A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1922 | 212,082 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of non-perceptual knowledge: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the twelfth part in the series called the “the jaina philosophy”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 12 - Non-Perceptual Knowledge

Non-perceptual knowledge (paroksci) differs from pratyakṣa in this, that it does not give us so vivid a picture of objects as the latter. Since the Jains do not admit that the senses had any function in determining the cognitions of the soul, the only distinction they could draw between perception and other forms of knowledge was that the knowledge of the former kind (perception) gave us clearer features and characteristics of objects than the latter. Parokṣa thus includes inference, recognition, implication, memory, etc.; and this knowledge is decidedly less vivid than perception.

Regarding inference, the Jains hold that it is unnecessary to have five propositions, such as:

  1. “the hill is fiery,”
  2. “because of smoke,”
  3. “wherever there is smoke there is fire, such as the kitchen,”
  4. “this hill is smoky,”
  5. “therefore it is fiery,” called respectively pralijñā , hetu , drstānla , upanaya and nigamana, except for the purpose of explicitness.

It is only the first two propositions which actually enter into the inferential process (. Prameyakamcilamārtanda , pp. 108, 109). When we make an inference we do not proceed through the five propositions as above. They who know that the reason is inseparably connected with the probandum either as coexistence (sahabkāva) or as invariable antecedence (kramabhāva) will from the mere statement of the existence of the reason (e.g. smoke) in the hill jump to the conclusion that the hill has got fire. A syllogism consisting of five propositions is rather for explaining the matter to a child than for representing the actual state of the mind in making an inference[1].

As regards proof by testimony the Jains do not admit the authority of the Vedas, but believe that the Jaina scriptures give us right knowledge, for these are the utterances of persons who have lived a worldly life but afterwards by right actions and right knowledge have conquered all passions and removed all ignorance[2].

Footnotes and references:


As regards concomitance (vyāpti) some of the Jaina logicians like the Buddhists prefer antarvyāpti (between smoke and fire) to bahirvyāpti (the place containing smoke with the place containing fire). They also divide inference into two classes, svārthā-numāna for one’s own self and parārthānumāna for convincing others. It may not be out of place to note that the earliest Jaina view as maintained by Bhadrabāhu in his Daśavaikālikaniryukti was in favour of ten propositions for making an inference;

  1. Pratijñā (e.g. non-injury to life is the greatest virtue),
  2. Pratijñāvibhakti (non-injury to life is the greatest virtue according to Jaina scriptures),
  3. Hetu (because those who adhere to non-injury are loved by gods and it is meritorious to do them honour),
  4. Hetu vibhakti (those who do so are the only persons who can live in the highest places of virtue),
  5. Vipakṣa (but even by doing injury one may prosper and even by reviling Jaina scriptures one may attain merit as is the case with Brahmins),
  6. Vipakṣa pratiṣedha (it is not so, it is impossible that those who despise Jaina scriptuies should be loved by gods or should deserve honour),
  7. Dṛṣṭānta (the Arhats take food from householders as they do not like to cook themselves for fear of killing insects),
  8. Āśaṅkā (but the sins of the householders should touch the arhats, for they cook for them),
  9. Āśaṅkāpratiṣedha (this cannot be, for the arhats go to certain houses unexpectedly, so it could not be said that the cooking was undertaken for them),
  10. Naigamana (non-injury is therefore the greatest virtue)

(Vidyābhūsana’s Indian Logic).

These are persuasive statements which are often actually adopted in a discussion, but from a formal point of view many of these are irrelevant. When Vātsyāyana in his Nyāyasūtrabhāṣya , I. 1. 32, says that Gautama introduced the doctrine of five propositions as against the doctrine of ten propositions as held by other logicians, he probably had this Jaina view in his mind.


See Jainatarkavārttika , and Parīkṣāmukhasūtravṛtti , and Ṣaḍdarīanasamuccaya with Guṇaratna on Jainism.

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