Vidya samuddEsyaH – A comprehensive view of “knowledge”

Unlike modern Science, sAstra deals with the subject under discussion in a comprehensive manner and leaves no scope for doubt in it. At the same time sAstra will not enforce its views or ideas on the student. In arthaSAstra, the first topic is on vidya i.e., knowledge.

 अन्वीक्षिकी, त्रयी, वार्ता, दण्डनीतिः च इति विद्याः ।
anvIkShikI, trayI, vArtA, daNDanIH ca iti vidyAH.

Critical philosophical enquiry constituted by samkhya, yOga and lOkAyatana etc. (anvIkShikI), sAma-Rk-yajur Vedas (trayI), livelihood subjects like agriculture, animal husbandry, economics/commerce/trade etc., (vArtA) and Law & the art of punishment (daNDanIti) are called vidyas.

Then he gives the views of others as follows: 

The followers of Manu’s Artha sastra say trayi, vArta and daNDanIti alone are vidyas as philosophy is part of Vedas.

The followers of Brihaspati’s artha sastra say vArta and daNDanIti alone are vidyas as trayI is not helpful in the matters related to worldly transactions.

The followers of SukrAcArya say daNDanIti alone is needed for a King as all the livelihoods are based on the Law setup by the King.

But, kauTilya says all the four are needed for a King and constitute the vidya. After all, vidya is vidya only because it provides proper understanding to discriminate between dharma and adharma & artha from anartha.

When we observe the way sAstra is dealing with the topic under discussion is very comprehensive in nature. It starts the topics, gives various opinions and finally concludes with reasoning.

There is no force or mandating stuff on the student. It is left to the student to make his own deductions from the topic presented. No “Axioms” …

This nature of Indian SAstras will keep them alive forever!


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