Chapter 1

Matisrutävadhayo viparyayascha (32) (SS 31)

Sadasatoravishesadyadrchchhopalabdherunmattavat (33) (SS 32)

Naigamsangrahvyavahärrjursutrashabdä nayah (34) (not SS)

Ädyashabdao dvi-tri-bhedao (35) (not SS)

Naigamasangrahavyavahärarjusutrashabdasamabhirudhaivambhutä nayäh !!33!! (SS)

Matisrutävadhayo viparyayascha (32) (SS 31)


Mati, sruta and avadhi (Sensory knowledge, scriptural knowledge and clairvoyance )‑ these three are also of the form of false‑knowledge, technically called ajnäna. 32


Sadasatoravishesadyadrchchhopalabdherunmattavat (33) (SS 32)


Since the knower concerned does not know how to discriminate the real from the unreal, even true knowledge on his/her part is in fact false knowledge since it is like a madman's knowledge. 33


The five forms of knowledge - mati, sruta etc. are modes of consciousness. Therefore, they are all designated as knowledge. But the first three of them are understood to be of the form of jnäna as well as ajnäna. Thus we have mati‑jnäna as well as mati‑ajnäna, sruta‑jnäna as well as sruta‑ajnäna, avadhi‑jnäna as well as avadhi‑ajnäna ‑ techincally called vibhanga‑jnäna.


Question : The three modes mati etc. are called jnäna as they make possible to recognize their respective objects. Then why are these false-knowledge (ajnäna)? For the two words jnäna and ajnäna, being mutually contradictory, cannot apply to the same object ‑ just as light and darkness cannot exist at the same place.


Answer : All the above three modes are to be called knowledge so far as the worldly convention is concerned but here they are called jnäna as well ajnäna based on the convention of the spiritual discipline. The three cognitive modes mati, sruta and avadhi as belonging to a mithyäadrasti person (i.e. a person devoid of samyakdarsana) are ajnäna while the same as belonging to a samyak‑drasti person (i.e. a person possessed of samyak‑darsana) are jnäna.


Question : It is not possible that only the samyak‑drasti persons carry on authentic knowledge. The mithyä‑drasti ones can also have authentic knowledge. For instance, just as the person of right faith perceives and ascertains form, color and so on, so also does the person of wrong faith.  And just as the man of right attitude ascertains matter through clairvoyance, so also does the man of wrong attitude through erroneous clairvoyance.


It is also not possible that a samyakdrasti person never has false knowledge in the form of doubt or illusion while a mithyä‑drasti person always has nothing but false knowledge of this sort.


Nor is it possible that the instruments of knowledge like sense‑organs etc. must be perfect and free from defect in the case of a samyak‑drasti person while the same must be imperfect in the case of a mithyä‑drasti person. And who can say that all the persons who happen to throw unprecedented light on subjects like science, literature etc. and who arrive at authentic conclusions regarding the same are samyak‑drasti?


So the question arises as to what is the basis of the present convention as to the terms jnäna and ajnäna resorted to by the spiritual discipline.


Answer : The basis of the spiritual discipline is the spiritual standpoint and not the worldly one. Thus souls are of two types: a) those directed towards moksha and b) those directed towards a worldly life. The persons directed towards moksha are possessed of a sense of impartiality and self‑discrimination, hence they make use of all their knowledge with a view to strengthening their sense of impartiality ‑ not to strengthening the worldly cravings. And that exactly is why their knowledge is to be called jnäna. On the contrary, the knowledge belonging to the person directed towards a worldly life, howsoever extensive and lucid it might be from the worldly standpoint, is to be called ajnäna precisely to the extent it tends to support not the sense of impartiality but the worldly cravings.


The idea is that even if a madman is in possession of much property and even if on occasions he attains true knowledge his madness is always on the increase; similarly, the mithyädrasti person, who suffers from an intensity of attachment and aversion and is ignorant as to the nature of soul, employs even the vast stock of his knowledge just for strengthening his worldly cravings. That is why his knowledge is to be called ajnäna. On the contrary, the samyak‑drsti person, who suffers from no intensity of attachment and aversion and is possessed of knowledge concerning soul, employs even the small stock of his knowledge just for spiritual satisfaction. That is why his knowledge is to be called jnäna. This how things are viewed from the spiritual standpoint.


A knowledge that leads to right thinking and right conduct is called jnäna and which leads to wrong thinking and wrong conduct is called ajnäna.



The types of Naya :


Naigamsangrahvyavahärrjursutrashabdä nayah (34) (not SS)

Ädyashabdao dvi-tri-bhedao (35) (not SS)

Naigamasangrahavyavahärarjusutrashabdasamabhirudhaivambhutä nayäh !!33!! (SS)


Naigama, sangraha, vyavahara, rjusutra and shabda - these five are the types of naya. 34 (not SS)


Of these, the first ‑ that is naigama ‑ and shabda have got two and three sub‑types respectively. 35 (not SS)


There are seven types of Naya: 1. Figurative Point of View (Naigamnaya), 2. Collective Point of View (Sanghrahanaya), 3. Distributive Point of View (Vyavaharnaya), 4. Finite Point of View (Rujusutranaya),  Descriptive Point of View (Shabdanaya), 5. Descriptive Point of View (Shabdanaya), 6. Etymological Point of View (Samabhirudhanaya), 7.  Determinant Point of View (Evambhutnaya).


Anekäntväd is the basis of Jainism. It is the life-force of the Jain philosophy. Because of the beginningless past and the endless future, an ordinary person cannot perceive innumerable qualities and infinite modes of a substance (sat, Dravya). At a single moment he/she can be aware of one or a few qualities and modes of the substance. This complex subject of eternity and transitoriness of the substance  involving innumerable qualities and infinite modes leads to the doctrine of Anekäntväd. In other words, one cannot fully describe the nature of substance without Anekäntväd.


Even though there is only one absolute truth, there are many aspects of the truth. When we think that there is only one aspect of the truth, we become prejudiced and narrow-minded. When we are willing to consider other aspects of the truth, we become open minded and Anekäntvädi.


Anekäntväd helps us 1) to learn more than one quality of an object, 2) to overcome our limited knowledge, 3) to overcome incompleteness of our knowledge and 4) to overcome the limitation of verbal expression.


The doctrine of  Anekäntväd can be subdivided in two categories - 1) Nayaväd for thoughts and analysis and 2) Syädväd for speech


The doctrine of Naya:


Concerning one thing or many things the views of one person or many persons are of diverse kinds. Therefore, the views concerning even one single thing will appear to be limitless. It is  impossible to familiar with all of these views concerning this thing. This brings us to the subject of the doctrine of Nayas.


The doctrine of naya is the discipline which investigates various views, their respective causes and their respective consequences with respect to the subject-matter. The doctrine of naya looks for the seed of real compatibility among views even they appear to be mutually contradictory. The  doctrine of naya rationalizes these views.


For example, mutually contradictory views are found propounded concerning soul itself. Some place it is said 'the soul has one quality', at another place it too is said 'the soul has many qualities.' Now oneness and manyness appear to be mutually contradictory. Qualities of the soul are many but if attention is paid to the aspect of pure consciousness then they are all one.


The word apekshä as applied to a particular viewpoint needs to be understood. Therefore, the doctrine of naya is also called the doctrine of apekshä. Other words are Abhipräy, drastic which is same as Naya.


Naya is defined as a expression of partial truth from a certain point of view. For example, Hindus believe that everything is an illusion except the soul. Buddhists believe that everything is transitory, nothing is permanent. Jains are not saying that their views are  wrong.  Their views are partial expressions of truth, called (naya).  Their views become false only when considered to be total truth (only truth). Both positions are partially true. Jains believe that the soul is eternal (its original qualities) and also transitory (its modes, e.g. births, aging, death, rebirth).  However, total truth cannot be expressed in language or in speech.


There are as many as 700 sub-classes of Naya.  but as respect to the major classifications of Naya – there are three traditions:


  1. Per Jaina Agamic texts and by the Digambara texts: 1. Figurative Point of View (Naigamnaya), 2. Collective Point of View (Sanghrahanaya), 3. Distributive Point of View (Vyavaharnaya), 4. Finite Point of View (Rujusutranaya),  Descriptive Point of View (Shabdanaya), 5. Descriptive Point of View (Shabdanaya), 6. Etymological Point of View (Samabhirudhanaya), 7.  Determinant Point of View (Evambhutnaya)
  2. The second tradition is upheld by Siddhasena Divakara; he provides only six types ‑ that is, the above seven minus naigama.
  3. The third tradition is upheld by the present aphorism and by the bhäsya on the same; according to it, there are five basic types of naya while among these the first type naigama has got (according to the bhäsya) two sub‑types ‑ viz. deshaparikshepin and sarvaparikshepin ‑ and the fifth type shabda three sub‑types ‑ viz. sämprata, samabhirudha, and eviambhuta.


1.     Figurative Point of View (Naigamnaya): A statement that does not represent the actual activity but presents a remote connection. For example, a cow eats grass, makes milk in her body, gives the milk to us and we make butter out of it. If we make a statement that the butter is made out of grass, then it falls into this category. This category overlooks distinction between remote and immediate.

·        There are three divisions of this Naya: 1. Sampkalp: To consider plan to do something as the truth. For example, Ramanlal is planning to visit India and he is preparing his baggage and his friend Maganlal comes and asks a question, where are you going? He replies, I am going to go to India. This is supposed to happen in future but he applies it is happening now. 2. Ansh: A part of the thing has happened but it said like it has happened to the whole thing. Say a wall of a house falled down and we might say that the house has fallen down. 3. Upchär: To treat past as present and the future as present. On Diwali Day, we might say that today is the day when Lord Mahavir attained nirväna. When people of a particular country is crying because they lost their beloved leader and we might say that whole country is crying.

·        From another point of view: Naigamnaya is classified into two: a) Sarvaparikshepi  and b) deshparikshepi. Sarvaparikshepi addresses the commonality while deshparikshepi addresses specialty. For example, if someone asks where do you live? You might say I live in United States or you might say I live in California or I live in Bay Area, or I live in Fremont or I live on Ondina Drive, or I live at 30 Ondina Drive. In each case, the former is Sarvaparikshepi in relation to the later one which is deshparikshepi.


2.     Collective Point of View (Sanghrahanaya): This represents common (generic)  qualities of a group of identical substances. For example, a statement like “ we are all human beings.” In this category, all Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and others are classified as one common group, human beings.


3.     Distributive Point of View (Vyavaharnaya): This represents a specific group that is traditionally identified. In this category, statement is more specific than Sanghrahanaya. For example, a statement like “ some people are Christians, some are Muslims, etc.”


4.     Finite Point of View (Rujusutranaya): This represents the present condition, does not take the past or future condition into the consideration. Son of a king is called prince, not king even though he may become a king some day.


5.     Descriptive Point of View (Shabdanaya): This represents a group of words that has common or identical meaning. For example, hut, house, bungalow, condominium, apartment, etc. These all words mean a place to live.


6.     Etymological Point of View (Samabhirudhanaya): A group of words that may mean similar things, but individually, they represent a specific condition. For example, a hut is the place for poor people to live and a bungalow is the place for rich to live.


7.     Determinant Point of View (Evambhutnaya): The word that determines the specific characteristic in its present form. For example, use the word thief when someone is caught stealing not when someone is not caught stealing.


To call an area of tropical forest as “timber” is a Naigamanaya. To describe the jungle as “lots of trees” is a Sanghrahanaya. To call the jungle as a “treasure of trove” is a Vyavahärnaya. To call the jungle as a “breathing organ of the planet” or “lungs of the earth” is called Rujusutranaya. To call the jungle as the area where most lifeforms are not the trees is called a Shabdanaya. To call particular area of the jungle as appropriate as wood, wilderness, forest, jungle is Samabhirudhanaya. To call wood as the wood of the tree not as jungle, to call wild life forms as wild not as wilderness etc. is called Evambhutanaya.


The seven standpoints have been described.  These are successively of finer scope or smaller extent, and the succeeding standpoint is dependent on the one preceding it.  Hence the order in which these are mentioned in the sutra.  Thus, each of the seven standpoints is of greater range than and contrary to the succeeding one, and is of smaller extent than and is agreeable to the preceding one.  And from the point of view of the infinite characteristics of a substance, the standpoints are of numerous subdivisions.  Being of primary and secondary importance these are interdependent, and the harmonious combination of these paves the way to right faith.  These are like the cotton threads which, when interwoven in the proper form, wards off cold and provides comfort to the body in the form of cloth.  But, if each of these threads becomes independent and separate, these cannot serve that purpose.


First three nayas are of generic nature and known as Dravyarthika Naya (Substantive point of view).  The last four refer to changes and known as Paryayathika Naya (Modal point of view).


Another way to divide Nayas – Nishchayanaya (realistic Naya – shuttle) and Vyavahärnaya (conventional Naya- gross). When something is viewed fundamentally, in an extra ordinary detail way is called Nishchayanaya. When something is viewed in a traditional way, in less detail is called Vyavahärnaya. For example, one who has become a Sädhu based on the true conduct and inner feeling is called Sädhu even he is not wearing Sädhu’s clothes. This is Nishchayanaya. But when someone is called Sädhu because he is wearing Sädhu’s clothes. This is called Vyavahärnaya.


Sunaya and Durnaya – When a person with a particular view accepts or does not disagree with other partially true views then that is called Sunaya. When he/she calls his/her view is the only right one and calls other views as wrong ones then it is called Durnaya.


Syädväd (Conditional Assertion - Sevenfold Application) :: It is always difficult to make precise statement that can describe the entire truth (all aspects of the truth). Jains recognize the unavoidable limitation of the language and seeks to overcome it by a method known as Syädvad. Syadväd = Syät + väd. Syat = in some respect or in a sense or from certain point of view or might be and väd = school of thought (speech) or principle. Thus the statement "the soul is eternal,"  should be interpreted as "In some respect”. From the substantial point of view, the soul is  eternal.  By qualifying the statement in this manner, Jains not only make a meaningful assertion, but leave room for other possible statements.  (for example, "it is not eternal" - meaning “In some respect, from modal point of view,  the soul is in fact not eternal“ ). Syädväd can also be called the theory of relativity.


Syädväd is the first step towards happiness and peaceful environment. A view is usually based on four parameters; Dravya (substance), kshetra (place), käl (time) and bhäva (form or mode). Syadväd leads to two major propositions asti (exists or is) and nästi (does not exist or is not). These two propositions and the associated four qualifiers lead to seven possibilities, called Saptabhangi. 1) asti, 2) nästi, 3) asti and nästi, 4) avaktavya (inexpressible), 5) asti and avaktavya, 6) nästi and avaktavya, and 7) asti, nästi and avaktavya. Therefore, there are seven possible ways to describe a substance. Let us take an example to illustrate this.


Regarding the temperature of milk being served to us, we can make two statements like "in some respect (compared to our body temperature) the milk is hot" (asti) and "in some respect (compared to the temperature of boiling water) the milk is not hot" (nästi).  A third statement, combining the two in a sequential order, is also possible: "In some respect the milk is hot, and in some other respect the milk is not hot" (asti-nästi).  If we want to express both these aspects simultaneously, it is difficult because of our limitation of the language. So we may say, “ in some respect the temperature of milk is inexpressible (avaktavya).”  Three more combinations can similarly be developed to show the fifth, sixth and seventh possibilities of expressing  5). asti and avaktavya, 6) nästi and avaktavya, and 7) asti, nästi and avaktavya.)


Anekäntväd Summary: Because of Anekäntaväd and its branches, nayaväd and syädväd, we, Jains, do not  follow a single restricted path.  All paths can be seen as valid in some respect. For example, the path of purification (moksa-marga) is a combination of right perception (Samyag Darshan, faith in right Jina, right Guru and right scripture), right knowledge (Samyag Jnän, knowledge of right scripture) and right conduct (Samyag Chäritra).  Thus our path of purification becomes:


“Samyag-Darshan-Jnän-charitrani Moksha-margah !"


To be Anekäntvädi: 1) Do not insist on your own approach, 2) Accept partial truth as expressed by others, 3) Accept the truth even if it is expressed by adversaries, 4) Accept that the truth can consist of seemingly  opposing views, 5) Develop a strong urge to seek truth, 6) Believe in possibilities and 7) Exercise equanimity towards all.