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Anekanta : Philosophy of Co-existence: 06.08 The Doctrine of Nayas - The Scope of Viewpoints

Published: 27.07.2010
Updated: 28.07.2010

Chapter 6

The Doctrine of Nayas: Infinite Modes and Infinite Approaches

The Scope of Viewpoints

The substance stands for the universal whereas the modes refer to the particular aspects of a thing. Substance and modes are indeed the basic objects of cognition. Two fundamental viewpoints have been conceived on the basis of these two aspects of a real-

  1. The cognition or the experience of the substance" or the universal of a thing is the source of what is
    known as the substantial viewpoint (dravyārthika naya).
  2. The mode or the particular in a thing is responsible for what is called the modal viewpoint (paryāyārthika naya).

Of the seven nayas the Pantoscopic, the Synthetic and the Analytic viewpoints fall under the category of substantial viewpoint. The remaining four viz. the Momentary, Verbal, Etymological and Functional viewpoints constitute the category of modal viewpoint.

According to another system of classification the first four viewpoints which are mainly concerned with the ontological aspect of a thing are called the ontological viewpoint (artha naya). The remaining three, being mainly concerned with the linguistic aspect, are called the verbal viewpoint (śabda naya).

The Pantoscopic viewpoint is called an idealistic standpoint (jñāna naya) on account of its being concerned with the speaker's will or intention and also because the past and future modes referred to in this viewpoint are mere ideas and do not reside in an external object.

A viewpoint (naya) has a double function, viz. experience of the object and its verbal expression. All the viewpoints may be considered idealistic (jñāna naya) on account of their being of the nature of experience. They can also be considered as linguistic (śabda naya) on account of their being expressed in verbal propositions.

The nature of a thing (substance) is sometimes determined with reference to its intrinsic nature or the material cause (upādāna kārana) while on other occasions it is determined with reference to modes arising from extraneous sources. In the former case the viewpoints may be called Transcendental (niścaya naya) and in the latter the empirical (vyavahāra naya).

The doctrine of non-absolutism falls under two divisions, viz., complete comprehension through pramāna and partial assessment through naya. The entire object is revealed by the pramāna, whereas only a particular aspect is determined by the naya. The entire object comprehended through the principle on non-absolutism is analysed in parts by means of the system of nayas. The water from the ocean contained in the pot can neither be called an ocean nor non-ocean, but it can be called only a part of the ocean. Similarly, a naya though arising from the pramāna is neither a pramāna nor a non-pramāna.

A viewpoint (naya) is limited in its activity to the presentation of its own subject-matter. It is called a naya so long as it does not refute the rival viewpoint. As soon as the refutation of a rival viewpoint is attempted; it falls in the category of pseudo-naya (durnaya) on account of its being absolutistic in character.

An absolutistic viewpoint that asserts its own validity independently of any other viewpoint gives rise to controversy whereas the relativistic viewpoint or a coordinated viewpoint gives rise to reconciliation or absence of controversy.

Even as gems strung together merge their individuality into a necklace, exactly so the different viewpoints embodying different experiences merge into the philosophy of non-absolutism being held together on the string of relativism.


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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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Artha
  2. Artha naya
  3. Dravyārthika
  4. Dravyārthika Naya
  5. Jñāna
  6. Jñāna naya
  7. Naya
  8. Nayas
  9. Niścaya Naya
  10. Non-absolutism
  11. Paryāyārthika
  12. Paryāyārthika Naya
  13. Upādāna
  14. Upādāna kārana
  15. Vyavahāra Naya
  16. śabda naya
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