Anekantavad, Syadavad and Saptbhangi in Jainism

Anekantavad or Syadavad: The most important principle of Jainism. All Jain literature and Jain philosophy are describing on the basis of Anekantavad.


Anekantavad is the most important principle of Jainism. This is the heart of Jain philosophy. So all Jain literature is describing on the basis of Anekantavad, without it, it is very difficult to understand the Jain philosophy. Anekant eyesight is a vision that presents the object with its overall appearance. According to Jain philosophy, everything is multidimensional. Jain philosophy has a specific belief that one of the objects, not the same form or the same type. The same object appears with different size. There are many conflicting properties in it. We can not fully perceive the object with one vision. It is necessary to adopt the overall vision for the overall understanding of the object. It is possible only when Anekantatmak vision is adopted. In fact, the Anekant philosophy is very broad.

‘Anekant’ definition, according to the Jainism philosophy.

Anekant word is the combination of two words, Anek (many) and ant (end). Meanings of ‘Anek’ are more than one, different types. Many types of object. Here the meaning of ‘ant’ is dharma, form and attribute. Though, the meaning of the ‘ant’ (end) is destruction and shore, etc. but it is not authorized here. According to Jain darshan, there are many contradictory properties in substance. The object is present (sat,सत्) and also not present (asat,असत्). It is one or maybe many. It is continual and maybe not. Thus, there are many conflicting properties between objects. It is not possible to understand with one vision. We need multi-vision to understand the reality of the object.

According to Jainism, every object is Anekantatmak.

Every substance exists in the form of its own form and it does not exist as compared to the second form. Body form exists, whereas the ultimate form does not exist. The object that is visible is one, but there are also many forms with its color, liquid, and smell. Jain philosophy has a specific belief that the same form of the object is not the same type. In fact, the same thing appears in a different shape because of the sight difference. Every substance is changing. Even after transformed all the time, the presence of the object is not always split, so it is constant, and its options are changing every time, by this expectation it is also perpetual.

From this point, we can say that the object is versatile, multi-dimensional. His full introduction cannot be found by taking one side of it. We can only know a fraction of the object from our one-sided view. The vast nature of the object can be understood with a versatile view.

The essence of Anekantavad becomes clear from the following facts:

There are many properties and forms present in everything, which remain dynamic all the time.

The symptom of every substance is to be generated, be destroyed and be re-birth.

Every object is present with one sight and absent from the second sight.

All conflicts are coordinated by Anekantavad.

Based on Anekantavad, truth can be seen from many perspectives. The complete truth cannot be understood by looking at the same perspective.

Thus, the form of Anekantavad becomes clear from these facts. To understand the theory of Anekantavad, the story of the elephant in Jain philosophy is very popular. which is like this: –

The story of the elephant

Once there were five blind people in a village. One day a Mahavat came along with his elephant. Prior to this, the people of that village had never seen the elephant. For this reason, all the people were watching the elephant with surprise. Then five blind people living in that village came there. And they touched the elephant and tells his point of view. One said that “elephant is like a rope” because he just touched the elephant’s tail. Similarly, the other blind touched the elephant’s ear and said, “This is a creature with a winnowing basket-like figure”. Similarly, the third blind touches the elephant’s feet and says, “This is a creature with a shape like a pillar”. Now the fourth touches the elephant’s trunk and says “it is a creature like- swinging”. Similarly, the fifth touch the elephant’s tummy side and said that “it is a wall-like creature.”

JainismThus, those five blind men conveyed the conclusions about the nature of the elephant on the basis of their experience. They had known the different organs of the elephant only. As a result, they started arguing and fighting each other. All were stubborn on his point of view. Seeing feuding, one man came to them and knowing the cause of the dispute, he said, “You are fighting in vain, in fact, you are in the dark. None of you don’t know the full form of elephants. You all just know elephant’s parts, understanding it as a perfect elephant and you are fighting with each other. Now listen carefully – I tell you the full form of the elephant, an elephant is a creature with all the organs like ears, tail, trunk, legs, stomach etc. So the whole form of the elephant is clear.

In the end, they felt repented of their mistake.

“Your only mistake is to accept the part of the elephant as the whole elephant. Your situation was like the frog’s story, who lives in the well and understand that this well is the only world”. Thus, they understand the mistake. They felt repented on their mistake and ultimately experienced the satisfaction of acquiring full knowledge.

Thus, this small story proves the authenticity of Anekantavad. In fact, it tells us that in order to know the complete nature of the substance, the pluralistic approach is very important. we can never experience the full truth without it.

Syadvad स्यादवाद, Apekshavadअपेक्षावाद या Shapekshavad सापेक्षावाद

Whatever is in the world, it is present from the Expectation, maybe not. There is no substance existing and present in the world forever. There is an object both forms exist and non-exist in terms of expectation. This same style is called syadvad and it is Anekantavad.

According to the scholars of Jainism, syadvad ‘syad’ and ‘Vad’ is composed of these two words. Syad here means, ‘any expectation’ and the meaning of the vad is, ‘statement’ ‘recognition’. That is, the one, who narrates the Sayad. it is Sayadvad. That is, the method of telling the relative relation of a Anekantatmak object with a different point of view is Sayadvad. This can be call Kathanchitvad (कथंचितवाद) Shapekshavad (सापेक्षावाद), Apekshavad (अपेक्षावाद). Some people think Anekant and sayadvad are synonymous, whereas it is wrong. These two are not synonyms. If Anekantavad is knowledge then Sayadvad is descriptive. Although Sayadvad and Anekantavad can both be called synonyms. Ultimately, Syadvad is a system of expressing the forms of Anekantatamk object elements.

Sapatbhangi सप्तभंगी

The logical expression of Anekantavad or Syadvad done by Saptbhangi. Saptbhangi means seven Bhang or seven sentences, which reveals the complete form of the object. The wide variety of Anekantavad is visible in the saptbhangi. Seven bhang or sentences of Saptbhangi are as follows: –

1. Sayad asti ev (स्याद् अस्ति एव) – Is

2. Sayad nasti ev (स्याद् नास्ति एव) – Is not

3. Sayad asti ev Sayad nasti ev (स्याद् अस्ति एव स्याद् नास्ति एव) – Is and it is not

4. Sayad vaktavy ev (स्याद् अवक्तव्य एव) – Is inexpressible.

5. Sayad asti ev, avaktavya ev (स्याद् अस्ति एव अवक्तव्य एव) – Is and is inexpressible

6. Sayad nasti ev , Sayad avaktvya ev (स्याद् नास्ति एव स्याद् अवक्तव्य एव) –Is not and is inexpressible

7. Sayad asti ev, Sayad nasti ev, Sayad avaktvya ev (स्याद् अस्ति एव स्याद् नास्ति एव स्याद् अवक्तव्य एव) – Is, is not and is inexpressible

In fact, Anekantavad, Sayadvad, and Saptbhangi interconnected. If Anekantavad is readable then Sayadwad is the reader and Sapatbhangi is the resource of Syadvad. These three together reveal the complete form of the object in front of you. This is the theory of Anekantavad or Sayadvada which has been given the highest importance in Jainism.

Finally, I complete this article here. I will write the next article too early on this topic, in which I will try to describe the remaining elements of Jainism philosophy like Daravaya, Jeev, Ajeev etc.
Jai Jinendra.

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