Anekāntavāda And Syādvāda ► The Doctrine Of Syādvāda : Examination Of Different Interpretations ► Section VIII

Posted: 01.06.2012

It could perhaps be plausibly suggested that such examples represent (legitimate) extensions of the doctrine. The same could perhaps be said of P.T. Raju's remark, made while discussing the 'doctrine of seven-fold predication... called syādvāda'.

The Jainas would say that from the point of view of microscopic perception, germs exist; and that they do not exist from the point of view of ordinary perception.[1]

It needs to be borne in mind, however, that in its classical formulation non-existence is not related to the non-existence of the object itself but its non-existence as another object. That is to say, ajar is not said to non-exist as a jar, but as a piece of cloth.

Modern illustrations sometimes tend to exemplify syādvāda in such a way that the case of predications of the non-existence of the object includes the possibility of it not existing by itself in some sense and not necessarily in the sense that it does not exist as another object. The concept of non-existence has been taken in the sense of possibility of the co-existence of different aspects in the same object, such as could lead one to assert the existence of the opposite of the first predicate. Thus A may exist as a father but he can also exist as someone's son so that it can be said of him: (a) He is a father; (b) He is not a father; and so on. However, on the strict application of syādvāda one would have to say (a) He is his child's father; (b) He is not the father of someone else's child.

Similarly, another modern tendency is to illustrate syādvāda by indicating the possibility of change through time. On the strict application of the doctrine, one should speak of things as they are at a point in time; the classical formulation seems to be static rather then dynamic. Here again the same development occurs which was noted earlier - non-existence is predicated about the object itself and not in relation to its non-existence as another object at a point in time. Here the object is seen as possessing subsequent other existence rather than non-existence, if earlier it was seen as possessing co-existence rather than non-existence. Thus M. Hiriyanna remarks:

If we consider for example an object A, we may. say that it is, but it is only in a sense, viz, as A and not also as B. Owing to the indefinite nature of reality, what is now or here A, may become B sometime hence or elsewhere.[2]

This statement seems to be somewhat questionable. Syādvāda does not seem to be based as much on the possibility that clay may become cloth as on the fact that clay is not cloth.

Share this page on:



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