available ones include shaktivAda, vyutpattivAda, viShayatAvAda, kAraNatAvAda, muktivAda, sAdR^ishyavAda, avacChedakavAda, paryAptivAda, navyamatavAda, AkhyAtavAda, smR^itisaMskAravAda, kArakavAda etc.
There were several naiyAyikas of repute after the invincible gadAdhara:
1. Ramarudra tarkavAgIsha: dIdhiti TIkA, vyAptivAda vyAkhyA etc.
2. shrIkR^iShNa nyAyAla~Nkara: bhAvadIpikA
3. kR^iShNakAnta vidyAvAgIsha: nyAyaratnAvalI
4. mahAdeva puNatAmbekar: nyAyakaustubha, vyAptirahasya
Post gadAdhara, the scene of navya nyAya was characterized by a certain intermingling of nyAya and vaisheShika concepts. Scholars such as annaM bhaTTa composed works such as tarkasamgraha based on this mishra darshana. There are several commentaries on tarkasaMgraha available today.