Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Anekāntavāda, Nayavāda And Syādvāda ► Syādvad

Posted: 01.02.2012

In the course of our treatment of nayavāda or the theory of standpoints, it has already been observed that syādvāda is a method which is complementary to that of nayavāda, and that while nayavāda is analytical in character, syādvāda functions as a synthetical method.[1] That is, nayavāda analyses one of the standpoints under the aspect of identity (dravyārthikanaya) or of difference (paryāyārthikanaya); and syādvāda further investigates the various strands of the truth delivered by a naya, and integrates them into a consistent and comprehensive synthesis. Each such strand is called a bhaṅga which is referred to, variously, as a mode, or a predication or an altern ative or a possible truth. Describing the relation between the two methods Dasgupta observes: "There is no universal or absolute position or negation, and all judgments are valid only conditionally. The relation of the naya doctrine with the syādvāda doctrine is therefore this, that for any judgment according to any and every naya there are as many alternatives as are indicated by Syādvāda.''[2] The indeterminate or anekānta reality is thus analysed into various standpoints and each standpoint in turn is examined with respect to its various strands of truth and, finally, all the strands are woven together into the synthesis of the conditional dialectic. Owing to their function of analysis and synthesis the methods of nayavāda and syādvāda may also be described as the disjunctive dialectic and the conjunctive dialectic, respectively.

Further, saptabhaṅgī, or the theory of sevenfold predications, is treated as synonymous with syādvāda owing to the fact that the number of possible or alternative truths' under the conditional method of syādvāda are, as will be noticed hereafter, seven only.

The fact that the term 'syādvāda' is often treated as standing for the entire Jaina philosophy is due to the great importance attached to the method of the conditonal dialectic with which it (the term) is most intimately connected.[3] The controversy as to whether 'syādvāda' is a synonym of 'saptabhaṅgī’ or of the entire Jaina philosophy is, therefore, a needlessly scholastice one-[4] at any rate from the philosophical standpoint.

Before we set forth the modes of syādvāda and their principal features, and, at the end, a few relavant criticism against the method as a whole, it would be helpful to remember here what has already been stated[5] with regard to the two groups of factors which, together, determine the nature of a real. The first group of such factors is the positive one referring to the material (dravya) of the make, the spatio-temporal setting (kṣetra and kāla) and the state (bhāva), like black or red, or big or small and so forth, of a jar (ghaṭa) which may be cited here as an example. The second group of factors is a negative one referring to the material, and so on, of things like linen (paṭa) which form the negative counterpart (niṣedha-pratiyogi) of the jarness (ghaṭatva) of the jar. The negative counterpart (paṭatva, etc.) is, as has already been noticed, as much constitutive of the full-fledged nature of the jar as the positive one. These groups of factors are briefly described in Sanskrit as svadravyādicatuṣṭaya and paradravyādicatuṣṭaya, respectively. They may be referred to, briefly, in English, as self-quaternary and other-quaternary. After these few preliminry observations we may now proceed to elucidate the nature and the modes of the method of the sevenfold predication.