Tattvartha Sutra (with commentary)

by Vijay K. Jain | 2018 | 130,587 words | ISBN-10: 8193272625 | ISBN-13: 9788193272626

This page describes standpoints (naya) of pramana which is verse 1.33 of the English translation of the Tattvartha Sutra which represents the essentials of Jainism and Jain dharma and deals with the basics on Karma, Cosmology, Ethics, Celestial beings and Liberation. The Tattvarthasutra is authorative among both Digambara and Shvetambara. This is verse 33 of the chapter Right Faith and Knowledge and includes an extensive commentary.

Verse 1.33 - Standpoints (naya) of Pramāṇa

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Tattvartha sūtra 1.33:

नैगमसंग्रहव्यवहारर्जुसूत्रशब्दसमभिरूद्वैवंभूता नयाः ॥ १.३३ ॥

naigamasaṃgrahavyavahārarjusūtraśabdasamabhirūdvaivaṃbhūtā nayāḥ || 1.33 ||

The figurative–naigama, the generic–saṃgraha, the systematic–vyavahāra, the straight–ṛjusūtra, the verbal–śabda, the conventional–samabhirūḍha, and the specific–evaṃbhūta are the standpoints (naya). (33)

Hindi Anvayarth:

अन्वयार्थ: [नैगम] नैगम, [संग्रह] संग्रह, [व्यवहार] व्यवहार, [ऋजुसूत्र] ऋजुसूत्र, [शब्द] शब्द, [समभिरूढ] समभिरूढ, [एवंभूता] एवंभूत-यह सात [नयाः] नय हैं।

Anvayartha: [naigama] naigama, [samgraha] samgraha, [vyavahara] vyavahara, [rijusutra] rijusutra, [shabda] shabda, [samabhirudha] samabhirudha, [evambhuta] evambhuta-yaha sata [nayah] naya haim |

Explanation in English from Ācārya Pūjyapāda’s Sarvārthasiddhi:

The two kinds of valid knowledge (pramāṇa) have been described. The partial views or standpoints or aspects of pramāṇa are called naya. These are described next.

The general (sāmānya) and specific (viśeṣa) definitions of these must be given. First, the general definition. Ascertainment, without contradiction, of one particular state or mode of the object, with a view to describe truly the substance having infinite attributes, is called the ‘naya’. It is of two kinds, namely, dravyārthika naya, which refers to the general attributes of the substance, and paryārthika naya, which refers to the constantly changing conditions or modes (paryāya) of the substance. ‘Dravya’ refers to the general (sāmānya), the general rule (utsarga), or conformity (anuvṛtti). That which has these for its object is the general standpoint–dravyārthika naya. ‘Paryāya’ means particular (viśeṣa), an exception (apavāda), or exclusion (vyāvṛtti). That which has these for its object is the standpoint of modes–paryārthika naya.

Their specific marks are given now.

The figurative standpoint (naigama naya) takes into account the purpose or intention of something which is not accomplished. For instance, a person with an axe in his hand is asked by someone for what purpose is he going. The person replies that he is going to fetch a wooden measure (prastha). But at that time the wooden measure is not present; the reference to the wooden measure is the mere intention to make it. Similarly, one is engaged in fetching fuel, water, etc. Another person asks, “What are you doing?” The former replies that he is cooking food. But he is not actually cooking food. He is only engaged in an activity which will ultimately result in cooking food. Such instances of general custom where the intention alone of accomplishing a task is referred to as the basis for speech is the figurative standpoint (naigama naya).

The generic standpoint (saṃgraha naya) is that which comprehends different substances, belonging to the same class, under one common head. For instance, the words existent (sat), substance (dravya), and jar (ghaṭa). The word ‘existent’ (sat) groups together, without distinction, all substances characterized by existence as per the general rule of perception and discernment. Further, when the word ‘substance’ (dravya) is mentioned, the soul, the non-soul, etc., and their subdivisions are grouped together, as all these fulfill the definition of substance. When the word ‘jar’ (ghaṭa) is mentioned, it includes all jars which are inferred from the word jar and its perception and discernment. Other things also are the subject matter of the generic point of view (saṃgraha naya) in the same way.

The division of reality or objects comprehended by the generic viewpoint, in accordance with the rule, is the systematic standpoint (vyavahāra naya). What is the rule? The rule is that the analysis or division into subclasses proceeds in the order of succession. It is as follows. That, which is comprehended as existence by the generic view, without reference to the particular objects, is not conducive to the ways of the world. Hence the systematic standpoint is sought. That which ‘exists’ (sat) is either a substance or an attribute. Social intercourse is not possible even by the word ‘substance’ (dravya) of the generic standpoint, without its subdivisions like the soul (jīva) and the non-soul (ajīva). Further, the soul (jīva) and the non-soul (ajīva), solely from the generic standpoint, are not conducive to worldly occupations. Hence these are further subdivided into the deva, infernal beings, etc., and jar, etc., by resorting to the systematic standpoint (vyavahāra naya). This standpoint operates up to the point beyond which no further subdivisions are possible.

That, which addresses the straightforward (present) condition, is the straight viewpoint (ṛjusūtra naya). This viewpoint leaves out things of the past and the future and comprehends the present mode of things, as no practical purpose can be served by things past and things unborn. It confines itself to the present moment. It is contended that it would violate the ways of the world. No. Only the object of this viewpoint is indicated here. The intercourse of the world is promoted by the aggregate of all the viewpoints.

The verbal viewpoint (śabda naya) is intent on removing the anomalies or irregularities with regard to gender, number, case, etc. Although the original text highlights many irregularities, just two of these are mentioned here. Irregularity of gender (liṅgavyabhicāra)–puṣpa, tārakā and nakṣatra–these are of different genders. Yet these are used as substitutes. Irregularity of time (kālavyabhicāra)–‘viśvadṛśvāsya putro janitā’–‘A son who has seen the world will be born to him.’ Here, what will take place in the future (i.e., seeing the world) is spoken of as having taken place in the past. Though such usage prevails by convention or custom, yet the verbal viewpoint considers it improper as words with different meanings cannot be clubbed. If this is opposed to what is universally current, let it be so. Here truth is investigated; medical treatment (medicine) does not satisfy the whimsies of the patient!

As it consists of forsaking several meanings, it is called the conventional viewpoint (samabhirūḍha naya). It gives up the several meanings and becomes current in one important sense. For instance, the word ‘gau’ has several meanings such as speech but, by convention, it has come to denote the cow. Or, words are employed to convey the knowledge of the objects. That being so, from every word arises knowledge of one particular object. Hence it is useless to employ synonyms. With the change of the word, the meaning too must change. The conventional viewpoint (samabhirūḍha naya) abandons several meanings of the word. For instance, ‘indra’, ‘śakra’ and ‘purandara’ are three words that are used to describe the lord of the celestial being. But these must have three meanings. ‘Indra’ means the one who is endowed with authority and supremacy, ‘śakra’ means the strong one, and ‘purandara’ means the one who destroys cities. Same kind of distinction applies to all words. The important sense of the word, ignoring its several meanings, becomes the conventional viewpoint (samabhirūḍha naya). For instance, “Where do you reside?” The answer is, “I reside in myself.” Why? It is because one substance cannot reside in another. If, on the other hand, one thing can reside in another, then there would be knowledge and colour, etc., in the sky. That which determines or ascertains an object as it is in its present state or mode is called the specific viewpoint (evaṃbhūta naya). According to this standpoint, a word should be used to denote an object only when it is in the state which the word connotes. When he issues commands, then only is he lord (Indra). And at that time he is neither consecrator nor worshipper. Only when it goes it is cow, and not when it stands still or lies down. Or that, which determines a soul by its present mode of knowledge, is the actual standpoint. For example, the soul which cognizes Indra is Indra, and that which cognizes fire is fire. The seven standpoints (naya) have been described. These are successively of finer scope or smaller extent, and the succeeding standpoint is dependent on the one preceding it. These points govern the order of their mention in the sūtra. Each preceding naya has greater range and divergence than the succeeding one, and each preceding naya has smaller range and convergence than the succeeding one. Since the substance has infinite characteristics, the standpoints are of numerous subdivisions. All the naya, with either primary or secondary importance, are interdependent, and a harmonious combination of these paves the way to right faith (samyagdarśana). These are like the cotton threads which, when interwoven in the proper form, produce cloth that wards off cold and provides comfort to the body. But if each threads remain independent and separate, the purpose is not served.

It is contended that the example of threads is an uneven one. It is seen that threads, etc., even when independent, produce some kind of effect. Indeed, there is some use of the thread. And one bark of a tree can bind things. This contention is not valid. The critic has not understood the meaning intended. What is said here is that the standpoints (naya), when independent, cannot promote even a little of right faith (samyagdarśana). There is no effect of cloth in case of independent threads. And what has been adduced is not the effect of cloth but the effect of individual threads. Getting a step further, the effect of thread too is absent in individual parts that compose it. Hence our proposition is established. If it be said that the effect of cloth, etc., is present potentially in threads, etc., then this applies to naya also; assisted by necessary means, even the standpoints (naya), independent in thought or word, have the potential to produce right belief (samyagdarśana). Thus, the standpoints (naya) possess that potentiality, and the example is therefore apt.

The standpoints (naya) are a part of scriptural knowledge (śrutajñāna). These have been divided into seven kinds on the basis of their substratum. The substrata are three: convention (upacāra), meaning (artha), and word (śabda). The figurative (naigama) relies primarily on convention (upacāra); still, it is also arthanaya. The generic (samgraha), the systematic (vyavahāra), and the straight (ṛjusūtra) are arthanaya. The remaining three–the verbal (śabda), the conventional (samabhirūḍha) and the specific (evaṃbhūta)–are śabdanaya.

To comprehend the object from one particular standpoint is the scope of naya (the one-sided method of comprehension). Naya comprehends one specific attribute of the object but pramāṇa–valid knowledge–comprehends the object in its fullness. Pramāṇa does not make a distinction between the substance and its attributes but grasps the object in its entirety. But naya looks at the object from a particular point of view and puts emphasis on a particular aspect of the object. Both pramāṇa and naya are forms of knowledge; pramāṇa is sakalādeśa–comprehensive and absolute, and naya is vikalādeśa–partial and relative. A naya looks at the object from a particular point of view and presents the picture of it in relation to that view; the awareness of other aspects is in the background and not ignored. A particular standpoint naya, when treated as absolute (independent of other naya), is wrong (mithyā) knowledge. When treated as partial (dependent on other naya) it constitutes right (samyak) knowledge.

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