Abstract Of May 2007 Bodhi Lecture in Kolkata

Posted: 18.05.2007
Updated on: 29.11.2012

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May’s Bodhi lecture in Kolkata on Sunday, 8th May 2007, was titled ‘Nature Of Reality In Jain Philosophy’, and delivered by Dr. Samani Chaitanya Pragyaji to an audience of about 70 people in presence of Samani Charitra Pragyaji, Shri Rajkaran Sirohia, president of Terapanth Maha Sabha, and Shri Tarun Sethia.

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To know truth or ultimate reality is charm and goal of our life. Thorough knowledge can regulate our life leading us to what is real, true, enlightened, and eternal, full of beauty and good instead of worthless and absurd.

Cognitive and moral aspects of life are generally regarded as two different phenomena without connection. Regarding the nature of reality, there are different philosophical views. Some look metaphysically, others epistemically on it. From metaphysical point of view, reality does not depend from human mind, i.e. knowledge, interpretation, and discourses. From epistemic point of view, reality depends from human mind, on knowledge and discourses achieved by regarding subject - object relation.

Jain philosophers opine that knowledge and conduct go together; rather one presupposes the other, they are mutually implied as A – B. According to them, knowledge of the ultimate reality is based on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.

According to some philosophical view, reality is dependent on human mind, i.e. knowledge and language. It depends on our way of looking at it, what an object is, and how we interpret what we are looking at. Another philosophical view is that reality exists independent of human mind; its knowledge and discourses cannot be exhausted by it. Reality is uncreated, eternal, and endless. Whether we look at it or not, speak about it or not, reality remains the same and exists in itself.

The position of Jain philosophy is somehow different. Being realistic as well as non-absolutist in its approach, it has a new way of philosophising. In Jain philosophy, reality is regarded from both, metaphysical as well as epistemic points of view. From the former point of view, existence of reality is independent of our knowledge,
interpretation and discourses, while from the latter point of view it's knowledge and interpretation are always dependent on the angle-aspect relation. The object is there but its knowledge depends upon the angle of the observer. This is why differences in regarding reality occur.

Moreover, differences occur not only because of the differences of angles but also because of the complexity of reality and its multiple natures. The observer never sees all the aspects of it at a time, and this causes differences in our observation and discourse about oneness of reality. Sometimes they even appear to be contradictory and therefore cause conflicts. These conflicts can be dissolved if subject-object or angle-aspect relation is taken properly into consideration. Thus, to understand others and to be understood by others we must analyse the nature of reality mainly in angle-aspect relation.

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