Compendium of Jainism ► XIX ►Anekantavada-Syadvada

Posted: 08.11.2015

The distinguishing characteristics of a substance are its origination. destruction and permanence.[1] These three characteristics are different from one another and cannot be understood apart from the substance itself. By permanence is meant that the essential nature of the substance is indestructible, though it may undergo certain modifications with reference to its form, space and time- It follows therefore that indestructibility or permanence is from one point of view and not from all points of views for, if it were the latter, there cannot be any change at all.

Substances are characterized by an infinite number of attributes. For the sake of use or need, prominence is given to certain characteristics of a substance from one view. And prominence is not given to other characteristics as these are of no use or need at that time. Thus even the existing attributes are not expressed, as they are of secondary importance (anarpita). There is no contradiction in what is established by these two points of view. For instance, there is no contradiction in the same person Devadatta being a father, a son, a brother, a nephew, and so on. For, the points of view are different. From the point of his son, he is a father, and from the point of his father, he is a son. Similarly, with regard to the other designations. In the same manner, substance is permanent from the point of view of general properties. From the point of its specific modes, it is not permanent. Hence there is no contradiction.[2]

It is therefore clear that every substance which exists can be looked at from different points of view; in other words, it is governed by the doctrine of manifold points of view or relative pluralism. Every atom is indivisible; when there is a union of atoms, there is the formation of a molecule. Combination of atoms takes place on account of the greasy (sticky) and dry (rough) properties associated with them.[3] While greasiness and dryness are the qualities of matter, they are also the causes of combination of matter, Greasiness is present in varying degrees in water, milk, ghee, oil etc.., while dryness in present in dust, sand etc.

Every substance is therefore characterised by qualities and modes.[4] Every substance has a distinctive quality which disti­nguishes it from all others. From the general point of view, knowledge is invariably associated with soul while form etc. arc associated with matter.

According to Jainism, as we have already seen, the Universe comprises six substances, each of which is real and possesses qualities of its own. Each substance has general as well as special characteristics. A thing or an object may change its qualities. For example, a human being grows up from childhood into a youth, thereafter from youth to manhood and from manhood to oldage- Throughout these changes, he maintains his essential characteristic of a human being. It is the acceptance of this change with different phases that forms the basis of the Jaina doctrine of Anekāntavāda or manifold points of view or relative pluralism.

Jainism has a systematic classification of knowledge. It divides the philosophical stand point into two main heads, the Niścaya and Vyavahāra. Of these, the former deals with the essential nature of things which remain unchanged while the latter takes into account only the popular point of utility and conditions or forms. The statement 'This is a jar of clay' is an illustration of the Niścaya Naya, while 'this is a jar of butter' is true only from the Vyavahara or the practical point of view.[5] Valid knawledge, like a lamp, illumines itself as also the object lying outside it. A mental and physical analysis of the Universe reveals that it is pluralistic in character.

The Jaina view is that there are infinite number of souls in the Universe. Matter or Pudgala possesses indefiniteness both in quality and quantity. Ann or atom which modern science has discovered was known to the Jaina thinkers; the atoms give rise to an infinite variety of material objects. The atoms are both diverse and infinite. Ākāśa has also innumerable space-points or Pradeśas. Kala or time has also an infinity of intrinsically real units called Kālaṇus or time-atoms which form the basis of the conventionally temporal distinctions like the minute, the hour, the day, the year and so on.[6] There are innumerable points of space in the medium of motion (Dharma) and the medium of stationaries (Adharma) as in each individual soul.[7] The media of motion and rest assist in facilitating motion and rest. The two pervade the entire universe in the manner of oil in the sesamum seeds. The two interpenetrate without any obstruction as they are non-material like the space. In terms of modern science, they possess the characteristics of ether which is assumed to fill all space and transmit all electro-magnetic waves. It therefore follows that according to Jaina philosophy ail substances constitute reality and possess manyness or pluralism.

It would be seen that a single substance is endowed with infinite modifications, and there are infinite classes of substance; to know one substance fully is to know the whole range of the object of knowledge; and this is possible only in omniscience. A substance is endowed with qualities (or attributes) and modifi­cations; though the substance is the same, it comes to be different because of its passing through different modifications; so when something is to be stated above a substance, viewed through a flux of modifications, there would be seven modes of predication.[8]

Thus it is clear that our universe is complex and comprises infinite realities. To have simultaneous view of the totality of the infinite ad infinitum, with all its subjective and objective characte­ristics, with all its chequered aspects of dialectical opposites, such as 'I' and 'not I' one and many, similar and dissimilar, eternal and ephemeral, determinate and indeterminate, prior and subsequent, cause and effect, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, is high impossible for intellect... The view taken by intellect is never a whole view. It is always a partial view... it is merely a relative view-relative to the beliefs, prejudices, mood and purpose of the seer.[9]

It is common knowledge that different thinkers have taken differing views of the universe. The theories propounded are nihilism, dualism, monism, materialism, atheism and so on. Each of these expresses a point of the many and the points of view are obviously many. Each view is true from the particular stand-point of the seer and none of them is exhaustive.

To analyse and grasp the individual point of view (naya) is the function of Nayavāda. According to Umāsvāmi knowledge is obtained by means of Pramāṇa and Naya.[10] Pramāṇa is valid knowledge of itself and of things not proved before.[11] It is the instrumental cause of right knowledge which must be free from doubt, vagueness and perversity. Lack of discrimination between the real and unreal is the cause of wrong knowledge. Mental or physical disturbances create wrong attitude which again is the cause of wrong knowledge. Objects possess different characteristics which can be comprehended by omniscience only. Human perception and knowledge have their own limitations and hence we often take a partial view of thing. This is Naya; it deals with a particular aspect which the speaker has in view; it is therefore a theory of stand-points:


A Naya, therefore, deals with only the particular aspect in view of the speaker but it does not deny the existence of the remaining attributes. When we speak of the colour of gold, we have no mention of its weight, touch, taste, smell and other attributes but our statement does not mean that gold is devoid of all other attributes besides colour.[12]

Pūjyapāda has defined Naya as the device which is capable of determining truly one of the several characteristics of an object (without contradiction) from a particular point of view.[13] It is of two kinds: Dravyārthika, that which refers to the general attributes of a substance and not to its modifications which the substance is constantly undergoing; and Paryāyārthika that which refers to constantly changing conditions of a substance. The Nayas are again classified as

  1. Naigama,
  2. Saṅgraha,
  3. Vyavahara,
  4. Ṛjusūtra,
  5. Sabda,
  6. Samabhirūḍha and
  7. Evambhūta.

The first three are subdivisions of Dravyārthika Naya as they deal with objects while the last fall under Paryāyārthika as they are concerned with modifications of substances.

Since Reality infinite number of qualities or attributes, it can be looked at from an infinite number of points of view. Jaina philosophers have dealt with the seven Nayas only and hence I shall deal with each of them separately:

1) Naigama Naya is the figurative stand-point which takes into account the purpose or intention of something which has yet to be accomplished or completed. Pūjyapāda gives the example Of a person who is collecting fuel, water etc. When he is asked what he is doing, he will reply T am cooking'. He is not actually engaged in cooking food but all his activities are actuated by the ultimate object of cooking. Similarly when we speak of a past or future event as a permanent one, we have an illustration of this Naya. It is of three kinds relating to past, present and future. If we say on the Divāli day, "Lord Mahavira attained liberation today", we mean that this day is the anniversary day of the past event. Again, when we ask a person who is booking his passage, he will reply "I am going to England."[14] When this Naya refers to substances, it does not overlook either the general (sāmānya) or the particular (viśeṣa) attributes (guṇa) of a substance. There is no absolute assertion of the absence of either the general or particular attribute.

1) Saṅgraha Naya: it is concerned with the general or common attributes of a class or group of identical objects. For example, when we use the word Dravya, we use it generally as inclusive of the six kinds of Dravyas or substances. This Naya is concerned with the class characteristics. This does not mean that this Naya is wholly blind to the particular characteristics so as to deny their existence, in which case a contradiction might arise. The only point to be noted is that it does not refer to the distingui­shing characteristics of each object comprising the group or class.

3) Vyavahara Naya is the stand-point of the particular or distributive. When we speak of an object separately from its class, we have an instance of this Naya. When we speak of soul or pudgala, we refer to a particular kind of dravya and that illustrates this kind of Naya.

The three Nayas described above are the result of looking at the identity of things. In general, they are attempts at understanding the substance or dravya aspect of Reality. Hence they are referred to as Dravyārthika Nayas.[15] The remaining four Nayas as indicated by the Paryāyārthika are concerned with reality from the points of its modifications or "in the analysis of the fleeting side"

4) Ṛjusūtra Naya is concerned with the present form of the object without concerning itself either with its past or future condition, since the present state of existence itself is what matters most in many cases. It takes into account 1) the actual condition at a particular moment and 2) the actual condition for a long time. The first variety is called Sūkṣma (fine) and the second Sthūla (gross). "A soul with a momentary good thought is an example of the former while a Jīva with a human condition for a life time is an example of the latter".

5) Sabda Naya is the verbal view-point which is also translated as the stand point of synonyms. We find two examples in Jaina works to illustrate this Naya. The words kumbha, kalaśa and ghaṭa refer to the same object, viz. the jar. Similarly the various names like Indra, Sakra and Purandara denote one individual, despite the difference implied in the basic meaning of each word. If there are two words which are identical in meaning, their simultaneous use will lead to a fallacy called śabdanayābhāsa.

6) Samabhirūḍha Naya is the verbal but etymological point of view. There are many words which have a synonym but if their etymological meaning is taken into account, they have a different connotation. Though Sakra and Indra refer to the same person, etymologically Indra means one who is endowed with authority while Purandara means the destroyer of cities; hence there is significant difference in the meanings of the two words as they connote differing functions. While the Sabda Naya is more general treating each word in its popular meaning, the present one goes deep into the etymological meaning of the word to decide the attribute of the object it represents. Sabdanaya follows the principle that every object in reality is describable by word. Several words are used to convey the same meaning with reference to an object but in fact, when considered etymologically, each word has special connotation apart from its general meaning. The Nayavāda does not see any contradiction between the two viewpoints. This is so because, according to him, Samabhirūḍha Naya applies stricter cannons of etymological derivation and grammatical propriety than is done by the Sabda Naya which treats words in a rough and ready manner at the level of uncritically accepted convention or usage.[16]

7) Evambhūta Naya is the mode of actual stand point. It determines or ascertains an object in its present state or mode. According to this stand point, a word should be used to denote an object, only when it is in the state which the word connotes. According to this Naya, the word Purandara is to be used only when he is actually engaged in the act of destroying cities. This is stricter in its application than the Samabhirūḍha Naya as it confines itself to the actual state of the object is performing for the time being as distinguished from its etymological or general meaning.

These seven Nayas as noticed by Umāsvāmi are distinguishable from one another from their finer scope or smaller extent, and the succeeding stand point is dependent on the one preceding it. Hence the order in which these are mentioned in the sutra.. From the point of view of the infinite characteristics of a substance, the stand points are of numerous subdivisions. They are interde­pendent and their harmonious combination paves the way to right faith. Pūjyapāda likens each of them to a cotton thread: when the threads are properly woven, they form a garment comforting the body in the form of a cloth; but if each of them is taken separately and independently, they serve no purpose.[17] The effect of cloth is present in each of the threads potentially but it is only when they are combined that they assist the right belief. Nayavāda is a warning to those philosophers who assert that their system is absolute and all comprehensive; it shows the way to a reconciliation of conflicting view-points and harmonization of all stand-points by appreciating the relativity of the different aspects of reality.

Nayas thus reveal only a part of the totality and they should not be mistaken for the whole. Because of this infinite-fold constitution of a thing, there shall be infinite Nayas, and the same can be classified under broad heads as seven, two and so forth. As Akalanka defines, Naya is a particular approach of the knower (nayo jnātur abhiprāyaḥ). A synthesis of these different viewpoints is a practical necessity; therein every view-point must be able to retain its relative importance and this is fulfilled by Syādvāda.[18]


It is clear that the analytical stand-points refer to partial truths and it is only their synthetic combination that will bring harmony into a coherent scheme of knowledge. That is the synthetically method employed by the doctrine of Syādvāda. This is illustrated by many Jaina thinkers by the parable of seven blind men and the elephant. One blind man feels the leg and says that the elephant is like a pillar; the other feels its body and says that it is like a wall; the third feels its ear and says that it is like a winnowing pan. Thus each feels only one organ of the elephant and regards that it alone represents the whole truth. For a person who can see the whole elephant with his own eyes, it is clear that individual view of each blind man represents only a partial truth and the whole reality can be understood by the logical harmonization of all the view-points. This will further indicate that each view is only relative and expressive of only that which is felt by the sense of touch.

The doctrine of Syādvāda Saptabhaṅgi bas been explained by Kundakunda in verse 14 of the "Pañcāstikāya" as also in verses 22-23 of Canto II of the "Pravacanasāra." It is necessary to mention that Conto II deals with Jneyatva or know ability. The context under which the doctrine is propounded relates to the subject-matter of Dravyas or substances which are subject to existence, modification and destruction. It is acknowledged that comprehension of the entire gamut of knowledge is possible only by Omniscience. The need for the doctrine arises because of the eternal process of modifications to which a substance is subject and the inability of the human senses to comprehend the entire reality in its fullness.

The object of knowledge is a huge complexity constituted of substances, qualities and modifications, extended over three times and infinite space, and simultaneously subjected to origination, destruction and permanence. Such an object of knowledge can be comprehended only in Omniscience. The senses are the indirect means of knowledge and whatever they apprehend is partial like the perception of an elephant by the seven blind persons. The ordinary human being cannot rise above the limitations of his senses; so his apprehension of reality is partial, and it is only from a particular point of view: this leads to the Nayavāda of the Jainas. When ordinary human knowledge is partial, a new method stating our approach to the complex reality had to be devised and that is Syādvāda, the doctrine of conditional predi­cations. Thus the doctrine is the direct result of the strong awareness of the complexity of the object of knowledge and the limitations of human apprehension and expression. The substance is subjected to a constant flux of modifications, and we always look at it through one modification or the other, present or absent When we are looking at its present modification, we should not absolutely deny the past or the future ones: the peculiar position Leads us to conditional affirmation, conditional negation and conditional indescribability, which by their combination give rise seven possible statements.[19]

It is thus clear that Syādvāda relates to knowledge derived only through the senses. We have shown above while discussing Nayavāda that the various methods of approach can be grasped and analysed. A synthesis of these methods or modes forms the basis of Syādvāda. Syādvāda is thus a corollary of Nayavāda; the latter is analytical and primarily conceptual and the former is synthetically and mainly verbal. It should be expressly understood that

  1. the doctrine of Asti-Nāsti is distinctly confined to the world of reality only or to an object in the world.
  2. The doctrine should not be applied to non-existing things.

The doctrine is formulated in seven steps:

  1. Syādasti (may be, is)
  2. Syānhāsti (may be, is not)
  3. Syādasti Nāsti ca (may be, is and is not)
  4. Syādavaktavyaṃ (may be, is inexpressible)
  5. Syādasti ca Avaktavyaṃ (may be, is in expressible)
  6. Syānhāsti ca Avaktavyaṃ (may be, is not and inexpressible)
  7. Syādasti ca Nāsti ca Avaktavyaṃ (may be, is and is not and inexpressible).

An illustration will make these propositions clear. The seven predications are expressed by the permutation and combination; of the three expressions: asti, nāsti and avaktavyam, the word syāt being common to all of them. Where the predicate is simple, it relates to an object; where it is complex, the predication is relative with reference to the characteristics of Dravya, its place, time or space. Take for example, a jar made of clay and another substance like a cloth.

So far as the first mode is concerned, the jar exists as one made of clay; when we consider the second mode of predication, it does not exist as a jar made of gold or of some other metal. The significance of the second mode is not of creating a contradiction with reference to the first but of clarifying that the jar does exist but not as one made of a metal. The third mode refers to simultaneous states of existence and non-existence. Apparently one might say that this is self-contradict; but a logical examination of the statement would disclose that it relates to two statements and two states of existence. It exists in the sense of a jar made of clay but it does not exist as made of gold. There is no contradiction in the joint statements. Supposing with reference to a building, it is initially built for residence but subsequently used as a go down. One can say that it is a house while another might say that it is not house but a go down. The first part of the statement would be correct with reference to the purpose for which it was built while the second one would be correct with reference to the actual user. There is therefore no contradiction in the third mode of expression.

The fourth predication refers to the state of inexpressibility of a thing. The medium of expression of reality is language and sometimes a word conveys more meanings than one; in such cases, the word carries out the functions of two words depending upon the concept intended to be conveyed and the context under which the alternative meaning is required to be conveyed. The situation of inexpressibility may arise due to the insufficiency of the word to convey the entire concept or due to the inability to comprehend all the attributes of an object. So when there is a simultaneous presentation of the two concepts of "being" with reference to the jar or any other object, when the predicate becomes inexpressible. The logic of this predication becomes clear when we remember that impossibility of one word conveying two meanings simulta­neously. The whole range of truth cannot be conveyed by an expression and hence the predication of inexpressibility. Take for example, there is the fresh juice of a palm tree. We call it nīrā; it is kept for some time and its starts to ferment. There would be a stage in the state of fermentation when it is not possible to say that the liquid is either nīrā or an intoxicating drink (sindi). The only reasonable reply would be: 'I cannot say'. It is inexpressible and the quality of the liquid becomes indescribable. To return to our example, it is an attempt to present the states of "being" and "non-being" in the jar simultaneously.

The remaining three modes are derived from combining the three primary concepts in such a way that these three, combined with the four modes hitherto expounded, exhaust all the possible or alternative aspects of truth concerning the object in question.[20]

The fifth mode is a combination of the first and the fourth predicates. It predicates the two attributes of existence and inexpressibility simultaneously. 'May be, the jar is and is inexpre­ssible'; that is. the two predicates are presented together. "Being" refers to its existence while "inexpressibility" refers to the changing modes of the substance with reference to its dravya, rūpa, kala and kṣetra. The sixth mode viz., Syānhāsti ca avaktavyam. 'The jar is, the jar is not with reference to another substance' but when both are simultaneously predicated, the concept becomes inexpressible. This is again an instance of simultaneous predication of three concepts. The seventh predication relates to simultaneous assertion of existence, nonexistence and inexpressibility. The jar exists with reference to its dravya, kṣetra, rūpa and kala and it does not exist with reference to the four attributes of some other substance. When the two are combined in predication, they become inexpressible. This is formed by the combination of the third and the fourth predications.

It may be of interest to cite another illustration given by Mahalanobis while dealing with the theory of Syādvāda: Consider the tossing of a coin; and suppose it turns up "head". We may say

  1. "it is head" (now). This also implies,
  2. "it is not head" (on some other occasion). The third category follows without difficulty,
  3. "itis and it is not" which is a synthetic predication based on both and
  4. The fourth category predicates that the position is still indeterminate..
  5. Consider the throw of a coin. It has the possibility of head (it is) and not head (it is not) sometimes head and sometimes not-head; the combination of both the possibilities of "it is" and "it is not" is another indefinite or indeterminate from.
  6. The fifth category of knowledge in Jaina logic predicates the existence of in determination (which we may perhaps interpret, in modern language, as the assertion of the existence of the probability field).
  7. The sixth category denies the existence of a probability field; while
  8. the seventh category covers the whole range of possibilities mentioned in the other six categories,[21]

To the Syādvāda, the existence is a huge complexity; human mind cannot adequately comprehend it, nor can the human speech properly express the same. As such, absolute and categorical statements are out of court, and all statements are true so far as our particular point of view is concerned.[22] It should be obvious that the combinations of points of view cannot be more than seven, So theoretically there can be only seven points of view and not more. Thus reality is open to seven statements and not more. The reason why the number of modes is neither more nor less than seven is because it is believed, any complex situation is amenable to treatment by this seven fold technique if one is adept in using it... Any attempt to add or subtract a mode will be found to be impossible since addition finds the mode already there among the existing seven modes, and subtraction will mutilate on essential limit from the scheme.[23] Einstein's Theory of Relativity has tried to establish link between space and time and made mass dependent upon the velocity with which it moved The theory from which Einstein proceeded indicated that time and space meant different things to different observers. To any one observer they appear easy to distinguish from one another. But we are unable to carry over the identification from one observer to another; there is no test by which we can try it.[24] This theory is still regarded as incomplete. As compared with the theory of relativity Syādvāda is much simpler and less elaborate, and the reasons are quite apparent; the bounds of human knowledge have become much wider and the achievements of science more fruitful than what they were some centuries before. The contribution of Syādvāda and Relativity to the ultimate outlook on life and its problems, taking into consideration the conditions under which and the age in which they are propounded is almost the same.[25] Syādvāda establishes a perfect harmony between apparently discordant concepts. It is of great importance in the field of philosophy as a science of understanding and synthesising reality. It stands for cosmopolitanism of thought and 'intellectual tolerance' for which Jainism has eminently stood for the last two thousand years or more.[26]

This doctrine has however been subjected to much criticism. Some have called it a doctrine of uncertainty while others have called it a variety of scepticism; some others say that it is beset with contradictions. These views seem to be misconceived. They seem to apply the doctrine to mere abstract concepts when in fact it is based upon the fundamental characteristics of substance to show that "reality has something which is relatively permanent and yet relatively changing,"

According to Syādvāda, each modal truth is valid so for as it goes and all the seven points cover the full range of reality. Each view-point is distinct but yet when all are considered cumu­latively, they achieve a comprehensive synthesis. The criticism that it is a sceptical doctrine is belied from the fact that its object is to show by an examination of all aspects of reality that real knowledge is attainable. Reality partakes of being and non-being as its constituent elements. It has being in respect of its own nature and nonbeing in respect of the nature of another.[27] In fact, this is the basic doctrine of Jainism. Every philosophical doctrine of any creed or religion must be examined in the light of its basic doctrines and not in isolation. According to Jacobi, it is a happy way leading out of the maze of Ajnānavāda. Though Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is a hard critic of the doctrine, he says "The Jains admit that a thing cannot have a self-contradictory attributes at the same time and in the same sense. All that they is that everything is of complex nature and identity in difference. The real comprehends and reconciles differences in itself. Attributes which are contradictory in the abstract co-exist in life and experience. The tree is moving in that its branches are moving and it is not moving since it is fixed to its place in the ground."[28] For Whitehead, coherence would mean that the fundamental ideas presuppose each other. In isolation, they are meaningless. It does not mean that they are definable in terms of each other, though they are relevant to each other; No entity can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe, and that it is the business of speculative philosophy to exhibit this truth. This character is its coherence. He also says that 'systematisation of knowledge cannot be conducted in watertight compartments. All general truths condition each other; and the limits of their application cannot be adequately defined apart from their correlation by yet wider generalities. This is the attitude of Jainas also.'[29]

Certain idas of Syādvāda seem to have close relevance to the concepts of probability which can supply a convenient background.. to the foundations of statistics. The difference between Jaina avaktavyam and the concept of probability lies in the fact that the latter has definite quantitative implications. The concept of numerical frequency ratios distinguishes modern statistical theory from the Jaina theory of Syādvāda.[30] At the same time it is of interest to note that 1500 or 2500 years ago Syādvāda seems to have given the logical background of statistical theory in a quali­tative from.[31] The emphasis given by the Jaina philosophy on the relatedness of things and on the multiform aspects of reals- appear to be similar. to the basic ideas underlying the concepts of association, correlation and concomitant variation in modern statistics... The realist and pluralist views of Jaina philosophy and the continuing emphasis on the multiform and infinitely diversified aspects of reality.. amounts to the acceptance of an "open" of the universe with scope for unending change and discovery... It has certain interesting resemblances to the probabilistic and statistical view of reality in modern times.[32]

J. B. S. Haldane says that the search for truth by the scientific method does not lead to complete certainty; still less does it lead to complete uncertainty. Hence any logical system which allows of conclusions intermediate between certainty and uncertainty should interest scientists. The earliest such system known to me is Syādvāda.[33] He has worked out the seven alternatives by mathe­matical formulae. He gives an example where the saptabhangīnaya is actually applied in scientific research which he suspects was "not far from what was in Bhadrabāhu's mind." In the study of the physiology of the sense organs it is important to determine a threshold. For example, a light cannot be seen below a certain intensity, or a solution of substance which is tasted as bitter when concentrated cannot be distinguished from water when it is diluted. Some experimenters order their subjects to say "yes" or "no" to the question 'is this illuminated?" or "Is this bitter?" If the experimenter is interested in the psychology of perception he will permit the subject also to answer "it is uncertain", or some equivalent phrase.[34] He agrees that in view of Mahalanobis that the saptabhangīnaya foreshadows modern statistical theory is correct.[35]

These views make it clear that the human mind comprehends the complexity of entire existence, but not fully, nor can the human speech express it adequately. Therefore all statements can be true only in so far as they go, that is, in so far as the speaker's view-point is concerned. It is the inadequacy of human understanding that renders the different points of view possible and reasonable.

The aim of Syādvāda happily corresponds with the scope of philosophy in modern thought. Syādvāda aims to unify, coordi­nate, harmonise and synthesise the individual points a practical whole.[36] The conceptions of the various philosophers as we have them are diverse and the grounds on which they are sought to be explained are numerous. None of them can be accepted as wholly true or rejected as wholly false. True knowledge, which philosophy aims at. is the knowledge of a whole, a culminating synthesis after every avenue of analysis is exhausted. The function of Nayavāda is almost the same; so far as the underlying idea is concerned, it is that of various special sciences; just as the Syādvāda harmonises various Nayas, so modern philosophy aims to harmonise the conclusions of different experimental sciences... Syādvāda is necessary to convey the nature of reality.[37]

The Jaina philosopher maintains that every existent possesses infinite attributes and characteristics which can be discovered by experience alone. The mind is an instrument of discovery. Individuals will differ in their views as they are based on their knowledge and experience. The central thesis of the Jaina is that there is not only diversity of reals, but each diversity is equally diversified... The conclusion is legitimate that each real is possessed of an infinite number of modes at every moment. The number of reals is infinite and consequently their relations with one another are infinite... All things are related in one way or the other and relations induce relational qualities in the relata, which accordingly become diversified at each moment and throughout their career.[38]

The Vedantist starts with the premise that reality is one universal existence; the Bhudist fluxist believes in atomic particulars, each absolutely different from the rest and having nothing underlying them to bind them together. The Naiyāyika believes both to be combined in an individual, though he maintains that the two characters are different and distinct The Jaina differs from them all and maintains that the universal and the particular are only distinguishable traits in a real, which is at once identical with and different from both.[39]

In sum, a thorough insight into the philosophy of standpoints is necessary to estimate the true value of the statements of our predecessors in the field of metaphysical research. Mankind would find that almost all the confusion of thought, and we might say, the animosity existing between the followers of different religions, would cease to exist as soon as they test the scriptural text which most of us blindly adhere to with the aid of the touchstone of Nayavāda (the philosophy of stand points). If they would only insert the word 'somehow' (syāt in Samskrit) before any scriptural or prophetic statement, they would find their minds becoming trained in the right direction to enquire into the stand-point of the prophet who made any particular statement... It would also enable us to reconcile many a contradictory statement in the scriptures of the same creed as well as those of different faiths; for it does often happen that a statement which is wrong from one particular point of view is not so from another, e. g., one observer might say that a bowl full of water contains no air, while another might describe it as containing nothing else but air, both being right from their respective stand-points since water is only gaseous matter in its essence though manifested in the form of liquid substance owing to the action of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen on one another.[40]

Syādvāda is not merely speculative in character but provides the key to a solution of the ontological problems. It has supplied the philosopher with catholicity of thought, convincing him that Truth is not anybody's monopoly with tariff walls of denominational religion, while furnishing the religious aspirant with the virtue of intellectual toleration which is that part of Ahimsa which is one of the fundamental tenets of Jainism.[41]

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