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Abstract Thinking: [21.09] - Anupreksha Of Synthesis - A New Interpretation Of The Word, 'Syat' ('Perhaps')

Published: 12.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

The self-realized souls and the omniscient come to know the infinite truth. But even they are incapable of expressing it in words. In fact it is an impossible undertaking.

A great man, or a learned person may be able to manifest ten, 20 or 50 modes of the infinite truth, but none of them can give expression to the whole truth. When we come to recognize some modes of truth set forth by him as the whole truth, rejecting the other modes, we deviate from truth into untruth. We then move in the direction of untruth. Anekanta presents a way out. It says, "You can avoid untruth, if you take the help of the word, 'syat' (meaning 'perhaps') whatever you say, prefix or suffix it with 'perhaps'. Thus you will be able to avoid untruth. The word 'perhaps' here would mean: "I am incapable of uttering the whole truth. I'm only presenting one aspect or mode of truth."

The word, 'syat' (meaning 'perhaps') in ancient literature, has many connotations. I want to give it a new meaning altogether. 'Perhaps' means-the acceptance of one's incapacity, the recognition of the inadequacy of language. The man using the word 'perhaps' gives a prior indication that whatever he is going to say should not be taken as the whole truth, it should not be accepted as truth absolute: that he is presenting only one aspect or part of truth." He seems to say, "I am acquainting you only with a part of truth. At the same time I freely admit my incapacity to give expression to the whole truth. No, I cannot give you the whole truth; I am only taking you near it." This is what the word, 'perhaps' signifies.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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  1. Anekanta
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