Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Section VII

Published: 31.05.2012

Some scholars make a fairly accurate presentation of the doctrine but the examples they cite to illustrate the doctrine seem to be potentially misleading. Thus A.L. Basham writes:

(1) We may truthfully affirm a given proposition (syādasti). Thus when in winter I come home after a walk in the open air, I may say that my room is warm.

(2) But from another point of view it is possible to negate the same proposition (syānnāsti). Thus someone who has been sitting in the same room for some time may say with equal truth that it is not warm.

(3) Hence it is possible to predicate the truth of a proposition and its negation at one and the same time (syādastināsti). The room is both warm and not-warm.

(4) But the true character of the room, which we have seen is from different points of view warm, not-warm, and warm-and-not-warm, may be said to be indescribable (syādavaktavya). It's true character, sub specie aeternitatis, eludes us.[1]

In this example heat and cold have been simultaneously predicated for the same room. But Malliṣeṇa, while commenting on Hemacandra, and discriminating syādvāda from contradiction states 'Where two things are mutually exclusive, such as cold and heat, there is contradiction which is defined as the impossibility of their existing together'[2], so that the example of heat and cold becomes somewhat suspect. Moreover, the experience of heat and cold is related to the subjective experience of the person in the example and this too makes the example suspect as according to Jain philosophy 'Our judgments about things are relative - but relative to or dependent upon not simply the mood of the judging mind but upon the relational characters of the many-sided reality itself.[3] It seems that syādvāda is to be associated with the plurality of objective reality rather than the whimsicality of subjective notions.


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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

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Pawan Printers
J-9, Naveen Shahdara, Delhi-110032

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  1. Hemacandra
  2. Jain Philosophy
  3. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
  4. Syādvāda
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