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The Theory of Syadvada
have observed in our discussion on Nayavada
that it is not an absolute means of knowing the nature of relaity. The
further examination of truth is attempted by the theory oi Condtional
Dialecitc or Syadvada. The Nayavada
is analytical in character, while the Syadvada
is a synthetical in metho. The latter investigates the various
standpoints of th truth made possible by naya
and integrates them into a constent and comprehensive synthesis.
Dasgupta describes the relation between these two methods as follows:
"There is no universal or absolute position or negation, and all
judgements are valid only conditionally. The relation of the naya
doctrine with the syadvada
doctrine is, therefore, this, that for any judgement according to any
and every naya there are as many alternatives as are indicated by Syadvada..69"
prefix Syat in the Syadvada
represents the existence of those characters which, though not perceived
at the moment, are present in reality (nirdisyamanadharmavyatirikta'
sesadharmantarasamsucakena Syat yukto vado bhipretadharma-vacanam
Syadvadah). Syadvada reveals the certainty regarding any problem and
not merely the possibility or probability. It is a unique contribution
of Jainism of Indian Philosophy. Syadvadin
is a popular appellation given by later philosophers to Jainas.
Dharmakirti, Arcata and Santaraksita used this term for the Jainas in
their respective works.
is generally rendered into English as "may be" or
"perhaps" which is far from appropriate. As a matter of fact,
there is no appropriate word for Syat
in English, but we can translate it with the term relatively
which is closer and more suitable to convey the significance of the
theory. The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the meaning of relatively
as "having mutual relations, corresponding in some way, related to
each other".70 H,G.A.71 Van Zeyst writes: "When a function
indicates some difinite relationship in which the object stands to some
other object, the term must be described as "relative". There
is a word Kathancit in
Sanskrit literature which is used as a substitute for Syat
by Jaina as well as non-Jaina philosophers. These connotations tally
with the inner meaning of Syat.
Syadvada makes an effort to
respect other doctrines by warning us against allowing the use of eva
or only to proceed beyond its
prescribed limits and penetrates the truth patiently and non-voilently.
The uniqueness of Syadvada as
the most peaceful and non-violent means of arriving at the Truth through
argumentation is emphasised by Tatiya in his assessmetn of Syadvada
in Jaina Philosophy: "It is the attitude of tolerance and justice
that was responsibel for the origin of the doctrine of non-absolutlsm (anekantavada).
Out of universal tolerance and peace-loving nature was born cautiousness
of speech. OUt of cautiousnes of speech was born the habit of explaining
a problem with the help of Siyavaya
(syadvada) or Vibhajjavaya.
This habit again developed into a non-absolutistic attitude towards
would be helpful to remember that the nature of reality is determined in
Jainism by refering to the dravya
(matter), Ksetra (place), kala
(time) and bhava (state).
This is the positive factor. The negative factor is that of refering to
the negative counterpart (nisedha-pratimukha)
or a particular object such as the absence of ghatatva
(jarness) in cloth and vice versa. This negative factor constitutes the
full-fledged nature of the Jar as the positive one.
to the conception of Syadvada,
both identity and difference must exist in reality. But opponents
categorically deny this claim on the ground that a dual character can
never exist in an entity. The critics of Syadvada object to it on the
basis that Syadvada gives rise to the following erroneous results73 : (i)
self-contradiction, like hot and cold, (ii) Vaiyadhikaranya
or absence of a common abode, (iii) Anavastha
or regressus ad infinitum,
(iv) Sankara or confusion,
(v) Vyatikara or exchange of
natures, (vi) Samsaya or
doubt, (vii) Apratipatti or
non-apprehension, and (viii) Uvayadosa
or fallacies on both sides. Out of these defects Virodhadosa
is considered by them to be the most glaring. The Jainas do not accept
that there is any self-contradiction in Syadvada.
They put forth three possible forms in which virodha can occur :
destructive opposition, like mongoose (nakula)
and the serpent (ahi).
Sahanavasthanabhava or the
non-congruent opposition, like syama
and pita in a ripe mango.
or the obstructive opposition, like the moonstone which protects the
sun's rays. And they maintain that these forms of virodhas cannot effect
their theories of reality. They also say that an entity is anantadharmatmaka
(having innumerable characters) which cannot be perceived at once by
ordinary men until and unless, we conceive the problem through negative
and positive aspects (bhavabhavatmakatattvena),
universal-cum-particular elements (samanyavisesatmakena),
or substance-in-modes (dravyaparyayatmakena).
Each and everything is related to the four-fold nature of itself (svadrayacatustaya)
and is not related to the fourfold nature of the other-than-itself (paradravyacatustaya).
For instance, the jar is the jar in itself, but it is not the jar in
relation to others, as cloth, fruit, etc. No one can deny this dual
characteristic of a thing, otherwise its negative aspects or
non-existing characteristics would disappear and their modes would
to the Jainas, the non-existences (abhavas) are of four kinds, viz. Pragabhava,
Pradhvamsabhava, Itaretarabhava and Anyonyabhava.
Pragabhava means the
non-existence of an effect in the cause.75 The substance is eternal
which can neither be newly created nor completely destroyed.76 The
effect accordingly does not exist before its own existence, which is a
result of causes. The substance in itself is an effect and the modes are
the causes. That means the pre-modes are the pragabhava of post-modes.
The clay or the curd is the Pragabhava of jar (ghata) and butter (ghrta).
If this previous negation were not there, the product clay or curd would
always exist in their effects jar or butter.
Pradhvamsabhavr means the
non-existence of an effect after destruction.77 Pragabhava
is the Nimitta (determining
cause). The first destroys then the other originates. If this negation
were not in an entity, milk would still be there in curd.
Itaretarabhava or Anyonyabhava
means mutual non-existence. Each entity exists in its nature which
cannot be transferred to others. The cow cannot possess the form of the
horse.78 If this mutual negation were not in entities, the horse would
become every other thing.
Atyantabhava means the
absolute non-existence of an entity. As for instance, the sky-flower (akasa-kusuma)
or Sasa-visana (horns to the hares), which have no existence at all.79
the basis of above exposition, the Jainas endeavour to answer the
objections raised by opponents through the different aspects of the
nature of reality. They are dealt with below :
identity-in-differnece is the main figure which guards the Jaina
standpoint against the attacks of opponents. The exposition of this
central idea has been a necessary talk to the Jaina Acaryas. They
postulate a theory that a substance is neither absolutely different than
other things, nor absolutely alike. Otherwise how could the quality (guna)
and qualified (guni) be
entity is charactersied by birth (utpada),
death (vyaya) and permanence
(dhrauvya). All entities are
included in this definition. Sat
or substance is abheda and gunas
are bheda. Apart from gunas
or paryayas, there is no existence. There-fore, reality is called the
the same way the substance can be nither absolutely eternal nor
absolutely non-eternal, but it is eternal-cum-non-eternal. If we do not
accept this, causal efficiency (arthakriya)
would not be possible with an entity and all the transaction would fail
due to the static or perpetual fluxive character of thing. Pre-existence
would be dis-connected with the post-existence. How then could the doer
and enjoyer be recognized ?
reality is universalized-cum-particularised, one-cum-innumerable, etc.
from real and practical standpoints. There is no self-contradiction in
this recognition, since the nature of reality is conceived relatively.
or a theory of Sevenfold prediction
or the theory of sevenfold predication is a method of cognition to
apprehend the correct nature of reality-through a sevenfold relativist
dialectic method. It is treated as complementary to the Syadvada
doctrine. Akalanka thinks of it as a way which considers the modes of a
thing in a positive (vidhimukhena)
and negative (nisedhamukhena)
manner without incompatibility in a certain context. The sevenfold
predications are as follows :
syadasti or relatively it is.
syannasti or relatively it is
syadasti nasti or relatively
it is and is not.
syadavaktavya or relatively
is is inexpressible.
relatively it is and is inexpressible.
relatively it is not and is inexpressible.
syadastinastyavaktavya or it
is, is not, and is inexpressible.
the radical modes of predication are only three in number-syadasti,
spayannasti and syadavaktavya
which contruct other predications by combining themselves. The first two
modes represent the affirmative or being (astitva),
and the negative or non-being (nastitiva)
characters of an entity. The third is a combination of both being and
non-being. The fourth is inexpressible in its predicate. The remaining
three modes are the combined forms of the first, second, and the third.
The first two and the fourth predications are consequently the
assertions of simple judgments, and the remaining four of complex
judgments. According to the mathematical formula, the three fundamental
predications make seven modes and not more than that.
first mode represents the existence of the jar (ghata)
and the non-existence of cloth (pata)
in the jar. The second predication shows the negative aspect of jar that
it does not exist as cloth or anything else. There is no contradication
here, since the predication asserts the relative and determinate
abstraction. The third mode offers a successive presentation (kramarpana)
of negative and positive aspects of an entity, while the fourth one
offers a simultaneous presentation (saharpana)
of the two concepts. According to Jaina conception, one word represents
one meaning. The relation between a word and its meaning is described by
Jainas as Vacyavacakaniyama.
The characters of being and non-being
in the jar cannot be expressed at once (yugapat).
Therefore this predication is designated as inexpressible (avaktavya).
The remaining are the combined modes derived from bringing together the
first, second and the third with the fourth one, which express the
of these modes contains one alternative truth while altogether contain
the complete truth. Observing the importance of this method Padmarajiah
says : "The whole mehtod, therefore, may be said to be one which
helps a patient inquiring mind in its adventure of mapping out the
winding paths running into the faintly known or unknown regions or
reality and bringing them within the bounds of human knowledge."80
conception in Buddhist literature
rudiments of the Syadvada conception are found in Vedic and Buddhist
literature. It appears to have originally belonged to the Jainas, if we
accept Jainism as pre-Vedic religion, and all the subsequent thinkers
adopted it as a common approach to the nature of reality. That is the
reason why various forms of Syadvada
are found in the different philosophical shcools.
literature records negative and positive attitudes towards problems. The
Rgveda which is supposed to
be of the earliest period, preserves the rudiments of this doctrine in
the Nasadiya Sukta. It
manifests the spiritual experience, of the great sage, who describes the
nature of the universe as :
sadasit tadanim nasidrajo no vyomaparo yat. Kimabaribah kuha kasya
sarmannambhah kimasidgahanam gabhiram. Na mrtyurasidamrtam na tarhi na
ratrya abhna asit praketah. Anidavatam svadhaya tadekam tasmaddhanyanna
parah kim canasa.
was not the non-existent nor the existent : there was not the air nor
the heaven which is beyond. What did it contain ? where ? In whose
protection ? Was there water, unfathomable, profound ? There was not the
becon of night, nor of day. That one breathed, windness by its own
power. Other than that there was not anything beyond".81 This
indicates inexpressibility (anirvacaniyatva)
about the nature of the universe.
Upanisadic period presents this speculation in a more concrete form by
taking positive steps. The Chandogyopanisad82
represents the idea that Being (sat) is the ultimate source of
existence, while some Upanisads
uphold the view that Non-being is the source of Being (asad
va idamagra asit. tato vai sat ajayato).83 On the other
hand, some Upanisads assert that it is both, Being and Non-being (sadasadavarenyam),84
and some later Upanisads maintain that Non-being cannot be expressed by
using a particular name and form ( asad
avyakrta namarupam ).85
the concept or Syadvada found
in Vedic literature commences from polytheism and goes on to monotheism
and is later replaced by monism. This indicates that the theory was not
rigid. The later developed Vedic philosophical systems were also
influenced by this idea and they concived the problems from different
standpoints with the exception of that of complete relativism.
Naiyayikas,86 though they used the word anekanta,87
could not support the Anekantavada
entirely and they accepted the atoms, soul, etc. as having absolute
unchangeable characters. The Vedanta philosophical attitude also runs on
the same lines. Even considering a thing through empirical ( vyavaharika
) and real ( paramarthika )
standpoints, it asserts that all standpoints are inferior to the
standpoint of Brahman.88
Syadvada conception is found
in a more developed form in Buddhist literature. The Brahmajalasutta
refers to sixty-two Wrong-views ( micchaditthis
) of which four belong to the Sceptics. They are known as Amaravikkhepika
(who being questioned resort to verbal jugglery and eelwriggling) on
four grounds.89 The Commentary of the Dighanikaya
present its two alternative explanations. According to first, Amaravikkhepika
are those who are confused by their endless beliefs and words. The
second explanation gives meaning that like a fish named amara, the
theory of Amaravikkhepika
runs hither and thither without arriving at a definite conclusion.90
first of these schools is defined thus: "Herein a certain recluse
or brahmin does not understand, as it really is, that this is good (kusalam)
or this is evil (akusalam).
It occurs to him: I do not understand what is good or veil as it really
is. Not understanding what is good or evil, as it really is, if I were
to assert that this is good and this is evil, that will be due to my
likes, desires, aversions or resentments,it would be wrong. And if I
wete wrong, It would cause me worry (vighato)
and worry would be a moral danger to me (antarayo).
Thus, through feat of lying (musavadabhaya),
and the abhorrence of being lying, he does not assert anything to be
good or ebil and on verbal jugglery and eel-wriggling, otherwise, I do
not say no, I deny the denials (I do not say, "no no"). 91
to this school, it is inpossible to achieve knowledge which is a
hinderance to heavan or salvation (Saggassa
c'eva maggassa ca antarayo). 92 The second and the third
school of sciotics do not assert anything to be good or evil through
feat of involvement (upadanabhaya) and a fear of interrogation in debate
fourth school of Sceptics followed the philosophy of Sanhaya
Belatthiputta who fails to give a definite answer to any metaphysical
question tut to him. His foutfold scheme or the five-fold formula of
denial is based on the negative aspects which ate as follows: 93
evam pi me no (I do not say
tathapi me no (I do not say
annathapi me no (i do not say
no ti pi me no (I do not say
no no ti pi me no (I do not
formula is applied with regard to the answering of several questions as
atthi paro loki (there is
antthe paro koko (there is
not another world).
atthi ca natthi ca paro loko
(there is and is not another world).
Natthi na natthi paro loko
(there is not another world).
commentaty offers two explanations of the meaning of this formula.
According to the first explanation, proposition (1) is an indefinite
rejection or denial (aniyamitavikkhepo).
Prorposition (2) is the denial of a specific proposition, e.g. the
eternalism (sassatavada) when asked whether the world and the soul are
eternal. Proposition (3) is the denial of a variant of (3) e.g. the
rejection of the semi-eternal theory (ekaccasassatam),
which is said to be somewthat diggerent from (annatha).
Proposition (4) is the denial of the contrary of (2) e.g. the denial of
the nitilist theory (ucchedavadam)
when asked whether a being (tathagato)
does not exist after death. Proposition (5) is the rejection of the
dialectian's view (takkivadam)
of a double denial. e. g. denying the position if asked whether a being
neither exists nor does not exist after death.
to the second explanation, Proposition (1) is the denial of an assertion
e.g. if asked whether this is good, fh denies it. Proposition (2) is the
denial of a simple negation, e.g. it asked whether this is not good, he
denies it. Proposition (3) is a denial that what uou are stating is
different from both (1) and (2) (ubhaya
annatha) he denies it.Proposition (4) is a denial that uou are
stationg a point of view defferent from the above e.g. it asked whether
his thesis (laddhi) is
different from the three eaflier points of view (tividhena
pi na hoti), he denies, it. Proposition (5) is a denial of the
denials, e.g. if asked whether his thesis is to deny everything (no
no te ladhhi ti) he denies it. Thus he does not take his stand (na
titthati) on any of the lpgical alternatives (ekasmim
these explanations show that the fifth proposition of Sanjaya's
philositions of the theory remain. They can be compared with the first
fout predications of the Syadvada
theory of Jainas:
Syadasti (relatively it is).
Syannasti (relatively it is
Syadasti nasti (relatively it
is and is not).
Syadavaktavya (relatively it
this similarity, several scholars like Keith 96 are ready to give the
credit to Sanhaya for initiating this four-fold predication to solve the
logca problems. On the other hand, some savants like Jacobi think that
in opposition to the Agnosticism of sanjaya, Mahavira has established Syadvada.
Miyamoto asserts in his article "The Logic of Reality as the Common
Ground for the development of the Middle Way" that Sanjaya's"
system is quite close to the Buddhist standpoint of the indescribable or
views ate not quite correct. As a matter of tact, the credit should not
go only to Sanjaya for the adoption of the four-fold scheme, since there
were other schools of sceptics who also accepted a similar scheme.
Silanka referred to four groups of such schools Kriyavadins.
Akriyavadins, Ajnanavadins, and Vaineyikas. These are further
sub-divided into 363 schools based on purely the nine categories (nava
padarthas) of Jainism. 98 These schools were mainly
concerned with four quesitions. They areas foolws:
Who knows whether there is an arising of psychological states? (Sati
bhavotpattih ko vetti)?
Whp known whether there is no arising of psychological states? (Asati
bhavotpattih ko vettih).
Who knows whether there is and there is no atising of psychological
states? (Sadasati bhavotpattih ko
Who knows whether the arising of psycholotical states is inexpressible?
(Avaktavyo bhavotpattih ko vettih)?
questions are similar to first four Syadvada
predications. The main difference between the Predications of Sceptics
and Jainas was that the former doubts or denies the logical problems
altogether whereas the latter asserts that they ate true to a certain
Gasala and Syadvada
Gosala, the founder of the Ajivika sect and an earlier companion of
Nigantha Nataputta, has contributed to the development of the Syadvada
conception. He considered problems thrugh the three-fold standpoints,
called Tritasis, 99
a short version of sapta-bhangi.
the basis of the Nandisutra commentary, Basham observes: "The
Ajivika heretics founded by Gosala are likewise called Trairasikas,
since they declare everytimg to be of triple character, viz. : liviing,
not living, and both living and not living: world, not world, and both
world and not world; real, unreat, and both rreal and unreal, in
considering standpoints (naya) regarding the nature of substance, of
mode, or of both. Thus since they maintain three heaps (rasi)
or categories they are called Traitaiskas".
Further he says "the Ajivikas thus seem to have accepted the basic
principal of Jaina epistemologi, as in the orthodox Jaina Syadvada
and nayavada. "100
reference indicates that the Ajivikas were aware of the Saptabhangi of
the Jaina logic and they reduced them to three. Dr. Jayatilleka remarks
on this reference: "But Judged by the fact that the three-fold
scheme of predication is simpler than the four-fold scheme of the
Sceptics and Buddhists and the corresponding seven- fold schene of the
Jainas, it would appeat to be earlier than both the Buddhist and the
Jain schemes, with which the Ajivikas could not bave been acquainted
when they evolved theirs," Further he says, "In fact, it can
be shown that in the earliest Buddhist and jaina tests the very doctrine
of the Trairasikas, which
seems to have necessitated the three-fold scheme, is mentioned, thus
making it highly probable that it was atleast earlier than the Jain
scheme". He accounts for this view by saying that "while the
earliest stratum of the Pali Nikayas knows of the four-fold scheme, one
of the earliest Books of the Jain canon, the Sutrakkrtanga,
an independent reference to this Trairasika doctrine, does not mention
the seven-fold scheme, although it is aware of the basic principles of
Jayatilleke tries to prove that that thtee-fold schame appears to be
earlier than the jaina scheme. He gives a reason in support of his view
that the Satrakrtanga does
not mention the Seven-fold scheme. I too hold the thtee-fold scheme.
Dighanakha pribrajaka, who seems to be a follower of the parsvanatha
tradition, also maintains, as we have already found, this scheme.
regards the absence of the refernce in the Sutrakrtanga, it should be
remenbered that it is not totally unaware of the basic princioles of
Syadvada, as Jayatilleke himselg accepts. It is said that "the wise
nan should not joke or explain without conditional propositions."102
He should "expound the analytical theory (vibhajjavayaym
ca vyagrejja) and use the two Kinds of speech, living among virtuous
men, impartial and wise. 103 Gurther it does not deal with the Jaina
philosophy. It is a concise compilation of the Jaina doctrines as well
as oters of that time. It was, therefore, not essential to deal with
Syadvada in detail. Kundakunda, who flourished in the first century
B.c.or in the beginning of the Christian ere, described to the
Saptabhangi, himselg in the Pancastikayasara,
He says that "Dravya can be described by the seven-fold
predication: (1) siya atthi
or syadasti, (ii) siya
naya nathi, or syannasti, (iii) siya
uhayam or syadastimasti,
(iv) siya-avvattavva or syadvvaktavya
(v) siya atthi avvatavua or syadastyavaktavya,
(vi) siya atthi natthi avvattavva
amd (vii) siya atthi natthi
avvattavva or Syadstinastyavakktavaya:
atthi antthi uhayam avvattavvam puno ya tattadayam.
khu satta bhangam adesavasena sambhavadi. 104
means that the Syadvada and its predications were well known at the time
of the Buddha, and upto the time of Kundakunda they were developed still
Buddhe and Syadvada
the Buddha's time there were certain philosophical points which became
the subjects of violent debate. Having realised the futility of such
debates the Buddha became an analyist, like the Jainas. 105
In the Dighanikaya the Buddha
is reported to have said that he had taught and laid down his (anekamsika)
assertions. =106 The thory of Four-Noble-Truths is an example of the
former, and the theory of Avyakatas
is of the latter.
the term ekamsika and anekamsika
are very similar to ekantavada
and anekantavada. The former
is concerned with the non-Jaina philosophies and the latter with the
Jaina philosophy. The differemce between the Buddha's and Nigantha
Natputta's standpoints is that according to the former's conception the
non-categorical assertions are not true or false, from some standpoint
or another, unless we analyse them; while the latter upholds the view
that all the statements are relatively (syat)
correct,i.e.they contain some aspect of the truth. The theory of
avyakata dose not consist of any such quality.
buddha adopted the four-fold scheme to answer the logical questions of
that time as outlined below:
atthi (it is).
nattha (it is not).
atthe ca natthi ca (it is and
it is not). and
n've' atthi na ca natthi (it
neither is, nor is not).
four-fold scheme has been used in several places of the Pali Canon. For
asesaviraganirodha atth'annam, kinci ti? (is there anything else
after complete detachment from and cessation of the six spheres of
Channam...natth'annam kinci ti?
Channam...atthi ca n'athi c'annam
Channam...n'ev' atthi na
n'atth'annam kinci ti?
observes that the seven-fold scheme of the jainas is equivalent to the
four-fold scheme of Buddhists in the following manner:
this obsrvation is not perfectly right, since the jainas pondered over
the prblems nore profoundly than the Buddhists. It woule be more
appropriate it we think of the first four propositions of th Buddhists,
But there are differences between the Jaina and the Buddhist schemes.
According to the Jaina scheme, all the seven prpopsitions could be true
from relative standpoints, while in the Buddhist scheme only one
proposition could be true the propositions are not considered logical
alternatives in Jainism as considered in Buddhism.
is nore probable that the Buddha's Catuskoti
formula has been influenced by the four-fold formula of Sanjaya,
although there are also traces of the influence of the seven-fold
formula of the Jainas. Such formylas, it must be remenbered, were
commonly accpted at that time by teachers with differaent attitudes.
Nataputta and Syadvada in
pali Canon considers Anekantavada
or Syadvada a combination of
bothe Uccedavada and Sassatavada.
As we have already mentioned, Buddhaghosa was of the opinion that
Nigantha Nataputta presented his views in contradictory ways. 108
We have seen how this was due to the fact that Buddhaghosa could not
understand the real nature of Syadvada.
know that Jaina Philosophy considers problems neither by absolute
eternalism not absolute nihilism, but erernalismcum- nihilism. Apart
from the confusion regarding Sassatavada
and Uccedavada, there are no
explict references to Syadvada
in the pali Canon. The absence of direct references does not mean that
the Syadvada conception was
not a part and parcel of the doctrines of the Nataputta at that time.
This conclusion is further strengthened by the fact that Buddhist books
appear to be aware of some characteristics of Syadvada,
which might have belonged to the tradition of Parsvanatha.
the course of a discussion, the Buddha says to Saccaka, who was a
follower of the Parsvanatha tradition and converted later to the
Nataputta's religion, that his former statement is not keeping with the
latter, nor the latter with the former (na
kho te sandhiyati purimena pacchimena va purimani).109
Here attention is drawn to self-contradictions in Saccaka's statements.
This might have been an early instance of adducing self-contradiction (svaimavirodha)
as an argument against Sydvada.
This has been an oft-repeated criticism against Syadvada
by opponents of different times.
in the course of a conversation held between Nigantha Nataputta and
Citta Gahapati, the latter blames the former for his self-Contradictory
comception. He says; If your former statement is true, latter statement
is false, and if your latter statement is true, your primer statement is
false. (sace purimani saccani,
pacchimam te miccha, sace pacchimam saccam purimam te miccha).110
reference found in Pali literature helps us to understand the position
of Syadvada. The Dighanahha
of the Majjhima Nikaya
mentions the three kinds of theories upheld by Dighanakha Paribbajaka.
They are as follows:111
Sabbam me khamati (I agree
with all (views),
Svbbam ma na khanati (I agree
with no (views),
Ekhaccom me khamati, ekaccam me
ma khamati (I agree with some (views) and disagree with other
Buddha criticises Dighanakha's views in various ways, and expresses his
own views towards the problem. Dighanakha's views are similar to the
predications of Syadvada, and represent its first three bhangis as
Sabbam me khamati
Sabbam me na khamati
Ekaccam me khamati; ekaccam me na khamati
the problem is to consider to which school of thought Dighanakha
belonged. According to the commentary on the Majjhima Nikaya, he is said
to be a holder of the view of Ucchedavada, 112 which is a
part of Syadvada school in the opinion of Buddhaghosa. He might have
belonged to Sanjaya's of Paribbajakas who were followere of Parsvanatha
tradition converted later to Nataputta's religion before he joined the
Buddha's order. 113
Dighanakha was a nephew or Sanjaya. It seems, therefore, that he
was a follower of Jainism. This inference may be confirmed if Dighanakha
can be identified with Dighatapassi of the Upalisutta
of Majjhima Nikaya, who was a
follower of Nigantha Nataputta.
the above propositions of Saccaka Citta Gahapati and Dighanakha
Paribbajaka, we can trace the first four predications (including Syadavaktavaya)
of Syadvada conception of
is not impossible that the term Syat had been used by Jainas in the
beginning of each predication Justify correctly the others' views on the
basis of non-absolutism. The word Syat
(Siya in pali), which
indicates the definite standpoint towards the probelems, is also used in
the Cula Rahulovadasutta of
the Majjhima Nikaya, where
the two types of the Tejodhatu are pointed out in definite way. 114 It
seems that the word Syat originally belonged to the Jainas and was later
used by the Buddhists in a particular sense. The defect of
self-contradiction in Syadvada
conception of the jainas is a criticism levelled against it by the
Buddhists. It happened so, only because of ignorance of the meaning of
Syat. As a matter of fact, the Jainas had concentrated their attention
on the controversial points in different theories of then philosophers
and had tried to examine their views from different standpoints. By this
method the Jainas could figure out the real nature of reality and
consider the problem in a non-violent way.
refutation of Syadvada in Buddhist literature
Buddhist Acaryas at different times criticised the Syadvada conception
of the Jainas on the grounds of self-contradiction, commingling, doubt,
etc. The main arguments of the foremost Buddhist logicians were as
Kundakunda and Umasvati were among the earliest who established clearly
the theory of the triple character (produchion, destruction, and
permanence) of reality in Jainism. Nagarjuna (about 150-250 A.D.), the
propounder of Sunyavada made the charge that the theory of triple
character is itselg a self-contradictoy formula, as it cannot be
associated with reality, since such a thesis is faulty on account be
associated with reality, since such a thesis is faulty on account of anavasthadosa
(regressus ad infinitum).=115
the Pramana-Vartika (svavrtti) Dharmakirti remarksthat the Anekantavada
is mere non-sensical talk (pralapamatra). He asys in the course of
refuting the Bhedabhedavada theory that the Digambaras
present their doctrines in a fantastic way, could be refuted in the same
way as the Sankhya philosophy, which thinks of the nature of reality as
sbsolute difference (atyantabheda). He then mentions that the Jainas
hold a view: "All is one, and all is not one (sarvam
sarvatmakam na saram sarvatmakam).116
tries to clarify his remark by presenting a traditional example of the
Jainas. The Jainas explain their theory of the nature of reality with
the illustration of a golden jar (svarnaghata),
where gold is considered the general, and not the particular, character.
Here Dharmakirti points out why the jainas do not recognize the jar or
pot itselg as a general character, since Dravyatva
is in all of them according to Jainism
is of the view that the Jaina theory of dual character, viz universal
and particular, is so formulated that the character of particularity is
relegated to the background and made less significant. He explains this
with reference to the famous example of camel and curd. If the
particularity which disting camel from curd or vice verse is not an
important factor, he says one may as well eat a camel when he wants to
eat curd. He tries by this argument to demolish the Jaina theory as he
understood that cure is not only curd by itselg (Svarupena) but also
camel in a relative sense (pararupena) According to Dharmakirti, there
cannot be a universal character between camel and cure and even if such
a character exists, theit mutual difference or particularity is all that
matters for both identification and use.117
the Jaina conception of the universal character of a thing, he says: if
all realities are sat (being or isness), there would be no difference
between knowledge and word (dhi and dhvai)
that imparts a Knowledge, which is quite impossible. Therefore Syadvada
conception in Dharmakirti's opinion is defective. 118
A.D.), the well known commentator and a pupil of Dharmakirti, also
refutes the Jain theory of reality. His criticism is very similar to the
criticism of Nagarjuna. Prjnakara says: origination, destruction, and
permanence cannot exist together. If is destroyed how can it be a
reality; if it is permanent, If is destroyed and if it is permanent, it
should always be in mind. He then argues that the reality cannot be
realised as both eternal and non-eternal. It should be accpeted as
either eternal or non-eternal.119 Here Prajnakara pointed out
that the triole character of a thing is a self-contradictory theory.
view mentioned in the "dravyaparyayayoraikyam" and "samjnasamkhyavisesasca"
has not been refuted by Dharmakirti. Whatever may be its reason, it is
criticised by his commentator Arcata (about the seventh century A.D.)
who follwoed the arugments of Nagarjuna 120 He says: origination and
destruction cannot exist together in one dharmi, since they ate
contradictory in character. The argument "they take place
relatively" would not solve the question, because in the course of
origingation and destruction, permanence would be there, and likewise in
the presence of a permanent character the other two would be absent
Therfore, a triple-charactered nature of reality as the Jainas assert,
is not possible accoble according to Arcata's way of thinking. 121
another place he tries to refute the Bhedabhedavada
(identity-in-difference) conception which means the substance and its
modes cannot be separated from a realistic stendpoing, but they ate
different in name, number, nature, place, etc from a practical
viewpoint. It appears as if he does not see much difference between
ubhayavada of Vaisesikas bhedabheda of jainas, That is the reason why he
conceives the substance as being completely defferent from its modes.
refutes the view first in prose under the heading "Anhrikadisammatasya
then the same arguments are repeated in fourty-five stanzas, The gist of
them is as follows:
difference between substance and its modes by the name, number, etc and
unity of them into one by place, time, and nature, is not possible as
the nature of reality, since an entity cannot assume more than one
further points out that samjna is the cause of an intimation (sanketa)
which depends on desites. How then can one differentiate it by name,
since it is also one, not two? Words are fictitious, the difference
therefore, would be imaginative Sankhyabheda
also is not possible as there is a difference between vacya
(to be spoken) and vacaka
(speaker), which is also kalpita
he points out that without the destruction of a substance there would be
no destruction of its modes. Hence, they can be identified neither as bheda
nor as abheda. If the modes are different from the substance, words
would not be connected with them. If they are accepted as non-different,
their natures would be one. How then could the Laksanabheda
be applied? Karyabheda is also not possible as there is no difference in
theory "substance and its mondes are not different (abheda)
in place, time, nature" is also defective in Prajnakara' sviews. He
saya: "position, the form, smell, juice, touch etc. are different
in modifications. If the nature stays with substance and nodes in the
form of destruction and otherwise, the substance would be two as ghata
and pata, not one which removes abhedatva
with them. Further he says, if the bhedabheda
is accepted, the bheda (dfference)
would be fictitious due to not leaving the abheda
(identity), would be abheda
would be proved as false in character. Here Arcata thinks in terms of
ubhayavada that if the substaance and mode ate completely defferent, all
the evils of both the "identityview and difference-view" will
lay upon this conception.124
refers to the jaina's view that they analyse reality through sui-generis
(Jatyantara) which exposes
the combination of identity and difference, although it makes a
distinction between the particular and general character of reality. For
instance, Narasimha is a
combination of man and lion, which is not self-contradictory because of
the theoty of sui-generis.
this theory, Arcata points out that Narasimha is a compendium of atoms
which cannot be transtormed into narasimha.
Due to a combination of the forms which is called sabalarupa, a place of
existence of diverse naturas. How then could a unity in nature be
proved/ Arcata finally remakrs that this is the philosophy of
block-heads (darsanakrto'yam viprayaso mudhamatinam):
criticism is based on the understanding that the nature of reality is
completely in two different forms. This is the view of vaisesikas, not
Jainas. This criticism nade by Aranyakas is answered by the later Jaina
philosphers such as Vadirajasuri, Anantavirya, Prabhacandre.
examined the Syadvada doctrine of the Jainas in a separate chapter of
his Tattvasangraha. The main
defects, according to him, are as follows:
the oneness between substance and modes is real (agauna), then the
substance also should be destructive like the form of the successive
factors or those successive factors themselves should be comprehensive (anugatatmaka)
in their character, like the nubstance. Therefore it should be admitted
that either there is absolute destruction of all characters or it
consists of the elments of permanence, exclusiveness and inclusiveness,
which can-not exist in any single thing.126
he turns to the wuniversal and the particular character of an entity. He
says: there would be a comingling (sankarya)
and a confusion (Sandeha) in
the dual nature of teality, the result of which would not be helpul to
decide which is general and which is particuloar (parasparsvabhavatve
syatsamanyavisesayoh sankaryatattvato nedam dvaiupyamupapadyate) 127
the generat and the particular are regarded as non-different from one
and the sane thing, how could there be any difference in the nature of
these two characters? And being non-different why should it not be
regarded as one? 127
diversity of properties (dharmabheda)
also cannot be accepted there, since the diversity or plurality cannoto
be one. As regards the potencies (saktnam),
their diversity is merely a creation of the speakers' desire to speak.
As it is crystal clear that both, affirmation and denial, cannot exist
in one thing. we hava to regard the self-contradiction between unty and
plurality. Hence, he observes that any diversity of properties of a
single entity can only be a creation of fancy (kalpita) 128
diversity (stage of an entity which is excluded from several like and
unlike things to this and that) even a single thing may be assumed to
have numberless diverse forms; but in reality no single thing thing
thing can reasonably have two forms.
further gives a traditional example of Narasimha. He says; such entities
as narasimha nad others which have been described as possessing dual
characters are also not real but conceptual (kalpita). These arguments
of Santaraksita resemble those of Arcata. 129
he arrives at the conclusion that duel character of a thing is figment
of mere inagination.
min and Syadvada
in the Pramanavartikasvavrttitika
refers to the Digambaras' theory of relativity, according to which they
accept the mutuual negation (anyanyabhava)
to distinguish the realities, so that they should not be confused. He
then starts to criticise the view that the distinction among things,
cannot be inentifedn by mutual negation, which is possible in entities
produced by non-different causes. If they originate from different
causes, how does anyonabhava come into existence? 130
he tried to show the defects in the Jaina's theory of
universal-cum-particular character of urdhvatasamanyatmaka
and tiryakaamanyatmaka vastu.
He then rejects the theory saying that there should be either abhheda or
cannot co-exist in the same substance. Hence the urdhvatasamanya could
be destroued because thing are not permanent.
regards tiryaksamanya, that is also defective in character in his
opinion. He says: if the unicersality were in the substance, the ghata
(pot) and pata (pata (linen)
or dadhi (cure) and ustra
(camel) would be identical, Hence a shape or a water-pot should be found
in cloth and a curdeater should consume a camel 131 Therefore
Syadvada doctrine is false (mithyavada) in his opinion.
Karnakatomin makes his refutation following Dharm. akIrti's arguments,
and tries to prove that the dual characteristic of an entity is not
possible as it invites serious defects in the theory.
another Buddhist logician wrote a complete book Anekantavadamirasa
to refute the Anekantavada.
Padmaraja summarizes its arguments as follows;-
the Anekantavadin maintains
that dravya and paryaya are identical, owing to the identity of their
nature, it means that he affirms nothing short of their total identity (ekarupataiva)
Difference, based on (the secondary consideration) number etc (sankhyadi),
will then be fictitious (Kalpanamatrakalpitah
syat). For, a real difference (paramarthikobhedah)
between the two cannot proceed from the identity of theit nature (na
hi yayoh svabhavabhedah tayoh anyatha paramarthiko bhedah sambhavati).
conversely, when the anekantavadin
pleads that dravya and paryaya
are different, it means that he affirms their unqualified differnce.
Identity will then be ictitious. for real identity (svabhavabhedah)
cannot proceed from the differencc which is their basic and total
nature. The truth about the whole position, according to Jitare, is that
one cannot have identity as well as difference by the same nature (na
ca tenaiva svabhavena bhedascabhedasca).
then says: "the entire argument, from the Buddhist side, may be
said to have been grounded on the basic truth of the fundamental
Buddhist dictum: "It cannot be right to affrm and deny a thing at
once, affirmation and denial being mutually contradictout,"133
the same arguments are fund in the Vijnaptimatratasiddhitika
According to that both the affirmative and negative aspects cannot exist
in one thing.134
sum up in very ancient days there was a three-fold or four-fold common
predication to satify the burning philosopical questions of mind. Pali
as well as Jain Prakrt literature, mention them as Scepticism of
agnosticism. The Anekantavada
(non-absolustic standpoint) which strives to incorpoate the truth of all
two main organs that of Nayavada (the doctrine of standpoints),
and Syadvada (the dialectic
of conditional predication). The whole theory is more renowned by the
name of Syadvada and its apprehenders ate called Syadvadimah
nature of reality is the main problem of philosophy. On the basis of Syadvada
the Jainas established the dual character of reality. In the medieval
period of logic the non-jaina philosophers, especially the Byddhists,
such as Nagarjuna, Dharmakirti, Prajnakara, Arcata, Santaraksita and
Jitari attacked the theory and blamed the Janinas for several defects
and ultimately called their theory Mithyavada and Jalmakalpita.
jaina philosphers tried their best to explain the theories which these
critics held to be defective. Akalanka (720-780 A.D.), wjp can be hailed
as the propunder of the Jaina tradition appeats to have more or less
followed him in their Jaina tradition appears to have more or less
followe him in their endeavaurs to refute the objection brought against
main arguments of the Buddhists to reject the Syadvada doctrine, as we
have already mentioned is that the two characters cannot exist rotether
in one reality. Otherwise there would be a self-contradiction of
affirmative and negative characters. Other defects to be mentioned are
confusion adn commingling that follw self-contradiction.
a matter of fact, the Buddhist philosophers misunderstood the theory of
Syadvada, since they treated the dual characteristic of the nature of
reality as absolutely different from each ofther. This theory originally
belonged to the vaisesikas, anhd not the Jainas. The theory of the
vaisesikas, called Ubhayavada is criticised by the Jaines themselves,
who observed in it the defects of selg-contradiction commingling, doubt,
etc. The Buddhist philosophers have found the very same defects in the
Jainas' theory of Syadvada.
foremost afgunent against this doctrine is the violation of the Law of
Contradiction, which means that "be" and "not be"
cannot exist together. But the Jainas do not accept this formula in toto.
They say that the validity of of experience (samvedana)
and not by pre-conception. Experence certifies that the dual chatacter
exists in respect of its own individuality and does not exist
apart from and outsitde this nature (sarvamasti
svarupena pararupena nasti ca), as we have already seen. In
relativistic standpoint both, being and non-being, can exist together.
Everything is real only in relation to and distinction from every other
thing. The Law of Contradiction is denied absolutely in this respect.
The point is only that the absolute distinction is not a correct view of
things, according to Jainism.
regards the triple character (origination, destruction, and permanence)
of reality, the Jainas support it through anyathanupapannatvahetu
as explained before. The Buddhists themselves are of the view that a
thing perishes immediately after its origination, and this
continuitynevger ends. The continuity of moments or similar moments (sajatiyaksanas)
is considered the material cause (upadana
karana).This is in fact nothing but only dhrauvya
or a permanent feature of the jainas and the Santana
(continuity of the Buddhists.Without accepting dhrauvya
or santana, memory (Smrti),
etc wpi;d dosappear frpm fidle of experience. Therefore, the permanent
element is essential for the circulation into the modes.
permanent element possesses the character of indentity in-difference (dhedabhedavada)
Identity is used in the sense that the substance and its modes cannot be
separated from a realistic standpoint, and difference in the sense that
they ate different in name, number, etc from a practical viewpoint.135
In other words, the modes are not absolutely different from substance as
in that case, the modes would not belong to the substance. with past
reflections the substance is transformed into present moeeds and proves
itselg as a cause of tuture modes that are necessary for the
understanding of the permanent character of an entity. To understand the
difference between Gunas and paryayas,
the terms sankhya, laksana,
etc are used. From a realistic standpoint there is no such difference
which could indicate the separation between them. After refuting the
objections of Arcata, Vadiraja comments that the latter is not capable
of finding defects in the Syadvada by his powerful voice. 136
preserve the unity of terms in relation to different characters, the
Jainas assert an element which is called Jatyantary
(sui generis or unque). They
maintain that a reality is a synthesis of identity-in-difference and
each syntheses is Jatyantary.137
This is illustrated by the instance of Narasimha
which is criticised by the Buddhist philosophers. Prabhacandra says in
response to the Buddhist criticism about narasimha
that it is neither nara nor simha,
but becausof their similarities they are called Narasimha.
While having mutual separation they exist non-differently in relation to
substance and like waves in water they emerge and sink in eavh other.138
Thus there is no self-contradiction in dual charactars of an entity in
relative sense, as the Jainas assert.
urged with regard to the universal-cumparticular character of reality
that this theory compelled one to recognize the curd and camel as one
entity. In connection with the fallacious middle term (hetvabhasa)
Akalanka points out that the Buddhist philosophers discover defects to
censure the Jainas on the basis of invalid argumaents (Mithyajati).139
For instance, Dharmakirti ignores the form ula sarvobhavastadatatsvabhavah
and tries to establish equality between curd and camel. Hence he
questions why one who intends to eat curd, does not go to eat a camel in
place of curd, since according to Jainism, bth have the universal
tries to disarm critics like Dharmakirti by ponting out the deffinition
of samanya and visesa. Vadiraja, a commentaror of Akalanka, explains
that the similar transtormation of a thing into its modes (sadrasaparinamo
hi samanyam) is called Samanya 141 According to this definition, the
modes of curd and camel ate not similar, they are really completly
different, as well as similaf. How is it then possible that these
elements are mixed?
argument used for the refutation of the Buddhist standpoint is that the
identity is only among the modes of curd, as hard, harder, hardest, etc.
but they have never any sort of relation with the nodes of camel. Hence,
they can never be mixed with each other. Vadiraja refers to a
traditional fiction that Dharmakirti proved himself as a Vidusaka
(jester) because he did not possess a good knowledge of the opponents
again crticises the view of Dharmakirti saying that if the argument that
"the atoms of curd and camel may have been mixed sometimes before
and the atoms of curd have still the capacity to be transfered into the
modes of camel" is to be raised, it would not be advisable. For the
past and the future modes of an entity are different, and all
transactions and transformations run according to present modes. The
curd is for the purpose of eating, while the camel is for riding. The
words for them are also completely different from each other. The word
"curd" can be applied only to curd, not camel. It is the same
case with the word "camel" too.
further points out if in relation to past modes the unity between curd
and camel is derived, then Sugata was mrga (deer) in his previous birth
and the same Mrga became Sugata. Why then should Sugata only worshipped
and Mrga be considered edible? 143
sugato'pi mrgo jato mrgo'pi Sugatah smrtah,
Sugato vandyo mrgah khadyo yathesyata.
dadhi khadeti kimustramabhidhavati
he tries to prove that as the transformations of sugata
and Mrga are quite different,
and their being worshipped and eaten are related to theit modes, all
substamces have the capacity to be transformed only to their possible
modes, not to others. Therefore the identity between the modes of cure
and camel cannot laead to the truth. Their transformations do not have
the Tadatmyasambandha and Niyatasambandha.
fact, Akalanka and other Jaona Acaryas tried to meet the arguments of
the Buddhist philosophers in forceful words. The innumerable examples of
scathimg attacks against Buddhists can be seen in Akalanksa's and other
Jaina Scaryas' works. The caustic remerks' such asJadyahetavah,
ahnikalakaanam, pasulaksanam, etc made by Dharmakirti himselg on
opponents' views ate criticised by Akalanka in tbe Pramana-sangrath. 145
the Jaina Acaryas do not accept any self-contradiction in the Syadvada
conception. Likewise, the which are based on the selgcontradiction, are
also proved as "mithyadosaropana".
And according to them. the criticism made by the buddhists or others is
not effective in this ccontext. As a matter of fact, in their opinion,
Syadvada has no defects provided it is clearly understood.
these comments we mey conclude that:-
The rudiments of syadvada conception of Jainas can be gleaned from early
Syadvada conception originally belonged to Jainas and all the subsequent
thinkers adopted it in a somewhat different way as a common approach to
conceive the mature of reality.
Syadvada is neither Ucchedavada
nor Sassatavada as
Buddhaghosa understands, but is permanence-in-change. According to this
theory, the triple characters, viz, origination, destruction and
permanence, can abide with a substance at one and the same time.
Arthakriya (causal efficiency) is the essence of Syadvada conception.
According to the Jainas. the arthakriya
is possible in only the dynamic (parinami)
The nature of relity is universal-cum-particular; and the nature of
relation of an entity is deliverance of the direct and objective
(vi) There is neither self-contradiction nor any other defect which the Bubbhist Acaryas tried to point out.
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