2. But the
affirmation of an attribute necessarily involves the negation of its
opposite; and such a negation is a logical necessity. Then we get the
predication syad nasti. It means in the (other) context the thing does
not exist. The jar does not exist if it is to mean that it is made of
metal. The house is no longer a house if it be used as a go down. The
existence of the house is denied in different contexts. Thus, if
existence and non-existence are to be understood in different relations
and contexts, there would be no opposition between them. One is a
necessary concomitant of the other. These predications are necessary and
compatible in another sense. The affirmation of existence and denial of
non-existence are meant to rebut the possibility of unqualified and
absolute existence and nonexistence. Thus the predications are logically
The importance of
this predication lies in the irrefutable statement of the non-existence of
a thing in the other context. 'Non-existence or non-being is a determinate
fact with a content and not a void'.
It would not be
correct to say that one first and the second predications involve
contradiction, because i) they are mutually complementary and ii) the two
predications are not absolute assertions. The definition itself includes
the clause 'avirodhena'.
It is very often
contended that the contradictions, absolute existence and non.existence,
are not objective facts, as no existence is known to have absolute
existence and absolute non-existence as its characteristics. The
opposition is unreal and the predication of the unreal opposition is not
necessary. But, as Prof. Mukerji points out, it cannot be denied that it
is possible to conceive the existence and non-existence of a thing though
not on to logically real. The predications are therefore logically
necessary to rebut such a conception of absolute existence and absolute
non existence.' The Vedantist believes in the absolute existence of
the one reality. The Sunyavadin does not believe in the existence of the
absolute. The Jainas contend that the two may be predicated in different
contexts. The first two predications are logically valid and
psychologically necessary, as they serve to exclude absolute existence and
absolute non-existence. The mention of the word syad functions as a
necessary condition and works as a corrective against the absolute way of
thought. We may here refer to the logical opposition of Hegel, who said
that affirmation and negation are ultimately reconciled by a higher unity,
for they are the aspects of the same reality. However, the reference
would be limited to the dialectical process, because the Jaina is a
realist and believes in the validity of empiricai experience.
3. The third
predication is syad asti nasti: 'It is, it is not'. This refers to
different contexts simultaneously. For instance, in a certain sense the
jar exists and in a certain other sense the jar does not exist. The
building is a house in so far as the purpose of the construction was for
residence. 'But it is not a house as it is actually used as a go down. It
is very often maintained that the predication is a mere summattion of the
first two. But the Jainas would appeal to experience and say that it gives
a separate and necessarg predication. It refers to a separate entity
arising from the two but not the summation of the two. For instance, a
garland of flowers may be said to be flowers, as it contains flowers, and
also not merely flowers at the same time, because the flowers enter into a
new relation with each other to form a whole. Similarly, in the
description of the soul and the ultimate-reality contradictory predicates
have been made.
4. The fourth is a
new predication. It expresses the indescribability of a thing. It is syad
avaktavyam. It is possible that the real nature of the thing is beyond
predication, or expression in the form of words. For instance, in the case
of the jar, it exists in the svadravya, svarupa, svakala and svaksetra and
no existence is predicated in the the paradravya, pararupa, para ksetra
and parakala. Yet its nature may be such that it cannot be easily
It is contended
that the fourth predication is only an abbreviated form of affirmation in
megation. The third predication shows the successive presentation, while
the fourth givesthe simultaneous presentation of the two. But, as Prof.
Mukerji points out, it is still logically necessary because it presents
the facts of experience, that
existence and non
existence are equally possible to be predicated in the same degree.
Moreover, experience shows that the inexpressible asserts that the
attributes are existing together, and a new element has arisen due to the
synthesis. For instance, intoxicating liquor may be formed due to the
combination of jaggery and ghataki flowers. But it is not a mere
combination of the elements. It has in itself an identity of its own which
cannot be described easily. In metaphysical; speculation, the 'unknowable'
of Herbert Spencer may be likened to predication of this type. Prof.
Bhattacharya  writes, 'The given indefinite' -- 'the unspeakable' or
avaktavya as it has been called, as distinct from the definite existence.
presents something other than consecutive togetherness: it implies
saharpana or co-presentation, which amounts to non-distinction or
indeterminate distinction of being and negations. The common sense
principle implied in its recognition is that what is given cannot be
rejected simply because it is inexpressible by a single positive
The primary modes
of predication are three: syad asti Syad nasti and syad avaktavyam. The
other four are obtained by combining the three.
predicate asti nasti offers successive presenta-tion. In the fourth
predication 'inexpressible' (avaktavyam) we get the expression of
simultaneous predication. Dr. Padmarajiah discusses the four stages
through which the concept or 'inexpressible' has developed: i) The naive
negative attitude in the Rgveda as expressed in the song of creation (Book
V, 129). ii) A positive attitude as expressed in 'sadasadvareyam' in the
Mundaka Upanisad. It conceives with being and non-being as irherent in
reality, owing to the positive character, this tendency has been discussed
is the Acbhaya phase of the concept. iii) The third phase is the logically
sophisticated phase of the 'negative tendency' as shown in the expression
like sa esa neti neti (Br. Up. lV 5-15) In this phase here is the clear
awareness of the inexpressible nature of the ultimate as efforts to
express the reality would be beset with contradictions. The Vedanta
conception of anirvacaniya the Buddha's avyakrta and Nagarjuna s
conception oi the ultimate as being catuskoti-vinirmukta came under this
stage. iv) The last phase in 'the dialectical evolution' of the idea of
the inexpressible is expressed in the avaktavya of the Syadvada. It is a
relativistic (sapeksa view and not the absolute view as presented in
anirvacanlya. The Jaina states that sat and asat, in these combinations,
are inevitable and distinctive feature of our objective experience.
Again the avaktavya may show the inability to embody, within one symbol,
the two fundamental aspects of reality with equaprominence. But this
limitation is itself a necessary step in the dialectual movement of
K. C. BHATTACHARYA
states ' If the inexpressible is objective as given, it cannot be said to
be not a particular position nor to be non-existent. At the same time it
is not the definite distinction of position and existence. It is a
category by itself.
5. The fifth
predication is formulated as syad asti avaktavyam. From the point of view
of its own contexts (dravya, rupa, kala and ksetra)
a thing is and is
indescribable. It asserts the copresence of the two attributes, existence
and inepressibility. Both are real and necessary attributes. Existence
relates to an object in the context of substance in respect of its
internal determinations. Inexpressibility is an attribute which relates
substance, in relation of identity and distinction, to its changing modes.
6. The sixth
Proposition expresses the negative aspect together with inexpressibility.
It is syad nasti avaktavyam. In the context, it is not and is
indescribable. In relation to the paraaravya pararupa, paraksetra and
parakala it is not: it is indescribable.
7. The seventh
proposition asserts existence, non-existence and inexpressibility. It
reads: sltad, asti, nasti, avaktavyam. In the contexts, it is, is not and
is inexpressible. With reference to the sva-rupa, sva-dravya, sva-ksetra
and sva-kala it exists, and with reference to the para-dravya, para-rupas,
para-ksetra, para-kala non existence can be predicated. Yet, in its real
nature it may be such that it cannot be easily described. As Mukerji says,
this predication gives a fuller and a more comprehensive picture of the
thing than the earlier ones. The predicated attribute is a synthesis of
the three attributes; still, it is not a mere summation of the attributes.
It brings out the inexpressibility of a thing as well as what it is and
what it is not.
negation and inexpressibility are the three fundamental predications. This
implies that all negation has a positive basis. Even imaginary concepts
like the sky flower possess a positive basis in the two reals, the sky and
flower, although the combination is unreal. All things which are objects
of thought are in one sense, and are not in another sense.
V. The doctrine of
Syadvada has been criticized in various ways:
1. It is said that
the theory of sevenfold predication can only be the cause of doubt and not
of certainty, the assertion of contradictory predicates implies that the
present predicating is in doubt. BELVALKAR says that Syadvada is sceptical
and non-committal in its attitude. With this diagnostic and negative
attitude one cannot have any dogma; and Samkaracarya lays his finger
accurately on the weakest point in the system when he says "As thus the
means of knowledge, the knowing subject, and the act of knowledge, are all
alike, indefinite, how can the Tirtham. kara (Jina) teach with any claim
to authority, and how can his followers act on a doctrine the matter of
which is altogether indeterminate. Prof. Hiryanna makes Syadvada a
variety of scepticism. If all our knowledge concerning reality is
relative, they say the old Indian critics like Sam. kara, amanuja etc.),
the Jaina view must also be relative. To deny this conclusion would be to
admit, at least, one absolute truth; and to admit it would leave the
doctrine with no settled view of reality and thus turn it into a variety
But it may be
pointed out that the conditions of doubt are not present
in this assertion.
For instance, a man sees a tree in the dusk and doubts whether it is a man
or a branchless tree. This is due to the lack of determination between
-the specific features of the object as the perception is faulty. But in
the case of the sevenfold presentation the attributes of existence and
non-existence are each defined by their specific determinations. The
condition of these determinations makes doubt impossible.
2. It is said that
the sevenfold predication of the Jainas is beset with contradictions.
Affirmation and denial of the attribute in the same object is not
logically possible. It would be a selfcontradiction. In this context we
may refer-to the criticism of Samkara and Ramanuja. Samkara's criticism
can be analyzed into three stages. 1) He tries to point out the intrinsic
impossibility of the predication because of the inherent contradictions
involved in it. Mutually contradictory and conflicting attributes cannot
exist together. But if we take into consideration the different contexts
referred to, we may say that the contradictions can be easily reconciled.
In experience we get examples of existing conflicting attributes. For
instance, the branches may be in motion but the tree does not move. The
same individual may be father in relation to X and son in relation to Y.
2) He points out the futility of the doctrine because the doctrine is
indefinite. The unlimited assertion that all things are of non-exclusive
nature gives indefinite assertion like syad asti and syad nasti. Hence a
man who holds such a doctrine of indefinite context does not deserve to be
listened to any more than a drunken man or a mad man.