Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
Gautama Maharsi who composed the Nyaya-sutra is called "Aksapada".
He was always so wrapped up in thought that he was often oblivious of
the outside world. We call scientists, professors and such people
and retail jokes about them. Gautama too was absent-minded.
One day as he was walking along, brooding over some philosophical
problem, he fell into a well. Isvara then rescued him and fixed eyes to
feet. Thus, as he walked, he would be guided by the pair of new eyes.
That is how he came to be called "Aksapada", one with eyes on his feet.
So goes the story.
Vatsyayana wrote a bhasya for the Nyaya-sutra and Uddyotakara a
vartika. Vacaspatimisra, who was a great non-dualist, wrote a gloss
Nyaya-vartika-tatparya-tika. Udayanacarya write a gloss on this gloss:
known as Tatparya-tika-parisuddhi. He also wrote the Nyaya-kusumanjali.
To recall what I said before, he was foremost among responsible for the
decline of Buddhism in India. Jayanta wrote a commentary on the
called Nyaya-manjari. Annambhatta wrote the Tarka-samgraha and
himself wrote a commentary on it called Dipika. Usually students of
Nyaya start with the last-mentioned two works.
It is believed that the Ravana-bhasya, a commentary on Kanadas
Vaisesika-sutra, is no longer available. However, a bhasya-like work
Padartha-dharma-samgraha by Prasastapada is still extant. Udayana has
commented on it. Recently, Uttamur Sri Viraraghavacariyar wrote a book
Vaisesika came to be called "Aulukya-darsana". "Uluka" means an owl-the
English word "owl" is from "ulu". What belongs to, or what is concerned
with, the owl is "aulukya". Kanada himself was called "Uluka". If
always lost in thought, fell one day into the well, Kanada was so
in his philosophical investigations by day that he had to go begging for
food at night. He got the nickname of "Uluka" from this fact, that is he
was not seen during day time and went about at night. (Bhagavan says in
the Gita. that the night of the ignorant man is the day of the wise and
enlightened man, jnanin. So all jnanins are owls in this sense).
Vaisesika is also called "Kanada-sastra" after the name of its founder,
Kanada. Not the Tamil "kanada". A scholar has said jocularly that Kanada
founded his system after having seen (kandu). Grammar and Vaisesika
are believed to be of great help in the study of all subjects. So the
Kanadam Paniniyam ca sarvasastropakarakam.
Like grammar (which originated in Nataraja's damaru), Nyaya and
Vaisesika are also connected with Siva. In the Vaisesika treatises
obeisance is paid to Mahesvara who is regarded as the Paramatman. The
Saiva schools hold the view that Isvara is the "nimitta" or cause of the