Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: The Seven Propositions - Their Forms, Significance And Mutual Relation

Published: 07.03.2012
Updated: 21.07.2015

There are, as shown, seven significant predicates or modes of truth (bhaṅgāḥ) and as each mode - though obtained by an analysis of any simple cognition or judgment and established by reflective thought - is prima facie subject to doubt because of its dialectical nature, there can be seven kinds of doubts (saṁśayāḥ) about them. The seven doubts give rise to seven forms of curiosity (jijñāsāḥ), which, in their turn, give rise to seven questions (praśnāḥ). The seven questions require seven answers (uttarāṇi), and the seven propositions, therefore, are asserted to meet the requirement.[1]

The accredited forms of the seven propositions - e.g., syādastyeva ghaṭaḥ and the like - have been given while discussing the import of the predicates and hence need no repetition. Their individual significance has also been discussed. The only important problem, therefore, that remains to be examined, is the significance of the seven propositions in general and their interrelation.

A proposition is a sentence which expresses what is either true or false[2], and what is expressed is its significance. True and false propo­sitions are equally significant: if true, they express facts; if false, they fail to do so. The seven propositions are significant because expressive, and true because what they express are, on reflection, found to be facts. They are also not mere truisms, because they express truths which are not ordinarily recognized as such. These truths again are necessary, universal and constructive necessary because neither experience nor logic contradicts them; universal because they are true of all reals; constructive because they give a synthetic view of reality. The propositions are also interrelated, and make a system. Existence and non-existence are mutually concomitant and they together qualify the same object.[3] All the seven propositions follow logically from this dictum. In fact, the very first proposition, when logically unfolded, leads to the other six as a matter of necessity. Each proposition taken singly is also significant in that it "constitutes", in the words of Professor Mookerjee, "an estimation of reality, which has been either advocated by a school of philosophers as a matter of historical fact or is capable of being entertained as a possible evaluation."[4] But an isolated proposition, according to the Jaina philosopher, does not give the whole truth. It may, on the contrary, give an untruth, if taken as negation of other truths; and it can at best, provided it only asserts itself without negating others, give a partial truth, that is, naya which is described as neither truth nor untruth.[5] The Jaina philosopher, therefore, rejects the validity of the isolated propositions because they stand for extremisms, and knits them together into a system which is known as non-extremism or non-absolutism (anekāntavāda).


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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. Anekāntavāda
  2. Aristotle
  3. JAINA
  4. Jaina
  5. Naya
  6. Non-absolutism
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