Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► Anekāntavāda, Nayavāda And Syādvāda ► The Definition Of Nayavāda

Posted: 17.01.2012

A naya is defined[1] as a particular opinion or (abhiprāya or abhimata) or a viewpoint (apeksā)—a viewpoint which does not rule out other different viewpoints and is, thereby, expressive of a partial truth (vastvamśagrāhī) about an object (vastu)—as entertained by a knowing agent (jñātṛ).[2] A naya is a particular viewpoint about an object or an event, there being many other viewpoints which do not enter into, or interfere with the particular viewpoint under discussion. Although the other viewpoints do not enter into the perspective[3] of the particular viewpoints under dicussion they constantly, as it were, attack its frontiers, and await its reconciliation with them in the sphere of a fuller and more[4] valid knowledge which is the sphere of pramāṇa.

Theoratically the viewpoints from which an object or an event could be perceived are not merely numerous[5] (anekavikalpa) but infinite[6] in number (anantaprakāram) because even the humblest fact of existence is infinitely manifold and therefore can be an object of various modes of analysis. But this way of looking at the subject is too broad (vyāsa or vistāra[7]) or gross (sthūla) and, therefore, does not vouchsafe to us a compact view of reality on the basis of which we can develop a practicable analytical method by means of which we may tackle reality piecemeal and obtain partial glimpses of its truth. The view of reality, conceived under the great division consisting of two inclusive categories, viz., dravyārthikanaya or the substantive view, and paryāyārthikanaya or the modal (or the modificational) view, is however, considered to be an answer to the demand.[8] The categories are also called, briefly, as dravyanaya and paryāyanaya respectively. The view of reality conceived under the division is described as the concise (saṅkṣepa or samāsa[9]) one in contrast to the other (the broad) one.

By a process of further analysis the Jaina thinkers have been led to the formulation of the methodological scheme consisting of seven ways of looking at reality. They are enumerated in the following order of decreasing denotation[10]: naigama, saṅhgraha, vyavahāra, rjusūtra, śabda, samabhirūḍha, and evambhūta.[11] Generally among these the first three are considered to be dravyanayas or substantive standpoints and the other four paryāyanayas or modal standpoints.[12] Reserving to a later stage[13] the consideration of the question whether the number of these seven ways of viewpoints can be reduced to six, or five, or even less, either by elimination of any of them, or by subsumption of some of them under the one or the other of the seven viewpoints, we may now proceed to point out, with illustrations, the nature and function of these seven viewpoints.

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