Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Samabhirūḍhanaya (The Etymological Standpoint)

Published: 26.01.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

The etymological standpoint represents an advance upon the standpoint of synonyms although it is narrower in its scope than the latter. Its advance consists in the fact that it distinguishes the meanings of synonymous words purely on their etymological grounds.[1] The synonyms Indra, Śakra and Purandara denote, according to the conventional approach (ruḍhiḥ, upacāraḥ) of śabdanaya, the same individual whereas they do not so if their difference in their etymological derivation is taken into consideration[2] Indra, for instance, signifies one who is 'all prosperous' and the other two names signify one who is 'the all powerful' and the 'destroyer of the enemies'[3] respectively.

"Hence the difference in the roots" as a critic remarks in this connection "must mean a corresponding difference in the terms and therefore in their meanings." Had it not been for this standpoint a jar (ghaṭa), in the opinion of an old writer, would become indistinguishable from linen (paṭa).

The truth of this viewpoint is based on the following two principles in the Jaina philosophy of language: The first principle is that whatever is knowable is also expressible. That is knowledge, or the meaning of anything in reality, is not possible except through the means of word.[4] The second principle is that, strictly speaking, there can be only one word for one meaning and vice versa.[5] Accordingly, several words which are conventionally supposed to convey one and the same meaning, have in actual fact as many meanings as the number of words, found there.[6] That is, this principle does not recognise any synonymous terms but maintains a determinate relation between a meaning and its word (vācyavācakaniyama). It may be contended that the non-recognition of synonymous terms under samabhirūdanaya contradicts the recognition of such terms under śabdanaya. The nayavādin does not see any contradiction between the two standpoints. This is so because, according to him, samabhirūḍhanaya applies Strieker canons of etymological derivation and grammatical propriety than is done by śabdanaya which treats words in a rough and ready manner at the level of uncritically acepted conventions of usage. Since the two principles, just referred to, are going to be dealt with at some length in the process of their application to some important problems in syādvāda, it is unnecessary to enlarge upon their further implications here.


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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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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Avaktavya
  2. Indra
  3. JAINA
  4. Jaina
  5. Mysore
  6. Siddhasena
  7. Syādvāda
  8. Syāt
  9. Tattvārthasūtra
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