138. Na hi svato'satī śaktiḥ kartumanyena śakyate
It is impossible to impart some power which we don’t have in the first place. Milk has the inherent capacity of turning into curds. It is evident. The sour buttermilk is the base. If the milk didn’t have that inherent capability in the first place then it would have been impossible to turn it into curds. You can’t turn water or air into curds.
If this is taken in the right sense, any scientific invention isn’t new. What material has what kind of capability and discovering how it will manifest in conjunction with some other materials seems like the work of science.
This nyāya has been used in texts like Ślokavārttika and Nyāyamañjarī.
139. Nāsikāgreṇa karṇamūlakarṣaṇa-nyāya
Pushing the base of the ear using the tip of one’s nose! However one might try to stretch his nose it can never reach the ears. When someone ventures into something impossible this nyāya is used to illustrate that. If one has to achieve something one should be equipped with the relevant tools. When the end goal is impossible irrespective of the doer this nyāya can be used.
140. Nimittāpāye naimittikasyāpyapāyaḥ
Nimitta means the cause and naimittika means the effect. If the cause itself is gone then the result also goes. Any ailment is caused by some doṣa. Once that is gone so does the ailment. When the clouds disperse the rain stops. Till the heat is supplied the water keeps boiling. Till the harvesting isn’t done, the birds come to the farm!
This nyāya is famous. It finds usage especially in grammar. For the vedāntins the difference between matas is due to the ajñāna (ignorance). Once the ignorance is destroyed, the differences too disappear, and one would realize that everything is the brahman.
141. Nirastapādape deśe eraṇḍo'pi drumāyate
In a place where there are no trees, some shrub like the castor oil plant itself gains the status of a tree. When a place is bereft of capable people some novice also gains great respect. In a place full of illiterates a literate man seems like a great scholar, in a place where there are no good people, someone who doesn't con others is a man of great virtue. In place with no doctors, even someone with passing knowledge in medicine becomes a doctor. This nyāya is used in such situations.
142. Nirāmayasya kimāyurvedavidā?
What use is a doctor to someone who is healthy? Only for someone who is ill a doctor is required.
There is a story in Prabandhacintāmaṇi. The two poets Bāṇa and Mayūra found patronage in the court of the legendary king Bhoja. Bāṇa’s sister was the wife of Mayūra. Once Bāṇa wrote a verse brimming with śṛṅgāra on his sister without knowing that it was her since she was far. But his sister became enraged knowing this and cursed him to suffer from leprosy. Bāṇa afflicted with leprosy used his poetic prowess to propitiate Sūrya and got cured.
In the royal court the king Bhoja sang praises of the poetic prowess of Bāṇa. Mayūra retorted, “He got cured by the grace of Sūrya. What is his achievement in this?” Bāṇa asked him, “Is it so easy to propitiate the deities? Can you do it?” Mayūra replied, “Nirāmayasya kimāyurvedavidā?” Still to show his prowess he cut off his legs and hands with a sword, propitiated devī Caṇḍī, got back his hands and legs.
The story has a different version where Bāṇa’s wife is Mayūra’s sister, Mayūra was cursed, he composed the Sūryaśataka and then Bāṇa composed the Caṇḍīśataka.
A minister once said to a king, “Everyone thinks that their own possession is the best. From their perspective even if there is something else which is better, it is just mediocre.” The king couldn’t agree. He called his barber and said, “Bring me the baby which is the most beautiful. I’ll give you a prize.” The barber searched for a long time but couldn’t decide. Finally he thought his baby was the most beautiful and brought it to the court. That baby was the ugliest! The king appreciated the wisdom of his minister. The quote from Abhijñanaśākuntalam, ’sarvaḥ kāntamātmīyaṃ paśyati’ describes the same.
The fly when it sees the light is attracted to it due to some reason. The fly gets destroyed. The attraction which is sensed through its eyes finally leads to its destruction. When someone gets attracted by mere looks and digs one’s own grave then this nyāya is used to describe such situations.
The behavior of the lakṣaṇas are like the clouds. In the śāstras the rule and the exceptions are called the lakṣaṇas. Parjanya means the cloud. The cloud showers rain on farms, on mountains, on the ocean too. The cloud has no idea as to where the rains are actually required. Likewise the lakṣaṇas too extend their influence everywhere. In some places they bear results. In some other places the results aren’t so evident. Because there the results depend on other factors. This nyāya is used especially in grammar.
Īśvara sees everything in the creation without biases. Śrīkṛṣṇa says in the gītā, “na me dveṣyo'sti na priyaḥ” (I neither have friends nor enemies). The sun provides light and energy to everyone irrespective of whether one is rich or poor. Everyone is the same from the perspective of the law. In situations where one should act without biases this nyāya is used.
146. Paśyasyadrau jvaladagniṃ na punaḥ pādayoradhaḥ
You are seeing the fire on the mountain. But you have no clue about the fire which is raging below your own feet! When someone has bookish knowledge but has no idea about application of that very same knowledge this nyāya is used. This also is used in the following sense, “You preached everyone about it, but you didn’t follow that, why?” This also has another aspect where one is made to notice the imminent danger and not think about something that is too far in the future.
Hemacandra says the following in the pariśiṣṭaparva:
का हि पुङ्गणना तेषां येऽन्यशिक्षाविचक्षणाः ।
ये स्वं शिक्षयितुं दक्षास्तेषां पुङ्गणना नृणाम् ॥
“Those who just preach to others are not fit to be called ‘men’. Only those who correct themselves as per their preachings are the ones fit to be called ‘men’.”
This is the same as the English proverb, “Practice what you preach”.
This is the seventeenth part of the multi-part translation of the Kannada book "Sandarbha Sukti" by Mahamahopadhyaya Vidwan Dr. N Ranganatha Sharma. Thanks to Dr. Sharada Chaitra for granting us permission to translate this wonderful work. Thanks to Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh for his inputs. The original in Kannada can be read here