Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda: Statement Of The Theory

Published: 11.05.2012

When we say 'This table exists' we cannot mean that this table exists absolutely and unconditionally. Our knowledge of the table is necessarily relative. The table has got innumerable characteristics out of which we can know only some. The table exists in itself as an absolutely real and infinitely complex reality, only our knowledge of it is relative. (Prof. Moore would say the table exists in an absolute sense. What he is not sure of is the analysis of the prop 'The table exists). For us the table must exist in its own matter as made of wood, in its own form as having a particular shape, length, breadth and height at a particular space and at a particular time. It does not exist in other matter, other form and at other space and time. So a table is both existent and non-existent viewed from different standpoints and there is no contradiction in it. (C.D. Sharma - A critical survey of Indian Philosophy).

Seven forms of judgement are distinguished in Jaina logic. Each judgement is relative and therefore it is preceded by the word 'Syāt'. This is Syādvāda or Sapta-bhaṅgī naya. The seven steps are as follows:

(1) Syādasti - Relatively, a thing is real.

(2) Syānnāsti - Relatively, a thing is unreal.

(3) Syādasticanastica - Relatively a thing is both real and unreal:

(4) Syādavaktavya sticanastica - Relatively a thing is indescribable.

(5) Syādasti ca a vaktavyam ca - Relatively a thing is real and is indescribable.

(6) Syānnasti ca avaktavyam - Relatively a thing is unreal and is indescribable.

(7) Syādasti ca nāsti ca avaktavyam - Relatively a thing is real, unreal and indescribable.

From the point of view of one's own substance everything is, while from the point of view of other's substance everything is not. We know a thing in relation to its own matter, form, space and time as a positive reality, while in relation to other's matter, form, space and time it becomes a negative entity. When we affirm the two different standpoints successively we get the third judgement - a thing is both real and unreal (of course in two different senses). If we affirm or deny both existence and non-existence simultaneously to anything, if we assert or negate the two different aspects of being and non-being together, the thing baffles all description. It becomes indescribable i.e. either both real and unreal simultaneously or neither real nor unreal. This is the fourth judgement. The remaining three are the combinations of the fourth with the first, second and third respectively.

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. JAINA
  2. Jaina
  3. Naya
  4. Space
  5. Syādvāda
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