Jayandra Soni

Two Aspects of Jaina Philosophy
Substance, Quality and Mode (dravya, guṇa and paryāya) and the Absence of syādvāda in Umāsvāti’s Tattvārthasūtra

  • Datum: Mo., 20. Januar 2014, 16 - 17 Uhr
  • Ort: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Seminarraum 1
  • Organisation: Himal Trikha


With reference to the problem of substance and its quality (dravya and guṇa), the Jaina contribution is the inclusion of mode (paryāya) as an inalienable feature of this debate. The Jainas apply the theory not only to the non-conscious, insentient (ajīva) substances like wood or gold and their products, but also to the conscious, sentient category of the soul (jīva). Thus, the Jainas can talk of change in all substances, without a substance losing its substanceness. It will be shown how this applies even when the talk is about origination, permanence and destruction with reference to substances. The second aspect concerns the intriguing absence of the word syādvāda in Umāsvāti’s Tattvārthasūtra (TS). For Jaina philosophy the TS can be said to have the status of Bādarāyaṇa’s Brahmasūtra for Vedānta, and syādvāda is considered to be the hall-mark and ‘central philosophy of Jainism’. The closest one comes to any reference to syādvāda is in chapter five of the work (TS 5, 32/31). This passage and the early commentaries on it will be shortly examined in the lecture and it will be discussed why the Digambara Pūjyapāda did not mention syādvāda in his commentary of the TS at all although his predecessor Kundakunda of the same tradition already uses the term.


Dr. Jayandra Soni received a PhD from Banaras Hindu University in 1978 and from McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada) in 1987. From 1991 to 2012 he taught Indian languages and Indian philosophy at the Department of Indology and Tibetology, Philipps-Universität Marburg, and now lives in Innsbruck where he is a part-time lecturer for Indian philosophy and religions in the Philosophy Department of Innsbruck University. Since 2012 he is also the Secretary General of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies.