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JAINISM

JAINISM

JAINISM: The word Jainism is derived from ‘Jina’ which means ‘ conqueror  — one who has conquered his passions and desires. It is applied to the liberated souls who have conquered passions and desires and karmas and obtained emancipation.

The Jainas  believe in 24 Tirthankaras  or ‘  Founders of the Faith ’  through whom their faith has come down from fabulous antiquity. Of  these , the first was Rsabhadeva  and the last,  Mahavira , the great spiritual hero, whose name was Vard-hamana. Mahavira, the last of the prophets, cannot be regarded as the founder of Jainism, because even before him, Jaina teachings  were existent. But Mahavira gave a new orientation to that faith and for all practical purposes, modern Jainism may be rightly regarded as a result of his teachings. He flourished in the sixth century b .c . and  was a contemporary of the Buddha. His predecessor, the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanatha is also a historical personage who lived in the eighth or ninth century B .c .

KNOWLEDGE

 

The Jainas classify knowledge into immediate ( aparoksa ) and mediate ( paroksa ).  Immediate knowledge is further divided into Avadhi, Manahparyaya and Kevala ; and mediate knowledge into Mati and Shruta . Perceptual knowledge which is ordinarily called immediate , is admitted to be relatively so by Jainism and therefore included in mediate and not immediate knowledge. It is included under Mati. Pure perception in the sense of mere sensation cannot rank the title of knowledge. It must be given meaning and arranged into order by conception or thought. Perceptual knowledge therefore is regarded as mediate since It presupposes the activity of thought.  Mati includes both perceptual and inferential knowledge. Shruta means knowledge derived from authority. Thus Mati and Shruta which are the two kinds of mediate knowledge have as their instruments perception, inference and authority, the three Pramanas  admitted  by Jainism.  Avadhi-jnana,  Manah-paryaya-jnana and Kevala-jnana ,  are the three kinds of immediate knowledge which may be called extra-ordinary and extra-sensory perceptions. Avadhi is clairvoyance; Manahparyaya is telepathy; and Kevala is omniscience. Avadhi is direct knowledge of things even at a distance of space or time. It is called Avadhi or ‘limited’ because it functions within a particular area and up to a particular time. It cannot go beyond spatial and temporal limits. Manahparyaya is direct knowledge of the thoughts of others. This too is limited by spatial and temporal conditions. In both Avadhi and Manahparyaya, the soul has direct knowledge unaided by the senses or the mind. Hence they are called immediate, though limited. Kevala-jnana is unlimited and absolute knowledge. It can be acquired only by the liberated souls. It is not limited by space, time or object. Besides these five kinds of right knowledge, we have three kinds of wrong knowledge — Sarhshaya or doubt, Viparyaya or mistake and Anadhyavasaya or wrong knowledge through indifference.

 

 

PRAMANA AND NAYA

 

Knowledge may again be divided into two kinds— Pramanas or knowledge of a thing as it is, and Naya or knowledge of a thing in its relation. Naya means a standpoint of thought from which we make  a statement about a thing.  All truth is relative to our standpoints. Partial knowledge of one of the innumerable aspects of a thing is called ‘ naya ’. Judgment based on this partial knowledge is also included in ‘naya’. There are seven ‘ nayas ’ of which the first four are called ‘ Artha-naya ’  because they relate to objects or meanings, and the last three are called ‘ Shabda-naya because they relate to words. When taken as absolute, a ‘naya’  becomes  a fallacy — ‘nayabhasa ‘. The first is the ‘Naigama-naya’. From this standpoint we look at a thing as having both universal and particular qualities and we do not distinguish between them. It becomes fallacious when both universals and particulars are regarded as separately real and absolute, as is done  by Nyaya – Vaishesika. The second is the ‘ Sangraha-naya ’.  Here we emphasize the universal qualities and ignore the particulars where they are manifested. It becomes fallacious when universals alone are treated as absolutely real and particulars are rejected as unreal, as is done by Sankhya and Advaita Vedanta. The third is the ‘Vyavahara-naya’ which is the conventional point of view based on empirical knowledge. Here things are taken as concrete particulars and their specific features areemphasized. It becomes fallacious when particulars alone are viewed as real and universals are rejected as unreal, as is done by Materialism and Buddhist realistic pluralism. The fourth is called ‘ Rjusutra-naya’.   Here the real is identified with the momentary. The particulars are reduced to a series of moments and any given moment is regarded as real. When this partial truth is mistaken to be the whole truth, it becomes fallacious, as in some schools of Buddhism. Among the nayas which refer to words, the first is called ‘ Shabda-naya’ . It means that a word is necessarily related to the meaning which it signifies. Every word refers either to a thing or quality or relation or action. The second is ‘ Samabhiruda-naya ’ which distinguishes terms according to their roots. For example , the word  ‘ Pankaja’   literally means ‘born of mud’ and signifies any creature or plant bom of mud, but its meaning has been conventionally restricted to ‘lotus’ only. Similarly the word ‘gauh’ means ‘any thing which moves’, but has conventionally become restricted to signify only a ‘cow’ . The third is called ‘Evambhuta-naya which is a specialized form of the second. According to it, a name should be applied to an object only when its meaning is fulfilled. For example, a cow should be called ‘gauh’ only when it moves and not when it is lying down. Each naya or point of view represents only one of the innumerable aspects possessed by a thing from which we may attempt to know or describe it. When any such partial viewpoint is mistaken for the whole truth, we have a ‘ nayabhasa ’ or a fallacy. The ‘nayas’ are also distinguished as ‘Dravyarthika’ or  from the point of view of substance which takes into account the permanent nature and unity of things, and as ‘ Paryayathika ’ or from the point of view of modes which takes into account the passing modifications and the diversity of things. When a thing is taken to be either as permanent only or as momentary only, either as one only or as many only, fallacies arise.