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Anekanta : Philosophy of Co-existence: 07.00 Naya, Anekanta and Rules of Thinking

Published: 31.07.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

Chapter 7

Naya, Anekanta and Rules of Thinking


Key-Words

Abhed - identity
Abhed vritti and abhedopachar - perspective of identity
Achetan - inanimate
Bhed - divergence
Chetan - animate
Evambhoot naya - viewpoint of function
Jiva - soul
Naya - viewpoint
Pudagal - physical substance of matter
Samabhirudh naya - etymological viewpoint
Samyag darshan - right vision or proper Perspective


Naya is a point of view, a vision and a way of thinking. There are as many naya as there are ways of speaking. Through the substantial point of view things are described with respect to their ultimate substance and through the modal point of view they are described with respect to its modification i.e. their origination-cessation or impermanence. One naya only analyses a portion of the whole, so naturally the remaining portion too remains allied to it. Modes are innumerable hence viewpoints too are innumerable. Naya is absolutism, but it is in no way the false angle to perception. It bears no eagerness to perceive wholeness in a portion; it is not an exposition of absolute truth. Hence there is scope for healthy contemplation through naya. According to the anekanta (a multi-faceted viewpoint or non-absolutism) school of thought totally identity and totally divergence is an absolutist approach. With this approach truth cannot be explained properly. The Jain philosophers have endeavoured to amalgamate abhed (identity) and bhed (divergence) and reduce ideological conflict.

Naya, Anekanta and Rules of Thinking

It is hardly possible to ignore Samyag Darshan (right vision or proper perspective) when contemplating the doctrine of Jain philosophy, because it is an integral part of Jain philosophy that emanates consciousness. Thought is a dimension of knowledge but Samyag Darshan is a consciousness that removes illusion.

Knowledge is acquired from two sources: sensuous consciousness and transcendental consciousness. Thinking is related to sensuous consciousness but in transcendental consciousness there is vision and introspection but no thought.

According to the Jain doctrine, the knowledge gained from sensuous consciousness is a partial knowledge of a substance, not the entire knowledge of the substance. A person possessing sensory consciousness knows the part of the substance. That partial knowledge becomes the subject of controversy. Five individuals gain knowledge about five different aspects of any one substance and each of them believes their own knowledge to be perfect and true and that of the others to be untrue. In Jain philosophy an effort has been made to change this approach and understand truth through right vision; this is called "Nayavad".

Naya is a point of view, a vision, and a way of thinking. However according to Siddhasen Diwakar - there are as many naya as there are ways of speaking: Javeya vayanapaha, taveya chev hunti nayavaya. This extensive approach makes the areas of contemplation very difficult. It becomes problematic for the listener or the learner to come to any tangible conclusion. In order to ease up this problem the Jain Acharyas have described two separate areas for the thought

  1. Dravyarthik naya (the substantial point of view) - that means describing a thing with respect to its ultimate substance i.e. its persistence or permanence.
  2. Paryarthik naya (the modal point of view) - that means describing a thing with respect to its modification i.e. its origination-cessation or impermanence.

These two views have been delineated for the convenience of contemplation and veritable ruling. In fact the thoughts cannot be made veritable by dividing them in persistent and origination-cessation or permanent and impermanent. For exposition of persistence the substantial viewpoint was adopted and for exposition of change the modal point of view was adopted. Both point of views are relative. Nowhere is persistence completely independent of change and vice versa. Yet, in order to get a holistic understanding of existence this arrangement was deemed fit. The substantial point of view analyses persistence or oneness, but does not completely rule out change, as every viewpoint has its own limitations. It does not believe in polemics of the subject matter. Relativity means that there is nothing absolute. One naya only analyses a portion of the whole, so naturally the remaining portion too remains allied to it. This perception clarifies the theory of relativity.

This relativity is also expressed in the sentence - as many viewpoints exist in as many ways of thought. The basis of this argument is its mode. Modes are innumerable hence viewpoints too are innumerable. Only does the combination of innumerable parts enable us to realize the substance in totality. This is nqt a correct perception to believe that one mode constitutes a whole. Naya is absolutism, but it is in no way the false angle to perception. It bears no eagerness to perceive wholeness in a portion; it is not an exposition of absolute truth. Hence there is scope for healthy contemplation through naya or viewpoint.

Divergence and identity are two broad areas of contemplation. Identity does not affect the behaviour. Divergence becomes the cause for conflict and disharmony. When dwelling on philosophical ideas it is divergence which gives rise to conflict.

The Jain philosophers have endeavoured to amalgamate zbhed (identity) and bhed (divergence) and reduce ideological conflict. Also there is no total difference between chetan (animate) and achetan (inanimate) or the jiva (soul) and pudgal (physical substance of matter). Conscience is the prime quality of the jiva whereas pudagal is bereft of conscience. Its prime attribute is quadruple combination of colour, smell, taste and touch. From the perspective of prime attribute jiva and pudagal are two different substances. Yet from the perspective of state they are not different. Jiva also has its form and pudgal too has its form. The two are not different also from the viewpoint of knowledgeability, objectivity and transitoribility.According to the anekanta (a multi-faceted viewpoint or non-absolutism) school of thought totally identity and totally divergence is an absolutist approach. With this approach truth cannot be explained properly.

There are eight main areas of the anekanta viewpoint.

  1. True
  2. Untrue
  3. Permanent
  4. Impermanent
  5. Similar
  6. Dissimilar
  7. Expressible
  8. Inexpressible
Sources

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. Abhed
  2. Acharyas
  3. Achetan
  4. Anekanta
  5. Chetan
  6. Consciousness
  7. Contemplation
  8. Darshan
  9. Dravyarthik naya
  10. Evambhoot
  11. Jain Philosophy
  12. Jiva
  13. Naya
  14. Non-absolutism
  15. Objectivity
  16. Paryarthik Naya
  17. Pudagal
  18. Pudgal
  19. Samabhirudh naya
  20. Samyag Darshan
  21. Siddhasen Diwakar
  22. Soul
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