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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Part 5

Published: 20.03.2012

We shall conclude the present chapter by adverting to the problem of post-non-existence and happily it will prove a lighter task as all the formidable difficulties have been disposed of in the course of the dissertation on pre-non-existence. Post-non-existence is also a positive real. It is identical with the phase of the causal stuff which arises on the emergence of the effect. The emergence of the effect implies the cessation of the previous phase. To take a concrete example: When a jar is shattered to pieces by the stroke of a club, it is replaced by potsherds. There is a change in the material cause, viz., the clay-substance. It was previously of the shape of the jar and upon the destruction of the jar it assumes the shape of potsherds. The clay continues as a substance despite the change of shapes. Shapes are but passing phases and their appearance and disappearance do not affect the identity of the causal substance in which they occur. The disappearance of the previous phase does not imply that the cause ceases to exist - which is the position of the Buddhist fluxist. The appearance of the subsequent phase is construed as the disappearance of the previous phase. So post-non-existence is nothing but the immediate subsequent phase, just as pre-non-existence has been found to be identical with the immediate previous phase. The immediate previous phase qua pre-non-existence is the cause of the subsequent phase qua post-non-existence. And though post-non-existence as identical with the subsequent phase does not and cannot persist through the endless course of time and ceases to exist on the appearance of a third phase, still the cessation of post-non-existence would not entail the resurrection of the defunct negatum. This will be evident from a consideration of the relative character of cause and effect. The emergence of effect is possible only on the disappearance of the antecedent phase of the cause and so there is opposition between effect and cause. It is the effect which is hostile to the cause provided the cause and effect are understood as passing phases. But the cause even as the passing phase is not hostile to the effect, as emergence of the cause is not in any way dependent upon the cessation of the effect. The cause, on the other hand, is conducive to the emergence of the effect. Since the emergence of the cause is not identical with the cessation of the effect, though the emergence of the effect is identical with the cessation of the cause, the cessation of the effect would not entail the re-emergence of the defunct cause. But what about the dictum that post-non-existence is endless? The dictum can be justified by the same line of argument as applied in the case of pre-non-existence. Though the particular non-existence as identical with a phase of the causal substance cannot continue in future, the post-non-existence of the first non-existence and that of the second and third and so on to infinity will continue unhampered. And the infinite chain of post-non-existences in future will each typify the non-existence of the defunct cause. Thus the endlessness of post-non-existence will be assured, even when the causal relation is understood to subsist between the passing phases. But if the whole causal substance irrespective of the passing phases in considered as one identity which it is in virtue of its character as substance, the problem of endless continuity of post-non-existence will find an easy solution. The substance continues as substance even after the disappearance of the passing phase known as post-non-existence.

An example may elucidate the point we are maintaining. The jar is transformed into potsherds and potsherds may again be transformed into a mass of powder. The potsherds represent the post-non-existence of the jar and the powder represents the post-non-existence of the potsherds. But the emergence of the mass of powder would not entail the revival of the jar on the ground that the potsherds constituted the post-non-existence of the jar. So though the clay-stuff will continue without end, it will never come to be re-invested with a defunct phase. It is a wholesome truth which it will be wise for us to remember that there is not revival in the scheme of things. There may be emergence of a similar phenomenon and this may be mistaken for the revival of the past event. What is past is irrevocably gone. We may expect a better state of things or a worse state of things, but there is neither stagnation nor revival. This is a momentous truth, which has its value not only for the professional philosophers, but also for reformers and philanthropists. A correct realization of this philosophical truth will save much useless lamentation for the past and will put the reformer in a correct perspective. Instead of trying to restore the old order of things, the reformer should address himself to bring about a better and happier state of affairs. This does not mean that the past has no lesson for us. The laws of nature, spiritual and material alike, are eternal verities and the past will be a source of inspiration and enlightenment if it is studied as the field of verification of these laws. The study of history should enable us to avoid the mistakes and disappointments of our ancestors by understanding the root-causes of their failure. The past failure lay in the failure of understanding the laws of nature and the discovery of the truth will serve as a warning against the repetition of past errors. The knowledge of the achievements and glories of our ancestors should help us and inspire us with hope for the future, as by the pursuit of the same causes and effects, by observance of the same discipline and avoidance of past errors we may be enabled to achieve, though not a new heaven on earth, at least a better and worthier world. It is some comfort that philosophy in spite of its dry dialectic and forbidding use of logic is not without a lesson for the practical man of the world. The Jaina conception of the dynamic constitution of reality and the eternity of existence may be applied in the various fields of human activity to ensure our progress towards the summum bonum, which is the goal of our destiny.

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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