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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Evambhūtanaya (The 'Such-Like' Standpoint)

Published: 30.01.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

Evambhūtanaya, or the 'such-like' standpoint, is a further specialised form of the application of the verbal method. It calls for a different designation for each of the different attitudes which the same object assumes under the different conditions. It is even more rigorous than the etymological viewpoint in that it treats the different attitudes of the object denoted by different designations as numerically different entities.[1] Purandara, for instance, should be accordingly to this naya, designated as such only when he is actually engaged in the act of destroying his enemies. Similarly the designation Śakra is appropriate only when he is actually manifesting his prowess. A cow ceases to be a cow when she is not in actual motion; and the onomatopoeic designation of a ghaṭa would no more denote the ghaṭa when the ghaṭa is not producing the peculiar sound 'ghaṭ, ghaṭ'. Consequently, because of this insistence that designations should be derived from the different functional states of what is ordinarily known as the same object, Purandara becomes as different from Śakra as a cow is different from ajar.

Before concluding this chapter we may briefly notice the difference of opinions among the writers on nayavāda on the question whether the number of nayas, viz., seven, can be reduced. There are mainly three traditions (paramparās) which are based on the number of nayas occurring in the classification adopted by each of them within the framework of reality which is conceived to be fandamentally dravyaparyāyātmaka (identity-in-difference) or sāmānyaviśeṣātmaka (universal-cum-particular). The first one adopts a classification of seven nayas. Our treatment of the subject has been used on this classification. The order in which the seven nayas have been treated in our account, viz., naigama, saṅgraha, vyavahāra rjusūtra, śabda, samabhirūḍha, and evambhūta, has also been recognised by this tradition. The second tradition adopts a classification of six nayas eliminating, from its classification, naigamanaya which is the first among the seven nayas recognised by the first tradition. The third tradition reduces the number from seven to five[2] by subsuming samabhirūḍha and evambhūtanaya, the last two standpoints within the first classification, under śabdanaya, and thus treating them as two subdivisions of the latter.

Umāsvāti himself is largely responsible for the first[3] and the third traditions. For the concerned sūtra of his great work, Tattvārthādhigamasūtra, gives, in its Digambara version, the enunciation of the seven nayas[4] in their natural order, whereas the same sūtra gives, in the Śvetāmbara version of his work, the enunciation of only five nayas, treating the last two nayas as subdivisions of śabdanaya. All the Digambara writers and most of the Svetāmbara writers also adhere to the former tradition.[5] The latter tradition is confined to the relevant sūtra by Umāsvāti in the Śvetāmbara version of his work, as well as to the Bhāṣya which is ascribed to Umāsavāti himself by the Śvetāmbara writers. The second tradition, the tradition of the six nayas, is maintained by Siddhasena Divākara[6] with his characteristic vigour and independent judgment.

Besides these three traditions there are four more views according to which the number if nayas is severally one, two, three or four. A passing mention may be made of these views:

When our attention is focussed on the aspect of the generic. universal (mahāsāmānya), viz., being (sattā), the entire gamut of reality, which, on a fuller analysis, is universal-cum-particular, appears as one[7] pure and uniform existence. This abstract way of looking at reality is described as the pure and the absolute viewpoint (śuddhaniścayanaya[8]). The nayavādins consider this standpoint as a class by itself. This is the first of the four views just referred to.

Reality may often be viewed either from the generic or the specific angle of vision. When it is the former we are said to be governed by the generic viewpoint of sāmānyanaya, and when it is the latter we are said to be governed by the specific viewpoint or viśeṣanaya. This classification[9] is the same as the substantive (dravyārthika) and the modal (paryāyārthika) viewpoints. This classification, which consists of two members, is the second of the four views.

Siddhasena Divākara suggests a classification of three standpoints although he generally accepts a classification of six standpoints. He does so by subsuming śabda, samabhirūḍha and evambhuta nayas under rjusutranaya. This is because he considers rjusūtranaya as the foundation of the entire modal (paryāyāstika) approach to reality and, therefore, the other three as its sub-divisions (suhumabheya).[10] This reduction of four nayas to one, viz., rjusūtranaya, coupled with the further elimination of naigamanaya, leaves only three nayas, viz., saṅgraha, vyavahāra, and rjuśūtra.

Lastly, Samavāyāṅgaṭīkā formulates a method by which we obtain a classificaion of our nayas. It divides naigamanaya into two subdivisions, viz., sāmānyanaigama (that which comprehends the universal aspect in reality) and viśeṣa-naigama (that which comprehends the particular aspect in reality), and subsumes them under saṅgrahanaya and vyavahāranaya, respectively. Further, it brings samabhiruḍhanaya and evambhūtanaya under śabdanaya so that the resultant classification we obtain under this scheme consists of saṅgraha, vyavahāra, rjusūtra and śabda nayas.[11]

Thus we find that we can obtain many classifications, based on different methods, even within the framework of the substantive and modal categories and of the seven standpoints based on these categories. There are many minor classifications outside the scheme of the standpoints treated in this chapter. As a matter of fact there are several subdivisions under each of the standpoints dealt with here. Any attempt at cataloguing the numerous classifications and enumerating the more numerous subdivisions will be needlessly cumbrous.[12] For such an attempt, even if feasible, is not likely to give considerably more light on the nature, the significance and the function of the analytical method of nayavāda than can be done by a consideration of the most fundamental division of categories (viz. dravyārthikanaya and paryāyārthikanaya) and of the seven viewpoints based thereon. Hence the present chapter has confined itself to the treatment of only the essential aspects of the subject.

The various standpoints outlined in course of this chapter offer an analysis of the manifold reality from their respective angles of vision. Such an analysis results in a wealth of partial truths which will be harmonised into a coherent sheme of knowledge by the employment of the synthetical method of syādvāda[13] which will be dealth with in the next chapter. The complementary functions of the two methods, viz., nayavāda and syādvāda, remind us of the oft-quoted parable of the elephant and the blind men. To express the same truth after Siddhasena Divākara's analogy nayas offer the discrete (visañjutta) or individual jewels (maṇi) which are strung together by means of syādvāda, into a necklace (rayaṇāvali).[14]

Further, the philosophy of standpoints is also a warning against, as well as a corrective to, the 'closed' or the 'architectonic' systems. Describing nayavāda as a 'philosophy of standpoints' a critic observes: "It is a revolt against the tendency in philosophers to build closed systems of philosophy. According to Jainism, the universe in which we live is an active universe, plastic and full of possibilities and no particular current of thought can fully comprehend it. In order to do justice to the complexity and variety of such a universe, thought must not be hurried to any easy terminus but must be allowed to follow its course freely and meander through the whole field of experience, crossing and recrossing it, so as to create a great confluence of standpoint rather than a closed system. The tendency ingrained in the philosophers to build architectonic systems is inimical to the adventure of thought.....Each philosopher approaching reality from a particular and a partial standpoint, looks upon the one he adopts as the only true standpoint. Jainism rejects the idea of the absolute which is playing havoc in the field of philosophy by creating absolute monisms, absolute pluralisms, and absolute nihilisms. By thus rejecting the absolute and the one-sided, it claims to save philosophy from the chaos of conflicting opinions. Without partiality to any one it promises to give us a theory of relativity which harmonises all standpoints."[15]


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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. Bhāṣya
  2. Bombay
  3. Digambara
  4. Dravyārthika
  5. Ekānta
  6. Evambhuta
  7. Hemacandra
  8. Jainism
  9. Jinabhadra
  10. Mysore
  11. Naya
  12. Nayas
  13. Nayavāda
  14. Paryāyārthika
  15. Poona
  16. Sattā
  17. Siddhasena
  18. Syādvāda
  19. Sūtra
  20. Umāsvāti
  21. Vyavahāranaya
  22. Vīra
  23. Śvetambara
  24. Śvetāmbara
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