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With the blessings of Gurudev the second part of our publication `First Steps to Jainism' is before the readers. It may be recalled that the First Part was printed in 1984 with a second edition in 1989. Since then we have been working on the second part which has indeed taken a long time.


This was partly due the complex nature of the subjects dealt with in this part like `The Doctrine of Karma' and `The Central Philosophy of Jainism-Anekantavada-specially the latter. Partly the delay was due the fact that we wanted to explain the subjects in detail to make the book comprehensive and that too  in simple language. However, the subject of `Anekantavada' or the Theory of Non-One-sidedness has become so expansive that it has been difficult to keep up with the latest developments, not to talk of explaining the same. Actually with the researches of eminent scholars like Dr. D.S. Kothari and Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis the scope of Anekantavada and Syadvada has become very wide, being corroborated by the conclusions of the latest  developments in physics and statistics. Therefore, even experts in these subjects can not throw proper light on the findings of the great men mentioned, because to understand the implications fully one has to have not only the scientific knowledge but also knowledge of the philosophical subjects. Such combinations are very rare indeed. We have, therefore, decided to give the articles of the abovenamed scholars in original in the Appendices. At the same time the demand for the second part has been increasing and enquiries were received as to when this part will be out. Therefore, we have given in the concerned chapters in this book in simple language whatever we understood about these complicated subjects with apologies to our readers who find some grey areas therein.


From the above it will be clear that true to its name, the chapters in this book can be considered first steps to the storehouse of knowledge of the subjects covered. However, after reading the chapters the readers will not remain completely unfamiliar with the subjects and the terms employed; and to some extent their thirst for  more information on the subjects may be aroused. Even this will be a source of satisfaction to the authors. For those who are keen for more knowledge, there is abundant literature available on the subjects, some indications whereof will be available in the appendices,  which are also scholarly treatises on the subjects. Thus this book will provide not only elementary knowledge as first steps to the subjects, but will also supply  some advanced knowledge thereof, and the matter included herein may prove of interest to the laymen as well as the scholars.


For obvious reasons this book should be read in continuation of Part I, in which indications were given about its contents. However, Part I dealt with the basic information about distinctive features of Jain religion, as also the path prescribed thereunder for alround development of the human personality, man's place in the universe and his duties to himself and his fellow creatures. We give in the following paragraphs the scope of chapters in this book in brief:


The Doctrine of Karma :

In the first chapter of this book we have dealt with `The Doctrine of Karma'. In Jain metaphysics Doctrine of Karma occupies the same supreme place as God occupies elsewhere as the main moving force. Though the concept of Karma is accepted in all systems of Indian religions "in no other system, perhaps, has Karma been taught to be of such concrete, realistic, physical nature," as in Jainism, where Karma have special significance as Material particles with psychophysical qualities and distinctive powers of being attached with the soul and giving results. In this chapter an attempt has been made to describe the Karma in their various aspects and varieties. We have drawn heavily on Dr. H.V. Glasenapp's research work `The Doctrine of Karma in Jain Philosophy' which was published in Germany in the beginning of this century and was published in India in English in 1942. It is indeed an exhaustive treatise on the subject of Karma and an example of German scholarship and painstaking study. The degree of Ph.D. was granted to the author in 1914 for this work by the Bonn University. We have thought it fit to include in the appendices not only the Preface to the German edition by Dr.H.V. Glasenapp (as App. A), but also the Foreword to the English edition by Rev. Dr. R.Zimmermann of St. Xavier College, Bombay (as App. B), which we found very useful, as well as interesting, and think that these will be liked by the readers. It may also help in charting further studies of the subject as Dr. Glasenapp has given useful information about the books on the subject, and contents of the Karmagranthas.


Stages of Progress of the Soul - The Fourteen Gunasthan :

In this chapter the Jain path of progress of the soul on the way to salvation is indicated whereon the fourteen Gunasthana form the fourteen milestones. This shows that as the Karma load of the soul reduces, the soul rises on the scale of spiritual development and progresses on the path of liberation. This chapter is, therefore, directly related to the 'Doctrine of Karma. Similarly the next chapter deals with The Five Bodies, the human soul acquires from time to time since times immemorial. These are also related to the Doctrine of Karma, but because of the fact that they are matters of common interest brief separate mention has been made of the same, as the Karma are also attached to the soul in the form of Karma body (Karman Sharir).


The Central Philosophy of Jainism - Anekantavada :

This is the chapter dealing with the philosophical contribution of Jainism which is being supported by latest findings by scientists ranging from mathematicians to physicists. Actually this contribution of Jain philosophy contains seeds of synthesis of conflicting views and proves that the things which appear contradictory are actually complementary. This is also the latest finding of  "The Principle of Complementarity which we owe principally to Niel Bohr - perhaps the most significant and revolutionary concept  of modern physics".  (Extract from Dr. D.S. Kothari's article `Modern Physics and Syadvada' given in the App. C) As stated earlier the scope of Anekantavada (including Nayavada and Syadvada which have been dealt with in this chapter) is expanding with modern findings of eminent scholars. Thus, interesting light is thrown by Dr. B.K. Matilal in his lectures delivered at and published by L.D. Institution, Ahemdabad (which one can read with benefit),  that  Anekantavada is a sub-variety of Vibhajyavadda like Buddha's Middle way. The latter however, is only analytical and can be termed the `Exclusive Middle'; while Mahavira's Anekanta should be called `Inclusive Middle' with analysis as well as synthesis. Further the learned Doctor mentions that the standpoints or Naya were classified into various types for taking into account the different philosophical views prevalent in classical India. The vindication of these age old principles by advancement in science only goes to prove that the great seers-the Jinas-had perceived the eternal truths and one should approach these with open mind and reverence instead of criticizing and scoffing at them as has been the case at times. Special mention may be made of the following appendices on the subject which we have included for the reasons given in the book :


App. C - Modern Physics and Syadvada by Dr. D.S. Kothari.

App. D - The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvada in Relation to Probability By. Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis.

App. E - The Syadvada System of Predication By Dr. J.B.S. Haldane.

App. F - Anekanta By Dr. Nathmal Tatia.


Freedom of Will -

In this last chapter we give the Jain view about the solution of the age old riddle whether man's destiny is supreme or his effort (Takdir vis-à-vis Tadbir). True to its Anekantavadi tradition Jainism gives a satisfactory answer to the problem which we hope will be of interest to the readers.


We close with our grateful thanks to all those who have helped us in this work, special mention may be made of Shriman Johari Mal ji Sahib Parakh and Dr. Sagar Mal ji Sahib of Varanasi whom we consulted from time to time. The authors of books and articles from which we have drawn heavily deserve our gratitude. These include Dr. B.K. Matilal, Dr. H.V. Glasenapp., Dr. R. Zimmermann S.J., Dr.. D.S. Kothari, Prof. J.B.S. Haldane, Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis, Dr. Nathmal Tatia and others.


Special mention must also be made with our grateful thanks and acknowledgements for the following publications, individuals and institutions whose contribution we have included in this compilation which we think will add to the utility of this book :-

The article `Modern Physics and Syadvada' by Dr. D.S. Kothari has been supplied to us by his son Dr. L.K. Kothari, Jaipur.


Dr. Prakash Rao, editor 'Sankhya' has supplied the two articles by Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis and Dr. J.B.S. Haldane titled `The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvad in Relation to Probability' and 'The Syadvada System of Predication' respectively. These were published in Sankhya (1954) Vol. 18 at pp. 183-194 and pp.195-200 respectively and the Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta has permitted us to publish the same.


Prof. Mahalanobis' article was originally published by Dialectica Vol 8/2 (1954) pp. 95-111 Switzerland.


Prof. R. Zimmermann's Foreword and Dr. H.V. Glasenapp's Preface to the German edition of his book 'Doctrine of Karma in Jain Philosophy' has become available to us from the English translation thereof, published in 1942, by the Trustees of Bai Vijibai, Jivanlal Panalal Charity Fund, Bombay.


Dr. Nathmal Tatia has permitted the publication of his article `Anekanta'.


We again express our gratitude and reverence to Gurudev who inspired us to undertake these studies, and who is, unfortunately, not with us to bless this effort, as he blessed Pt. I.



M. Com. LL.B., I.R.A.S.

Retd. Financial Adviser & Chief Accounts Officer,

Indian Railways

Former Member, Accounts & Finance,

Rajasthan State Electricity Board



B. Com



‘ALKA’ D-121

Shastri Nagar,

Jodhpur (Raj.) 342 003.

Divali, 1994.







The Doctrine of Karma.


Stages of Progress of the Soul Due to Development of its Qualities - The Fourteen Gunasthanas.


The Five Bodies.


The Central Philosophy of Jainism - Anekantavada- The Doctrine of Non-one-sidedness


Freedom of will - The five samvay.




(A) Preface by Dr. Glasenapp to his book ‘Doctrine of Karma in Jain Philosophy’.


(B) Foreword by Prof. R. Zimmermann to the book ‘Doctrine of  Karma in Jain Philosophy’.


(C) ‘Modern Physics and Syadvada’ By Dr. D.S. Kothari.


(D) ‘The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvad in Relation to Probability’ by Prof. P.C. Mahalanobis.


(E) ‘The Syadvada System of Predication’ by Prof. J.B.S. Haldane.


(F) ‘Anekanta’ by Dr. Nathmal Tatia.



The Doctrine of Karma PArt -1


The Doctrine of Karma is a direct outcome of the extension of the age-old and well-established principle "as you sow, so you reap" to the spiritual sphere. In other words, this doctrine is nothing but an extension of the physical phenomenon observed in every day experience in nature that every action has a reaction, every effect has a cause and vice versa.


According to the Karma doctrine the course of life of every living being here and hereafter is determined by his Karma or his deeds and a pious life leads to comforts, contentment and general well-being in the present life and re-birth in higher and better forms of existence. Evil actions result in birth in lower forms of existence in future life and unhappiness or misery,, in the present existence. In short Karmavada may summarised as the “theory of inevitable consequences of one's actions."  This doctrine seems to have developed along with other doctrines about the course of events or creation. These include Kalvad or doctrine of time (treating time as a determining agent), Svabhav-vad or doctrine of Nature (which held the nature of things as sole determinant), theory of pre-destination (holding destiny as the prime factor) etc. These are proposed to be discussed separately in this book. Here it will be sufficient to mention that in Jain thought, true to its non-one-sided (Anekantvadi) approach, due importance is given to all these factors as agents determining the course of life along with the doctrine of Karma.. However, prime place is given to Karma doctrines as it involves elements of freedom of will of the individual, accountability for one's acts or deeds (Karma) and is living or active as against the inert and passive nature of other factors like time, nature and others.


The Indian thinkers universally accepted and adopted the Karma doctrine in all the major religious systems originating in India viz. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Though the emphasis varied, all these major systems gave the Karma  Doctrine prime place in the scheme of things spiritual, pertaining to each system.


What is a bit surprising is that the doctrine of Karma, did not get the place it deserved in the three western religions viz., Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Though it is said that prophet Mohammed warned his daughter that she will be judged by God, on the day of reckoning, by her deeds in her life-time and not because she was the prophet's daughter. May be the concept of an omnipotent God-head did not permit acceptance of the due importance of the Karma Doctrine.


However, nowhere else except in Jainism is so much importance attached to the principle of Karma. Coupled with the concept of soul and its transmigration in a continuing cycle of deaths and re-births Jainism lays down that it is one's Karma which primarily regulate the future destiny and course of life of all souls. In this concept there is no place for an all powerful  God who interferes with, nay determines, the destinies of living beings as in some other religions and beliefs. As already stated in Part I Jainism does not believe in such an all powerful God. The position occupied by God in other religions and faiths as an arbiter of destinies of beings is held by Karma of the beings in Jain Philosophy. In this process the individual being is raised to a high pedestal, capable of determining his destiny and competent to write one's fate.


Also the disputes and doubts surrounding the concept of an all powerful and jealous God are resolved as if by one stroke. At the same time the Karma concept and belief in the same- encourages and enforces an ethical behaviour in its believers. This is not on account of the fear of an Almighty God (whom no one has seen) but for the simple reason that one will have to face the consequences of one's behaviour - good or bad or indifferent - in this world or hereafter. Moreover  the Karma doctrine provides  satisfactory explanation for the otherwise inexplicable divergence in existence viz., poverty v/s prosperity, health v/s sickness, happiness v/s misery, which strikes one at every stage and which is unjustifiably ascribed to an almighty God when these are the inevitable consequences of the beings own actions.


Against the brief background above, we take up detailed discussion of Karma doctrine in Jain philosophy. The meaning of the word Karma commonly accepted in Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. is activity, work, deed or act. It also implies sacrifices or yagyas performed as a part  of Brahamanic rituals as well as the prescribed formalities like fasting and other forms of worship called Karma-Kand.


However in Jain philosophy every form of activity in thought, word or deed with any of the passions (anger, pride, deceipt and greed) together with the resultant material particles (Pudgals), which can get attached to the soul, are covered in the definition of Karma. Thus Karma in Jain scheme is a "complexes of very fine matter, imperceptible to senses, which enters into the soul, causing great changes in it."  This can do with some elucidation, though it may involve a little repetition or recapitulation.


According to Jain philosophy the beginningless, endless and uncreated univere consists of six substances viz. (i) Living being (Jeeva); (ii) Matter (Pudgal); (iii) Time (Kaal); (iv) Space (Akash) (v) Medium of rest (Adharma) and (iv) Medium of Motion (Dharma). Of these only the living beings or souls have consciousness and possess the potential of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, bliss etc. Actually the liberated souls possess these qualities and, therefore, are considered the perfect souls the Siddhas. These powers in case  of the unliberated or mundane souls are  fettered due to their association with the other substance-matter which is non-conscious or non-living but possesses form and is the only substance with form out of the six substances.


The association of the formless or shapeless living souls with the non-living and tangible matter is beginningless (but not endless as we shall see). This beginningless association is an established concept and an accepted fact in Jainism like other similar accepted fact of uncreated beginningless universe. This association is constantly renewing itself (till complete separation form the soul i.e. Mukti) through the release of old matter and absorption of fresh matter by the soul  because of the acts and deeds of the living beings. That element of the matter which is so associated with the souls or living beings is known as the Karma Pudgal or the Karmic matter and is included in the wider meaning of the word Karma. Thus when it is said that one is engaged in the Karma of walking or talking it broadly implies that one is performing the act or activity of walking or talking and also absorbing the resultant karma matter into his soul. strictly speaking the word karma should imply action only and the attachment of matter with the soul  should correctly be expressed by the word Karma Bundh or Karma Bondage. However, the fact remains that in common parlance the term karma is used to denote the actions and also their consequences by way of Karma Bondage. This has at times resulted in misunderstanding, which is explained at the cost of a little diversion.


While comparing the message of the Bhagwat Geeta with  Jain teachings it is usually said that while the former teachers activity or karma, the latter is against Karma or action. This is hardly justified. Jainism does not teach inaction or non-activity because it is simply not possible to forgo actions in one form or another as long as one lives. This has been clearly stated in the beginning of Acharang Sutra, one of the earliest and most authentic compilation of the Jain canon. What is however, prescribed in Jain teaching is to avoid Karma Bondage or Karma Bandh which is loosely interpreted as Karma or activity. Actually there is considerable similarity in the message of the Geeta and the Jain prescription for the pursuit of a correct course of life. The former teaches action without worrying about the result "Karmanyevadhikaraste, maphaleshu Kadachan" in Jainism also we find exhortation about action with vigilance or Karma with Jayana i.e. without passions, at the same time maintaining equanimity or indifference while accepting the result, as this will not result in Karma Bondage. After this slight diversion we take up the questions about the Karma Principle, that naturally arise :


1.      What is the Karma matter or Karma pudgala and

2.      How does it get attached with or detached from the soul.


Let us take these questions one by one to throw light on the subject of Karma. 


What is the Karma Matter or Karma Pudgal ?

We have seen that "Matter", the only substance in the universe with form consists of infinite number of Pudgals-indivisible particles of matter-very much smaller than the atom. They are so fine that in each part of space infinite number of combinations of the Pudgals or Skandhas can be contained in their subtle (Sukshama) form. Each of these pudgals has at least four qualities i.e. touch, taste, smell and colour.


There are many categories of clusters of these pudgals called varganas. These varganas are of eight types (with many subtypes) like Bhasha vargana or category of speech, Sharir vargana (category of body), Mano vargana (mind category) etc. One of such categories of pudgals is Karma varagana i.e. pudgals that have the potentiality of becoming Karma matter of different types and of getting attached to the soul. It is this particular category of matter called Karma Vargana which is absorbed by the contaminated and thus material soul due to its activity and passions and is converted into Karma body (Karma Shareer) just as an oil lamp absorbs oil and converts it into a flame due to its heat. It has been mentioned that it is the contaminated soul that absorbs Karma matter. This needs to be elucidated. Essentially the soul is pure consciousness and is absolutely non-contaminated and non-material the liberated souls (Siddhas) are like this. Such pure souls cannot be contaminated by Karma-as they are two categories distinctly separate from each other i.e. one is living being (Jeeva) and other is non-living being (ajeeva). But due to the beginningless contamination with matter (Karma) the soul's pure non-material form has also become partly material and, therefore, it may further be contaminated. As stated earlier pudgals joining the soul are in the form of Karma Vargana each with infinite number of pudgals in their fine (sookshama) form and constitute the Karma body or Karma Shareer of the soul. These Karma varganas are the finest (sookshama) of all other varganas, which means that while they have the largest number of Pudgals, yet they occupy the least space (as explained in a separate chapter).


All the Karma matter associated with a soul form the soul's Karma body (Karma Shareer) which is one of the five categories of bodies of  the  soul  i.e. 

1.      Audarik, 

2.      Vakriya, 

3.      Aharak, 

4.      Tejas  and 

5.      Karman (to be discussed separately).

Here it will suffice to say that Karma body:

1.      has beginningless association with the soul which is renewing itself by shedding old Karma and acquiring new ones and which can and finally end only upon the complete liberation of the soul,

2.      it consists of the highest number or infinite pudgals and is the finest (sookshma) of all the other bodies,

3.      it is not stopped by any obstruction,

4.      it always travels with the soul on its transmigration from one life to another and finally,

5.      it determines the destiny and course of life of the soul in the world and the next which is, good, bad or indifferent depending on the nature of the Karma body-Karman Shareer-accompanying the soul and giving results.


How does Karma matter get attached with the soul ?

After dealing with the Karma matter, we come to the second and more important question of the nature of attachment of Karma matter with the soul. This issue is the core or heart of Jain thought and to some extent it has been dealt with in Pt. I while dealing with Seven Fundamentals. However, that discussion was primarily from the point of view of the soul and its journey in this world. We shall now deal with this subject from the point of view of Karma which is the subject under discussion.


The process of attachment of Karma (it should imply Karma matter) with the soul can be divided into two parts (i) entrance or introduction of Karma into the soul, (ii) attachment proper or retention of Karma by the soul. The former is called Asrava or Influx and the letter is known as Bandh or Bondage as they denote entry into and the binding of the soul by the Karma respectively.


Entrance or introduction of the Karma into the soul ?

All Influx or Asarva of Karma into the soul may or may not be followed by or become bondage or bandh, but bondage is always preceded by Influx. In higher stages of spiritual development or progress of the soul (Gunasthans to be dealt with separately) when the soul is passionless, the Karma entering the soul leave it simultaneously, staying just for one Samay (smallest division of time), which need not constitute bondage. However, all bondage i.e. bandh of soul by Karma must be preceded by entrance or influx or Asrava as without such introduction or influx the Karma cannot bind the soul. The line of distrinction between the two is very fine so much so that in its broader concept bondage includes influx and the causes for the latter (influx) are also included in the list of causes of the former (bondage). This will be clearer as we continue this discussion. Let us first discuss the influx, introduction or Asrava of Karma into the soul.


The unliberated worldly (Sansari) or contaminated (with Karma) soul is undergoing constant vibrations which are due to the effect of the old Karma already attached to the soul. These vibrations in the soul space are called YOGA-distinct from the other meanings of word YOGA like meditation, concentration or addition. In the external world they are manifested through the body that the soul may be occupying. The Yoga is of three types depending on the results of the vibration of the soul in (i) body, (ii) speech or (iii) mind. In case vibrations result in activity of the body it is called Kaya or Body Yoga, if it manifests itself in activity of the speech or speaking it is called speech or Vachan Yoga and if it results in thought process it is termed Mano Yoga or Mind Yoga. It is because of these vibrations of the soul, termed three types of Yogas as mentioned above, that disturbance is created in the area of influence of the soul and body (it occupies) in the world. The potential Karma pudgal (Karma varganas) out of the other infinite number of pudgals in the world are attracted into the soul as a result of these vibrations and Yoga and this is termed as Influx or Asrava.


This Asrava or Influx due to the three types can be good and beneficent (Shubh or Punya) or bad and sinful (Ashubh or Paap). This is determined by the intention behind the activity of body, speech or mind. If the intention is bad being coloured by the four passions, viz., Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed, it shall lead to sinful or bad (Ashubh) Yoga and Asrava and if the intent is good marked by restraint over these passions it will be good or beneficent. As examples we give the following acts which are called good or shubh or Punya Ashrava or beneficent Influx :

1.      Good body yoga - Charity, restraint, service.

2.      Good speech yoga - Truthful, sweet conversation.

3.      Good mind yoga - Wishing well of others in thought, good meditation.


The following are the examples of bad or Ashubh Yoga or Pap Asharava :

1.      Bad body yoga - Violence, theft etc.

2.      Bad speech yoga - Falsehood or harsh or hurtful talk.

3.      Bad mind yoga - Thinking ill of others.


Viewed from another angle it is the attachment or hatred and otherwise involvement with things worldly i.e. Raga (attraction) or Dwesha (aversion) that are the villains of the piece as they lead to the four passions. It is due to the presence of these that Yoga or Asrava of Karma becomes bondage and without these it does not. When it does not result in Bondage it is called Iryapathic Asrava i.e. non-affecting Karma which go out of the soul as they come in. The Karma influx accompanied by attraction or aversion is called Samprayik Asrava or affecting influx which attach the Karma pudgal with the soul body and that results in bondage of the soul. The causes of such connecting Influx-Samprayiak Asrava is given as under though they are all covered in the broader scope of Raag and Dwesh activities :

1.      Three Yoga - Activities of Thought, Word and Body

2.      Five Avirati - Non-observance of vows of Non-violence, truth, non-theft, sexual restraint and non-covetousness.

3.      Four Kashaya - Anger, Pride, Deceit & Greed.

4.      Five senses - (& their actions) Sense of touch, taste, smell, sight & hearing.

5.      Twenty five types of activities - Including acts of false faith, negligence, attachment etc.


To summarise, a soul which is acting through thought, word or deed under the influence of Raga and Dwesh or Passions (Kashya) will attract Karma (Ashrava) which will stick to it just like dust blown by wind sticks to a wet or oily piece of cloth, and will become bondage (Bundh). This type of Ashrava is of the nature of affecting or Samprayik Karma ashrava. Another soul which is also so acting but without Raag-Dwesh or Passions (Kashaya) may attract Karma but they will not stick to the soul just as a wooden ball striking against a dry wall does not stick to it but falls apart, and are known as Non-affecting or Iryapathic Karma. To some extent this touches upon the second and main part of our enquiry i.e. "How does karma matter gets attached and retained by the soul" which we can take up now in detail.


Attachment proper or retention of Karma by the soul

To put the record straight it might appear incorrect to say that Karma get attached or retained by the soul as the Karma as we have seen are non-conscious, non-living matter and, therefore, the passive agent. Actually, it is the living soul that is the conscious and active agent which by its vibrations through the acts of body, speech and mind attracts and retains the Karma and binds itself. However, it has to be remembered, that the soul is not a completely free agent (though at times it is) and is acting under the influence of past Karma with which it has beginningless attachment, and which are in turn guiding its activities as they come to fruition. Further, though the Karma are considered lifeless and non-conscious, due to their attachment with the soul they acquire conscious character and give results. Similarly, though the soul is invisible shape-less entity, due to the close association with Karma it acquires a Karmic body which is with shape and form and which is its constant companion.


It has been noted above that due to Yoga-activities of the soul of three types (body, speech and mind), disturbance is caused in the material world or Pudgal which are attracted to the soul and which get converted into Karma. It has also been mentioned that these Pudgal or Karma-vargana get attached to the soul due to presence of the four passions, kashyas i.e. Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed alongwith Yoga activities, otherwise they leave the soul simultaneously with their influx (Ashrava). As such it is clear that it is with passions that the influx (Ashrava) becomes bondage-bandh of the soul. Thus the passions or Kashayas are the principal causes of Bandh or Bondage of soul and its transmigration in the world, though Yoga are a precondition.


Thus we have seen that YOGA and KASHAYA are the two causes of Bondage or Bandh. According to other tradition false vision (Mithya Darshan), un-diciplined life (Avirati) and Negligence (Pramad), are also considered causes leading to Bondage (Bandh) of the soul  (in addition to the YOGA and KASHYA). However, an in-depth look will reveal that these three causes are covered by Yoga and Kashaya in their broader meaning.


False vision or faith (Mithya Darshan) implies want of true belief or indulgence in false belief. Undisciplined life (Aviriti) is not following the five vows (Vratas) i.e. Indulgence in violence, untruth etc. and Negligence (Pramad) is carelessness or recklessness in thought, word or deed and all these ultimately result in four Kashayas, the four passions i.e. Anger (Krodh), Pride (Maan), Deceipt (Maya) and Greed (Lobh). Also these are the prime agents of bondage and therefore, are rightly considered so along with Yogas (cause of influx). However, in higher stages of the development of the soul (Gunasthan), where finer distinction and detailed appraisal has to be made, all the other causes are also mentioned so as to put them in proper perspective.


Various aspects of Bondage of Karma with the soul  (The Doctrine of Karma PArt -2)

A number of questions can arise about different aspects of BONDAGE OR KARMA BANDHA e.g. what is the result of such Bondage, does Bondage effect all pradesh of the soul or part only, is the bondage similar for all souls etc. The answers to these questions throw light on the process of Bondage and therefore, deserve mention here. It is as a result of Bondage that the Karma varieties are formed. Just as fodder eaten by a cow or goat is converted into milk, which simultaneously determines its taste like sweetness, and other qualities as also its quantity and lastingness or duration, similarly in respect of Karma the nature (Prakriti) duration (Sithi), intensity (Anubhag) and quantity (Pradesh) is determined alongwith the attachment or Bondage. The Karma acquired by the soul are in Sooksham or very fine form and are  formed by infinitesimal pudgals. The soul in its entirety gets bound by the Karma Pudgal which it draws from all directions but from the limited area of its (souls) existence only (not from beyond it). However, the Karma Bandha-Bondage of each soul varies depending upon the difference in its YOGA  activities in body, speech and mind and the Kashyas at that time.


It must have become evident that the Influx and Bondage (Ashrava and Bandh) as also Sanvar and Nirjara of Karma-with soul are occurring all the times simultaneously. These are very complex phenomena that can de gauged exactly by only omniscient beings-the Keval Gyanis. Such beings can see the interplay of soul and Karma Pudgal like a fruit on one's palm. Before closing this discussion and going over to the attributes of Karma it may be recalled that some Karma bondage is good or happy meaning thereby that they result in worldly prosperity, physical well-being etc., but it is bondage alright and it results in continuation of transmigration of the soul in  the world and obstructs its final release and Moksha.


Four parts or varieties of Bondage (Bandh)

It has been mentioned above that along with the process of Karma Bondage by Influx (YOGA) and Passions (KASHAYA) the (i) Nature (Prakriti); (ii) Quantum (Pradesh); (iii) Duration (Stithi) and (iv) Intensity (Anubhag) of such Karma Bondage is also determined. The first two are primarily determined by Yoga as it is on the magnitude or power or otherwise of the Yoga that the  (i) Nature of the Karma Bandh and (ii) Quantum of Karma absorbed will depend. Again the latter two i.e. (iii) Duration and (iv) Intensity of Bondage will primarily depend upon the four Kashyas or passions and their intensity or otherwise as these will provide operating time and force to the Karma Bondage. This will become more clear from the subsequent discussion of the subject where we shall examine each of the four parts of bondage separately viz. (i) Nature, (ii) Duration, (iii) Intensity and (iv) Quantum.


Nature Bondage (Prikriti Bandh)

The Karma acquired by the soul depend on the different types of activities of body, speech and mind accompanied by passions. As a result of the difference in such activities the Karma acquire different natures. These are broadly divided into eight species of Nature Bondage or Prikriti Bandh for the sake of categorisation though the nature of Karma Bondage is of innumerable  types as the activities are of innumerable kinds. These Natures are invisible but can be judged from the effect of Karma on the living beings. The main eight kinds of Nature Bondage (Prikriti Bandh ) are further divided into the following ninety seven (some authorities give more types taking sub-classes into count) detailed types which are discussed below :

1.      Gyanavarniya - Knowledge obscuring Karma with five sub-divisions.

2.      Darshnavarniya - Perception obscuring Karma with nine sub-divisions.

3.      Vedneeya - Feeling producing Karma with two sub-divisions.

4.      Mohaneeya - Deluding Karma with twenty eight sub-divisions.

5.      Aayu - Age Karma with four sub-divisions.

6.      Naam - Physique Karma with forty two main sub-division, and ninety three (103 also) further sub-divisions.

7.      Gotra - Status Karma with two sub-divisions.

8.      Antraya - Obstructing Karma with five sub-divisions.


Knowledge obscuring Karma-Gyanavarniya Karma

Knowledge or consciousness is an essential and distinctive attribute of the soul. This may be specific or general i.e. knowledge which gives specific information or exact nature of things is Gyan (as opposed to general idea of things which is Darshan discussed later). The Karma which obscure or obstruct this attribute of the soul i.e. consciousness or knowledge (the Gyan) due to its evil effect are known as knowledge obscuring Karma which are like a bandage on the eyes which obstructs the sight. Some of the reasons leading to  knowledge obscuring Karma are criticizing and opposing the really knowledgeable or Gyanis, obstructing acquisition of  knowledge by any body and similar activities. It is known that knowledge is of five types and accordingly this Karma is also divided into five types-depending upon the types of knowledge these obstruct or obscure. These are briefly mentioned below :

1.      Sensory-knowledge-obscuring Karma (Mati Gyanavarniya) - which obstruct the right sensory knowledge derived through the five senses viz., sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch as also the mind.

2.      Study knowledge- obscuring Karma (Shrut Gyanavarniya)   - which obstruct the right study knowledge.

3.      Remote knowledge - obscuring Karma ( Avadhi Gyanavarniya) - which obstruct the determinate knowledge of remote physical objects derived directly without the help of sense and mind.

4.      Mind reading knowledge obscuring Karma (Man-paryay Gyanavarniya ) - which obscure the powers of mind reading which also may be termed as telepathy broadly.

5.      Omniscience obscuring Karma (Kewal Gyanavarniya) - which obscure the power of soul to acquire omniscience or unlimited knowledge.


Perception obscuring Karma (Darshanvarniya Karma) -

The word Darshan here is translated as Perception to distinguish it from the word Darshan which means faith and vision as mentioned in the first Sutra of Tatvarth Sutra - "Samyag Darshan, Gyan, Charitrani Moksha Marg" Hence Darshan or perception here implies general or non-specific knowledge of things as opposed to specific knowledge which is meant by Gyan. The Bondage of Karma which obscure, the powers of general perceptions the soul fall in this category. This general perception is of four types and the Karma obscuring these four perceptions are the types of perception obscuring Karma as listed below :

1.      Sight perception obscuring Karma (Chakshu darshanavarniya)  - The general perception which is acquired with the help of eyes or sight is sight perception and Karma obscuring this power is sight perception-obscuring Karma.

2.      Non-sight perception obscuring Karma (Achksu Darshanvarniya) - The general perception which is acquired through the mind and senses other than eyes is non-sight Perception and Karma obscuring such powers are called nonsight obscuring Karma.

3.      Remote Perception obscuring Karma (Avadhi Darshanavaniya) - This Karma obscure general perception of remote physical objects without the medium of eyes or other sense and the mind (which is akin to the remote knowledge).

4.      Perfect perception obscuring Karma (Kewal Darshanvarniya) - Just like Kewal Gyanavarniya Karma, these Karma obstruct the power of the soul to realise perfect Perception or Kewal Darshan.


In addition there are five types of Perception- obscuring Karma, which relate to powers of sleep over wakefulness. These are termed "Vedniya " as against "avaran" of four types discussed above. These are -

1.      Nidravedniya Darshanvarniya - Karma which enable such sleep from which one can wake up easily;

2.      Nidra Nidra Vedniya Darshnavarniya Karma - which make it difficult to wake up from sleep.

3.      Prachala Vedniya Darshnavarniya Karma - which result into sleep even while standing or sitting.

4.      Prachala Prachala Vedniya Darshnavarniya Karma -  which result in sleep even while walking.

5.      Styanagridhi Darshanavarniya Karma - which enables execution of different actions during sleep by giving considerable power during sleep.



These are the nine varieties of Perception obscuring Karma which is compared with a guard or gatekeeper not permitting free access to the soul. The reasons for acquisition of this Karma are the same as those for knowledge obscuring karma, because as mentioned earlier Darshan is general or non-specific type of knowledge only.


It may again be clarified that though the name Darshana-varniya is used this Karma does not obscure the attribute of true faith or vision which is caused by Deluding Karma (Mohaniya Karma ) which will be explained later.


Feeling Producing Karma or Vedneeya Karma

The Karma bondage which on fruition gives feeling of worldly pleasure or pain or happiness or un-happiness is called feeling producing or Vedneeya Karma. This is of two types i.e. (i) The Karma which produce pleasure or happiness are called Pleasure producing (Sata Vedneeya) Karma and (ii) those which produce displeasure or un-happiness are called Dis-pleasure Producing (Asata Vedneeya) Karma.


As a corollary to feeling of pleasure or pain this Karma provides all means and equipment leading to pleasure or pain. This is compared with a sharp knife or dagger covered with honey, which is sweet to taste but can also cut or harm the tongue. The causes leading to this Karma are the acts leading to harm or hurt to other living beings or providing means of happiness or otherwise to others by thought, word or deed.


It may be clarified again that this Karma concerns worldly pleasure (or pain) only and not the ultimate infinite happiness of the soul or spirit which comes from complete destruction of all Karma, (including this Karma) on attainment of liberation or Moksha.


Deluding Karma or Mohaneeya Karma

It is well known that Right knowledge, Right faith and Right conduct form the path of liberation. It has been stated above that knowledge obscuring Karma obstruct the soul's efforts to acquire right knowledge. The type of Karma which obstructs or obscures the soul's effort for achieving Right faith and Right conduct (even right knowledge) is called the Deluding or Mohaneeya Karma. The effects of this Karma deludes or misleads the soul and this Karma is so powerful that it is considered the villian of the piece or the king of all Karma. It is compared with intoxication and like an intoxicated person the soul under its influence loses power to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong and goes astray towards false faith and false conduct. Its two main divisions are (I) Faith or vision Deluding Karma (Darshan Mohaneeya) and (II) Conduct Deluding Karma (Charitra Mohaneeya). The former Karma which obscure Right Vision or Right faith can be further sub-division into three categories :


Faith or vision Deluding Karma (Darshan Mohaneeya)

Rationalism Deluding Karma (Samkytav Mohaneeya)

The operation of this type of Karma though permitting inclination towards Right vision/Faith obstructs high degree of right faith which is necessary to eliminate or suppress false faith completely to pave the way to full realisation of the soul's qualities.

Mixed Deluding Karma (Misra Mohaneeya)

The operation of this variety of Karma results in uncertain or doubtful state of the faith or vision of the soul which vacillates between true vision or faith and false vision or faith and makes it a "Sanshayatma (Doubting Thomas)" as mentioned in the Bhagwat Geeta.

Falsehood-Irrationalism Deluding Karma (Mithyatva Mohaneeya)

The operation of this Karma results in complete lack of true faith/vision; or positive adherence to false faith. This depends upon whether the development of the beings enables them understanding or not. As such if the beings are like insects which have no understanding they will suffer from lack of true faith called Anabhigrahik (Untaught) Bondage. If the beings are with developed understanding like human beings and even than they do not have true faith but also have false faith (belief in false gods, teachers and books) then it will be called Abhigrahik (Taught) Bondage.


This Karma is so powerful that it brings in its train all other causes of Bondage of soul viz. undisciplined life (Avirati), Negligence (Pramad), Passion (Kashya) and Yoga (Influx). As such it completely overpowers and misleads the soul and not only does it vitiate Right faith/vision but also obstructs acquisition of Right knowledge and Right conduct.


Conduct Deluding (Charitra Mohaneeya) Karma

Conduct Deluding (Charitra Mohaneeya) Karma are those which obscure or obstruct Right conduct and are further sub-divided into twenty five categories, sixteen of Passion Deluding (Kashaya Mohaneeya) and nine of Pseudopassion Deluding (No-Kashaya Mohaneeya) Karma.


Passion Deluding (Kashaya Mohoneeya) categories of Conduct Deluding Karma

At first the sixteen Passion Deluding (Kashaya Mohoneeya) categories of Conduct Deluding Karma should be dealt with. The four Kashyas or Passions are Anger (Krodh), Pride (Maan), Deceipt (Maya) and Greed (Lobha) and these are introduced in the soul by this type of Karma. Each of these passions is of four gradations and all together make sixteen categories.


The highest grade or extremely severe type  of Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed which results in such Bondage that the soul has to go through transmigration in the world for infinite period due to repeated births and deaths. This is called Infinite Bondage-Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed (Anantanubandhi Krodha, Maan, Maya and Lobha) and is of four types according to four passions. It is like a line engraved on the stone which cannot be removed.


When the Karma bondage is less severe but still such that the four passions do not permit adoption of even minor vows (Anuvratas) of layman of Non-violence, Truth, Non-theft, Continence and Non-covetousness, this Karma Bondage is called Non-adoption (of vows) Karma of Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed (Apratyakhanavarni Karma) and is also of four types.


Slightly less severe than the above are the four types of Karma bondage pertaining to each of the four Kashaya (Passions) which permit adoption of minor vows or vows of layman i.e. Anuvratas but do not permit acceptance of major vows or vows of saints i.e. Mahavratas in respect of Non-violence etc. and are called Pratyakhanivarni Karma and are also of the four types viz., Anger, Pride, Deceipt, and Greed.


Even lesser in severity are the four Karma Bondage which may not obstruct acceptance of major vows or Mahavratas but may cause blemishes and minor breaches in the proper acceptance and implementation of the major vows of non-violence etc. These are called Sanjvalan Karma relating to Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed and are also of four types.


Nine Pseudo-passion (Nokashaya Mohaneeya) categories of Conduct Deluding (Charitra Mohaneeya) Karma.

While there are four main passions called Kashayas there are nine Pseudo-passions or sub-passions called No-kashaya which are attendant upon and lead to the intensification of the four passions viz. Anger, Pride, Deceipt and Greed. These nine are:

1.      Laughter (Hasya),

2.      Attraction (Rati),

3.      Repulsion (Arati),

4.      Fear (Bhaya),

5.      Grief (Shok),

6.      Hatred (Ghrina),

7.      Feminine (Stree Ved),

8.      Masculine (Purush Ved)

9.      Neuter (Napusank Ved).


These sub-passions are described below alongwith the causes leading to them in brief -

1.      Laughter-Deluding (Hasya Mohaneeya) Karma Bondage is caused by ridicule of true religion, poor people and undue loud laughter and results in non-serious disposition and unjustified tendency towards laughter.

2.      Attraction Deluding (Rati Mohaneeya) Karma Bondage is caused by non-restraint in life and indifference in the observance of vows and results in undue attachment with persons and things worldly.

3.      Repulsion Deluding (Arati Mohaneeya) - Karma Bondage is caused by causing discomfort and creating obstructions for others, moving in company of un-restrained people and results in undue repulsion and enmity towards others.

4.      Fear Deluding (Bhay-Mohaneeya) - Karma Bondage is caused by terrorising and creating scare for others and results in a tendency towards being afraid, cowardly and terror stricken.

5.      Grief Deluding (Shok Mohaneeya) - Karma Bondage is caused by unnecessarily grieving and weeping and making others do the same and this results in a grevious nature in one's life.

6.      Hatred Deluding (Ghrina Mohaneeya) - Karma Bondage is caused by hating what is useful like useful advice, useful persons and things. This brings in its turn a hateful disposition.

7.      Purush Ved (Masculine) Deluding Karma bondage is caused by showing the inclination towards the women

8.      Stree Ved (Masculine) Deluding Karma bondage is caused by showing the inclination towards the men

9.      Napusank Ved (Masculine) Deluding Karma bondage is caused by showing the inclination towards the neuters


7, 8, and 9 also result in the being showing tendencies and inclination towards the particular sex in the future.


This brings to end the discussion of twenty eight types of Deluding (Mohaneeya) Bondage which may appear lengthy but is necessary due too the importance of this type of karma bondage which is the most difficult to overcome. It is well known that the senior most learned disciple of Lord Mahaveer, Gandhar Gautam could not attain Omniscience or Perfect knowledge (Keval Gyan) due to this Karma and his resultant attachment (Moha) for Lord Mahaveer and he (Gautam Swami) became omniscient only when he realised this and gave up such delusion (Moha) after the death of Lord Mahaveer.


Age (AAYU) Karma Bondage -

This Bondage which keeps the soul in the body and determines the quantity of life for which it will remain there is called the Life Span or Age or Aayu Karma. In other words a being's body remains alive for the quantum of life determined by this Karma and dies when this Karma is exhausted. The quantum of life need not be years or months as like a sponge absorbing water the quantity of water may be determined but the time may vary. It is compared with imprisonment broadly. The age may be of two types i.e. (i) Apavartaniya or the one which may be shortened due to accidents in which case the Age Karma are exhausted in shorter duration due to untimely (Akal) death. (ii) Anapavartaniya or the age which will run its full course of length of years and cannot be shortened.


There are four sub-types of Age Bondage which decide the quantum of life (not years) the living being will be spending in the particular type of existence and exhausting the age karma in any one out of the four types of existence i.e. (i) Hellish existence (ii) Animal existence, (iii) Human existence and (iv) Godly existence. It may be clarified that the Age Karma determines only the duration of stay in the particular existence, the birth therein is determined by Naam Karma-dealt with below.


A salient feature of Life Span or Age Karma is that its bondage with the soul does not accrue at all times like other Karmas. On the contrary its bondage occurs at fixed times only. In respect of Gods and hellish creatures it occurs six months before the death of such beings. For human beings and animals bondage of future life span occurs when 1/3, 1/9, 1/27 or 1/81 of the existing age remains for the being.


Physique Determining (Naam) Karma Bondage -

This Karma bondage determines the physique or the body that the soul will occupy. It has, therefore, been compared with a painter like whom it creates different types of bodies, their forms and shapes, sounds and smells and determines the soul's abode ranging from the lowest type of immovable body with one sense to the body of the Perfect beings, the Teerthankars. As such it has got numerous sub-categories, varying from two to one hundred three, according to different schools and classification and sub-classification. There are firstly two main divisions viz. (i) the Happy Physique Karma (Shubh Naam Karma) and (ii) the Unhappy Physique Karma (Ashubh Naam Karma). If the being or soul feels happy and satisfied in a particular physique and its other characteristics, it is considered that it is due to this Karma. This Karma accrues by sincerity of nature, uniformity in professing and acting and by removal of discord. The second is Unhappy Physique Karma (Ashubh Naam Karma) which results in unhappiness and dissatisfaction in the being from his body, physical features etc. and is a result of insincerity of one's disposition, diversity in what one says and how one acts, and a discordful nature.


There are other numerous classifications and sub-divisions of this Karma and these are listed below -

1.      Pind Prakrities - There are fourteen classifications of these with sixty five (seventy five elsewhere) sub-classifications.

2.      Pratayek Prakrities - These are of eight types.

3.      Tras Prakrities - These are of ten types.

4.      Sthavara Prakrities - These are of ten types.


Thus there are forty two main classes and ninety three sub-classes (one hundred three elsewhere) of Physique determining Karma. Each main class with subdetails is listed below with its functions (this is according to Doctrine of Karma in Jain Philosophy by Dr. Glasenapp).


The 14 Pinda-Prakrities with 65 subcategories -

States of Existence (Gati) Four -

1.      Deva gati Naam Karma bestows the celestial state of existence.

2.      Manusya-gati-naam karma-bestows the human state of existence.

3.      Tiryag-gati-naam-karma-bestows the animal state of existence.

4.      Narak-gati-naam-karma-bestows the infernal state of existence.


Classes of Beings (Jati) Five -

1.      Ekendriya-jati-naam-karma-causes birth as a being with one senses.

2.      Dvindriya-jati-naam-karma-causes birth as a being with two senses.

3.      Trindriya-jati-naam-karma-causes birth as a being with three senses.

4.      Chaturindriya-jati-naam-karma-causes birth as a being with four senses.

5.      Panchendriay-jati-naam-karma-causes birth as a being with five senses.


Bodies (Sharir) Five -

1.      Audarika-sharira-naam-karma-gives the gross physical body peculiar to animals and men.

2.      Vaikriya-sharira-naam-karma gives the transformation body which consists of fine matter, a body that changes in form and dimension. The body exists by nature in gods, infernal beings and certain animals; men can attain it through higher perfection.

3.      Aharaka-sharira-naam-karma gives the translocation body. This body which consists of good and pure substance and is without active and passive resistance. It is created for a short time by an pramatta-samyata-ascetic, in order to seek information concerning intricate dogmatic questions from an arhat who is in another part of the world, while his own physical body remains in its original place.

4.      Taijasa-sharira-naam-karma gives the fiery body. This body consists of fire pudgals and serves for digestion of swallowed food. It can also be used by ascetics to burn other beings or things.

5.      Karmana-sharir-naam-karma gives the karman body. This body is the receptacle for karman-matter. It changes every moment, because new karman is continually assimilated by the soul and the already existing one is consumed. Accompanied by it, the jiva at death leaves his body and betakes himself to the place of his new birth, where the karman body then forms the basis of the newly produced other bodies.


Chief and Secondary Parts of the Bodies - Three -

The angopanga-naam-karma cause the origin of the chief parts of the bodies. The fiery and the karman-body have no parts; that is why there are only 3 angopanga-naam-karmas namely :

1.      Audarika-angopanga-naam-karma which produce the chief and secondary parts of the physical body.

2.      Vaikriya-angopanga-naam-karma which produce the chief and secondary parts of the transformation body.

3.      Aharka-angopanga-naam-karma which produce the chief and secondary parts of translocation body.



The  bandhana-naam-karma provide that the newly seized pudgals of a body are united with those formerly assimilated ones into an organic entity, as wood sticks through an adhesive substance. According to the 5 bodies there are 5 binding-karmas:

1.      audarika-bandhana-naam-karma procures the binding of the physical body.

2.      vaikriya-bandhan-naam-karma procures the binding of the transformation body.

3.      aharaka bandhana-naam-karma procures the binding of the translocation body.

4.      taijasa-bandhana-naam-karma procures the binding of the fiery body.

5.      karmana-bandhana-naam-karma procures the binding of the karman body. Instead of 5 bandhana some adopt 15, by not only taking into consideration of the binding of the single parts of the body to one another, but also the binding of the parts of one body with one or two others (e.g. audarika taijasa-karmana-bandhana).



The samghatana-naam-karma cause the pudgals of the different bodies to bind one another; they scrape them together as a rake gathers together grass that is scattered about. According to the 5 bodies there are 5 samghatana-naam-karmas.

1.      audarika samghatana-naama karma procures the flocking together of the pudgals of the physical body.

2.      vaikriya-samghatana-naam-karma procures the flocking together of pudgals of the transformation body.

3.      aharaka-samghatana-naam-karma procures the flocking together of the pudgals of the translocation body.

4.      taijasa-samghatana-naam-karma procures the flocking together of the pudgals of the fiery body.

5.      karmana-samghatana-namm-karma procures the flocking together of the pudgals of the karman body.


Firmness of the joints - Six -

The samhanana-naam-karma unites the bones of the physical body with one another. According to the firmness of the joining, 6 karmas are to be distinguished which produce more or less strong joining of the joints :

1.      vajra-risabha-naraca-samhanana-naam-karma gives an excellent joining. The two bones are hooked into one another; through the joining a tack (vajra) is hammered; and the whole is surrounded by a bandage.

2.      risabha-naraca-samhanana-naam-karma gives a joining not so firm as the preceding one, because the tack is missing.

3.      naraca-samhanana-naam-karma gives as joining which is still weaker, because the bandage is missing.

4.      ardha-naraca-samhanana-naam-karma gives a joining which is on one side like the preceding one, whilst on the other the bones are simply pressed together and nailed.

5.      kilika samhanana-naam-karma gives a weak joining by which the bones are merely pressed together and nailed.

6.      sevarta (or chedaprstha) samhanana-naam-karma gives quite a weak joining, by which the ends of the bones only touch one another.


The samhananas play a great role in Jain dogmatics. Only the first four make meditation possible (Tattva. IX, 27), and only the best i.e. the first joining of the joints, permits the highest kind of concentration which precedes salvation.


Figures - Six -

The Samsthana-naam-karma determine the stature of a being, that is to say :

1.      samacaturasra-samsthana-naam-karma cause the entire body to be symmetrically built.

2.      nyagrodhaparimandala-samsthana-naam-karma causes the upper part of the body to be symmetrical, not the lower.

3.      saddi-samsthana-naam-karma makes the body below the naval symmetrical and above it unsymmetrical.

4.      kubja samsthana-naam-karma  makes the body hunchbacked i.e. hands, feet, head and neck symmetrical but breast and belly unsymmetrical.

5.      vamana-samsthana-naam-karma makes the body dwarf i.e. breast and belly symmetrical, hands, feet etc. unsymmetrical.

6.      hunda-samsthana-naam-karma makes the entire body unsymmetrical.


The conception of symmetry is explained in the following way. Imagine a man sitting in the paryanka posture i.e. crossing the legs and placing the hands over the navel. If the two kness are joined by a line and from the right shoulder to the left knee, and from the left shoulder to the right knee, and from the forehead to the hands, straight lines are drawn, one gets four lines. If these are equal to one another, symmetry is apparent, if they are not so, one of the other five samsthanas results.


Gods have only the first, infernal beings and jivas who have been produced through coagulation only the 6th figure and in the case of animal and men (also of Kevalins) all 6 samsthanas are to be found.


Colours - Five -

1.      krsna varna- naam - karma gives a colour which is black like a raja - patta diamond.

2.      nile - varma - naam - karma gives a colour which is dark, blue green, like an emerald.

3.      lohita - varna - naam - karma gives a colour which is red like vermillion.

4.      haridra - varna - naam - karma gives a colour which is yellow like turmeric.

5.      sita - varna - naam - karma gives a colour which is white, like a shell.


Other colours, such as brown etc. are produced by mixing. black and green are considered as being pleasant, the others as unpleasant colours.


Odours - Two -

1.      Surabhi-gandh-naam-karma produces pleasant odours (e.g. that of camphor).

2.      Durabhi-gandha-naam-karma produces unpleasent odours (e.g. that of garlic).


Tastes - Five -

1.      Tikta-rasa-naam-karma gives a bitter-taste (like that of the nimba fruit).

2.      Katu-rasa-naam-karma gives a biting taste (like that of ginger).

3.      Kasaya-rasa-naam-karma gives an astringent taste (like that of bibhitaka).

4.      Amla-rasa-naam-karma gives a sour taste (like that of tamarind).

5.      Madhura-rasa-naam-karma gives a sweet taste (like that of sugar).


The salt taste is produced by a combination of sweet taste with another. Bitter and biting tastes are considered unpleasant, the others pleasant.


Touches - Eight -

1.      guru-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be heavy, like an iron ball.

2.      laghu-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be light, like motes in a sunbeam.

3.      mridu-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be smooth, like a tinisa-tendril.

4.      khara-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be rough, like stone.

5.      sita sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be cold, like snow.

6.      usna-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be warm, like fire.

7.      snigdha-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be adhesive, like oil.

8.      ruksa-sparsa-naam-karma causes a body to be dry like ashes.


Heavy, rough, dry and cold are considered to be unpleasent touches, the others pleasant.


Anupurvis - Four -

The anupurvi-naam-karma causes that the jiva, when one existence is finished, goes from the place of death in the proper direction to the place of his new birth. According to the 4 states of existence (celestial, human, animal, infernal), there are 4 anupurvi-karma, namely -

1.      deva-anupurvi-naam-karma.

2.      manusya-anupurvi-naam-karma.

3.      tiryag-anupurvi-naam-karma.

4.      naraka-anupurvi-naam-karma.


Gaits - Two

1.      prasasta-vihayogati-naam-karma-causes a being to move in a pleasant manner, like one finds with oxen, elephants and geese.

2.      aprasasta-vihayogati-naam-karma causes an ugly manner of motion like one finds with camels and asses.


The Eight pratyeka-prakritis

1.      paraghata-naam-karma gives superiority over others. It endows the capability of injuring or vanquishing others; on the other hand, it prevents one from being injured or overcome by others.

2.      ucchavasa-naam-karma-bestows the capability of breathing.

3.      atapa-naam-karma causes the body of a being not in itself hot to emit a warm splendour.

4.      uddyota-naam-karma causes the transformation body of the gods and ascetics, as well as moon, stars, precious stones, herbs and shining insects to emit a cold lusture.

5.      agurulaghu-naam-karma makes a being neither heavy or light i.e. causes it to possess neither absolute weight nor absolute lack of it.

6.      tirthankara-naam-karma procures the position of a prophet.

7.      nirmana-naam-karma causes the formation of body i.e. it causes the members of a being to be in their right place.

8.      upaghata-naam-karma causes selftorture. It produces result that the parts of the body of a being (e.g. the uvula in the throat) cause it torture.


The Ten trasa-prakritis

1.      trasa-naam-karma gives a voluntarily movable body.

2.      badara-naam-karma gives a gross body.

3.      paryapta-naam-karma causes the complete development of the organs (Karana) and capacities (labdhi) of nourishment, of the body, of the senses, of breathing, of speech, and of thought.

4.      pratyeka-naam-karma causes the being to possess an individual body.

5.      sthira-naam-karma causes the teeth, bones, etc. to be firm.

6.      shubha-naam-karma causes the parts of the body above the navel to be beautiful, so that, some one whom one touches with the head is glad.

7.      subhaga-naam-karma causes some one to whom one is not under an obligation to be sympathetic to one.

8.      susvara-naam-karma bestows a voice which is melodious.

9.      adeya-naam-karma causes that some one is suggestive, so that his speech meets with approbation and belief.

10.  yaskirtin-karma grants honour and glory.


The Ten sthavara-prakrtis.

1.      sthavara-naam-karma causes the body (plants and elementary beings) that cannot be moved voluntarily.

2.      suksma-naam-karma gives (to elementary beings) a subtle body imperceptible to our senses.

3.      aparyapta-naam-karma causes that the organs or faculties of a being do not attain full development, but remain undeveloped.

4.      sadharana-naam-karma gives (to plants etc.) a body in common with others of their species.

5.      asthira-naam-karma causes that ears, brows, tongue etc. are flexible.

6.      ashubha-naam-karma causes that all parts of the body, below the navel are considered to be ugly, so that somebody who is touched by the foot feels this to be unpleasant.

7.      durbhaga-naam-karma makes the jiva unsympathetic.

8.      duhsavara-naam-karma makes the voice ill sounding.

9.      anadeya-naam-karma makes the jiva unsuggestive.

10.  ayashkirti-naam-karma causes dishonour and shame.


Status determining (Gotra) Karma Bondage.

This Karma determines whether the living being will be born in a restrained and respected family or otherwise and it is therefore, compared with a potter. It is divided into two categories viz., (a) High (Uccha) status Karma and (b) Low (Neech) Status Karma, which are further divided into eight sub-categories each.

1.      High Status (Uccha gotra) Karma involves a high and respectful status in respect of (i) family; (ii) community (iii) learning (iv) power (v) profit (vi) penance (vii) looks and (viii) luxury and these eight form its sub-divisions. This karma results from non-exhibition of and non-exultaion in one's qualities, knowledge, wealth and other attainments and admiring such attributes of others.

2.      The Low Status (Neech gotra) Karma results in the opposite equipment and attainments like low and irrespectable family, connections etc. and is earned by exhibition and exultation in one's knowledge, wealth etc. and deprecating such qualities in others.


Obstructing (Antraya) Karma Bondage -

This Karma obstructs the adoption of desirable course or attainment of one's objectives or equipment’s and is of five sub-divisions. It is compared to a "Storekeeper" who does not permit issue from the store, The five sub-categories are -

1.      Obstructing Charity (Dana Antraya) - due to which one is not able to give things to deserving people.

2.      Obstructing Profit (Labha Antraya) - due to which one is not able to profit or earn inspite of efforts.

3.      Obstructing enjoyment (Bhoga Antraya) - due to which one may not be able to enjoy things like food, drinks etc.

4.      Obstructing repeated enjoyment (Upbhoga Antraya) - due to which one is not able to enjoy things which are repeatedly or continuously enjoyed like house, clothes, cars etc.

5.      Obstructing powers (Veerya Astraya) - due to which one is not able to exploit and profit fully by one's prowess or power or attainments.


This Karma Bondage arises due to similar activities by the beings like obstructing others' food, water etc. depriving others of their due profit and raising obstacles in the path of others' progress.


This brings to end the discussions of Nature Bondage of Karma (Prikriti Bandh) with the soul. Along with the Nature Bondage the Duration (Stithi), Intensity (Anubhag/Ras) and Quantam (Pradesh) bondage is also determined at the time of influx and bondage of Karma with the soul. Now these three can also be examined.


Duration Karma Bondage (Stithi Bandh) -

The time or duration for which the particular Karma bondage will bear fruits or give result is determined along with the nature of such Karma bondage when it occurs. This also is dependant upon the intensity of the activities of the being (Yoga) and of passions-Kashayas-the latter being more important. This duration may be millions and millions years and even a fraction of a second for which period the particular Karma remains active, live and in operation giving result. This is known as Duration or Stithi bondage. The maxima and minima of this duration varies for different Karma the maximum duration is that of Deluding (Mohaneeya) Karma which is seventy Kota-Koti Sagaropam. Between the maxima and minima the duration is fixed by different being by their own acts of omission and commission. The duration (Stithi) Bondage is however not sacrosanct and in some cases the time of operation of some Karmas can be reduced or increased by one's efforts as explained later.


Quantum Karma Bondage (Pradesh Bandh) -

The quantity of Karma Bodies that is attracted and attached to the soul by Yoga (Activity) and Kashaya (Passions) is called the Quantum or Pradesh bondage. In this process Yoga or Activity plays more important role as it attracts Karma Bodies into the soul, and therefore the Quantum Bondage of Karma varies with the activities of the beings through mind, speech and body coupled with the passions.


Intensity Karma Bondage (Anubhag or Ras Bandh) -

The power or the strength of the Karma according to which its fruits or results will vary is known as the Intensity (Anubhag) Karma Bondage. All Karma attracted into the soul do not have equal force or power because their power varies with the intensity of Kashaya (Passions) in the acts due to which they are bound. If the anger or greed with which an act is committed is of high intensity the Karma accruing will also give results of high intensity involving extreme pain or discomfort. However, if the passions are mild, the Karma bondage will also be of low intensity and result also be of minor discomfort. It must have become obvious that this category of bondage depends primary on passions or Kashyas.


Before concluding the discussion of four types of Karma bondage it may be mentioned that it is difficult to divide the causes as well as the four types of bondage resulting from them into watertight compartments. Just as the causes like false fiath/vision (Mithyatva), negligence (Pramad), Indicipline (Avirati), Passion (Kashaya) and Yoga (Influx) are generally present at all times in varying degrees in the different activities of beings, similarly, the Karma bondage resulting therefrom involve all the four types and their species of bondage in varying degrees, which can be exactly gauged by only the perfect beings. The divisions and sub-divisions of the types of bondage and their causes discussed above are only broad indications for guidance only. Again, there is nothing sacrosanct or permanent about the Karma bondage which must ultimately end in separation (Nirjara) of the Karma from the soul which leads to liberation or Moksha, except in the case of some beings called Abhavies. Between the two stages of Bondage (Bandh) and separation (Nirjara) of Karma with the soul there are various stages which are described below to show the changes and developments that can occur in the bondage of Karma by voluntary and involuntary efforts. The importance of this discussion lies in the fact that it highlights the supremacy of the soul over the Karma or voluntary effort (Purshart) over destiny in as much as it shows that by such effort the destined results of Karma bondage can be altered, or modified to a certain extent. They are:

1.      Intensification (Udavartana)

2.      Dilution (Apvartna),

3.      Stay (Satta)

4.      Operation (Uday)

5.      Premature operation (Udirna)

6.      Interchange (Sankramana)

7.      Dormancy (Upshama)

8.      Flexibility (Nidhat)

9.      Inflexibility (Nikachana).


These are briefly dealt with in the under-mentioned paras.

1.      Intensification or Udvartana - means further increase in the Duration (Stithi) or Intensity (Anubhag) of Karma bondage due to one's action.

2.      Dilution or Apvartana involves reducing the duration or intensity bondage as opposed to item (i) above. These both relate to the two types of Bondage only and as a result of these the duration of operation of Karmas may be prolonged or shortened as well made more severe or mild due to Udvartana and Apvartana respectively.

3.      Stay or Satta means existence of Karma bondage with the soul before coming into fruition or operation. It is the idle state of Karma bodies.

4.      Operation or Udaya is the bearing of fruits by the Karma due to all other conditions also being ripe. It is during the operation that the Karma have their good or bad effects on the beings and then leave the soul. It may be involuntary or by deliberate efforts when it is called Udirana (Premature-operation) discussed below at item. (v) It has been prescribed that when Karma come into operation bringing pleasure or pain, one should observe complete equanimity (samata). This will make the Karma shed their attachment with the soul without further acquisition of Karma. If one loses his equanimity and indulges in further passions this will lead to consequent bondage ad-inifinitum.

5.      Udirana or Premature Operation means bringing the Karma bondage into operation or fruition by deliberate efforts (like penance). In this process the Karma that could have borne fruits later can be ripened early to give results in advance like ripening of fruits by artificial means. It may not apply to all cases of and types of Karma bondage.

6.      Inter-change or Sankarman involves the change of one type of Karma bondage into another type. Ordinarily the Karma bondage adheres to its own Nature, Duration and Intensity etc. and gives results according to its category e.g. Knowledge Obscuring Karma will obscure knowledge only (according to the appropriate nature, duration and intensity). However, it is possible to change one sub-category of Karma into another by proper efforts e.g. Sensory Knowledge-Obscuring Karma (Mati Gyanavarnia) may be changed into Study Knowledge Obscuring Karma (Sruta-Gyanavarnia). There are, however, exceptions e.g. Faith Deluding (Darshan Mohaneeya) Karma cannot be inter-changed with Conduct Deluding (Charitra Mohaneeya) Karma and the sub-types of Life Span (Aayu) Karma cannot be interchanged etc. Such interchange is also possible in respect of duration (Stithi) and intensity (Anubhag) Karma bondage which can be increased or decreased as stated earlier (under intensification (Udvartana) and dilution (apvartana).

7.      Dormacy or Upshama - When the Karma (bondage) is made not to give results but are made dormant it is considered a state of Upshama of that Karma. This is like fire covered by ashes. As soon as dormancy is over the Karma start giving results like fire whence ashes have been removed.

8.      Flexibility or Niddhat is the state or Karma when its powers can be partially altered by efforts like penance. This is, however, possible subject to extreme conditions and limitation.

9.      Inflexibility-Nikachana is such Karma bondage the result of which is inescapable and effects of which cannot be altered by the best of efforts like penance. Such Karma will release the soul only giving results upon operation (Udaya).


There can be more such stages in the relationship of soul with the Karma and between Karma internse. Even some of those described above are overlapping. However, it should be clear that though at times the Karma bondage has a strangle-hold and upper hand on the soul, by adequate efforts the soul can be supreme and can alter and dilute the effects of Karma-nay even completely get rid of them. This shows the importance of human efforts or Purusharth vis a vis destiny. The discussion now comes to the concluding portion i.e. the separation (Nirjara) of the Karma from the soul and its complete liberation or Moksh or Mukti.


Sanvar or Prevention -

A very brief mention may be made, for the sake of comprehensiveness, of Prevention-Sanwar of Karma bondage which is opposite of Influx and stops the entrance of Karma into the soul body abinition. As a result the question of bondage does not arise. The Prevention or Sanwar is essential stage on the path of spiritual lberation and also prescribes the best path to be followed in human life to achieve greatest good of greatest number. It has been given place in seven fundamentals (Tatva) of Jainism and has been dealt with as such (in Pt. I). In short it requires non-indulgence in all such activities that may result in Influx (Asrava) and bondage (Bandh) and to follow a positive way of life which will automatically lead to prevention. The activities to be avoided are of forty two types listed earlier, (though differently listed elsewhere but implications are the same). The positive acts include 3 Gupti, 5 Samity, 10 Dharma, 12 Bhavanas, overcoming 22 Parishah, 5 Charitra and 12 Tapa dealt with in Pt. I.


So far as the discussion of Karma is considered Prevention (Sanwar) is denial of Influx (Asarav) of Karma and all its species and categories. Thus when Prevention is achieved further influx and bondage of Karma into the soul is stopped. The way then becomes clear to shed the accumulated Karma and such shedding is known as Nirjara or Separation.


Nirjara or Separation -

This has also been discussed in Pt. I as part of Seven Fundamentals. From the angle of Karma it may be added that once the bonded Karma have given their fruit according to the Bondage, (in respect of Nature, Duration, Intensity and Quantum) coupled with other circumstances like voluntary efforts, it falls apart from the soul leaving it for good. In another way Karma may be separated from the soul by Penance which is of twelve types and which has also been discussed at length in Pt. I. as part of Three Hallmarks of Jainism. With the total separation (Nirjara) of Karma, further Bondage and Influx having been stopped already, the path is clear for complete liberation or Moksha or Mukti.


This path to complete liberation lies through omniscience (Kevalya) which is first achieved by complete destruction of the four Ghatia Karmas i.e. (1) Deluding (Mohaneeya), (2) Knowledge obscuring (Gyanavarnia), (3) Perception Obscuring (Darshanvarnia) and (4) Obstructing (Antaraya). These four suppress the intrinsic attributes of the soul and out of these Deluding (Mohaneeya) Karma should be the first to end which is followed by destruction of the other three. This enables the soul though embodied to shine in its full glory and power of Absolute Rationsalism (Kshyayik Samyaktva), Infinite Perception (Anant Darshan), Infinite Knowledge (Anant Gyan), and Infinite prowess (Anant Veerya). Such personages are called Kevali (Perfect beings) Sarvagya (All-knowing) Jina (Victors) and when blessed with Teerthankar Naam (Physique) Karma they become Theerthankars and re-establish the religion and four Teertha Centres of Worship i.e. Monks (Sadhu), Nuns (Sadhvi) Shravaka (Laymen) and Shravika (Laywomen).


However, the progreess of the pilgrim on this path is not easy. Though hard and fast divisions are not possible the progress of destruction or separation of Karma from the soul (Nirjara) is divided in a number of stages called Gunasthans described in a separate chapter.


In each of these progressive stages the separation of Karma from the soul increases innumerable time from stage to stage and in turn the higher powers of the soul are manifested reaching the highest pinnacle as Jina or perfect being as stated above.


However, the Jina or Omniscient being is not completely liberated or Mukta as four minor Karma are still present. These are called the Aghatiya Karmas and sustain the physical existence, and, as we know, are the Status (Gotra) Age (Aayu), Physique (Naam) and Feeling (Vedniya) Karmas. When these are also destroyed  or separated from the soul, the Influx already stopped by Prevention, the soul becomes completely free from Karma, worldly existence and the rounds of birth and death. This is complete liberation or Mukti or Moksha.


This state is difficult to be described in words, though some attempt has been made in Pt. I. From the point of view of Karma, the subject which is under discussion, liberation or Mukti or Moksha is complete destruction of Karma. According to Tatvarth Sutra "Kritsna Karmakshyo Moksha" i.e. complete destruction of Karma is Moksha.


Thus the liberation or Mukti or release of the soul is from Karma bondage and, therefore, the technical and literal meanings are identical in this case. Its significance lies in the fact that the bondage has been with the soul since times immemorial, actually it is beginningless and the liberation or release is final and irreversible with no further chance of Karma bondage. At the same time though the powers of the released soul are limitless, some of the attributes realised (by the soul) which were obstructed by the Karma bondage of eight kinds are given in the following table in juxtaposition :




Kind of Karma destroyed   

Attributes of soul realised thereby





Deluding (Mohaneeya)               

Perfect rationalism (Kshyayik- Samyaktva). 




Perception obscuring (Darshanavarniya)                     

Perfect perception (Anant Darshan).





Knowledge obscuring (Gyanavarniya)                                                 

Perfect knowledge/Wisdom (Anant Gyan)





Obstructing (Antraya)                     

Perfect Prowess (Anant Veerya)





Status Determining (Gotra)            

Equality of status (Agurulagutva)





Age (Aayu)                     

Eternity (Akshya Stithi)





Physique determining (Naam)      

Formlessness (Amoortatva)





Feeling producing (Vedniya)        

Non-interference (Avyabadhatava).





These indeed are the distinguishing features of the liberated soul as described in the Jain Canon.


Some additional observations, conclusions and Summary (The Doctrine of Karma PArt -3)

These observations are supplementary to the above discussion of the doctrine of Karma. They also summarize some observations and throw additional light on some aspects-for these reasons these have been taken at the end.


Firstly, it must have become clear that Karma and the results thereof are strictly personal to the soul, responsible for and bound by them. No other soul or being can help or share in the result of one's Karma as they travel with the particular soul from birth to birth. If any expiation or alleviation has to be done it has to be done by the soul itself. No other soul can bail out the responsible soul by agreeing to bear or share the fruits of its Karma. In short Karma bondage and Karma results are not transferable.


True to its analytical tradition Jainism has divided Karma into a number of groups in order to bring out their important features to enable a clearer understanding of this difficult but important subject. Accordingly Karma are divided into the following significant groups :

A.     Dravya Karma and Bhava Karma

B.     Shubh Karma and Ashubh Karma

C.     Iriyapathic Karma and Samprayik Karma

D.     Ghati Karma and Aghati Karma.


Though some of them have been discussed or mentioned in passing, they are highlighted below for the sake of comprehensiveness.


Dravya Karma and Bhava Karma (Material Karma and Thought Karma).

The Karma Pudgal or the Karma Vargana attached to the soul are the Dravya Karma and the Yoga and the four passions (which lead to bondage) are the Bhava Karma. The Bhava Karma being activities or attributes of the soul are spiritual in character while Dravya Karma being part of matter are material in character. The former are called defects (dosa) of the soul and the latter the cover (avarna) of the soul. The Dravya and Bhava Karma are mutually related as each other's counterparts i.e. cause and effect, each of the other. The Bhava Karma i.e. Yoga and passions (Kashaya) attract Dravya Karma (Karma pudgal) and bind them to the soul, while the latter cause vibration in the soul leading to further Yoga and Kashaya or further Bhava Karma. This chain reaction continues as a vicious circle till broken by positive and deliberate efforts called Sanwar (Prevention) and Nirjara (Separation).


Shubh (Happy or Good) or Ashubha (Unhappy or Bad) Karma

Strictly speaking from the spiritual point of view all Karma Bondage is Ashubh, as it fetters the powers of the soul. However, from the worldly point of view some Karma Bondage makes for happiness and contentment in the embodied life while others lead to unhappiness and discontent. The former are the result of Shubh Yoga and the latter of Ashubh Yoga as discussed in the beginning of this chapter. These are loosely called Shubh and Ashubh Karma and are also described as Punya and Paap. As all the Karma bondage must involve passion or Kashaya i.e. Raag and Dvesh even Shubh Karma or Punya also imply Raag (attachment) or Kashaya of some type or other. However, such attachment may be of noble type which is called Prashast Raag. Further the control over the passions or making them dormant (upshama) may also result in Happy or auspicious Karma Bondage or Punya. The reason for terming such Karma as Shubh or Punya is that they provide further opportunity for emancipation of the soul from Karma through prevention (Sanwar) and separation (Nirjara). However, it may be reiterated that even the best of Shubh Karma or Punya even Teerthankar Naam Karma is inferior to Nirjara or destruction of Karma - strictly from the point of view of spiritual development.


Out of the approximately hundred varieties of nature Bondage or Prakriti Bandh some are considered as happy types or shubh or Punya Prakrities and some are termed as unhappy or Ashubh or Paap Prakrities. Though there are some minor differences in the exact classification the following examples will illustrate the two categories :




Kinds or Karma           

 Shubh or Happy nature           

Ashubh or Unhappy nature






Knowledge obscuring (Gyanavarnia)           


 All the five subtypes.






 Perception obscuring (Darshanavarniya)                  


 All the nine subtypes.






Feeling producing (Vedniya)                          

Pleasure producing (Asata Vedniya)    

Displeasure producing (Asata Vedniya) 






Deluding (Mohaneeya)                           

(a) Faith deluding (Samyaktava)

 All other twenty four sub-categories


(b) Laughter (Hasya)              

 (N.B. All 28 categories are considered unhappy by some authorities)



(c) Attraction (Rati)




(d) Masculine (Purushved)                     




 Life Span (Aayu)           

(a) Godly life span

 Hell life span


(b) Human life span     



(c) Animal life span







 Physique Determining  (Naam)             

As stated earlier Happy Physique Karma includes those categories out of 93  sub-categories of this Karma which makes for happiness and satisfaction of the being,

and the others are unhappy or Ashubh categories.


Example of happy Naam Karma are celestial and human states of existence,

while animal and inferior states fall  into unhappy group of Naam Karma categories. 





Status (Gotra)              

 High staus (Ucha)           

Low status (Neech)






Obstructing (Antraya)                          


All five types






It may be added that when the Karma Bondage occurs it is not compartmentalised in purely happy or purely unhappy types of Bondage. It is a combined accrual of Karma into the soul but the categorisation in happy (Shubh or Punya) or unhappy (Ashubh or Paap) types of Bondage is determined by the predominant nature of the Karma bondage which in turn depends on the degree of Yoga and Kashaya in the soul at that time. If the yoga is shubh or good and Kashay is also subdued the Bondage occurring will be of a happy or shubh category of Karma, while in the opposite conditions it will be unhappy or Ashubh Bondage.


This distinction and discussion is important as misunderstanding of this subject has resulted in confusion, controversies and even schism in the Jain church. The happy or shubh Karma or Punya, though a bondage of the soul, cannot be shunned, but is preferable to the unhappy or Ashubh Karma or paap in the conduct of the beings generally. These shubh Karma can be avoided only after reaching a certain stage when they become a burden. They can be compared with a ladder, which has to be carried and used for going up, though once the top is reached the ladder need not be carried and may be discarded; but only after the higher level is reached. It may be concluded that the saints and nuns who follow the five major vows and who are at an advanced stage of spiritual conduct need not care much for shubh or happy Karma. However, the laymen and lay-women should not adjure and do not abjure the shubh Karma. This can be seen in daily life, when the Jain laymen are seen engaged in acts of pity and charity ranging from building hospitals and shelters (for men and animals alike) to feeding them in times of need. It is hoped the above clarification will, to some extent, neutralize or invalidate the charge against Jainism that it teaches selfishness and makes a man self-centered, caring for one's own salvation only without any social commitment.


To fully appreciate the implications and practical aspects of the Happy and Unhappy or Shubh (Punya) and Ashubh (Paap) Karma, the salient items of these two are listed below and the four combinations thereof are discussed later. There are eighteen categories of Karmas which are accepted as Ashubh or Paap or unhappy as given below :


(i) Violence (ii)  Falsehood (iii) Theft (iv) Sex (v) Covetousness (vi) Anger (vii) Pride (viii) Deceipt (ix) Greed (x) Attachment (xi) Hatred (xii) Quarrelsomeness (xiii) Allegation (False) (xiv) Complaint (False) (xv) Backbiting (xvi) Exultation or grief (xvii) Duplicity and (xviii) False faith.


The nine types of Happy Karma or the Shubh or Punyas are as under -

(i) Providing others with food (ii) Drink (iii) Shelter (iv) Bedding (v) Clothing (vi) Wishing well (vii) Happy speech (viii) bodily service (ix) Respectfulness.


The four combination of Happy or Shubh Karma (Punya) and Unhappy or Ashubh Karma (Paap) which offer practical guidance in every day life are given in the next Para.


Happy present and Happy future (Punyanubandhi Punya)

This combination covers those lives who lead a happy life due to Shubh Karma in the past (i.e. past Punya) and also further engage in happy or Shubh (Punya) Karma which result in a happy future. This is the best example of a happy life which may result in salvation ultimately besides happy life in this world.


Unhappy present but happy future (Punyabandhi Pap)

Inspite of unhappiness in present existence due to past Ashubh Karma (Paap) those practising good or happy or Shubh Karma are in this category. They ensure a happy existence for themselves in future inspite of misery in the present existence. This is also a desirable course of life.


Happy Present but Unhappy future (Paapanubandhi Punya)

These are beings who presently have a happy existence due to past. Happy Shubh (Punya) Karma but who indulge in bad or Ashubh Karma (Paap) thus earning a miserable life for themselves in future. Though they are apparently happy, inspite of their sinful life, which may create an impression that sin brings happiness. However, the happiness is due to their past Shubh Karma, which when exhausted lead to unhappiness and misery. Such conduct is therefore to be guarded against or avoided.


Unhappy present and unhappy future (Paapanubandhi Paap)

This is the worst combination wherein a being has to suffer due to past Ashubh Karma or Paap, and who further indulges in similar acts and earns Ashubh Karma, which lead him to future unhappiness and misery. Obviously this type of course of action has to be avoided at all costs.


Apart from this two categories of Shub or Ashubh Karma there is a third group of Karma which do not strictly bind the soul as they are not accompanied by Passions which are the binding agents. These may be termed as pure Karma or Shudh Karma or Akarma (as mentioned in Geeta) and are known as iryapathic Karma which brings us to the next group of Karma.


Iryapathic or Non-effecting Karma and Samprayik or effecting Karma.

Brief mention of these has come earlier in this chapter under the heading `Introduction of Karma into the soul'. Further to that discussion, it may now be clarified that both the happy or Unhappy (Shubh or Ashubh) Karma or Paap and Punya fall in the Samparyik group or Karma, as they are results of activity coloured with passions or Kashaya and they bind the soul. However, all such Karma which arise due to passionless activity are in the Iryapathic group of Karma and they do not contaminate the soul. They are, therefore, termed as Shudha or pure Karma. The pilgrim on the path of spiritual progress has, therefore, to try to adjure the unhappy or Ashubh Karma or Paap completely and direct his efforts towards happy or Shubh Karma or Punya, even which is not his ultimate destination. He should aim at Pure or Shudha Karma to avoid further bondage or further contamination of the soul, which only can lead to Moksha or liberation.


Ghati Karma (Vitiating Karma) and Aghati Karma (Nonvitiating Karma)

1.      It has been noted above that the eight attributes or qualities of the soul are distorted by the eight types of Karmas, which have to be destroyed for full realisation of its qualities  by the soul. Out of the eight attributes of the soul four  are innate attributes or fundamental qualities viz., Perfect Rationalism (Samyaktva) Perfect Perception (Darshan), Perfect Knowledge or Wisdom (Gyan) and Perfect Bliss or Prowess (Virya). Unless all these are realised the soul cannot be considered pure or perfect as elements of impurity or imperfection remain,, which vitiate the capacity of the soul. The four Karma that so vitiate or impair the soul are called Ghati Karma or Vitiating Karma. These are Deluding (Mohaneeya), Perception obscuring (Darshanavarniya) Knowledge Obscuring (Gyanavarniya ) and Obstructing (Antraya) Karma which vitiate the four innate qualities of the soul mentioned above respectively. These vitiating or Ghati Karma may be divided into two sub-types i.e. (i) completely vitiating or Sarvaghati and (ii) Partially vitiating or Desh Ghati depending upon the extent to which they vitiate the innate qualities of the soul. Thus the omniscience obscuring or Keval Gyanavarnia Karma is completely vitiating (Saravaghati) while the other four sub-types of Knowledge Obscurine Karma are partially obscuring Karma i.e. Desh Ghati.


2.      The remaining four categories of Karma viz., Status (Gotra), Age (Aayu), Physique (Naam) and Feeling producing (Vedniya) determine the physical or worldly existence of the soul in respect of level of family, duration of life, types of body and happy/unhappy states respectively, that the soul will encounter in the Physical existence. They do not vitiate or damage the innate characteristics of the soul and are, therefore, termed as Non-vitiating or Aghati Karma.


No-Karma -

We come across this term, which is not very important or relevant to the subject under discussion. It is also interpreted in various ways. Some consider the Bodies other than Karma Bodies as No-Karma. It is also meant to signify the Karma Bodies after they have given results and have separated from the soul.


Vindication of the Doctrine of Karma -

After endless argument about God, it has been concluded, that "for those who do not believe in God, no arguments are possible, for those who believe in God, no arguments are necessary". Same thing may be said about the concept of Karma and no proof is possible or necessary for this theory. Nor can it be proved in a laboratory. However, it is a universally accepted postulate which was not required to be proved. It was the revealed word out of the teachings of the enlightened ones with all the authority of their perfect knowledge, insight and experience.

1.      Moreover, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Karma concept provides a satisfactory explanation for otherwise inexplicable divergence in existence, as stated in the beginning of this chapter. The other explanations for the divergence are the extremely materialist theory of thinkers like Charvak who considers the creation as a lifeless interplay of elements. This is generally not acceptable. Or at the other end is the theory that a super-natural phenomena called God is responsible for the creation with all the diversity and aberrations. The institution of the supreme God though solving a number of problems creates many more and leaves a large number of questions like "who created the creator God" and "why should He put man to sin only to forgive him" which has been aptly put in a rubai by the famous Omar Khayam -


"Oh, Thou who man of baser earth didst make.

And with Eden didst devise the snake,

For all the sin, wherewith the face of man,

Is blackened, man's forgiveness, give and take"


2.      As stated earlier Karma theory steers clear of such problems, and makes the being self-reliant and responsible for its deeds, at the same time enforcing an ethical behaviour and highly moral conduct by willing common consent, which ultimately makes the world a better place to live. It provides a satisfactory key to the riddle of the creation and its complications and the key is in the hands of a real living being i.e. the Man, who is the central piece in the Karma scheme.



3.      Not that Karma theory and materiel nature of Karma has not faced its share of criticism. It has been considered fatalistic, individualistic and rather mechanical and too emphatic on punishment and retribution. The student of detailed aspects of Karma may like to go through the learned dissertations on the subject, where arguments are marshalled to counter such unmerited criticism. Here it may be briefly stated, on the basis of earlier discussions, that the Karma theory is neither fatalistic nor individualistic, nor  mechanical nor retributive. A deeper understanding of the subject will reveal that belief in Karma leads to voluntary healthy effort, alongwith acceptance of the inevitable and inescapable results of Karma which avoids unnecessary discontentment. There is a deep social commitment in auspicious or Shubh Karma as already noticed above. There being scope for alteration or transformation in the results of Karma there is no question of its being called mechanical. Lastly, belief in Karma lays emphasis not so much on punishment or retribution but on the continuous efforts for moral regeneration and upliftment of the beings and this results in a better social order-a utopia visualised by all philosophers and prophets alike.


The discussion of the Theory of Karma may be appropriately closed with the reproduction of the following remarks of the great German Scholar Dr. Hermann Jacobi on this subject, as extracted from his essay on "Jainism" in the Encyclopaedia of Religions and Ethics - "We have seen the cause of soul's embodiment is the presence in it of Karma matter. The theory of Karma is the keystone of the Jain system; it is necessary therefore, to explain this theory in more detail. The natural qualities of soul are perfect knowledge (Jnana) intution or faith (Darshan), highest bliss, and all sorts of perfections; but these inborn qualities of the soul are weakened or obscured in mundane souls by the presence of Karma. From this point of view the division of Karma will be understood. When karma matter has penetrated the soul, it is transformed into eight kinds (Prakrti) or Karma singly or severally, which form the karmanasarira, just as food, is by digestion, transformed into the various fluids necessary for the support and growth of the body. The eight kinds of Karma are as follows :-

1. Gyanavarniya, that which obscures the inborn right knowledge (i.e. omniscience) of the soul and thereby produces different degrees of knowledge and ignorance (2) Darsanavaraniya that which obscures right intution i.e. sleep. (3) Vedaniya that which obscures the blissful nature of the soul and thereby produces pleasure and pain, (4) Mohaniya, that which disturbs the right attitude of the soul with regard to faith, conduct, passions, and other emotions, and produces, doubt, error, right or wrong conduct, passions, and various mental states. The following 4 kinds of Karma concern more the individual status of a being (5) Ayuska that which determines the length of life of an individual in one birth as hell-being, animal, man or god (6) Nama that which produces the various circumstances or elements which collectively make up an individual existence e.g. the peculiar body with its general and special qualities, faculties etc. (7) Gotra that which determines the nationality, caste, family social standing, etc. of an individual (8) Antaraya that which obstructs the inborn energy of the soul and thereby prevents the doing of a good action when there is a desire to do it.


We shall now consider the application of the Karma theory to ethics. The highest goal is to get rid of all Karma (Nirjara) and meanwhile to acquire no new Karma - technically speaking, to stop the influx (Asrava) of the Karma, which is called Samvara, or the covering of the channels through which Karma finds entrance into the soul. All actions produce Karma and in the majority of cases entail on the doer continuance of worldly existence (Samparayika) but when a  man is free from passions and acts in strict compliance with the rules of right conduct, his actions produce Karma which lasts but for a moment and is then annihilated (iryapatha). Therefore the whole apparatus of monastic conduct is required to prevent the formation of new karma; the same purpose is served by austerities (tapas) which moreover, annihilate the old Karma speedily than would happen in the common course of things.


It is evident from the preceding remarks that the ethics and asceticism of the Jains are to be regarded as the logical consequence of the theory of Karma. But from a historical point of view many of their ethical principles, monastic institutions and ascetic practices have been inherited from older religious  classes of Indian society, since Brahmanical ascetics and Buddhists resemble them in many of their precepts and institutions (See SBE xxii (1884) Introd. p xxii ff)".



Stages of Progress of the Soul due to Development of its qualities - The Fourteen Gunasthan


For a simple definition of Gunsthan we may quote from the book "Outlines of Jainism" by Shri J.L. Jaini which says as under :-


            "In Jainism fourteen stages are indicated through which the soul progresses from impurifying matter on to final liberation. The psychical condition of the soul due to the rising. (Udaya), settling down and partly perishing of Karma matter (Kshyopasham) is called "Gunasthan".


However, there is more depth and meaning involved in this subject which has been called occult Jainism or Jain Mysticism. Just as Mysticism elsewhere e.g. Sufism involves the union of the being with God, in Jainism the Gunasthans describe the path, modalities and pre-requisites for the bonded soul-Bahiratama to become liberated soul or Paramatma through the path of internal progress or by becoming Antaratma. The process begins with the soul which is at the lowest stage from times immemorial circulating in the whirlpool of births and deaths due to lack of true knowledge and true conduct. Since there is a divine spark in every soul (without which it will not be a living being), it is struggling to find its true identity and potential of becoming liberated. Thus a constant struggle is going on between forces of darkness of unbelief (mithyatva) which try to keep the soul tied down to the Sansar (worldly existence) on the one hand; and forces of light or true belief (Samyaktva) which try for its liberation on the other. In the long run there comes a chance when by reducing its Karma load, the forces of light (Samyaktva) prevail and the soul is able to break the shackles of Mithyatva (Unbelief), just like a piece of straw or paper is able to escape out of a whirlpool. This is like cutting the Gordian knot and is also called Granthi bhed in Jain terminology. Once this happens, the soul is set on the road of rising Gunasthans. In other word the pilgrim has found his path and the Pilgrim's Progress has begun which may ultimately lead to the liberation of the soul though it may take millenniums and millenniums. During this progress through different Gunsthans the soul has to encounter ups and downs as also very unusual and unprecedented experiences known as Sreni etc. which have been described in detail in the Karma Grantha, for those interested in detailed study of this subject. Here it may be sufficient to give below the general observations and rudimentary information about these processes -

Three Karnas are:

1.      Yatha pravrti Karna -

When the soul reducing the intensity of Karma comes face to face with the Granthi or the Gordian knot of unbelief. Success or failure depends on its own efforts.

2.      Apurva Karna -

Having succeeded in breaking the Gordian knot, the soul through further mitigation of Karma by Rasaghat (mitigation of intensity), Stithighat (mitigation of duration) Gunsankraman  (interchange) and such processes enters upon new vistas of unprecedented experiences of spiritual advancement which lead to the next Karna.

3.      Anivritti Karna -

Where the worst type of Kashaya and Karma are annihilated and the soul is ready for higher stages of spiritual development and Gunasthans.


Two Srenies (Ladders) - 

These are the two spiritual ladders one of suppression/subsidence of Karma and other of complete annihilation. Obviously only the latter can lead to liberation; the former may lead back to lower stages, though it may temporarily mean progress. They are named Upsham Sreni (suppression ladder) and Kshapak Sreni (annihilation ladder) according to their nature.


Further, the Gunasthaans denote a purely spiritual exercise - the fourteen classifications relate to the spirit or the soul though it is embodied. The progress or regression is of the soul and is on the spiritual scale and according to spiritual yard-sticks. It connote be seen or observed in the physical world.


Though the stages of spiritual development relate to the soul or are of the soul, they directly result from and are immediately caused by Karma (matter) contaminating the soul. As such the worse and more intense the association of Karma with the soul, lower the stage of the soul in this categorisation. Conversely lesser and lighter the Karma load on the soul, the higher and better is the stage it attains.


Karma may appear as the immediate cause determining gunasthans, but since Karma in turn accrue, arise or subside by Yoga (vibration), Kashaya (passion), Premad (negligence), Avirati (indiscipline) and Mithyatva (false faith ) as seen earlier - these ultimately are responsible for soul's progress or downfall. As the Yoga and Kashaya etc. are committed by the soul itself  with or without other conditions participating in the final and ultimate analysis, it is the soul itself which determines its Gunasthan or its development or downfall. The manifestation of Karma in their , different varieties and aspects like Prakritis, Udaya, Udirna, Bandh, Satta etc are described in detail in the Karma Grantha alongwith the relevant Gunasthana. In brief all these have found mention in the chapter on Theory of Karma of which, this chapter may be considered as a supplement.


Though only fourteen stages are identified there are innumerable points on the path of liberation on which the soul transits up and down or at which it stays - just like numerous points or stations on a railways route though the path is identified by a few important or junction stations. The soul has been on this path since times immemorial and will be so till its final liberation, which is its final destination being completion of spiritual development.


The Gunasthan, on which the soul may be, varies from moment to moment depending on its Karma Udaya or Kshyopsham or Raag Dvesh or Yoga Kashaya,  just as blood pressure of a man vaires from moment to moment. To identify the Gunasthan of a being exactly at any moment is only possible for the Keval Gyani the Perfect Being since it is a purely spiritual barometer; it is not possible of assessment by ordinary beings - who can only form some idea by the external conditions, circumstances and behaviour of the beings.


The movement of the beings from one Gunasthan to another is not in strictly numerical order i.e. first to second and so on but the soul moves up and down on the spiritual path according to logical  rules e.g. from first Gunasthan the soul transits straight to the fourth, but it may regress to third or second on its path to the first for reasons given herein-later.


We will know more about them as we briefly describe each of the fourteen Gunasthans, in the subsequent paragraphs, First let us enumerate the names of the fourteen Gunasthans and then describe each of them briefly as under :-

1.      Mithyadrishti Gunasthan

2.      Sasvadana-Samyagdrishti Gunasthan

3.      Samyag-mithyadrishti Gunasthan

4.      Avirat Samyagdristi Gunasthan

5.      Deshvirat Shravak Gunasthan

6.      Pramatta-Samyata-Gunasthan

7.      Apramatta-Samyata-Gunasthan

8.      Apurva Karana or Nivriti Badar Gunasthan

9.      Anivritti badar Gunasthan

10.  Sukhshama Sampraya Gunasthan

11.  Upshant Kashaya Gunasthan

12.  Ksheena Kashaya Gunasthan

13.  Sayogi Kevali Gunasthan

14.  Ayogi Kevali Gunasthan.


Mithyadrishti Gunasthan  

This is the lowest or first stage, wherein the soul, due to manifestation of Mohaneeya (Deluding) Karma, does not believe in the Right Path to salvation. The characteristic mark of this Gunasthan is perversity of attitude towards truth; or unbelief in the truth taught by the Jina in its entirety. The soul, at this stage, has the minimum degree of right vision and very indistinct enlightenment - just enough that is required for a living conscious soul. A soul may find itself in this stage abinition or may come to it from higher stages but the reason is the same i.e. the manifestation of Deluding or Mohaneeya Karma. From this stage a soul rises only to the fourth stage (not to second and third ) as described later.


Sasvadan Samyagdrishti Gunasthan

This is the second higher stage where the soul finds itself for a very short time on its downward journey to first stage, but with some taste or memory of the still higher stage (fourth). A soul has attained the higher stage due to arising of true belief or enlightenment for a short duration due to suppression of Deluding (Mohaneeya) Karma but due to the re-manifestation of the same Karma of acute type it goes back to the first stage staying for a minimum period in the second stage with taste of true belief lingering which has given it the name of tasteful Gunasthan. From this stage it only goes down to first Gunasthan viz., Mithyatva.


Samyag Mithyadrishti Gunasthan

This third stage is marked by indifference towards true belief, the soul being in a mixed state of belief and non-belief in the true doctrines. This condition arises on account of manifestation of mixed Deluding Karma in soul at a higher stage (Fourth) from which the soul comes down to this stage. The stay in this third stage is also of very short duration and is transitional, the soul going down to the first stage of complete unbelief-Mithyatva, or making a recovery and rising upto the higher stages with right vision.,


Avirat Samyagdrishti Gunasthan

In this stage the soul though having been blessed with Right belief and Right Knowledge is not able to proceed on the path of Conduct in as much as it is not capable of adopting the vows or Vratas for want of will, power and energy. The path of salvation consists of all the three elements being right viz., belief, knowledge and conduct, the last one consisting of vows-as seen in Part I. Due to operation of Karma the being may have Right faith and knowledge and even know and accept the path or vows of Right conduct, but due to weakness it is not able to properly practice the vratas or vows. The right faith may be due to suppression (Upsham) or annihilation (Kshya) of Faith Deluding Karma as a result of which the being attains this stage from stage (i) Mithytva. The bar on conduct is due to rise of conduct Deluding Karma on the other hand. As such from this stage the way is open for the soul to rise or fall. In the case of rise it may proceed forth to higher stages by suppressing the Karma or annihilating them. In case of a fall it goes to stage (ii) and thence to stage (i); or to stage (iii) and further on as stated earlier.


Deshvirat Shravaka Gunasthan

When a being gathers sufficient will and power to persevere on the path of spiritual and moral progress, it adopts the Vows (Minor vows) meant for laymen (Shravaka) thus partially refraining from sins ensuring partial self-control. Thus it achieves this stage number five, though due to partial manifestation of Deluding Karma it is still not able to completely renounce the world which is required for the next stage. This is the highest stage possible for a layman, hereafter all higher stages require adoption of sainthood or asceticism and renouncing the world for achieving complete self-control. The stage is important as it is starting point for the being to adopt Right Conduct and to begin discarding undisciplined life-Avirat though only partly. The minor vows have been described in part I, and the followers thereof are the laymen and laywomen who constitute the two centres of pilgrimage - Teerth according to Lord Mahavir.


Prammatta Samyat Gunasthan

In this stage of spiritual development, the soul renounces the world completely ensuring complete self-control by adopting all the vows prescribed for a saint or Muni (Major vows) for purity of conduct. However, occasionally it tends towards negligence or Pramad, hence the name Prammat or negligent samyat or saint or Muni. Needless to repeat that these manifestations are due to the Karma bondage of the particular type giving its result. Depending upon the dispensation of Karma the being may land down in stage (v) Deshvirat or even in stage (iv) of Avirat Gunasthan from this stage. However, if it is able to adjure negligence (Pramad) it may progress to the next higher stage No. (vii) Apramatt Samyat Gunasthan. The salient features of this stage is completely disciplined life by adoption of all the five Major Vows (vrata) described in Pt. I. This means complete dedication to the practice of Three Jewels the Three Ratna - Right faith, Right Knowledge and Right conduct which is prescribed as the royal road leading towards liberation. Thus, in this stage second cause of Bondage of Karma i.e. Avirati is also discarded by the soul.


Apramatt Samyat Gunasthan

Herein are saints who have not only adopted all vows and self control but who adjure negligence (Pramad) completely. From this stage of spiritual development the soul may go down to stage (vi) of Negligence. Or it may progress on the pathways called srenies which may be the Suppression (Upsham) or Annihilation (Kshaya) of the Karma known as Upsham sreni or Kshapak sreni respectivley.


If it goes to stage (vi) it can come back to this stage (vii) and this process can continue for a long time, till one of the srenies is attained. In respect of srenies also, only kshya sreniannihilation of Karma can ensure complete liberation (and not the other Upshma sreni). The inclination and preparation for these srenies takes the being to the next stage number eight called Apurva Karna Gunasthan.


From this stage No. (vii) to stage (x) the soul purifies itself by progressively reducing passions or Kashayas-mithyatva, avirati, and pramad having been discarded already. This stage is therefore, the beginning of the four stages of progressive purity which prepare the soul for the higher stages xi, xii and xiii. At the same time this stage being on the border is full of chances of downfall of the soul to lower stages due to Karma manifestation and due to pramad (negligence) etc.


Apurva Karana or Nivratti Badar Gunasthan

As implied by its name this stage involves unprecedented (Apurva) attainments by the soul indicating for it the path of liberation. These are destruction of intensity and duration of bound karma called Rasaghat or Stithighat respectively. Through such processes of purification the soul prepares to ascend one of the two srenis i.e. either the Upshama sreni (Subsidence ladder) or Kshapak sreni (annihilation ladder). Some of the other processes the soul undergoes for the sake of rise on the srenies (which actually starts in the ninth Gunasthan) are called Gunasreni i.e. reduction in duration’s of karma and Gunsankraman i.e. conversion of harsh karma into mild areas. All these important events in the evolution of the soul are unusual and unprecedented, therefore, the name of this stage is Apurva or Unprecendented Gunastha. Lest it be ignored, the fact is reiterated that all these events in the sphere of activities of the soul are due to the Karma - old and new and their manifestation, suppression or annihilation.


Anivritti Badar Gunasthan

A stage of even greater purity of thought than the earlier one, this stage takes the soul to the verge of enlightenment. In this stage the soul embarks upon one of the two srenies or ladder - Upshama (suppressing of Karma) or khsapak (Annihilation of Karma) which determine its future destiny. However there is the possibility Iurking in this stage of Deluding (Mohaneeya) Karma manifesting in their crude (badar) form and therefore, the other nomencalture. The striking feature of this stage is high degree of suppression or destruction of Karma with resultant purity of the soul and progress to the next stage. However, if the soul allows itself to be afflicted by Karma it may go back to lower stages too.


Suksham Sampraya Gunasthan

In this stage of high degree of purity of the soul there do remain some traces of Deluding Karma (Mohaneeya) in the form of minutest degree of subtle greed. If this is also overcome the soul progresses to stage xi or xii. If the subtle greed is supressed by Upshama; the stage xi is reached. If it is annihilated by Kshaya, stage xii is reached.


Hence forth the distinction between the two srenies gets marked as there is no liberation from Upshama sreni, while the Khshapak sreni leads to Moksha - as explained later.


This is the stage upto which both Yoga and Kashaya (passions) are present, though the latter is of a very minute extent or Suksham degree. It does not allow the soul to go to higher stages, xi and xii which require suppression or destruction of passions respectively. If this does not happen, the soul may sink back to lower stages afficted by not only Kashyas but also negligence, indiscipline and unbelief.


Upshant Kashaya Gunasthan

By suppressing completely all the Kashaya including subtle greed (Tenth Gunastha) the soul attains this stage for a short while. However, it is only suppression or subsidence (and not annihilation) of the Karma, like dirt settling down in water. Therefore, as soon as this suppression or upshaman stops, Karma manifest themselves and the soul sinks back to the lower stage. Further in this stage the soul is hampered by Gyanavarniya Karma and, therefore, it is still chadmast. For obvious reasons this Gunasthan lasts for a very short duration, and as there is no scope for rise the soul descends to lower stages even landing in the first, the lowest Gunasthan. The depth to which the soul may sink depends upon the Karma of particular type and the Kashaya or Passions afflicting the soul. However, such a soul can stage a recovery even in the same lifetime and attain liberation passing through different stages including Khsapak sreni. In any case the souls that have once touched this Gunasthan of Upshanta Moha, must reach their destination of Nirvan though it may take time; the maximum limit of which is ardha pudgala paravartan.


Ksheen Kashaya Gunasthan

The soul that is able to destroy completely the subtle greed-remanents of Mohaneeya (Deluding) Karma in tenth Gunasthan attains this stage, as it is on the Kshapak sreni, bypassing the (xi) stage which was for the Upshama sreni. This is a stage of almost the highest purity of meditation, whereby the soul also destroys the other three Karma viz.; Gyanavarniya, Darshanavrniya and Antraya. In the end of this stage the soul becomes omniscient - Kevalgyani- and enters the (xiii) stage of Sayogi-Kevali which is the stage of omniscience. However, in this stage the soul is not Perfect, but only Chadmast as the name of this Gunasthan indicates. This is due to the part Bondage of Major or Ghati Karmas, which the soul sheds in this stage for progress to the next stage of perfect knowledge etc. This is made possible by the soul as it has given up passion or Kashay completely and resultantly the Ghati Karma are eliminated. As such this stage is important as a stepping stone to liberation or Moksha.


Sayogi Kevali Gunasthan

This is the stage when all the Kashayas or passions are destroyed and, therefore, the Ghati and Samprayik Karma are eliminated and the soul is blessed with Perfect Rationalism (Samyaktava) Perfect Perception (Darshan) Perfect Knowledge (Gyan) and Perfect Prowess (Veerya). It is the stage of Godhood known as Kevali or Jina or Arihant or Teerthanker in Jain terminology. Only Aghati Karma remain which keep the soul embodied and they also come and go without further binding the soul. A lot can be written on this stage which is not possible of complete description by words. Here only Yoga or simple activity remain, but since it is passionless, it does not bind the soul. In Vedanta this stage is known as Jeevanmukta, as such beings though embodied and in this world are not bound by Karmas and are beyond the world. Such a state may last for a short time, but the duration may be very long too. It is such souls called teerthankar who lay the foundations of the true path and preach the true religion for the guidance of generations of laymen. Therefore they are given precedence over the liberated souls- the Siddhas- in the Navkar Mantra in praise of the Panch Parmesthi of Jains (dealt with in Pt. I) which begins with Namo Arihantanam.


Ayogi Kevali Gunasthan

This is the last and momentary stage of duration equal to time taken in uttering five small vowels. During this even Yoga stops and all remaining Aghati karmas are simultaneously exhausted by the soul and it leaves the body and attains liberation or Nirvan-free from further births and deaths in the world. This is achieved by the soul engaging in the highest type of meditation known as Shukla Dhyan, which stops all types of subtle as well as gross physical, vocal and mental activities or Yoga. The result is a state of complete motionlessness, internal and external, known as Saileshikarna, for the short duration equal to time taken in uttering five vowels. This is followed by liberation or salvation or Mukti or Moksha or Nirvan, not only from the body, but also from worldly existence and also Karma Bondage for all times to come.



This brief description of Gunasthan can be closed with some further remarks to throw light on their salient features from the point of view of spiritual development. The first three stages are marked by external activity of the soul, when it is involved with things other than itself and the soul is Bahiratma or Extrovert. From stage four to stage twelve it becomes Introvent or Antratma- concerned with its own welfare. In the last two stages the soul attains Godhood and can be called Parmatama - the perfect soul.


From the point of view of Karma Bondage it has to be noted that the five causes (Mithyatva, Avirati, Pramad, Kashaya and Yoga) thereof, determine (along with the Bondage) the stages or Gunasthan, and their presence or absence results in regression or progress of the soul on these stages, respectively. When all the five causes of Bondage persist in the soul it remains in first stage of Mithyatva and Third stage of Samyag Mithyadristhi. When the soul gets rid of Mithyatva or False vision but if the other four causes subsist, it can rise upto stages number two, four and five-Sasvadan, Avirat and Deshvirat. By getting rid of Avirati or Undisciplined life the soul can reach stage number six-Pramatt Virat-because Pramad or negligence is persisting. By getting rid of Pramad the soul reaches stage seven or Apramat Virat to stage Ten-Suksham Samrpaya. Thus from stage (vii) to stage (x) only two causes of Bondage remain viz.; Kashaya (Passions) and Yoga. By freeing itself from passions or Kashay the soul can reach upto stages (xi) (xii) and (xiii). Upsham Moha, Kshina Moha and Sayogi Kevali. At the end of stage number (xiii) the soul stops Yoga also and enters stage (xiv) i.e. Ayogi Kevali for a very brief moment and relinquishes the body thus achieving liberation or Mukti. This will be more clear from the following statement :-



Cause of Karma Bondage Present




Number ---- Name





1. Mithyatva (False Faith)                                

First- Mithyadristhi


2. Avirati (Indiscipline)                                      

Third - Samyag-mithyadrishti


3. Pramad (Negligence)



4. Kashaya (Passions)



5. Yoga (Vibrations of the soul)






2. Avirati                                                         

Second - Sasvadan


3. Pramad                                                        

Fourth - Avirat


4. Kashaya                                                      

Fifth - Deshvirat


5. Yoga(Four)






3. Pramad                                                       

Six - Prammat - Samyat


4. Kashaya



5. Yoga (Three)






4. Kashaya and                              

Seventh- Aprammat - Samyat


5. Yoga (Two)                                                  

Eight - Apurva Karana



Ninth - Anivriti badar


Tenth - Suksham Sampraya





5. Yoga (alone)                                                

Eleventh - Upshama - Kashaya


Twelfth - Khsina - Kashaya


Thirteenth - Sayogi Kevali






Fourteenth - Ayogi Kevali





It will thus be clear from the above that the whole scheme of Gunasthan is derived according to the principle of decreasing sinfulness and increasing purity of the soul and lessening of the Karma bondage. To progress on this scale, the being has to eliminate each of the causes leading to Karma bondage in the successive order stated above (i.e. Mithyatva, Avirati, Pramad, Kashaya and Yoga) one by one, and thus bring refinement in its own qualities or the Guna, and therefore the name-fourteen stages of Progress of the soul-the Fourteen Gunasthan.




Note -   It has not been possible to translate some technical terms used in this chapter as elsewhere. Original terms have therefore been used. Even the meanings given in English are approximate.



The Five Bodies


Due  to the Karma connection the soul, interlalia, acquires or is clothed in bodies through which it carries on its activities, discharging old karma (and generally acquiring more in the process). In the chapter on Karma, while discussing Naam or Physique Determining Karma, one subdivision has been noted called Bodies or Sharir Naam Karma. These Karmas are of five types and result in the soul acquiring five types of Bodies viz. (1) Audarik (Physical), (2) The Vaikriya (Transformation), (3) the Aharaka (Translocation), (4) the Taijasa (Fiery) and (5) the Karmana (Karmic). Some light is thrown on these in the discussion that follows as these are important and relevant in Jain Metaphysics as well as in the day to day experience. It may be reiterated in advance that the Bodies are found with only unliberated or worldly souls, the liberated or mukta souls are free from bodies of any type and are also known as "Ashariri" or Bodiless.


The five types of Bodies are described below in brief -

1.      The Gross Physical Body or Audarik Sharir -

As the name indicates this is the type of Body which is gross or solid and which can be felt by the senses, such as eyes, which can see it. This is the body belonging to human beings (Manushya Gati) as well as animals and plants (Trinyanch Gati)  Amongst all the five types of Bodies this has the least number of Pudgals, but it occupies the maximum space as the distribution of the Pudgals is the least subtle. Therefore, it is considered Gross or solid and is capable of being broken or burnt.


2.      The subtle Transformation Body or Vaikriya Sharir - 

This type of body is the fine invisible body occupied by Godly beings (Dev Gati) and the Denizens of Hell (Narak Gati). The occupants of such Bodies can make them invisible and also transform their shapes at will and the bodies are, therefore, also called Transformation Bodies as Vaikriya means transformation. Such bodies occupy less space than the Physical Bodies, though the number of pudgals forming such subtle bodies are innumerable times more than those of the Physical Bodies. The reason is the fineness or suksham nature of such Pudgals. Human beings can also attain such bodies through Labdhies or Purification. Such Bodies can travel in a limited part of the Universe (Loka) knowing no impediments.


3.      The Translocation body or Aharak Sharir -

This is a special type of Body created by developed souls (Labdhi Dhari) for a short time (less than 48 minutes) for travelling to other galaxies (Dwipa) to pay respects to or consult the Teerthankars there, to clear doubts. This body is described as white in colour, one hand length in size, handsome, and capable of travelling millions of miles in one samaya crossing all impediments in a limited part of Universe-Loka. It arises out of the head of the creator and is reabsorbed by the physical body after performing its duties. This translocation body is finer than Vaikriya or Transformation Body but possesses pudgals which are innumerable times more than the latter.


4.      The Fiery Body or Taijas Sharir -

This type of body is formed by fire pudgals and provides external glow and internal digestive power. It can also be used by the powerful beings to destroy the opponents, when angry when its colour is red. Similarly if they are kind, the ascetics can use it to end pestilence etc.,  for amelioration of the sufferings of general public, its colour being white. This body contains pudgals which are infinite times (Anant Guna) more than the aharak or translocation body even then it is finer. This type of body can pass through all types of impediments throughout the Universe or Loka and is present in every worldly being. At the same time it is imperceptible to the senses e.g. the eyes can not see it.


5.      The Karma Body or Karman Sharir - 

It has been noted earlier (Chapter on Karma) that due to activity (Yoga) and passions (Kashaya ) the soul attracts matter or Karma Pudgals which bind it by becoming the Karma Body, or Karman Sharir, the fifth type of body. This is the finest body occupying the least space, yet containing infinite times more pudgals than the Fiery Body or Taijas Sharir. This can also pass through all impediments throughout the Universe and is a constant companion of the worldly being. It is the root cause of the worldly existence in all its forms and aspects including the other types of Bodies.  The Karma Body is constantly renewing itself as old karma matter is shed after giving results and further new Karma matter is acquired till liberation or Mukti, when all Karma are exhausted as also all types of bodies and bodily existence. It is also imperceptible to the senses, and accompanies the soul, on death, to the place of new birth, where it (Karma body) forms the basis of the other new bodies that the soul (jeeva) may acquire.


Some futher general observations

The association of soul with bodies imply its bondage by Karma and fettering of its unlimited powers and is therefore to be got rid of. From the essential point of view the continuous beginnigless change of bodies through births and deaths involves circulation in the world and is, therefore, a curse-an evil. However the bodily existence is also a means of destroying the Karma and can, therefore, be a blessing as a vehicle of attainments of liberation or Mukti. Thus the true followers of the path of liberation put the evil body to good use by involving it in shubh Karma-good deeds-as also in Penance-Tapa. This is the real concept of bodies and bodily existence from truly Anekantvadi or non-onesided point of view.


All these five types of Bodies are material or Pudgalik i.e., made of Pudgals or pudgal-skandh. However, each subsequent category of Bodies contain much larger number of Pudgals than its predecessor (type of body) in the order stated in para The five types of Bodies are described below in brief -above. Inspite of this the subsequent type of body is finer than the earlier and occupies less space. Thus the Transformation body (Vaikriy Sharir) contains a much larger quantum of Pudgal than the Physical or Audarik Body and is also finer. This will be clear from the example of cotton and steel, where the latter may contain greater amount of Pudgal but occupies less space.


A worldly soul or beings is always connected with the two types of Bodies viz., Karman, and Taijas Bodies for the obvious reason that without these the worldly  existence is not possible. As such this association is beginningless (anadi) but it ends with the liberation of the soul. In addition it may have the Vaikriya or Transformation Body as in the case of angels, or Audarik or Physical Bodies as in the case of human beings. In such cases these bodies go together. Some human being with requisite powers may acquire either the Vaikriya (Transformation) body or the Aharak or Translocation Body which will mean four types of bodies with one soul. However, since Aharak or Vaikriya bodies cannot be acquired together, the maximum number of Bodies connected with one worldly being is four.



The Central Philosophy of Jainism - Anekantavad, The Doctrine of Non-one-sidedness


We take up this subject with some hesitation- it may be admitted in advance. The subject of Anekantavada or the Doctrine of Non-onesideness is very difficult (to explain) and yet not so difficult. It is very complicated as well as very simple. It is a matter of common, everyday experience and yet so remote that it defies easy understanding.


At the same time the subject is so important that it has been rightly called the central philosophy of Jainism. It is one of the most significant contributions of Jain thinkers to the realm of intellectual and philosophical deliberations; just as the Jain concept of non-violence and Karamvada are pacesetters in the field of human progress in ethical and metaphysical fields. An attempt is, therefore, being made to deal with the subject in simple language so that the student of Jainism may take first steps on this road and if his interest is aroused, this attempt shall be considered successful. For those so interested there is no dearth of literature on this subject, as for the last 2500 years,  since Lord Mahaveer, a great many savants have examined this subject exhaustively and enriched its knowledge with their contributions.


What is Anekantavad - It is difficult to find a complete and exactly equivalent term. As such this can be treated as a terminus techniques. However, it has been variously called as the Philosophy of Non-absolutism (Satkari Mookerjee), the Theory of the many sided nature of reality, the Philosophy of harmonizing-together (Hari Bhadra) and Theory of manifoldness. These nomenclatures throw considerable light on the various aspects of the theory of Anekantavada. However, one term which encompasses the meaning almost completely and can be called an equivalent is "Theory of Non-one-sidedness" used by Dr. B.K. Matilal (from whose lectures published by L.D. Institute Ahmedabad considerable help has been taken in this article) which is used in the title of this article.


For understanding the full meaning of "non-one-sidedness" or anekantavada, one has to understand what is meant by "one sidedness" or Ekant which is denied by this Theory. To a layman the ordinary meaning would appear as holding one side or one view steadfastly. It is well known that with the philosophical development a number of schools of thought developed in India-as anywhere else - like Samkhya, Bauddha, Vedanta, Nyaya and Mimansa. Even before the ideas crystallized in such established schools, thoughts of different types were aired by different thinkers like those seen in the Vedas, Upnishadas and other scriptures. These concerned the various metaphysical propositions like different aspects of reality, soul, universe and others. When such different view points emerged during development of thought, and one school asserted its metaphysical thesis, it was rejected by another school which put forward its own contradictory proposition, Each school mustered arguments in favour of its own thesis and those rejecting the opposite propositions. This verged on dogmatism.  So much so that one school refused to entertain the point of view of the other side holding it as false and considering only its own point of view as the gospel - absolute - truth. This led to intolerance. Such dogmatist and intolerant approach is considered "ekant" or one-sided philosophical approach in Jain view and such one-sidedness is considered as equivalent to falsehood or false knowledge and false perception - Mithya Gyan and Mithya Darshan.


Anekantavada or the Doctrine of non-one-sidedness is negation of or is opposed to the above mentioned Ekant or one-sided approach-as the prefix "an" or "non" would suggest. According to the non-onesided approach while presenting one's point of view on any subject due consideration is also shown to the opposite point of view. This approach is based on the acceptance of the manifoldness of reality or in other words, acceptance of the fact that every proposition or thesis has many aspects - all of which have some element of truth from different standpoints. As such a philosophical proposition or metaphysical thesis can be true if it is viewed from a particular stand-point. Therefore, the doctrine of  non-one-sidedness not only tolerates the view point of the opposite side, but also tries to understand the basis or standpoints of the divergent propositions with a view to reconcile the apparant contradictions. The position will be clear if illustrated with the too well known story of the elephant and the six blind men.


It is said that six blind men approached an elephant and each of  them caught hold of a different part of the body of the elephant. Each one of the blind men, therefore, formed his own image of the huge animal. The man who caught the tail of the elephant thought it to be like a long rope. The one holding the leg of the animal thought it was like a piller. The third one who got the ear in his hands thought the elephant was like a huge fan. the fourth man who held the trunk of the elephant considered that it was like a python. Another holding the stomach thought it was like a drum. The one who got on the back of the elephant considered that it was like a platform.


Since they were certain that they were right in their conjectures each of the six blind men held fast to his view about the elephant holding it sacrosant, at the same time calling the views held by the others as absolutely false. This led to acrimony and would have resulted in a fight, but for the intervention of a wise man who explained the correct position to the six blind men, by making them feel the other parts of the elephant. They, then, realized that though each of  them was partly correct in his imagination of the elephant, but the others were equally correct in their conjectures of the animal from their stand-points and that the true and total picture of the elephant could be appreciated by understanding the views held by each one of them with the reasons therefor.


In the above illustrative story the six blind men, when they held fast to their individual picture of the elephant as a rope or a pillar, were adopting an ekantvadi or one-sided approach, which was obviously false. When they appreciated the view points of the others in addition to their own, and the reasons therefor - thus knowing the true nature of the elephant they were on the right road of Anekantavad or non-one-sidedness.


From a  superficial view the doctrine may appear too simple and obvious and thus insignificant. It may not be considered justified that so much importance has been attached to it in the philosophical sphere that it is considered a major contribution of Jainism. However, if it is remembered that much violence has resulted from intellectual differences, then any attempt towards harmony is a major step in the right direction.


It will be more clear if we take the example from philosophical deliberation of the nature of Reality (Satt) which is fundamental to all philosophies. The Vedanta philosophy led by Sankaracharya held that Reality (Satt) is permanent and unchanging. The Buddhist philosophy on the contrary held that there is nothing permanent and the Reality or Satt is always changing being in a state of flux, because there is instantaneous and automatic origination and destruction. History is witness to the fierce controversies resulting from these extreme ekantvadi or one-sided positions which ultimately led to almost complete banishment of Buddhism from India, the country of its origin. Jainism reconciling both these extreme-ekanta-positions, holds that reality is characterized by a simultaneous operation of origination (Utpad) and destruction (Vyaya) as well as permanence (Dhrauvya) a truly non-one-sided (Anekantavada) approach.


This is the famous proposition of the Jain Text - Tattvarth Sutra (5.29) "UTPAD VYAYA DHRAUVYA YUKTAM SAT"  i.e. Reality is characterised by origination, destruction as well as permanence. It implies that reality is not "Permanent" but also permanent, it is not only in a flux but also in a flux. Accordingly an object of knowledge must have three inseparable aspects. (i) a permanent substance - the inherent qualities (ii) destruction or abandonment of old shape and (iii) origination or acquisition of a new shape. Applying this concept to a substance like the "Soul”, it is permanent when viewed from its essential quality of "consciousness' which it never gives up, it is destroyed when it given up a particular body and it again originates when it is reborn, as another being. This can be applied to all cases uniformly e.g. when a bangle is broken, it is its destruction, but the continuing gold content remain permanent, and when rings are made of that gold it amounts to origination (though only its shape has been changed).


The above discussion shows that Anekantvada is an attempt to reconcile so called different and opposite points of view by understanding them and as such it is rightly called a doctrine of synthesis and assimilation as well as toleration and understanding. This takes us to the philosophic source or  origin of this doctrine which lies in the concept of non-violence of Jainism and which was responsible to a great extent for the development of non-one-sided approach- anekant attitude in Jain philosophy.


Sources of Anekantavada : The concept of Non-violence with its special and significant features is an unique contribution of Jainism to the progress of human civilization. This has been discussed in Pt. - I. To recapitulate in brief, since all beings want to live and live comfortably-want to have full and free experience of all their vitalities (pranas)-any attempt to infringe upon such freedom is apparent or gross form of violence. In its fine form any reckless activity-Pramad-also amounts to violence though it may or may not result in injury to living beings. The aforesaid attempts or recklessness can be in thought, word, and deed and abjuring all these is non-violence. There is also the positive side of non-violence which includes kindness and compassion, peace and pity etc. Extension of such non-violent attitude to the intellectual and verbal planes was natural as one cannot be truly non-violent unless one abjures violence in thought also as much as in words and deed. Non-violence is indivisible in as much as one cannot be physically non-violent and intellectually violent, specially when it is the intellect that guides all physical activity. Therefore, the Jain concept of respect for the life of others led to the principle of respect for the views of others, which formed the basis of "anekanta" or non-one-sided doctrine. This involved not only toleration of the opposite doctrines or different views but also investigation of the reasons for the difference and further attempts at reconciliation of the same.`


Historically speaking, since non-one-sidedness or anekantavada was an offshoot or corollary of non-violence it can be presumed to exist in Jain thought and belief abinitio-alongwith non-violence which is the core or fundamental principle of Jainism. However, its methodology, refinement and accompaniments like Naya-Vada or doctrine of standpoints and Syadvada " or "doctrine of may be" might have evolved later.


It has also been stated that the theory of non-one-sidedness developed from Lord Mahaveer's handling of the process of Vibhajyavad or analytical system. No doubt the ancient scripture like Sutra Kritanga describe Lord Mahaveer as "Vibhajyavadi" but Lord Buddha has also been described as such as he also followed the analytical method. But Vibhajyavad can also, in its broader spectrum, imply a non-dogmatic and exploratory approach to philosophical and a metaphysical subjects. In this sense it not only includes a system of analysis but also that of synthesis-differentiation as well as integration. Lord Mahaveer not only analysed the subject but also developed a philosophy of synthesis, toleration and understanding of different standpoints or pre-suppositions to reconcile and resolve the disputes. This system developed into and came to be designated as "Anekantavada" or the "Theory" of non-one-sidedness.


Some examples may clarify the position. Suppose a question is asked "whether A is not B" ? The answer from one group can be "Yes, A is B", while another group may say "No, A is B". However, Anekantvadi approach will be "A is B from one point of view", and "A is not B from another point of view". Just as a man is a husband from the point of view of his wife, brother from the point of view of his sister and so on. Similarly in Anekantvad a thing is correct from one point of view and wrong from another point of view.


To take exact quotation from Jain Shastra Bhagwati, to the question whether the universe was finite or infinite Lord Mahaveer has replied that from the standpoint of area/measurement the Universe was finite, but from the standpoint of time the universe was infinite. This brings us to the subject of  Theory of standpoints or Nayavad, and the Theory of Maybe or "Syadvad" which are considered two wings of the Theory of Non-one-sidedness or Anekantvada. Before taking up these two theories a couple of observations are considered necessary. Firstly, the assimilative aspect of Anekatvada pre-suppose the existence of well developed philosophical schools amongst whom serious controversies came to the fore, which justified synthesis and assimilation. Some such schools were Sankhaya, Baudha, Nyaya, Mimansa etc. Another factor was introduction of use of Sanskrit language in Jain literature, which was earlier confined to Prakrit or Ardhmagadhi. Thus though the seed of Anekant existed in Jain thought earlier, it grew, flowered and bore fruits later along with other schools and then only discussion of Anekant gathered strength and its details multiplied.


Secondly, though Anekantavad implies acceptance of manifoldness of reality, it should be clearly understood that a simple joint assertion of contrary predicates about a subject will not amount to indication of Anekantavad. Further though anekanta approach permits acceptance of contrary or contradictory propositions from different stand points the ideas challenging the fundamental truth or basis principles can in no way be entertained under the garb of Anekantavad. For example consciousness is considered a hall-mark of the soul or jeeva in Jainism, as such it cannot be held to be without consciousness from any standpoint.


To conclude this general-preliminary-survey of Anekantvad, we may refer to Dr. Y.J. PADMARAJIAH, who mentions the following five types of philosophy considered from the point of view of the nature of reality in his famous book "The Jaina Theory of Reality and Knowledge" :

1.      Philosophy of Being or Identity e.g. Vedanta

2.      Philosophy of Difference or Change e.g. Buddhism

3.      Philosophy subordinating Difference to identity e.g. The Samkhya.

4.      Philosophy subordinating Identity to Difference e.g. The Vaisesika.

5.      Philosophy co-ordinating both Identity and Difference e.g. The Jaina view of reality.


Thus Jainism meets the extremes and presents a view of reality which comprehends the various sides of reality to give a synthetic picture of the whole. It recognises the principle of distinction and develops the comprehensive scheme of Anekanta realism. Anekanta is the "most consistent form of realism; as it allows the principle of distinction to run its full course until it reaches its logical terminus on the theory of manifold reality".


Nayavad or Doctrine of standpoints

We now take up the subject of Naya, which, as hinted above, enables proper view and appreciation of true nature of things through intelligent assessment of their different aspects from different standpoints. There are two means for acquiring knowledge of any object-Paramana (proof) and Naya (stand-point) (Tatvarthsutra 1-6). Since an object has a manifold character or many aspects, these can be comprehended entirely by the omniscient only. However to understand one aspect of an object or to view it from one stand-point is Naya, and to understand many aspects of an object is Praman. For example to understand the soul from one stand-point that it has consciousness is Nayavad, but to appreciate the soul from its many features like non-material nature, eternal existence, conscious quality etc. is Praman. In other words Naya is a part of Praman and Praman is a collection of Naya. Thus Praman is compared to an ocean while Naya are like ocean water in different pitchers (Raj Vartik-Akalanka).


While other schools acquired knowledge of objects through "Praman", Jainism used the method of Nayavad in addition, as the former may not illuminate all the aspects fully and individually. At the same time it is always necessary to keep in mind that according to Nayavad one aspect is being revealed from amongst innumerable aspects which are equally important, and the knowledge so revealed is coloured or conditioned by the particular point of view or stand point-failure to so remember will lead to confusion and ekantvad. Therefore the whole truth or complete nature of reality will be revealed by pooling together the knowledge revealed by the stand-point or Naya, which though contradicting each other separately when combind lead to truth. Here an interesting example may be quoted from Naya Karnika of Vinay Vijay who says that "just as different smaller feudal lords, who may be opposed to each other, when commanded by the Emperor-Chakarvati-combine together to render him proper service, the different Naya or standpoints when combined reveal the complete and whole truth".


Thus nayavad and naya properly utilised become the tools or instruments for application of Anekantavada or doctrine of non-one-sidedness in practice enabling a complete and proper grasp of knowledge on the one hand, and understanding and reconciliation of different points of view on the other.


Since a substance has innumerable aspects, it can be viewed from innumerable stand-points and therefore there can be as many (innumerable) Naya. That would make the comprehension of all the Naya and the object impossible. As such the acharyas have grouped or classified the naya-standpoint-into certain categories-which though varying have largely common features. The first and major classification of Naya is in two groups (i) Dravyarthik Naya or substance related standpoint and (ii) Paryarthik Naya or modification related standpoint. The first group of Naya deals with stand-points that relate to the substance or the general characteristic like viewing the sea from the point of view of water only. The second group of Naya relate to the special features of the object which may be subject to modification, or which are special e.g. viewing the sea from the stand-point of sour taste of its water.


The classifications or groupings of Naya-

There are many classifications but according to Tatvarth Sutra there are five classes with further subdivisions of some of them. These are:

Naigam (the common or non-distinguished)

Sangrah (the general)

Vyavahar (the practical)

Rjusutra (the straight thread)

Shabda (the verbal)

which are described below in brief :


Naigam Naya or the common standpoint :

In this group are included those naya or stand points which relate to and are expressed in commonly used terms according to local tradition without any particular distinguishing features of the object. They are divided into two sub-categories viz. Desh Paripekshi (General) and Sarva Paripekshi (Specific). Thus while going to cut wood, one may say he is going to make a table or while calling `taxi' `taxi' one may actually be calling the taxi driver. Such statements or ideas are included in Naigam category of Naya. Such statements are considered true according to Naigam Naya as these are acceptable by local tradition and common usage though strictly speaking they may not be quite correct. For obvious reasons this naya has widest scope and application.


Sangrah or general -

These stand-points or Naya encompass those statements or ideas that have between them some common or general features of the object, ignoring the other specific and differing claims or marks. The word Sangrah means collection. As such under this Naya is implied a method by which separate entities are brought under one class or notion. Thus when it is claimed that everything is Sat (being), it is perfectly understandable from Sangrah Naya or stand-point, though it leaves out the element of Asat (Nonbeing).


As such it lays emphasis on the Universal ignoring diverse features. Absolute monism or Vedanta philosophy are notable examples. Jainism, however, holds it to be a partial point of view and one of the Nayas only. Its scope is more limited than Naigam Naya.


Vyavhar or Practical -

This group of naya though complementary to item (ii) above Sangarh Naya-further classifies the object into groups keeping their specific characters in view and looks at them from the special standpoints. On the basis of Sangrah Naya and after describing the things in a collective form it is necessary to find out their special characteristics. That special character is called Vyavhar Naya. For example when we utter the word "medicine" it includes all kinds of medicines but when we say allopathic, ayurvedic or homeopathic medicine, then we can understand its speciality. This can further be divided by its name, patent, quality use etc. These divisions are examples of Vyavahar Naya and have a tendency towards greater exactitude. (This Vyavahar Naya is different from the other Vyavahar Naya dealt with in para below).


Raju Sutra or Straight Thread

This naya requires consideration of the ideas like reality etc. as the direct grasp of here and now-ignoring the past and future but in the present Paryay or mode of a thing. Raju means simple and sutra means knowledge. Supposing a man was a Minister and now he is not on the post. Thus his past is of no use. Similarly a person is nominated Minister, his future is meaningless in terms of Raju Sutra. Only present is recognised by Raju Sutra Naya making the identification more easy and scope more narrow. The Buddhist Philosophy of Kshanikvada is an example of this Naya.


Shabda or the Verbal

This naya relies on the meaning of the words for viewing the objects in question. Some schools of thought rely on words and the meaning thereof to explain the nature of things. According to Jain thinking, such understanding may be true and may throw light on the subject-though partially. This will be true from Shabda Naya or Verbal point of view. There are further subdivisions of this Naya to make the understanding more easy and exact.


Of the five nayas mentioned Naigam (the common or non-distinguished), Sangrah (the general), Vyavahar (the practical) these three are Dravyarthic Naya, or substance related and Rjusutra (the straight thread) and Shabda (the verbal) are Paryarthic Naya or modification related standpoints.


Another major divisions of Naya is (i) Nishchaya or intrinsic or determination stand-point and (ii) Vyavhar or common usage or worldly behaviour stand point which is applied quite frequently in day to day parlance. The first implies the real or the ultimate meaning or interpretation of an object while the latter involves the apparent or the general superficial view. Thus for example from Nishchya Naya or stand point a soul is independent, self-existed and uncontaminated by matter, from Vyavahar stand point it can be called as involved in Karma as well as the cycle of birth and death. Such classification of naya or standpoints enables identification or distinction of objects or theories according to particular class of naya. Thus it can be said that from Naigam Naya a particular object or statement is true while from Sangrah Naya another statement is so true. Thus it resolves controversies that may otherwise arise.


The Four Nikshepa

A brief mention may be made of the term Nikshepa which is used by some scholars in addition to the Naya as a means to analyse and correctly understand the interpretation or meaning of any particular term by referring to the context. These Nikshepa (or Nyas as mentioned in Tatvarth Sutra) are four in the least and may be many more. These are (i) Nam Nikshep (Name) (ii) Sthapna Nikshep (Attributory) (iii) Dravya Nikshep (Proximate) and (iv) Bhav Nikshep (Intrinsic or Real). To illustrate the four Nikshepa it is stated that if a person is named King, even without any real qualities of a King, the term will be so understood according to Naam Nikshepa, The picture or statue of a king will also convey the idea of king according to Sthapana Nikshep and if a person was a ruler in the past he may be termed king for all times according to Dravya Nikshep. Though in all these cases the nomenclature king will not be justified by facts. Only the person with all qualities of a king and ruling presently should be called king which will be correct according to Bhav Nikshep.


The Nikshepa of word helps to arrive at the correct meaning, at the same time explaining how the particular word is used at a particular place. Of course the real sense is conveyed by Bhav Nikshepa. As stated earlier these are aids to the application of Naya and sometimes considered as part and parcel of the same. Some scholars even consider that they (Nikshep) are superfluous and a duplication as the first three Nikshepas are covered by Dravyarthik naya and the last one is covered by Paryarthik Naya.



Before concluding this brief discussion of Naya (standpoints) or Nayavad, it may be added that purpose is not only to acquire knowledge from different points of view, but also to ascertain the basis for commonality in contradictory propositions with a view to reconcile the same. Another example of such as approach can be the two views about the soul i.e. some hold there is only one soul and others hold there are innumerable souls. Nayavad reconciles the apparent contradiction by holding that from the standpoint of separate individual beings there are innumerable souls, but from the standpoint of pure omniscient quality all souls are alike and, therefore, one. Since standpoints are also known as "Apeksha", Nayaved is called Apekshavad, yet another name for Anekantvada which can be loosely translated as Relativism.


We close this discussion of Nayavad with the following shloka of Acharya Yashovijaya which gives succinctly the purpose and scope of Naya to embrace different schools of thought :



Rajusutra Naya includes the Buddhist point of view. Vedanta and Sankhya are covered by Sangrah Naya, the Yoga Vaisheshika are embraced by Naigam Naya and Shabda Naya covers the Shabda Brahmvadi. Thus the Jain approach is apparent that Nayavad embraces all philosophies.


In any case, the divisions are subdivisions of Nayas in not sacrosanct as difference is apparent in the approach of different thinkers and at different times-with development of thought, which cannot be static. As stated earlier there can be unlimited Naya as the aspects from which a thing can be viewed are unlimited. Further, all the Naya are dissolved and disappear with the appearance of omniscience or Keval Gyan, as the stars disappear with the appearance of the sun.


Doctrine of Seven fold predicates - Syadvad-Saptbhangi


Another offshoot of Anekantwadi or non-one-sided approach of Jain philosophy is the Doctrine of seven-fold predication called Saptabhanghi and Syadvad (doctrine of Maybe). It is also considered an important and unique contribution of the Jains to the philosophic methodology and like anekantavad has been subject of favourable comment as also of criticism.


As has been stated above reality has manifold aspects, which, for obvious reason of limitation of speech, cannot be described fully and simultaneously. Any statement is therefore likely to contravene or contradict the principle of Anekantvad and therefore, can become false unless the speech is properly qualified, at the same time embracing all points of view. To ensure such qualification the particle `Syat'' is used with each of the statements or predications which are seven in number. As such it is called the Doctrine of Sevenfold Predicates (Sapt-Bhangi) and Syadvad. Before taking up the discussions of this doctrine, it may be mentioned that while Anekantavad relies on Nayavad-doctrine of standpoints in the sphere of thought; in the field of speech, it depends upon Sapthbhangi and Syadvad. However, both the doctrines are manifestations of the non-one-sided or Anekanta doctrine and have been called its two wings. At the same time they are closely inter-related as the former (naya) find expression in the later (Saptbhangi and Syadvad) and the latter has close reference to the former.


What is Saptabhangi or doctrine of Sevenfold Predication ?

It is well known that according to different systems of logic, dialectic propositions of philosophic importance are subjected to different formulations to ascertain the correct actual position. This is done by raising a group of questions and answering them. These are five fold formula of Sanjay and fourfold alternatives of Buddhist. The Ajivakas declared that every thing is of triple character viz. (i) existent or "Is" (ii) Non-existent or "Is not" and existent as well as non-existent or "Is" as well as "Is not" Similar mention of reference to three predicates is said to exist in Bhagwati Sutra of the Jains, which later developed into sevenfold predications. These are not clearly mentioned in Tatvarth Sutra but are mentioned in Panchasti Kaya by Kundhkundacharya.


These seven predicates are :

A substance

1.      Asti = Is-exists,

2.      Nasti = Is not-does not exist.

3.      Asti-Nasti = Is and Is not-exists and does not exist.

4.      Avaktavya = In-expressible - Is in-expressible.

5.      Asti-Avaktavya = Is and is In-expressible-exists and is inexpressible.

6.      Nasti-Avaktavya = Is not and is in-expressible-does not exist and is in-expressible.

7.      Asti-Nasti-Avakavya = Is, Is not and is Inexpressible-Exists, does not exist and is in-expressible.


To make this difficult subject and rather fine discussion easily understandable to common reader, an example of sevenfold or seven types of reactions may be quoted from every day mundane situations (which was given to the author by well known scholar Pt. Shobhachandji Bharill) Suppose a man is sick, an enquiry about his health may bring, as is every day experience, the following responses :



Respond about the patient's Condition






The patients is well                         

Theek hai (Is)





The patients is not well                    

Theek nahi hai (Is not)





The patients is well as well as not well            

Theek hai bhi aur nahi hai (Is and Is not)





The patient's condition is inexpressible as nothing can be said definitely                           

Kuch kah nahi sakta (is inexpressible)




The patient is well but nothing can be said or is inexpressible                  

Theek hai, kuch kah nahi sakta (Is and is inexpressible)




The patient is unwell but nothing can be said or is inexpressible               

Theek nahi hai, per kah nahi sakta (is not and is inexpressible)





The patient is well,as well as unwell at the same time inexpressible as nothing can be said                 

Theek hai, nahi bhi or kah nahi sakta (Is and Is not and is inexpressible)




However, all the seven predicates are preceded by the particle "SYAT" to make these non-onesided or adhere to Anekantavad or Nayavad (doctrine of standpoint). As such it is also known as Syadvad or Doctrine of Conditional Yes as explained below.


Syadvada -

The word Syat in ordinary sanskrit is used to denote "perhaps" or "May be" that is why syadvad is loosely called Doctrine of `may be'. This interpretation however, introduces an element of uncertainty or doubt which is in no way the intention behind Anekantvada. Others interpret is as somehow or sometimes-Kadachit implying Syadvada as expressing probability which is also not quite fully justified.


In the Jain usage SYAT means a "Conditional Yes" or a conditional approval. It is like saying "In a certain sense-yes". As such it converts a categorical statement into a conditional one-at the same time positive and free from doubt. Instead of saying "A" is "B" it will be said that "Syat A is B" i.e. Yes in a certain sense A is B or Yes if xxxx then A is B.


Thus applying the particle Syat to the seven fold predication mentioned above the following will be the true and complete statement of Saptabhangi position :-

1.      Syat-Asti-Yes- In a certain sense it is or it exists

2.      Syat-Nasti-Yes- In a certain sense it is not or it does not exist.

3.      Syat-Asti-Nasti-Yes- In a certain sense it is and it is not or it exists and does not exist.

4.      Syati Avaktaya-Yes- In a certain sense it is inexpressible

5.      Syat Asti-Avktavya-Yes- In certain sense it is and it is inexpressible or both it exists and is inexpressible.

6.      Syat Nasti-Avktavya-Yes- In a certain sense it is not and it is in expressible i.e. both does not exist and is inexpressible.

7.      Syat Asti Nasti Avktavya-Yes- In a certain sense it is, it is not and is inexpressible i.e. it exists, it does not exist and it is inexpressible.


The word Syat used in all the seven predications makes the formulation unique in as much as it makes the statement adhere to non-one-sidedness-Anekantvada by discarding dogmatism and intolerance and introducing an element of open-mindedness. It concedes the opponent's thesis in order to blunt the sharpness of his attack and disagreement, and at the same time, it is calculated to pursued the apponent to see another point of view. Thus the Jaina use of Syat has both-it has a disarming effect and contains (implicitly) a persuasive force.


The philosophy and principles underlying Anekantavada, Nayavada and Syadvada have been studied threadbare both by its critics and adherents alike; of whom there has been no shortage over the past fifteen-twenty centuries. Shankaracharya found these theories full of contradiction (Virodh) and doubt (Samsaya). Others found in them inter-mixture (Samkara), cross breeding (Vyatikara), lack of comprehension etc. All such problems have been resolved and the allegations against the doctrine of non-one-sidedness have been ably countered, thus establishing the validity of these theories, by Jain philosophers and thinkers including Samantbhadra, Vidyanand, Akalaka, Haribhandra, Hemchandra, Yashovijaya, and many others. Any student desirous of advanced study of this subject can and may seek light from these great masters. Lately, modern mathematicians and statisticians like Prof. Mahalanobis have studied the subject in the light of scientific and mathematical advances made and have published papers which deserve perusal and study. Similarly the eminent scientist (Physicist) Dr. D.S. Kothari has shown that the propositions enunciated in the theories of Saptabhangi and Syadvad are amply vindicated by the latest developments in modern physics. Such monographs are valuable contributions to the discussions of Syadvada, though not easily intelligible to a layman-like the author-without proper guidance. Therefore the following monographs are reproduced in the appendices so that these become easily available for scholarly studies and further deliberations :

App. C- Modern Physics and Syadvada By Dr. D.S. Kothari.

App. D- The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvad in Relation to Probability By Dr. P.C. Mahalanobis.

App. E- The Syadvada System of Predication By Dr. J.B.S. Haldane.

App. F- Anekanta By Dr. Nathmal Tatia.


This brief discussion of the complex theories of Non-one-sidedness, standpoints and Syadvad can be closed with concluding portion of Prof. Matilal's lectures which is reproduced below :


"To sum up, the Anekantavada is thus a philosophy of synthesis and reconciliation since it tries to establish a rapprochement between seemingly disagreeing philosophical schools. Jaina philosophers contend that no philosophic proposition can be true if it is only unconditionally asserted. They say that the lessons to be drawn from age old disputes and controversies regarding philosophic or metaphysical propositions is the following. Each school asserts its thesis and claims it to be true. Thus a philosopher does not really understand the point that is being made by the opposite side. Rival schools only encourage dogmatism and intoleration in philosophy. This, according to the Jains, is the evil of "ekanta" or one-sided philosophies. Even the conflicting propositions of rival schools may be in order, provided they are asserted with proper qualifications or conditionalization. This is what exactly the "Anekanta" doctrine teaches. Add a "Syat" particle to your philosophic proposition and you have the truth.


Non-violence i.e. abstention from killing or taking the life of others, was the dominate trend in the whole "Sramana" movement is India, particularly in Buddhism and Jainism. I think the Jains carried the principle of Non-violence to the intellectual level, and thus propounded their "Anekant" doctrine. Thus the hallmark of the Anekanta doctrine was toleration. The principle embodied in the respect for the life of others, was transformed by Jain philosophers at the intellectual level into respect for the views of others. This is, I think, an unique attempt to harmonize the persistent discord in the field of philosophy".



Freedom of Will - The Five Samvay


Is man free ? Is he a master of his fate ? Is he free to act the way he likes and blaze his own trail? In short has man got freedom of will ? Or is he a slave-slave of destiny, nature, time or any other force by whatever name it may be called ? Such questions have been haunting all thinking men from times immemorial. Even today the issue remains unresolved-whether destiny is supreme or man's efforts have power to change the destiny. Expressed in simple terms this endless but interesting controversy is between Niyati and Purusharth-between Taqdeer and Tadbeer.


The reasons for this controversy are not far to seek. Two men sow, water and tend their crops in identical circumstances and manner-one reaps the golden grain, the other loses even the chaff. Two persons born as twins with same care from the same mother and training from the same father meet different fates-one becomes a successful policeman and another a criminal destined for the gallows.


No wonder man abjectly surrendered all his prowess and power-nay-himself-completely before an un-known force. Call it Ishwer or Allah or God. Indeed such an abdication-abject surrender was embellished as Bhakti-devotion-as one of the means of man's salvation from misery, whereby, even a confirmed sinner like Ajamil could be resurrected, simply by uttering the name of the Lord.


Such a surrender, however, does not appeal to some brave souls-more strongly inclined towards knowledge-Gyan and Action-Karma. Such thinkers have been analysing the causes leading to the failure and success of the exercise of man's free will. Indeed it was strange that inspite of complete and undivided exertion success deluded such efforts. It was realised that there are a number of other factors apart from human exertion-called Pursharth- which tend to matter in the success or failure of the efforts.


These are described by various names in different schools of thought; but in Jain thinking they are the five factors called (i) Kaal (time) (ii) Swabhav (nature or disposition) (iii) Purakrit (past karma) (iv) Niyati (destiny) and (v) Pursharth (human exertion). These are known as the five Samvay.


Emphasis of varying degree has been laid on each of these by different advocates and different schools from times immemorial. Thus we can trace discussions on these recorded in Sutrakritang- one of the oldest canons of Jainism which is supposed to contain the thoughts, if not words, of Lord Mahaveer himself, dating back to era before Christ. Shloka 30 of Sutrakritang declares a prevalent notion :

Read with reference to context it means that "some hold that whatever pain and pleasure individuals beget are not the results of their own acts or volition nor due to others-but it is due to destiny".


In the next shloka 31 this belief is dispelled :

That is "those who brag thus are fools declaring themselves as learned; because they do not know that all pleasures or pains (or whatever happens) are not only due to destiny but they are due to destiny and also due to factors other than destiny".


A brief description of each one of the five Samvaya can now be attempted in the subsequent paras.


Kaal or Time-

Time or Kaal is infinite, beginningless and endless. It pervades the whole of the universe. It contributes towards the birth and death, stability and change, growth and decay- every phenomena in the universe. The believers in supremacy of Time as the sole factor responsible for pleasure and pain or success and failure of all endeavour are known as Kaalvadies. They find mention in Mahabharat like Asur Raj Bali who held that:       

In simpler terms Kaalvadies held that it is only when appropriate time comes the seeds will grow and trees will bear fruits inspite of all efforts made; thus holding supremacy of Time.


No, wonder, therefore, that Kaal or Time was defined as the supreme God of destruction as Mahakaal, which could not only annihilate everything but also hold everyone accountable after death in the form of Yamraj and his subordinates.


Swabhava or nature or disposition -

It was advocated by some that it is the inherent nature or disposition of the thing or its swabhav which produces the results. Just as only clay can be moulded into a pot and not cotton, which can produce cloth, all efforts aimed otherwise shall be in vain.


This school of thought known as Swabhavvadi claimed :

It follows that according to swabhavvadis like Prahlad (described in Mahabharat -Shanti Parva) only such of the seeds will grow which have the nature of fertility - infertile or dead seeds will not grow irrespective of watering, manuring etc. It was, therefore, held that disposition or swabhav was the determining factor in the success or failure or pain and pleasure in the world.


Niyati or Destiny -

Believers in destiny, pre-destination or Niyativadies have been quite common in the East or the West in the past and the present. They believe that everything is pre-destined and whatever has to happen-good or bad - will happen. Contrarily whatever is not pre-destined to happen will never happen All efforts to undo or oppose pre-destination will be in vain.


One of the greatest exponents of Niyati was Goshalak (and his Ajeevaka) who was a contemporary of Lord Mahaveer and who held that whatever has to happen in whatever form and method has to happen like that, no body can stop the destiny :



Further we find praise of Destiny or Niyati in a number of Sanskrit works; an example from Yogvashista is given below :

That is “Destiny always dispassionately and beautifully executes the dance drama of wordly affairs.


Purakrit or Past Karmas -

In the ordinary sense every act through mind, word or deed (mental, verbal or physical ) is known as Kriya or Karma or action. In Jain thought all the actions get recorded on the soul in the form of karman varganas, pudgals or waves due to the vibrations of the soul on account of the acts. If the acts are also accompanied by passions like anger, pride, deceipt and greed, the attachment or bondage of soul is stronger. All such action have their reaction which are the karma fruits or Karmanphal.



It is generally believed that the past Karma were the reasons for the success or failure of one's efforts, and whatever pleasure or pain was derived; was due to past Karma.


Scriptures are full of precepts and examples how past Karma-Purkarit determine the future course of the beings.


 (Karma are the roots of birth and death. Birth and death are the roots of misery.)


 (These is no escape (except facing the results) from past Karma).


The above references are from Jain Agam- Uttaradhyayan. However, most of the other schools of thought like Sankhya, Nyaya, Meemansa, Vedanta and Budddha have accepted the importance of Karma in the lives of all living beings. Looking for the cause of manifestation of life in different forms, its variations in capacity, behaviour, pleasure and pain, the Indian thinkers universally concluded that these were due to the past Karmas (purakrita) of the individual soul which follow it in successive lives just as a calf follows the mother.


Pursharth or Efforts -

As the name implies those who believe in Pursharth or efforts as the determining factor in world affairs hold that whatever pain or pleasure, success or failure - exist in the world is the result of one's efforts, there being no outside agency interfering in it. In other words such schools accept complete freedom of will as its base, and maintain that it is no use putting the blame on other factors like time, nature etc., the main reason being intelligent or un-intelligent effort leading to success or failure respectively. We shall come back to Pursharth again in subsequent paragraphs.


Apart from these five Samvay discussed above there are other factors found in different philosophies like Brahamvad, which treats God, the Supreme Being, solely responsible for everything. On the other extreme is Bhootwad which takes a purely materialistic view of he world; and "accidentalism" akasmatvad holding that everything in the world is accidental or by chance. We find such numerous schools described in Sutrakritang mentioned earlier.


What is the Jain view on this subject ? It is well-known that the bedrock of Jain Philosophy is theory of Non-absolutism or Anekantwad whereby different viewpoints are considered as valid in judging every phenomena. True to this approach Jain thinkers have considered that all the five Samvay jointly are responsible for the world phenomena. All these together contribute to the success and failure, or pain or pleasure. None of these five viz.;, time, disposition fate, past karmas, and exertion are individually effective. It is only when all the five come into play that - to take an example - crop shall grow in the field. Time for seeding, watering, cutting etc. should be appropriate. There should be timely rain and sunshine. The seeds and soil and water should be such that they have the capability to germinate, grow and ripen. If seeds or soil are infertile there shall be no crop, inspite of all watering and tending. Again it should be destined that there will be crop. Similarly past karma of the farmer should entitle him to reap a satisfactory harvest. Lastly  proper exertion of efforts should be put in for tilling the soil, manuring, seeding, watering, deweeding, cutting, winnowing and so on.


Jain thinkers have laid great emphasis on this composite or non-absolutist -anekantwadi  view -as much as that Acharya Siddhsen Diwakar has declared in his monumental work "Sanmati Tarka" :

This is "to hold time, disposition, fate, past karma and exertion as valid severally or individually is false faith (mithyatva). To hold them jointly or relatively valid is right faith (samyakatva)."


However, exertion or Pursharth has been given the prime place, amongst the five samvya. It is the first amongst the five equals. The reasons are not far to seek.


Firstly, exertion is the only active agent. While time, fate, etc. are non-living and, therefore, inactive and dormant, exertion is the result of active efforts of the living soul, and therefore, full of life. Again exertion attracts responsibility. The soul which exerts is responsible for the result of its efforts. There is no such responsibility  attached to time, fate, and others.


Further at least partly, if not fully, proper exertion can even change the course of time etc. Thus it is scientifically possible to grow crops out of season and the course of time can be modified. Similarly science can improve infertile soil, and purakrit is nothing but exertion or Purshart done in the past. Here also we find that effect of some type of Karma e.g. Niddhat Karma can be changed by proper exertion e.g. tapasya. Similarly, it should be possible to adjust the course of fate by proper exertion.


This brings us to the subject under discussion and we find that though the living being is partly a free agent in as much as it is free to exert or do Purshart, it is also a slave of or bound by time, fate, disposition etc. However, to the extent that exertion or Purshart is the active and responsible agent, it is free to act and, therefore, has complete freedom of will. Following this one should do Purshart without bothering about the result that may be the outcome of play of the five samvay. No wonder same message is given in the book of books Bhagwad Geeta "Karmanye-Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachan." If the exertion is right exertion, known as Samyog Charitra in Jain terminology, guided and inspired by Samyag Darshan and Samyag Gyan, there is no reason why the result should be different from the desired one.


Incidentally Vedanta also gives the same answer to the question of freedom of will of the individual. It clarifies that as long as the individual is under the control of Avidya, he has no freedom of will, but as soon as he is able to throw away the yoke of Avidya he is a completely free agent, the other factors dance to his tune. However, to get rid of Avidya one has to make efforts or Purusharth, which makes it the prime factor or the prime mover to use a scientific term. Taking another example, if life is a game of cards, the way cards are distributed is determined by Destiny, Time Swabhava etc. but it is Purusharth which decided how the cards are played. It is well known that much depends on the way cards are played, the best hand being thrown away by poor play and an ordinary hand scores if the play is well managed. This again establishes the primacy of Purusharth.


To summarise, it is stated that amongst the five factors which are equally important in the affairs of men (and all living beings) namely Time, Disposition, Past karma, Destiny and exercise of free will, the one known as Purusharth is the first among the five equals. This leads to an optimistic approach and gives confidence to the beings that they can mould their present and future in a manner as they will. This is true about matters temporal as well as spiritual. Indeed, many men have progressed on the spiritual path by the exercise of their will in the right manner. In matters temporal the progress made by men in scientific sphere is for every one to see.


Finally, it will be appropriate to conclude this article with quotations from the Geeta and sacred texts of Jainism and Buddhism which identically lay emphasis on Purusharth or Freedom of will and exhort human beings on the path of progress through efforts of their own i.e. Purusharth :

Geeta (6 : 5) says :

The soul should attain one's own progress, and soul should not digress by grief-because the soul is his own friend and his own enemy,


Buddhist scriptures prescribe :

The soul is the ruler of the soul, none except the soul can help. Just as a merchant regulates his horse, one should regulate his soul.


Jain agam (Uttaradhyayan) says similarly :

Soul is the creator and destroyer of happiness and misery. Soul is the friend and the enemy (if  it is) on the wrong path or the right path.



Appendix A: Preface to German Edition of Book of The Doctrine of Karma in Jain Philosophy,  by Dr. H.V. Glasenapp


The doctrine of Karman is the central dogma of the Indian religions. It means : every action, every word, every thought produces, besides its visible, an invisible, transcendental effect- the Karman : every action produces, if one may so express it, certain potential energies which under given conditions, are changing themselves into actual energies, forces which, either as reward or punishment, enter sooner or later into appearance. As in the case of a bond which, although the amount borrowed may long ago have been spent, continues to exist and only loses its validity on the repayment of the capital sum, so also the invisible effect of an action remains in existence long after the visible one has disappeared. This effect does not confine itself to the present life, but continues beyond it; it destines qualitatively and quantitatively the state after death. Actions performed during the present existence are the causes of the future existence, and the present life is, in its condition and duration, the result of the actions of the preceding one. Thus the natural difference between individuals finds an explanation which is so plausible that inversely it is adduced as a proof of the truth of the Karman theory. The Karman doctrine involves the idea of an eternal metempsychosis; for, as in each new existence actions which must be expiated in a future life are performed anew, so the migration of souls continues without end; but, as, on the other hand, every existence presupposes the actions of a preceding one, so likewise it is without beginning. Now, however, the idea of the eternity of the samsara, as soon as life was contemplated pessimistically, necessarily led to the endeavour to bring the painful reincarnation to an end and eradicate the power of the Karman. To this longing after salvation from the painful cycle of rebirths a great number of religious and philosophical systems owe their origin, systems which, widely as they may deviate from one another in detail, are all in agreement in belief in the operating power of fault and of merit, in acceptance of the theory of the migration of souls, and in striving after a nirvana.


When and where the Karman doctrine has had its origin in India we do not know; only it is sure that it existed at least a thousand years before the beginning of the Christian Era, and has since become the basis and centre of religious thought. Although the various sects and schools are to some extent in accord with one another in their estimation of the efficacy of the Karman, there exist great differences between them regarding its philosophical explanation. There may be distinguished a whole scale of views, from the most extreme realism, which regards the Karman as a complexity of material particles infecting the sinful souls, to the most extreme idealism, according to which it is a species of newly produced invisible force, after all, in its highest meaning only unreal, because the entire world of the senses is an empty illusion, a dream, a Fata Morgana.


The conception first mentioned, the most realistic of all that have had their origin in India, is that of the Jains, of that Indian religious community which has existed from pre-Buddhistic times down to the present day. Their fundamental idea is, that the soul, pure in itself, is polluted through its actions and, in order to regain its natural state, must be free from its stain-an idea which is also found in other religions, but which, however, while it has remained with them only an allegorical expression, has been adopted by the Jains in the real sense of the word, and has been worked up into an original system, which even now is the foundation of the belief of one-and-a-half million people.


The Karman theory of the Jains as still taught today has been fully dealt with in a great number of works, Of these up till now, as far as I know, the following have been published : (1) the Karmagranthas; (2) the Pancasamgraha; and (3) the Karmaprakrti.


1.      The Karmagranthas are six books, of different dimensions, which treat of the most important points of the Karman doctrine. The text, composed in Prakrit-Gathas, and the Sanskrit Commentary on books I.-V., have been written by Devendrasuri (died Samvat 1327 in Malava). There also exists a Commentary on the Gathas, Balavabodhas written in Gujarati by Maticandra, Yasahsoma and his pupil Jayasoma, which is printed in the collection Prakaranaratnakara (Bombay, Samvat 1937) Vol. IV, pp. 305 et seq. The last, the sixth Karmagrantha, consists of some 70 Gathas, which have been taken from Drstivada by Candramahattara. The most important commentary appears to be that by Malayagiri (according to Kielhorn in the 12th century A.D.), which in the edition employed is added to the text; here the number of the Gathas is 75. Peterson, Report 1883, Appendix I. p. 27, mentions a manuscript, with a commentary by Devendrasuri, which comprises 77 Gathas : "Candramahattaracaryakrtagatha 70 tatra praksiptagathakarta Devendracaryah". In the Fourth Report (1886-1892) p. 57, he mentions another manuscript which contains 89 Gathas, and makes the following comment : "At the end of the Saptatika Devendra states that tract is the work of Candramahattara to which he has himself added 19 gathas, bringing the total number up to 89". According to that, then, the original text must have contained 70 Gathas, and the one used by Malayagiri was already enlarged by additions. In the Prakaranaratnakara IV, pp. 773 et seq the sixth Karmagrantha is also furnished with a commentary. The number of the Gathas therein has been increased by additions to 93. The variation in the number of the verses shows that this book has been the object of extensive activity on the part of commentators so that it is to be supposed that divergence between the views of different teachers has taken in it particularly acute forms. To me the commentary of Malayagiri has alone been accessible, for which reason deviations from the doctrine, that may have been expounded in his commentary by Devendra, might have been unavoidable. The difference between the views of the two masters cannot, however, have been of far-reaching consequence, because the variations existing between the first five Karmagranthas, explained by Devendra, and the sixth, commented upon by Malayagiri, are altogether of insignificant importance.


2.      The Pancasamgraha contains a summary of the entire Karman doctrine. It consists of a great number of Prakrit-Gathas, which emanate from Candrarsi (Candramahattara) i.e., from the author of the Gathas of the sixth Karmagrantha. Its name, Pancasamgrah "Epitome of Five Things", the book owes either to the circumstance that it has been compiled from five older books : Sataka, Saptatika, Kasayaprabhrta, Satkarma and Prakrti (p.3) or to the five dvaras, of which it treats, namely yogopayogamargana, bandhakah, baddhavyam; bandhahetavah, and bandhavidhayah (p.5). It was commented upon by Malayagiri.


3.      The Karmaprakrti gives, in 475 Gathas, the detailed account of a portion of the Karman doctrine. It was compiled by Sivasarmasuri, who indicates as his source the chapter of the Agrayaniyapurva of the Drstivada, called "Karmaprakrti". The K.P. has often been commented upon. The most celebrated commentary is the Tika by Malayagiri; besides, that, there exists a Vrtti by Yasovijaya; who lived in the 17th century, an anonymous Curni and a Tippana by Nemicandra.


The relations of the Karman works to one another and to other books of Jain literature are still in need of thorough examination, which, it must be admitted, can only be made possible when other works of description will yet have been published That Devendra was acquainted with the Karmaprakrti and the Pancasamgraha is seen from Kg. II, 144 a: "Devendrasurina likhitam karmaprakrti-pancasamgraha-brhacchataka-disastrebhyah". Concerning his dependence on the commentaries of Malayagiri nothing for the moment can be said: there are, however, in many different places literal reminiscences of the writing of the latter; but, as both have made use of still older authors, it cannot be decided to what extent he leans upon him, or how far both go back to a common source.


Candramahatara and Sivasarman indicate as their source the twelfth Anga, the Drstivada, an indication which is also found in other parts of the Jain literature. As the Purvas are said to have been, partially at least, in existence up till the year 1000 after Vira., the Karman doctrine must have been, at the latest, completely developed at that time. The question now arises, whether this very complicated doctrine had already existed before that time or not i.e., whether it is the product of a comparatively recent speculation, or had been already in its essential points contained in the sacred writings. A final judgment regarding this can only be arrived at through a comparison of the ideas developed in the Karman works with those of the entire canon. I have not made such an examination. Nevertheless, as far as I could see, the most important Karman doctrines are contained actually in the Siddanta, of which any one can easily convince himself, if he but superficially consults the Sthananga-Sutra, Bhagavati-Sutra, Aupapatika-Sutra and Uttaradhyayana-Sutra. Many of the passages concerning Karman appearing in these works contain only generalities; many, however, give so many details that through them we may arrive at the result that already at the time of the canon the Karman was developed in a high degree. That not only the principle points but many details of the Karmna theory are contained in the Angas and Upangas, is proved by the numerous passages from the sacred writings which are quoted by the commentators and which often refer to quite special things.


Further, the fact that the Karman writings go beyond that which has been laid down in the canon, but do not contradict it, follows already from the reason that they have not invoked upon themselves the reproach of heterodoxy. For, with a religious community that zealously guards the purity of their doctrine, as do the Jains, any important deviation would not have remained unreproved. As with the canon, so also all Karman works are in accord in all things of prime importance; in some details, however, where in the sacred writing does not make any distinct declaration and leaves free rein to speculation, they differ from one another to the extent that in some details two or more views are exposed. There are two schools in particular who are opposing one another on many by-issues : the Agamikas and the Karmagranthikas. The former, the chief exponent of whom is Malayagiri, derive their ideas from a tradition which is dependent upon the Purvas. The Karmagranthikas and their spokesman Devendrasuri, however, lean on the authority of older works on the Karman, portions of which are even to-day in existence in Jain monastic libraries, but about which, nevertheless, nothing distinct is as yet known. For this attempt at a first complete, although not exhaustive, account of the Karman doctrine, works of the two schools have been used. This could be done without hesitation, because the differences between the two schools are quite unimportant in regard to the system as a whole, and in a preponderating majority area of an altogether trifling nature; in their proper place there will be pointed out the most conspicuous of these differences.


The leading works, on which this account is based are the six Karmagranthas, in addition to which the two other work have been consulted for comparison and for supplementary material; the ideas reproduced by us are therefore, within certain limitations, practically in their entirety those of Devendrasuri. The Karmagranthas recommended themselves before all other writings in so far as they demonstrate the Karman doctrine in the clearest manner, and because of their most methodical arrangement. For similar reasons they appear to be those most highly estimated by the present-day Jains as is proved by their frequent occurrence in manuscripts and in translations into the vernacular languages.


In order to afford the uninitiated an insight also into the essential principles and arrangement of the Karmagranthas, I append the following observations relating to them, commencing with a


Survey of the contents of the Karmagranthas.

First volume of the Edition consulted.


1. Praise, list of contents, explanations and proofs of the K (1 a); 2. the K is fourfold, according to prakrti, sthiti, rasa, prades (3a); 3. the 8 Karma prakrtis, their sequence is logical (3b); 4-9. detailed explanation of jnanavarana-k (5a); 9-12. of darsanavarana-k (21b); 12-13. of vedaniya-k (23b); 13-22. of mohaniya-k (24a); 23. of ayus-k (31b); 23-50. of nama-k (31b); 51. of gotra-k (48a); 51.52. of antaraya-k (48b); 53-60. the ethical conduct as cause of the binding of ks. (49b); 60. colophon (53b).



1. Praise, list of contents (55a); 2. explanation of the 14 gunasthanas (56a); 3-12. representation of the different prakrtis which are possible in bandha in the gunasthanas. (63a); 13-23, the same in udaya (69a); 24. the same in udirana (74a); 25-34. the same in satta (75a); 34. colophon (78b).



1. Praise, list of contents (80a); 2-3. summary of prakrtis which are not bound (81a); 4-24. what prakrtis are bound in the 14 marganasthanas (81b); 24. colophon (91a).



1. Praise, list of contents (92a); 2. explanation of the jivasthanas (95b); 3. gunasthanas in jivasthanas (96b); 4-5. yogas in jivasathanas (98b); 6. upayogas in jivasthanas (100a); 7. lesyas in jivasthanas (101b); 7-8. bandha, udaya, udirana, satta in jivasthanas (102a); 9-14. detailed explanation of the marganasthanas (104a); 14-18. jivasthanas and marganasthanas (115b); 19-23. gunasthanas and jivasthanas (119b); 24-29. yogas and marganasthanas (123a); 30-34. upayogas and marganasthanas (133b); 35. another view on the relation of yogas, upayogsas, jivasthanas, gunasthanas (135b); 36-37. lesyas and marganasthanas (136b); 37-44. alpabahutava of the marganasthanas (137a); 45. jivasthanas in gunasthanas (145b); 46-47. yogas in gunasthanas (146a); 48. upayogas in gunasthanas (147a); 49. another view on the same subject (147b); 50. lesyas in gunsathanas (148a); 50-58. the causes of bandha (148b); 59-62. bandha, udaya, satta, udirana in gunasthanas (152b); 62-63. alpabahutva of the different beings in the gunasthanas (154a); 64-68. the states of the soul (154b); 69. the states in the Karmans and ajivas (157b); 70. the states in the gunasthanas (160b); 71-86. explanation of samkhyata, ananta (163b); 86. colophon (175b).


Second Volume of the Edition consulted.


1. Praise  list of contents (1b); 2-9. prakrtis with dhruva and adhruva bandha, udaya, satta (3a), 10-12. the latter in the gunasthanas (8a); 13-14. sarva-desa and a-ghatins (10a); 15-17. punya and papa-prakrtis (12b); 18-19. para-vartamana and pap prakrtis (13b); 19-21. ksetra, jiva-, bhava-and pudgalavipaka-prakrtis (14a).


Prakrti-bandha : 22-25. bhuyaskara-, alpatara-, avasthita-and avaktavya-bandha (16b).


Sthiti-bandha : 26-27. maximum and minimum-duration of the mula-prakrtis (22b); 28-34, maximum-duration of them (28a); 35-39, minimum-duration of them (28a); 40-41, explanation of ksullakabhava (32b); 42-44. who binds the minimum-sthiti of the different prakrtis ? (33a); 44-45. who binds the minimum-sthiti ? (36a); 46-47, utkrsta-, anutkrsta-, jaghanya-, and ajaghanya-bandha and sadi-, anadhi, dhruva-adhruva bandha (37b); 48. sthiti-bandha in the gunasthanas (39a), 49-51. alpabahutva of the sthiti-bandha of the different jiva-species (40a); 52. pleasant and un-pleasant sthiti-bandha and its causes (42a); 53-55 yoga; sthiti, and adhyavasaya-sthanas (43b); 56.62 abandha and satata-bandha (47b).


Anubhaga-bandha : 63. species of rasa (53b); 64. degrees of it (54a); 65. pleasant and unpleasant rasa (55a); 66-68. who binds maximum-rasa of the different prakrtis ? (57a); 69-73. who binds the minimum-rasa ? (59b); 74-75. utkrsta-, anutkrsta-, jaghanya-, ajaghanya-bandha and sadi-, dhruva, anadi-, adhruva bandha (64b).


Pradesa-bandha : 75-77. grahana and agrahana-varganas (68b), 78-79. what is the constitution of the matter which the jiva assimilates and how is the assimilation done ? (72a); 79-81. the distribution of matter between the prakrtis (74a); 82-83. the gunasrenis (79b); 84. antarala of the gunasthanas (81b); 85-88 explanation of palyopama and pudgalaparavarta (83a); 89-92. who has maximum-pradesa-bandha of the different prakrtis ? (89a); 93. who has minimum pradesa-bandha ? (93b); 94. utkrsta-, anutkrsta-, jaghanya-, ajaghanya-bandha and sadi, anadi-, dhruva-, adhruva bandha (95a); 95-97. yoga-and adhyavasaya-sthanas (98b).


98. Upasama-sreni (105a); 99-100. ksapaka-sreni (111b); 100. colophon (113a).



1. List of contents (115b); 2. bandha-, udaya-, satta-, mula-prakrti-sthanas (116a); 3-5. their samvedha in guna-and jiva sthanas (118b); 6. explanation of uttara-prakrtis (120b); 7. bandha-, udaya-satta-sthanas of the uttara-prakritis of jnanavarana-, and antaraya-k. (127b); 8-9. of darsanavarana (128a); 10. of vedaniya, ayus, gotra (130a); 11-24. of mohaniya (132a); 25-33. of naman (143a); 34-39. the same in the jivasthanas (158b); 40-52. in gunasthanas (168b); 53-55. in marganasthanas (189b); 56-58. udirana (194b); 59-63. bandha in gunasthanas (195b); 64. bandha in gatis (197b); 65. upasama-sreni (198a); 66-72. ksapaka-sreni (205b); 73. salvation (212b); 74-75. epilogue (213a).



The task of the Karmagranthas is to expose completely a dogma but not to prove it. That is why we find in them a full enumeration of the different kinds of the karman, of the states of the soul, the degrees of their development, etc., but we do not hear why any of this is thus and not otherwise. I am aware of one passage only wherein the author deliberately raises the question concerning the cause. It is contained in Kg. II; 75a; herein the author raises an objection as to how it is possible that the particle of matter seized in a moment by the soul is capable of transforming itself into the number of particles necessary for the formation of the various species of the Karman, whereupon he replies that it is through the mysterious power of the soul, of which we may not make to ourselves any idea, and through the peculiar quality of the matter itself. It may be observed, he argues, that matter on which no spiritual force is working, is changing into clouds and rainbows; why, then, could not matter with which a jiva is in connection be changed into different kinds of karman ? All further discussion is cut off by an energetic "alam vistarena". The disregard of rational argumentation here shown is justified in so far Jainism does not pretend to have attained its doctrines by human rational means. It is not through the limited comprehension of an average man that Jainism arrives at its view-point of the world, but by revelation or, better, by that which an omniscient man, a kevalin, has communicated. Everything that such a master, adorned with 18 characteristics, proclaims concerning world and life is accepted un-conditionally as Truth that nothing can shake. All Jain scriptures, therefore, only undertake to recapitulate the utterances of such a man, to explain them, and, if necessary, to supplement them. This supplementing is done by the restricted agency of the human understanding ; the interpreters are consequently fully aware of their own inperfection, and point out, over and over again, that they are liable to err, for the reason that the Truth is only revealed to the omniscient ones, -nevertheless, this fact in no way deters them from opposing people who arrive at other conclusions.


In working up the material I have been governed by the desire to be as concise as possible. I have discarded all that is not in direct connection with the subject, that is to say, all the discursive matter which is interwoven in the text and the commentaries. Further, I have not taken into consideration all the views of the different teachers excepting only opinion expressed in the text itself. Although several things have been abbreviated or omitted. I hope that nothing of importance has been lost to view. If in many instances and in manifold regard the text provided too much for our necessities, on the other hand, in many respects, it supplied too little. In order to present a general view of the world of ideas connected with the karman doctrine, I felt myself compelled to supplement the missing points by drawing upon other works, chiefly the Tattvarthadhigam-asutra and the Lokaprakasa. This applies especially to the introduction and to chapter V., VI.2, VII.1, which, although probably affording scarcely anything new to the specialist in Jain philosophy, will not be unacceptable to other readers.


Of the books published in European languages, two only have been of prominent use to me. The first is the series of lectures on Karman Philosophy, delivered by the late Mr. Virchand R. Gandhi in London, and which were subsequently published from notes made by Mr. H. Warren. This excellent work would undoubtedly have become an exhaustive manual had Gandhi not been overtaken by death before its completion. Thus his work remains a torso, and treats of a small part only of the karman system proper, namely the doctrine of the karmaprakrtis and the first five gunasthanas; but, notwithstanding its incomplete form, it has been of great value to me. The other work to which I have referred is Professor H. Jacobi's German translation of the Tattavarthadhigama-Sutra, the only book on Jain dogmatics hitherto translated into a European language. The rendering of numerous termini technique is due to it, and to it likewise I owe many observations contributing essentially to an understanding of the subject.


In conclusion, I feel myself bound to acknowledge the kindly aid and information supplied to me by those whose names follow : Mr. Hemchand Amerchand (Bombay), Dr. A. Guerinot (Paris), Jagmandar Lal Jaini, M.A. (Bankipore), Dr. Willibald Kirfel (Bonn), Pandit F.K. Lalan (Bombay), Vakil Keshavlal P. Mody, B.A., L.L.B. (Ahemdabad), Dr. Walther Schubring (Berlin), Dr. F.W. Thomas (London) and Mr. Herbert Warren (London).


I must reserve till the last my special expression of gratitude to my revered teacher, the celebrated Jainadarsanadivakara, Her Geheimrat, Professor Dr. Jacobi, who inspired me to undertake this work and who, by his advice and encouragement, has aided me in its accomplishment.


Dr. Helmuth Von Glasenapp



Appendix B: Foreword By Prof. R. Zimmerman, to the Book `Doctrine of Karman is Jain Philosophy'


The subject-matter of "Karman in Jain Philosophy" is of supreme importance both to the adherent of Jain tenets and to the student of religion. The orthodox Jain will find set forth here what  forms a central part of his belief, and what more or less actuates his life according to the dogma he professes. And whatever faith one may adhere to, it is necessary to give oneself an account of it as far as possible. For, that cannot be called a religion fit for rational Beings that does not stand the test of reason, or which even runs counter to the laws of human understanding. True, every religion worth the name has to face, and grapple with, problems that have been solved in a variety of ways by the thinkers and teachers of mankind. In every religion which rises above the primitive forms of worship questions may be found to which no answer may have been given so far by the system, in part because the questions have not been gone into, in part because the premises of the system are not such as would lead to, or even allow, a consistent reply to every query. But there are-and just in the highest forms of religion-How's and Why's to which no human intellect will ever be able to giva a satisfactory, exhaustive reply. In such cases it must suffice to show that these doctrines, though they are shrouded in mystery, yet are not wantonly put forth, that they are not without cohesion with the rest of the system, and that they lie still within the domain of sound thinking. Such doctrines must even not be without direct or indirect support either from logical deduction or from experience or from both. It is not permissible that they should be mere statements for the sake of the system, and without some proof or other. Such statements would be untenable, whether they proceed from a delight in theoretical systematising, without an eye to facts, or whether they are result of a fertile fancy's play.


The follower of Mahavira, then, has got here a golden opportunity of seeing how far the doctrine of the founder and the recognised exponents of Jainism satisfies the requirements laid down in the above prinicples. In other words, the present exposition of the doctrine of Karman in the Jain Philosophy will afford to the Jain of these days a welcome chance of gauging his religion by the standard of principles recognised by the modern student of philosophy and theology. And it must be a distinct delight to the thinkers among the ranks of this belief to see how their creed, old and venerable to them, fits in with or contradicts, as the case may be, twentieth century views. It is in particular to this class of thinkers that the present book appeals, a class for which the Jain community has been more remarkable than many another rival creed in India. It is probably owing to their enthusiasm, conservatism and, at the same time, adaptability, that Mahavira's doctrine has found followers so early and unflinching, that it has lasted for more than 2000 years, and has outlived such a formidable competitor as Buddhism at one time threatened to become.


But the book before us is of importance for every student of religion, be he within or without the circle of Mahavira's adherents because it treats of the Karman, a central, if not the fundamental, doctrine in most of the world's religions. Apart from the emphasis with which Karman is taught in Jainism, the Jain doctrine on this point is of uncommon interest, as it postulates such a nature of Karman which would seem to represent an extreme, for, in no other system, perhaps, has Karman been taught to be of such concrete, realistic, physical nature as here. This should not be taken to imply that other systems of philosophy and religion had not beliefs regarding Karman that seems at least to approach the Jain version. The technical terms as well as the illustrations, used in teaching and explaining Karman in Vedanta, for instance, appear to suggest that the moral element in each action which is followed by reward or punishment would produce a physical entity, to be consumed in enduring the pain or enjoying the reward. But nowhere, if our sources and their knowledge are comprehensive enough, has the physical nature of the Karman been asserted with such stress as in Jainism. A moral fact, then good or bad, produce a psycho-physical quality, a real not merely symbolical mark, a characteristic in the most literal sense, affecting the soul in its physical nature. This point of view once taken, it was not unnatural, that the analysis of the production, nature and effect of the Karman should assume such an almost mathematical form as it has done in the Karmagranthas and other authoritative writings, and bring rather heterogeneous elements together under the common category Karman. Anyone, however, who should find the Jain doctrine of Karman and its psycho-physical analysis of the classical writers too minute and complicated, is referred to Buddhist psychology. There he may readily convince himself that either these writers have merely systematised for the system's sake, or have seen a good deal more than we, for some reason or other, are able to see.


The second point that before others attracts attention is the question about the age of the Karman theory. Though the doctrine has been developed with a minuteness in detail, a care in classification, a definiteness in statement, which would do credit to the most methodical modern system, yet here again the question about its age remains, for the time being, an open one. At least one thousand years before the Christian era the Karman tenet is said to have been in vogue. This is of course supposed to be the lower limit, the higher one possibly lying much further back in antiquity. But the fact is significant that it cannot be shown where precisely and when a doctrine of such central position as that of the Karman originated. That the fundamental idea of Karman is part and parcel of the Jain canon may be as readily accepted as the assumption that later writers have developed the theory in detail and expressed in technical terms what the elders implicitly had taught and believed. But if neither Jainism, nor Buddhism, nor Hinduism has got to show a definite date of origin for a doctrine that with all of them is a pivot of their beliefs, might it not be assumed that this doctrine of the Karman in its various shades is an inheritance of old, a technical expression of the universally acknowledged law of moral retribution ?


The third point that strikes the modern student of religion is the great insight attached to authority. In this Jainism indeed does not stand alone. The Vedic Rsi of yore, the Tathagata with the Buddhist, claimed and enjoyed as undisputed an authority in deciding the most momentous problems as the Jain Kevalin. But that they all were credited with such insight into things beyond the senses and primitive thinking as would command unswerving faith, and would cut short questions like Why ? and How ? : this is a document of the fact that even atheistic religious systems, to say nothing of strict Theism, profess to be a higher message, and claims to convey a preternatural, if not a supernatural truth.


So much about the book before us and its contents. One more word about the author. In the Preface to the English Edition (p.21) he makes mention of "the difficulty which besets a European in penetrating into an intricate Indian Philosophical system". It is true, in undertaking and accomplishing such a task everything is against him, except the will to know and to get over every obstacle. The Indian can hardly realise how a day's, perhaps a week's, work may be lying behind the grasp of a term the understanding of which is a matter of tradition to him. Considering what Dr. Von Glasenapp has achieved, it may not be easy to say who is to be congratulated more, whether he who has mastered so successfully the task before him, or the readers, the members of the Jain community before all, who thus easily enter into the fruits of the author's labour. The Encyclopaedia for Indo-Aryan Research (I. Band, I. Heft B, Geschichte der Sanskrit-Philologie and Indischen Altertumskunde, von Ernst Windisch, p. 354), acknowledges the worth of the present book which it calls "an important new publication on Jainism" that "should make the understanding of the Karman doctrine easier". Indeed it requires more than an ordinary acumen to find out from an even string of Gathas the leading lines of a whole system, to co-ordinate and subordinate them according to their importance and consequence, and to marshal the details into their respective quarters. It needs a will to conquer in order to enter upon tasks of this kind, not unlike the entering of a forest in a dark continent, possibly untrodden by human foot, bristling with technical terms, unexplained, yet full of settled meaning, often enough not to be derived from etymology. The enthusiasm and love of a research scholar is required for trying one's strength at such problems with the likely, but by no means certain, prospect of pushing the limits of our knowledge at least a little further back into the vast realm hitherto unknown and unexplored. May the English edition of "The Doctrine of the Karman in Jain Philosophy" meet with the same success in India, its spiritual home, the German one has met with in a foreign land.


St. Xavier's College                                                          R. Zimmermann,



May 15, 1921


Appendix C: Modern Physics and Syadvada  -Dr. D.S. Kothari


The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. - A. Einstein (b. 14.3.1879, d. 18.4.1955).


The one certain thing is that a statement like "existence is meaningless" is itself devoid of any meaning. - Niels Bohr (b. 7.10.1885. d. 18.11.1962).


Complementarity principle in Syadvada

The principle of Complementarity which we owe principally to Niels Bohr is perhaps the most significant and revolutionary concept of modern physics. Philosophically, it should be noted, it is very close to the concept of Syadvada. Bohr had great faith in the future role in human affairs of the practical philosophy of complementarity. It can enable people to see that seemingly irreconcilable points of view need not be contradictory. These, on deeper understanding, may be found to be complementary and mutually illuminating. The complementarity approach allows the possibility of accommodating widely divergent human experiences into an under-lying harmony, and bringing to light new social and ethical vistas for exploration and for alleviation of human suffering. Bohr fervently hoped that one day complementarity would be an integral part of everone's education and provide guidance in the problems and challenges of life. For Bohr the complementarity approach which accomplished one of the greatest revolutions in natural philosophy was also of the utmost relevance for every aspect of man's life.


Modern Physics (relativity and quantum theory) provides as never before, far-reaching examples of, and insight into, Syadvada. Also Syadvada makes it much easier to grasp the complementarity principle in physics. Above all Syadvada and so the complementarity approach is a guide for the pursuit of truth and ahimsa in all their varied aspects.


H. Yukawa, the Japanese physicist who predicted the existence of the mesons on the basis of the principle of complementarity, was asked whether young physicists in Japan found the same great difficulty in comprehending the idea of complementarity as physicists do in the West. He replied that Bohr's complementarity always appeared to them as quite evident. "You see we in Japan have not been corrupted by Aristotle (Aristotle's Logic)", he added. How much more would it be true of India if Syadvada was a part of Indian education but our formal education (till recently ?) has hardly any Indian roots.


It is interesting to recall that Bohr as a student attended Hoffding lectures on formal logic and on the history of philosophy. He liked Spinoza's concept of the psychophysical parallelism, but later rejected it, as parallelism is not a true expression of complementarity. He read Kierkegaard. He was much impressed by Paul Muller's "Tale of Danish Student", a delightful humorous story of Hegelian dialectics. A soul-searching research scholar struggles desperately to unravel the intricacies of human thinking. How can a thought arise in the mind ? "And before you think it, you must have had an idea of it, otherwise how could it have occurred to you to think it ? And so it goes on to infinity, and this infinity enclosed in an instant". And while the scholar is trying to prove that thoughts cannot move, in that very process the thoughts are rapidly moving. We are involved in an inexplicable contradiction. (L. Rosenfeld, Physics Today, Oct, 1963.). All this is so similar to the celebrated Zeno's paradox on the impossibility of motion of objects.


Language and Reality

At this point a few words about ambiguities and contradictions inherent in ordinary language may be in order. Bohr's first and continuing preoccupation with philosophical problems related to the use of language for unambiguously describing our experiences. A fundamental difficulty in this regard arises from the inescapable fact that man is both actor and spectator in the universe, an idea that was Bohr's favourite reflection. Thus, when I am `seeing' a thing, I am also `acting' : my choice to see the particular thing is an `act', on my part. We often use the same word to describe a state of our consciousness and of the associated, accompanying behaviour of the body. How to avoid the ambiguity ? Bohr drew attention to the beautiful analogy of the concepts of multiform function and Riemann surface. The different values of a multiform function and distributed on different Riemann planes of a Riemann surface. Similarly we may say that the different meanings of the same word belong to different `planes of objectivity'. "The use of words in everyday life must be subject to the condition that they be kept within the same plane of objectivity, and as soon as we deal with words referring to our own thinking, we are exposed to the danger of gliding on to another plane. In mathematics, that highly sophisticated language, we are guarded against this danger by the essential rule never to refer to ourselves. But just as the gist or Riemann's conception lies in regarding all the branches of a multiform function as one single function, it is an essential feature of ordinary language that there is one word only for the different aspects of a given form of psychical activity. We cannot hope, therefore, to avoid such deep rooted ambiguities by creating `new concepts'. We must rather recognise the mutual relationships of the planes of objectivity as primitive, irreducible ones, and try to remain keenly aware of them" (Rosenfeld p-49).


Bohr often used to tell how the ancient Indian thinkers had emphasized the futility of our ever understanding the "meaning of existence". And he would add that the one certain thing is that a statement like "existence is meaningless" is itself devoid of any meaning.


In his Gifford Lectures (1955-56) on Physics and Philosophy Heisenberg has discussed at some length the problem of language and reality in modern physics. He emphasised that the concepts of natural or ordinary language "are formed by the immediate connection with reality; they represent reality. It is true that they are not very well defined and may therefore also undergo changes in the course of the centuries, just as reality itself did, but they never lose the immediate connection with reality" (p.,171). On the other hand because the concepts of science are for the precisely defined, idealised, their connection with reality is in general, only in a limited domain of nature. Heisenberg says : "Keeping in mind the intrinsic stability of the concepts of natural language in the process of scientific development, one sees that after the experience of modern physics-our attitude toward concepts like mind or the human soul or life or God will be different from that of the nineteenth century. Because these concepts belong to the natural language and have therefore immediate connection with reality. It is true that we will also realise that these concepts are not well defined in the scientific sense and that their application may lead to various contradictions, for the time being we may have to take the concepts unanalysed as they are; but still we know that they touch reality. It may be useful in this connection to remember that even in the most precise part of science in mathematics, we cannot avoid using concepts that involve contradictions. For instance, it is well known that the concept of infinity leads to contradictions that have been analysed, but it would be practically impossible to construct the main parts of mathematics without this concept - Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word `understanding'. We know that any understanding must be based finally upon the natural language because it is only there that we can be certain to touch reality,and hence we must be sceptical about any scepticism with regard to this natural language and its essential concepts. Therefore we, may use these concepts as they have been used at all times. In this way modern physics has perhaps opened the door to a wider outlook on the relation between the human mind and reality". (p. 171-73)


Modern Physics has warned us against the dangers of overestimating the value and utility of precise scientific concepts : for example, the fundamental concepts of classical physics no longer hold in quantum mechanics. In describing atomic phenomena "if one wishes to speak about the atomic particles themselves one must either use the mathematical scheme as the only supplement to natural language or one must conbine it with a language that makes use of a modified logic or of no well-defined logic at all. In the experiments about atomic events we have to do with things and facts, with phenomena that are just as real as any phenomena in daily life. But the elementary particles themselves are not as real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts". (p. 160)


A favourite maxim of Bohr of interest in connection with Syadvada is the distinction between the two kinds of truths, profound truths and trival truths. For a profound truth its opposite or negation is also a profound truth. For a trivial truth its opposite is false, an absurdity. Statements expressing the highest wisdom often involve words whose meaning cannot be defined unambiguously. "Thus the truth of a statement of the highest wisdom is not absolute, but is only relative to a suitable meaning for the ambiguous words in it, with the consequence that the converse statement also has validity and is also wisdom". Bohr illustrated this with his statement. "There is a God", a statement of great wisdom and truth, and the converse 'There is no God' also a statement of great wisdom and truth. (For him who believes that there is no God, his God is 'no-God'. The aspects of God are infinite, inexhaustible, inexpressible). This reminds of an oft quoted dialogue between Lord Mahavira and his favourite disciple Gautam. (Nathmal Tatia, Studies in Jaina Philosophy, Jain Cultural Research Society, Banaras, (1951) pp. 22-23.)


"Are the souls, O Lord, eternal or non-enternal ?"


"The Souls, O Gautama, are eternal in some respect and non-enternal in some respect."


"With what end in view, O Lord, is it said that the souls are enternal in some respect and non-eternal in some respect ?"


"They are enternal. O Gautama, from the view point of substance, and non-eternal from the view point of modes, and with this end in view it is said, O Gautama, that the souls are eternal in some respect and non-eternal in some respect".


"Is the body, O Lord, identical with the soul or is the body different from it ?"


"The body, O Gautama, is identical with the soul as well as it is different from it".


Atom and Complementarity

Let us, for the time being, limit ourselves to the domain of logical-empirical experience, that is communicable, objective facts, and ask what is the radically new situation we meet with in dealing with atomic phenomena (quantum physics) as distinct from everyday experience (classical physics). When we speak of a 'table or chair', any meaningful statement and its negation cannot both be correct at the same time. If the statement  'the chair is in this room' is correct, then the statement 'the chair is not in this room' is false. Both cannot be true at the same time. But this fundamental principle of logic and common-sense, is, in general, violated in atomic phenomena. Atoms in general behave in a manner completely foreign, totally repugnant, to common-sense and classical logic.

Consider an idealised situation which brings out the essentials. There is an ‘atom in a closed box’. the box is divided by a partition into two equal compartments. The partition has a very small hole so that the atom can pass through it. The hole can be closed if desired. According to classical logic the atom can be either in the left compartment (L) or in the right compartment (R). There is no third alternative. But the new physics forces us to admit  other possibilities to explain adequately the results of experiments. If we at all use the word `box' and `atom', then there is no escape whatsoever from admitting- in some strange way which totally  defies description in words - that the same atom is at the same time, in both the compartments. What we are speaking of is not a case of the atom being sometimes in the left compartment and some times in the right compartment,but being in both the compartments at the same time . It is an idea crazy beyond words. And so it is. But there is no escape.


Consider the 'box and atom' situation a little further. We suppose a beam of light illuminating the box (which we may take to be transparent), and we study the angular distribution of the intensity of light scattered by the atom in the box, We make three experiments. Firstly, the atom is placed in L with the hole closed; secondly, the atom is placed in R with the hole closed; and thirdly, the atom is placed in the box with the hole open so that it can move freely in the whole box. The observed intensity-distribution of light for the third case is truly astonishing. The intensity distribution is not a mixture, a sum, of the distribution for this first and the second case, the composition of the mixture depending on the fraction of time spent by the atom in each of the two compartments. The distribution is in fact altogether different. It shows an interference feature which can be only explained by assuming that the incident light is scattered from the atom present, at the same time, in both the compartments : The atom is, in some strange way, in the two compartments at the same time. It shows in this case a behaviour fundamentally different from that of a 'particle'. A particle cannot be at two places at the same time. The new aspect of the atom revealed in the third experiment is called the 'wave aspect'. A wave fills all available space. Totally unlike large objects, objects on the atomic scale show a dual aspect, a particle aspect and a wave aspect. The two aspects which are totally contradictory in every day experience are complementary at the level of atoms. Why so ? because nature is so constituted that experiments which demonstrate the particle aspect and those which demonstrate the wave aspect are mutually incompatible. We can have only the one set-up or the other, and never the two can be combined or built together into some super-apparatus to demonstrate both the aspects at the same time. We ask : What is it that makes these experiments mutually incompatible ? It arises from the far reaching, and totally unexpected, fact that an act of observation, even an ideal observation supposed to be made with `perfect' instruments is inevitably accompanied by certain minimum disturbance. The disturbance cannot be eliminated, cannot be analysed or allowed for. It is inherent in the nature of things. It disturbs in an unpredictable way, the state of the system under observation. We cannot even think of an experiment a thought experiment, as it is called-that can be made free of the concomitant minimum uncertainty. The effect of this inevitable disturbance is altogether negligible for a big object, but for an atomic object the effect is drastic. It drastically modified the state of the system under investigation. (This is technically called the `reduction of the wave packet'). It is because of this disturbance, an integral feature of an act of observation, that an experiment to study the wave aspect of an atomic system is incompatible with a set-up to study  the particle aspect.


We spoke of the wave-particle duality. Consider the usual arrangement for obtaining interference fringes. For the light beam each photon must pass through both the holes (at the same time) to produce interference fringes. This is observed on the plate P. Suppose we wish to find out how a photon can simultaneously go through the two holes. How can this happen ? For this purpose, we determine the momentum of the plate P in the Y-direction. The plate had to be kept rigidly fixed to observe the fringes. But to observe the momentum of the plate, it must be completely free to move in the Y-direction. Further, if we are to be able to decide whether the photon came from the direction of the hole A or from the hole B, the uncertainty in the momentum in the Y-direction of the plate should be small compared to hy0/c.



This requirement about the uncertainty in momentum makes the position of the plate uncertain. It is given by the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle.                                        But for the production of interference fringes it is necessary that    Hence, it is apparent, an apparatus designed to tell us how a photon passes through the two holes cannot in the very nature of the experiment record the interference fringes. The uncertain spread in the position of the plate is far more than the separation between the fringes. The fringes are totally washed out. If the momentum change is (+hv/0), the photon came through the hole B, if the momentum change is (-hv/0), then it come through A : and if the momentum change is nearly zero, the photon came through both the holes. (In the latter case we should observe the interference fringes). What we observe is that a photon either goes through A or though B, but never through the two holes at the same time. But if we forego to determine the direction of the incoming photoms and keep the plate P fixed, interference fringes are recorded on the plate - announcing that each photon did go through the two holes at the same time. We have an extraordinary situation. A photon goes through the two holes if we forego any attempt to observe  how this happens; but if we probe into it, the photon goes through only one hole or the other and no interference fringes are produced. It is because of this mutual exclusiveness of the two set-ups, (1) and (2) in the figure that the particle and the wave aspects for the photon are complementary and not contradictory. And the same holds for any ‘small object' : it holds good for any object which is not big compared to atoms.


For a 'small object' a precise measurement of its momentum invalidates any previous knowledge we had of its position. And a precise measurement of its position invalidates any earlier knowledge we had of its momentum. This occurs as we have emphasised, because of the disturbance which always accompanies an act of observation. The uncertainties in the position and in the momentum for a small object are connected by the Heisenberg relations. The existence of the Planck Constant (h) introduces an extraordinarily novel feature in that a measurement of some observable is incompatible with a measurement, at the same time, of some others. It has no parallel in everyday experience or classical physics.


There is something more to it, and much more strange, which is not always appreciated. Suppose the two holes A and B are replaced by the `box' with the two compartments we described earlier. Illuminate the (transparent) box with a beam of light. If the plate P is kept fixed and interference fringes will be observed telling us that atom is present at the same time, in both the compartments L and R. We now decide to make the plate free so that any change in its momentum in the Y-direction can be determined. Then we find that the scattered light comes either from L or from R. the atom is either in L or R, but never in both the compartments at the same time. Imagine-and this is permissible so far as the principle of the experiment goes- that the distance between the box and plate P is very large so that light takes a fairly long time (t) to travel from the box to the plate. It is up to us to choose to observe either the fringes on plate (telling us that the atom is present both in L and R), or to observe the momentum of the plate (telling us that the atom is either in L or R). A photon takes time (t) in travelling from the box to the plate. If we decide to make a choice, say, at this instant, whether to observe the interference fringes or the direction of the incoming photons, how could it influence the state of the atom a long time (t) earlier ? This looks utterly strange- totally. The lesson is that the behaviour of `small objects' is not visualisable. It is not describable in ordinary language. "There is no more remarkable feature of the quantum world (characterised by the Planck Constant) than a strange coupling it brings about between future and past...."


The disturbance we are speaking of is a direct result of the existence of the Planck Constant. In describing the motion of large objects we can ignore its existence. But this constant (h) is of paramount importance in determining the course of atomic phenomenon. Notice that experiments, and results of experiments, dealing with atom and elementary particles are described unambiguously in ordinary language (classical logic). There could be no science if this were not so. But the situation is completely, and most exasperatingly, different if we wish to understand and speak about the atomic particle themselves. How can the same atom be in two compartments L and R at the same time ? (Impossible ?). It is unimaginable. It is not describable in ordinary language. The world of atoms takes up to a `deeper layer'' or `deeper plane' of reality far removed from the world of everyday experience. The characteristic of the new plane of reality is the Planck Constant. We expect that as we probe deeper in our understanding of Nature, far deeper layers of reality are likely to be encountered (each characterised possibly by some fundamental constant of Nature).


We may denote by L0 the plane of our everyday reality, and by L1the plane of atomic reality. It is important to recognise, as repeatedly stressed here that the later reality cannot be apprehended or described in ordinary language without introducing absurdities and contradictions. To talk of L1 in the language of L0 is to talk nonsense. In terms of L0 it is inexpressible or avayakata. It is this inexpressibility or avaykata-property that provides the clue, a pointer, to the existence of L1. In describing L1 we must (as stated earlier) "either use the mathematical scheme as the only supplement to natural language or we must combine it with a language that makes use of a modified logic or of no well-defined logic at all" (Heisenberg 1958, p.160).


A Summing up of the Physical Situation

To sum up:

1.      We investigate the world of atom with `tools' which are unambiguously described in ordinary language. But the world of atoms with its wave-particle duality is totally beyond description in ordinary language (classical logic). "A thing cannot be a form of wave motion and composed of particles at the same time ....nevertheless, both these statements describe correctly the same situation : the equal legitimacy of both descriptions and the impossibility of eliminating either in favour of the other are inevitable consequence of Heisenberg indeterminacy relations". (M. Jammer 1974, The Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, p. 344).


To describe the world of atoms we have to use the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics. The atom in quantum mechanics has no sharply defined boundaries or size. It is described by a mathematical quantity called a wave-function- and the wave-function, strictly speaking, fills all available space. Mathematics is perhaps best defined as the discipline that deals with infinities. It therefore involves concepts which (as Godel proved in his epochal work) are inherently "incomplete" and not free of contradictions. It may seem strange that mathematics, the most precise branch of human knowledge, contains contradiction in a deep sense. But is this feature paradoxical and it may appear which gives to mathematics its surprising and unique power to deal with `layers of reality' beyond the compass of ordinary language and everyday experience.


There have been attempts specially by Birkhoff and Neumann, and Weizsacker to modify classical logic by discarding the law of the excluded middle to bring it in conformity with the demands of quantum theory. These developments are of interest for Syadvada logic, but we shall not go into that here. (See chapter VIII, Quantum Logic, Jammer 1974, p. 340-416).


2.      We have already noted the distinction, on the basis of the Planck Constant, between `big objects' and `small objects'. However, to understand the small, we have to begin with the big; but big objects are made up of small ones (atoms). We therefore seem to be involved in some kind of a paradoxical or circular situation. The physico-philosophical problem of the relation between the big and the small is very difficult one. Recently, some new light has been thrown on the problem by the work of Prigogine and his associates. (I. Prigogine, Science, 1 Sept. 1978).


3.      It is worth noting the special role of the observer in quantum mechanics. We have seen that to make an observation is to make a choice between two or more incompatible measurement procedures. Choice implies consciousness and a freedom to elect between alternatives. This possibly has most far-reaching consequences-but we do not quite know at present. It possibly implies a kind of some strange coupling between future and past. Every observation is a participation in genesis. J. A. Wheeler 1977, Genesis and observership, in Fundamental Problems in the Special Sciences, ed. P. Butks and J. Hintikka.


4.      The physical example of the atom and the box described earlier is presented diagramatically and compared with the seven modes of Syadvada. The quantum mechanical description in the usual notation is also added in the middle column.



Seven Modes of Syadvada and the example of an ‘atom’ in a ‘box’ with two compartments.


Atom in Box                   Quantum Mechanical       Syadvada Models of

                                       Representation                Description

                                       (in the usual notation)


1. Atom in Left                System in State |L>          Existence (Atom in L)

    Compartment (L)


|  X  |      |


   L     R


2. Atom in right               System in state |R>           Non-existence

    Compartment  ( R )                                              (Atom not in L)



|      |   X  |


   L      R

3. Cases (1) and (2).       Mixture of |L> and |R>       Existence and

    at different times

    or two similar               represented by

    boxes at the same       | L > < L | + | R > < R |



-------------        ------------

|  X  |      |        |  X  |      |

-------------        ------------

   L     R              L     R


4. Atom in both                  System in a state which              Avayakta

    compartments at            is superposition                        (Inexpressibility) 

    the same time;               of | L > and | R > :

    this (wave-aspect)         | P > = | L > + | R >

    in non-visualizable


5. (4) and (1) at                  Mixture                                       Avayakta and

    different times;               | P > < P |  +  | L > < L |              Existence

    or two boxes at

    the same time (one

    box for (4) and

    another box for (1).


6. (4) and (2) at                  Mixture                                       Avayakta and

    different times;               | P > < P |  +  | R > < R |             Non-existence

    or two boxes at

    the same time.


7. (4) and (3) at                  Mixture                                       Avayakta and

    different times;                                                                  Existence and

    or three boxes at                                                               Non-existence.

    the same time.          | P > < | +P |  R < > R |  +  | L > < L |



Syadvada Reasoning

The Syadvada dialectic (Syad means "May be") was formulated by Jaina thinkers probably more than two thousand years ago. Syadvada asserts that the knowledge of reality is possible only by denying the absolutists attitude. According to the Syadvada scheme every fact of reality leads to seven ways or modes of description. These are combinations of affirmation and negation :


(1) Existence, (2) Non-existence, (3)  Occurrence (successive) of Existence and Non-existence, (4) Inexpressibility or Indeterminateness, (5) Inexpressibility as qualified by Existence, (6) Inexpressibility as qualified by Non-existence and (7) Inexpressibility as qualified by both Existence and Non-existence.


The fourth mode of inexpressibility or avayakta is the key element of the Syadvada dialectic. This is especially well brought out by our discussion of waveparticle duality in modern physics. (See. also P.C. Mahalanobis, and J.B.S. Haldane. Sankhya, May 1957, Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta. Their papers deal with the significance of Syadvada for the foundations of modern statistics.)


Take any meaningful statement. Call it 'A'. It may describe a fact of experience. It could be proposition of logic or mathematics. The Syadada dialectic demands that in the very nature of things the negative statement is also correct. Denote by not-A the negative statement of 'A'. The conditions under which the two statement, A and not-A, are correct cannot, of course, be the same. (In general) the respective conditions are mutually exclusive. Given a statement 'A'. it may not be at all easy to discover the conditions or situations under which not-A holds. It may even appear at the time impossible. But faith in Syadvada should keep us not to continue the search. For example, in the geometry of Euclid, the sum of the three angles of triangle is two right angles. The negation of this theorem is a new geometry in which the sum of three angles of a triangle is not equal to two right angles. It was some two thousand years after Euclid that non-Euclidean geometry was discovered in the nineteenth century.


Einstein's theory of general relativity is based on this geometry. When we know that both 'A' and not-A are correct, we are ready to move on to a deeper layer or a plane of reality which corresponds to simultaneous existence of both A and its negation. The deeper plane cannot be described in terms of the conceptual framework which described 'A' and not-A : In this framework it is avayakta. In the conceptual framework of `A' and not-A, for any particular situation, either A is true or not-A is true. The two being mutually exclusive cannot be simultaneously true. Think of the example of an atom in a box. In the framework of classical physics, as described earlier, the atom is either in the box or it is outside the box. There is no third possibility at this level or plane of reality. We have called this plane L0. The Syadvada assertion of the simultaneous existence of `A' and not-A, in some, strange, not explicable in the plane L0, leads us on to the search for a new deeper framework, or new dimension, of reality characterised by features not explicable in L0. Call the new framework L1. An understanding of L1 will eventually lead on to a still deeper layer L2, and so on. Syadvada is a dynamic dialectic taking us ever deeper and deeper in the exploration and comprehension of reality. What is now and of the utmost significance as vividly brought out by modern physics, is the fact that Syadvada provides a valuable guide and inspiration for fundamental studies in science and mathematics. The Syadvada, indispensable for ethical and spiritual quest and for ahimsa, is also of the greatest value for the advancement of natural science. In case this seems surprising we may remind ourselves of the profound words of Erwin Schroedinger : "I consider science an integrating part of our endeavour to answer the one great philosophical question which embraces all other, the one that Plotinus expressed by his brief-who are we ? And more than that : I consider this not only one of the tasks, but the task, of science the only one that really counts".


For the quest of truth, scientific, moral and spiritual, what is most important is the Syadvada or the complementarity principle, the precise definitions and number of modes are not so important.





Examples of Syadvada


approach to fundamental problems


1.      Determinism and Free will


Two contradictory facts :


a)      One knows by direct incontrovertible experience that it is one's own self that directs the motion of one's body; and because of this freedom arises moral responsibility for one's actions.


b)      The body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature. (See E. Schroedinger, What is Life ? Cambridge University Press, 1948).


2.      Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry. Cantorian and Non-Cantorian sets. (P.J. Cohen and R. Hersh, Scient. Am., Dec. 1967).


3.      Einstein's theory of relativity and gravitation.

(See especially, Einstein's Creative Thinking and the General Theory of Relativity, A Rothenberg, Am J. Psychiatry. January 1979).


4.      a) `We can draw a straight line joining two points'.

b) `We cannot draw a straight line joining two points'. This reminds of Zeno's Paradox.

(See A New Perspective on Infinity, New Scientist, 8 June, 1978).



The Indian-Jaina Dialectic of Syadvad in Relation to Probability

By P.C. Mahalanobis


Brief History of Syadvada

There are certain ideas in Indian-Jaina logic called syadvada which seem to have close relevance to the concepts of probability, and which can, therefore supply a convenient background to my own observations on the foundations of statistics. It is always difficult to be sure about the exact meaning of logical and philosophical phrases which were current 1500 or 2500 years ago : and it is not claimed (and I also agree that it would not be correct to claim) that the concept of probability in its present from was recognised in syadvada but the phrases used in syadvada seem to have a special significance in connection with the logic of statistical inference.


I shall first give a brief historical account of syadvada. Jaina religion and philosophy came into prominence from the time of its great leader Mahavira (599-527 B.C.) who was a contemporary of Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion. The earliest reference to syadvada occurs is the writings of Bhadrabahu who is believed to have given the following explanation of syadvada : syat = "may be", and vada = "assertion", or the assertion of possibilities.1


"The syadvada is set forth as follows : (1) May be, it is; (2) may be, it is not; (3) may be, it is and it is not; (4) may be, it is indescribable; (5) may be, it is and yet is indescribable; (6) may be, it is not and it is also indescribable; (7) may be, it is and it is not and it is also indescribable."2


There were two authors of the name Bhadrabahu, the senior belonging to the period 433-357 B.C., and the junior to about 375 A.D., and it is not definitely known whether the above explanation was given by the senior or the junior Bhadrabahu; but the above exposition is usually ascribed to the senior Bhadrabahu of the 4th century B.C.1 There is indisputable mention of syadvada in the Nyayavatara of Siddhasens Divakara2 (about 480-550 A.D.). A little later Samantabhadra (about 600 A.D.) gives a full exposition of the seven parts of Syad-vada or Sapta-bhanginaya in his Aptaminamsa.3 It is clear that syadvada was well developed by the sixth century A.D.,and received a great deal of attention in the mediaeval period of Indian logic; the syadvadamanjari of Mallisena (1292 A.D.) for example, is a separate treatise on `the same theory.4 There are, of course, still later works such as Vimala Dasa's Saptabhangitarangini and a large number of mediaeval and modern commentaries. I am, therefore, dealing with a well-known theme which is considered to be the most original contribution of Jaina logic to Indian thought.5



Dialectic of Seven-fold Predication

I shall next refer to the actual text in Sanskrit of the dialectic of sevenfold predication (saptabhanginaya) :


            (1) syndasti 6                                          = may be, it is.

            (2) syatnasti                                            = may be, it is not.

            (3) syadasti  nasti 7  ca                           = may be, it is, it is not.

            (4) syadavaktavyah8                               = may be, it is indeterminate.

            (5) syadasti ca9 avaktavya sca10            = may be, it is and also



            (6) syatnasti ca avaktavyasca                = may be, it is not and also


            (7) syadasti nasti ca avaktav-yasca       = may be, it is and it is not

                                                                           and also indeterminate.


The word syat has been translated as "may be" but this does not bring out the full implications. The Sanskrit word in mentioning one possibility has also some indirect allusion to other possibilities. The Sanskrit word asti may be rendered as "it is", "it exists", or "it is existent"; and nasti is the negation, i.e. "it is not" "it does not exist", or "it is non-existent". The third category predicates the possibility of both asti and nasti; of both "it is" and "it is not". The first three categories conform thus to the categories of classical logic and do not present any difficulty.


The fourth category is avaktavya which I have translated as "indeterminate". Other authors have used the words "indescribable",[1] or "inexpressible" or "indefinite". For example, Satkari Mookerjee explains "The inexpressible may be called indefinite".... (JPN, p. 115). I prefer "indeterminate" because this is nearer the interpretation which I have in mind.


It will be useful if at this stage I give an illustration. Consider the tossing of a coin; and suppose it turns up "head". We may then say (1) "it is head" (now). This also implies, (2) "it is not-head" (on some other occasion). The third category follows without difficulty, (3) "it is, and it is not" which is a synthetic predication based on both (1) and (2). The fourth category predicates that the position is still (4) indeterminate.


This, however, does not exhaust the possibilities of predication or modes of knowledge. For example, if we know that it is a coin which has "head" on one side and "not-head" or "tail" on the other side, and we also know that it must turn up either "head" or "tail", we may then predicate that (5) there exists one type of indeterminateness which is capable of being resolved in terms of the first four categories. On the other hand we may know that the subject of discourse is not a coin but something else to which the category of indetermination in the above sense cannot apply, we may then use the sixth mode of predication and assert that (6) there does not exist that type of indeterminateness which is capable of being resolved in terms of the first four categories. Finally, there is the seventh mode of knowledge where we may be able to predicate that sometimes the possibility of resolution of indetermination exists (as in the fifth mode) and sometimes this possibility does not exist (as in the sixth mode).


According to syadvada, the above seven categories are necessary and are also sufficient so that they exhaust the possibilities of knowledge. There is a minority view which hold that there are further possibilities of (8) vaktavyasca avaktavyasca, a kind of duplicated indeterminateness together with successive categories of the fifth, sixth, and seventh types in an infinite regression but the accepted opinion is that the hypothetical eighth category is identical with the fourth so that there is no need of more than seven categories.


I should like to emphasise that the fourth category is a synthesis of three basic modes of "it is" (assertion)  "it is not" (negation), and inexpressible, or indefinite, or "indeterminate" (which itself is resolvable into either "it is" or "it is not"), and supplies the logical foundations of the modern concept of probability. Consider the throw of a coin. It has the possibility of head (it is) or not-head (it is not); sometimes head and sometimes not head; and the combination of both possibilities of "it is" and "it is not" in an yet indefinite or indeterminate form. The fifth category of knowledge in Jaina logic predicates the existence of indetermination (which we may perhaps interpret, in modern language, as the assertion of the existence of a probability field). The sixth category denies the existence of a probability field; while the seventh category covers the whole range of possibilities mentioned in the other six categories.



It would be of interest to consider some further aspects of Jaina logic. The points to be stressed are that Jaina thought is non-absolutist  (that is, it is relativist) and realist. Siddhasena Divakara (480-550 A. D.) in Nyayavatara (which is accepted as the earliest Jaina work on pure logic at present available) gave an exposition of syadvada (knowledge of the all-sided method) of which the authentic text is described below :

"Syadvada, which literally signifies assertion of possibilities, seeks to ascertain the meaning of things from all possible standpoints. Things are neither existent nor non-existent absolutely .... Syad which signifies "may be" denotes all these seven possibilities, that is, a thing may be looked at from one of the above seven points of view, there being no eighth alternative."1


It has been pointed out that :

"All objects are multiform (anekanta) according to him (i.e. the Jaina). From their many-sided nature it follows that all judgements are relative. They are true  under certain conditions. They are conditional or hypothetical. No judgements are absolutely true. The word "perhaps" must be added to all judgements to indicate their conditional character. This is Syadvada or the doctrine of relativity of judgements.”2 


“The Jains emphasise manifold nature of real things which are endowed with infinite qualities, modes, and relations to the other things.2 They have identity-in-difference. The Vedantists emphasise pure identity and deny plurality. The jainas emphasise manifoldness of inter-related reals and deny pure identity. They are anti-Absolutists. They are advocates of relative pluralism."3


It has been also pointed out that :

"Thus the Jainas hold that no affirmation, or judgement, is absolute in nature, each is true in own limited sense only, and for each one of them any of the above seven alternatives (technically called saptabhangi) holds good. (See syadvadamanjari with Hemachandra's commentary p. 166 etc.) The Jainas say that other Indian systems each from its own point of view asserts itself to be the absolute and the only point of view. They do not perceive that the nature of reality is such that the truth of any assertion is merely conditional and holds good only in certain conditions, circumstances, or senses (upadhi). It is thus impossible to make any affirmation which is universally and absolutely valid. For a contrary  or contradictory affirmation will always be found to hold good of any judgement in some sense or other. As all reality is partly permanent and partly exposed to change in the form of losing and gaining old and new qualities, and is thus relatively permanent and changeful, so all our affirmations regarding truth are also only relatively valid and invalid. Being non-being and indefinite, the three categories of logic, are all equally available in some sense or other in all their permutations for any and every kind of judgement. There is no universal and absolute position or negation, and all judgements are valid only conditionally. 1



Jaina logic is essentially realistic : "The Jaina philosopher maintains that existents are possessed of an infinite number of attributes and characteristics which can be discovered by experience alone. He refused to put a premium on internal intuition. The mind, even with its active contributions, which the Jaina does not seek to deny, is believed by him to be an instrument of discovery and not a creator of facts." (JPN; p.1)


"Logic has to work upon the data of experience and is as much an instrument as experience is."  "Pure logic, prior to and independent of experience, is a blind guide to the determination of truth. Logic is to rationalise and systematise what experience offers. "(JPN, p.8)


" A things is existent, is non-existent and is both existent and non-existent, but always subject to limitations imposed by objective differences of substance, time, space and attributes (dravya-ksetra-kala-bhavapeksaya).1 The differences in predication are not due to our subjective contemplation from different angles of vision, but founded upon objectively real attributes. They are facts irrespective of the consideration whether we contemplate them or not." (JPN, p.107)



"The Jaina does not see any reason why things should be particulars alone. Things are, according to the Jaina, both universals and particulars together. A real is a particular which possesses a generic attribute". (JPN p2.). " in conformity with the plain verdict of experience, the nature of reals is admitted to be made up of both the elements - universal and the particular and to be cognised as such by perceptual knowledge."  (JPN, p.3)


"Things are neither exclusively particulars nor are they exclusively universals, but they are a concrete realisation of both. The two elements can be distinguished by reflective thought, but cannot be rent asunder. So our experience of one particular individual is not confined to that individual alone, but extends to unperceived individuals also in so far as the latter typify the universal as a part of their constitution. Individuals, even when they belong to a class, will vary from one another. Repetition of experience only helps us to take stock of the universal in its true character, but once the latter is known, it does not stand in verification or confirmation by further observation".1 (JPN, p.6)



The Jaina emphasises the multiple nature of reality and accepts the standpoint of non-absolutism. "He asserts that neither unity nor diversity sums up the nature of a real, but both taken together do it. Unity is not exclusive of diversity or vice versa. The difficulty that is confronted is not grounded upon objective reality, but arises from a subjective aberration, which consists in the imagination of inconsistency between unity and diversity. But unity is associated with diversity and diversity is never found as part from unity, which is its very foundation. (JPN, p.58)


"The central thesis of the Jaina is that there is not only diversity of reals, but each real is equally diversified. Diversification as induced by relations has been explained. The conclusion is legitimate that each real is possessed of an infinite number of modes at every moment. The number of reals is infinite. All things are related in one way or the other and relations induce relational qualities in the relata, which accordingly become infinitely diversified at each moment and throughout their career. Things are neither momentary2 nor uniform"3 . (JPN, p.70) According to the Jaina "a real changes every moment and at the same time continues The continuity never breaks down." (JPN, p.70)


"A real is that which not only originates, but is also liable to cease and at the same time capable of persisting. Existence, cessation, and persistence are the fundamental characteristics of all that is real. This concept of reality is the only one which can avoid the conclusion that the world of plurality, which is the world of experience, is an illusion." (JPN, p.72)



The relativism of the Jaina philosopher is to be sharply contrasted with some of the other Indian systems of philosophy.


"The Vedantist start with the premise that reality is one universal existence; the Buddhist fluxist1 believes in atomic particulars, each absolutely different from the rest and having nothing underlying them to bind them together. The Naiyayika2 believes both to be combined in an individual, though he maintains that the two characters are different and distinct. The Jaina differs from them all and maintains that universal and the particular are only distinguishable traits in a real, which is at once identical with and different from both." (JPN p.13)


It is, however, necessary to notice that :


"There is a difference  - and intrinsic difference at that - between a manifested and an unmanifested real. They are identical and different both - identical in so far as it is the same substance and different in so far as it undergoes a change of characteristic. This is the Jaina position of non-absolutism." (JPN, p.39.)


"A real is not entirely expressible in all its aspects and modes. But it is not inexpressible altogether. A real being a multiple entity is expressible and inexpressible both in reference to different aspects; it is expressible in so far as it partakes of a universal and is inexpressible so far as it is a unique individual."3 (JPN., p. 113.)


"The unique individuality of a real is not accessible to conceptual thought and, hence, to language, but it is reached by an analysis of the nature of reality as it is apprehended in perception; we have tried to prove, following the guidance of the Jaina philosophers, that the nature of reals, on analysis, has been found to exhibit the following traits, viz., existence, non-existence and inexpressibility." (JPN, 127.)


Relational Aspects


Relational aspects have received special notice in Jaina logic.

" Everything is related with every other thing, and this relation involves the emergence of a relational quality. The qualities cannot be known a priori, though a good number of them can be deduced from certain fundamental characteristics." (JPN, p.3)  "A real is only a part of a system knitted together by a network of relations, from which it cannot be divorced." (JPN, p. 109.) "Every real is thus hedged round by a network of relations and attributes, which we propose to call its system or context or universe of discourse, which demarcates it from others." (JPN, p.114.)


"It is idle to raise questions of chronological status as to whether the unity is prior to the elements or the elements are prior to the unity. In the concrete real at any rate they are co-ordinate. This unity of being and non-being,  or rather of self-being and negation of other-being, is beyond the reach of logical concepts, and hence, of linguistic symbols, which are but the vehicles of such concepts. The Jaina in recognition of this inalienable character of reals declares them to be inexpressible. The inexpressible may be called indefinite from the standpoint of formal logic. But this is not the whole character of a real. It is also expressible and logically definable as existent as non-existent.1 " (JPN, p.115)


"The Jaina conception of relation may be summed up as follows. Relations are objective verities which are as much given to intuition and to thought as the terms are. A relation has no objective status outside the terms. It is the result of an internal change in the nature of the terms. It is sui generis in that it cannot be placed under the head of identify or of difference, both of which are contained as traits in its being." (JPN, p.211.)


The Jaina view of relatedness of the things is very naturally extended to the discussion of causality.

"... neither synchronism nor succession is believed by the Jaina to be the essential characteristic of causal relation. Causality is a relation of determination. The effects is that whose coming into being is necessarily determined by the being of another. The determinant is called the cause and the determinatum is called the effect. The determinant may be synchronous with the determined or may be separated by interval..." (JPN, p. 212.)


"What is the organ of the knowledge of causality ? The Jaina answers that it is perception of the concomitance in agreement and difference... The Jaina takes the observation of concomitance in agreement and in difference to be one observation,.... The Jaina posits a twofold cause for the perception of universal relation-an internal and an external condition. The internal condition is found in the developed state of our mind and the external condition is the repeated observation of the sequence of the two events". (JPN p. 217.)


...."Such concepts as causality, substance, attribute and the like, are no doubt the ways in which the mind works up the data of experience, but this does not mean with the Jaina that they are true of the mind only and not of the extra-mental reality which they purport to understand. The Jaina would take them to be the instruments of discovery of the nature of reality, internal and external, which render the same kind of service as the sense-organs do". (JPN, p. 217.)


...."The different categories viz., the selves, matter, time, space and so on, are deductions from experimental data. They have been posited since general concepts presuppose their existence and since without these principles the data of experience cannot be organised into a system. These categories in spite of their general and comprehensive character are not only not inconsistent with the existence of individual entities, but on the contrary they are entirely based on the objective data. Without the individual existents these categories would be reduced to unmeaning class concepts. The affirmation of categories as objective principles is thus proof of the existence of individual reals, which are included within the ambit of these categories. Without the individuals forming their contents the categories would be empty and barren, and the individuals without the categories would be reduced to a welter of chaos. The Jaina is a believer in plurality no doubt, but that plurality is not an unrelated chaos. The plurality is a system inasmuch as each individual is cemented with the rest by definite bonds of relationship". (JPN, pp. 299-300.)


"From the analytic point of view (paryayarthikanaya) the world is an infinite plurality with their infinite variations and modes. But the analytic view does not give us the whole nature of reality as it is. It is a partial picture that we derive of the world by means of such approach. The whole gamut of reality, however, reveals its universal unitise nature as one existence when it is envisaged from the synthetic angle of vision (dravyarthikanaya)". (JPN, p. 301.)


"It seems legitimate to conclude that the universe is one existence which manifests itself,  as substance (dravya) as it unifies the modes and attributes. The selfsame existence again reveals itself as Space in so far as it provides accommodation for the infinite plurality of existence within itself (ksetra). It is the same existence which manifests itself as Time (w.f. kala) is so far as it changes into aspects, past and future modes. It is the same existence that evolves as phases and modes, attributes and states. The substance, time, space, attribute and relation are thus evolved from the same existence. The different categories, thus viewed as functional variations of one principle, are no longer in a position of antagonism of in-different isolation. (Astasahasri, p. 113.)


The world of reals is thus not only plurality but a unity also. It is one universe that the Jaina metaphysics gives us. But the oneness is not secured at the sacrifice of the many, nor are the many left in unsocial indifference". (JPN, pp. 301-302.)


It has been observed that "Jain philosophy is entitled to be called the paragon of realism. If experience be the ultimate source of knowledge of reality and its behaviour, we cannot repudiate the plurality of things. The admission of plurality necessitates the recognition of the dual nature of reals as constituted of `being' and `non-being' as fundamental elements. One real will be distinguished from another real and this distinction, unless it is dismissed as error of judgement, presupposes that each possesses a different identity, in other words that being of one is not the being of the other. This truth is propounded by the Jaina in that things are real, so far as they have a self-identity of their own unshared by others (svarupasatta), and they are unreal in respect of a different self-identity (pararupasatta) ...The logic of Jaina is empirical logic, which stands in irreconcilable opposition to pure logic.1 " (JPN, p. 181.)


J.Sinha (HIP., vol II, p. 110) gives the following summary of Jaina philosophy : "The world is self-existent and eternal. All objects of the world are multiform (anekanta) and endued with infinite qualities and relations (anantadharmaka). This is relative pluralism. The reality can be considered from different points of views or nayas. The nayas are the standpoints....All judgements are relative and probable. No judgements are absolute. This is syadvada. These are seven ways of predication. This is called saptabhanginaya.1 "


It is not strange that Jainas believe that "the different systems of philosophy are only partial views of reality. Jainism is the complete view of reality". (J. Sinha, HIP, vol., p. 180.)


Some General Observations

I have given actual quotations from books on Jaina philosophy to convey the thoughts in their original form (of course, in English translation) without the bias of any subjective interpretations. I should now like to make some brief observations of my own on the connexion between Indian-Jaina views and the foundations of statistical theory. I have already pointed out that the fourth category of syadvada, namely, avaktavya or the "indeterminate" is a synthesis of three earlier categories (1) assertion ("it is"), (2) negation ("it is not"), and (3) assertion and negation in succession. The fourth category of syadvada, therefore, seems to me to be in essence the qualitative (but not quantitative) aspect of the modern concept of probability. Used in a purely qualitative sense, the fourth category of predication in Jaina logic corresponds precisely to the meaning of probability which covers the possibility of (a) something existing, (b) something not-existing, and (c) sometimes existing and sometimes not-existing. The difference between Jaina "avaktavya" and "probability" lies in the fact that the latter (that is, the concept of probability) has definite quantitative implications, namely, the recognition of numerical frequencies of occurrence of (1) "it is", or of (2) "it is not"; and hence in the recognition of relative numerical frequencies of the first two categories (of "it is" and "it is not") in a synthetic form It is the explicit recognition of (and emphasis on) the concept of numerical frequency ratios which distinguishes modern statistical theory from the Jaina theory of syadvada. At the same time it is of interest to note that 1500 or 2500 years ago syadvada seems to have given the logical back-ground of statistical theory in a qualitative form.1


Secondly, I should like to draw attention to the Jaina view that "a real is a particular which possesses a generic attribute". This is very close to the concept of an individual in relation to the population to which it belongs. The Jaina view in fact denies the possibility of making any predication about a single and unique individual which would be also true in modern statistical theory.


The third point to be noted is the emphasis given in Jaina philosophy on the relatedness of things and on the multiform aspects of reals which appear to be similar (again in a purely qualitative sense) to the basic ideas underlying the concepts of association, correlation and concomitant variation in modern statistics.


The Jaina views of "existence, persistence, and cessation" as the fundamental characteristics of all that is real necessarily leads to a view of reality as something relatively permanent and yet relatively changing which has a flavour of statistical reasoning. "A real changes every moment and at the same continues" is a view which is some what sympathetic to the underlying idea of stochastic processes.


Fifthly, a most important feature of Jaina logic is its insistence on the impossibility of absolutely certain predication and its emphasis on non-absolutist and relativist predication. In syadvada, the qualification "syat", that is, "may be" or "perhaps" must be attached to every predication without any exception. All predication, according to syadvada, thus has a margin of uncertainty which is somewhat similar to the concept of "uncertain inference" in modern statistical theory. The Jaina view, however, is essentially qualitative in this matter (while the great characteristic of modern statistical theory is its insistence on the possibility and significance of determining the margin of uncertainty in a meaningful way). The rejection of absolutely certain predication naturally leads Jaina philosophy continually to emphasise the inadequacy of "pure" or "formal" logic, and hence to stress the need of making inferences on the basis of data supplied by experience.


I should also like to point but that the Jaina view of causality as "a relation of determination" based on  the observation of "concomitance in agreement and in difference" has dual reference to an internal condition "in the developed state of our mind" (which would seem to correspond to the state of organised knowledge in any given context) and also to an external condition based on "the repeated observation of the sequence of the two events" which is suggestive of a statistical approach.


Finally, I should draw attention to the realist and pluralist views of Jaina philosophy and the continuing emphasis on the multiform and infinitely diversified aspects of reality which amounts to the acceptance of an "open" view of the universe with scope for unending change and discovery. For reasons explained above, it seems to me that the ancient Indian-Jaina philosophy has certain interesting resemblance’s to the probabilistic and statistical view of reality in modern times.



Das Gupta, S. (1922) : A History of Indian Philosophy, 1, Cambridge University Press.

Mookerjee, Satkari (1994) : The Jaina Philosophy of Non-Absolutism, Bharati Jaina Parisat, Calcutta.

Sinha, Jadunath (1952) : History of Indian Philosophy, Central Book Agency, Calcutta.

Vidyabhusana, Satis Chandra (1921) : A History of Indian Logic, Calcutta University. (1909) : Nyayavatara, Indian Research Society, Calcutta.




The Syadvada System of  Predication

By J. B. S. Haldane


The search for truth by the scientific method does not lead to complete certainty. Still less does it lead to complete uncertainty. Hence any logical system which allows of conclusions intermediate between certainty and uncertainty should interest scientists. The earliest such system known to me is the Syadvada system of the Jaina philosopher Bhadrabahu (?433-357 B.C.). Mahalanobis (1954) has commented on it. A central feature of this system is the saptabhanginaya or list of seven types of predication. These are as follows.


(1) syadasti                                          May be it is.

(2) syatnasti                                         May be it is not.

(3) syadastinasti ca.                             May be it is and is not.

(4) syadavaktavyah.                            May be it is indeterminate

(5) syadasti ca avaktavyasca.              May be it is and is indeterminate.

(6) syatnasti ca avaktavyasca.               May be it is not and is indeterminate.

(7)  syadasti nasti ca avaktavyasca.        May be it is, is not, and is indeterminate


Mahalanobis illustrated this from the throw of a coin, and held that it could serve as a foundation for statistics. However I wish to show that it arises naturally in simpler cases, including simple cases where the affirmative predication asti would be "This is hot", or "This is a man".


In any such case an uncertain judgement is usually somewhat quantitative, as in "I think this is a man, though it may be a statue." I therefore begin with a very abstract field, that of algebra. Here we may be certain of our answer. If x+2=3, then x=1. But if x2-3x+2=0, then x=1 or 2. We cannot say that the probability that x=1 is greater than, less than, or equal to the probability that x=2. Further data may lead to either of these judgements. Five hundred years ago one might perhaps have spoken of indeterminate solutions of equations. Thus if x3 - x2 + x - 1=0, x=1 or + -1. The last two solutions were avakta (incapable of being spoken) until the invention of complex numbers. Today we can find better examples in the field of finite arithmetic.


Consider the finite arithmetic module m. The only admissible values of a variable are the m residues 0, 1, 2, ...m -2, m -1, that is to say the possible remainders after division by m. For example module 5, 4+3=7=5+2, so we write 4+3=2. And 4x3 =12=2x5+2, so we write 4x3=2. Let us consider the theory of functions module m. We can define any function f(x) by a table of the values which it assumes for the different admissible values of x. Thus the function 3x (mod.5) can be defined by the table 0, 3, 1, 4, 2. For example if x=4, 3x=2. Of course many other functions are identical with it. For example 3x5=x9+2x5=3x. A function which assumes all the admissible values unequivocally is called biunivocal1 , and it is easy to show that there are m! biunivocal functions. However some functions are univocal, but their inverses are not. In this case some residues do not occur in the table, while others occur more than once. For example the table 3x2+1 (mod. 5) is 1, 4, 3, 3, 4. The number of univocal functions is mm, since each place in the table can be filled in m ways.


If a function is not univocal, but its inverse is univocal, we obtain a table such as that for ---1/2, namely 0, 1 or 4, --, --, 1 or 4. Here I introduce the symbol --, for avakta, for an undefined number. There is no number whose square (mod 5) is 2 or 3. --- may occur in a table as an alternative to a number. For example the function ex is never integral when x is a residue other than zero. Nor is it integral for most values of x which are avakta, such as --2. But it is integral for such numbers as log 2. Hence the table of ex is 1; --, --, --, --; and 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or --. The last place in the table corresponds to x=--. Similarly if we consider the function y defined by y3-y2=x2, then we find the table




For when x=2 or 3, y3-y2-4=0, so y=2 or 2+ 2, the latter two roots being congruent with             1/2 (-1+ -7). These quantities are inexpressible (avakta) module 5. And when x=--, x2=2,3 or --, so y may be 3 or 4, as well as --.


Thus for a full enumeration of functions module m we need a table with m+1 places corresponding to the residues 0, 1, 2 -, m-1, and --. In each place we can set one, or any number, of these symbols, but we must set at least one. So each place can be filled in 2m+1-1 ways, for each of the m+1 symbols can be present or absent, except that all cannot be absent. Thus the total number of functions module m is (2m+1-1)m+1, for example 62, 523, 502, 209 if m=5, as compared with only 120 biunivocal functions, and 3125 univocal.


Now consider the simplest of the finite arithmetic’s, namely arithmetic module 2. There are only two elements, 0 and 1 Electronic calculators are based on this arithmetic. These machines are so designed that each unit, as the result of any instruction, will be active (1) or inactive (0) at any given moment. And it is possible, in principle, to predict whether it will be active or inactive. That is to say ambiguity is avoided, and the machine is designed to operate in terms of univocal functions Nevertheless it is possible to provide such a machine with an instruction to which it cannot given an instruction equivalent to one of the paradoxes of Principia Mathematical, come to no conclusion, but print 101010.... indefinitely. Clearly a machine could be designed to print -- in such a case. It is obviously possible to design a machine which would print "0 or 1" in response to the instruction x2-x=0. A machine with the further refinement suggested above would respond "0, 1, or --" to the instruction (x2-x) cos x= 0(mod 2)". Such a machine could give any of 7 responses, namely :



These are the saptabhanghinaya with the omission of the syllable syad.


I now pass to an example where the saptabhanghinaya is actually applied in scientific research, and which I suspect is not far from what was in Bhadrabahu's mind. In the study of the physiology of the sense organs it is important to determine a threshold. For example a light cannot be seen below a certain intensity, or a solution of a substance which is tasted as bitter when concentrated cannot be distinguished from water when it is diluted. Some experimenters order their subjects to answer "yes" or "no" to the question "Is this illuminated ?" or "Is this bitter ?" If the experimenter is interested in the psychology of perception he will permit the subject also to answer "It is uncertain", or some equivalent phrase. The objection to this is that some subjects may do so over a wide range of intensities.


Now consider a subject who is shown a series of illuminated patches, some above his threshold of perception, some below it, and others very close to it, in a randomised series. We will suppose that he is in a steady state of sensory adaptation, that he replies in Sanskrit and that he is aware that his answers will sometimes be incorrect. At any given trial he will answer "syadasti", "syadavaktavyah", or "syatnasti". After the second trial of a light of an intensity near the threshold he may have given two of these answers, for example "syatnasti ca avaktavyasca". After the third he may have given all three, though this is not very probable. The possibilities may be schematised as follows :



It is clear that the seven possibilities are exhaustive. My only possible criticism of Bhadrabahu is this. If the subject has given two different answers he may be aware that there is a possibility that he will later give the third. Once he has given all three, no further possibility is open. It might therefore be argued that the seventh of predication should be "asti nasti ca avaktavyasca".


On the hypothesis that the subject is in a steady physiological and psychological state, the probabilities of each of the three answers to any given stimulus are constant. Let the probabilities of answering syadasti, syadavaktavyah and syatnasti be p, q, and r, where p-q+1=1. If, after n trials, the probabilities of the 7 types of predication are P1,n, P2,n, etc. where P1,n, is the probability of syadasti, etc. then the vector [P1, n, ;P2,n ; P3,n; P4,n; P6,n; P7,n] is transformed into the vector [P1, n+1; P2, n+1; ..... etc.] by multiplication by the matrix.



p          0          0          0          0          0          0

0          r           0          0          0          0          0

r           p          p+r      0          0          0          0

0          0          0          q          0          0          0

q          0          0          p          p+q     0          0

0          q          0          r           0          q+r      0

0          0          q          0          r           p          1



Evidently this could be made a little more symmetrical by transposing row and column (3) and (4).


The latent roots of this matrix are :


1, p+q, q+r, p+r, p, q, r.

so   P1n = pn

P2n= rn

P3n= (p+r)n-pn-rn

P4n= qn


P6n# (q+r)n-qn-rn



Thus unless one of p,q or r is zero the final predication will be syadasti nasti ca avaktavyasca. In many cases when the stimulus is far from the threshold, p or r will unity. The subject will always, or never, say `this is bitter', or "this is illuminated", It is likely that q will ever be unity. So in this case syadavaktavyah will almost always be at best a provisional predication. It is however possible that p or r (say r) should be small, but not zero. If so P5,n will reach a maximum for some value of n and then decline. For example if p=.6, q=.3, r=.1 reaches its maximum value of .5184 when n=4.


I have dealt with a case which arises when the question asked is as simple as possible. Human judgements are generally more complicated. We may attend to the data of several different senses, and of our memories. Thus we arrive at one conclusion from one set of data, and another from another set. We say that wood is hard when compared with clay, soft when compared with iron, indeterminate when compared with similar wood.


The close analysis of vision with a dark adapted eye shows that in this case at least. Mahalanobis was correct in regarding the saptabhanginaya as foreshadowing modern statistical theory. It appears that when dark adaptation is complete, about five quanta of radiation must arrive within a short time in a small area of the retina before light is reported. Whether they will do so with a given intensity of illuminationn can only be stated as a probability. It is probable, though not by any means certain, that more complicated judgements depend on similar probabilities of events within the central nervous system.


Whatever philosophers of other schools may think, a Jaina can hardly object to regarding human predication as a special kind of animal behaviour. In this he agree with followers of Darwin, such as myself. Attempts at a logical classification of animal behaviours frequently lead to a separation of 2n-1 types, where however n may exceed 3. Thus Haldane (1953) classified the possible results of learning in an animal as follows. In any situation an animal will, or will not, give a certain response R, say eating a particular type of food within a minute of its presentation, or lifting its leg within ten seconds after an auditory signal is given.


If we compare the set of possible situations in which an animal may be placed before and after an experience E, they fall into four categories, r r, rR, R r, and RR. A situation r r is one in which the response is not given before or after experience. A situation r R is one which it is given after E, but not before E, and so on. All situation may be r r. For example no-one has taught a dog to write. Some may be r r and some rR. For example a dog which did not previously bring objects from the water to his master can learn to do so on command. In Pavlov's experiments a dog which previously only salivated (R) when given food, will do so when certain auditory or other stimuli are given. Thus for such a dog all situations fall into the classes r r, RR, and rR. It can easily be seen that the effect of any experience on an animal can be classified according as the situations in which it can be placed fall into one, two, three, or all four of these classes. There are thus 24-1, or 15 qualitatively different results of an experiment in which an attempt is made to alter an animal's behaviours. In this classification the animal is assumed never to give an indeterminate response. If it can do so, both before and after, there are, as I pointed our, 29-1, or 511 possible results. The same principles may be applied to the comparison of the behaviour of two different animals, or two different races or species.


It is foolish to pretend that ancient philosophers anticipated all modern intellectual developments. And I believe that we, today, can do more honour to their memories by thinking for ourselves, as they did, than by devoting our lives to commentaries on them. But if we do so it is our duty to point out cases where it turns out that our own thought has run parallel to theirs. I was unaware of Bhadrabahu's existence when I wrote the paper to which I refer. The fact that I reached a conclusion so like his own suggests that we may both have seen the same facet of many-splendoured truth.


No doubt we reached it by very different methods, Bhadrabahu by meditation, I by thinking about the results of concrete experiments on animals. Such methods will often lead to different conclusions. This was the view of Warren Hastings in his introduction to `Wilkins' translation of the Bhagavad Gita.


"But if we are told that there have been men who were successively, for ages past, in the daily habit of abstracted contemplation, begun in the earliest period of youth, and continued in many to the maturity of age, each adding some portion of knowledge to the store accumulated by his predecessors, it is not assuming too much to conclude, that as the mind ever gathers strength, like the body, with exercise, so in such exercise it may in each have acquired the faculty to which they aspired, and their collective studies have led them to the discovery of new tracks and combinations of sentiment, totally different from the doctrines with which the learned of other nations are acquainted : doctrines, which however speculative and subtle, still, as they possess the advantage of being derived from a source so free from every adventitious mixture, may be equally founded on truth with the most simple of our own".


If, on the other hand, the contemplation of one's own mind, and that of the minds of animals, lead to similar results, such results are, perhaps worthy of serious consideration.




Mahalanobis, P.C. (1954) : The foundations of statistics Dialectica 8, 95-111.

Haldane, J.B.S. (1954) : A logical analysis of learning, conditioning, and related processes.Behaviour, 6, 256-270.



Appendix F Anekanta

-Dr. Nathmal Tatia



The concept of anekant occupies a central position in Jaina philosophy. Although it is not possible exactly to determine the date of its origin, there is no doubt that the ontology of early Jainism was deeply influenced by this principle. Originally an ethical mode of speech, being concerned with what one ought or ought not to speak, it assumed an ontological role in the Ardhamagadhi Agamas, through three stages of development, viz. vibhajyavada (the method of answering a question by dividing the issues), nayavada (the method of defining the framework of reference), and syadvada (the prefixing of the particle syat, meaning "in a certain reference", to a preposition, indicative of its conditional character). The anuyogadvaras (doors of disquisition) also played a vital role in this matter. This ontological orientation was further strengthened by Umasvati, Siddhasena Divakara and Mallavadin, and the concept was converted into a full-grown dialectic by Samantabhadra with whom the classical period of the doctrine begins. The ontological concept now acquires a logic-in epistemological character, and Jain philosophy is now indentified with anekantavada (the doctrine of non-absolutism) or syadvada (the doctrine of conditional statement) or saptabhangi (the doctrine of sevenfold predication). Anekanta as the negation of an absolutistic position or the rejection of a biased or truncated view of things is found in the Buddhist, Yoga and Nyaya schools as well in various contexts. A dispassionate assessment of the worth of a philosophy from various viewpoints was the objective that the propounders of anekanta set before themselves. And their efforts in that respect were laudable in that they succeeded in preserving some of the most valuable non-Jaina doctrines as well as texts, selected by them for critical comments, which were otherwise ravished from the world by the cruel hands of destiny.


The Origin

Jainism primarily is an ethical discipline, and as such all its tenets had a beginning in someone or other of the moral principles upheld by it. Thus the assertion or denial, affirmation or negation of a philosophical belief was to be carefully made in consonance with the rules prescribed for the right way of speaking in order to avoid false statements or unwarranted speculations having no bearing on the spiritual path of salvation. The metaphysical speculations about the beginning and end of the cosmos, or its eternality and non-eternality or the existence and non-existence of the soul before and after death, and such other issues that exercised the minds of the thinkers of those days were not considered worth while equally by Mahavira and Buddha. The latter's repugnance to such problems is attested by the ten avyakrtas (indeterminables) mentioned in the Majjhima Nikaya (II pp, 107ft, 176ft) and the former's in the Acaranga (1.8, 1.5) and Sutrakrtanga (11.5, 1-5) where such speculations are considered as impractical and leading to laxity in moral conduct. While this basic attitude of the Buddha remained unmodified throughout his teaching, Mahavira appears to have allowed a relaxation in conformity with his realistic outlook in the interest of a dispassionate estimation of the worth of those speculations and the discovery of the cause of their origin. Consequently whereas the followers of the Buddha were interested more in the repudiation of the current antipodal doctrines than in their proper appreciation, the followers of Mahavira devoted their energies to a proper evaluation of these concepts with a view to finding out a solution of those contradictory views. This led to the origin of the Madhyama pratipat (the middle path which eschewed both the antithetical alternatives) of the Buddhists on the one hand, and the philosophy of anekanta (non-absolutism which attempted at synthesising those alternatives into a comprehensive notion) of the Jainas on the other.


The Three Stages :

Three distinct stages of development of the doctrine of anekanta are discernible in the early Jaina Agamas.


a)      Vibhajyavada

Vibhajyavada which is perhaps the earliest phase of the doctrine is found mentioned in the Sutrakrtanga (1.14.22) where a monk is asked to explain things through the principle of division of issues (vibhajjavayam ca viyagarejja). The Bhagavati Sutra provides many an illustration where a question is dealt with in this way. On being asked by Gautama whether a person who says that he has taken the vow of desisting from committing injury to all sentient beings is a bonafide observer of the vow or a malafide imposter, Mahavira replied that if such person was incapable of distinguishing between the sentient and the insentient, or between the mobile and immobile living beings, he is the latter, but otherwise he is a true observer of the vow (op. cit., VII. 2.27). Similarly, on being asked by Jayanti which of the two, viz. slumber and wakefulness, was preferable, he replied that for the sinful, it was the former, while for the virtuous the latter (XII2.2/53-55). These and similar instances which are in galore in our text are obviously case of answer by division. It should be noted here that the alternative answers to the divided issues are sometimes introduced in the Agama by the particle siya (Skt, syad) meaning "in a certain reference". The expression siyavaya in the Sutrakrtanga (1.14.19) : na yasiyavaya viyagrejja one should not explain anything without taking resort to siyavaya (Skt. syadvada, that is the principle of conditional predication)' also deserves mention. It is obviously synonymous with the expression vibhajjavaya noted above and is the forerunner of the syadvada of later times. This also confirms our vies of vibhajyavada as the earliest phase of anekantavada.


b)      The Nayas :

The nayas (standpoints) constitute the second stage of the evolution of the concept of anekanta. The earliest and most important way of judging the nature of things was to consider them under four heads viz., dravya (substance) ksetra (space). kala (time) and bhava (mode). Thus in the Bhagwati Sutra (II.1.45), the loka (inhabited cosmos) is considered as finite in substance and space, but infinite in time and modes. There were also other heads such as guna (op.cit., II. 10.126), bhava (XIX. 9.102) and samsthana (XIV. 7.80) which were analogous to bhava. But all these heads were not called nayas. The expressions used in connection with the nayas were however dravya and paryaya (equivalent of bhava). The material atoms are thus stated to be eternal qua dravya (davvatthayae) and non-eternal qua paryaya (pajjavehim, XIV. 4-49-50) and the souls are characterised as eternal qua dravya (davvatthayae) and non-eternal qua bhava (bhavatthayae, VII. 2.58-59). Another pair of nayas, viz. avvocchitti naya (Skt avyucchitti-naya, the standpoint of non interception) and vocchitti-naya (Skt. vyucchitti-naya, the standpoint of interception) are also mentioned in the Bhagavati Sutra (VII. 3.93-94). Thus the infernal beings are eternal from the standpoint of non-interception (of their existence as souls), but they are non-eternal from the standpoint of interception (of their present state of being infernal after the expiry of that form of existence). A third pair of nayas is also mentioned in the same text, viz. vavahariya-naya (Skt. vyavaharikanaya, the popular standpoint), and necchaiva-naya (naiscayikanaya, the factual or scientifie standpoint). Thus from the popular standpoint the drone is black in colour, but factually or scientifically speaking, it is possessed of all the five colours, viz. black, blue, red, yellow and white (op. cit, XVIII. 6.108).


c)      Saptabhangi:

As the third stage of development of the concept of anekanta, we find a primitive saptabhangi and syadvada in the Bhagavati Sutra XII. 10.211-226. Here the things are judged under the categories of `self' (aya Skt. atman) and `not-self' (no-aya Skt. noatman). An object is characterized as `self' in some respect (siya aya), `not-self' in some respect (siya no-aya), and `indescribable , that is, both self and not-self' in some respect (siya avattavvam aya ti ya no-aya tiya). These three attributes are predicated of an object, noncomposite or composite, respectively from the standpoints of existent characters, non-existent characters, and existent-cum-non-existent characters. In the case of the objects that are noncomposite (for instance, a monad), the attributes are only three in number, viz. self, not-self and indescribable. Here `indescribable' means the impossibility of the object being spoken of or described exclusively as `self' or `not-self', because of the same object being both (self and non-self) at the same time. These three attributes however, become six in the case of a dyad (a composite body of two space-points) as follows : (1) self, (2) not-self, (3) indescribable, (4) self and non-self (one attribute for each space-point), (5) self and indescribable (one attribute for each space-point). (6) not-self and indescribable (one attribute for each space-point). These six ways again become seven in the case of a triad (a composite body of three space points) in the following way : (1) to (6) as above, and (7) self, not self and indescribable (one attribute for each of the three space points). Here the fourth, fifth and sixth ways have each two more subdivisions. Thus the fourth, voz. self and not-self, has the following two additional subdivisions-(1) self (for two space-points) and not-self (for the remaining one space point). The fifth and sixth ways also have similar subdivisions. The text referred to above gives the divisions and subdivisions of the tetrad, pentad and hexad also. The basic ways however do never exceed the number seven as in the case of the triad, though the number of subdivisions gradually go up on account of the various possible combinations of the space-points. The basic seven ways enumarated above are the prototypes of later seven bhangas of what is called saptabhangi (the doctrine of sevenfold predication). What is to be carefully noticed in this connection is the fact that according to the Bhagavati Sutra, the joint predication of the attributes `self' and `not-self' to a monad is not possible because the monad has only one space-point. Such predication is only possible of a dyad which has two space-points. Similarly, the simultaneous predication of three attributes is only possible in the case of triad which has three space-points. The implication is that the joint predication of two contradictory attributes to the same space-points is purely a case of `indescribability' and not an illustration of a dual predication of self and notself. The dual predication is meaningful only if the object has two parts in order that each individual attribute may find its own accommodation. The later Jaina philosophers, however, did not find any difficulty in such predication, and they made the dual predication (`is' and `is not' used by them in place of `self' and `not-self' ) irrespective of the noncomposite or composite character of the object. Some of them also interchanged the positions of the third and fourth attributes.


The anuyogadvaras and niksepas

The early Jaina philosphers were fond of explaining things according to predefined lists of heads. Such heads were called anuyogadaras, doors of disquisition 20 (or 14) marganasthanas 24 (12 or 14) jivasthanas and 14 gunasthans may be quoted as illustrations of such lists. There are, however, other lists which had direct philosophical significance. Umasvati, in his Tattvarthadhigamasutra, 1,7,8,16,26 has given such lists, which can mostly be traced back to the Jain Agamas. These doors of disquisition played an important role in the evolution of the doctrine of anekanta. The Jaina doctrine of four niksepas is the final outcome of the speculations concerning the doors of disquisition. The niksepas were many, but finally they were reduced to four nama, sthapana, dravya and bhava, (Tattvarthandhigamasutra, 1.5). The following dictum of the Anuyogadvarasutra, 8, deserves mention. One should fully apply to a subject whatever nikesepas are known about that subject; and to those subjects whose niksepas are not known, one should apply the four (viz. nama, sthapana, dravya and bhava). The Jaina thinkers took a very wide view of the subjects they took up for discussion and employed the niksepas as the media for the determination of the meaning of words involved in such discussion. The doctrine of anekanta owed much to the precise definition of the connotation of the technical terminology employed in the evaluation of antithetical doctrines, and the niksepas fulfilled this task as auxiliaries to the nayas.


In non-Jaina Thought

Let us now see whether the elements of the anekanta way of thinking are there in the non-Jaina schools of thought that flourished in those days.


a)      The Vedic thought :

The sceptical outburst of the Vedic seer in Rgveda. I. 164.4 : Who has seen that the Boneless One bears the Bony, when he is first born, where is the breath, the blood and soul of the earth, who would approach the wise man to ask this (ko dadarsa prathamam, jayamanam asthanvantam yad anastha bibharti, bhumya asur asrgatma kvasti, ko vidvamsam upagat pratsum etal) ? poses a problem to be solved in mystic experience, or through anekanta or rejected as absurd and insoluble. The scepticism of the Nasadiya hymn (op. cit., X. 129) has also a similar tone. In the Upanisads we find rational thinkers as well as mystics. The Uddalaka (Chandogya, VI. 2 1,2) was partly a rationalist philosopher who advanced logical proof for the reality of Being (sat), and partly an uncritical empiricist when he ascribes thought to that Being to multiply and procreate and produce heat (tejas) which produces water (ap), and water food (annam). Yajnavalkya Brhadaranyaka, (II.4.12-14=IV.5 13-15) asserts that the self cannot be known as it is the subject, and whatever is known is necessarily an object. This may be called rational mysticism. This background of scepticism and rational mysticism was responsible for the Jaina and Buddhist patterns of thought that emerged and are found recorded in the Ardhamagadhi and Pali canons. We have made a brief survey of the Jaina way of thinking and shall now see its parallel in early Buddhism, followed by a similar study of the Yoga and Nyaya schools.


b)      The Buddhist Thought :

The Buddha calls himself a vibhajyavadin  (vibhajjavado.....aham.....naham ekamsavado-I am an analyst or propounder of my views by division of issues, and not one who takes a partial view of things - Majjhima Nikaya, II, 469). When the Buddha is asked for his opinion whether the house-holder is an observer of the right path, he says that it is not possible to give a categorical answer to the question inasmush as the house-holder with wrong faith (miccha-patipanno) does not follow the right path, while one with right faith (samma-patipanno) definitely does so. This vibhjyavada is not essentially different from that of the Jainas.


In the Suttanipata p. 396, we find people stuck to their individual truths or opinions (pacceka-saccesu puthu nivittha). The Udana, pp. 143-145, gives the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Ten blind persons touch various parts of the elephant and give ten conflicting accounts based on their experience of the ten parts which they happened to come into contact with. Each of them took the part for the whole and as such they were all with their perceptions vitiated and partial (ekangadassino). The parable is suggestive of a definite stage in the evolution of Buddha's thought, which approached too near to the thought pattern of Mahavira to be able to maintain its distinct individual character. The ultimate thought pattern of the Buddha, however, is to be judged by his attitude to the ten or fourteen famous avyakatas (indeterminables) mentioned in Majjhima Nikaya, II, pp. 107-113 and 176-183, and Candrakirtis' Prasannapads, p. 446, Poussin's Edition.


c)      The Yoga School :

The Yogabhasya (IV. 33; for the Buddhist counterpart of four kinds of questions, see Digha Nikaya, III, p. 179, and Anguttara Nikaya, II, p. 84) classifies questions under three heads : (i) there are questions which admit of a clear definitive answer (ekanta-vacaniya), (ii) there are questions which are answerable only by division (vibhajya-vacaniya), and (iii) there are questions which are unanswerable (avacaniya). The question 'shall everybody be reborn after death', is vibhyajya-vacaniya, that is, answerable by division. The person who has experienced the distinction between spirit and matter will not be born, the others however would take rebirth. The Yoga philosopher there opens for himself the way to the anekanta type of thinking, which, however, he does not pursue any further. The Sankhya-Yoga doctrine of parinama (change ) again is essentially a vindication of the concept of anekanta, barring its insistence on the  absolute pre-existence of the effect in the cause. The Sankhya-Yoga conception of purusa as an absolutely unchanging entity is of course an exception.


d)      The Nyaya School :

In the early Nyaya literature also we see discussions which are representative of the anekanta way of thinking. Nagarjuna's criticism of the Nyaya categories of pramana and prameya provoked answers from the author of the Nyayadarsana, and also Vatsyayana, the author of the Nyayabhasya, which take resort to the non-absolutist method for refuting the Madhyamika philosopher's attactks. Nagarjuna's argument that the concepts of pramana and prameya, being interdependent, cannot establish themselves, is countered by pointing out that there is no logical inconsistency in viewing the same entity both as pramana and prameya. The Nyayadarsana, II. 1.16, cites the example of a measure (tula) which is usually employed to measure other things, but on occasion it is itself measured by another article of a standard weight. So there is nothing absurd if the same object is conceived as both pramana and prameya. Vatsyayana, in this connection, gives a very lucid exposition of the nomenclature of pramana, prameya, pramata and pramiti. The atman (self, soul ) is called a prameya because of its being an object of knowledge, but it is also a pramata because of its being the subject exercising the function of knowing; the intellect qua the instrument of commotion is a pramana, (while as an object of cognition it is a prameya) and it is simply a pramiti when it is exercising none of the functions of  'knowing' or 'being known' (atma tavad upalabdhivisaysayatvat prameya paripathitah, uplabdhau svatantryat pramata; buddhir upalabdhisadhanatvat pramanam, upalabdhivisayatvat prameyam; ubhayabhavat tu pramitih). The expression vibhajya vacaniyah is also found in the bhasya on II. 1.19 There is thus unambiguously a trend of Nyaya thought, which takes the school a great way towards the non-absolutist approach of the Jainas. It is interesting to note in this connection that Udayana, in his Atmatattvaviveka (pp. 530-1 Bibliotheca Indica Calcutta, 1939), imagines a simpleton who sees, for the first time in his life, a tusker at the gate of a royal palace and conjectures; Is it a mass of darkness eating white radish, or a piece of cloud pouring out white cranes and roaring, or the proverbial benign friend waiting at the royal gate, or the shadow of what is lying down on the ground, and counters his conjectures by arguments which are equally fanciful; another simpleton makes appearance at this point and persuades him of the futility of all thought about the nature of things. Udayana identifies the Buddhist absolutists with these simpletons and rejects their speculations as pure imaginations unworthy of respectable treatment. One should neither go astray in imagination and wishful thinking, nor give up in despair all attempts at discovering the full truth from whatever partial glimpses of it one may be able to get. The Jaina philosopher is in perfect agreement with such trends of thought as are conductive to the advancement of knowledge and revelation of truth, and fully supports the realistic approach of Udayana to the problem of reality.


Umasvati, Siddhasena Divakara and Mallvadin, Jinabhadra and Kundakunda


We have been till now discussing the stages of evolution of the doctrine of anekanta in the Agamas and its parallels in the literature and schools contemporaneous with them. Now we have arrived at the transition period when the Jaina thinkers were establishing contacts with their counterparts in the alien systems of thought and composing treatises in the Sanskrit language which was then the only powerful medium of communication between the intelligent. The Prakrit was also of course, along with the Apabhramsa, an important medium. But its influence was gradually waning, although Siddhasena Divakara's Sanmati and the works of Kundakunda and Jinabhadra, written in Prakrit in those days were monumental treatises of abiding value and profound interest.


a)      Umasvati :

Among Jaina authors of the period of transition, Umasvati stands first and foremost. His Tattvarthadhigamasutra with Bhasya is a compendium of the Agamas, which leaves nothing of philosophical importance out of consideration. Its comprehensive thoroughness can be compared with that of the Buddhist Abhidharmakosa (with Bhasya) of Vasubandhu. In addition to giving a summary of the traditional lore, Umasvati gives a critical shape to the anekantavada through his exposition of the nayas, niksepas and the nature of the sat (a real), and dravya (substance). He also introduces the elements of saptabhangi in his own way which is reminiscent of the same in the Bhagavati Sutra mentioned above. Umasvati is not much concerned with the non-Jaina views. He raises the question whether the nayas are the proponents of alien philosophies or independent upholders of opposition, inspired by diverse opinions, and answers that they are only different estimates (literally, concepts derived from different angles of vision) of the object known (Bhasya, I.35 : kim ete tantrantariya vadina ahosvit svatantra eva codakapaksagrahino matibhedena vipradhavita iti. Atrocyate, naite tantrantariya napi svatantra matibhedena vipradhavitah, jneyasya tv arthasya' dhyavasayantarany etani). It is also asserted in this connection that there is no contradiction between them, just as there is none between different cognition’s of the same object by different instruments of knowledge, such as perception, inference, comparison and the words of a reliable person (yatha va partyaksanumanopamanaptavacanaih pramanaireko' rthah pramiyate svavisayaniyamat, na ca ta vipratipattayo bhavanti tadvan nayavada iti). This is followed by an elaborate description of the nayas and their relationship with the epistemological system of early Jainism. Umasvati's definition of the sat (a real) as consisting of origination, cessation and continuity (V. 29 : utpada-vyayadhrauvya-yuktam sat) gives the fundamentals of anekantavada in a nutshell. The dravya (substance) is defined as `what is possessed of qualities and modes' (V. 37 : guna-paryayavad dravyam), indicating the relation of identity-cum- difference between the substance and the modes (including qualities). The nitya (permanent) is defined as `what does not lapse from being and would not do so at any time' (Bhasya, I.30 : yet sato bhavan na vyeti na vyesyati tan nityam iti). All these concepts are brought by Umasvati (Bhasya, I 31) under four heads - dravyastika, matrkapadastika, utpannastika and paryayastika which appear to stand respectively for the view points of substance, categories of substance, the immediate present, and the past-cum-future modes. From the first view point, negation does not exist (asannama nasty eva dravyastikasya), because it takes not of only what is existent and positive in character. Negation appears with the classification of the substance into matrkapadas (categories), and consequently here we get both affirmation and negation, (sat and asat), as classification implies both affirmation (inclusion of lower categories under a higher category) as well as negation (mutual exclusion of the categories). The utpannastika, being concerned with the immediate present alone is also the negation of the past and the future and as such gives rise to the duality of affirmation and negation. Similarly, the paryayastika, which is the viewpoint of the past and the future, is the negation of the present, and as such gives rise to the same duality of affirmation and negation. In the last three cases we also get a third mode which cannot be described either as sat or asat (na vacyam sad iti, asad iti va). This is the third bhanga called `indescribable'. Umasvati concludes this discussion with the statement-desadesena vikalpayitavyam iti- which may imply the remaining four bangas of the saptabhangi.


b)      Siddhasena Divakara :

The application of the anekanta principle to ontological problems raised in the different school of philosophy was made, most probably, for the first time by Siddhasena. This was done by means of the nayas "Kapil's (Sankhya) philosophy", says he, "is a statement from the dravyastika (substatial) standpoint, whereas the Buddha's is a variety of pure paryayastika (modal) one Kanada composed his treatise from the standpoint of both (these nayas) : nevertheless, that remained a false doctrine, as the views propounded therein, each arrogating exclusive validity to itself, are independent of each other. (Sanmati, III. 48-49). On the varieties of nayas and their relation to philosophical views Siddhasena says that the former are as many as there are ways of speech, and the later as many as there are nayas (III. 47) :

javaiya vayanavaha tavaiya ceva homti nayavaya

javaiya nayavaya tavaiya ceva parasamaya.

His distinction between vyanjanaparyaya and arthaparyaya also deserves notice. As soon as the substance is subjected to division, the sphere of modes starts functioning (III.29). Such modes are twofold-(1) vyanjana modes and artha modes. The former are expressible in words, while the latter are not. Thus an object is called `man' so long as it continues to be so, though undergoing change every moment. Here `man-hood' is a vyanjanaparyaya which is expressible by the word `man' , while the changes that occur in him every moment are arthaparyayas which cannot be expressed in words. An object thus is affable as well as ineffable (saviyappanivviyappam, 1.35). In Sanmati, I.35-40 Siddhasena enumerates the seven bhangas almost exactly in the fashion of the Bhagavati Sutra mentioned above. The full credit of interpreting the Agamas for a new generation and giving original material for fresh thinking goes to Siddhasena who acted as a link between the orthodox past and the progressive future. This is indeed the true function of the propounder of a faith according to Siddhasena himself. "The person who acts as a logician", says he, "in the domain of logic, and as a scripturist in the domain of scripture is a true protagonist of his faith; a person acting otherwise is an impostor".

jo heuvayapakkhammi heuo agame ya agamio.

so sasamayaopannavao siddhamtavirahao anno..


c)      Mallavadin :

The Dvadasaranayacakra of Mallavadin is an encyclopaedia of philosophy, where all schools of thought prevalent in those days are critically examined one by one and superseded by their rivals, thus making a complete circle with twelve spokes connecting the hub with the twelve sections of the rim, each section representing particular doctrines taken up for discussion. The doctrines discussed are linked to the traditional seven nayas in a novel plan of the wheel of twelve nayas viz. (1) vidhih, (2) vidhervidhih, (3) vidhervidhiniyamam, (4) vidherniyamah (5) vidhiniyamam, (6) vidhervidhiniyamasya vidhih (7) vidhiniyamasya vidhinyamam, (8) vidhiniyamasya niyamah (9) niyamah, (10) niyamasya vidhih, (11) niyamasya vidhiniyamam, and (12) niyamasya niyamah. The book starts with the common-sense popular view of things, represented by the first naya called vidhi (vidhivrttis tavad yathalokagraham eva vastu, p. 11). How does it concern us whether there is a cause, or an effect : who can make an end of debate on such issues (pp. 34-35) ? Mallavadin here quotes Sanmati, I. 28, in support of his contention. The epistemological position of Dignaga is here criticised as going against the common-sense view of things. Vidhi stands for `injunction' as in the Mimamsa school. It is only the injection to do some thing that is valuable and also desirable (arthyo hi kriyaya evopadesah, p. 45). The second naya called vidhi-vidhi stands for the particulars in favour of the universal oneness. The absolutist doctrines are consequently brought within the purview of this naya. The third naya literally means affirmation-cum-negation of the positive entity. The Sankhya doctrine of prakrti as subservient to purusa, and the doctrines of divine creator and the created world represent this naya. The fourth naya, viz., vidher niyamah appears to indicate the restriction of absolute freedom of both the purusa and the karman in the evolution of the worldly process. The other nayas similarly bring within their purview the doctrines that were prevalent in those days in order to evaluate their merits and demerits. About a dozen and a half doctrines are thus discussed and refuted in the treatise which brought for its author the encomium "anu Mallavadinam tarkikah" (all logicians are inferior to Mallavadin) from Hemacandra, the omniscient of the Kali age.


d)      Jinabhadra :

The activity of Mallavadin was further carried by Jinabhadra who, in his Visesavasyaka-Bhasya, gave a critical account of the nayas based on his deep and extensive learning in the Agamas. Here he brings within purview the problems of the general and the particular, substance and modes, word and meaning, ultimate truth and practical truth (niscaya-naya and vyavahara-naya). His treatment of the problem of niksepa is thorough and penetrating. An evaluation of the non-Jaina philosophical views is also made by him in the section called ganadhara-vada and nihnavavada.


e)      Kundakunda :

A new trend of thought was developed by Kundakunda in his Samayasara, although his Pancastikaya and Pravacanasara generally uphold the traditional positions. His treatment of the problems of dravya, guna, paryaya, and also utpada, vyaya, dhrauvya, is deep and critical. But in his Samayasara, Kundakunda develops a new idea which appears influenced by Yogacara idealism and also Vedantic absolutism. The soul is the cause of what is happening within itself and has no essential relationship with what is happening in the world outside. The reverse is also true. This cleavage between soul and matter is explained through niscaya-naya and vyavahara-naya, the former being the standpoint of truth, and the latter of untruth. The traditional interpretation of vyavahara-naya as the popular or practical viewpoint and of niscaya-naya as the factual or scientific standpoint is radically changed. Scholars have designated this new meaning of the two nayas as the `mystic pattern' as distinguished from the traditional interpretation which they call the `non-mystic pattern'. The works of Kundakunda contain both these patterns, but the `mystic pattern' is the predominant theme of the Samayasara. In the philosophy of Kundakunda thus the concept of anekanta acquires a new meaning in that a new vista is now opened up for the development of the concept of avaktavya (the third bhanga of the saptabhangi) into a mystic realisation of the nature of truth in its fullness.


These great thinkers have now paved the way for the advent of the classical period which is the subject matter of the next section.



The Classical Period : Samantabhadra, Haribhadra, Akalanka, Vidyananda and Others


The transition period was followed by a period of intense critical thinking when the Jaina logicians headed by Akalanka, composed treatises which were of lasting value in the field of logic and epistemology. Sarvarhasiddhi of Pujyapada Devanandi and the Aptamimamsa of Samantabhadra provided a firm ontological base to these thinkers who were responsible for the classical period. We here propose to give a brief account of the doctrine of anekanta as treated by some of these authors.


a)      Samantabhadra :

The Aptamimamsa of Samantabhadra provides a fertile ground for the doctrine of anekanta to flourish. The essence of anekanta is envisaged as lying in the solution of the contradictory attributes of features exhibited by an ontological doctrine, or an ethical principle, or an epistemological theory. Each one of the two members of pairs of contradictory attributes of features is critically judged with a view to exposing the difficulties that beset the concept, and then a synthesis of the two is offered. The Aptamimamsa opens with a vindication (verses 1-6) of the possibility of the existence of the omniscient. In verse 8 it asserts that the ethics of good and bad deeds and the existence of life hereafter cannot be justified without accepting the principle of anekanta. The abolutistic conception of an unchanging soul is repugnant to the possibility of moral evolution heading to emancipation. The doctrine of pure affirmation (bhavaikanta) denies negation and consequently fails to explain the fact of diversity which is so glaring and patent ( verse 9). The doctrine of pure negation or nihilism (abhavaikanta), on the other hand, will deprive the nihilist's arguments of their validity (verse 12). The critics of syadvada cannot again accept affirmation-cum-negation as the nature of the real in order to avoid these difficulties, because that would be tantamount to the acceptance of the doctrine of anekanta on their part. Nor is the position of absolute inexpressibility' (avacyataikanta) a tenable hypothesis, because in that case the proposition “the real is inexpressible”  will be an illogical assertion on account of the absolutist character of the inexpressibility (verse 13) :


virodhan nobhyaikatmyam syadvada-nyaya-vidvisam

avacyataikante py uktir navacyam iti yujyate.


Our text (verses 14-16) then formulates a correct ontological position by asserting that a real is definitely existent from one viewpoint 'definitely non-existent' from another, 'definitely existent-cum-non-existent' from a third, and also definitely inexpressible' from a fourth viewpoint, though none of these viewpoints should be considered as absolute and exclusive; one should accept a real as (i) 'existent definitely' (sadeva) in the framework of its own substance, space, time and modes, and also as (ii) 'non-existent definitely' (asadeva) in the framework of alien substance, space, time and modes, because otherwise it would be impossible to determine the nature of the real; it should moreover be accepted as (ii) possessed of the dual nature of 'existence' and 'non-existence' in succession, and also as (iv) `inexpressible' on account of the failure of the linguistic device to express the pair of contradictory attributes simultaneously; the remaining three (5-7) bhangas are obtained by combining the fourth with the first three in their proper context. Here the dialectic of sevenfold predication (saptabhangr) has been clearly defined by Samantabhadra by assigning the fourth position to the attribute of  `inexpressibility' instead of the third assigned to it in the Bhagavati Sutra and  also by Sidhasena. The Aptamimamsa now explains the saptabhang of 'existence' and  'non-existence' (verse 17-20). 'Existence' is necessarily concomitant, in the self same entity with its opposite viz. non-existence, being its adjunct (visesana counterpart), even as homogeneity is necessarily concomitant with hetero-geneity (intention to assert difference); similarly, 'non-existence' is necessarily concomitant, in the selfsame entity, with its opposite (viz. existence); being its adjunct (visesana, counterpart), even as heterogeneity is con-comitant with homogeneity (intention to assert identity) :


astitvam pratisedhyenavinabhavyekadharimni

visesanatvat sadharmyam yatha bhedavivaksaya

nastitvam pratisedhyenavinabhavyekadharmini.

viseanatvad vaidharmyam yatha bhedavivaksaya


An entity is moreover of the nature of positum as well as negatum (vidheya-pratisedhyatma), exactly as the same attribute of the subject (minor term) of an inference may be a valid as well as an invalid probans in accordance with the nature of the probandum to be proved by it. This is the third bhanga of the Saptabhang of 'existence' and 'non-existence'. The remaining four bhangas are also to be understood in their proper perspectives. Samantabhadra now explains the nature of a real in the light of this anekanta dialectic. The real must be an entity which is not determined by any exclusive property or any absolute character. Only that which is undefined by a positive or a negative attribute exclusively is capable of exercising the causal efficiency which is the sole criterion of reality (verse 21 : evam vidhi-nisedhabhyam anavasthitam arthakrt). The Buddist fluxist as well as the Vedantic monist are jointly criticised here as upholding ontological views, which, being truncated and partial, fail to explain the real in its comprehensives. Neither an absolutely static, nor a radically dynamic object is capable of exercising the causal efficiency in spite of all other conditions, external and internal, being fulfilled. Samantabhadra (verse 22) applies the anekanta dialectic in constructing the real as a totality of infinite number of attributes (dharmas), each of which represents the whole entity relegating the others to the status of mere attributes of that entity :


dharme dharme 'nya evartho dharmino' nantadharminah

angtive 'nyatamantasya sesantanam tadangata.


He then gives a general instruction to his readers, proficient in the application of the nayas to follow the same method of saptabhang to discuss the problems of 'one and many', and the like, that were prevalent in those days. In fact, he himself discusses the following additional problems in the text under review : identity and differences, permanence and flux, cause and effect, reason and scripture, free will and determinism, idealism & realism, bondage & emancipation.


b)      Haribhadra :

The Anekantajayapataka is an important contribution of Haribhadra to the field of anekanta dialectic, which brings within its purview the problems of existence and non-existence, permanence and flux, universal and particular, and describable and indescribable. Among the doctrines refuted in the treatise, ksanikavada and vijnanavada occupy a prominent position. All these refutations are made strictly from  the standpoint of Jaina philosophy and sometimes they go to a depth hitherto unreached by his predecessors. The comparative outlook of Haribhadra enabled him to unfold the hidden potentialities of the anekanta principle and apply them in the interest of a comprehensive view of the problems, epistemological and ontological, that exercised the minds of those days.


c)      Akalanka :

The Astasati (commentary on the Aptamimamsa) of Akalanka provides a most penetrating insight into the niceties of  the doctrine of anekanta. His defence of the doctrine is unique and perhaps unsurpassed by any predecessor or successor. He unfolds the thoughts of Samantabhadra in a manner which is comparable to that of  Dharmakirti in respect of Dignaga. The ksanabhangavada of the Buddhists as well as their vijnanavada are vehemently criticised by Akalanka. His contributions to the field of Jaina logic and epistemology are most original and unique, and they set up a norm for the posterity to follow and emulate.


d)      Vidyananda :

The Astasahasri (the subcommentary on the Astasati of Akalanka) of Vidyananda is perhaps the last word on the doctrine of anekanta. His criticism of the non-Jaina schools is more realistic and thorough. He brings a number of new topics and schools under the purview of his refutation. Vidyananda's exposition of nays & niksepas in his Tattvarthasloka-vartika throws new light on these subjects.


Among the successors of Vidyananda, who made important contributions to the doctrine of anekanta, the following authors occupy a position of importance : Prabhacandra, Abhayadeva, Vadideva and Yasovijaya. The reader is referred to the accounts of the life and works of these authors given elsewhere in this encyclopaedia.





Mookerjee, S : The Philosophy of Non-absolutism (Calcutta, 1944)

Malvaniya, D : Agama Yuga Ka Jaina Darsana (Agra, 1966).

Dixit K.K. : Jaina Ontology  (L.D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, 1971).

Tatia, N : Studies in Jaina Philosophy (Banaras, 1951)



The reference to the texts of the Pali Tipitaka represent the Volumes and pages of the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara Editions.



1 Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana, A History of  Indian Logic (Calcutta University, 1921), pp.167. (This Book will be referred to as HIL.)

2 HIL, pp. 167-168.

1 HIL, p.167.

2 Hil, P.181 : “It is the perfect knowledge of things taken from all possible standpoints. Thus a things may be, may not be, both may of may not be, etc. according as we take it from one or the other standpoint.”

3 HIL, pp. 182-184.

4 Jadunath Sinha, History of Indian Philosophy (Central Book Agency, Calcutta, 1952). Vol. II, p. 179. (This book will be referred to as J. Sinha, HIP.)

5 Satkari Mookerjee : The Jaina Philosophy  of Non-Absolutism (Bharati Jaina Parisat, Culcutta, 1944), p.191. (This book will be referred to as JPN).

6 The two words syat (may be) and asti (it is) are compounded (by rules of pronunciation) in one          compound phrase syadasti.

7 nasti = not-is or it is not.

8 The compound-phrase consists of two words syat (may be) and avaktavyah (or inexpressible, or indeterminate).

9 ca = and or also.

10 By rules of pronunciation the two words avaktavyah and ca are compounded into avaktavyasca.

[1]For example, Satis Chandra vidya bhusana in HIL and other works.

1Nyayavatara edited by Satis Chandra Vidyabhusana. (Indian Research Society, Calcutta, 1909), pp. 29-30.

2It is worth noting that the Jaina view in this respect has much similarity to A.N. White-head's "inexhaustibility of nature". Also cf. V.I.  Lenin : "Materialism and Empiriocriticism."

3 J. Sinha, HIP, vol. II, 1952, pp. 208.

1 S. Dasgupta, History of Indian Philosophy, vol. I, pp. 180-181 (Cambridge University Press, 1922).

1 Dravya=substance;ksetra=space;kala=time;bhava=attribute.

1 I may draw attention to the similarity of these ideas to the concept of an "individual element "in relation to the "population"  in modern statistical theory.

2 There is one well-known school of Buddhist philosophy which holds that reality consists of an infinite sequence of "atomistic" or completely independent "moments" which have no connexion with one another.

3 On the other hand, the monistic philosophy of the Vedantist holds that the Absolute transcends all change.


1 The pharase "fluxist" requires a little explanation. The Buddhist school of philosophy  (to which reference has been made in footnote) is known as ksana-vada which means literally the theory or philosophy of "moments" It has been translated by S. Mookerjee as "fluxist" which, however, does not seem to be entirely happpy.

2 Another well-known school of Indian philosophy.

3 It may be noted that a single or unique individual as such (that is without any relation to a "population" or "universe") has no meaning in modern statistical or probability theory.

1 The jaina view insists on the inadequacy of formal logic by introducing the concept of indefiniteness or indetermination or uncertainty as an inalienable character of reals; but also emphasizes the possibility of defining reals in terms of existent or non-existent taken together.

1 Pure logic in the sense of formal logic.

1 J. Sinha, HIP, vol. II, p.180.

1 I think it is also proper to note the occasional occurrence of certain intriguing phrases in the mediaeval period of Indian logic As an example, I am giving below what I myself heard about 20 years ago from the late Dr. Sir. Brajendra Nath Seal (the great Indian savant and the author of “History of Positive Sciences of the Hindus’ and other works who died in 1938). Dr. Seal told me that in a mediaeval Indian treatise there is a discussion about the practice of giving alms to Brahmins; and the question is raised whether the receipients of the gifts are always deserving persons. It is stated in reply that the practice of giving alms can be supported because “only ten out of hundred receipients are underserving”. I do not know whether the above phrase is to be interpreted as a simple statement about the number or proportion of recipients who were found to be underserving or whether the phrase has any implications of a statistical or probilistic nature. Dr. Seal’s view was that the above phrase had some probabilistic significance but only in a latent or implied (but not explicit or developed) form. As the subject of mediaeval Indian logic is not my special field of study I have not had the opportunity of making more detailed enquiries. I am, however, mentioning this point because it may be worth while making some further researches in this matter.

1 I have deliberately chossen a word  with the same root (Latin vox = Sanskrit vak ) as avakta.