Jayanta Bhatta

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Jayanta Bhatta
Born est. 9th Century CE
Died unknown
Philosophy Nyaya school of Indian philosophy

Jayanta Bhatta (c. 9th Century CE) was a Kashmiri poet and philosopher of Nyaya school of Indian philosophy. In his philosophical treatise Nyayamanjari and drama Agamadambara, Jayanta mentioned about the king Shankaravarman (883 – 902 CE) as his contemporary. Also, his son Abhinanda in his Kadambari-kathasara, mentioned that the great grandfather of Jayanta was a minister of king Lalitaditya of 8th Century CE. So most probably Jayanta belonged to the last quarter of 9th Century CE.[1]

Ancestry[edit]

From Abhinanda’s Kadambari-kathasara (5-12), we came to know about the genealogy of Jayanta. His ancestor Shakti was a Brahmin of Bharadvaja gotra from Gauda, who settled at Darvabhisara, a place at the border of Kashmir. His son was Mitra and grandson was Shaktisvamin. Shaktisvamin, great grandfather of Jayanta was a minister of Karkota dynasty king of Kashmir Lalitaditya Muktapida (c. 724 – 761 CE). Jayanta in Nyayamanjari mentioned that his grandfather obtained a village named Gauramulaka (probably located north of Rajouri) from the king. The name of Jayanta’s father was Chandra.[2]

Childhood[edit]

Jayanta was born in a wealthy and respected orthodox Brahmin family. He soon turned out to be a child prodigy. At a tender age he composed a commentary to Panini’s Ashtadhyayi and earned the name Nava-Vrittikara (new commentator).[2]

Major philosophical works[edit]

It seems that Jayanta wrote three treatises on Nyaya philosophy, of which only two are extant, his magnum opus, the Nyayamanjari (A Cluster of Flowers of the Nyaya tree) and the Nyayakalika (A Bud of the Nyaya tree). His third work, Pallava (probably Nyayapallava, A Twig of the Nyaya tree) though quoted in Syadvadaratnakara is not yet found.[2]

Jayanta mentioned in his Nyayamanjari, that he wrote this treatise during his confinement in a forest by the king. This treatise is unique in the sense that this is an independent work, not a commentary of an earlier work, which was the common practice of the day. Secondly according to Jayanta, purpose of Nyaya is to protect the authority of the Vedas, whereas earlier Nyaya scholars considered Nyaya as an Anvikshiki (scientific study) for providing the true knowledge about the real nature of the objects of cognition.

Major literary works[edit]

His major literary work is Āgamaḍambara, a Sanskrit play in four acts. The hero of his quasi-philosophical drama was a young graduate of the Mimansa school, who wanted to defeat all opponents of Vedas with reasoning.[2]

English translations[edit]

The Clay Sanskrit Library has published a translation of Āgamaḍambara by Csaba Dezső under the title of Much Ado about Religion.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ray, S.C. "History of Kashmir, Contribution to Sanskrit Literature". 
  2. ^ a b c d Csaba Dezso. "Introduction to Agamadambara".