Perface to the First Edition


          Man is `homo sapiens’. He has bulit civilizations and destroyed them too. Magnificent empires were built, mighty in their day. It was difficult to doubt their power. But their day is done and their courts `the lion and the lizard keep’. We have seen the phenmimenal advancement of science in our own day. As we gaze at the incredible rapidity of scientific progress we are losing touch with the spiritual side of man. We are on cross- roads of life, between two worlds; `one dead and the powerless to be born’. We see everywhere social and political chaos. There is distrust and frustration, and for a decade or more we have lived on the brink of another world war more disastrous than the earlier too, which would mean total destruction of human race. Whether it would mean pralaya we do not know. But when it comes we can only see the broken bits of civilization, if we are to survive this catastrophe. And all this is due to a wrong approach to the understanding of the problems of life and experience. A new kind of a materialism is being emphasised today wherin we pay exclusice attention to material comforts and ignore the higher values. But to understand life and nature we have to transcend the narrow partial points of view and adopt a synoptic view of life. We have to realize that others’ points of view have also to be considered and respected. Dogmatic approach of looking at the problems leads to intolerance and then to violence. Jainas have preached the synoptice view of life in their theory of Anekanta. It emphasises the catholic outlook towards life. Intellectual non-violence, respect for other points of view are the key-note of this doctrine, and that would be a panacea for all the ills of our social and political life today. Jainism is an ancient religion which prevailed even before Vardhamana Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and Par’sva the twentythird Tirtha’nkaras.  It is a pre-Aryan religion coming from the Sramana current of thought, and Sramana thought was prevailing in India long before the Aryans came to this country. The antiquity of Jainism as reflecting the Pre-Aryan thought of the upper class of North-Eastern India has now been established beyond dispute. Jaina tradition is unanimous in making Rsabha the first Tithankara as the founder of Jainism. Long before the Aryans  reached the Ganges or even Sarasvati, Jainism, had been taught by prominenet saints or Tirthankaras, prior to the historical twentythird Parsva of the eighth or ninth century B. C. Many Wwstern scholars like Jacobi, Vincent Smith, Furlong and Zimmer have accepted the Pre-Aryan prevalence of Jainism. Radhakrishanan accepts the view that Jainism pre-valied in India even before Parsava and Vardhamana, the last two Tirthankaras. Hiralal Jain has interpreted the mention of Kesi and Kesi Rsabha in the Rgveda as referring to the first Tirthankara. When Buddhism arose Jainism was already an ajncient sect with its strong hold near about Vaisali which was visited and admired by Buddha. 


          The Anekanta outlook of the Jainas pervades their entire philosophy and life. The whole texture of Jaina philosophy and ethics is woven in the Anekanta attitude. We have accordingly analysed in this treatise some of the conceptions in Jaina philosophy and ethics as reflecting the Anekanta outlook. Jiva has been considered from the noumenal and the phenomenal points of view. From the noumenal points of view it is pure and perfect, and from the phenomenal it is the agent and the enjoyer of fruits of Karama. Our experience can be graded into levels as the sense and the supersensuous experience. Jiva in its empirical existense is involved in the wheel of Samsara through the Yoga (activity). This involvement is beginningless, though it has an end. The end is freedom from the wheel of life and the attainment of Moksa. For this we have to remove the Karma that has accrued to the soul. The Jainas have worked out an elaborate theory of Karma almost making it a science. The Anekanta view pervades the analysis of Karma. Karma is substantive force. It is material in nature. It consists of fine particles of matter, which are glued to the soul as soot to the surface of the mirror. The influx of Karma leads to bondage of Jiva to the wheel of life. The i) nature (prakrti), duration (sthiti), intensity (anubhagha) and quantity (pradesa) of Karma determine this bondage of soul to Karma. Karma has its psychological aspect also in the Bhava-karma.


          Moksa is to be achieved through the triple path of right intuition, right knowledge and right conduct. The belief in the Tattvas is the right faith, knowledge of the real is right knowledge and freedom from attachment and aversion is right conduct. The path of virtue is the path, which leads to self- realization. The five Vratas are fundamental for the Jainas. However, the practice of the Vratas and the ethical life has been graded in two levels as duty of a muni (ascetic) and the life of sravaka (lay follower). The purpose is to realize the highest gradually and with ease. In this analysis of ethical concepts we find the application of the spirit of Anekanta. The same can be found in their interpretation of Ahimsa as an ethical principle. The Jaina attitude to the conception of God expresses the spirit of Anekanta. The Jainas are against the Theistic conception of God. But each soul in its pure and perfect form is divine. Still the Tirthankaras are worshipped not because they are gods but because they are human, yet divine –to be kept before us as ideals for emulation. Apart from the worship of the Tirthankaras, we find a pantheon of gods as a social survival and a psychological necessity.


          Life is to be considered as a struggle for perfection. We do not get ready-made views. We have to look at life through manycoloured glasses and as a “vale of soul making”. This is the picture of Jaina outlook on life as presented in this book. It may, perhaps, give a discrete picture. The purpose has been to see some of the problems in the light of synoptic point of view as expressed in the Anekanta.


          The metaphysical elements of Jainism have not been discussed in detail as the main object of this work has been to present the Jaina view of life, However, principle of asrava, bandha samvara and nirjara have been incidentally woven in the texture of the scheme while describing the entanglement of the soul in samsara and the efforts to attain Moksa. Jiva and Moksa are the prius and the end of the noumenal world.  We have studied them at length.


          This priblem has been engaging my attention for some time past, and it has developed in the form of this book at the inspiration and guidance of Dr. A. N. Upadhye of Kolhapur. I gave a synopsis of this work in my talk at the Jaina Boarding at Kolhapur during the Paryusana festival in 1963. I have made use of two chapters from my earlier book—Some Problems in Jaina Psychology. I can grateful to the Register, Karnatak University, Dharwad for permitting me to use this material from my previous book. I have incorporated in this book some of my articles already published in different philosophical Journals by retouching them here and there to form a part of this book.


          I am grateful to the Editors and Publishers of these Journals for their permission to use my articles in the book. I must express my gratitued to the late Professor Charles A. Moore, of the Universty of Hawaii, Honolulu (U. S. A ) for permitting me to use my article The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy published in Philosophy East and West, a Journal of Oriental and Comparative Thought, Volume XI, Numbers 3 and 4 July, October 1965. I have intended, in this book, to weave out some of my papers published earlier so as to bring out a coherent picture of the Jaina view of life as expressing the Anekanta outlook. I must express my sense of profound gratitude to Dr. A. N. Upadhye for all the encouragement and guidance he has given me. I thank the authorities of the Jaina Samskrti Samraksaka Sangha, Sholapur, for publishing this work. I thank my colleague Shri S. R. Gunjal, M.A., M.Lib. Sc. for assisting me in going through the proofs.



Dharwad                                                              T. G. Kalghatgi






Preface to the Second Edition


          I have pleasure in presenting the second edition of the Jaina View of Life.  I am grateful to the scholars of the Jaina Studies for their kind appreciation.  In this edition I have revised some portions of the papers included in the first edition.  I have added the following Papers in this edition –1.  Right Uderstanding –Some Hurdles, published in Studies in Indian philosophy (L. D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad 1981) and 2.      Jaina Mysticism published in the Proceedings of The Indian Philosophical Congress 1961-1965.


     I am grateful to The Jaina Samskrti  Samrakshaka Sangha, Sholapur for having got the book published in the second edition.  I sincerely thank M/s. Manohar Printing Press, Dharwad specially Shri Ravi Akalwadi, for the careful and fine printing of the book.



‘Ratnatraya’                                             T. G. Kalghatgi

Savamur Nawab Plots                                         Rtd. Professor of Jainology

Dharwad  580008                                                                      and Prakrits,

University of Mysore.





GENERAL EDITORIAL        ..                ..              ..            iii-iv

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION             ..          ..             v-viii

PREFACE TO THE SECONTD EDITION   ..               ..             ix







SYNOPTIC PHILOSOPHY :  Meaning of philosophy –philosophy in India –istorical survey –a priori way leading to Absolutism far removed from the commonsense –empiricist way –logical positivism –leading philosophy to the brink of extinction –the way out to be found in the synoptic philosophy as expressed in the Anekanta view of the Jainas.       ..             ..                   3-11


II.     APPROACH TO REALLITY: Introduction—meaningn of  Anekanta

          --historiacal survey –development of the theory of Anekanta

       --Nayavada –analysis of the Nayas –Syadvada as a logiacal

       expression of Nayavada –Syadvada analysed –criticism of the

       theory –some observations –Right understanding –some Hurdles.  12-43


III.  THE JAINA THEORY OF THE SOUL: Conception of soul

        in philosophy –Jaina theory of soul –considered from

        noumenal and the phenomenal points of view –Upayoga as

        characteristic of soul –bahiratman antaratman and paramat-

        man –compared with distinction between ‘Me’ and ‘I’  of

        Willian James –seat of the soul-classification of Samsari Jivas

        --freedom of soul from Samsara.       ..             ..                 ..          44-65


IV. CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE : The Jaina attitude as empiricist and realistic –concept of mind –mind as a quasi-sense organ –the phases of mind.  Dravya-manas and Bhava-manas –instrumental nature of mind –consciousness –cetana –self-consciousness – nature of knowledge –sense and supersense experience -- nature of  knoledge –sense perception –stages of sense perception

- supersense experience and Avadhi, Manah-paryaya and Kevala as supersense experiences –some observations on the basis of modern researches in Parapsychology.       ..           ..                ..    66-105




1.     Plato and Aristole have traced the beginnings of Philosophy to the feeling of wonder which arises in the mind of man when he contemplates on the nature of things in the worlds.’  But wonder at the level of primitive men is in the instinctive stage and does not give rise to higher speculation.   It is only nature does philosophy begin.   It is the fruit of society’s maturer age.   As Hegel said, philosophy makes its first expression when experience and thought have fully matured in their process.  The owl of Minerva does not start upon its flight till the evening twilight has begun to fall.


Philosophy is a reflection on experience in order to comprehend the ultimate reality.  We may say it is a synoptic view of life.  It is, in the lines of Mathew Arnold, to see life steadily and to see it whole.  In a narrower sense it is an academic pursuit of the solutions of the ultimate problems of life.


Philosophy is not merely an unusually obstinate effort to think consistently, not a construction of a super-structure of thought, nor is it a mere collection of noble sentiments.   For Plato and Bradley philosophy was the knowledge of reality, of that which is.  For the Logic Positivists, however would not be complete except as a synoptic view of life, as a world view.  In this sense alone can philosophy be a guide to life.


In India, philosophy was and has been well grounded in life.  It has permeated the lives of the people.  It has never been a mere academic pursuit nor a luxury of the mind.  It was intimately connected with life.  It is to be lived.  Mundaka Upanisad speaks of ‘Brahma Vidya’ as the basis of all knowledge.  Knutilya makes philosophy the lamp of all sciences.  Philosophy has been called darsana in the sense of the spiritual perception and vision of the seers, and the highest triumphs of philosophy are possible only to those who have achieved in themselves a purity of the soul.


          Realization of the Atman is the highest end in Philosophy there is no other way.  In this sense, philosophy is darsana and intimately connected with life.


2.     Philosophy enquiry has proceeded in two directions : i)  The first uses a priori and deductive methods.  It is analytic in approach and is the way of the rationalists.   ii)  The second adopts inductive methods and is the empiricist way.  In ancient Indian thought, philosophic speculation relied on Sruti and Smrti.


The course of philosophy has been long and arduous.   From Plato and the Upanisads to the present day, philosophers have sought to find solutions to the perennial problems of philosophy, and by pursuing the one way or the other have reached either the summits of speculation from human experience, or have ultimately faced the impossibility of metaphysical speculation.


i)                               We may first consider the a priori approach to the study of philosophy.  In western thought, deductive and a priori methods were first used by Parmenides and his desciple Zeno, who made, for the first time, a distinction between sense and reason.  The Philosophic speculations of Plato were largely based on a priori methods.  He abstracted sense from reason and built a world of ideas independent of the physical world.  In the Middle Ages of Europe, philosophy was sustaining itself under the shadow of theology and Aristole’s deductive methods.  In the modern Age, Descartes and Spinoza built systems of rationalism.  From cogito ergo sum he went on to heaven and looked at the physical world with confidence, which is, indeed, a way far removed from that of common sense.  Descartes split the world into two substance distinct from each other and postulated a God separate from each of them.  Spinoza’s task was to establish a connection between God and the world on the basis of mathematical deduction.  The result is, Spinoza’s Substance became a lion’s den to which all tracks lead and from which none returns.  In Hegel and Bradley we go much further away from common sense.  We see the superstructures of philosophic speculation, and we are left in the world of appearance only to gaze at the ivory towers in which these philosophers lived.  Thus the a priori speculative method led us far from the madding crowd to the dizzy heights of the ‘Absolute’.


In India, we were saved from the separation of the speculative and the practical, because philosophy, with us, is essentially spiritual : it takes its origin in life and enters back into life.”  In Samkara we come to a great speculative system.  Still, we do not feel ourselves strangers here, as we are not cut off from the ideals of life.  “Samkara presents to us the true ideal of philosophy, which is not so much knowledge as wisdom, not so much logical learning as spiritual freedom.”


ii)                            Empiricism uses a posteriori and inductive methods.  In the Theaetetus, Socrates explains the Protagorean doctrine that knowledge is through perception, and shows the impossibility of arriving at any objective truth.  For the Sophists, sense experience was the only source of knowledge; while Gorgias asserted the impossibility of any knowledge or communication whatever.


In ancient Indian thought the Carvkas led us to a similar conclusion.

For them, Lokayata is the only Sastra and perceptual evidence the only authority.  This would logically lead to scepticism  and nihilism; but they did not go to the whole length, because their immediate aim was to break down the ecclesiastical monopoly and still assert the spiritual independence of the individual.  The Buddhist empiricism was to have gone the way of Gorgias in the Madhyamika School, but for the predominance of the ethical ideal and the goal of nirvana.  Nagarjuna’s philosophy is ‘now nearer to scepticism and the mysticism.’  The rigour of logic would have led him to nihilism, but for his spiritual fervor and thirst for nirvana.


          English empiricism repeats this logical movements but does not save itself from its own conclusions. We can see the empiricist method steadily marching from Locke to Berkeley to Hume. Berkeley denied matter, and Hume denied everything except impressions and ideas. Reid, summing up the English empiricist movement, states that ideas, first introduced for explaining the operations of the human understanding, undermined everything but themselves, pitifully naked and destitute, “set adrift without a rag to cover them.”  Knowledge became impossible and philosophy could go on further without a radical reconsideration of its fundamental position.

          But the Humean tendency has been recently revived, by the Cambridge philosophers who brought philosophy to the brink of extinction.  Wittgenstein’s Tractates discusses problems of meaning, the nature of logic, facts and propositions and the task of philosophy.  It states: ‘What can ve said at all can be said clearly, and whereof  one cannot speak, there one must be silent’.  ‘The world is the totality of facts not of things’.  There must be simple entities called objects because there are names, and there must be names because propositions have a definite sense.  Names have no sense expect in the context of propositions; and propositions are related to facts as ‘picture of facts’.  He states that all the truths of logic are tautologies, and logical proofs are only mechanical devices for recognising categories.  Mathematics consists of equations, and the propositions of mathematics are also without sense.  The metaphysician talks nonsense in the fullest sense of the world, as he does not understand “the logic of our language”.  Metaphysical suggestion is like the composition of a new song.  We are told that he made no essential change in his attitude towards the aim of philosophy.  Russell writes that the influence of the Tractates on him “was not wholly good”, and that the philosophy of the Philosophical Investigations remains to him completely unintelligible .


          Logical Positivism ia a philosophical movement emanating from ‘The Vienna Circle’.  It was a thorough going empiricism backed by the resources of modern logic and tempered by exaggerated respect for the achievements of Science.  Ayer’s Philosophy is the logical outcome of Hume’s empiricism.  Like Hume, he divides all genuine propositions into two classes: i) a priori propositions of logic and pure mathematics, which are analytic and therefore necessary and certain; and ii) propositions concerning empirical matters of fact which may be probable but never certain and need to be tested by the verification principle.  No statement which refers to a reality transcending the limits of all possible sense experience can possibly have any literal significance.  Ayer shows that the Logical Positivist charge against the metaphysician is not that he attempts to employ the understanding in a fields where it cannot probably venture, but that he produces sentences which fail to conform to the conditions under which alone a sentence can be literally significant.  A metaphysician talks nonsense because he is deceived by grammar.  Thus, Logical Positivists, claim that they have completely overthrown speculative philosophy.  Philosophy, to them, is only logical analysis; not a theory, but an activity.  Its function is analysis.  Logical clarification of concepts, propositions and theories proper to empirical science.  Thus, philosophy is identified with logical syntax, the higher-level discussion of languages, and the perennial problems of philosophy are dismissed as nonsense.  Philosophy classes are, accordingly, converted into super-grammar classes.

          However, Logical positivism has ceased to become a fashionable philosophy today, because I) its attack on metaphysics has damped the vigor and chastened the style of its remaining adherents, and ii) its approach to language is unnecessarily rigid and doctrinaire. Even Ayer is doubtful about carrying through the program of phenomenalism and uneasy about the verification principle.

          Still, the impasse that Logical Positivism has reached is unfortunate, because:

i)                  The doctrine of Logical Positivism has led to dogmatism and intolerance; so that metaphysical question are dismissed as unworthy of attention of sensible men. Theories like the veridical principle, the emotive theory of ethics and logical construction are simply announced as if they formed a part of revelation denied to other philosophers except Hume.

ii)                Sense experience, as the criterion of truth, has led to solipsism, as it did in the case f the sophists and Hume. Sense experience is private and cannot be communicated.  The more radical among them, like Carnap and Neurath, were hence led to physicalism, which is nearer to behaviors in psychology.

iii)             For logical positivists, as for other empiricists, sense experience is the only criterion knowledge. Modern psychical Research, n the other hand, affirms the possibility of extra- sensory experiences. In addition there are certain other experienced, like the speculation, moral and aesthetic.


The problem of supersensuous emixperience is not new to us in India. All schools of Indian philosophy, except the carvakas and Mimamsakas, believe in it. Supersensuous experience transcends the categories of time, space ad causality; “ Our sense organs are narrowly specialised to serve biological and practical ends. In the face of these facts, it would be narrow and fanatical to insist on sensory experience and the veification principle as the only criteria of knowledge. Like the men chained against the walls of the cave in The Republic. The empiricists refuse to see beyond what they would like to affirm.

iv)              Moreover, for the Logical Positivists the veification principle has been a dogma and a commandment. But the principle of veification is not a self- evident statement, nor is it capable philosophy is itself based on a metaphysic.  Certain presuppositions about the universe.

v)                Nevertheless, the effects of Logical Positivism have been serious. It has engendered a nagative climate of opinion, and was likely to shatter the old beliefs in the social, moral and religious spheres with nothing else to fill the gap except, analysis of propositions. Its has produced a ‘ waste land’ of mind of which T.S.Eliot’s poem is at once description and, by implication, a denunciation.


3.     A survey of the course of philosophy in the past shows that philosophy continually faced this impasse. The a priori deductive method took us the lion’s den. At the height of its speculation, it built super – structures of philosophy were led t solipsism and to the feverish denial of metaphysics,


To save philosophy from this impasse, we have to adopt a synoptic view towards the problems of philosophy. We should realise that reality is complex and life is a many-coloured dome. Idealism was unable to see the wood.  While empiricism could not see the wood in the trees. These were two ways of approaching the problem; but they are not the only ways, nor were the approaches absolute. This is the synoptic outlook. In this sense, philosophy is to see life steadily and see it whole. Broad says “ If we do not look at the world synoptically we shall have a very narrow view of it.” He thinks that a purely critical philosophy is arid and rigid.”


     The Jaina view of anekanta comes nearer to this approach. Anekanta consists in a many-sided approach to the study of problem. Intellectual tolerance is the foundation nonviolent attitude.  It emphasizes the many – sidedness of truth. Reality can be looked at from various angles.


     Whitehead’s fundamental attitude in philosophy is essentially the same as the anekanta view of life. Whitehead defined speculative philosophy as the endeavour to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted.

     We have to note that the function of philosophy is not merely an academic pursuit of reality. It is a way of life, philosophy has had the dual purpose of revealing truth and increasing virtue. Philosophers have sought to provide a principal to live by and purposes to live for. For this practical end, philosophers have striven to achieve a synoptic view of the universe. The consciousness of the finiteness of our being makes us yearn for the beyond, in the spirit of the Upanisads from the unreal to the real, from dakness to light, and from death to eternal life.

     For this, we have to look to the spiritual experience of the great seers. Broad says there is one thing which speculative philosophy must take into most serious consideration and that is the religious and mystical experience of minkind. It is they who are in constant touch with the innermost depth of life and to them we are to look for guidance. Such ‘enlightened ones’ or ‘sages’ are the first- hand exponents of philosophy.





I.                  Jainism is realistic and pluralistic. Its philosophy is based on logic and experience. Moksa is the ultimate aim of life. It is realised by the three-fold path of right intution, right knowledge and right conduct. Right knowledge is possible by the right approach to the problem of life. Anekanta, the Jainas believe, gives us the right approach to looking at the fundamental non- violent attitude of the Jainas. It is the expression of intellectual non- violence.

In surveying the field of Indian philosophy, Dr.padmarajiah mentions five types of philosophy considered from the point of view of the nature of reality. They are:

1.                philosophy of Being – samkara represents this school of thought

Or identity.

2.       Philosophy of Becoming (change or difference) Buddhism          

          Buddhism presents this view.

3.          Philosophy subordinating difference to identity-

i) The samkhya ii) Bhedabhedacada and

iii) Visistadavaita hold this attitude.   

4.                    philosophy subordinating identity to difference-

i) The vaisesika, ii) Dvaita of Madhvacrya gives this view.

5.                    philosophy co-ordinating both identity and difference –

           The Jaina view of reality presents this attitude.

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 principal of distinction to run its full course until it reaches its logical terminus on the theory of manifold reality andkonwledge.

     Anekanta consists in a many- sided approach to the study of problem. It emphasizes a catholic outlook towards all that we see and experience. Intellectual tolerance is the foundation of the doctrine. It arose as an antidote to the one-sided and absolute approach to the study of reality of the philosophers at the time. It arose out of the confusion of the problem of the nature of reality. The Upanisadic philosophers sought to find the facts of experiences. This search gave rise to many philosophical theories. Buddhism tried to presents a fresh and a different approach in the Madhyana pratipada Drsti. The Anekanta view presents a coherent picture of the philosophies, pointing out the important truths in each of them. It looks at the problem from various points of view. The cardinal principal of the Jaina philosophy is its Anekanta, which emphasize that ‘there is not only diversity but that real is equally diversified.


II.               Although Anekanta was a special feature of the Jaina point of view, it is possible to say that some other schools of thought were aware of this view. In Buddhist philosophy the phrase majjhima magga bears  the same significance as Anekanta. Pandit sukhalaji sanghavi, in his introduction to the sanmati Tarka, says that the doctrine of Anekanta and the madhyma marag have great resemablence in the fundamental idea underlying them. Anatmavada of sanjaya, vibhajjavada, madhyma pratipada which induced the Buddha to treat all prevalent opinions with respect may be mentioned as expression of Anekanta attitude. Similarly Bhedabheda- vada of Bhartrprapance is referred to as Anekanta. Gautama, the Buddha, faced the confusion of thought presented in his time about the about the ultimate nature of reality. He was silent about these problems. In Digha Nikaya, Gautma says ‘It is not that I was, it is not that I will be, I will not be; it is not that I am, I am not’ The Buddha described his attitude to Manavaka as Vibhajjavada. This is similar to Anekanta, although it is not so clearly defined and developed. No specific words suggesting the doctrine of Anekanta are found in the philosophic literature of ancient India. It is suggested that the doctrine of evolution as propounded by the Samkhya School imply the Anekanta attitude. However, the Jainas perfected the doctrine and systematized it. The Buddhist philosopher sanataraksita makes mention of the Anekanta of the vipremimamsakas, Nigghantas and kaplia samkhayas. Among the Jaina exponents, Mahavira practised the attitude and is supposed to have expresses it in the syadvada.


A clear expression of the Anekanta attitude is seen in Mahavira’s discussions with his disciples. In the Bhavavatisutra, there is a dialogue between Mahavira and his disciple Gautama.

          “ Are the souls lord, eternal or non-eternal?”

          “The souls are eternal in some respects and non- eternal in some other respects.   …… They are eternal, o Gautama, from  the point of view of substance and non- eternal from the point of view of modes.”

     Again, the problem of body and mind was answered by Mahavira as-

“ The body, O Gautama is identical with the soul and not identical with soul in different resects.”

     The application of the principal of Anekanta can be seen in their analysis of the metaphysical question concerning the categories. The Jaina theories of atoms, of space and soul, to mention a few instances, illustrate the pervading influence of the Anekanta view- point. Atoms are of the same kind: they can yet give the infinite variety of things, pudgala has certain inalienable features, but within limits it can become anything through qualitative differentiation. The transmutation of elements is quite possible in this view and is not a mere dream of the alchemist.

     Space is another instance of a manifold real. It is incorporeal and formless, yet divisible and its divisibility is spontaneous feature, Abhayadeva develops the concepts of manifoldness of space as a polemic against the Naiyayika view of space as one and partless. The souls are individual centres of experience. Like the Leibnizian monads the soul mirrors the entire universe within self as a unique centre of experience. The universe it mirrors is infinitely complex; and its experimental powers must be manifold commensurate with the complicity of the experienced universe.

  In the Anga literature of the Jainas the doctrine of Anekanta was briefly and incildetally discussed. But in the commentaries of the Jaina scripture written in Prakrit it has received grater attention. But when the Sanskrit language found a place in the Jaina literature, it occupied an important position. The commentary on the Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati gives an exhaustive description of the problem. Latter, a systematic exposition of the doctrine was given by Jaina scholars like samantabhadra, siddhasena Divakara, mallavadi, pujyapada, Akalanka, vidyanandi and others.

     The Anekanta view does imply the principal of reciprocity and interaction among the reals of the universe, as given by Kant, although this principal is more implied than expressly stated in Jainism.

     In kantianism as in Jainism, the principal of reciprocity goes beyond the ‘coexistence’ or the inter-relatedness of the substances and explains the ‘dynamical community’ among them. But the Jaina is a thorough- going realist. Anekanta vada is a theory of reality which asserts the manifoldness and complexity of the real. In apprehending the complexity of the universe, it has crystallized itself into the two- fold dialectic of Nayavada and syadvada; and they are complementary processes forming a normal and inevitable development of the relativistic presupposition of the Jaina metaphysic.


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


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

          The Jainas have formulated a methodological scheme consisting of seven ways of looking at reality. There was a problem whether the seven Nayas can be reduced in number. There are three tradition. The first tradition adopts seven Nayas. The second eliminates Naigama Naya and reduces the list to six. In the third tradition we have five, as samabhirudha and Evambhuta Naya have been subsumed under sabda Naya. Umasvati is largely responsible for the first and the third traditions. In the Digambara version of the tattvarthasutra seven ways have been mentioned, but the svetambara version given five Nayas as mentioned in the third tradition. The different points of view are the Nayas. Various Nayas have been mentioned. As shown above Umasvati first mentions five Nayas and then adds the subdivision. The Agamas have mentioned two points of view: I) samgraha Naya, the point of view of the universal, the synthetic point of view and  ii) paryaika Naya, the  view of the particular, the analytic point of view .

Siddhasena Divakara in his sanmati Tarka adopted the two points if view and distributed the Nayas under two heads. He described the six Nayas. But the generally accepted classification of Nayas is sevenfold. Three of them refer to objects and their meaning, and the others to the words. In the first category we get three: I) samgraha Naya, ii) Vyavahara Naya, and iii) Rjusutra Naya. Siddhasena Divakara says that samgraha and Vyavahara are subdivisions of the Dravyarthika Naya. Samgraha Naya gives the synthetic point of view. It gives, as
Radhakrishanan points out, the class point of view. In this, we seek to approach the unity amidst the diversity by finding the common element in the variety presented in the world. Absolute monism is the conclusion of this point of view . Exaggerated emphasis on the universal would lead to samarahabhasa; and  samkhya and Adcaita schools of philosophy are notable instances. The absolute emphasis on the one and unity dismissing all diversity as appearance, is the position of the absolutists. The Jainas maintain that such a point of view, if it is taken in the absolute sense, presents a partial point of view.

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

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

          Naigama Naya refers to the end or the purpose involved in the action. We interpret an activity an activity with references to the end for which it is done. For instance, a man who is carrying water and firewood will say that he is cooking of he is asked what he is doing siddhasena Divakara adopts a different point of view. Naigama Naya comprehends both the generic and specific qualities.

          Another interpretation of Naya involves non- discrimination between the generic and the specific elements of an object. For example, when we state “ The Bamboo grows here in plenty” the generic and the specific features of the bamboo are not within the focus of our attention. The principal of configuration and the Gestalt suggested by Gestalt school of psychology holds goods in this case.

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


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


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


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


          Thus, each Naya or point of view represents one of the many ways for which a thing can be looked at.  The Nayas remind us that our points of view looking at the things are relative, and over-emphasis on one point of view as absolute and the only point of view would be a mistake.  It would give an abhasa, or appearance of truth, only.  It gives rise to the wrong point of view.  According to the Jainas, Nyaya-Vaisesika, Samkhya, Advaita Vedanta and the Buddhist systems adopt one of the Nayas ; but they believe that their point of view is absolute and unerring.  However, they present only partial truths.  The Jainas point out that the controversy regarding causation presenting different views like the asatkaryavada and the satkaryavada, are one-sided and partial.  But an object can be described in different ways.  For instance, a gold necklace will be gold if we consider the substance out of which it is made but if it is looked at from the point of view of the modification, it may be described differently.  Similarly, each Naya has a different extent.  Naigama Naya has the greatest, and the Evambhuta Naya the least extent.  Naigama deals with the real and the unreal, Samgraha with the real.  Vyavahara deals with part of the real.  Rjusutra refers to the present condition of the real, and Sabda only to the expression of the real.  Samabhirudha has a reference to the particular expression.  Evambhuta applies to the present activity. 


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


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


It is difficult to decide which is the earlier of the two.  Nayavada seems to be earlier, because Umasvati in his Tatvartha-sutra describes the kinds of Nayas, but makes no mention of the Syadvada and the sevenfold propositions.  Yet it is possible that it existed long before him.  Buddhist Suttas mention the doctrine in an erroneous way as the doctrine not of the Nigganthas but of some recluse and Brahmins.  In the earlier literature of the Jaina canon there are only a few passages in which there is a reference to Syadvada.  They occur in the Bhagavati-sutra, in which it is expressed in the form of three propositions.  Among the other early reference, Bhadrabhu’s Sutrakrtanga-Niryukti is prominent.  The developed form of the doctrine in the form of the seven-fold propositions is well described in Pancastikayasara of Kunda-kundacarya and Aptamimamsa of Samantabhadra.  Siddhasena Divakara, Akalanka and Vidyanandi are among the later writers who have given a systematic exposition of the doctrine.


Syadvada shows that there are seven ways of describing a thing and its attributes.  It attempts to reconcile the contradiction involved in the predictions of the thing.  It is possible to describe a thing in seven ways.