Aim and Subject matter of Jain Logic
We can say that the chief aim is to understand the scriptures and the doctrine, which again is not possible without the correct knowledge of Pramänas (total view knowledge) and Nayas, (partial viewpoint knowledge). The subject matter of Jain logic includes all such topics resulting from Jain theory of knowledge and reality. Apart from the Pramänas as sources for knowledge, the ‘Naya-väda’ and ‘Sapta-bhanga-väda’, the ‘Dravyästika’ and ‘Paryäyästika’ views, and the enumeration and classification of Naya are some of the quite interesting topics included in Jain logic.
Pramänas (Valid Knowledge) in Jain philosophy is divided into two modes: Pramäna and Naya. Pramäna is knowledge of a thing as it is, and Naya is knowledge of a thing in its relation. Naya means a standpoint of thought from which we make a statement about a thing. Siddhasen Diwäkar in Nyäyävatära writes, “Since things have many characters, they are the object of all sided knowledge (omniscience); but a thing conceived from one particular point of view is the object of Naya (or one-sided knowledge).’’It may be noted here that Naya is a part of Pramäna because it gives us valid knowledge of its object. Naya being a particular standpoint determines only a part of its object. A Naya can also be defined as a particular intention or viewpoint – a viewpoint which does not rule out other different viewpoints and is thereby expressive of a partial truth about an object as entertained by a knowing agent or speaker. Nayas do not interfere with one another or enter into conflict with one another. They do not contradict one another. They uphold their own objects without rejecting others’ objects. Naya becomes pseudo Naya, when it denies all standpoints, contradicts them, excludes them absolutely and puts forward its partial truth as the whole truth.
According to The Jain logic, Naya becomes a form of false knowledge as it determines the knowledge not of an object but part of an object. They say that false knowledge is knowledge about something which is not a real object or in conformity to what it is, ‘the part of an object and not non-object. The knowledge of an object determined by Naya is valid knowledge from that point of view. It does yield certain valid knowledge about part of the object.
The Pramäna kind of knowledge comprises all the aspects of a substance. Pramäna includes every aspect; and not as understood from any one aspect. Pramäna is of two kinds
• Pratyaksha (direct)
• Paroksha (indirect)
Pratyaksha Jnän (direct knowledge)
Direct knowledge is that which is obtained by the soul without the help of external means. The Pratyaksha Jnän is of three kinds, namely Avadhi-jnän, Manah-Paryäya Jnän and Keval - jnän.
Paroksha Jnän (indirect knowledge)
Indirect knowledge is that which is obtained by the soul by means of such things as the five senses and the mind. Paroksha Jnän is classified into “Sensory Knowledge” and “Scriptural Knowledge”. Thus, there are total five kinds of Pramäna: (1) Sensory Knowledge (2) Scriptural Knowledge (3) Clairvoyance (4) Telepathy (5) Omniscience.
Pratyaksha Pramäna (Direct Knowledge)
The soul’s knowledge of substance is pure. The soul’s involvement is direct in obtaining this type of knowledge. It can be of 2 types.
• Direct or Practical (Sämvyavahärik Pratyaksha Pramäna)
• Transcendental (Päramärthika Pratyaksha Pramäna)
Direct Knowledge in a conventional sense (Sämvyavahärik Pratyaksha Pramäna)
The knowledge obtained by the soul through Sensory Knowledge (Mati-jnän) and Scriptural Knowledge (Shruta-jnän), is called indirect knowledge for two reasons: 1) There is a need for the senses’ and mind’s involvement and 2) The knowledge is impure because the knowledge obtained from senses and mind usually is for others and not for the soul. However, when the soul obtains Right Faith (Samyak Darshan), at that time, the sensory knowledge and Scriptural Knowledge are used for the knowledge of the self. Therefore, this is called direct knowledge in a conventional sense. Here the knowledge is partially true (Ekadesha Spasta).
Transcendental knowledge (Päramärthika Pratyaksha Pramäna)
When the soul obtains direct knowledge without the help of any external means (like senses and mind), then it is called transcendental knowledge.
Partial knowledge (Vikal Päramärthika) – when the soul obtains direct knowledge of a formed substance, it is called partial knowledge.
Clairvoyance (Avadhi-jnän) –
Clairvoyance refers to knowledge of things that are out of the range of senses. Here the soul can perceive knowledge of a substance with a form (Rupi Padärtha), which exists at great distance or time. In celestial and infernal souls, this knowledge is present since birth. In human and animal, this knowledge can be obtained as a result of spiritual endeavors.
Telepathy (Manah-paryäya-jnän) –
In this type of knowledge, the human soul has a capacity to comprehend others’ thoughts. Great saints who have achieved a high level of spiritual progress can posses this knowledge.
Omni Perception and Omniscience (Sakal Päramärthika)
A Tirthankar or an Ordinary Omniscient having Keval-jnän (Sakal Päramärthika) knows about all substances in the universe, and all of their modes of past, present and future at a given time. When a soul in his quest for purity destroys all four Destructive Karma at the 13th stage of the spiritual ladder, it obtains this knowledge. This is perfect knowledge and stays with the soul forever. About ‘Keval-jnän’, Dr. Rädhäkrishnan writes: “It is omniscience unlimited by space, time or object. To the perfect consciousness, the whole reality is obvious. This knowledge, which is independent of the senses and which can only be felt and not described, is possible only for purified souls free from bondage.’’
Indirect Perceptions (Paroksha Pramäna)
The knowledge that is impure, of others, and not of the self is called indirect perception. Here we take the help of external means like the five senses and the mind.
Sensory knowledge (Mati-jnän)
This knowledge is gained through the senses and/or mind. Reflection on what has been perceived, reasoning, questioning, searching, understanding, and judging are the varieties of sensory knowledge. It can also be classified as remembrance, recognition, induction, and deduction.
• Remembrance (Smaran)
• Recognition (Pratyabhijna)
• Induction (Tarka)
• Deduction (Anumäna)
Scripture knowledge (Shruta-jnän) –
This knowledge refers to conceptualization through language. It is obtained by studying the scriptures and listening to the discourses. Scripture knowledge (Ägam Knowledge) consists of comprehension of meaning of words that are heard or derived from the senses and the mind. This knowledge is authoritative.
Pramäna (Valid Knowledge) - Summary
Pramäna is capable of making us accept the agreeable things and discard the disagreeable ones; it is but knowledge. The object of valid knowledge according to Jains is always a unity of a number of aspects or characteristic, such as general and the particular, the existent and the nonexistent, etc.
Valid knowledge or ‘pure knowledge’ is the total or partial destruction of ignorance. The fruit of Pramäna is of two sorts: direct and indirect. Direct fruit of all Pramäna is the annihilation of ignorance. As regards the indirect fruit of pure knowledge is indifference. It is also said that, the immediate effect of Pramäna is the removal of ignorance; the mediate effect of absolute knowledge is bliss and equanimity, while that of ordinary practical knowledge is the facility to select or reject.
The subject of all forms of valid knowledge is the self, as known by direct knowledge. The spirit (soul or Jiva) is the knower, doer and enjoyer, illumines self and others, undergoes changes of condition, is realized only in self consciousness, and is different from the earth, etc. The soul, as described in Jainism, is permanent but undergoes changes of condition. With reference to theistic approaches, Jainism believes in soul and its liberation. Moreover, it accepts and agrees to the fact that no liberation is possible without the true knowledge of reality; and logic or Pramäna is the aid to such knowledge. What is theistic behind the logic is its use and purpose. This is neither an intellectual exercise nor a game of arguments to refute, but to know and sharpen understanding for spiritual progress.
On account of its knowledge, the soul is different from inert substances. As the cover over it goes on decreasing, its knowledge goes on increasing and showing itself. Like a mirror that reflects everything, the soul can know anything that can be known. If there is no cover at all, it is natural that it can know all things. It is illogical to say that we can know only up to this extent, not more than this. Therefore, an Omniscient (Kevali) knows everything directly.
Only he who possesses this kind of knowledge can expound sound doctrines and only he is the supreme spiritual well-wisher. After that, even those who act according to his commands are well - wishers. For great Chief Disciples of Tirthankars (Ganadhars), Ägams are the Pramänas, source of true knowledge. Jainism asserts that knowledge attained is the knowledge of real objects. What is known is not all aspects of the reality of an object, but only one or some. In Jainism, knowledge depends on experience and experience is always partial, in the sense that reality in totality is never revealed. Under the circumstance, whatever is known is known in relation to a standpoint and therefore “absolution is to be surrendered.’’ This is the root of Naya Väda and Syädväda.
Modern day logic is defined as the study of principles and method of argumentation. An argument in the system of logic is a set of statements. Jain logic is ancient. Its roots can be traced to the Holy Scriptures, in which it states, “Non-absolutism is the principal dogma of Jainism”. Furthermore, “every statement is to be accepted as relative truth”.
Let us take an example. Someone’s name is Kishore. His father’s name is Maganlal and his son’s name is Karan. Now he is father and son at the same time. How can this be? From Maganlal’s perspective, he is a son and from Karan’s perspective, he is a father. Thus, both statements are true from their own perspectives. Soul is eternal as well as changing. How can these two conflicting statements be true?
According to Jain logic, they are true statements in their own perspective. Soul is eternal from a substantial point of view (Dravya). The soul is ever changing from a modal point of view (Paryäya).
Six blind men touched an elephant and came out with their own opinion that the elephant is like a pillar, python, drum, pipe, long rope, and huge fan depending on the parts of the body that they touched. They could be right from their own perspective, but an elephant is an elephant, and the person who can see knows an elephant as total. He also knows that the elephant could be like a pillar, python, drum, pipe, long rope and a huge fan from the perspective of the legs, trunk, abdomen, tusk, tail, and ears. Therefore, if you do not have complete knowledge, do not believe in other possibilities and think that the partial point of view is the only truth and others are wrong, then the partial point of view is not right.
Thus, understanding of Jain logic helps a lot for tolerance. Nothing may be absolutely wrong and nothing may be absolutely right. All the statements are true in their own perspective. Because of our inability to know substance as a whole, we cannot have complete knowledge of a substance. Only the omniscient Bhagawan has perfect knowledge, so He has the complete knowledge.
The spoken and written language has limitations of expressions. So one has to understand the broader meaning of Jain logic and then try to understand reality in that perspective. We should know all the angles of the substance and then present the partial point of view, and then we are right. Presenting the partial point of view, and then considering it as a complete knowledge is wrong according to Jain logic. We should also keep in mind, that when a sentence is spoken, we should know from what angle it is spoken. If we understand it correctly, then our knowledge base increases. Literature is also written either in a substantial point of view (Dravyärthika Naya), or modal point of view (Paryäyärthika Naya).
Thus to have complete knowledge or organ of knowledge (Pramäna Jnän), we should also know partial points of view (Naya). The partial point of view becomes a pillar on which the building of the organ of knowledge rests. Of course, the true and complete knowledge of a substance is only possible with omniscience.
To know a substance, there are 4 different categories, which are described in the scriptures.
Lakshana (Characteristics of a Substance)
One should know the characteristics of a substance. The characteristic (Lakshana) should be such that it is present only in the substance and not in any other substance. For example, when we say that the soul is formless, this is not its absolute characteristic because there are other substances like medium of motion, medium of rest, space, and time, which are also formless substances. Nevertheless, if we say that the soul’s characteristic is ‘to know’ then it becomes a true characteristic. Every soul starting with the lowest form (Nigod) to the highest form (Siddha) has characteristics of knowledge. Touch, taste, smell and color are all characteristics of matter because none of the other five substances have these characteristics. Thus, a peculiar characteristic present in only one substance and not in any other substance is known as its true characteristic.
Pramäna (True Knowledge)
That by which a thing is known rightly is called Pramäna, i.e., true or valid knowledge. To know a substance from all angles is called the organ of knowledge, or true knowledge. On the rise of true knowledge doubt, illusion, and ignorance are removed and a nature of a thing is understood rightly to a considerable extent. The knowledge that allows one to differentiate and to make decisions about the self and others (Sva and
Naya (Partial Point of View)
The knowledge of a substance from one point of view is called Naya (a partial point of view). The thought activity, which grasps only one aspect of an object with the aid of scriptures, is called a partial point of view. Total knowledge or organ of knowledge (Pramäna Jnän) is the sum total of all partial points of view. Thus to understand a substance in its fullest form, one must have knowledge of all partial points of view including seemingly opposite partial points of view. Just as Pramäna is pure knowledge, so also Naya is pure knowledge. The former grasps the entire thing, while the latter grasps only one of its many aspects. There are several different classifications of partial points of view given in scriptures. We will see the one, which is more widely used, in a later part of this chapter.
Nikshepa (Analysis of Truth)
Analysis of truth can be done with precision and clarity in different ways. A substance has various attributes. Keeping those attributes in mind, a substance can be divided into different ways. Language is a means of communication. All practical exchange of knowledge has language for its main modality. When it is embodied in language, intangible knowledge becomes tangible and hence conveyable. Language is made up of words. One and the same word is employed to yield several meanings depending on the purpose or context. Employment of a word to express different meanings is done at least in four different ways. These four ways are known as Nikshepa.
Four Nikshepa (
The meaning that is not derived etymologically, but is gathered on the basis of convention set up by the father, mother or some other people, is known Näm Nikshepa. It means to refer to the object merely by its name. Our daily activity becomes easier by giving name to an object. For example, a poor person’s name is King. He is known as King by name, even though he is very poor.
It means referring a person through his image, idol, picture, painting, etc. These things contain in themselves the symbol of an original object; e.g. looking at a marble idol at a temple, one says that this is Lord Mahavir. In this usage we superimpose the real thing on its representation, viz., a statue, a photograph, or a picture.
Here one refers to an object by mentioning its past condition or future condition. The term ‘Dravya’ in the word ‘Dravya Nikshepa’ has the sense of potentiality. For example, we refer to a person as a king now even though he is not a king but is going to be a king in the future.
It means the name signifying the object is meaningful in its present condition. This meaning satisfies the etymology of the concerned word. A person is called king (Räjä), when he is actual carrying the royal scepter and is shining with glory on that account; he is king in the real sense. For example, the word Tirthankar is used only after the soul attains omniscience and is now preaching and establishing a fourfold religious congregation.
We worship Supreme Soul (God) by respectfully remembering and muttering His name, worshipping His image, worshiping Him by devotedly serving the spiritual teacher, because the real spiritual teacher can be regarded as Supreme Soul (God) in potential. In this way, Nam Nikshepa, Sthäpanä Nikshepa, and Dravya Nikshepa (rather our activities performed with respect to these three meanings) lead to Bhäva Nikshepa (rather the activity with respect to the Bhäva Nikshepa, or the actual attainment of the state corresponding to the actual etymological meaning of the concerned word).
courtesy: Jain Philosophy and Practice-2