Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Part 4

Published: 13.01.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

This fact, that the theory of manifold or indeterminate reality is the most significant form of realism in Indian philosophy, could be adduced from the following two considerations: First, that the Jaina conception of reality admits of the principle of distinction which is the universal and basic axiom of all realistic metaphysics. Having admitted it the Jaina view allows this principle to exercise its full logical function so that every detail of the universe, physical and mental, becomes an infinitely diversified fact of nature. Secondly, the Advaita absolute, which is the exact logical antithesis to the Jaina conception of the diversified real, does not admit of distinction in any form in its ultimate nature of pure being (sat), and, therefore, develops itself, inevitably, into a spiritualistic ekāntavāda par excellence. This fact proves, indirectly, that once the initial assumption of distinction is allowed to operate—as it should be, since distinction is an irrefutable fact of reality—it leads to the Jaina view, as a logical necessity, of an indeterminate reality. In other words, the developments of the two contrasting conceptions of reality, the Jaina and the Advaita, reveal the truth that if we follow a strictly monistic hypothesis of Advaitism we must inevitably accept some kind of mentalism or spiritualism which asserts the identity of the knower -and the known, or rather the reality of the knower and the falsity of the known which, consequently, is treated as a projection of the knower. It is, therefore, not a surprise that Advaitism in India, like its Hegelian counterpart in the West, received the characteristically subjectivistic interpretation of the dṛṣṭiśṛṣṭivāda of Prakāśānanda, which has its counterpart in the Berkeleyan theory of esse est percipi. Alternatively, in order to avoid a mentalistic or subjectivistic orientation in our approach to reality, if distinction or objectvity is admitted to be real, anekāntavāda represents the most logical form which such a realistic procedure can take. Owing to the decisive significance of this issue the two considerations just outlined deserve a soine-what closer notice here. We may start with the second one first:

I. The Advaitic absolute is what may be described as a monolithic conception. It is also driven home to us, repeatedly, that its nature, like that of the Hegelian absolute is mentalistic or epistemic (prāṭītikasattvaṁ).[1] Nothing else than it is real.[2] This pan-psychic reality cannot, in the nature of the case, admit of objectivity or an independent non-mental principle. Hence the question of distinction cannot arise in it. If it does, we have to find something which is to be distinguished from the absolute. There is nothing answering such a description. It is not possible to speak of a distinction in a real where there is no possibility of an actual separableness in some genuine sense. This is the story of all idealism, viz., that the real therein stages its duel with itself, or at best, its shadow; it enacts a play in which the dramatis personae consist of one character only; or it constitutes a musical scale which consists of one note only—namely, itself. Not merely this, it is also the duel as well as the participant in it; the play as well as the player; and the music as well as the musician. Hegel at least tries to integrate difference in the ascending order of his triadic dialectic but, eventually, with the same result as his Indian counterpart.

It may, however, be argued that Śaṅkara does recognise some kind of objectivity at the so-called empirical level of existence (vyāvahārikasattā). But he does so only as a mere 'epistemic' phenomenon which is not of the substance of the real in a straightforward way. His grand tour de force only proves the obstinacy of objectivity, which cannot be explained away even by his logical genius. Hence the term 'objective' in the so-called Objective Idealism is a misnomer. It attributes 'objectivism' to a philosophy of objectless reality.

Further, the mental realm, the realm of souls which are the centres of experience, should and does command its legitimate place and importance in any reasonable scheme of reality, but the total mentalization of the objective world by the schools of idealism imports into their scheme a kind of anthropomorphism. Had it not been for this Alexander would not have proclaimed his mission to "de-anthropomorphise" philosophy. Despite its length his statement on this question bears reproducing here. Writing under "The Spirit of Realism" he observes: "The temper of realism is to de-anthropomorphise: to order man and mind to their proper place among the world of finite things: on the one hand to divest physical things of the colouring which they have received from the vanity or arrogance of mind, and on the other to assign them along with minds their due measure of self-existence. But so deeply is the self-flattering habit of supposing that mind, in its distinctive character of mind, is in special sense the superior of physical things, so that in the absence of mind there would be no physical existence at all, that Realism in questioning its prerogative appears to some to degrade mind and rob it of its richness and value."[3]

The mere magnification of the mental principle into a cosmic one and the description of its function as an act of objectivisation does not make the real either any the less mental or the more objective. The ghost of objectivity or independence cannot be laid by the magic of verbal trickery. It comes back in some kind of awkward form as an 'empirical' or 'epistemic' phenomenon or an 'antithesis'.

There is, therefore, nothing strange in the fact that the mind-ridden Absolute Idealism gave rise to the curious doctrine of Dṛṣṭisṛṣṭivāda or Jñātasattāvāda of Prakāśānanda and others, which affirms that a thing exists only when it is perceived. In this view the "blue", for instance, "and its awareness are one, and there is no external object apart from its cognition."[4] Alluding to this view an Indian critic observes: "The whole world is thus only a psychic modification and has no reality outside the mind."[5] Prakāśānanda himself observes: ' 'The wise maintain the psychological ideality of the world, the ignorant its objective reality."[6]

This view, in which 'spirit greets the spirit', or dṛṣṭi is śṛṣṭi, has its close parallel in the well-known Berkeleyan view esse is percipi. Referring to the relation of the 'unthinking things' of the objective world to this 'intuitive or self-evident' principle Berkeley observes: "Their esse is percipi; nor is it possible they should have any existence out of the minds or thinking things which perceive them."[7]

Dṛṣṭiśṛṣṭivāda and its close Western parallel have been mentioned here, not merely because they are a particular school of idealism but because they represent the tendency of all idealism towards subjectivism.[8] As a critic observes: "the forms of idealism like objective idealism and absolute idealism are only attenuated forms of subjective idealism and the true subject transcends the subject-object relation."[9] In his celebrated essay "The Reputation of Idealism", G.E. Moore also is in full accord with this criticism. He characterises the notion of esse is percipi—conceding generously to the idealist that percipi need not mean 'sensation' only but 'thought' also, both of course being 'forms' of consciousness - as the 'ultimate premise of Idealism' in general.[10] Confirming his attitude to the same notion, he further observes: "I believe that Idealists all hold this important falsehood."[11] His choice of this notion as the most vulnerable point for attack in idealism has considerably strengthened the realistic stand for objectivity or independence in the analysis of the nature of reality.[12]

II. Thus the Advaitic attempt at building up a structure of reality from which the independence of the objective world is explained away has been revealed, in our analysis so far, to tend towards some form of mentalism. Even if any other school of idealism attempts to bring anything in ab extra into the being of its ultimate realm the attempt would be foredoomed to failure in the same measure as its denial of self-existence to the objective universe. Nothing short of a forthright recognition of the independent and intrinsic nature of reality will ever succeed in avoiding the mentalization or spiritualization of the non-spiritual realm of reality.

Once the claim of independence as an integral part of reality is initially conceded, then, it becomes the thin edge of the wedge; that is, the operative force of the principle of distinction thus introduced in the real will work itself out, through various stages of increasing approximation like duality, plurality and reciprocity towards the anekānta view of reality. The dialectical evolution of these approximations or stages has been already traced out earlier in course of this section. According to the Jaina dialecticians the several schools which do recognise the independent objectivity of the world have inevitably, though often unwittingly, been confronted with the necessity of acknowledging the anekānta view, at least in some aspect of their conception of reality as well as of knowledge. The instances, which, among others include the Mimāmsā, the Sānkhya, and the Vaiśesika schools, have already been mentioned elsewhere. He feels that they all have stopped short of consciously allowing the principle of distinction to reach its logical conclusion in an indeterminate approach to the problem. If the compulsive force of the spirit of anekānta is allowed to have its sway, then, according to him, reality would be infinitely diversified.[13] The optimum point of the restless force of distinction is represented in the inexhaustible diversification of every detail in the physical and the mental universe consistenly, of course, with the equally enduring identities in nature.The theory of manifoldness is therefore the story of the gradual unfoldment of the implications of distinction which is at the heart of everything. If this cardinal truth is disproved, then the entire structure of the anekānta philosophy will collapse like a house of cards.

To summarise the entire argument: The essence of realism is the principle of objectivity, independence, or distinction. The alternative to the non-acceptance of this principle in reality is seme form of idealism which is generically inadequate and has a tendency towards subjectivism. Acceptance of the intrinsic objectivity of the world marks the starting point of the functioning of distinction whcih progressively develops until the point of culmination is reached in the fact of the indeterminate and manifold nature of reality. It is in the logical necessity of the development from the initial simple state of distinction to that of infinite diversification of everything real, physical or mental, that the justification of the claim of Anekāntavāda as the most consistent form of realism lies.

Footnotes
1:

Jump to occurrence in text

2:

Jump to occurrence in text

3:

Jump to occurrence in text

4:

Jump to occurrence in text

5:

Jump to occurrence in text

6:

Jump to occurrence in text

7:

Jump to occurrence in text

8:

Jump to occurrence in text

9:

Jump to occurrence in text

10:

Jump to occurrence in text

11:

Jump to occurrence in text

12:

Jump to occurrence in text

13:

Jump to occurrence in text

Sources
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

Get this book at shop.herenow4u.net

Share this page on:
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Advaita
  2. Advaitic
  3. Advaitism
  4. Albert Einstein
  5. Ananta
  6. Anekānta
  7. Anekāntavāda
  8. Anthropomorphism
  9. Baroda
  10. Benares
  11. Berkeley
  12. Bertrand Russell
  13. Bombay
  14. Brahman
  15. Calcutta
  16. Chicago
  17. Consciousness
  18. Dṛṣṭi
  19. Einstein
  20. George Berkeley
  21. Henry Margenau
  22. Hume
  23. JAINA
  24. Jaina
  25. Jīva
  26. Krishna
  27. London
  28. Madras
  29. Mana
  30. Objectivity
  31. Pandit
  32. Para
  33. Russell
  34. Science
  35. Vaiśeṣika
  36. Śruti
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 913 times.
© 1997-2020 HereNow4U, Version 4.04
Home
About
Contact us
Disclaimer
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: