It means dialectic of the seven steps or the Theory of Seven-Fold-Judgement.
To sum up, Jaina recognizes seven kinds of conditional judgement, each of which, being relative, is preceded by the word Syad. This is called Syadvada or Saptabhanginaya. (Ordinary logic recognizes two forms of judgement – Affirmative and negative)
Seven forms of Judgements are as follows :
- Syat ASTI : A thing is real relatively
- Syat NASTI : A thing is unreal relatively
- Syat ASTI NASTI : Relatively, a thing is both real and unreal (This cannot be a criticism as we are taking different points of view here)
- Syat AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is indescriable.
- Syat ASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is real and indescribable.
- Syat NASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is unreal and indescribable.
- Syat ASTI NASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a things is real, unreal and indescribable.
Example of Saptabhanginaya takes time and space into consideration. Example : Syad table asti cha nasti cha.
This means, this table is as this time and this location while the fact that it isn’t at another location is also true. This conditional judgement, makes Jaina Philosophy highly tolerant. Almost all philosophical/religious different are due to mistaking partial truth as complete.
- In SAPTBHANGINYAYA, the last three are just recombination of what comes in the first four points. Last three points are superfluous and redundant.
- THEY ARE SELF CONTRADICTORY (same thing has been defined as being real and unreal i.e SYAT ASATI NASATI) : Jainas defend themselves as they consider it to be different points of views. Hence this criticism is wrong and countered.