Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...

Notes on Anekānta (many-sided doctrine)

The ‘Many-sided doctrine’ is the Syādvāda, the distinctive feature of Jain logic. It considers everything from 7 points of view from which the further name, ‘Sapta-bhaṅgī.’

1. Syād asti: something is. Existence can be affirmed from one point of view

2. Syān nāsti: something is not. Existence can be denied from another point of view.

3. Syād asti nāsti: something is and is not. Existence can be affirmed and denied with reference to something at different times.

4. Syād avaktavyam: something is indescribable, ‘Indescribable’ is used in the sense that there is no word exactly suitable for expressing the idea. A thing is indescribable, if existence and non-existence are affirmed at the same time.

5. Syād asti avaktavyam: something is, though it is indescribable. Its existence can be shown.

6. Syān nāsti avaktavyam: something is not, even though it is indescribable. Its non-existence can be shown.

7. Syād asti nāsti avaktavyam: something is and is not, though it is indescribable. Existence and non-existence can be shown.

“It is not meant by these modes that there is no certainty, or that we have to deal with probabilities only, as some scholars have thought. All that is implied is that every assertion which is true is true only under certain conditions of space, time, etc.” Bhandarkar, Search for Sanskrit MSS. 1883-4, p. 96.

Though such an important feature of Jain logic, Syādvāda is only briefly mentioned in the āgamas or older commentaries. About the oldest work on Syādvāda is Haribhadra’s Anekāntajayapatāka. See.also Malliṣena’s Syādvādamañjarī; Jainadarśana by Nyāyavijaya (Gujarātī); O. of J. p. 116.

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