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Jaina Philosophy of Language

Jaina Philosophy of Language
Item Code: NAI438
Author: Prof. Sagarmal Jain
Publisher: Parshwanath Vidyapeeth , Varanasi
Language: English
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 8186715770
Pages: 160
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9 inch X 6 inch
About the Book

Prof. Sagarmal Jain's 'Jaina Philosophy of Language' is a pioneering work on Jaina Linguistic Philosophy. Prof. Jain in this monumental work, by virtue of the short but self-contained discussions, has succinctly presented the contents of Jaina philosophy of language in a lucid manner. It throws new light on the basic problems of philosophical semantics based on analytical method. There is no gainsaying the fact that Prof. Jaina's this work will be of permanent value to the researchers and the linguists.

The pictures on the front cover depict the Brahmi alphabates.

The Preface

On the recommendation of Pt. Dalsukhbhai Malvania the Bhogilal Leherchand Bharatiya Sanskrit Sans than, Patna invited me in 1983 to deliver few lectures. The subject of the lectures was left to my choice. I could have selected Jaina metaphysics, Jaina Logic or Jaina Ethics, but I thought, on these subjects enough is already said. I therefore, decided to select a subject, which was on the one hand related to the problems of contemporary Philosophy and on the other hand, which underlines the importance of the Jaina philosophy. Language analysis is one of the main forms of reflexion in the contemporary philosophical world. As such, I decided to deliver my lectures on Jaina philosophy of Language. The present work is an English translation of these very lectures. It gives me great satisfaction to note that some of the problems, which are confronted by the contemporary linguistic analysts, were the same, which the Jaina philosophers had already thought about some 2000 years back. What we are presenting today as a new form of contemporary philosophy was, in fact, a well-thought subject for the thinkers of lndian philosophy some 2000 years back. The present work is a pioneer work on the Jaina linguistic philosophy. I think, there is a need for serious thought and writing and comparative study in this field. In the present work I have given only some indications and suggestions for the relevant comparisons but hope on this basis, there will be more serious and comparative studies in future. The lectures have there own limitations and time considerations. As such, either I have not touched all the aspects of the subject or have presented them in very condensed manner as aphorism. The Jaina Acaryas have written a lot on the subject right from Jaina Agamic literature like Bhagavati-sutra, Prajnapana and Anuyogadvara-sutra to the Bhasarahasya- prakarana of Upadhyaya Yasovijaya (17th cent. AD). The present work is only an indicator.

Further, I very well know my own limitations of knowledge and studies. I cannot, therefore, claim to have given in the work the final and ultimate analysis of Jaina linguistic philosophy. The suggestions and guidance of the scholars are always welcome. I am not an expert of Western linguistic philosophy too. As such in this context also my comments should open for further discussions.

In the first chapter of this work we have discussed development of linguistic philosophy and the problems of Jaina philosophy of Language. We have also discussed the theory of vibhajyevada, which is an early form of the philosophy of language. The second chapter deals mainly with the origin of language, the relation between thought and language, the types and the fundamental materials of which the language is made. .Besides, the question of script is also dealt with. The third chapter concerns itself with words, their nature, their atomic form, their transience, and their relation with their meaning, method of naming, their particularity and their universality. In this chapter the doctrines of Sphota and Apoha are also critically examined. Along with it Akrtivada and its relation with the Jaina philosophy is also made clear. The fourth chapter is mainly devoted to the nature of sentence. In this chapter various philosophical views regarding the nature of sentence as Abhihitanvayavada and Anvitabhidhanavada etc. are critically examined. In the fifth chapter the Naya (viewpoint) and the Niksepa (Positing) theories of Jaina philosophy regarding determination of meaning are discussed. The sixth chapter deals with the power of words in expressing meaning and the nature of the indescribable (avaktavyam). The seventh chapter tries to make clear the relation between language and truth. It is also discussed as to which type of statements come under the category of 'truth' and 'falsehood', and which are above this category. Thus, an attempt is made in the work to present the various aspects of the Jaina philosophy of language.

At the time of the publication of this work, I express my gratitude first of all to Shri Pratap Bhai Bhogilal, the present Trustee of Bhogilal Laherchand Bharatiya Sanskriti Sansthan, Delhi and Dr. V. M. Kulkarni, the Former Director, who not only organized these lectures but also decided to publish them. In the root of all this there was the inspiration of Late Padmabhushan Pt. Dalsukh Bhai Malvania and therefore, I take this opportunity to express my heart-felt gratitude to him which is of course my primary duty. In the present work my articles (' Satta kitani vacya kitani avacya'; Vibhajyavada: Adhunika Bhasa- vislesana ka purva rupa'; Jaina Darsana men jnana aura Kathana ki satyata ka Prasna', which were previously published by 'Paramarsa', and 'Darsanika Traimasika', have also been incorporated with some revisions. I thank the editors of both the journals for their kind permission to reproduce them.

I extend my hearty thanks to Prof. Surendra Verma who very kindly translated this work in English. Without him this work would have not seen the light of the day. I thanks to Dr. Shriprakash Pandey, the editor of this book who not only took pain of editing the book but also translated some of the portions of lost manuscript and managed it through the press.

It is my pious duty to express my devotion and gratitude to Late Svami Shri Yogindranandaji who very kindly wrote the' 'Introduction" for the book. The smooth publication of this book is really a result of the blessings of my respected father Late Shri Rajamalji Jain and mother Smt. Ganga Bai and the loving cooperation extended to me by my wife Smt. Kamala Jain. I would have not been able to complete this book if my two sons--Shri Narendra and Piyush have not freed me by my family liabilities. I thanks to both of them.

The Parshwanath Vidyapeeth and its quiet surrounding along with its rich library are also some of the important factors responsible in the writing of this book. I therefore, extend my thanks to respected Shri Bhupendra Nathji Jain, Former Secretary, Shri Indrabhooti Barar, the Joint Secretary and Prof. Maheshwari Prasad, Director, Parshwanath Vidyapeeth and the other personnel of the institution.

In preparing the press copy of the Hindi edition and in the proof reading, I was able to avail the cooperation of my colleagues and disciples like Dr. A.P. Singh, Dr. B. R. Yadav, Dr. Ravi Shankar Mishra, Shri Maheshji and others. I am obliged to all of them. I would also like to remember and thanks to all known and unknown friends who participated in the discussions during my lecturers and thus enriched me by their thoughts.


The Light of the East (Praci-Prabha)

The structure of Indian philosophy is such a unique musical instrument, that its all the cards begin to play by mere touch of any of its strings. The reason is obvious. The origin of all the philosophical streams of India is fundamentally one. Why the origins only, their level of flow and the centre of their confluence, are also identical. In the Mundakopanisad (3.2.8) it is said:

'Yatha nadyah syandamanah samudre' stem gacchanti nama rupe vihaya'

This mantra has become all the more touching and attractive in Shri Siddhasena Divakara's words:

'Udadhiviva sarvasindhavah samudirnastvadhinastha sarvadrsthyah'

Every philosophical school of India has of course tried to abrogate the other schools but not maliciously. It is only a style of construction, as Shri Madhusudan Saraswati rightly observes:

Upapadanam ca svapaksasadhanaparapaksanirakaranabhyam bhavati.'

The book entitled, 'Jaina Bhasa-darsana' is no doubt small in size but it has embraced in its fold the beats of the vast field of Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali literature.

It is absolutely truth that our lexicography has its basis in a very ancient tradition. We have mention of a long chain of the Rsis (seers) in the treatises dealing with nighantu, nirukta, pratisakhya and classical grammar. Though there is a great difference between the linguistics and the lexicography, they are nevertheless, mutually infused and all the grand structures are erected on the foundation of words. It is a Herculean task to put together the vast and scattered literature of linguistics, in the Vedic, Jaina and the Buddhist Philosophies. The author of the present work 'Jaina Bhasa-darsana " has confined himself to discuss the Jaina philosophers only but, at the same time, he has given due place to the thoughts of the Vedic and the Buddhist schools also and has put them first as purva-paksa (plaintiff's statement) for sincere consideration.

Various views regarding the Nature of words

It is not possible to discuss all the aspects of philosophy of language here but I would like to give in brief a metaphysical analysis of 'words' only. What is the nature of a word? Two philosophical views have usually come forward to answer the question: (i) Substantive (Dravyavadi) and (2) Attributive (Gunavadi). The Samkhya-Yoga and the grammarians are totally of the substantive view. The Bhatta School of the Mimamsakas is substantive and his Prabhakara Prasthana is attributive. Nyaya-Vaisesika is also attributive. As for as the Jainas are concerned, they can be called as substantive from the one and the attributive from the other point of view. They are substantive because they regard word as a particular mode of the 'material substance' and as also they regard substance and its modes as identical. But because they regard the attribute as non-eternal quality of the object, they can be called 'attributive' also.

The substantive Theories

(a) The word as the Brahman

If the Vedantins are Brahmadvaitavadins (Absolute Monist) believing in a non-dual Brahman, the Yogacara Vijnanadvaitavadins and the grammarians Sabdadvaitavadins all the non-duelists regard the living world as an illusion superimposed by the avidya (ignorance). The Sabdadvaitavada though a little different from Vijnanadvaitavada is nevertheless similar to Brahmadvaitavada because the word of the grammarians is identical with the Brahman of the Vedanta.

Anadinidhanam Brahma sabdatattvam yadaksaram /

Vivartate'rthabhavena prakriya jagato yatah //

Vakyapadiya 1.1

Santaraksita endorse the same in a different manner-

Athavibhagamevedam Brahmatattvam sada sthitam /

A vidyopaplvalloko vicitram tvabhimanyate //

Tattvasangraha 144

In the appearances like 'ghatah san '; 'patah san' the existence of Brahman as real proves to be the material cause of the world. Similarly, in the expressions like 'idem rupam", 'ayam rasah', idem rupamiti janite', ayam rasa iti janite' (Nyaya Bhasya 1.1.4) the word seems to be inherent hence the material cause of the world.

Na so 'sti pratyayo loke yah sabdanugamadrte /

Anuddhamiva jnanam sarvam sabdena bhasate //

Vakyapadiya 1.123

In the Vedanta it is clearly said - 'Atma va are drastaavyah, srotavyah, mantavyah (Brhadaranyaka Upsnisad-2.5) i.e. see the atman, hear the atman, contemplate the atman ... but hearing is possible only of the "Sabda Brahma' (Eternal Verbum). Therefore, the realisation of the Brahman will be at this lavel only. It is rightly said:

Yadekam prskriyabhedaibahudha pravibhajyate

Tad vyakaranagamya param Brahmadhigamyate //

Vakyapadiya 1.22

In the open platform of Vedanta, Brahman as one, has appeared in its various roles, but Vedantins were not able to recognise it. They remained only gazing at it; but as soon as He (the Brahman) entered the grammarian's courtyard, was able to be perceived by their auditory sense.

(B) Word defined as Sphota

Another name of 'Sabda Brahma' is sphota. Shri Mandana Misra has established the existence of sphota, besides that of letters and terms in the following one sentence:

' 'Pratyekamapratyayakatvat, sahityabhavat, niyatakramavartina- mayaugapadyena sembhuyakaritvanupaptte tasmad varnavyatirekim varnebhyo'sammantarthapratyayah svanimitta-mupakaJpayati"


It means, if we regard letters (A, B, C, etc.) as word, how can then we shall be able to comprehend meaning? Neither the every letter nor the aggregates of the perishable letters are indicator of meaning? The terms 'rasah' or 'sarah' etc. have two letters but their succession makes difference in the meanings. As the aggregates of letters can not give only one meaning, in the similar way the comprehension of many different objects simultaneously from the word is not possible. Sabda, maintains Mandana, cannot refer to the individual phonemes because in themselves they convey no meaning. In common experience the whole word is the unit of language that is taken to be meaning-bearing. The common man takes a noun or verb to be a unity signifying meaning- without reference to the plurality of letters and syllables, which are the products of speculative thought. As such, we have to recognize the essence of a word in the form of sphota, which is different from words but which nevertheless, finds expressions in the form of terms and sentences etc. and manifest their meaning. In more philosophic terminology sphota may be described as the transcendent ground in which the spoken syllables and conveyed meaning find them united as word or Sabda. Mandana makes clear that it is the sphota or felt word-unity that is capable of conveying meaning and therefore, is the essential characteristic- without which it would cease to be what it is. This sphota is unique, one without the other. But it is described in various ways - like Varna-sphota, Pada-sphota etc. in accordance with the degrees of expressiveness. In Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya, we have systematic philosophical analysis of the sphota. He, explaining the process of sphota says that 'At first the word exists in the mind of the speaker as a unity or sphota. When he utters it, he produces a sequence of different sounds so that it appears to have differentiation. The listener, though first hearing a series of sounds, ultimately perceives the utterance as a unity- the same sphota with which the speaker began- and then the meaning is conveyed' (Vakyapadiya 1.44). Bhartrhari has besides, mentioned three more views regarding word, which, accept word as mode of any substance:

Vayoranunam jnanaya sabdatvapattirisyate /

Kaiscid darsanabhedo hi pravadesvanavasthitah //

Vakyapadiya 1.107

These views regard 'word' as function of Vayu (Air), Paramanu (Atom) and Jnana(Knowledge) respectively.


The Light of the East (Praci-Prabha)viii-xviii
Chapter 1 : Introduction1-13
Chapter 2 : Language and Script14-33
Chapter 3 : Jaina Philosophy of Word34-74
Chapter 4 : The Jaina Philosophy of Sentence75-95
Chapter 5 : The Theory of Determination of Meaning; Naya & Niksepa96-103
Chapter 6 : Capability of Expression in Language104-112
Chapter 7 : Language and Truth113-130
Appendix 'A'131-132
Appendix 'B'133-134
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