Archive for July, 2008

July 8, 2008

Anekāntavāda (अनेकान्तवाद)

(Devanagari: अनेकान्तवाद), the principle of pluralism and multiciplity of viewpoints, is one of the most important and basic doctrines of Jainism. According to anekāntavāda, truth and reality are perceived differently from different points of view, and no single point of view is the complete truth.[1][2]

Best described by this poem:

The Blind Man and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant~(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation~Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, ~ At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant ~ Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here?
So very round and smooth and sharp? ~ To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant ~ Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, ~ Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant ~ Is very like a snake!”

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