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Recollection Recognition and Reasoning (A Study in The Jaina Theory of Paroksa Pramana)

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Item Code: NAS528
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Author: S. S. Antarkar, P. P. Gokhale and Meenal Katarnikar
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 8170309352
Pages: 340
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 490 gm
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Book Description

The term 'Epistemology', according to its root meaning, (episteme = knowledge+o+logy = science or systematic study) is a "a science or theory of knowledge." The Sanskrit term for 'cognition' is jam' . Both the terms 'cognition' and 'liana' are epistemically neutral terms i.e. they do not necessarily stand either for true or valid cognition or for false or invalid cognition. They stand for a 'cognitive mental state' (flicina) as distinguished from volition or conation and emotion. We cognize an object directly through sensation, i.e. through sense-object contact (indriyartha-sannikarsa) or indirectly through inference (anumana) or through 'verbal testimony' of a reliable person or text (s'abda). These three are the most fundamental ways of cognizing an object. They are therefore called Pramcina'-'instruments or sources of true cognition'. Though an instrument of a true cognition is called pramatja, the cognition resulting from such an instrument may not, however, be necessarily true or valid. It may be true, false, or doubtful. (prama, viparyaya or sarils'ayajiieina). The defective cognition may be either false (viparita jfiana) or doubtful (sarhs'ayajricina). The term (jnaw) 'cognition' thus is a neutral term irrespective of the distinction between true, false and doubtful cognition.

The most fundamental direct cognition is perception (pratyaksa). But our knowledge is not restiricted only to perception. It goes beyond perception. Thus the question arises: (i) How many sources or means of cognition are necessary and sufficient to give a satisfactory account of human knowledge? And (ii) What are their adequate definitions? These are the questions on which different systems or schools of philosophy-both Indian and Western-fundamentally differ. The Carvaka school takes an extreme position in accepting only one pramana- pratyaksa-as both necessary and sufficient to account for human knowledge. "Perception is the only means of human knowledge" (pratyaksarn ekameva pramanam). The moderate empiricists, however, accept two sources of cognition, viz., (i) perception (pratyaksa) and (ii) inference (anumana) based upon perception. The various systems of hte Classical Indian philosophy differ in accepting the number of pramavas and also in their definitions, understanding, and description of each source of cognition. The term "instrument" of knowledge is preferable to the term "source" as the latter expression suggests the idea of 'origin' rather than `justification' of knowledge.

The author of Prameyakamalameirtanda (the relevant sections of which are included with a translation as the second part of this book) starts his discussion by accepting dichotomous division of knowledge into direct (pratyaksa, vis'ada) and indirect (paroksa, avLs'ada) and holds that "indirect cognition caused by perception is of five types, viz, memory, recognition, (inductive) reasoning, inference, and verbel testimony" (pratyaksadi-nimittam smrti-pratyabhi-jiiana-tarka-anumeina-agama-bhedam).

Normally cognition is divided into direct (pratyaksa) and indirect (paroksa). Pratyaksa is defined as 'direct cognition' (scikseit pratiti:/). Somehow Jaina logicians included sense-perception in the category of paroksa, i.e. indirect cognition. To meet the requirement of both Jaina epistemology and Jaina soteriology, some modern thinkers have offered the classification according to which direct cognition is divided into "cognition direct to the soul" (atma-pratyaksa) and "cognition direct to the senses" (indriya-pratyaksa). The cognition which is not direct in any of the two senses is indirect cognition (paroksajitana). Dr. Katarnikar has presented her research on this theme in this book.

Different schools have discussed types of indirect cognition (parokya pramanas) in different ways. Marva Mimarhsa, especially Kumarila's school, accepts six pramahas viz. pratyaksa, anumana, s'abda, upamcina, artha- patti, and anupalabdhi. Out of these six, the five viz., inference (anu-mana), verbal testimony (sabda), implication (arthcipatti), analogy (upamana), and non-apprehension (anupalabdhi) are indirect cognitions.

But Jainism accepts five types of indirect cognition viz. memory (smrti), recognition (pratyabhijiia), reasoning (tarka), inference (anumana) and verbal testimony (agama). The Jaina classification of pramanas can be extended to a ten-fold classification. They are : three kinds of atmapratya-ksa viz. avadhi, manahparyciya and kevala, two types of §cithvyavaharika-pratyaksa viz. indriyaja and mcinasa and five types of paroksa-jfiana viz., smrti, pratyabhijiia, tarka, anumana, and agama. Jainas generally start their discussion by accepting dichotomous division of knowledge into pratyaksa-direct (visada), and paroka-indirect (avisada) as shown in the table given on the next page.

It can be seen from the table that though the pramanas recognized/accepted by Prabhacandrasari can be counted as ten, if we take into account the five sub-types of indriyaja sariwyavaharika pratyaksa, the number would go up to fifteen. This seems to give us the maximum number of pramanas in the Classical Indian philosophy.


The Jaina theory of knowledge has gone through many stages. Like the reality as Jainas understand it, it has exhibited both-discontinuity (utpeida-vyaya). and continuity or stability (dhrauvya) in its development. Modern scholars have tried to sketch this development in terms of two or more stages. Yuvacharya Mahaprajna for instance, identifies three periods.

(i) Period of Agamas (6th C.B.C. to 1st C.A.D.)

(ii) Philosophical period (1st C.A.D. to 8th C.A.D.)

(iii) Period of the critical study of various pramanas (8th C.A.D. onward)

The threefold division of the development of Jaina epistemology is relevant (though it may not be fully satisfactory) for understanding the Jaina conception of pramana.

In the Agama period of Jainism the theory of knowledge was initially introduced in terms of the types of knowledge (viz. mati, s'ruta, avadhi, manahparyclya and kevala), but it was not presented in terms of 'prameinas'. In the later stage this theory of five-fold knowledge was correlated to the two-fold division of pramana viz. pratyaksa and paroksa at the hands of Vacaka Umasvati, who marked the beginning of the 'philosophical period'

Umasvati's synthesis of the Agamic epistemology with the concept ofpramaiza shows an awareness on his part that Jainas have to construe pramanas in a different way from other systems. Umasvati's inclusion of mati and s'ruta in paroksa prameina and avadhi, manahparyaya and kevala in pratyaksa pramana suggested among other things that :

(a) Knowledge itself is prarniina; pramana is not to be construed as an instrument of knowledge but as knowledge itself.

(b) Even sensory perception, a kind of Mati-Jiieina is a kind of indirect knowledge (paroksa-pramdna) because it is mediated by Senses. Pratyaksa, i.e. direct knowledge, in its true sense, should not be mediated even by sense. It is the kind of knowledge the soul has without any medium.

Apart from anticipating such aspects of the concept of prameina, Umasvati had no intentions to articulate the theory of pramaija as such. It was Siddhasena Divdkara (5 th _6th Century A.D.) who at the first time gave a Jaina theory of pramdna.

Siddhasena in fact marks the beginning of the logical period (or the period of Tarka-school) of Jainism as has been noticed by Dr. Indra Chandra Shastri.5 Yuvacarya Mahaprajna, on the other hand, identifies the beginning of the Jaina theory of prameinas ("critical study of various pramanas") to 8th century, which was the time of Akalanka. He does so probably because it was Akalanka who presented the Jaina theory ofprameina in a fully blossomed form. The theory underwent a development even after Akalanka. But the post-Akalanka development of the theory was more directed towards sophistication and refinement rather than innovation.

Jainas use the concept of pramCaga in two different contexts. One is the epistemological-logical context where pramana is primarily understood as determinate true cgnition. Pramana in this context is contrasted with Samaropa -something analogous with avidyd of Vaigesikas or ayathdr-thanubhava of Naiyayikas. The other context in which Jainas talk about pram-Ina is the metaphysical-religious context where pramana is understood as complete knowledge or holistic knowledge; pramana in this context is contrasted with naya-which is understood as partial knowledge or partial view-point. Let us begin with the logical concept of pramana and then turn to the metaphysical concept.

In the history of Jaina logic the logical concept of pranzeina was introduced in an articulate way for the first time by Siddhasena Divakara in his NycVivatara. Different other definitions were presented by the later logicans like Akalanka, Manikyanandin, Vadideva, Prabhacandra, Hemacandra and Yagovijaya as are mentioned in the chapter I of the first part of the book. Various aspects of the concept of pramana were presented and critically examined by these logicians. However, there was no single definition of pramana which was accepted by all the Jaina logicians. It has been pointed out in the book how logicians differed not only on the definition of pramana but the conception of pramana.

The Jaina Classification of Pramava

The important question after the definition of pramana is about the classification of pramana. Just as the Jaina conception of pramana has developed through various stages, so has the Jaina classification of pramanas.

Here we came across four main stages :

1. The Agamic classifiaction offriana into five kinds.

2. Umasvati's two-fold classification into pratyaksa and paroksa.

3. Siddhasena's three-fold classification into pra-tyaksa, anumana and agama.

4. Akalanka's elaborate classification of pratyaksa and paroksa into various kinds.

It may be possible here to consider the major issues and reasons which were operative in the formation of these stages. We have seen that Umasvati re-classified the Agamic five-fold classification of knowledge into two-fold classifiaction viz. pratyaksa and paroksa. We have also seen that this re-classification rendered ordinary sensory and metal perception as paroksa-pramana i.e. indirect knowledge whereas the extra-ordinary cognitions viz. avadhi (clair-voyance) manahparyaya (telepathy) and kevala (omnis-cience) were regarded as pratyaksa-pramana, i.e. direct knowledge.

By classifying knowledge into pratyaksa pramana and paroksa-pramana Umasvati took the first step towards participation in the mainstream Indian epistemology. Many more steps were yet to be taken. In what follows we will see how Jainas took various such steps and yet tried to create and preserve the distinct identity of Jaina epistemology.

The Jaina Agamic classification of knowledge was deficient as an epistemological theory in some respects. It was primarily modeled for explaining various stages of knowledge leading towards liberation. All epirical knowledge was clubbed under one term viz. `matijiiana' in this classification and no special status was given to anumana-pramcina when other epistemological theories like those of Nyaya, Buddhism and Sarikhya discussed anumana in details.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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