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.          The Jainas have formulated a methodological scheme consisting of seven ways of looking at reality. There was a problem whether the seven Nayas can be reduced in number. There are three tradition. 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 samabhirudha 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 tattvarthasutra seven ways have been mentioned, but the svetambara version given 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 subdivision. The Agamas have mentioned two points of view: I) samgraha Naya, the point of view of the universal, the synthetic point of view and  ii) paryaika Naya, the  view of the particular, the analytic point of view .

          Siddhasena Divakara in his sanmati Tarka adopted the two points if view and distributed the Nayas under two heads. He described the six Nayas. But the generally accepted classification of Nayas is sevenfold. Three of them refer to objects and their meaning, and the others to the words. In the first category we get three: I) samgraha 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
Radhakrishanan points 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 samarahabhasa; and  samkhya and Adcaita schools of philosophy are notable instances. 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 view.

          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 individually. The attitude of the pluralists and the materialists is the outcome of the view.

          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 Naya.

          Naigama Naya refers to the end or the purpose involved in the action. We interpret an activity an activity with references to the end for which it is done. For instance, a man who is carrying water and firewood will say that he is cooking of he is asked what he is doing siddhasena Divakara adopts a different point of view. Naigama Naya comprehends both the generic and specific qualities.

          Another interpretation of 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 principal of configuration and the Gestalt suggested by Gestalt school of psychology holds goods in this case.

          The non- distinction is not, however, absolute and if the distinction is asserted absolutely there would be a fallacy of Naigamabhasa.

          Paryayarthika Naya 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 etymologies; but it sees the difference between one and the same word, if it does not signify the meaning denoted by the root in the word.  For instance, there is a difference between raja when 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.