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What is Anekant Logic

Logic, as applied to our present subject, is not a term denoting formal laws of thought. It constitutes the essence of jain philosophy, without an adequate conception of whose importance, it would be impossible to realize the place of Jainism in the great philosophical system of the world and the contribution it has made to the progress of human thought. As will be indicated further on, Anekant Logic is the doctrine which means to examine the very foundation of knowledge and also to explain the ontological problems that have beset philosophical speculations in all times. The value that Jainism itself attaches to this basis of its philosophy may appear extravagant to any superficial observer. It is asserted by a great Jain Acharya that this Logic is as important as the Absolute Wisdom possessed by the Kevalin. It differs from the latter only in being indirect as distinguished from immediate which is the characteristic of Absolute Wisdom. This loss caused by its being ‘mediate’ is fully made up by its exclusive capacity to demonstrate the truth of Absolute Wisdom to mankind. Thus, Absolute Wisdom itself, not to speak of inferior degrees of knowledge, is baseless without the Anekant Logic. Obviously, the reason of this is that is the Logic that guarantees our capacity to know and provides us with criteria by which we should be able to test our knowledge. In one word it may be called the ‘method’ of philosophy is polished {Sanskritam}. It bears therefore, the all comprehending sense that the ‘Logic’ is invested with the Hegel. It is in Jainism what the Science of Ideas is in plate of the Metaphysics is in Aristotle.

A science that carries so much must be necessarily misunderstood and misconstrued. From its very nature, it is open to misconception. It is a very complicated theory and as such, minds of limited capacity can but grasp only this aspect or that of this many-sided system. It srikes, moreover, as consisting of diametrically opposed elements. Their connection can only be brought into a comprehensive view by one who takes his stand upon a higher platform. The untrained eye fixes itself only on 1 point at a time and hence the difficulty in understanding what is but clear as daylight to one who possesses the philosophic insight of Anekant Logic. The beginning of philosophy are, therefore, always monastic. So much so, that the very idea of philosophy is at first considered to consist in ascertaining the one under the many of earlier still, as in the physical philosophers of Greece, the highly immateriality material substratum of the universe. All truth is here embraced by the one, beyond which nothing is. This doctrine, to be classed under the Bhavaikant school according to Jain terminology, received its highest form in the Athletic philosophy of India. The Bhavaikant doctrine holds that being (existence) is the only property of all things. Being alone is; all else is not.

Combat With Monism

Anekant Logic has, therefore, to combat this monism (Ekantvad) first. Monism is according to Anekant, self-destructive. It ignores one side of the anatomy. It is, therefore, called or inimical to self and non-self. Bhavaikant makes mind and matter identical. It renders knowledge impossible by wiping out the difference between subject and its object. The Sankhvas who hold the same view make their, the permanent being, alone existent. But how can the school that makes permanent on the ground that it is, cease to make Prakartis also permanent i.e. synonymous with Purush from who they are so fractiously distinguished? Again, the denial of all non-being by the Bhavaikantis means the four kinds of Abhavas are unreal. But by denying, e. g., pragabhava and pradhvansabhava i.e the absence of an effect before its production and after its destruction, everything becomes eternally existing, which means that no change or evolution is possible in the world. Similarly the denial of Anyonyabhava or the absence of a thing at a place where another thing exists, would result in reducing all the diversity in the universe to blank uniformity. Lastly the denial of Atyantabhava i.e the non-being of one thing what its redical opposite is would lead to the confusion of every-thing with everything else.

Bhavaikant & Abhavaikant Monism

We, therefore, discard this form of monism and take up the next that follows to see if it satisfies our needs. Thought is said to move to and fro like the pendulum of a clock. As the school of Pramendies was followed by that of Heraclitus, Bhavaikant was followed by its opposite counter-part, the Abhavaikant. Both agree in being confined to an absolutely one-sided view of the universe but the latter takes up just the end of the stick that their predecessors totally failed to grasp. Abhavaikant means that form of monism which holds everything to be As-a-droop or non-being. It is hard to understand what this exactly means. But in its most obvious form, it is met very easily by Jainism by saying that if everything is unreal, the reasoning which tries to prove all else unreal cannot save itself from the same fate.

Kshanikaikant Monism

The Baudhas, who are known in philosophy Kshanikekant Vadis, are however too hard to be thus summarily silenced. They slightly differ from their speculative kinsmen in emphasizing upon the fleeting nature of all existence which is, in its ultimate results, the same view as is taken by the Abhaya Vadis. Thus the Baudhas are exactly our “flowing philosophers” holding everything to be ‘mere currents of incessant change.’ Jainism waged a fierce war with them in old times, although by some irony of fate, in our own days, distinguished antiquarians piously confused one belligerent with the other. We shall only briefly recount of the principle objections against our Indian Heraclitus.

Nothing is, but everything is not, as soon as it is. The moment that it lives, is also the moment that it ceases to live. There is no being; all is always becoming. But is becoming possible for what is not being ? Cause and effect are in reality two phase of one and the same thing. The two are relative terms, with their solidarity so vital that the negation of the one is the negation of the other. But Kshanika Vad makes the relation factious and consequently there is neither cause nor effect in any case. Causation is thus reduced to mere ‘sequence in time.’ But even this idea of mere time-relation is untenable in Budhism. If there is no cause, if there is nothing in the cause that is necessarily productive of the effect and if there is no essential relation between the two, all certainty in the natural order vanishes and there remain no uniformity even for bare time successions, as the Kshanikavadis in ancient India Comet and Mill in modern Europe tried to hold. The Vadis were not satisfied with these arguments and they rejoined by insisting that the ‘unity of nature between cause and effect as understood by Jainism was a factious or Aupacharika one. It is said they, an illusion, a mental habit and not a real fact. What is an illusion, or as Mill would say a mental habit and not a real fact. What is an illusion mental habit? We think of Manavaka (a cat) as being ‘a lion’ or ‘like a lion’ by illusion or mental habit but is this possible without our ever having seen some lion? Even an illusion per-supposes a reality of which it is an illusion. The Baudhas were not satisfied as yet. They took the last argument of the Empirical School, the argument of unknowability. The relation is either true or untrue or is both true and untrue or is neither true nor untrue. If cause and effect are one, there is no reason why we should distinguish them. If they are discrete, it is useless to find out relation as there is no certainty in the relation. To say that both the alternatives are true is opposed to experience. Lastly to deny both the alternatives would be to deprive everything of its nature. So, they conclude, that nothing can be said on the point. The answer to this sophistry is that if you call all relations to be unknowable by tha same mode of reasoning. Again the four-fold alternation by being called unknowable becomes immediately known. And also if everything changes totally every moment, what reason have we to accept an opinion that also changes with every passing moment ?

This brings us to another set of objectives to the hypothesis of flux. In ancient India, both the ontological and epistemology aspects of the problem of philosophy went hand in hand. The Baudhas whose ontology we are considering also held that the mind is formed of the unconnected but successive sensation received from objects. This is met with by pointing out that on this theory, the mind that determines upon killing an animal is not the mind that kills is the next moment; hence this latter commits the act without any motive and responsibility. And further the mind that has to suffer the consequences of this is neither the mind that planned the act nor the one that executed the plan. That is, the Budhistic theory of changes following each other is unbroken succession, being so changing without cause, the killing of animals by a butcher is not caused and therefore, implies no responsibility. The same objection applies to the theory of cognition as well as that of volition. If knowledge consists of passing sensations without the ‘unity of appercation’ to connect them, there is no or recognition of, for example this house as being the one that I visited yesterday. The sensational theory, therefore, destroys all knowledge by making both the subject and the objective world unstable. All properties of objects become fictitious as there remains nothing stable of which they may be the properties. Under these circumstances, the doctrine of the persistence of human personality after death becomes out of the question. This deals a death-blow upon the theory on which all religion stands and which is so deep-rooted a conviction that a theory of such meager pretensions as the Kshanika Vad can never hope to be in the least countenanced by any school, especially if it goes counter to that conviction.

Adwait Ekant

With another swing, the pendulum of Indian thought reaches the celebrated view of Adwait Ekant philosophy which has captured in our times the hearts of some of the most remarkable orientalists of the west, Jainism did not, however, meet in this school as dogged a foe as it is popularly believed to have met. It is only the fame of the best-known advocate and defender of thus school that has invested the controversy with much interest for the ordinary reader. Adwaitism is refuted on many grounds by Jain writers; but it will be here sufficient to indicate a few of them. Adwaitism is only a form of the Bhavaikant doctrine that we have before reviewed. The two are related to each other just as Platonic pantheism is related to the principles of the Eleatics. As plato developed and dramatist the Eleatic Being the Adwait school polished and refined the Bhavaikant doctrine by introducing more spiritual notions into the former school. Not only all the phenomenal universe, but all the spiritual world also is one homogeneous spirit containing and absorbing all the illusory manifestations in the universe. Adwaitism starts with this theory and there on tries to explain-or explain away-all the external as well as internal world. Thus it is as unqualified and positive an Ekant Vad (monism) as any and naturally, it is open to all the general attacks on that Vad. No monism can consistently justify its right to leap upon the world of real facts from its original and legitimate position. The failure of Plato’s attempt to connect his Ideal with the real world is also a failure to which the Adwait school is obviously doomed. Visible differences cannot be accounted for by unaided Brahma. The intervention of maya may put its shoulder to Brahma’s wheels; but the entrance of the maya is the warning bell for the pantheistic Brahma to exit at once. In any case, therefore, the world that is to be explained by the Brahma sounds the death knell of the Brahma as soon as it beings its work. Monism-and of course, Adwaitism-carries within it the seeds of its own destruction.

So the first objection is that Adwaitism digs the grave for the universally accepted duels like the doer and his actions, the premise and its inference and so on. Secondly, self cannot create the self. That means that Adwaitism cannot explain without some duality to help how the all-in-all gave rise to it-self or to the other-than-itself. Again, has the Adwait doctrine any evidence to prove its truth? It may have it or it may be its own justification. In the former case the evidence brings in a duality; in the latter case, Adwaitism is condemned as unproved as nothing can be its own nature? Yet again, it is a universal law of the mind to have its negative ideas based upon the knowledge of its positive ideas. You know a “flower” and it is because you know it that you can say that there is no “flower in the sky”. You know that fire is inferred from the existence of knowledge it is that you can say that you cannot draw the same inference from the existence of water. Similarly, when you know that there is dualism in the universe, then and then only, you can imagine its negative, the absence of dualism.

Another logical difficulty arises when we further consider this doctrine. Adwaitism holds that everything is homogeneous with everything else by its common property. But the supposition of a common property without reference to the special properties of things is itself absurd. For example, ‘the horn of the ass’ is without any difference because it is totally non-existent. In the same view, a things is without its different only when it is considered to be totally non-existent. Hence, on the assumption of Adwaitism, everything becomes as being devoid of any differentiating quality.

Finally comes that ethical argument against the pantheistic conception of this school. There would be no distinction between an auspicious and an inauspicious action, virtue and sin, knowledge and ignorance or Beatitude and worldly misery. This criticism is met with by the assertion that Vedant removes the separate existence of individual souls and makes them “bubbles on the surface of water.” This is said to go a long way in making altruistic morality acceptable to men. This interpretation of Adwait theory has held some savants of the west to applaud Vedic pantheism for its cosmopolitan tendencies. But in its logical foundations as well as practical results, this theory is singularly wanting in strength and consistency. Morality consists essentially in struggle and consequently, pantbeism,.which by hypothesis makes struggle absurd, destroy sottle basis of moral conduct. Then again, the school which inherits the practical legacies of Vedant is the school that advises man to "defend his wife at the expense of his wealth and to defend himself at the expense of his wealth and wife," Surely this is not a doctrine to be championed.by moral philosophy.

Nyaya School

The logical successor of this Vedantic Idealisin, is the Nyaya school. It occupies the exact opposite of Adwaitisrn by holding that everything is separated from everything else. If Adwaitism may be called the Nominalism of India, this may fitly deserve the title of Realism. While the former insists on the one being true, the latter insists on the many being true. The idea is the truth; this Platonic maxim may be applied to explain vedant. The individual is the reality; this is the thesis of the Naiyayiks. Jainism sets itself against every Ekont doctrine and evolves the truth by a combination of them. We have above shown that idealism is an empty generalization without the individuals to be generalized. The antithesis may be similarly refuted, If every individual is independent, at least this individuality is a common property of all, e. g., materialize is the property common to etc. If not so, being devoid of .individuality, their independence also would be lost, Although individuals are separate, individuality is a property residing upon all in common and hence, even individuals are homogeneous by their common property. Thus even the individualism of the Naiyayiks is vitiat-ed by the very Pre-suppositions of their own school.


This will bring out the standpoint of Jain logic. The idea is not true; also, the individual is not true. What is the truth? They are both true from different points of view. When the 812.031,wr lays stress on the wie, he is speaking of the many with only an implication. If the many are to the front, the one is not ignored but referred to only as secondary. The truth is neither in the one nor in the many; but it lies in the, the one in the many or the many of the one, Every individual implies an idea; and every idea pre-supposes the individuals. Existence as well as knowledge are governed by this relativity. Being possessed of the gg. q or the quality of existence, all things are one. So again, looking at the Paryayas or modifications, or again considering the differences due to material, place, time and quality (Fitt, wm, it is manifest that everything is different from everything else. Transferring the same idea to modern philos-ophy, the subject is the origin of all knowledge, because, he is he one in the many and thus he it is that makes the many possible, Exactly the same applies to the objects that give the subject all its contents. The subject differs from the objects by his rationality and the objects are different from the subject by their Satswaroop or the quality of being. This is not tenable since also the subject is characterized by the Satswaroop. The difference would. deprive both the knower and the known of their reality. If the known is without Satta, the, known would be non-existent. If the known are Asat, the knower who is constituted by the known would also become Asat. So in reality or qui., there is no disparity between the subject and the object. 'Ike difference is only wzif9 i. e. here, from the standpoint of optionality residing in the one and the materiality residing in the many. This will make clear to a certain extent what the essence of (he Anekant doctrine is. But the usual formula by which this doectine is known to the world is a little dry and hence it is understood by very few men. The usual formula is framed in the. Form of Sutras, a .form which Indian scholars were very fond of in olden days. Obviously, that mode was useful in an age in which writing was unknown. But as time went on, the disciples of every faith degenerated and with that degeneration, the significant sutras of the older age begin to lose their meaning to the un-informed mind and critics, sometimes through bias but often through ignorance, began to turn and twist the meaning of opposite parties to suit their own purpose. The epigra-'natio form of the sutras rendered the meaning borne by them open to mis-interpretation and irrelevant refutation. The sevenfold Syadvad * illustrates this more vividly than any other doctrine.

The Fundamental Theory of Syadvad

The fundamental theory underlying this Syadvad is that everything in the universe is related to everything else and hence we ought not to narrow our vision by taking account of only this relation or that. It is but very crude and primitive philosophy to ignore the variety of things and their relations and to say that the side of the shield that faces you, is the all-in-all of the shield. it is a very imperfect appreciation of the magnitude and multiplicity of the problem and its facts to gener-alise until there is no possibility of extending the process. Elam( Vad is necessarily such generalisation. The Syadvad opposes all sorts of one-sided theories It asserts apparently contrary predicates of one and the same thing. In the eyes of unrestrain-ed absolute generalisers like the Ekantists; such reconciliation of opposites is impossibility. Every statement that we make is qualified by its paryayas. There are four classes of things which give rise to such modifications and make contrary predicates consistent. Time and space are the two causes that make variety of predication possible and that would easily be recognized by students of European thought. The Syadvad says that every assertion is variable with every change in time and space. This is a common way of putting the deeper theory of time and space being the essential `forms’ of every perception. They are two invariable agents in our determinations of objects. Every mode of looking at a thing must take into account these factors. If you introit-tee the slightest variation in any one of these two, the whole view is changed.

The other two variants are The recognition of Dravya or matter as being 'an eternal coefficient in the products of our existence and knowledge solve certain obvious difficulties. Idealism is nursed by every school that neglects the essential relation of matter to knowledge without which, everything becomes a 'fiction' or a mere flatus vocis. By postulating matter as an original ingredient in knowledge ' the endless webs of idealists are relegated to the realms of shadows and phantoms. The last factor is equally necessary for an adequate explanation of the universe. Matter without or & property is an unfounded abstraction. In this abstraction, indeed, it would be sufficient to create some indefinite and hazy counterparts corresponding to our ideal universe. But how to explain the variety in material experience and actual knowledge? That' is done by attributing certain properties to certain Matter.

These four factors or knowledge necessarily lead to 'Changes in our conceptions of things corresponding to changes: in the factors themselves. In substance, this is what Syadvad teaches. The variety of standpoints recognised by this school iS some-times compelled to yield scepticism in knowledge. But, as Dr. Bhandarkar points out, this objection is groundless. One of the seven modes of predication expounded by the is positively intended to oppose scepticism. The vadis are always severely dealt with as being inconsistent with themselves. To call a thing 'unknowable' is to affirm some knowledge about.