Definitions and Pseudo Definitions

    • Definitions And
      Pseudo Definitions
    • Edited by
      Dr. H.C. Bharill

Lesson 3

Abhinav Dharmbhushan Yati

There have been many Jain literary figures named Dharambhushan. To distinguish this writer from others ‘Abhinav’ and ‘Yati’, additions to the name have been made. He was a follower of Acharya Kundkund and his teacher was Vardhman. His existence is dated between 1258 to 1418 A.D.

Whatever references of his influence and personality are available indicate that he was an influential man of letters. The first Devarai who was known as Rajadhiraj Parmeshwar, used to bow before his feet.

It was his passion to spread Jain faith. He has displayed wonderful logic and scholarship in his writings. His only work ‘Nyaya Dipika’, which occupies an important place in Jain logic, is available at present. This is a very small but very lucid and important work of this master-mind. Praman and Perspectives are dealt with logically in this book. Though the language of the logic treatises is mostly quite difficult and serious, this writer has used simple and easily comprehensible Sanskrit in the book.

The present lesson is based on this book.

Definitions And Pseudo Definitions

Speaker : It is very necessary to know the definition of a thing for knowing it, because without knowing the definition it is not possible to recognise it and decide what is true and what is false. Without arriving at the nature of things, their description is impossible; if an attempt is made to describe them, whatever is said will be wrong. It is, therefore, necessary to know the definition of a particular thing or feeling for knowing that thing very exactly.

Disciple : It is alright that definitions are necessary, but what is a definition ? Please tell me the nature thereof.

Speaker :You are correct. It is necessary to know the significance of definition before defining any object; for, if we do not know what definition is, how shall we determine that the definition of a particular object arrived at- by us, is correct.

The attribute that distinguishes the object in question from other mixed up substances, is called the definition of that object.

Aklankdeo writes in his Rajwartik “Whatever distinguishes an object from the mass of other substances is its definition.”

Disciple : What is object ?

Speaker : Whatever is defined is the object of definition e.g. consciousness is the attribute of the soul. In this soul’ is the object and ‘consciousness’ is the definition. Whatsoever is recognised by the definition is the object.

Definition is of two kinds :-1. Intrinsic definition, and 2. Extrinsic definition

The attribute that is in the nature of the object is the intrinsic definition e.g. warmth in fire. Warmth, being the nature of fire, distinguishes it from water and other substances. As such warmth is the intrinsic definition of fire. The attribute not in the nature of the object and separate from it is the extrinsic definition of the object e.g. stick of an old man. Though the stick is separate from the man, it separates him from other men without such sticks. As such this is extrinsic definition.

Rajwartik also explains the situation by the two examples of fire and warmth and stick and the man holding it.

Intrinsic definition, being the nature of the object is the real definition. Externally existing things can be recognised by this only. Extrinsic definition is from the point of view of associations. It, therefore, serves the temporary purpose of the object with the association as distinct from the objects without such association. Intrinsic definition is fruitful in defining eternal objects having no associations. The soul, without any such affiliations, can only be defined by such a definition.

It is very necessary to be very careful while arriving at the definition of particular objects, because the definition becomes the basis of its analysis. If the definition is defective it would not be able to stand the cannons of’ its analysis and examination and would be proved wrong.

Disciple : Are there defects in definition also ?

Speaker : Definitions are always without defects. Those with defects are called pseudo definitions. Three kinds of defects are found in these :

 1. Less pervasive , 2. Extra pervasive, and 3. Impossible

When the definition covers only a part of the object it is called less pervasive e.g., to say that cows are black and animals have horns. All the cows are not black and all the animals are not with horns. The two definitions, therefore, suffer from less pervasive defect.

Disciple : If we accept horn as the definition of a cow ?

Speaker : The definition then will have extra pervasive defect, because it covers the object as well as the non-object.

Disciple : What is this non-object ?

Speaker : Things other than the object of definition are non-objects. Though all the cows have horns, but horns are also found in other animals. Here cow is the object and the other animals are non-objects, and the given definition of horns is found in cows as well as other animals. This definition is, therefore, extra pervasive.

Definition should be such as is present in the whole of the object and never in the non-object. Not to be pervasive in the whole object is the less pervasive defect and to be pervasive in the object as well as the non-object is the extra pervasive defect.

Disciple : And impossible ?

Speaker : Impossibility of definition in the object defined is the impossible defect e.g. to define man as a creature with horns. Here man is the object and the presence of horn is the definition. This defect is called the impossible. I understand you have now followed the nature of definition and pseudo-definition exactly.

Disciple : Yes, very clearly.

Speaker : If that is so, let me know if the soul can be defined as having omniscience. Is this definition of the soul correct ?

Disciple : No, because here soul is the object and omniscience is its definition. Definition should be in the whole of the object, but omniscience is not present in all the souls. As such this definition is less pervasive. If we accept this definition as correct, we, with sensory and scriptural knowledge, will become inanimate beings.

Speaker : Then accept sensory and scriptural knowledge as the definition of the soul ?

Disciple : No, because if we accept that, the Arahantas and the Siddhas will have to be accepted as inanimate, for they do not have sensory or scriptural knowledge. This example, therefore, has the defect of being less pervasive.

Speaker : You are correct. Some other listener will now reply. Is it correct to say that that which is formless is the soul substance ?

Disciple : Yes, for all the souls are formless. This definition does not have the defect of being less pervasive.

Speaker : This definition is also not correct. It entails the defect of extra pervasiveness, because beside the soul substance, space, ether, anti-ether and time substances are also formless. In the above definition, soul is the object and substances, other than the soul, that is, the non-soul substances, are non-objects. Though all souls are formless, yet space and other substances, beside the soul, are also formless. Matter alone has form. As such above definition being pervasive in objects as well as non-objects is full of extra pervasive defect. If all that is formless is soul is accepted, then we shall have to regard space and other three substances as soul.

Disciple : If we define soul as having colour, scent, taste and touch, what will be the result ?

Speaker : Wonderful, were you sleeping ? This is impossible. Soul does not have colour etc. at all. This comes under the impossible defect of definition.

Disciple : You have shown defects of all these definitions. Please let me know the correct definition of the soul.

Speaker : The correct definition of the soul is operative consciousness. Tattvarthasutra says, “Upyogo Lakshemu”. It does not have the defect of less pervasiveness because operative consciousness is found in all the souls. It does not also have the defect of extra pervasiveness because operative consciousness is not found in other substances except the soul. There is no question of the defect impossible, because it is so clear that all the living beings are possessed of operative consciousness.

Every definition should thus be tested and you should keep in mind all these things before arriving at definitions of substances.

Disciple : Please give one or two more examples.

Speaker : No, there is no time. I have given one example of soul and the other of the cow and other animals. Now you can apply the conditions to other examples. If you feel any hitch, discuss amongst yourselves. Even then if you do not understand, 1 shall explain the whole thing in more details, tomorrow.

Please remember that you can understand things if you really try to understand yourself; others cannot make you understand. You should, therefore, make attempts and concentrate over things explained.

“So one who desires to have happiness, who desires the good of self, who is keen for liberation, he should know himself, get fully immersed within himself. Your own pleasure is within you, not within somebody else, not even in Parmeshwar (God). So it is useless to look upon happiness as a grace from above. You are thy own master. You yourself are the eternal fund of joy, a sort of happiness, happiness itself. But why hanker after – happiness ? For, hankering is misery. There is really no happiness in the objects covered by the senses. This man, though commanding the wealth and affluence of a chakravarti is not happy. In the eyes of the savants, all the treasures of a chakravarti are useless. They throw them out as if a dry hay and are immersed within. In the presence of the great thing within which is eternal and full of joy, every external object grows dim.Dharma is not a word, but an application. So one covetous of self should not merely memorise the word but realise it in life; he must be all dharma.”

Tirthankara Mahavira and his Sarvodaya Tirtha, Page 31-32 : Dr. H. C. Bharill