Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life
INTRODUCTION
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 OR GODS
 

GENERAL INDEX


Chapter-2 : APPROACH TO REALITY

 

I.         III.           We are, here, reminded of similar attempts made by eminent philosophers in the Middle Ages and in the modern period in the west to clear the cobwebs of thought for the sake of establishing the truth. Socrates aimed at defining terms. Some the logins in the middle ages sought to give the guidelines for thought. But we should note that til the beginning of the era, philosophy was tied down to the apron stings of Aristotle�s philosophy. One who deviated was condemned. There is a story of a serious attempt made by eminent philosophers to find out the number of teeth a horse has. They refereed to the Classical texts and the books of Aristotle. But when a young scientist, imbued with the modern sprit of investigation, humbly suggested that a horse be brought to the Conference hall to count the teeth instead of pouring in the ancient classical texts, the elderly scholars looked at him with surprise and derision, because �Aristotle never did that�.

      It was against this type of stagnation of knowledge and academic slavery that Francis Bacon protested. He said that if we have to pursue truth, we have per force to be free from the follies arising out of the fallacies I thought and due to the purely deductive approach towards the seeking of truth. Truth needs to be sought in the world outside and not merely I the deduction of conclusions from the premises in the Aristotelian syllogisms. Francis Baconstartead the movement of induction in the scientific investigation as a methodology of investigation.

            Francis Bacon wanted to remove the cobwebs of thought in order to get the correct picture of reality. Bacaon put more life into logic. Making induction an epic adventure and a conquest. Philosophy needed a new method. In order to seek the truth in the real sense of the term, Bacon urged us to free ourselves from the traditional stagnation�s and the fallacies of thought. �Expurgation of thought is the step� we must become, as little children, innocent of �isms� and abstractions, washed clear of prejudices and preconceptions. We must destroy the Idols of the mind. Idol is a picture taken for a reality, a thought mistaken for a thing. Becon mentions 4 Idols of the mind we should scrupulously avoid in seeking truth.

                The 4 Idols of the mind are:        

(i)           Idols of the tribe,

(ii)          Idols of the Cave,

(iii)          Idols of the market place and

(iv)           Idols of the Theatre.

(i)             The idols of the tribe constitute the fallacious nature to humanity in general. �For man�s sense is falsely asserted to be standard of thing- Our thoughts are pictures rather of ourselves than of their objects. For instance human understanding, from its peculiar nature, easily supposes a greater degree of order in the Universe than it really finds. Hence, the fiction that the celestial bodies move in perfect circle .52 � All superstition is much the same, whether it be that of Astrology, dreams , omens, retributive judgement or the like, in all of which the deluded believers observe events which are fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common� 53

(ii)             The Idols of the cave are errors peculiar to the individual man. � For every one. . has a cave or den of his own, which refracts or discolors the light of nature� 54  The  judgements are vitiated by individual moods and the personal factor in the constitution of the mind. Some minds are synthetic, and some analytic. Some show unbounded enthusiasm for antiquity, some others eagerly embrace novelty. Only a few can have a just perspective. Truth has no parties.55

(iii)           The Idols of the Market place  arise from the commerce and       associatio of ment with one another. They use language as the medium , but they forget that words are sometimes misleading, as they are imposed according to the understanding of the crowd. We I the present day have used the word �socialism� without understanding the connotation of the word. Philosophers have used the phrases like �the infinite� or  The first mover unmoved� but these are Fig-leaf phrases used to cover naked ignorance and perhaps indicative of a guilty conscience  in the user. 56

(iv)           The Idls of the Theatre  have migrated into men�s minds from the various dogmas of  philosophers and also from the wrog lowas demonstration. All the systems of philosophy are so many stage plays representing worlds of their creation after an unreal and scenic fashion. And in the plays of this philosophic theatre you may observe the same thing which is found in the theatre of poets, -- that stogies invented for the stage are more compact and elegant, and more as we would wish them to be, than true stories out of history. The world as Plato, ad pictures of Plato rather than the world. 57

We shall never get far along the path of truth if these idols are still tied to us. We should free ourselves from the subjective elements in the pursuit of truth. Truth is to any man�s monopoly. It is universal as objective. The philosophers and the seers from times immemorial have striven to reach the highest through the means of reason and intuition. Reasion leads us to the understanding of empirical reality, while it is the highest experience, which leads us to the Truth. Francis Bacon had the limited objective of providing the methodology of scientific investigation. Acarya Samantabhadra has taken the perspective of spiritual reality and has shown the pitfalls in the path to self-realisation. It is the seers; the Rsis light they lead us on. Such enlighten ones or the �sages are the first hand exponents of philosophy. 58