Bhadrabahu Vijay


Relative truth

Syadvad is not scepticism nor is it indecision; but it is the philosophy of seeing an individual or an object from various points of view; trying to understand them thus; and acquiring the right knowledge of those things. This is also called Anekantvad or multiple-vision theory. The great gift the Jain philosophy has given to the world is the Anekantvad, its specialty, its insight and its way of thinking and its method of multidimensional view of things.

Syath means some, a little or an aspect. The truth is always multidimensional. At any time, the truth can never be realized by means of a single-point of view. The truth is always relative; but not an absolute realized from any one point of view.

If we understand an individual or an object from any one point of view, it leads to a lot of controversy. confusion and a furore of conflicting and contradictory theories. The Ekantavad or the single-point of view does not admit of the validity of the opinions of others. It does not have the patience to accept the arguments and views of others; but in the Anekantvad-Syadvad full justice is done to the views of others. It is thus:

You are somebody's son; you can also be a brother of someone else: you can be someone's uncle and you can be somebody else's relative or friend. Though you are one individual your facets are many. All these truths constitute the multi- dimensional truth about you. Nobody's view or theory can be considered as the final and indisputable one. There should be flexibility in respect of views and opinions. It is a different question whether we accept or reject others' opinions but at least, we should have patience to hear them and to tolerate them.

The Theory of Relativity expounded by the famous scientist Einstein is founded on Syadvad. It requires the strength of a Sarvajna an omniscient one to see the truth in its totality and to examine it as such. Einstein also said: "We can only know the relative truth; the absolute truth is known only to the universal observer". Non-violence in thinking; Anekantvad or the multi-dimensional approach in speech; and self- restraint in conduct constitute the master-key to right living.




Samyaktva or righteousness is the foundation for all Jain worship and spiritual endeavours.

Samyak, Samichin, Samkit and Samyagdrishti are words possessing only one meaning.

Samyak means the actual truth. It means seeing, thinking of and knowing an object or a theory, as in itself it really is.

Jneya is that which is fit to be known; and we should know it.

Heya is that which should be discarded and we should discard it.

Upadeya is that which is fit to be accepted and we should accept it. The simplest and clearest meaning of Samyaktva is Vivekdrishti or sensible way of looking at things. Samyaktva means an unbroken, unshakeable, firm and deep faith in gods, preceptors and Dharma as described by the Jineshwar.

Samyaktva is also knowing and respecting the nine doctrines which have been expounded by the Paramatma.

Mithyatva, false perception, opposite of Samyaktva. The two are contradictory. Therefore Mithyatva means a topsy-turvy perception or false perception of truth. It further means plunging into a false perception of a truth without understanding and respecting it as in itself it really is. When the sunlight of Samyaktva falls on the tree of the soul, the following five branches blossom and spread.

Sham : Peace; a state of absolute serenity. Retaining the cheerfulness of the mind in spite of conflicts. Retaining an absolute and unshaken equanimity.

Samveg : The emergence of an innate enthusiasm to pursue and adore the path of salvation

Nirved : The appearance of a natural and spontaneous renunciation and detachment for the pleasures and enjoyments of the worldly life.

Astikay : A natural and true faith in the nine doctrines and the path of salvation. Faith must be absolute and total though there may be some laxity in respect of observance.

Anukampa: Wishing for the welfare of all creatures; and entertaining auspicious feelings about them. Being benevolent and helpful to the needy and the distressed people.

Jnan - knowledge of five kinds.

According to Jain Dharma, Jnan - knowledge is the natural attribute of the soul. The soul is the embodiment of knowledge. Knowledge and the one who has acquired knowledge have been considered as separate as well as one and indivisible and indistinguishable. Knowledge has been divided into five parts.

1. Matijnan:

This is knowledge obtained by means of the intellect and the senses.

2. Shrutajnan:

Shrutajnan is knowledge that has been acquired by means of the intellect; and the senses; and which has been thoroughly and clearly interpreted. It also includes knowledge obtained from the scriptures, sacred books, words and letters.

3. Avadhijnan:

Avadhijnan is knowledge within some limits of concrete entities, obtained by the power of the soul, without the help of the intellect and the senses.

4. Manahparyav jnan:

This is the name given to the knowledge obtained; within some limits of the various thoughts and emotions of a Jivatma by means of the power of the soul.

5. Kaivalyajnan:

Kaivalyajnan is that knowledge which is absolutely pure, perfect, boundless and sublime. Nothing envelops it. This is the true knowledge of both concrete and abstract (both embodied and bodiless) substances and their thoughts and emotions, in the three worlds, obtained without the help of the intellect and the senses. This is called Kaivalyajnan. This knowledge appears when the Jnanavaran Karma is completely destroyed.