many-sidedness :— refers to the Jain doctrine about metaphysical truths that emerged in ancient India It states that the ultimate truth and reality is complex, has multiple aspects. Anekantavada has also been interpreted to mean non-absolutism, “intellectual Ahimsa”, religious pluralism, as well as a rejection of fanaticism that leads to terror attacks and mass violence.
According to Jainism, no single, specific statement can describe the nature of existence and the absolute truth. This knowledge (Kevala Jnana), it adds, is comprehended only by the Arihants. Other beings and their statements about absolute truth are incomplete, and at best a partial truth. Anekāntavāda is a fundamental doctrine of Jainism.
The origins of anekāntavāda can be traced back to the teachings of Mahāvīra (599–527 BCE), the 24th Jain Tīrthankara. The dialectical concepts of syādvāda “conditioned viewpoints” and nayavāda “partial viewpoints” arose from anekāntavāda in the medieval era, providing Jainism with more detailed logical structure and expression. The details of the doctrine emerged in Jainism in the 1st millennium CE, from debates between scholars of Jain, Buddhist and Hindu schools of philosophies.
The principle of anekāntavāda was one of the ancient principles that influenced Mahatma Gandhi.