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 points 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 known by a knowing
subject. The Jainas give the 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-points are also recognized; and they need to be recognized 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 to looking at
reality. There was a problem whether the seven Nayas can be reduced in
number. There are three traditions. 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 Samabhi rudha 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 Tattvartha-sutra
seven ways have been mentioned, but the gvetambara version gives 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 subdivisions. The
Agamas have mentioned two points of view : Samgraha Naya, the point o�
view of the universal, the synthetic point of view and ii)Paryayika Naya,
the view-point of the particular, the analytic point of view. Siddhasena
Divakara in his Sahmati Tarka adopted the two points of view and
distributed the Nayas under two heads. He described the six Nayas. But
the generally accepted classification of Nayas is seven fold. Three of
them refer to objects and their meaning, and the others to the words. In
the first category we get three: i) Samgrahs 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 Radhakrishnanpoints 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 Samgrahabhasa; and Samkhya and
Advaita schools of philosophy are notable instances.[19[ 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
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 individuality. The
attitude of the pluralists and the materialists is the outcome of the
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
refers to the end or the purpose involved in the action. We interpret an
activity with reference to the-end for which
it is done. For
instance, a man who is carrying water and firewood will say that he is
cooking if he is asked what he is doing. Siddhasena Divakara adopts a
different point of view. Naigama Naya comprehends both the generic and
interpretation of Naigama 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-principle of
configuration and the result suggested by Gestalt School of Psychology
holds good in this case.
non-distinction is not, however, absolute and if the-distinction is
asserted absolutely there would be a fallacy of Naigamabhasa.
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 etyrnologies; but it sees the difference between one
and the same word, if it does not signify the meaning denoted by the root
in the vord. For instance, there is a difference between raja. Then 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.
philosophers and analytic school of philosophy in the present day assert
the exclusive application of the form of Paryaya Naya to express
In Evambhuta Naya
we restrict the meaning of the word to the very function connected by the
name. It is a specialized form of the Samabhiradlla. 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 from 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, Sam. khya, 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 prevent only partial
truths. The Jainas point out that the controversy regarding causation
presenting different views like the asatkaryavada and the satkaryavada,
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 modifications,
it may be described differently. Similarly, each Naya has a different
extent. Naigama Naya has the greatest, and the Evam. bhuta Naya the
least, extent. Naigama dealswith the real and the unreal, Samgraha with
the real. Vvavahara deals with part of the real. Rjusutra refers to the
present condition of the real, and gabda only to the expression of the
real, Samabhirubha 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 gives 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 seven
fold 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
contributions 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 visualises 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 Syad-vada 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 an important place
in Jaina philosophy, but it can not 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 in seven
differcnt 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. Absolute affirmation and absolute negation are both
erroneous. 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 sapeksavada
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
kinds of Nayas, but makes no mention of the Svadvada and the sevenfold
prepositions. 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
references, Bhadrabahu's Sutrakrtanga Niryukti is prominent. The developed
form of the doctrine in the form of the seven-fold propositions is well
described in Paiicastikdyasara of Kundakundacarya and Aptamtmamsa of
Samantabhadra. Siddhasena Divakara, Akalanka and Vidyanandi are among the
later writers who have given a systematic exposition of the doctrine.
that tbere are seven ways of describing a thing and its attributes. It
attempts to reconcile the con-tradiction involved in the predications of
the thing. It is possible to describe a thing in seven ways.
1. Syad asti
asserts the existence of the thing. The word syat is difficult to
translate. It is very often said that it connotes 'perhaps' or
probability. But it would be more appropriate to say that it refers to the
special context. syat would then mean 'in the context'. From the point of
view of the substance, place, time and nature, we may say that a thing is.
For instance, the jar exists, as it is made of clay in a particular place
and time. Thus substance (dravya), attribute (bhava), time (kala), and
space (ksetra) from the context of these relations existence and other
attributes are predicated. A house exists, i.e., it is a house as build up
and as long as it is occupied for the purpose of residence.