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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.

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