Jainism: Metaphysics-The Theory of Anekant-Vada: Classical Indian Philosophy for Competitive Exams

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Jainism: Metaphysics

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Jainism: Introduction and Theory of Knowledge - Classical Indian Philosophy (Philosophy)


  • Jainism is a heterodox or nastik school of Indian philosophy.
  • Jainism accepts the authority of their own founders of the faith or Tirthankaras.
  • Jainism accepts 24 Tirthankaras or founders of the faith, of these Rshabhadeva was the first and Mahavira or Vardhamana was the last.
  • They do not believe in Vedic Gods, according to them their own founders of the faith are their gods.
  • The school of Jainism is most renowned for their ethics.

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  • They are more orthodox, or more rigid. They are also known as sky-clad sect. According to them no food is needed for saint and women cannot attain moksha.
  • They are more accommodating than Digambaras. They are also known as the white-clad sect. According to them food is needed for saints and women can attain liberation or moksha.
  • It is important to note that both the two sects have faith on Tirthankaras and they accept the teachings of their founders of the faith. To simply put the teachings of the founders of the faith, they teach freedom from passions and karmas lead to liberation or moksha.

Theory of Knowledge

  • The Jainas classify knowledge into immediate (aparoksha) and mediate knowledge (paroksha jnana) .
  • Under Immediate knowledge comes Avadhi, Manahparyaya and Kevala jnana.
  • On the other hand, under mediate knowledge comes Mati and Shruta.
  • Paroksha Jnana;
  • Perceptual knowledge which is ordinarily attained is called mediate knowledge. It is included under Mati.
  • According to Jainism, pure perception in the sense of mere sensation cannot be ranked as knowledge.
  • So, perceptual knowledge is regarded as mediate or paroksha jnana because it presupposes the activity of thought. Mati includes both perceptual and inferential knowledge.
  • On the other hand, Shruta deals with knowledge which is derived from verbal testimony or sabda.
  • Thus, mati and shruta which are the two kinds of mediate knowledge have as their instruments; perception, inference and verbal testimony or pratyaksha, anumana and sabda.
  • Therefore, these three means of valid knowledge or pramanas are accepted by Jainism.
  • Note: It is important to note that according to Jainism, mediate knowledge is prone to samasya or doubt. Hence, it is not free from all wrong knowledge.
  • Immediate knowledge or aparoksha jnana;
  • It is the knowledge which doesnีšt have a medium. Unlike, the mediate knowledge it does not come via a medium, such as, body, senses and mind.
  • Avadhi-jnana, Manahparyaya-jnana and Kevala-jnana are the three kinds of immediate knowledge which are also called extra-ordinary knowledge or extra-ordinary sensory perceptions.
  • Avadhi-Jnana:
    • it means clairvoyance. It deals with direct knowledge of objects or things. It is limited in space and time because some karmas exist and cause hindrances. It is prone to viparyaya or mistake
  • Manahparyaya-jnana:
    • it means telepathy. It deals with direct knowledge of thoughts. It is also limited in space and time because some existing karmas cause hindrance. It is free from all wrong knowledge.
  • Kevala-jnana:
    • it means omniscience. It is called direct, unlimited, absolute knowledge. It can be obtained only by the liberated souls. It is not limited in space and time. It is hence, the highest knowledge.
Theory of Knowledge
  • Jainism accepts the authority of three pramanas. They are perception, inference and verbal testimony.
  • Jainism accepts five kinds of right knowledge. They are;
    • mati,
    • shruta,
    • avadhi,
    • manahparyaya
    • kevala jnana.
  • Kevala Jnana is the highest knowledge. It is only possessed by liberated souls.
  • Jainism accepts five kinds of Indirect knowledge. They are;
    • smriti or memory,
    • pratyabhijna or re-cognition,
    • anumana or inference,
    • tarka or hypothetical reasoning
    • agama or verbal testimony.
  • Jainism accepts three kinds of wrong knowledge. They are
    • samasya or doubt,
    • viparyaya or mistake,
    • anadhyavasaya or wrong knowledge through indifference.


  1. Jainism accepts ________ kinds of wrong knowledge
  2. Three
  3. Two
  4. Five
  5. Four

Answer: A

2. ________ Knowledge is also known as Clairvoyance

  1. Avadhi
  2. Manahparyaya
  3. Kevala
  4. Both B and C

Answer: A

3. Knowledge which is free from all means of wrong knowledge are?

  1. Avadhi
  2. Paroksha Jnana
  3. Aparoksha Jnana
  4. Manahparyaya and Kevala

Answer: D

  1. The two sects of Jainism are

A. Hinayana and Mahayana

B. Digambaras and Svetambaras

C. Both A and B

D. None of these

Answer: B

5. Jainism accepts ________ kinds of Indirect Knowledge

A. Three

B. Four

C. Five

D. Six

Answer: C




โœ Mayank