Let’s Understand Jain Terminology

September, 2020 by Jainlexicon.com

Anekantvad, defines the theory of non-absolutism, non-radicalism or non- one sidedness and in in simple terms, it is the acceptance of all viewpoints. The word itself explains once split into: ’Anek’ meaning many and ’Vad’ means opinions or attributes. When a situation has many attributes there can be more than one perspective. Thus one should give equal importance to others opinions which will eventually lead to living life of harmony.


Lord Mahavira, a strong believer of non-violence has also promoted Anekantvad by extreme level of tolerance, understanding nature and respecting others point of view. One may argue that toleration may involve bearing something which is against ones wish and an involuntary action not encouraged by Jainism as it hurts oneself. However, Anekantvad never prescribed such violence to anyone, but teaches to smartly eliminate violent argument and cordially persuade one another through respectful recognition of each other’s point of view. These viewpoints depend on the time, place, circumstances, and nature of individuals which are in accordance with reality, positive in nature, and do not deny any genuine viewpoints. 

Characteristics of Anekantvad:
Equanimity towards all
A strong urge to seek the whole truth
Belief in many possibilities and acceptance that the truth can consist of seemingly opposing views
Consideration the truth expressed by oneself is a partial truth and accepting truth even if it is
expressed by adversaries

The moment one understand the deep meaning and reason for the existence of Anekantvad by simply considering the angle from which a contrary viewpoint is put forward, one begins to develop tolerance, which is the basic requirement of the practice of ‘Ahimsa’ which as mentioned earlier is linked with Anekantvad. One may start determining the reason behind one’s conflict, grief, envy, and hatred. Such theories help in solving huge social problems even at global level. Practicing Anekantvad will provide the diversity and find different ways of being with an aim to discover the wide picture of reality. 

It makes all absolutes or firm judgements in the field of thought quite irrelevant and naive, and it imparts maturity to the thought process and supplies flexibility and originality to the human mind. If mankind will properly understand and adopt this doctrine of Anekantvad, it will realize that real revolution was not the French or Russian Revolutions; the real revolution was the one, which taught man to develop his/her power of understanding from all possible aspects.

Courtesy: www.jainlexicon.com
Academic Advisor: Dr.Jitendra B.Shah, Ahmedabad
General Editor: Dilip V. Shah, Philadelphia
co-edited by : Hiloni Doshi

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