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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

The nayas as we have already said are but points of view


The

first view of paryaya-naya called _@rjusutra_ is the Buddhist view which does not believe in the existence of the thing in the past or in the future, but holds that a thing is a mere conglomeration of characteristics which may be said to produce effects at any given moment. At each new moment there are new collocations of new qualities and it is these which may be regarded as the true essence of our notion of things [Footnote ref 1].

The nayas as we have already said are but points of view, or aspects of looking at things, and as such are infinite in number. The above four represent only a broad classification of these. The Jains hold that the Nyaya-Vais'e@sika, the Vedanta, the Sa@mkhya, and the Buddhist, have each tried to interpret and systematize experience from one of the above four points of view, and each regards the interpretation from his point of view as being absolutely true to the exclusion of all other points of view. This is their error (_nayabhasa_), for each standpoint represents only one of the many points of view from which a thing can be looked at. The affirmations from any point of view are thus true in a limited sense and under limited conditions. Infinite numbers of affirmations may be made of things from infinite points of view. Affirmations or judgments according to any naya or standpoint cannot therefore be absolute, for even contrary affirmations of the very selfsame

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style="text-align: justify;">[Footnote 1: The other standpoints of paryaya-naya, which represent grammatical and linguistic points of view, are _s'abda-naya, samabhiru@dha-naya_, and _evambhula-naya_. See _Vis'e@savas'yaka bha@sya_, pp. 895-923.]

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things may be held to be true from other points of view. The truth of each affirmation is thus only conditional, and inconceivable from the absolute point of view. To guarantee correctness therefore each affirmation should be preceded by the phrase _syat_ (may be). This will indicate that the affirmation is only relative, made somehow, from some point of view and under some reservations and not in any sense absolute. There is no judgment which is absolutely true, and no judgment which is absolutely false. All judgments are true in some sense and false in another. This brings us to the famous Jaina doctrine of Syadvada [Footnote ref 1].

The Doctrine of Syadvada.

The doctrine of Syadvada holds that since the most contrary characteristics of infinite variety may be associated with a thing, affirmation made from whatever standpoint (_naya_) cannot be regarded as absolute. All affirmations are true (in some _syadasti_ or "may be it is" sense); all affirmations are false in some sense; all affirmations are indefinite or inconceivable in some sense (_syadavaktavya_); all affirmations are true as well as false in some sense (_syadasti syannasti_); all affirmations are true as well as indefinite (_syadasti cavaktavyas'ca_); all affirmations are false as well as indefinite; all affirmations are true and false and indefinite in some sense (_syadasti syannasti syadavaktavyas'ca_). Thus we may say "the jug is" or the jug has being, but it is more correct to say explicitly that "may be (syat) that the jug is," otherwise if "being" here is taken absolutely of any and every kind of being, it might also mean that there is a lump of clay or a pillar, or a cloth or any other thing. The existence here is limited and defined by the form of the jug. "The jug is" does not mean absolute existence but a limited kind of existence as determined by the form of the jug, "The jug is" thus means that a limited kind of existence, namely the jug-existence is affirmed and not existence in general in the absolute or unlimited sense, for then the sentence "the jug is" might as well mean "the clay is," "the tree is," "the cloth is," etc. Again the existence of the jug is determined by the negation of all other things in the world; each quality or characteristic (such as red colour) of the jug is apprehended and defined by the negation of all the infinite varieties (such as black, blue, golden), etc., of its class, and it is by the combined negation of all


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