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Avadhi Gyan In Jainism

Avadhi Gyan is one of the forms of knowledge in Jainism. Jaina epistemology usually classifies knowledge into two categories – prayaksha (direct or perceptual) and paroksha (indirect or non-perceptual). Perceptual knowledge is of two kinds – indriya pratyaksha (sensory perceptual knowledge) and atindriya pratyaksha (extrasensory perceptual knowledge). Indriya pratyaksha is also called vyavaharika (empirical) perceptual knowledge. It depends on the sense organs and is fallible in nature. Atindriya pratyaksha does not depend upon the sense organs and is infallible in nature. It is also known as transcendental (paramarthika) perceptual knowledge.

Transcendental perception is considered as the true mukhya pratyaksha (direct perception) due to its infallibility. Such extra-sensory perception results from the purification of the self from the polluting karmic particles, where the purification itself is the result of practicing the spiritual disciplines of samyak darshana (right faith), samyak jnana (right knowledge) and samyak charitra (right conduct).

Different degrees of such purification gradually give access to different types of transcendental perception. Jainism believes in two categories of transcendental perception – vikala (imperfect) and sakala (perfect). Imperfect transcendental perception is limited by space and time, whereas perfect transcendental is not limited at all. Perfect transcendental perception is the complete intuitive knowledge of the self and it leads to omniscience. It is also called kevala jnana or absolute knowledge.

Imperfect transcendental perception is of two kinds – avadhi and mana paryaya. Avadhi is the extra sensory, transcendental, infallible knowledge of various empirical objects located in space and time, but lying much beyond the cognitive range of ordinary sense organs.

Mana Paryaya is the transcendental knowledge of the minds of other beings, including those of non-humans. Out of the three types of transcendental perception, avadhi is of the lowest order in terms of the requisite purification of the individual self. Mana Paryaya requires greater purification of the self, but kevala jnana calls for absolute purification of the self.