Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of English Books
Introduction
Jainism : as a Religion
An Antiquity of Jain Asceticism
Jain Asceticism in Vedic literature
Rsabhadeva and Other Tirthankaras
  Tirthankara Parsvanatha
  Jain Ascetic Sects and Schools
  Jain Scriptures
  Ecology and spirituality in Jain tradition
  Theory of Anekantavada
  Conception of soul (Jiva)
  Ajiva Tattva
  The Theory of Karma
  Classification of knowledge
  Jain Ethics and Asceticism
  The Categories of Jain Ascetics
  The Lay Adherent (Sravaka)
  Vegetarian Diet
  Jain Mendicant
  Meditation (Dyane)
  Rites and Rituals
  Jain as a Community
  Status of Women
  Spread of Jainism
  Art and Architecture
  Jainism and Science
  Conclusion
  References


Theory of Anekantavada
 

  79. The Universe is the composite of groups consisting of adverse pairs like knowledge and ignorance, pleasure and sorrow, life and death and so on. Life depends on such adverse groups. All the groups have their own interests, which create clashes and conflicts in thinking among themselves. Religion is supposed to pacify these clashes through co- existence on socialistic pattern of society. The co-existence cannot be remained without relativity.

80. Jain philosophy is based on the nature of reality, which is considered through Non-absolutism or Many-fold Aspects (Anekantavada). According to this view, reality possesses infinite characteristics, which cannot be perceived or known at once by any ordinary man. Different people think about different aspects of the same reality and therefore their partial findings are contradictory to one another. Hence they indulge in debates claiming that each of them was completely true. The Jain philosophers thought over this conflict and tried to reveal the whole truth. They established the theory of Non-absolutistic standpoint (Anekantavada) with its two wings, Nayavada and Syadvada. Proper understanding of the co- existence of mutually opposing groups through these principles rescues one from conflicts. Mutual co-operation is the Law of Nature.33

81. Things are visible and invisible as well. We stand by visible objects and accept them as they surely are but do not recognize their invisible characteristics. Until and unless one does not recognize both these characters of an object, he cannot reach to the truth and justice. None is absolutely similar or dissimilar, friend or enemy, good or bad. As a matter of fact, every entity hides in itself the innumerable possibilities. Coal can be converted into the state of the diamond or coal is the first stage of diamond. This is the conception of Anekantavada. It should be remembered here that total impossibility of becoming is very rare. Rational cannot be irrational and irrational cannot be rational. On the contrary, it can be converted into some thing else. One becomes desperate, as he does not under-stand the theory of relativity. He forgets that the modes are not imperishable. They are to be changed. Sorrow can be converted into pleasure. Absoluteness has no meaning in any field. Substance cannot be fully explained without the assistance of Anekantavada. Life itself cannot be properly understood without this philosophical notion. Pluralism, monotheism existence and nonexistence, eternality and non-eternality and so on go together. These characters of an entity can be comprehended with the help of real standpoint (Niscayanaya) and Practical standpoint (Vyavaharanaya).

82. The Jainism believes, unlike Buddhism, that the substance is dynamic (Parinami) in character. It means the thing is eternal from real standpoint and momentary from practical standpoint. Causal efficiency, according to them, is possible neither in the thing which is of the static nature (Kutasthanitya) nor in the thing, that is incongruous with the doctrine of momentary (Ksanikavada), but it is possible only in the thing, which is permanent-in-change. (Parinamanasilata).

83. The controversial point in the philosophical system is mainly related with the nature of reality. Some systems of thought accept only the Universal (Samanya) character of reality. Advaitavadins and the Sankhyas are the typical representatives of this view. Some other schools led by the Buddhists recognize only particular (Visesa) character of reality. The third school of thought belongs to Nyaya-Vaisesikas, who treat Universal and Particular as absolutely distinctive entities.

84. According to Jainism, an entity has infinite characteristics, which are divided into two categories, viz. Universal and Particular. Just as different colors can exist in the lustrous gem without conflicting with each other, so the universal and particular elements could abide in the reality. Thus each and every reality in universalized- cum-particularized along with substance with modes (Dravyaparyayatmaka). Here Dravya represents the Universal character and Paryaya represents the particular character of the thing. For example, the jar is made of gold, which can be changed into several modes, while preserving gold as the permanent substance. They are mutually interdependent, identical and separate from each other.
85. The nature of reality, according to this theory, is permanent-in- change. It possesses three common characteristics, such as Utpada (origination), Vyaya (destruction) and Dhrauvya (permanence through birth and decay). It also possesses the attributes (Gunas) called Anvayi, which coexist with substance (Dravya) and modifications (Paryaya) called Vyatireki, which succeed each other. Productivity and destructivity constitute the dynamic aspect of an entity and permanence is its enduring factor.

86. Nayavada (the theory of partial truth) is an integral part of the conception of Anekantavada, which is essential to conceive the sole nature of reality. It provides the scope for acceptance of different viewpoints on the basis that each reveals the partial truth about and object. It is, as the matter of fact, the way of approach and observation which is an imperative necessity to understand of one's different interests and inclinations in different lights on the basis that there could be the valid truth in each of them, and therefore requires their proper value and impartial estimation. Naya investigates analytically the particular standpoint of the problem in all respects in the context of the entire reality. But if anything is treated as the complete truth, it is not Naya, but Durnaya or Nayabhasa or Kunaya. For instance, "It is" is Naya, and "It is and is only" is Durnaya, while "It is relatively (Syat)" is an example of Syadvada.

87. Syadvada investigates them into the constant and comprehensive synthesis. The prefix "Syat" in the Syadvada represents the existence of these characteristics, which, though not perceived at the moment, are present in reality. The word "Syat" (Siya in Prakrit) is an indeclinable and stands for multiplicity or multiple characters (Anekanta). It reveals certainly regarding any problem and not merely the possibility or probability. It is unique contribution of Jainism to Indian philosophy. There is the word Kathancit in Sanskrit literature, which is used as the substitute for "Syat" by Jainism as well as non-Jain philosophers. In English it may be translated with the word "relatively".

88.� Syat� is connected with relative expression about the nature of reality. It makes an effort to respect other doctrines by warning us against allowing the use of "Eva" or "only" to proceed beyond its prescribed limits and penetrates the truth patiently and non- violently. It is a humble attitude of tolerance and justice and to pay respect for other's views. This view can be understood through the use of Saptabhangi or the theory of seven-fold prediction, which is the method of cognition to comprehend the correct nature of reality through the sevenfold relative dialectic method. It is treated as complementary to the Syadvada doctrine. Akalanka thinks of it as the way, which considers reality in the positive (Vidhimukhena) and the negative (Nisedhamukhena) manner without incompatibility in the certain context. There is no violation of the Law of Contradiction here as dual character of entities exists in respect of its own individuality and does not exist apart from and outside this nature (Sarvamasti svarupena pararupena nasti ca). In relativistic standpoint, both being and non-being can exist together. The theory of Relativity, which is also supported by Einstein, is practically accepted by all as the perfect mathematical theory in the scientific world.

89. This Anekantavada guards us from holding opinions that are based on views that are one-sided and extreme and that under the cloak of Anekanta reality maintain one-sided views. Every person ventilates his views about the given object according to his attitude and capacity. His limited knowledge is inadequate to throw the flood of light on the entire object. Out of some many facts, he deals with only one or some. This partial knowledge and partial success is dangerous especially when he feels that his knowledge is complete and correct. It is, therefore, imperative that we should study other's opinions logically and impartially, even though we belong to the certain brand of faith to try to understand others and accommodate other's views others. This is the real humanitarian outlook. Samantabhadra said it is the "Sarvodayatirtha". Haribhadra's quotation points out in the same direction. He means that we must think objectively irrespective of our religion and ideology: Agrahi vata ninisati yuktam, tatra yatra matires nivista. Paksapatarahitasya tu yuktir yatra tatra matiresa nivesam.
90. Acarya Hemacamndra also opines that we must not swallow uncritically any idea simply because it comes from the great man. The validity of that idea must be tested on the touchstone of logic.Paksapato na me Vire, na dvesah Kapiladisu.Yukti madvacanam yasya tasya karyah parigrahah.Dravyas or Tattvas

91. Reality or substance in Jainism is distinguished from Dravya. Dravya means that which exists and possesses three fundamental characteristics, viz. I) origin (Utpada), ii) Destruction (Vyaya), and iii) permanence (Dhrauvya). It maintains its identity through its several qualities and modes. The Dravya in its reality can neither be created nor destroyed; it has only permanent substantiality. But through its modes, it secures the triple qualities. There is neither quality without substance nor substance without quality. Hence these two are not incompatible in their nature.

92. Dravya in Jainism is of six kinds, namely, Jiva (soul), Ajiva (non-soul), Dharma (principle of motion), Adharma (principle of rest), Akasa (space), and Kala (time). The first five types of Dravyas are called Astikayas (those exist and have different pradesas or areas like the body) and the last is named Anastikaya. According to another classification it is of three kinds, viz. Sakriya (active), Niskriya (inactive) and Sakriya-Niskriya. The Sakriya Dravya, which have the capacity of moving from place to place, are Pudgalas and Jivas. Contrary to this, the Niskriya Dravyas are space and Kala; Sakriya-Niskriya Dravyas are those realities, which move about without themselves undergoing changes or motion. Dharma and Adharma are Sakriya and Niskriya Dravyas respectively. Pudgala alone is Murta (having forms), which possesses the sense qualities of contact, taste, smell, sound and colour. In another classification, the Dravyas or Tattvas are divided into seven categories, Viz. Jiva (Soul) Ajiva (non soul) Asrava (inflow of Karmic matter) into the soul, Bandha (bondage of soul by Karmic matter), Samvara) stoppage of the inflow of the Karmic matter), Nirjara (shedding of Karmic matter), and Moksa (liberation of soul from Karmic matter).