Steps To Jainism
SANCHETI ASOO LAL
Appendix F: Anekanta (Part II)
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.
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..
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) :
visesanatvat sadharmyam yatha bhedavivaksaya
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.