Thursday, January 26News That Matters

Samsaya (Doubt), A Tool Of Knowledge (Valid Cognition) In Indian Philosophy

* Bimal Chandra Jha, Ex-Editor, Sachitra-Ayurved
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
Received on: 08-07-2022           Accepted: 16-07-2022           Corrected: 10-08-2022

Abstract: Background: Samasya (doubt) is indecision to take judgement. Psychologically, it reflects lack of confidence. Indian philosophical texts have creative approach. Doubt is considered as a tool of knowledge for innovational intellects. Want of clarifications of originated doubt, it opens the door for learning through appropriate logics and observations. Processes mentioned under Pramana pariksha becomes pivotal in solving the problems.
Materials and Methods: A detailed reveiw was done from available Indian philosophical books, pubmed and other websites.
Result: Difference of Samsaya from Viparyaya, Uha and Andhyavsaya: Samasya is different Viparyaya as Viparyaya is related to direct opposition while Samasya is about the inability of decision due to conflicting judgements. Uha is ascertainment of incomplete information while Samasya is not ascertained. Anadhyavasay is information without logical understanding while Samasya is uncertainty in decision due to absence of confirmatory evidences.
Steps of logical knowledge: Steps for logical knowledge includes insights of subjects, doubts for finding out the scientific logics, presentation of logics or experiments, confirmation of truth based on valid theories and connections of findings logically with other researches done.
Classification of Samsaya3 and clarifications using Pramana Pariksha: Five types of Samasya is suggested in Indian philosophical texts as Saman Dharmopapatti Moolaka, Aneka Dharmopapatti Moolaka, Vipratipatti Moolaka, Uplabdhavyavastha Moolaka and Anuplabdhavyavastha Moolaka. Clarifications are based on methods of Pramana pariksha.
Discussion and Conclusion: Doubt is tool of searching mind. Enunciation, definition and examination are three processes mentioned to clarify any doubt. Many of present invention is result of doubt. So, it is a tool of knowledge for rational mind.
Key words: Samasya, Doubt, Tool of Knowledge, Pramana, Viparyaya, Uha, Anadhyavasaya……..


Creative doubt is essential for pursuit of knowledge1. Samsaya (doubt) connected to practical life or creativity only is good. Doubt is contemplated as an important tool for acquiring the logical knowledge for intellects energized to solve problems. The reference of doubt is taken as tool for real cognition in Indian philosophy. It is source of deductive reasoning to draw conclusions based on logical proofs. Appropriate reasoning based on specific cause is used only if doubt arises. So, doubt is accessory part of syllogism2.
Nyayasutra 1.1.23 specifies Samsaya as a conflicting judgement arisen from cognition and understanding of distinguished attributes of objects from other objects3. It actually happens in case of recollection of alternatives of perception of different objects containing similar properties in single act of thought4. It occurs till certainty is not achieved5.
Causes are detailed in terms of not resulting to Samasya. Nyayasutra 2.1.1-7 specifies the conditions not resulting to Samsaya as it does not arise from the recognition of common or uncommon properties of object conjointly or separately6 because, in this proper understanding of properties lies. It also does not arise from conflicting testimony or from irregularity of perception and non-perception6. As in case of confliction, strong argument lies against the object and in case of irregularity of perception or non-perception, complete understanding is present6. Samsaya arises if problem of differentiation persists between two or more objects6.

Charak Vimanasthana 8/43 refers Samsaya to state of indecision about the concerned entity7. It is also written under important words needed for physicians to understand8. In real sense, the doubt is a state of mind unable to perfectly cognize the objects or attributes of objects. Such doubt becomes important tool in learning, if mind searches for clarifications. Want of clarifications brings forth the curiosity. The curiosity becomes the mother of learning if efforts are made. Such efforts must be based on Pramana Pariksha and logical arguments5,11 as suggested in texts. Samsaya is also taken amidst sixteen bhavasravas9. It is considered as activity of soul10.
2. Materials and Methods
A detailed reveiw was done from available Indian philosophical books, pubmed and other websites.
3. Result
3.1: Difference of Samsaya from Viparyaya, Uha and Andhyavsaya
Samsaya and Viparyaya12: Viparyaya is direct opposition by means of homogenous or heterogeneous arguments based on some kind of example. In this case, opposition is certain. But doubt is state of uncertainty.
Samsaya and Uha13: Uha is ascertaining something based on incomplete information. This is result of overconfidence based on experiences negating the reality. Here again certainty is case in opposite to doubt.
Samsaya and Anadhyavasay14: Anadhyavasay is information without logical understanding leading to misinformation. It differs from Samsaya as Samsaya is uncertain judgement in absence of confirmatory evidences.
3.2: Steps of logical knowledge15
Samsaya is placed in pivotal position among the steps of valid cognition as without doubt logical discernment is not possible. Doubts should be clarified in orderly and scientific manner. The five suggested steps for valid cognition (knowledge) are:
1. Subject to be explained (Vishaya): Subject is first step of logical discernment. It can be correlated with research questions or problems to be solved. Undertaken subject sets the whole process. Based on nature of questions, decisions for selection of methods should be taken. Opted methods guide the validity and quality of cognition.
2. Doubt (Samsaya): Once subject is chosen, then doubt on those subjects are normal, until certain valid cognition based on logical explanation is obtained. Doubt impels to acquire the logical solution.
3. Side of logic (Paksha): Logical presentation is brought either in favour or in objections of doubt. Prima facie of those logics can be clarified by observations (experimental or non-experimental) or literature review or expert opinion. Once, this is done. Then, hypothesis is set for its testing. Accordingly, objectives are fixed to achieve the target. Acquiring of detailed favour or objection against hypothesis is part of materials and methods or processes used to obtain the evidences. This is uttrapaksha or result.
4. Principles of those logics (Siddhanta): Processes selected should be reliable, valid and universal to reduce the errors19. Conceptual and theoretical logics are applied in research20,21. So, this part is scientific basis of materials and methods selected to solve the doubt.

5. Connection of those logics with subject to be explained (Samgati): This portion is related with discussion to draw conclusion as undertaken subject is compared with initial hypothesis with detailed connection of presented logic with other researches done in same area22.
Classification of Samsaya3 and clarifications using Pramana Pariksha
1. Saman Dharmopapatti Moolaka (By means of common properties): Such Samsaya is related with doubt generated after observation of common or similar properties lying with many of objects. Indicated doubt is commonly experienced in medical profession as a patient comes with complain of headache lasting more than a month. Naturally, doubt arises to find the reason of chronic headache as it may be due to tension or psychological reasons (anxiety, depression, hypochondriasis etc.) or post-traumatic or as referred one. Present doubt is after the common symptoms of aforesaid causes. The exact cause can be inferred only after proper differential diagnosis.
Samsaya originated from common or similar properties lying with many of objects, can be clarified looking in details about the differentiating characters or properties. As exact cause for headache lasting more than one month can be inferred from differential diagnosis. Both inference of diagnostic techniques and taking history of patients are parts of Pratyaksh Pramana. In this case, first it is differentiated in primary or secondary headaches. Then, duration of headache in a day is differentiated. Thereafter, based on various diagnostic approaches including neuroimaging and techniques, exact cause is ascertained16.
2. Aneka Dharmopapatti Moolaka (By means of uncommon properties): Number of times, Samsaya originates from recognition of uncommon properties also, as if a patient only asks for remedy of constipation. Doubt for acute or chronic (lasting three or more months) constipation comes to mind of physician.
Knowledge of complete history and physical examination of patients are important to clear the doubt of acute or chronic constipation. Nutritional status, weight-loss, abdominal distention, hypothyroidism symptoms etc. are observed. Then based on colorectal imaging, blood count, hormone and electrolyte levels etc., real cause is fixed17.
3. Vipratipatti Moolaka (By means of conflicting proofs): This type of Samsaya is result of conflicting evidences as for a person suffering from osteoarthritis has always doubt to select allopathic or ayurvedic physician. Guideline of treatment in modern medical science suggests corticosteroid injection or physiotherapy while Ayurveda treats such patients attending the modifying factors causing such problems.
In case of selection of system for the treatment of osteoarthritis, percentage of reliefs, time taken for relief, duration of relief etc. should be obtained from various sources including patients admitted to specific systems. Asking to others about the opinion is Prarthanumana. Indian texts suggest that Prarthanumana should be crossed using Panchavayava viz., Pratigya, Hetu, Udaharana, Upanaya and Nigamana to believe. Then, accordingly decision should be made18.

4. Uplabdhavyavastha Moolaka (By means of irregularity of perception): In many instances doubt arises due to lack of appropriate perception. In healthcare system, due to overconfidence of physician or lack of time or incomplete pathological reports or too much interference from patients, irregularity of perception is caused leading to doubt. Such cases result in misdiagnosis.
Overconfidence of physician or lack of time or incomplete pathological reports are related with incomplete perception in terms of Pramana Pariskha. Such doubt can be involvement of time and judgement based on logics.
5. Anuplabdhavyavastha Moolaka (By means of irregularity of non-perception): This type of Samsaya appears due to not perceiving the originality. Many of physicians are unaware about lots of rare diseases. This is commonly seen in primary healthcare system as healthcare professionals get confused and this results in diagnostic errors.
In case of not aware about the rare diseases, visiting experts (Aptopdesha), study etc. can be used to clear the doubt.
4. Discussion and Conclusion
Doubt is related to creative brains searching for maximum possibilities and looking to best out of them. It is a tool for real cognition or knowledge. It is medium to validate the knowledge and remove the uncertainty. In Indian philosophy, doubt is considered positively for finding out the logics after the selected subjects. Persistent Samsaya is taken as part of Aprama (invalid cognition) along with Viparyaya, Uha and Swapnagyana23. Nyaya philosophy have classified the Samsaya based on unreliability of perceptions of various characters. Screening of those doubts drives to earn knowledge on related subject.
Enunciation, definition and examination are three processes suggested to clarify any doubt. Enunciation and definition are parts of Adhyaya and that is needed for examination24. Nyaya sutra 1.1.41 notes that complete examination for ascertainment removes doubt25. Doubt is common for those not ascertained or for those non-existing. Prasastpadbhasya refers Samsaya to result of indecisive logic. It also happens due to lack of specific knowledge. Inability to connect the properties of known with unknown creates Samsaya. These doubts are clarified with experiences (based on experiments and related observations) and recollection of memories.
Rational searching mind hunting for solutions of problem is important to make doubt as a tool for knowledge. Uncertainty in understanding leads to make efforts in course of coming closure to truth and, this ultimately adds to knowledge. Many of present invention is result of such doubts as without doubt first idea is accepted and new thoughts are not coming to mind. So, doubt is fruitful for searching and rational mind. Many more literature inputs are needed to explore.
Conflict of Interest: No conflict of interest lies as per authors.
Funding: Not funded

1. Campbell D. (2014). Doubt in the psychoanalysis of a paedophile. The International journal of psycho-analysis, 95(3), 441–463.
2. Bhattacharyya, J.V. (1978). Jayanta Bhatta’s Nyaya-manjari. Vol. I. p.16. Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi.
3. Basu, B.D. (1913). Ed. The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VIII. The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama. pp.7-8. Panini Office, Bhuvneswari Asrama, Allahabad.
4. Basu, B.D. (1923). Ed. The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VI. Second Ed. The Vaisesika Sutras of Kanada. p.82. Panini Office, Bhuvneswari Asrama, Allahabad.
5. Dasgupta, S. (1932). A History of Indian Philosophy. Vol. II. p.383. Cambridge at the University Press.
6. Ibid. Basu, B.D. (1913). The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VIII. The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama. pp.22-24.
7. Sharma, P.V. (2014). Carak Samhita. Vol. I. Vimanasthana 8/43. Revised Ed. p.363. Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi.
8. Ibid. Sharma, P.V. (2014). Carak Samhita. Vol. I. Vimanasthana 8/27. p.359.
9. Dasgupta, S. (1922). A History of Indian Philosophy. Vol. I. p.193. Cambridge at the University Press.
10. Ibid. Dasgupta, S. (1922). A History of Indian Philosophy. Vol. I. p.294.
11. Ibid. Dasgupta, S. (1922). A History of Indian Philosophy. Vol. I. p.360.
12. Ibid. Basu, B.D. (1913). The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VIII. The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama. pp.140-141.
13. Ibid. Basu, B.D. (1913). The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VIII. The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama. p.13.
14. Kothia, D. (2017). Trans. & Ed. Nyayadeepika. pp. 15-16. Jain Vidyapeeth, Sagar, MP.
15. Muller, M. K.M. (1899). The Six Systems of Indian Philosophy.p.267. Longmans, Green and Co., London.
16. Bigal, M. E., & Lipton, R. B. (2007). The differential diagnosis of chronic daily headaches: an algorithm-based approach. The journal of headache and pain, 8(5), 263–272.
17. Arce, D. A., Ermocilla, C. A., & Costa, H. (2002). Evaluation of constipation. American family physician, 65(11), 2283–2290.
18. Jha, V.N. (2010). Trans. Tarkasangraha of Annambhatta. Shloka number: 42. p.67. Chinmaya International Foundation Shodha Sansthan, Adi Shankara Nilayam, Veliyanad, Ernakulum, Kerala.
19. Kimberlin, C. L., & Winterstein, A. G. (2008). Validity and reliability of measurement instruments used in research. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 65(23), 2276–2284.
20. Jena, P., & Sun, Q. (2021). Theory-Guided Discovery of Novel Materials. The journal of physical chemistry letters, 12(28), 6499–6513.
21. Wilson, R., Godfrey, C. M., Sears, K., Medves, J., Ross-White, A., & Lambert, N. (2015). Exploring conceptual and theoretical frameworks for nurse practitioner education: a scoping review protocol. JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, 13(10), 146–155.
22. Þanlý, Ö., Erdem, S., & Tefik, T. (2013). How to write a discussion section?. Turkish journal of urology, 39(Suppl 1), 20–24.
23. Jha, H. (1936). Bhartiya Darshan-Parichaya. Second Volume. Vaishesika Darshan.pp. 78-79. Pustak-bhandar, Laheriasarai.
24. Jha, G. (1984). Comm. Nyay-Sutras of Gautama. Vol. II. Reprint. p.586. Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi.
25. Ibid. Basu, B.D. (1913). The Sacred Books of The Hindus. Vol. VIII. The Nyaya Sutras of Gotama. p.13.
26. Jha, D. (1977). Trans. Ed. Prasastapadabhasyam (Padarthadharmasangraha) With Commentary Nyayakandali by Sridhara Bhatta. pp. 419-422. Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya Press, Varanasi.

Download Complete Article in PDF