Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions
Publisher's Note
Author’s Note
Mahavira: A Non-Violent Revolutionary
Transfer of Embryo
  Socio-political Conditions
  Vajji's Democracy
  Magadha and Srenika
  Ajatasatru Vajjis
  Princely following of Mahavira
  Social Conditions
  Intellectual Fervour
  Revolutionary push by Mahavira
  Significant Events
  Indra's Offer of Protection
  Five Resolves at Morak Hermitage
  Education Rather than Exposure
  Poisonous Fangs of Canda Kausika
  States of a Digambara
  Association with Gosala
  Candanabala : First Head of Women Disciples
  Final Act of Nirjara
  Attainment of Kaivalya
  First Ganadharas
  Actions follow the Doer
  Search for Responsibilty and Sramana Line
  Mahavira's Synthesis
  Psychological Approach of Mahavira
  Categories of Karmas
  Duration of Karmic Bondage
  Nature of Bondage
  Mitigation of Bondage
  Fresh Karmas
  Life's activities
  Even good actions bind, if motivated
  Consequences of Karma Theory
  Process of Change and Nine Tattvas
  Essential Tendency of Jiva
  Papa' and ‘Punya' : Both of Binding Nature
  Asrava (Influx)
  Bandha (Bondage)
  Nirjara (Shedding of Accumulated Karmas)
  Moksa (Final Liberation)
  Enlightened Consciousness
  Self, the starting point
  Will and Eagerness
  Bhavana or Anupreksa (Reflection)
  Twelve Vratas of House-holder
  Dhyana (Meditation)
  Lesya (Disposition)
  Code of Conduct for Monks - Modus Operandi
  Austerities (Tapascarya)
  Appendix - A
  Appendix - B
  Appendix - C
  Appendix - D
  Appendix - E


Justice T.U.Mehta

Seven Classes of Nayas

Jaina philosophers have given broad classifications of different aspects (Nayas) through which we can perceive a thing. They are : 1) Naigama Naya (Generic and Specific view or teleological view), 2) Sangraha Naya (class-view), 3) Vyavahara Naya (Empirical view), 4) Rjusutra Naya (Momentary view), 5) Sabda Naya (Verbalistic view), 6) Samabhirudha Naya (Etymological view) and 7) Evambhuta Naya (Specialised view). There are hundreds of sub-classifications of these seven Nayas but without touching them we shall presently discuss the bare outlines of these seven Nayas. But before doing so, it may be noted that first three Nayas are with reference to the identification of the main substance called �Dravya' and hence are known as �Dravyarthika Nayas' while the rest four refer to the standpoints which identify the modes of the main substance and hence are known as �Paryayarthika Nayas'. We take up first �Dravyarthika Nayas'.

(i) Naigama Naya : Etymological meaning of the word �Naigam' is the �end product' or �result'. Tattvartha-sara' gives an illustration of a person who carries water, rice and fuel and who, when asked what he was doing, says he is cooking. This reply is given in view of the result which he intends to achieve though at the exact time when the question is put to him he is not actually cooking. His reply is not correct from the point of view of Naigama Naya, though technically it is not exactly correct, because he is not actually cooking at the time when he replies. The general purpose, for which we work controls the total series of our activities. If some one passes his judgement on basis of that general purpose, he asserts Naigama Naya, i.e., the teleological view-point.

Another sense in which this Naya is used is generic-cum-specific. A thing has both generic and specific qualities but when we comprehend that thing without making distinction between these two is called as Naigama view point. Shri S. N. Dausgupta explains this as under :

"This looking at things from loose commonsense view in which we do not consider them from the point of view of their most general characteristic as �being' or as any of their specific characteristics, but simply as they appear at the first sight, is technically called Naigama standpoint. This empirical view probably proceeds on the assumption that a thing possesses the most general as well as the most special qualities, and hence we may lay stress on any one of these at any time and ignore the other ones. This is the point of view from which, according to the Jainas, the Nyaya and Vaisesika schools interpret experience."

According to Jaina view the approach of emphasizing only general or special qualities of reality and not both is fallacious as it fails to give a comprehensive idea of a thing. The fallacy is called as �Naigamabhasa'.

(2) Sangraha Naya : We get this Naya (view point) when we put main emphasis on some general class characteristics of a particular thing ignoring altogether the specific characteristics of that class. Such a view is only partially correct but does not give the idea of the whole, for it ignores the specific characteristics of that thing. Jainas cite Vedanta as suffering from this fallacy, when it extracts only one class characteristic saying that every thing is �Sat' or existence and whatsoever saying is �Sat' is Brahman and rest is Maya, i.e., �Asat'. Particulars of Reality, according to Jainas are as real as its main substance and sole emphasis on any one of them leads to a fallacious approach which is called Sangrahabhasa.

(3) Vyavahara Naya : If we look a thing from this standpoint, we try to judge it from its specific properties ignoring the generic qualities which are mainly responsible for giving birth to the specific qualities. This amounts to the assertion of empirical at the cost of universal and gives importance to practical experience in life. It is the materialistic view as entertained by Carvakas. The fallacy is called Vyavaharabhasa.

(4) Rjusutra Naya : It is still narrower than Vyavahara in its outlook, because it not only emphasizes all the specific qualities but only those specific qualities which appear in a thing at a particular moment, ignoring their existent specific qualities of the past and future. The approach of the Buddhists is of this type. To ignore the specific qualities of past and future and to emphasize on only continuing characterstics of Reality is the fallacy involved here.

(5) Sabda Naya : The Verbalistic approach is called as Sabda naya. It accepts that all synonyms connote the same object. Their meaning is changed only when we use them in different gender, case a context. All languages have synonyms suggesting the same thing. For instance the same person is indicated by the synonyms, yet they do indicate different qualities of the same person, because the word �Indira' connotes the �prosperity of the person, the word �Sakra' connotes the powerful personality and the word �Purandara' connotes the destroyer of fortresses. But if these words are used to establish complete identity between them, the distinct qualities which are indicated by them are obliterated and this results in the fallacy called �Sabdanayabhasa'.

(6) Samabhirudha Naya : It is different from Sabda Naya, because it concentrates on the etymological distinction between the synonyms. If carried to the fallacious extent this standpoint may destroy the original identity pointed by synonyms.

(7) Evambhuta Naya : This Naya recognises only that word which indicates the actual action presently attributed to the individual. For instance Indra can be described as �Purandara' only when he is acting as the destroyer of fortresses. In other words, among synonym words only that word should be selected which has a co-relation with the action referred to.

Partial truth of Individual Naya : As already noted the purpose of pointing out to this detailed classification of nayas is to show how differently the same object can be viewed by different individuals. However, these different aspects are only partially true and since they are only partially true, they are not capable of being wholly true. They, however, cannot be rejected as wholly untrue also. These different aspects can be illustrated by the reactions of some blind persons who were asked to go to an elephant and give its description after touching and feeling it. One who touched its legs described it as like a pillar, one who touched the tail, described it like a rope and so on. Each one was right from his own standpoint because he could experience only a particular limb of the elephant and not the whole elephant. Each one of them was however, wrong because his description did not conform to the reality which the elephant possessed. This reality could be comprehended only by one who could see the whole.

The Jainas, therefore, hold that the Carvakas, Nyaya-Vaisesikas, Vedantins, Sankhyas and Buddhists apprehend reality partially neglecting other aspects of its and consider their own view-points as absolutely true and thus commit different types of fallacies pointed above.

Utility of Naya Theory

The utility of the theory of Nayas lies in its analytical approach and the consequential approach of a rational unification of the manifold revealed by this analysis. The task of this rational unification is done by the theory of Syadvada. As. Pt. Dalasukha Malavania, an esteemed Jaina Scholar puts it, "Acarya Siddhasena has said that there are as many view points (Nayas) as there are statements. Enlarging this pronouncement of the Acarya, Jinabhadra makes it clear that all philosophies taken collectively constitute Jainism. Contradiction seems to be existing in the mutually exclusive statements so long as they are not harmonized and integrated with each other."

The analysis of Naya shows that every judgement is relative to that particular aspect from which it is seen or known. This is also called Sapeksavada which means relativity of our particular knowledge or judgement to a particular standpoint. Since human judgements are always from particular standpoints, they are all relative and hence not absolutely true or absolutely false. Their outright acceptance as a sole truth or rejection as totally false would not be correct. This led the Jaina seers to their famous doctrine of �Syadvada', which means the doctrine of relativity.