Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods

APPROACH TO REALITY

 

 

lII. Anekanta emphasizes that the truth is many sided.  Reality can be looked at from various angles. Two doctrines result from the Anekantavada: i) Nayavada and ii) Syadvada.  Nayavada is the analytic method investigating a particular stand-point of factual situation. Syadvada is primarily synthetic designed to harmonise the different view points arrived at by Nayavada. Nayavada is 'primarily conceptual' and the Syadvada is synthetic and mainly verbal,[14] although this sometimes maintained that conceptual is also verbal and the verbal method is so much changed with epistemological characters. The distinction between the conceptual and the-verbal has mainly a reference to the fact that points of view have to be expressed in language and predicated in specific forms so as to embody them. The concept is formed from this point of view.

Naya refers to the point of view one takes when one looks at the object. A naya is defined as a particular opinion or a view-point of looking at an object.  It expresses a partial truth about an object as known by a knowing subject.[15] The Jainas give the example of the  blind men and the elephant.  The blind men feel the animal and describe it, each in his own way. Similarly, we look at objects and describe them in our own way from different angles. Other view-points are also recognized; and they need to be recognized with each in the scheme of a fuller and more valid knowledge which is the sphere of Pramana.

The Jainas have formulated a methodological scheme consisting of seven ways to looking at reality. There was a problem whether the seven Nayas can be reduced in number.  There are three traditions. The first tradition adopts seven Nayas. The second eliminates Naigama Naya and reduces the-list to six.  In the third tradition we have five, as Samabhi rudha and Evambhuta Naya have been subsumed under Sabda Naya. Umasvati is largely responsible for the first and the third traditions. In the Digambara version of the Tattvartha-sutra seven ways have been mentioned, but the gvetambara version gives five Nayas as mentioned in the third tradition.[16] The different points of view are the Nayas.  Various Nayas have been mentioned. As shown above Umasvati first-mentions five Nayas and then adds the subdivisions.[17] The Agamas have mentioned two points of view : Samgraha Naya, the point o� view of the universal, the synthetic point of view and ii)Paryayika Naya, the view-point of the particular, the analytic point of view. Siddhasena Divakara in his Sahmati Tarka adopted the two points of view and distributed the Nayas under two heads. He described the six Nayas.  But the generally accepted classification of Nayas is seven fold.  Three of them refer to objects and their meaning, and the others to the words. In the first category we get three: i) Samgrahs Naya, ii) Vyavahara Naya, and iii) Rjusutra Naya. Siddhasena Divakara says that Samgraha and Vyavahara are subdivisions of the Dravyarthika Naya.[18] Samgraha Naya gives the synthetic point of view. It gives, as Radhakrishnanpoints out, the class point of view. In this, we seek to approach the unity amidst the diversity by finding the common element in the variety presented in the world. Absolute monism is the conclusion of this point of view.  Exaggerated emphasis on the universal would lead to Samgrahabhasa; and Samkhya and Advaita schools of philosophy are notable instances.[19[ The absolute emphasis on the one and unity dismissing all diversity as appearance, is the position of the absolutists.  The Jainas maintain that such a point of view, if it is taken in the absolute sense, presents a partial point of view.

Vyavahara Naya is the empirical point of view. It is the analytic point of view. It emphasises the diversity in the universe presented in the experience. We know things in their details and emphasize their individuality. The attitude of the pluralists and the materialists is the outcome of the view.

Rjusutra Naya is narrower than the Vyavahara Naya.  It looks at an object at a particular point of time, and does not see the continuity of the thing. The Jainas say that the Buddhist philosophy of Ksanikavada is an example of the-Rjusutra Naya.

Naigama Naya refers to the end or the purpose involved in the action. We interpret an activity with reference to the-end for which

it is done. For instance, a man who is carrying water and firewood will say that he is cooking if he is asked what he is doing. Siddhasena Divakara adopts a different point of view. Naigama Naya comprehends both the generic and specific qualities.

Another interpretation of Naigama Naya involves non-discrimination between the generic and the specific elements of an object. For example, when we state "The Bamboo grows here in plenty" the generic and the specific features of the bamboo are not within the focus of our attention. The-principle of configuration and the result suggested by Gestalt School of Psychology holds good in this case.[20]

The non-distinction is not, however, absolute and if the-distinction is asserted absolutely there would be a fallacy of Naigamabhasa.

Paryayarthika Naya is the analytic point of view referring to the words: and their meaning. It is a verbal interpretation of the terms used. It has three subdivisions: i) Sabda Naya, ii) Samabhirudha Naya and iii) Evambhuta Naya.  Sabda Naya consists in looking at the functional; importance of the terms. The name has a function calling to our mind the object implied by the name However, we very often forget that the meaning of a term is relative and varies with different contexts. We emphasize that the meaning is fixed. That gives rise to fallacies. Samabhirudha Naya is the application of the Sabda Naya. It refers to the-roots of words. For instance, raja as a person who shines is different from the nrpa, a person who rules over men and protects them.  Evambhuta not only sees the difference between words with their different etyrnologies; but it sees the difference between one and the same word, if it does not signify the meaning denoted by the root in the vord. For instance, there is a difference between raja. Then he is shining and raja when he is not shining. In this we give a word a fixed meaning, something by usage.  For instance, a 'nut' has come to mean in English a showy man.

The Cambridge philosophers and analytic school of philosophy in the present day assert the exclusive application of the form of Paryaya Naya to express Sabda-nayabhasa.

In Evambhuta Naya we restrict the meaning of the word to the very function connected by the name. It is a specialized form of the Samabhiradlla. For instance, a building will be called a house as long as it is used for residential purposes.  But if it is used for office purposes, it will not be appropriate to call it a house.

Thus, each Naya or point of view represents one of the many ways from which a thing can be looked at. The Nayas remind us that our points of view looking at the things are relative, and over-emphasis on one point of view as absolute and the only point of view would be a mistake. It would give an abhasa, or appearance of truth, only. It gives rise to, the wrong point of view. According to the Jainas, Nyaya-Vaisesika, Sam. khya, Advaita Vedanta and the Buddhist systems adopt one of the Nayas; but they believe that their point of view is absolute and unerring. However, they prevent only partial truths. The Jainas point out that the controversy regarding causation presenting different views like the asatkaryavada and the satkaryavada, are one-

sided and partial. But an object can be described in different ways. For instance, a gold necklace will be gold if we consider the substance out of which it is made; but if it is looked at from the point of view of the modifications, it may be described differently. Similarly, each Naya has a different extent.  Naigama Naya has the greatest, and the Evam. bhuta Naya the least, extent. Naigama dealswith the real and the unreal, Samgraha with the real. Vvavahara deals with part of the real. Rjusutra refers to the present condition of the real, and gabda only to the expression of the real, Samabhirubha a reference to the particular expression. Evambhuta applies to the present activity.

IV. Syadvada is the logical expression of the Nayavada.  The various points of view from which the reality can be looked at gives the possibility of a comprehensive view of reality.  Such a view needs expression for the sake of clarity and communication. This has been possible by means of seven fold predication. It is called Saptabhangi, because of its sevenfold predication. It is the formulation of the doctrine of the possibility of apparent contradiction in a real whole. The real may as well contain contributions without affecting the nature of the real, because the contradictions arise only because we take partial views of reality. According to the Jainas, other Darsanas present only the gleams of the broken light, while the Jaina view visualises the whole truth in its different aspects. Nayavada and Syadvada are varieties of Anekantavada. Syadvada is complementary to the Nayavada.  Nayavada is analytic in character and Syad-vada is synthetic.  It investigates the various shades of the truth given by a Naya and integrates them into a consistent comprehensive synthesis. Dasgupta suggests that the relation between them expresses the many alternatives indicated by the Syadvada for any and every Naya.[21] In the Syadvada all the aspects of truth are woven together into the synthesis of the conditioned dialectic.

Some have raised a controversy as to whether Syadvada is synonymous of Saptabhangi or of the entire Jaina philosophy.  It is true that Syadvada has an important place in Jaina philosophy, but it can not be equated with the entire Jaina philosophy. Prabhacandra states that Syadvada is synonymous with Saptabhangi.[22] However, this is just a scholastic problem and is needless from the philosophical point of view[23]  Syadvada is that conditional method in which the modes, or predications (bhangah) affirm (vidhi), negate (nisedha) or both affirm and negate severally and jointly in seven differcnt ways a certain attribute (bhava) of a thing (vastu) without incompatibility (avirodhena) in a certain context prasnavasat.[24]  Reality is complex and its nature cannot be expressed in an unconditioned position. Absolute affirmation and absolute negation are both erroneous.[25] And the 'syat' would mean 'in a certain sense' or 'from a certain point of view'.[26] In this sense Syadvada warns us against building a dogmatic structure of reality in a single concept or judgement. That would be logical dogmatism (nirapeksavada) as against the sapeksavada expressed in Syadvada.

It is difficult to decide which is the earlier of the two-Nayavada seems to be earlier, because Umasvati in his 'Tatvartha-sutra

describes the kinds of Nayas, but makes no mention of the Svadvada and the sevenfold prepositions.  Yet it is possible that it existed long before him. Buddhist Suttas mention the doctrine in an erroneous way as the doctrine not of the Nigganthas but of some recluse and Brahmins. In the earlier literature of the Jaina canon there are only a few passages in which there is a reference to Syadvada. They occur in the Bhagavati-sutra, in which it is expressed in the form of three propositions. Among the other early references, Bhadrabahu's Sutrakrtanga Niryukti is prominent. The developed form of the doctrine in the form of the seven-fold propositions is well described in Paiicastikdyasara of Kundakundacarya and Aptamtmamsa of Samantabhadra. Siddhasena Divakara, Akalanka and Vidyanandi are among the later writers who have given a systematic exposition of the doctrine.

Syadvada shows that tbere are seven ways of describing a thing and its attributes. It attempts to reconcile the con-tradiction involved in the predications of the thing. It is possible to describe a thing in seven ways.

1. Syad asti asserts the existence of the thing. The word syat is difficult to translate. It is very often said that it connotes 'perhaps' or probability. But it would be more appropriate to say that it refers to the special context.  syat would then mean 'in the context'. From the point of view of the substance, place, time and nature, we may say that a thing is. For instance, the jar exists, as it is made of clay in a particular place and time. Thus substance (dravya), attribute (bhava), time (kala), and space (ksetra) from the context of these relations existence and other attributes are predicated. A house exists, i.e., it is a house as build up and as long as it is occupied for the purpose of residence.