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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Part 2

Published: 11.01.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

But the Jaina believes in the genuine divisions of infinite pradeśas which are as much objectively existent as the medium of which they are divisions. Were it not so, the two towns, say, Pāṭaliputra and Mathurā which, like the two mountains, the Himavat and the Vindhya,[1] occupy different locations of space (nānākāśapradesāḥ), would, he affirms, tend to be at one location (taddeśabhāvinyeva) which is an absured proposition.[2]

But the Naiyāyika may advance a more ingenious argument[3] by stating that the sāvayavatva of ākāśa is like a monkey in relation to a tree (kapivṛkṣasaṁyogavat). That is, the statement that 'the monkey is sitting on the tree' denotes that the monkey in question is sitting on the branch of the tree (śākhāvacchedena) but not on the tree itself, or rather on the root of the tree (mūlāvacchedena). This analogical argument indicates the truth that just as the idea of the tree in its relation to the idea of the monkey does not pervade the latter fully (vyāpyavṛttitvam or sāmastyavṛttitvam)[4] but does so, if at all, only partially, so also does ākāśa pervade its socalled avayavas at best only partially. This partial pervasion of the tree in the monkey, or of the ākāśa in the parts, is described as avyāpyavntitvam or avyāpyavṛtti. This relation of avyāpyavṛtti aims at suggesting that, eventually, ākāśa does not directly possess the avayavas, or if it does possess any at all, it does so only in a remote and superficial way so that it would not be far wrong to say that the parts are almost unreal. The Jaina would, of course, turn the tables on the Naiyāyika by rejoining that all the latter's verbal subleties have not succeeded in ruling out a reference in the latter's argument—however indirectly it might be—to the avayavas with regard to ākāśa. It is, as a matter of fact, quite obvious that the Naiyāyika's analogy of the tree and the monkey would fall to the ground if the essential element of the branch of the tree is removed from it.

Another important consideration which undermines the Naiyāyika's thesis of indivisibility (niravayavatva) of ākāśa in the above argument of kapivṛkṣasamyoga hinges on the relation of saṁyoga figuring in it. The sitting monkey is conjoined to the branch of the trees by way of saṁyoga or external relation. Saṁyoga is admitted by the Naiyāyika himself as a guṇa, and a guṇa in turn is admitted to need a dravya for its āśraya,[5] or support. The support in the analogy under consideration is the tree and, correspondingly, the support for the avayavas of akāśa, is evidently ākāśa itself. This means that the avayavas of ākāśa are not a case of either upādhi or avyāpyavṛtti as is evidenced by the grounds admitted by the Naiyāyika himself. Thus this as well as the previous argument as advanced by the Nyāya school presupposes, at any rate indirectly, the Jaina thesis of the sāvayavatva of ākāśa.

Akalaṅka also does not see eye to eye with the Naiyāyika on the question of impartite ākāśa. He is inclined to feel that the divisibility of ākāśa would be incompatible with the divisibility of a material object. In other words, the indivisible ākāśa is not a favourable receptacle of the divisibility of an object like a jar[6] (dravyavibhāgābhāvāt).

The last significant argument which is brought by Abhayadeva to bear upon the present issue concerns the Nyāya view of sound (śabda) as the special quality (viśeṣaguṇa) of ākāśa. It is a common place universal experience that a particular sound prevails (vartate) only at a particular place (ekadeśe eva) but not everywhere (na sarvatra) and that the sound consequertly fades away (vinaśyati) from where it is heard. If the Nyāya thesis of the partless—or unitary and, consequently, of the eternal—ākāśa were right, then every sound, for that matter even the distant word uttered by the divine Brahman (brahmabhāṣitam) would be straightaway heard by us[7] everywhere (sarvagatatvaṁ syāt), and would remain everlasting (nityam).[8] In point of fact even the usage (vyapadeśa) that "a particular sound prevails only at a particular place but not everywhere" would be evidently impossible under the conception of a partless ākāśa.[9] Besides even the established fact of the transitoriness of śabda would militate against the Nyāya conception of an all-pervasive (vibhu) ākāśa. Nor does the Nyāya belief in what might be described as the wave theory of sound[10]—that is. the theory according to which sound is transmitted by waves—work without presupposing a divisible ākāśa. Hence the Nyāya view of ākāśa[11] points, according to Abhayadeva, to the Jaina thesis of the sāvayava nature of ākāśa.

Thus the Jaina view of ākāśa is that it is an objective real having infinite parts[12] or pradeśas[13] ('space-points') which signify its anekānta nature (nānātvam ityanekāntaḥ).[14]

Lastly the soul or ātman, an individual centre of experience among an infinity of similar centres in the realm of consciousness, is the subjectivistic instance of manifoldness in Jainism. It is needless to enlarge upon the manifold nature of an ātman since it is evident in every one of the infinite states (anantabhāvas or parināmas) as well as in the multiple powers which are attributed to ātman.[15] There are at least two considerations which indicate the manifoldness of ātman : First, an ātman, like the Liebnizian entelechy, mirrors the entire universe within itself as a unique centre of experience. The universe it mirrors, or comprehends, is an infinitely complex one. Hence its experiential powers must be manifold, or commensurate with the complexity of the experienced universe. This is an implication of Vādideva's idea that difference in the cognised (viṣaya) signifies a (corresponding) difference in the cognition (vikalpa) concerned[16] as well as of the characteristically Jaina idea of relativity of knowledge, which signifies that "the full knowledge of everything is inextricably bound up with the full knowledge of everything and (vice versa)"

Secondly ātman, as conceived by the Jaina thinkers, is the exact antithesis of the Advaitic Brahman. The Advaitic Brahman, as pointed out on several occasions in the course of this work, is a monolithic conception, or an unredeemed identity. Being antithetical to this extreme Advaitic conception the Jaina notion of ātman is that of an infinitely diversified centre of experience.

The significance of manifoldness characterising the consciousness in the latter's function of apprehending the many-faceted universe has crystallized itself into the twofold dialectic of the nayavāda and the syādvāda to which reference will be made in the course of this section.

In our endeavour to trace the logical steps which have led the Jaina conception of reality to the most consistent form of realism in Indian philosophy, we have been able to observe that in consequence of recognising the force of the principle of distinction inherent in all realistic procedure, the Jaina has postulated an independent objective world as against the world of consciousness, and has proceeded to posit manyness in reality and manifoldness in each real. The progress from multiplicity of reals to manifoldness of each such real consists chiefly in advancing from the number to the nature of the reals. The last step, which completes the logical picture of this realistic procedure, is an implicit recognition of what may be called, after Kant, the Principle of 'Reciprocity', or of 'Interaction', or of 'Community', among the reals in the universe.


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Published by:
Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute
Ladnun - 341 306 (Rajasthan) General Editor:
Sreechand Rampuria
Edited by:
Rai Ashwini Kumar
T.M. Dak
Anil Dutta Mishra

First Edition:1996
© by the Authors

Printed by:
Pawan Printers
J-9, Naveen Shahdara, Delhi-110032

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adharma
  2. Advaitic
  3. Akalaṅka
  4. Alokākāśa
  5. Anekānta
  6. Brahman
  7. Chakravarti
  8. Consciousness
  9. Dharma
  10. Dravya
  11. Guṇa
  12. JAINA
  13. Jaina
  14. Jainism
  15. Kant
  16. Lokākāśa
  17. Nayavāda
  18. Nyāya
  19. Pradeśas
  20. Soul
  21. Space
  22. Syādvāda
  23. Syāt
  24. Umāsvāti
  25. Vibhu
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