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Pad?rtha is a Sanskrit word for "categories" in Vaisheshika and Nyaya schools of Hindu philosophy.[1][2]


The term "Pad?rtha" derived from two "Pada" or word and "Artha" or the meaning or referent. Therefore etymologically the term Pad?rtha means "the meaning or referent of words".[3]

Philosophical significance

Almost all the philosophical systems of India accept liberation as the ultimate goal of life; it is the summum bonum. For attaining liberation different philosophies prescribe different means. According to Gautama, liberation can be attained by the true knowledge of the categories or pad?rthas.[4] According to the Vaisheshika school, all things which exist, which can be cognised, and which can be named are pad?rthas (literal meaning: the meaning of a word), the objects of experience.


From Vaisheshika view points

According to Vaisheshika school of philosophy Pad?rtha or all objects of experience can be primarily divided as "Bh?va" and "Abh?va". The bh?va pad?rthas are six types.[3] These are:

  1. Dravya (substance),
  2. Gu?a (quality),
  3. Karma (activity),
  4. S?m?nya (generality),
  5. Vi?e?a (particularity)
  6. Samav?ya (inherence).

Later Vai?e?ikas like, ?r?dhara and Udayana and ?iv?ditya added one more category abhava which means non-existence.[5]

From Nyaya view points

The Ny?ya metaphysics recognizes sixteen padarthas or categories and includes all six (or seven) categories of the Vai?e?ika in the second one of them, called prameya.[5] These are:

  1. Prama (valid means of knowledge),
  2. Prameya (objects of valid knowledge),
  3. Saaya (doubt),
  4. Prayojana (aim),
  5. D?nta (example),
  6. Siddh?nta (conclusion),
  7. Avayava (members of syllogism),
  8. Tarka (hypothetical reasoning),
  9. Nir?aya (settlement),
  10. V?da (discussion),
  11. Jalpa (wrangling),
  12. Vita (cavilling),
  13. Hetv?bh?sa (fallacy),
  14. Chala (quibbling),
  15. J?ti (sophisticated refutation)
  16. Nigrahasth?na (point of defeat)

From western philosophical view points

The Vai?e?ika categories or Pad?rthas are separate from the categories of Aristotle, Kant and Hegel. According to Aristotle, categories are logical classification of predicates; Kant states that categories are only patterns of the understanding and Hegel's categories are dynamic stages in the development of thought, but the Vai?e?ika categories are metaphysical classification of all knowable objects. Aristotle accepts ten categories: 1. Substance, 2. Quality, 3. Quantity, 4. Relation, 5 Place, 6. Time, 7. Posture, 8. Property, 9. Activity, and 10. Passivity. The Vai?e?ikas instead place the concepts of time and place under substance; relation under quality; inherence, quantity and property under quality. Passivity is considered the opposite of activity. Gautama enumerates sixteen Pad?rthas.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Pad?rtha, Jonardon Ganeri (2014), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  2. ^ Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls (1951). Materials for the Study of Navya-ny?ya Logic. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 37-39. ISBN 978-81-208-0384-8.
  3. ^ a b Mishra, Dr. Umesh (1987). Conception of matter according to Nyayavaisesika. Delhi: Gian Publishing House. pp. 345-347.
  4. ^ Ganeri, Jonardon. "Analytic Philosophy in Early Modern India". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Padartha, aka: Pad?rtha; 7 Definition(s)". Wisdom library. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Edwards, Paul. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. II. p. 46.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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