Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods

APPROACH TO REALITY

 

 

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 necessary.

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'.[27]

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.'[28] 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.[29]

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 described.

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 [30] 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 concept.[31]

The primary modes of predication are three: syad asti Syad nasti and syad avaktavyam. The other four are obtained by combining the three.

The third 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.[32] 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 Syadvada.

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.[33]

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.

Affirmation and 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.[34] 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 of scepticism.[35]

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.