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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Section IV

Published: 28.05.2012

The presentation of the doctrine by Nalinaksha Dutt may be examined next. He writes:

In Jaina philosophy no definite statement (syādvāda) can be made about any object, not even about the highest truth. Every object is subject to three momentary states, viz. origin (uptpāda), continuity (sthiti) and decay (vināśa). The object in its state of continuity may be regarded as the substance (dravya) while in the other two states it is subject to change (paryāya). According to the Jaina teaching an object is permanent from the standpoint of continuity (Sthiti), but it is impermanent (anitya) from the other two standpoints. Every object has got to be determined from different standpoints, as it has several aspects and so there can be no absolute statement regarding the nature of an object. This is known as the Jaina doctrine of Anekāntavāda. In order to have a true knowledge of an object, its examination is necessary from various aspects and it is by this means alone that the perfect knowledge can be attained. For the sake of practical application, Anekāntavāda has been condensed into seven number (saptabhaṅgī), i.e., examination from seven different standpoints, e.g., a being is (i) permanent; (ii) impermanent; (iii) both permanent and impermanent; (iv) indescribable; (v) permanent and indescribable; (vi) impermanent and indescribable; (vii) both permanent and impermanent and also indescribable.[1]

This presentation of the Jain doctrine causes several difficulties. Firstly, the Jain statements refer to the existence of a thing, not its permanence. Secondly, not only is no distinction drawn between anekāntavāda and syādvāda[2], room is left for confusing syādvāda with nayavāda by the use of the expression 'standpoints'.[3] Finally, in analysing the Jain concept of dravya, sthiti or the permanent element in a substance is associated with the first predicate by Nalinaksha Dutt. But the first predicate does not seem to distinguish between the components - permanent or transitory of a single substance of dravya but rather between substances. For example, we may affirm (1) that an object, say a knife, exists as a knife. We may further say (2) that it is not something else, say a fork.[4]


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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. Anitya
  3. Dravya
  4. JAINA
  5. Jaina
  6. Nayavāda
  7. Paryāya
  8. Saptabhaṅgī
  9. Sthiti
  10. Syādvāda
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