Anekanta : Philosophy of Co-existence: 06.03 The Doctrine of Nayas - The Memory Viewpoint (Rjusūtra naya)

Published: 25.07.2010
Updated: 30.07.2015

Chapter 6

The Doctrine of Nayas: Infinite Modes and Infinite Approaches

The Memory Viewpoint

Ṛjusūtra Naya

Identity and difference may be experienced with reference to either many things or a single entity. The experience of identity owes its origin to the substantial continuity whereas the experience of difference to the temporal modes. The experience focused on the immediate present as distinct from the past and the future is the momentary standpoint, which has manifold ramifications, some of which are as follows:

  1. Process and Product (kriyamāna-krta)

    Suppose a piece of cloth is being made, which is a long process. But in this process the part already made is definitely a product. If this part is not considered as a product, then what is produced at the last moment of the process won't also be a product. Even at the first moment of the process the cloth cannot be said to be absolutely unproduced. It is, therefore, expedient to say that every moment of the process is a product, which has the present moment of experience as its cognitional counterpart.

  2. Unconditional Annihilation

    Origination and cessation are natural to an object. The origination itself is the cause of cessation. An entity spontaneously originates in the first moment and vanishes in the second. If a thing did not vanish immediately after its origination, it would be eternal. It is, of course, found that a pot is broken when struck by a piece of stone. But such destruction is the law of the apparent world of things. This rule, however, is not applicable to the subtle world, which is governed by laws that determine the incessant destruction of things.

  3. Unconditional Origination

    A thing, at the moment of its origination, does not produce the second moment, which is its effect. What had originated in the first moment ceases to exist in the second moment, and so it cannot act as the cause of the latter. The preceding moment cannot be a cause of the moment that succeeds. It is thus evident that origination is unconditional and spontaneous.

  4. Modes are without Substratum

    A crow is not black. A black colour is black, a crow is crow. Both are distinct. If the black colour was crow, a black bee also, on account of its black colour, would become a crow. Had the black colour been the nature of the crow, there could not be a white crow. The red flesh, white bones and the yellow bile of the crow should also be accepted as black. But the fact is otherwise. It, therefore, follows that black colour is black by itself, whereas a crow is a crow by its own nature.
    Such type of thinking represents the philosophy of absolute difference between a substance and its modes. The basic presumption of such logic is the absolute impossibility of any point of contact between a substance and its modes which belong to the substance though absolutely unrelated with it.

  5. Absence of Co-existence

    The black colour and the crow cannot co-exist in the same substratum, because the modes (such as the colour and crowhood) are possessed of their own potencies which are independently existent, there being nothing called substance as the substratum of those modes. If on the basis of the predominance of black colour in it a crow is called black, then even the blankets, that are predominantly black, should be classified with the crows. The predominance of a particular mode cannot be accepted as the essence of another subordinate mode that is co-existent with it.

  6. Impossibility of Substantive - Adjective Relationship

    The admission of substantive - adjective relationship between two different modes would entail promiscuity of thought. And in the case of identical modes, such relationship is out of the question.

  7. Absence of Cognitum - Cognition Relationship

    A cognition does not know an unrelated object. Had it done so, the same cognition would have cognized all kinds of things, and this would destroy the possibility of a determine cognition. A cognition cannot also cognize a related object, because the latter ceases to exist when the former is supposed to cognize it. The cognitum-cognition relationship is based on causality. A cognition can know its cognitum only when the latter has presented itself to the former. But with the passing away of the moment of such presentation, both the cognition and cognitum are things of the past. The question of a cognition knowing its cognitum in such a situation does not simply arise.

  8. Absence of Denotatum - Denotative Relationship

    The meaning conventionally related to a word cannot be the connotation of the latter. This is so because the relationship determined between a word and its meaning is a thing of the past when the word is requisitioned for use at a subsequent moment. In short, the temporal diversity stands in the way of establishing any relationship between the word and meaning. And the admission of a meaning that is unrelated to the word would cause nothing but confusion. An unrelated meaning, therefore, cannot be the connotation of a word.

A word is not produced by the meaning (idea or thing). It is produced by the palate, tongue, lip etc. This is self-evident. The meaning (idea or thing) also is not produced by the word. The meaning is there even before the production of the word. There is thus no causal relationship between the word and the meaning.

The relation of identity also does not exist between the word and its meaning. They also exist apart in point of space. There is diversity also in respect of the organs which cognize them. The word is cognized by the auditory sense organ whereas the meaning (idea or thing) is cognizable by any kind of sense organ, external or internal. The relationship of identity can never be possible on account of the diversity of spatial location and the organs of cognition. The admission of the relation of identity between word and meaning would entail burning sensation in the mouth at the time of articulation of the word 'fire'.

A concept also, like the meaning, is not the referent of a word. The difficulties consequent upon the admission of meaning as the referent of a word should equally apply to the doctrine of the concept as the referent of a word.

The momentary viewpoint (rjusūtra naya) is an experience arising from a momentary mode that is immediately present before the person. It rejects the past and the future as unreal. It does not also admit any nexus even between two modes and also between two relations. Such experience, however, has no sanction of the popular viewpoint which shows that the momentary viewpoint is only a partial representation of element, because otherwise the momentary viewpoint would be an instance of a pseudo viewpoint. It is pantoscopic viewpoint that represents the popular estimation of element. It is only the combination of all viewpoints that is capable of satisfying the popular need and demand, intellectual as well as practical.

The momentary viewpoint is compared to the Buddhist doctrine of universal flux, but because of its being only a partial view of element at the cost of other views, it can be called a pseudo-momentary viewpoint.


Anekanta: Philosophy of Co-existence Publisher:  JainVishwa Bharati, Ladnun, Rajasthan, India Editor: Muni Akshay Prakash

Edition:  2010 (1. Edition)

ISBN:  817195140-6

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  1. Naya
  2. Rjusūtra naya
  3. Space
  4. Ṛjusūtra Naya
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