Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life
INTRODUCTION
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 OR GODS
 

GENERAL INDEX


Chapter-2 : APPROACH TO REALITY

 

I.          A clear expression of the Anekanta attitude is seen in Mahavira�s discussions with his disciples. In the Bhavavatisutra, there is a dialogue between Mahavira and his disciple Gautama.

          � Are the souls lord, eternal or non-eternal?�

          �The souls are eternal in some respects and non- eternal in some other respects.   �� They are eternal, o Gautama, from  the point of view of substance and non- eternal from the point of view of modes.�

     Again, the problem of body and mind was answered by Mahavira as-

� The body, O Gautama is identical with the soul and not identical with soul in different resects.�

     The application of the principal of Anekanta can be seen in their analysis of the metaphysical question concerning the categories. The Jaina theories of atoms, of space and soul, to mention a few instances, illustrate the pervading influence of the Anekanta view- point. Atoms are of the same kind: they can yet give the infinite variety of things, pudgala has certain inalienable features, but within limits it can become anything through qualitative differentiation. The transmutation of elements is quite possible in this view and is not a mere dream of the alchemist.

     Space is another instance of a manifold real. It is incorporeal and formless, yet divisible and its divisibility is spontaneous feature, Abhayadeva develops the concepts of manifoldness of space as a polemic against the Naiyayika view of space as one and partless. The souls are individual centres of experience. Like the Leibnizian monads the soul mirrors the entire universe within self as a unique centre of experience. The universe it mirrors is infinitely complex; and its experimental powers must be manifold commensurate with the complicity of the experienced universe.

  In the Anga literature of the Jainas the doctrine of Anekanta was briefly and incildetally discussed. But in the commentaries of the Jaina scripture written in Prakrit it has received grater attention. But when the Sanskrit language found a place in the Jaina literature, it occupied an important position. The commentary on the Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati gives an exhaustive description of the problem. Latter, a systematic exposition of the doctrine was given by Jaina scholars like samantabhadra, siddhasena Divakara, mallavadi, pujyapada, Akalanka, vidyanandi and others.

     The Anekanta view does imply the principal of reciprocity and interaction among the reals of the universe, as given by Kant, although this principal is more implied than expressly stated in Jainism.

     In kantianism as in Jainism, the principal of reciprocity goes beyond the �coexistence� or the inter-relatedness of the substances and explains the �dynamical community� among them. But the Jaina is a thorough- going realist. Anekanta vada is a theory of reality which asserts the manifoldness and complexity of the real. In apprehending the complexity of the universe, it has crystallized itself into the two- fold dialectic of Nayavada and syadvada; and they are complementary processes forming a normal and inevitable development of the relativistic presupposition of the Jaina metaphysic.

III.         Anekanta 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 point 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 know by a knowing subject. The Jainas give 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- point are also recognised; and they need to be recognised with each in the scheme of a fuller and more valid knowledge which is the sphere of pramana.