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Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Reconciliation Of Philosophical & Other Viewpoints

Published: 29.06.2012

How useful is this principle for the reconciliation of different viewpoints, is evident from the example of a discussion of soul under its purview. The Jain belief is that the soul is nitya (eternal) and anitya (transitory) at the same time in its worldly existence. The Buddhists hold that it is ever-changing and non-eternal. The theory of anattā is the acceptance of soul but in a negative form. Because we find clear references to Soul in the saying of the Buddha. For instance while on his way from Banaras to Uruvela the Buddha met a young man who was searching his mistress and enquired of her from him. The Buddha's reply is remarkable. He said, "What think ye? Were it not better ye sought the self (attānamgaveseyathā) rather than the woman?" (Vinaya i. 23) But in Buddhist philosophy great stress is given on the ever-changing-becoming aspect of it. Here if we consider both viewpoints under the light of Tadubhaya-Vaktavyatā we can reconcile them. In this synthetical process, one has to take into consideration two different viewpoints, viz: dravyārthika: (realistic) and paryāyārthika (practical), which are called nayas in Jainism.

Now according to the realistic viewpoint, the soul is eternal, because its uncompounded simplicity does not permit of change; hence the philosophers who hold this belief are right if they consider the soul in its essentiality. On the other hand, those who believe that the soul is ever changing are also right from the practical viewpoint, since the soul loses its purity because of desires and ambitions and because it is imprisoned in the body as a result of one's actions. Jain thought, thus, reconciles the two extreme views and offers the message of immortality and self-perfection, which is similar to the one found in Ṛig Veda: "That which is immortal in mortals and possessed of truth is a god and established inwardly as an energy working out in our divine powers. Become uplifted, O Strength, pierce all veils, manifest in us the things of the Godhead."

Thus Jainism furnishes the only platform where all the different viewpoints could meet and reconcile with each other, so far as rationally possible. So we may style it as the "Confluence of Thoughts".

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. Anitya
  2. Banaras
  3. Body
  4. Buddha
  5. Dravyārthika
  6. Jainism
  7. Nayas
  8. Nitya
  9. Paryāyārthika
  10. Soul
  11. Veda
  12. Vinaya
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