One of India’s traditional philosophical systems is nyaya, or logic. Although it is distinct from the bhakti tradition of the Hare Krishna movement, Srila Prabhupada would often draw from it to make philosophical points. Here’s a collection of his favorite nyaya aphorisms, along with examples of the points he would use them to illustrate.

aja-gala-stana-nyaya: The logic of getting milk from the nipples on the neck of a goat. Goats appear to have nipples on their necks, but those “nipples” don’t produce milk, and thinking they do is foolishness. To consider material nature the cause of creation is a similar kind of foolishness.

andha-pangu-nyaya (or andha-kanja-nyaya): The logic of the blind man and the lame man. If a blind man carries a lame man on his shoulders, by their cooperation they can move forward. Similarly, modern society can make great progress if the legs of Western technology support the spiritual vision of India.

bakanda-nyaya: Duck, egg logic. A duck (baka) sometimes follows a bull, thinking the bull’s testicles to be eggs, which the duck will be able to eat. In illusion, people often have faith in the impossible, such as when scientists persist in believing they will someday create life.

suptotthita-nyaya: The logic of rising from sleep. When rising from the dream world of sleep, we at once remember who we are and go on with our normal lives. Similarly, when we transmigrate to another body, we immediately take up our new life.

ardha-kukku†i-nyaya: Half-hen logic. A foolish person might think he can cut off a hen’s head and get eggs without having to feed the hen. When hearing Lord Krishna’s instructions in the Bhagavad-gita, we can’t pick and choose; to be successful, we must accept everything He says.

nagna-matrka-nyaya: The logic of the naked mother. “Because a woman was naked as a child, she must be naked as an adult.” This represents the mistaken notion that people cannot change. To the contrary, no matter how we begin our lives, the practice of bhakti-yoga can transform us into pure lovers of God.

sakha-candra-nyaya: The logic of seeing the moon through the branches of a tree. This indicates seeing from a different frame of reference and refers to the use of analogies, which can help us see things differently. Prabhupada used many analogies to explain difficult topics.

kupa-manduka-nyaya: The logic of the frog in the well. This refers to the idea that a frog who has lived its whole life in a well cannot possibly understand the vastness of the ocean. Similarly, with our small brains and limited experience, we greatly underestimate the breadth and depth of God’s creation, especially the spiritual dimension.

tandula-vrscika-nyaya: The logic of scorpions being born from rice. Sometimes scorpions emerge from a pile of rice and thus seem to be born from the rice, when in fact they are born from eggs within the rice. We living beings may appear to be born from the material energy, but we are spiritual entities who originate from beyond it.

kaka-taliya nyaya: The logic of the crow and the tal fruit. This refers to useless arguments. A crow flew off a branch, and a fruit fell from the branch at the same time. What’s the point of arguing whether the crow made the fruit fall by flying away, or the fruit fell and scared the crow awayd Prabhupada used this nyaya to illustrate the futility of arguing about why we left the spiritual world to come to the material world. We’re here, and we should concentrate on getting out.