Syadvada : A Solution of World Tension
A Perspective in Jaina Philosophy and Religion
Syadvada : A Solution of World Tension
Prof. Ramjee Singh
Expository : Syat (somehow) Syadvada is (an epistemological) solution of World-tension.
(a) Syadvada – The Jaina theory of Judgment and truth as relative.
(b) World-tension – “Present international tensions among nations.
(c) Epistemological Solution – Solution emanating from the standpoint of knowledge.
Syadvada along with its complementary doctrines of Anekantavada and Nayavada, when applied to the phenomena of international tension, might result in perpetual peace.
By world-tension, we mean presence of international conflicts, hot and cold wars, so-called Peace and Defense treaties etc. But international conflicts and contradictions often lead to external and international aggressions and wars. Hence world tension includes “tensions within and among nations.” It is no use denying the great dangers that threaten our present generation. The riven atom, uncontrolled, can only be a growing menace to us all. One atom bomb killed more than seventy thousand people, but now it is not a question of one or two or even hundred but of hundreds of millions of them. Prof. Yusuki Tsrurumi says in agony – “Japan’s mind is disturbed profoundly. We face war – how can we avert it?” Therefore while inaugurating Silver Jubilee Session of Indian Philosophical Congress Dr.K.N.Katju fears that the story of Mahabharata it seems is being re-enacted all over again. In the conclusion of that war there was neither the victim to lament his defeat nor the victor to celebrate the victory. Referring to Korea he observed, their towns and villages, their land and dwellings are being trampled under foot and destroyed over and over again by invading troops and retreating troops and human life there seems to have lost all sanctity. So that the war of liberation has been turned into a war of liberation. Surely this is completely a new version of liberation. Though the third-war might mean virtual end of all that western civilization stands for, yet there is in spite of all this an imminent danger of war. The result is the mounting suspicion and rivalry between the two power blocks, feverish rearmament and cold war, alternating with timid war. In spite of recent peace moves this is no gain saying the fact that the world is sharply divided into two opposing camps and there is an array of peace (war), defense (offense) treatises like NATO MEDO and many more yet to come out. The development of the international organizations in last fifty year recognizes that disputes which arise concern many states, and that they need to be settled. So we are practically in a world bewildered by the turmoil of nationalism and war. The whole world is in the ferment.
Need of a Solution
Humanity is tottering today upon the brink of the principle of self-annihilation for the lack of proper understanding which includes understanding ourselves, understanding each other. It is a time of tragic importance for the world, because even before the shadows cast by the war lifted fully, the skies have become overcast with dark threatening clouds. Hence, at no period of human history man was in need of a sound Philosophy than today. As war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace should be built. Today if a person does not agree with your country it is wicked; there is no half-ways, hence there is no neutrality. Unesco, realizing the need of a solution is however keen.
Solutions there are and are of many types – political including diplomatic, economic, religious etc. Broadly there are two approaches towards world peace –
(a) Religio-Spirituo-Mystical Approach.
(b) Politico-Economico-Positivistic Approach.
Religio-Spirituo-Mystical View – The upholders of the religio-spirituo-mystical view hold that without is within. We cannot banish war while we are perpetuating war within us accumulated in a national form leads to war. Hence the best solution of world-tension is to control the animal within us.” Here the dictum is “Reform yourself and the world will be reformed.” Some of the mystics, however, depend upon God’s goodness.
Political Solution – Professional politicians often indulge in diplomatic double talk which breeds pessimism and cynicism on the part of the people and makes peace a mere will-o-the wisp. Some very irresponsible politicians talk of `preventive war’ as a solution of world-tension, for they think offense may be the best form of defense. From United Nations we cannot have any hope. Vyshinsky charges that “USA has stolen the sign-board of UN” and also Turner confirms that the “UN is really dead as a peace and security maintaining organization.” Commenting upon the prospects for Berlin Meeting the Eastern Economist doubts “whether the meeting will prove another episode in the cold war or a real ground of understanding.” Similarly the same Journal had declared that “Conference at Bermuda will hold out no new hopes for the world.”
Hence political solution is practically no solution, for present day politics is not a politics of peace and brotherhood but of falsity and fraud, deceit and dishonesty. We cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest. So said Adolph Hitler that if you wish the sympathies of broad masses, then you must tell the crudest and most stupid things. Hence any politico-diplomatic talks of either big four or five for peace will prove a mere moonshine for diplomatic talks are talks of interest and convince.
Economic Solution – But political evils are to a large extent supposed to be eliminated through democracy which has no place for autocratic whims for waging war. But if we are working up to a democracy in politics we must have a democracy in Economics. Most serious of the problems which claimed their attention were not political or territorial but financial and economic and that the perils of the future lay not in frontiers and in sovereignties but in food, coal and transport. Political rights too have failed to provide a key to the millennium. So political democracy if it to survive must be interpreted in economic terms. So long as there are tigers in society there will be wars. Permanent peace cannot come from the endless see-haw, but only from the elimination of the cause of enmity between nations. And in the present day these causes are mainly to be found in economic interest of certain sections and are therefore only to be abolished by a fundamental reconstruction, of course not of the type of U.N.R.R.A., W.M.B.I.B.R.D., I.T.A., E.R.P. and their counterparts.
This fatal neglect of the economic factor by the peacemaker of 1919 was the main theme of Mr.Keyne’s famous book `The Economic Consequence of the Peace.’ Individual profit which in the 18th and 19th centuries provided the motive force of the economic system, has failed us and we have not discovered any moral for it rather than war. Mr. Keynes adds “Pyramid-building, earthquakes even wars may serve to increase wealth.” During great US economic crisis Governor Lafolette however charged those who had squandered 40,000,000,000 dollar of American money in the most wasteful and futile war of modern history and were not prepared to vote money for public works to relieve distress. The Economic Digest confirms this waste today, when it published that US spends 16 million dollars a month on US forces in UK.
So somehow people think that if economies be reconstructed it can bring peace. So economies means political economies and political philosophy. And with this comes the perennial conflict of political ideologies. The free-world must adhere to Marshall and Keynes and the Keynesian Revolution, while the Reds find salvation in no other economic structure other than the Marxian, because the Capital is not a personal, it is a social power. So again, ultimately it is our warring ideologies that are at the root of world tension. So whether we philosophize or we don’t, we are to be philosophized.
Transition to Epistemological Solution
But we must philosophize only in a particular way as there are many methods of philosophy. Much of our philosophy depends upon our way of philosophizing. Empiricism leads to scepticism, whether of Locke or of the Carvakas. Similarly, dogmatism, rationalism, intuitionism, authoritarianism, mysticism etc. have their own consequences. This branch of philosophy has very lately been used firstly by Ferrier, although we can not forget Locke who first reminded us to examine our own abilities, and see what objects our understanding were or were not fitted to deal with. In short, Locke felt that the epistemological problems are former to all others. After all any quest for reality presupposes (path of) knowledge. In any survey of the history of philosophy we come across with the treatment of knowledge. Cunnigham calls it to be the problem of intellectual enterprise. But problems of knowledge pre-supposes the methods of acquiring Knowledge. Otherwise one may ask, “If it is the business of Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason to show how the critique of pure reason is possible ? To maintain that our knowledge is true, we must prove that it is really so. Thus the validity of knowledge is made to rest on the validity of the methods of knowledge. Doctrines of the Pramanas, ranging from one (Carvaka) to eight, I am sure, determine to a great extent the nature of philosophy. So an epistemological reorientation will influence metaphysical grounding, which in turn will determine our socio-ethico-political views.
Great logical inter-relations among all social and sociological studies prove that one fellows are the reductio-ad-absurdum from the other. Thus we see that any solution can ultimately be achieved through knowledge free from confusion and prejudices. Each addition to knowledge is in sober truth one step further to the things as they are in their inmost nature. But the main difficulty is to blend the divergent current of thought and in particular the methods of philosophy and science.
With this end in view we put before you an old wine in a new bottle – The relative. Jaina Theory of Judgment namely Syadvada as it expresses one aspect of reality. Syadvada is composed of two words – Syat and vada. Syat may mean perhaps, some how, may be in some respect etc. So Syadvada with certain reservations may be translated into Probalism.
Syadvada must be understood along with its metaphysical counterpart of Nayavada, Niksepantavada and Saptabhangi which form a formidable part of Jaina philosophy, which was systematized in the second period of the evolution of Jaina Literature, namely Anekanta Yuga.
Theory of Syadvada
Definition : In the earliest Jaina work on pure logic by Siddhasena Divakara, the author holds “since things have many characters, they are the object of all sided knowledge.” The knowledge which determines the full meaning of an object through the employment in the scriptural method, of one sided Nayas, is called Syadvada Sruta. Similarly Samantabhadra says that “Syadvada discards all absolute-judgements.” Even sermonic sentences of Lord Mahavira had always a prefix of `Syat’ for otherwise truth would have been violated. Scriptural knowledge is of three kinds – Scriptures of bad Tirthankaras, one sided method and all sided knowledge. So Syadvada holds that the knowledge of reality has got innumerable characteristics. The reality is not simply Sat, nor simply Asat, nor simply Universal, nor simply Particular but both and also more. Even Tattvarthadhigama-sutra, the Bible of Jainism recognizes the most important use of Naya as the theory of Syadvada. Even Pramana is defined as that which gives us knowledge of a thing in its various aspects. Sri Abhinava Dharmabhusana in Nyaya-Dipika holds that all expressions are somehow real. Let us hold with Mallisena Suri, the author of Syadvada Manjari non-eternal and hence do not disobey Syadvada.
Syadvada and Anekantavada
A thing partakes the nature of both reality and unreality, Mallisena says, for example a man having characteristic of lion in one part and of man in other part is called Nrsimhavatara. So Anekantavada is called Syadvada, according to which the same object has got the presence of eternality etc. All object have got innumerable characters. So Manikyanandi in Pariksamukham giving example of Says that all things are Anekantic (possessed of different aspects) because we do not find that these have only one aspect. A thing that is real has three characteristics of production, destruction and stability. Object according to Nyaya-Dipika has many qualities, which is proved on the basis of perception, inference and testimony. Nyayavatara of Siddhasena also holds that things have many characters. So substance is that which has qualities and modifications and the real is substantial. So substance has anything which has origin existence and destruction and which may be described by opposite. The standpoint of Jainas is supported by Patanjali Yoga and Mimamsa. So reality to them is a unity in difference or bhedabheda or difference in unity. Substance perish through its own qualities and modifications. But the Gunas or qualities are inseparably related to substance. The qualities continue while the forms change. Every object has innumerable characters and that which has not many character is also not real like sky lotus, this is proved by the Method of Difference.
Syadvada and Nayavada
Broadly, knowledge according to the Jaina is of two kinds-Pramana and Naya; knowledge of a thing in itself and knowledge of a thing in its relation. A Naya is a stand-point from which we make a statement about a thing. A thing conceived from one particular point of view is the object of Naya or one-sided knowledge. In Saptabhangi Naya, where we find pluralistic doctrine of the Jaina Dialectics, Muni Jinavijaya says that the doctrine points to the relativity of knowledge concerning all the objects of the world. Champata Rai Jaina describes Naya as a Path or way which implies in connection with philosophy, the Method of accurate thinking, hence he calls Naya as the `Science of thought’. In Nyaya Karnika’s introduction Mohan Lal Desai holds that Nyaya-Vidya or Philosophy of Standpoints is an essential department of knowledge by itself, and bears the same relation to philosophy as logic does to thought or grammar to language or speech. Nathmal Taita calls Nayaways of approach and observation. Broadly Nayas divided into ten and six subclasses respectively. According to more popular scheme, the Nayas are seven, placed under two broad classes of Arthanaya and Sabdanaya, as they refer to object and meaning. So these seven Nayas may be in short called the heptagonic forms of our ontological inquiry or one-sided method of comprehension of seven kinds. In fact there may be as many kinds of Nayas as there are modes of speech.
Full knowledge of all characters even of a particle of dust cannot be claimed by anyone of us, because of our limitation and bias for a particular angle of vision. Truth is relative to our standpoint. We cannot affirm or deny anything absolutely of any object owing to the endless complexity of things. Being is not of a persistent unalterable nature. Every statement of a thing is necessarily one sided and incomplete. A thing may be true or untrue or partake of both while being neither. The ordinary human being cannot rise above the limitations of his senses; so his apprehension of reality is partial and valid only from a particular point of view. Thus Nayavada is an unique instrument of analysis.
Seven Nayas and their Fallacies
Naigam Nayas or non-distinguished regards objects as possessing both the general and the specific properties, because no one can live without the other; all objects possess two kinds of properties Samanya and Visesa. So this way of pantascopic observation criticizes the one sided and wrong view of Nyaya-Vaisesika realism according to which Samanya and Visesa have separate existence from the object. Thus there is the synthesis of long drawn conflict between the universal and the particular. Hence Nyaya-vaisesika is accused of an abstractionist outlook technically called the Fallacy Naigamabhasa.
Nextly, Sangraha Naya remedies the extremism of universal and particular. In fact there can be no universal apart from the particular and vice versa. For example, not a single nimb or mango or any other tree can be conceived apart form vegetableness, so finger cannot be considered apart from hands. So Avaitins and Sankhyas, Plato and Kant etc. are accused of the Fallacy of Sangrahabhasa or who recognize universal alone as real.
An extremist assertion is likely to be met with a diametrically opposite view of analytic and particularistic approach where we will meet the Carvakas to whom object possess only the specific properties which is non-existent like donkey’s horn. So this practical and particularistic view is to meet with the fallacy of wrong selection of species called Vyavaharabhasa, where one eats vegetable without being if of any kind, mango etc.
The particularistic approach sometimes forgets the past or the future aspect of a thing and confines only to the present, straight away referring to the natural thing. To them past is defunct and the future is unborn. The reality is momentary being, a great flux. These are Buddhist and the Heraclitus, who must be charged with the fallacy of straight and direct glimpse, devoid of temporal determinations or Kalikaniksepa. This fallacy is called Rjusutrabhasa.
But as the real is expressed and characterized by a word who must also examine the meanings of word. So comes Sabda Naya or verbal standpoint. Each name of has it own meaning and different words or (Synonyms) may also refer to the same object. So the relation between terms and meaning is relative one, and when we take them to be absolute we commit the fallacy of Sabdabhasa, which we find among the nominalist and the grammarians.
So Samabhirudha Naya or Etymological aspect distinguish terms according to their roots. With the difference of the words expressing the same object the significance of the object also differs as ghata is, which makes noise like ghata-ghata an so on. So the identification of reality with the root of the word by which it is denoted is the fallacy of Samabhirudhabhasa, again committed by grammarians.
The grammarians reach the climax when they identify reality with such like or specialized form of sixth kind for it argues that if a thing is really recognized, even when it do not fulfill its function, then why can cloth be not called a yarn ? If we go against it, we commit the fallacy of Evambhutabhasa.
Doctrine of Saptabhangi
Now the Jainas claim to embody all these seven aspects in their philosophy, hence treat it like a judge over all systems of philosophy which are separately one-sided. So this is the doctrine of liberal pluralism as contrasted with dogmatic monism. To a realist pot has no existence in the world outside. To a nominalist the pot is a sign in the outward world which calls up it image in the mind, to a Buddhist pot is nothing but a continuous stream of changes. So also to Bergson it is a great flux. Perceptionist regard the pot only as a bundle of qualities without any substratum containing them. But to a Spencerian Positivist pot is a vivid idea the causes of which are unknowable. However, to the Vedantins pot is a figment of illusion, a thing of nescience. All these philosophers look at the pot more or less from one dominating point of view, while neglecting the other. The Jaina logicians welcome all the light that comes from different ways of approach and integrates them in one whole in which all these finite traits can cosubsist. All philosophical disputes arise out of a confusion of standpoints Even in practical life we find that a man is father in relation to a particular boy, in relation to another boy he is not father, in relation to both the boys taken together he is the father and is not the father, and since both the ideas cannot be conveyed in words at the same time, he may be called indescribable. Considering all these standpoints, a marvelous mechanism of Syadvada or Saptavada or Saptabhangi has been worked out which is an unique organon of knowledge to grasp the manifoldness of reality. When the reality is dynamic and truth is manifold, our task of knowing the truth becomes difficult for these is nothing certain on account of endless complexities of things, and hence the expression of truth must be equally difficult if not more, for the words fail to describe the different characters of a thing at the same time. So the speaker does describe one character which is prominent than the other characters in that object. Therefore, we have no right to make any absolute judgment. Every proposition gives us only a perhaps, a may be or a Syat. Absolute affirmation or negation of any object is therefore unreasonable. All propositions are only hypothetically true. Hence unlike ordinary logic Syadvada recognizes conditional predication, which is expressed by the prefix Syat. Logic of Syadvada differs from ordinary logic in the fact that instead of two kinds of judgment as affirmative and negative it recognizes as many as seven forms of judgment. So Syadvada is also called Saptabhanga.
Syadvada as a Doctrine of Seven Forms of Judgment
So far prefix Syat is concerned, we must use, because any substance is unity-in-diversity, so if we insist on absolute predication without condition, the only course open is to dismiss either the diversity or the identity as a mere metaphysical fiction. So Anekantavada teaches that every single statement may have a partial truth, hence even lord Mahavira, the Omniscient took recourse to a Syat before every sermonic sentence, so much so the scriptural knowledge of the Jainas has been called as Syadvada by Samantabhadra. Even Dr.Hermon Jacobi calls Syadvada a Synonym of Jainism.
Now, the seven forms of Saptabhangi Syadvada are predicative judgment regarding the same object according to the point of view of speech. As different aspect of reality can be considered from four different perspectives (Niksepa or Nayas) such as name, representation, privation and present condition, similarly seven modes of speech can be considered from four different points of view of its own matter, time, place and nature as well as from other point of view.
Now a thing exists as itself under certain circumstances from the points of its own material, place, time and nature. This table exists as made of wood in this hall at the present moment with such and such shape and size, but this does not exist as made of gold, at another place or at another time of a different shape. So the table exists somehow, i.e., not always, everywhere, in every shape. Hence let us say somehow the table does not exist, when considered from its other point of view. So existence and non-existence are to be asserted accordingly as the element of one or the other is in predominance. Things are considered in relation to their importance and not. Hence Syad Nasti.
But when can the table exists as well as not exist ? Yes the table can exist for me in certain form, place, etc. and does not exist in other form, place etc. So we may say that the table somehow exists and not exists.
But what will we say when we asked what is the real color of this table always ? The only honest reply would see that the table cannot be described under conditions of the question. Hence Syad Avyaktam. This seems to be something puzzling yet profound. Sankara in his Braham-Sutra charges the Jainas of contradiction. If reality is indescribable it cannot be expressed. To call something indescribable and again indulging in its verbal description are contradictory things. Some how Sankara forgot that it is not called simply `indescribable’ but `somehow indescribable’ which means that the thing is not indescribable absolutely but only hypothetically. Therefore, Dr.Ganga Nath Jha charges Sankara for not going through the Jaina text. Fani Bhusan Adhikai also for the same, charged Sankara of injustice while presiding over the annual function of Syadvada Mahavidyalaya. This fourth character of indescribability point out that it is impossible to describe a thing without making any particular standpoint. Again, philosophical wisdom does not always lie in straight forward affirmative or negative answers. Sometimes the nature of things are such that they render any description impossible.
The other three of the Saptabhangi are found by combining one by one each of the first three standpoints with the fourth, such as Syat Asti ca Avyaktam; Syat Nasti ca Avyaktam and Syat Asti Nasti ca Avyaktam. So from scientific standpoint of combination, no other form is possible.
Naya is the analytic and the Saptabhangi is the synthetic method of studying ontological problems. So the defect of Nayavada is supplemented of the method of Saptabhangi, a better organon of knowledge. Samantabhadra, the first exponent of Syadvada has characterized Sankhya, Madhyamika, Vaisesika, Bauddha as representing first four forms of judgment and Akalanka has completed by characterizing Sankara, Bauddha and Yoga as representing the last three. This doctrine insist on the correlation of affirmation and negation. All judgment are double-edged in their character. All things are existent as well as non-existent. Here three predicates make seven propositions.
Examination of Criticisms against Syadvada
(1) Fallacy of contradiction – Application of existence and non-existence to the same thing is contradiction.
Reply : Here existence and non-existence are asserted not from one standpoint. Calling a thing both table and bench is contradiction but when we ascribe to the table from the view point of its matter and non-existence to it from the view point of it changing frame, it is not contradiction.
(2) Fallacy of Vaidhikaran – There ought to be two receptacles for we assume existence and non-existence in the same thing.
Reply : Tree is only one receptacle thought it contains both the qualities of stability and mobility.
(3) Fallacy of Anavastha – Statement after statement is made without observing any established rule regarding the finality of things.
Reply : Things having innumerable characteristics need innumerable predication, hence no fallacy of infinite regress.
(4) Fallacy of Confusion – Many confusing things are said of the same object.
Reply : What we say of it are actual.
(5) Fallacy of Vaitikar (Intermingling of Qualities) – We maintain both existent and non-existent in regard to a thing.
Reply : Existence is predicated from material standpoint, non-existence from phenomenal standpoint.
(6) Fallacy of Doubt – Cannot arise because we are definite from particular standpoint. Where there is doubt, lack of understanding (Arthapatti) cannot arise, hence no negationism (Abhava) and no fraudism (chala), which also go contrary to its extreme realism.
Vyasa and Sankaracarya have also brought in their heavy artilleries to damage one or the other angles of this fortification and force an entrance into the same. Their charges are to contradictionism, indeterminism, doubt, uncertainty, ridiculous. Self-contradiction, abandoning original position in describing the Avyaktam which are all treated above and elsewhere in this paper.
Besides, contemporary thinkers confuse the pragmatic and pluralistic but realistic attitude of Syadvada with the same pragmatic and pluralistic but idealistic views of Messrs William James, Schiller, Dewey etc. One should remember that even Jaina metaphysics accept Vedic realism and even in the Upanisads we have pluralistic trends. In the Upanisads also we have the glimpses of how the reality reveals itself in different ways at different stages of knowledge. However, Syadvada is probably due to the Jainas and so it cannot be traced to the Vedas and Upanisads though the Jainas believe that their fundamental creed can be traced back even before the Veda.
Then another case of confusion in comparing Syadvada with the subjectivistic relativism of the Sophist, with the objective Relativism or Relative Absolutism like Whitehead, Bodin. However there is no similarity with Einsteinï¿½s relativity except in the most general attitude. To some extent we may find its parallel in old Pyrrohoneanism in the west. The Upanisadic Neti, Neti, the Advaita doctrine of the world as Anirvacy, the yoga doctrine of Pradhana as Nihsattvaknirasat-Nihsadasat and the Sunyavadin’s doctrine of the self or the ultimate reality as Catuskotivinirmukta may also be profitably compared. Even on deeper study, we may find something in Kant’s thing-in-itself and modern existentialism including Kirkegaard in this connection. But Pyrroh’s prefixing every judgment with a `may be’ must not be thought identical with Jaina Syat, for Pyrrohoneanism relapses into agnosticism or Scepticism, there is no room for Scepticism whatsoever in Jaina theory of Syadvada.
Syadvada does not lead to Scepticism. Scepticism means in the minimum, absence of assertion, where as Syadvadins always assert, thought what they assert are alternatives. Disjunctive judgment is still judgment, i.e., assertion. Many logicians believe that what a disjunctive assert is only the common character of the alternatives, the play with the alternatives being that what a disjunctive assert is only the common character of the alternatives, the play with the alternatives being either intellectual experimentation or hesitation as a function of ignorance. Some Hegelians interpret it in terms of identity-in-difference. Syadvada on the other hand just insists that there need be no element of identity, abstract or concrete. There is no reason why one blind man should reject the vision of another. Hence each vision is alternatively valid. So either there is no self complete Reality or any such Reality is wholly infinite, a mere demand that refuses to be actualized. The only Scepticism that there is concerning the so called self-complete Reality. So where as a Sceptic is Sceptical about any character of Reality, Syadvada is quite definitely assertive in so far Asti, Nasti etc. are concerned. Yet he is more Sceptical than any Sceptic in the world so far as the definiteness of the ultimate Reality is concerned. He would go even beyond avaktavya (advaitin so far the world is concerned and Sunyavadin so far ultimate reality is concerned – Kalidas Bhattacharya’s letter to me). So at best Syadvada is a form of Relative Absolutism, or objective relativism but never Scepticism.
So Syadvada stands against all mental absolutism. We can substantiate this relativistic standpoint on the Cosmo-micro-physical ground supported by Einstienian Doctrine of Relativity and Maxwell’s equation of electromagnetism which go fundamentally against the notion of absolute truth. When we say, we know this, I am saying more than is strictly correct, because all we know is what happens when the waves reach our bodies.
Similarly, researches in Psychology of thinking, Perception of self and conception of self in Child Psychology and Psycho-analytical studies in Freudian Narcissism or Adlerian Power factor support relativism. The psychological researches into the nature of emotions was substantiated by the writing of Dostoevski, Kirkegaard, Neitzche, Freud, Jung and others who tried to reveal the force of conscious and subconscious feelings on the function of character and life. James uttered a definite activistic voluntaristic note in his Radial Empiricism. Graham Wallas showed how political aspect were dictated by emotional attachment to Party Shibboleths. Mc Dougall attacked the transcendent dextalism of the German idealistic rationalism as well as the sociological hedonism and the Epicurean rationalism of the classical economist and the Benthamite liberals. Thus relativism in Psychology is a truism.
Again from socio-cultural standpoint, the doctrine of Syadvada is justified for no smooth functioning of society is possible without mutual accommodation and adjustment which presupposes Catholicism in thought and sense of tolerance. In ethics and morality, we know how far relativism is dominating.
In Logic the Doctrine of the Universe of Discourse has a great justification for Syadvada. Universe of Discourse is sometimes limited to a small portion of the actual universal of things and is sometimes co-extensive with that Universe. “The particular aspect or portion of the total system of reality referred to in any judgment may be conveniently spoken as the Universe of Discourse. Hence Carveth controls Read says that supposition (or Universe of Discourse) controls the interpretation of every word. Logic of Relatives too recognizes the truth of Syadvada when it discusses all relations embodied in propositions.
So Syadvada holds a position of liberal pluralism as contrasted with dogmatic monism. Much of the confusion either of Buddhism or Vedantism is due to the false exaggeration of the relative principles of becoming and being into absolute truths. Same is the case with Parmendian being and Heraclitan flux. It seems that Syadvada doctrine has been given to the world after carefully shifting out the truths of a vanity of Philosophical doctrines. It does not originate as some seem to think from a vague indefinite and doubtful mental attitude in regard to things. It gives a practically definite knowledge. Syadvada is never s doctrine of doubt. Many-sidedness of the Jainas is the true secret of its irreputable perfection. Nayavada is the touch stone of the dogmatic pronouncement of all one-sided scriptures. It is the method of knowing a thing synthetically. Thus, the Philosophy of Anekantavada is neither self-contradictory nor vague or indefinite. On the contrary it represents a very sensible view of things in a systematized form. By means of it the seemingly warring ideas and beliefs of different faiths can very well be accommodated and reconciled to each other and then so many clashes would be avoided.
Syadvada and World-tension
Peace is something which the world eagerly wants but which it does not know to secure. Peace needs a new civilization, a new culture and a new philosophy, where there is no narrowness and no partiality. Huxley is correct to a great extent when he says that war exists because people wish it to exist. We cannot check violence by remaining violent. But non-violence must precede non-violence in thought. And here Syadvada gives us help to practice non-violence in thought. Prof. R.Prasad also holds that Syadvada is an extension of Ahimsa in epistemology. Unless we resolve our difference, we are bound to face tension. Analyzing the ultimate causes of world-tension, we had come to the conclusion that it is ultimately our divergent and conflicting ideologies that come in the world-tension, we had come to the conclusion that it is ultimately our divergent and conflicting ideologies that come in the way. Politico-socio-economic ideas are interrelated and all of them have definite ideological standpoint. The world is the store-house of great chaos in thought. All the confusion of thought which is prevailing in the world is the outcome of inexhaustive research and the acceptance of a part for the whole. All most all our disputes only betray the pig headedness of the blind men who spoke differently about an elephant. The outstanding personalities (like Aurobindo, Raman Maharshi etc.) spoke to us, in a world over organized by ideological fanaticism, that truth is not exclusive or sectarian. In fact, the spirit of India is a foe to every kind of fanaticism and intellectual narrowness. Huxley asks us to persuade people that every idol however noble it may seem, is ultimately a Moloch that devours it worshippers. In other words, it is fatal to treat the relative and the home made as though it were the Absolute.
Dr.Schillip also observes that humanity is tottering today on the brink of the principle of self-annihilation for lack of understanding. It is at the levels of human relationships that we reach the acme of misunderstanding. Prof. Tatia also holds that only intellectual clarity will resolve all conflict and rivalry. All dogmatism owes its genesis to this partiality of outlook and fondness for a line of thinking to which a person has accustomed himself. In his message to the Silver Jubilee Session of Indian Philosophical Congress, C.P.Ramaswamy also observes that “work and sacrifice (for peace) can only be on the lines of an abandonment of the so called imperialism and aggressiveness in thought, because peace demands a revolutionary desire, a new simplicity, a new asceticism. Blavastsky thinks that when the one party or another thinks himself the sole possessor of the absolute truth, it becomes only natural that he should think his neighbors absolutely in the clutches of Error or the Devil. These are obvious psychological roots of tensions proved by recent Psychological researches. Today one man or one country fight with the other because their views vary. Views are bound to differ, because we are guided by different condition, thought, modes and attitudes. Hence it is wrong to think oneself right and rest others wrong. Here we find that Syadvada represents the highest form of Catholicism coupled wonderfully with extreme conservatism, a most genuine and yet highly dignified compromise better than which I cannot imagine. Extreme toleration it that all views as possibilities are equally (alternatively) valid and extreme conservatism, in that form the point of actuality (or existence, as the existentialist term it) only one of the definite categories is mine. I cannot always fly in the air of possibilities (or demands). I must have moorings in some one definite form of actuality.