Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Metaphysical View Of Anekānta ► Problem Of Relation

Posted: 09.12.2011

In the previous sub-section, the problem of relation was discussed briefly. We shall now see how the reality of relation between substance and its qualities and modes, has always been an irritating problem in metaphysics, and has been thoroughly discussed by all the schools of Indian philosophy. It has also received serious attention of all Western philosophers too, since the time of Aristotle.

The reality of relation between substance and qualities is a fundamental concept for the Jains, and it is 'relation' which introduces order and coherence into the world. But the reality of relation has been denied by the Fluxists and the Vedantists in the Orient. In Western mataphysics, Kant and Bradley condemned 'the thing with its qualities' as self-contradictory. But such a conclusion goes clean against not only commonsense but against science. It is remarkable that the arguments of Kant and Bradley were anticipated by the ancient Indian philosophies several centuries ago. The Buddhist Fluxists' position has been summed up by Bradley in these forceful words:..............a relational way of thought........must give appearance and not truth. It is a make-shift, a practical compromise, most necessary, but in the end most indefensible."[1]

The Jains refuse to be brow-beaten by such a flourish of abstract logic. If our intellect is not to be condemned to bankruptcy and if Reality be not declared to be a unfathomable mystery, an explanation must be found. We have already elucidated the Jain position regarding logic which clearly states that the denial of experience ends in unqualified scepticism, and if we are to believe and value the testimony of our experience, there is no possibility of denying the validity of elation. Unity of cognition, in spite of the numerical difference of contents (as in the cognition of a variegated carpet), is an attested fact and we have no reason to call in question its authenticity.' 'Why should there be a relation at all?" is a question as absurd and equally unanswerable as ' 'why consciousness should be consciousness and not different from it.......".

"Reality", assert the Non-absolutist Jains, "is the identity of an infinite multiplicity of aspects and modes. A real is a unity and diversity in one, and the relation involved is neither one of absolute identity nor one of absolute otherness but something different from both. It is sui generis (jātyantara) which does not permit of being determined by absolute criteria,"

If 'identity' satisfied a logical necessity, so also should this unique relation. Each is unique and ultimate and there is no reason to condemn it as appearance, when it is equally a given fact with identity or otherness. On the other hand, neither absolute identity, nor absolute otherness has any reality beyond abstractions of thoughts.

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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
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