Ever-Changing Modes of Reality

<< Previous Class

In our previous discussion on reality, we concluded that all real substances, of which the reality is ultimately made up of, are a culmination of persistence, creation and destruction – all in one. We also listed out the qualities aka guṅ of these real substances aka dravya, which make them persistence across the boundaries of time – past, present, and future.

“So, do these qualities never change for a particular substance?”, asked Dravya.

Qualities as such don’t change in the sense if they are there today, they were there and will be always there. However, their modes may change, rather they do keep changing – creating & destroying. And that’s our topic of discussion today – the ever-changing modes of reality. And only with this trinity of persistence, creation & destruction is the explanation of any real substance complete.

How do we really understand that a quality doesn’t change but its mode does?

As an example, any matter or energy pudgal would have the quality of having colour, it had this quality, and will always have it, as it would never become anything other than matter or energy. That is the persistence of its quality of having colour. However, the modes of colour, or simply speaking the colour itself may change from bright to dull or vice versa. That would be creation of dull & destruction of bright. Thus, in the same real substance, we see the trinity of creation, destruction, and persistence.

“That makes sense. But then, you are saying that this trinity is there in all real substances, ALWAYS”, interrupted Yog.

Yes.

But, say this book, or the chalk on the table, if left as is, wouldn’t have any creation or destruction.

Not really. Even then, there would be creation & destruction. And exactly to understand that, let’s dig deeper into the changing modes of reality. Mode changes of any substance can be classified into two broad categories: arth paryāy (subtle mode change) and vyanjan paryāy (gross mode change). Subtle mode change is momentary, cannot be observed using our sense organs, doesn’t involve any shape change, but is continuously happening; and gross mode change is stable, observable, explainable by words, and of fixed duration. So, in your example of book and chalk, there may not be any gross mode changes, but definitely there are subtle changes continuously happening. Also, note that in our previous session, we used paryāy to refer to the mode itself. In today’s discussion, we’d use it for the change in a mode. Paryāy thus have two meanings, as per the context.

Who is doing these mode changes aka paryāy?

To understand that, we need to understand the another classification of mode changes: swabhāv paryāy (intrinsic mode change) and vibhāv paryāy (extrinsic mode change). Intrinsic meaning the mode changing by virtue of itself – its own nature, and extrinsic meaning the mode getting changed because of some non-self influence, loosely speaking some external influence.

But how can something change by itself?

There are many such analogies at gross level. For example, all our involuntary actions, like heart beat; rotation of planets; all these happen by themselves. So, there is nothing surprising if all the real substances have intrinsic mode changing by self-interaction at the subtle levels, as well. In fact, it is by virtue of its own existence, because of its quality of vastutva (as discussed in our previous class). Moreover, this subtle intrinsic mode change is the one which is always happening. Thus ensuring the trinity of creation, destruction, persistence.

So, does it mean all subtle mode changes are always intrinsic?

Yes. However, intrinsic mode changes could also be gross, as in the examples given above. Just that, only the subtle one’s are continuously happening. Extrinsic mode changes are always gross, like breaking of a chalk, driven by external factors and immediately noticeable. Let’s take an another example – ageing of a book. It is noticeable over a period of time, but the mode change is actually happening every moment, unnoticeable. Hence, the actual mode change is subtle, and intrinsic, as self-driven.

If I have understood correct, similarly growing of a child to an adult to an oldie is a subtle & hence an intrinsic mode change.

Not really, as here unlike ageing of book, there is lot of gross level changes, cell changes, change in shape, which leads to growing. So, it is actually a gross mode change.

Ok. But then, is it an intrinsic mode change or an extrinsic mode change?

What do you think? Just test it on the criterion of whether it is driven by factors of other than self.

Accordingly, it should be extrinsic only. But wouldn’t the body grow old, even without the external factors?

It may seem like. But ultimately, bottom to the roots, it would be because of the karm particles. Some factors within, but even they are something other than the gross body itself, and hence due to non-self influence only. Thus, it would be a gross extrinsic mode change.

Any similar criteria or trick for determining whether it is a subtle or gross mode change?

Yes. Mode changes could be classified into two more broad categories, based on our previous session discussion:
+ Substance (dravya) – any change in the mode of the substance itself.
+ Quality (guṅ) – any change in the mode of the qualities of a substance.
And all substance mode changes are (defined as) gross, and all quality mode changes are (defined as) subtle.

Any examples?

Examples of substance mode change: Soul transforming into human, animal, etc forms; Breaking & formation of compounds & elements through various reactions. These all are gross mode changes, though could be either intrinsic or extrinsic.
Examples of quality mode change: Change in knowledge & perception; Newness or oldness of colour. These all are subtle mode changes, always intrinsic.

“Do these mode changes happen for all the six fundamental substances, or only to matter & energy?”, asked Dravya.

As already discussed, the trinity is the pre-condition for any thing to be real aka exist. And hence, these mode changes do happen to all the six fundamental substances. And moreover, the intrinsic ones keep ceaselessly happening.

www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Fundamentals of Existence

<< Previous Class

Hope you guys had enough time to go through the reference text ‘Microcosmology: Theory of Atom in Jain Philosophy & Modern Science’ by J S Zaveri & Muni Mahendra Kumar?

“Yes Sir”, came a chorus from a big bunch of the class.

That’s great. Then, today let’s start discussing about what is reality, with reference to your reading. Then, we could dive into more “realistic” stuff like matter & energy.

“There is so much of information in the text, and so much to relate with science & beyond”, added Viṡay.

Yes. Exactly that’s why I asked you guys to go through it, so that here we could just summarize the key points, and get into more of Q & A style discussions.

“After going through it, our thinking perspective have hugely expanded, many previous questions got answered, and some more new questions added. It would be really enriching to have such discussions”, supported Tatva.

So, what is Reality?

Reality is self-existing, self-consistent, and self-contained. It doesn’t depend on something outside it for its existence.

Perfect. Alongwith, it is free from all absolutism (single perspectives), and rather a composition of opposites.

“How can opposites be in together?”, quizzed Gati.

That is what is non-absolutism, multi-perspective, or so called anekāntvād. Now, take this. Reality is both change and permanence, it is both universal and specific.

That sounds really weird.

Yes. But if you dig deeper, you will see a beautiful coherence between the opposites. In fact, anything which is real aka exists, i.e. padārth is characterized by persistence-through-change, is a culmination of opposites. If it is not, it is not real. This is the ultimate truth, the very nature of things, since our common experience gives this as a fact.

Padārth meaning any thing or substance which exists?

Yes. Other synonyms for the same are sat, tatva. At times, we use the term dravya for it, as well.

“Can you please elaborate on this persistence through change?”, asked Dravya for further clarification.

Any padārth was there, is there, and will be there, in whatever form, thus proving its persistence. However, no padārth remains in its same form, thus continuously changing – leaving one form and entering the next – through infinite past, present, and infinite future.

Any example for a better understanding?

Let’s take example of say gold. Now that is permanently gold. It was gold, is gold, and would be gold. But it could have been raw in mines, or as biscuits, or coins, or ornaments, etc. These are the various forms. So, while the gold is changing through various forms, it still remains gold.

But gold can be changed into other elements using nuclear reactions?

Ya ya! That’s fine. That was just for an example to understand. The permanence goes even more fundamental, say for gold it would always be pudgal.

Pudgal meaning matter, right?

Yes, which includes energy as well. So, to elaborate further, any substance has permanence of its fundamental attributes or qualities called guṅ. And has change of its forms or modes called paryāy. This trinity of substance (padārth), its qualities (guṅ), and its modes (paryāy) is inseparable, and forms the ultimate truth of everything existing in the world, i.e. reality.

And there are a total of six (mutually exclusive & exhaustive) fundamental substances.

Yes. Can you name them?

Dharmāstikāy, Adharmāstikāy, Ākāshāstikāy (Space), Kāl (Time), Pudgalāstikāy (Matter & Energy), and Jīvāstikāy (Soul aka Psyche).

Excellent. And, their fundamental qualities are permanent. Thus, giving them their unique identity. Let’s dive a little deeper into their qualities. Can anyone list them out?

“Fundamentally there are two types of qualities: Universal & Specific. Further elaborating, there are 6 universal and 16 specific qualities, which sums up all types of guṅ”, answered Rāsi.

Can anyone else elaborate more on what is universal & what is specific qualities?

“Universal meaning quality which exists in every of the six substances. And specific quality meaning which is found in only a particular substance or a set of of substances, but not all – making it a unique characteristic of the substance, or the set.”, replied Bhāngā.

Now, who is going to list out the 6 universal qualities of all substances?

“I’ll”, jumped in Yog, as these were fresh in his mind from his recent read.

Go ahead.

Astitva, Vastutva, Dravyatva, Prameyatva, Pradeshatva, Agurulaghutva. Astitva means Eternal Existence, i.e. the quality which makes the existence of a substance permanent, making it to be never created or destroyed. Vastutva means Causal Efficiency, i.e. the quality which emphasizes the aspect of change of the substance, leading it to have various modes. Dravyatva means Substancehood, i.e. the property of the substance by which it becomes the platform for its qualities and modes to exist with it, i.e. it being a substance in complete sense. Prameyatva means Objectivity, i.e. the property of being an object of knowledge, i.e. by virtue of which a substance is known. Pradeshatva means Extension in Space, i.e. the property of occupying space. It is also called kṡetratva. Agurulaghutva means Eternal Persistence, i.e. the quality which makes the identity of a substance persist, giving it its unique identity, maintaining its individuality.

Wonderful. Excellent. Anyone else about the 16 specific qualities?

When no one approached to answer, professor continued, “16 as a number may be big, but it is logically easy to remember the 16 specific qualities as well”.

Out of the 6 substances, each of the first four have their own one specific quality, pudgalāstikāy & jīvāstikāy each have their own four specific qualities – that makes it twelve.

“I’ll try categorizing the first four”, interrupted Tatva.

Gatihetutva – Property of being Medium of Motion – A property of dharmāstikāy.
Sthitihetutva – Property of being Medium of Rest – A property of adharmāstikāy.
Avagāhahetutva – Property of being Space Provider – A property of ākāshāstikāy.
Vartanāhetutva – Property of causing Temporal Succession – A property of kāl.

Good. To add to the temporal succession, it is this which becomes the necessary condition for duration (continuity), change (modification), motion, newness and oldness of substances.

“I think the four specific qualities of pudgalāstikāy are touch, taste, smell, and colour”, added Viṡay.

Correct. Anyone on the four specific qualities of jīvāstikāy?

“Knowledge (jynān), Perception (darshan), Bliss (sukh), Power (vīrya)”, added Ātmā.

With these twelve in place, the last four are:
Chetanatva – Property of Consciousness – A property of jīvāstikāy.
Achetanatva – Property of No Consciousness – A property of the other 5 substances
Mūrttatva – Property of Perceptibility by Senses – A property of pudgalāstikāy.
Amūrttatva – Property of Non-Perceptibility by Senses – A property of the other 5 substances
That makes up the 16 specific qualities, with first four substances having 3 specific qualities each, and the last two having 6 each.

With that rings the bell.

We have summarized reality, real substances, and their permanent qualities. We are yet to discuss about their ever-changing modes. Guys who have not yet had a chance to go through the reference text ‘Microcosmology: Theory of Atom in Jain Philosophy & Modern Science’ by J S Zaveri & Muni Mahendra Kumar, please go through it. That would make the discussion more fruitful. And, let’s continue our discussion on the ever-changing modes in our next session.

Next Class >>

en.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

The Kālchakra

<< Previous Class

Continuing from our last class discussion on time, today let’s talk in detail about the kālchakra. Infinite kālchakra have passed by, and infinite would come, and currently we are in one of them. Every kālchakra extends over a time period of 20 sāgar, and have a typical format. A kālchakra is divided into two 10 sāgar long equal parts, called the avsarpiṅī (deteriorating) kāl (period) and the utsarpiṅī (improving) kāl (period). And each of these are further divided into 6 parts, each called an ārā.

“Why such naming, which means deteriorating and improving?”, questioned Indriya.

It is with respect to the general deterioration and improvement of qualities & quantities of various stuff, like life span, health, prosperity, happiness, etc which happens in these periods, especially in the bharat and airāvat regions of the madhya lok. For example, the happiness is at its peak in the beginning of the avsarpiṅī period. Then, it keeps deteriorating till it reaches its worst at the end of the avsarpiṅī period. From there begins the utsarpiṅī period, in which it again starts improving and reaches its peak at the end of the utsarpiṅī period.

(Side note: Want to know more about these various regions of the madhya lok? Check out the off the class discussion with Danḋak.)

“Why only these specific regions? What about all other regions?”, asked Danḋak.

In all the other regions, the specified characteristics remain more or less same. For example, in the mahāvideh region, it is always like the 4th ārā of the avsarpiṅī kāl. That’s why, the divisions and subdivisions of kālchakra are mainly in context of bharat & airāvat regions. The names & durations of the 6 ārā of avsarpiṅī kāl could be tabulated as follows. For utsarpiṅī, these will be in exact reverse order.

+ Ārā – Name – Duration
+ 1 – suṡmā-suṡmā – 4 sāgar
+ 2 – suṡmā – 3 sāgar
+ 3 – suṡmā-duṡmā – 2 sāgar
+ 4 – duṡmā-suṡmā – 1 sāgar – 42000 years
+ 5 – duṡmā – 21000 years
+ 6 – duṡmā-duṡmā – 21000 years

NB suṡmā – happiness, duṡmā – sorrow.

As we are in bharat region, which ārā are we currently in?

We are currently in the 5th ārā, and even in that over 2500 years have already passed. You’ll be able to connect more, when we talk about the various characteristics of each ārā. 1st & 2nd ārā are the yougalik period – the period of yugal aka couples. Each couple would in turn give birth to a couple, which would be fully-grown up into giant heights in 6 months, and then the parent couple would extinguish. Each couple would live their complete life between 1 to 3 palyopam. When last 6 months of their life are remaining, they would give birth to a couple, and the cycle continues. These are the happiest periods. Population the least, resources the most abundant. Desires the least, satisfaction the most – leading to the highest levels of happiness. Purity at its utmost, soil at its sweetest. Complete harmony between nature, plants, animals, and humans. All these balance, leading to human dietary need of a grain of pulse to a berry-size, just once in 2-3 days.

“Wow! What a dream world? So, were we there once in those levels as well?”, exclaimed Ātmā.

Our belief in the rebirth cycle, gives the possibility of an affirmative answer.

But then, why did all those deteriorate and we are all in today’s state? And, possibly it is going to worsen further till the end of 6th ārā?

Yes, it is going to worsen till the end of the 6th ārā, and then it is going to start improving again, but that’s around 40000 years from now. Answer to your why, has multiple aspects to it. As time passed, resources became scarce, greed became more. Feelings of ownership developed. People started fighting for ownership. That’s when need for guiding principles arose to bring in discipline. Families, societies, communities, and kingdoms were born. Life span reduced from 1 palyopam in the beginning of 3rd ārā to just 1 crore pūrva towards the end of 3rd ārā. Quality & quantity reduced. People started needing to eat from alternate day to everyday.

How does the Darwin’s theory of evolution fit into all this?

Darwin’s theory of evolution is needed only when we assume a beginning of life – plants, animals, humans. If these various kinds of life forms have been there without any beginning, as we have already discussed, they don’t really need to evolve from one form to another. However, the structures, forms, shapes, sizes, etc of the respective living beings must have, still are, and would be continuously evolving and adapting to the ever changing environment & circumstances around. Darwin’s theory may be really applicable to explain these evolutions pretty well, without the need to convert a living form from one to another.

“On one side, the deterioration sounds really bad. On the other, it feels like theory of evolution, with humans getting more civilized”, quipped Jāti.

Not really civilized, but rather being organized into civilizations, because of getting more uncivilized. That’s the deterioration, that self-discipline has converted to discipline by others, and then enforcement by others. In the 4th ārā things further deteriorated with life span reducing to just a maximum of 125 years, by its end. Heights reducing to just around 10 feet. Dietary requirement of at least a couple of meals per day.

Those were we a few thousand years ago.

Yes. And we know, what we are currently in this 5th ārā, further deteriorating. We already see the state of forests, quality of air, scarcity of water, etc. By the end of this ārā, around 18000 years from now, the human heights would reduce to around 1.5 feet, maximum age of 20 years, no count on how many times one eats, which would further continue and reduce more towards the end of 6th ārā to its worst.

“So, if we know all these are destined to be, why do we bother about / take care of all such stuff as global warming, water scarcity, air pollution, etc?”, asserted Gati.

We know that it is destined to deteriorate but the levels of worstness is in our hands. In fact, it is good that we know the destiny, as then we could focus on doing our best to reduce the worst. If we don’t take care, then it is highly possible that the levels we expect to reach in thousands of years, might be reached in hundreds, or even tens of years. Science could definitely help us reduce the worstness. But it is the philosophy part, driving our conscience, which would make us more strongly determined to do it.

Wow! For the first time, I really felt the power in the science-philosophy combo. And a real life example, where the knowledge from philosophy could actually give us a positive perspective to the things we deal with.

Next Class >>

PDF24    Send article as PDF   

The Expanse of Time

<< Previous Article

Just as a quick summary, we had started with understanding the relationship between science & philosophy; then talked about the existence of the knowledge holder – the soul; brief on karm theory; what drives this world; what is beyond our current life; and the classification of everything – under which we have gone through non-living things and then details of living beings. After figuring out the structure of our universe, in our last session, now let’s detail out the understanding of time, before we move onto details of matter & energy.

“Time is time. What is there to detail out? May be past, present, future”, quizzed Kāy.

Ok. So, tell me since when does the time exist? And where all does it exist?

May be since big bang.

So, what beyond big bang? Is time relative or absolute?

Relative as per Einstein.

Such and many more deep, possibly unanswered questions about time, is where we need to understand time. So, what is time? First thing to understand about time is that it is not a physical entity. It is more of a concept to understand & operate with the world around us in a step by step way. It is the one which creates the notion of past, present, and future for us, providing the relation between various events. Present is what is happening now, past that already happened, and future is yet to happen. Note that, here we are not referring to our observing the events, just of their happening. With this understanding of time, time is absolute and present everywhere, and everything is moving on its scale. However, this absolute time is of limited use in one’s day-to-day activities. That’s where the devised concept of relative time is more useful, the one based on sun &/or moon, using seconds, minutes, …

So, you mean to say time is both absolute & relative, not just relative as proposed by Einstein, neither totally absolute, as understood earlier.

Yes, both are correct, but in their own context. The overall lok operates on the absolute time frame, whereas our day to day activities (under our observance) operate on the relative time frame. Now, talking about the absolute time, it never began, and it would never end, as it is co-existing with the lok, which also never began, and will never end.

Meaning both the lok & time exists from -infinity and will exist till +infinity.

Yes.

Then, how do we explain the big bang theory?

Firstly, even the scientific community is not sure about it. Secondly, even if they come close to it, it would be just a state of transition or a mode of the universe in its infinite long journey – not a point of its creation.

“That’s an interesting interpretation. Though not a point of creation, can that mark some important milestone in the journey of the universe?”, questioned Tatva.

It could – it could mark the beginning of a kālchakra.

“You mean some sort of time cycle, meaning beginning of time”, interrupted Kāy.

Yes, indeed a time cycle but beginning only in the relative sense of that kālchakra, not the absolute time. As, this infinite long journey of absolute time is constituted of such infinite well defined time patterns or cycles – the kālchakras, all happening one after the other.

So, every kālchakra has a beginning and an end? How big is this kālchakra?

Yes, though it has a beginning and an end in itself, it naturally transitions from the previous one, and into the next one, without any time interruption. Each kālchakra is 20 crore crore sāgar long. 1 crore crore is 100 trillion. And one sāgar constitutes of 10 crore crore palyopam, where one palyopam is unimaginably huge.

Understood, huge. But how huge, for example how many years constitute one palyopam?

That’s where the interesting part comes. The units sāgar and palyopam of absolute time are universal. And an year is a unit of relative time based on sun &/or moon, meaningful only in madhya lok.

Yes. But still some relation should be there between them, because relative time would have to finally fit into the absolute time.

If you ask for it, one palyopam constitutes of innumerous years.

“O! Innumerous again”, exclaimed Dravya.

“What is the point of having such units, when they are so huge?”, continued Kāy.

To understand the subject in perspective through comparative study & analysis. As many hellish & celestial beings have their life span of the order of palyopam and sāgaropam aka sāgar. Hope this gives you an idea or at least some feeling of the hugeness of time. Similarly, at the other extreme – the minuteness of absolute time, we have samay, the smallest (unimaginably small) indivisible unit.

Indivisible meaning it can’t be further broken.

Yes.

“So, all the relative time units must have innumerous of these again?”, quipped Dravya.

Yes. And hence, I hope you also noted with that, time is a discrete entity, not a continuous one, at the lowest level.

“So, is samay far far smaller than all these nano, pico, … seconds?”, furthered Kāy.

Yes. Way too small than the reach of science, i.e. than the smallest possible measurable unit of time by science.

Then, a similar question, as to what is the use of such a unit? Or, rather what happens in the order of such a small time.

There are many things, including the transition of soul from one life form to another, after the death in the previous gati. In fact, the smallest time slicing / switching unit for the activities of soul is samay, e.g. standing inside a river under the sun may give a feeling of both cold & hot. It may feel like together but at the minutest level it would be feeling cold in one samay & hot in the next, and so on.

“I think I have got a feeling of the two extremes of absolute time – samay & kālchakra. However, our thinking is so much tied to our day to day use of relative time, that it is difficult to see these in perspective. To ease our understanding, can we have a units table like in our school days, for this complete time thing, relating from samay to kālchakra?”, requested Tatva.

Ya sure. You may jot it down as follows:

Smallest indivisible time unit = samay
Innumerous samay = 1 āvalikā
256 āvalikā = 1 kṡullak bhav
Slightly more than 17 kṡullak bhav = 1 prāṅ
(To be precise, 4446 – 2458/3773 āvalikā = 1 prāṅ)
7 prāṅ = 1 stok
7 stok = 1 lav
77 lav = 1 muhūrt (= 48 minutes)
30 muhūrt = 1 day
15 days = 1 pakṡ
2 pakṡ = 1 month
2 month = 1 ritu
3 ritu = 1 ayan
2 ayan = 1 year
(5 years = 1 yug)
(70 crore crore 56 lakh crore years = 1 pūrv)
Innumerous years = 1 palyopam
10 crore crore palyopam = 1 sāgar(opam)
20 crore crore sāgar(opam) = 1 kālchakra
Infinite kālchakra = 1 pudgalparāvartan

NB 1 crore crore = 100 trillion

Next Class >>

PDF24    Send article as PDF   

The Madhya Lok

<< Previous Class

Gati, Kāy, Tatva, Ātmā, Danḋak, Dravya were enjoying a break between their classes at the campus coffee house.

“After the last session on the structure of lok, I am still wondering where are we in it”, triggered Ātmā.

“In madhya lok. Where else?”, replied Gati.

Ya ya that was clear. But where in madhya lok? You remember, even the madhya lok is 1 rajju wide, right?

“What a unit? Innumerous yojan. Did you guys check the video? I had never thought, if anything like that would exist: finite but inexpressible”, added Dravya.

Most of them nodded yes.

“Yes yes, I think inummerous was curious enough, for us to watch it”, supported Tatva.

“Did you go through the reference book as well?”, further asked Dravya.

“You mean ‘Enigma of the Universe‘, right?. I have just started reading it”, answered Kāy.

“I had done some selected multiple book readings in search of where in madhya lok are we”, said Danḋak.

“Hey, then why don’t you share that with us?”, requested Ātmā.

Not yet completely understood.

That’s fine. You share what you have read and let’s discuss and see if we can find more insights. Otherwise, anyways we’ll go to the professor and ask him.

“That sound’s great”, came a chorus.

“The madhya lok consists of inummerous islands and oceans, alternately”, started Danḋak.

“Again innumerous?”, expressed a bothered Dravya.

Yes. Reference to innumerous would be coming back so much in understanding the world we live in, that guys who have not seen the suggested video, must watch it and convince yourself about such thing called innumerous.

And does alternately mean that islands & oceans alternate?

Yes. The centre most island is jambū-dwīp, 1 lakh (i.e. 100 thousand) yojan wide.

“yojan is same 4000 miles, right?”, confirmed Tatva.

Yes. Around it is the ocean lavaṅ-samudra, 2 lakh yojan wide. Then comes another island dhātki-khand, 4 lakh yojan wide around the lavaṅ-samudra. Then, again an ocean kalodadhi-samudra, 8 lakh yojan wide around the dhātki-khand …

“Yes, yes. We understand and such thing continues for innumerous islands and oceans”, interrupted Gati.

Yes. But, I’d mention just one last more.

“What’s so special about it?”, again interrupted Gati.

Let me speak. Around the kalodadhi-samudra is the island puṡkar-dwīp, 16 lakh yojan wide. Now, out of all innumerous islands & oceans in madhya lok, humans exist only in this set of ḋhāī-dwīp, meaning two and a half islands, making these special.

But what is this two and a half, they are three islands, right?

Yes, but only half of the third is inhabited by humans.

“What about the remaining half, or for that matter all other islands? Does no life exist there?”, quizzed Ātmā.

No, no. Only humans don’t exist there. Tiriyanch would be there. And as per the various width just mentioned, ḋhāī-dwīp spans across 1 (jambū-dwīp) + 2 * 2 (lavaṅ-samudra) + 2 * 4 (dhātki-khand) + 2 * 8 (kalodadhi-samudra) + 1/2 * 2 * 16 (half puṡkar-dwīp) = 45 lakh yojan.

Based on the dimensions, these islands seem to be not our usual islands, but some other big universal piece.

Yes, for me too. And so even the reference to ocean seems to be something other than the usual earthly oceans. Need to research more details on that. And, it could possibly mean that there is extraterrestrial life.

“And we may possibly be able to interact with them”, said excited Tatva.

May be. But not immediate, as the distances are huge compared to our reachability today.

“At least, do we know, which of the three islands are we inside?”, continued Ātmā.

Yes, we are inside jambū-dwīp. Not only that, there is further detailing of where we are. Each island consists of two types of regions: karma-bhūmi and akarma-bhūmi. First one where people earn their living, and second one where living needs are satisfied directly by nature, especially kalp-vrikṡ.

“Wow! What a relaxed life would be there in the akarma-bhūmi?”, expressed Dravya.

“What relaxed? It would be so boring – nothing to do”, interrupted Gati.

“Actually, the humans there are yougalik, who live in quite a blissful life, in pairs, without much of needs – hence the question itself of earning, boring etc doesn’t arise”, continued Danḋak.

“Yeah, you seem to have figured out a lot”, praised Ātmā.

No yaar. Just what I have read and understood. In fact, in our region also, we had such a situation in the past. But in our region, the situation keeps changing – in akarma-bhūmi it doesn’t.

Meaning we are in one of the karma-bhūmi.

Yes. There are three types of karma-bhūmi: bharat, airāvat, mahāvideh; and six types of akarma-bhūmi: devkuru, uttarkuru, harivarṡ, ramyakvarṡ, hemvat, hairaṅyavat. We are in bharat karma-bhūmi of jambū-dwīp.

You mean other islands have also similar regions.

Yes. Both dhātki-khand and half of puṡkar-dwīp has two of each of the above nine types of regions, thus making total of 9 + 18 + 18 = 45 regions in the ḋhāī-dwīp. Also, there is a mention of 56 more regions above lavaṅ-samudra (called antar-dwīp) for yougalik, thus making a total of all human residing regions as 45 + 56 = 101.

“Are the other regions, at least within jambū-dwīp, reachable by us?”, asked Tatva.

No. I guess not, because as per the dimensions, they also seem to be extraterrestrial.

“Then, seems like reaching out to the extraterrestrials within jambū-dwīp, might be the first step”, commented Tatva.

“Just a curious question, as the situation keeps changing in our region, could we get the blissful situation again?”, asked Dravya.

Yes, but I think the timeline for that to happen is huge – in inummerous units again.

“Hey guys! Let’s go, it’s time for the next class”, interrupted Gati.

Next Class >>

PDF24 Tools    Send article as PDF   

Structure of Lok

<< Previous Class

With a broad enough idea of everything that exists – living and non-living from our previous three sessions dealing with classification of everything, a fundamental question persists where do all these exist. In one of the previous sessions, we had briefly touched upon the same. Anyone for a refresher?

“Everything exists in lok, which is humongous but finite”, recalled Dhyān.

Good. All except ākāshastikāy, which exists both in lok and beyond, in the all infinite alok, as well. So, if we leave out the alok ākāsh, then all matter, energy, infinite living beings exist in the finite lok.

But, how do infinite exist in the finite?

How many points are there on a line?

Infinite.

What if the line is of fixed length?

Even then infinite.

Now you see that’s how infinite (points) can exist in finite (length line).

But points are infinitesimally small to fit in.

Similarly, the infinite living beings are also infinitesimally small compared to the size of lok.

But we human beings are so big?

But then we are not infinite.

So, being finite, lok must have some definite shape as well.

Yes, it has. And that’s what our topic of discussion today would be – structure of lok.

“Wow! So I hope, today we are talking about our unanswered questions also”, interrupted Ātmā.

Which questions?

How big actually is the lok?

“And yes, where exactly in the lok, do the various beings, especially celestial & hellish beings live?”, added Danḋak.

“Seems like, you guys are totally into it, holding onto getting all the answers to the unknowns”, smiled the prof.

Couldn’t help, the way you have created the curiosity for the world around us – making us feel that how little do we know about it.

Okay. So, coming to the point, the shape of lok is sort of one and a half sand clock. Imagine a sand clock and then bottom half of an another sand clock placed over the first sand clock, making it one and half sand clock.

Beautiful. How tall would be this structure, I mean the lok?

It is 14 rajju. However, the middle point is the slimmest part of the sand clock. The bottom half sand clock is 7 rajju and the upper half plus the another half at the top is 7 rajju.

What is this rajju?

Just hold on. For time being, just assume some unit of length. 1 rajju height of the slimmest portion is the madhya (middle) lok, with its width also of 1 rajju. The portion below it, is the adho (bottom) lok, with the seven hells, one after the other – seventh one being the bottom-most, with the maximum width of 7 rajju. The portion above the madhya lok is the ūrdhva (upper) lok, having maximum width of 5 rajju at its middle and topmost width of 1 rajju again, where the mokṡ-shilā is situated. Between the madhya lok and the mokṡ-shilā are the planetary, moon, sun, and star systems, followed by the 26 heavens one after the other.

Everyone was mesmerised, visualizing the lok in all its glory, interrupted by, “Hey friends, don’t just get lost in the heavens. Come back. Your goal should be not that but beyond that.”

“Yes! yes! we know – it should be mokṡ”, came a chorus, after an awakening.

“Where do the bhavans of the bhavanpati beings exist?”, jump started Gati.

They are in the adho lok above all the hells but below the madhya lok.

With such a detail and I guess there is more to it, we should definitely be able to reach at least the closest ones.

Not really, because even they are away in rajju.

Tell us what rajju is and possibly over time, humans would work out, how to reach there.

We are not yet able to reach beyond our solar system itself – so reaching even a fraction of rajju is unimaginable. One rajju consists of an innumerous (mahā) yojan, where a (mahā) yojan is 4000 miles.

But what is this abstract innumerous? How do you even define this?

That’s what – it is so huge that it is inexpressible.

Meaning infinite.

No. It is finite, but huge.

How can that be? If finite, it has to be expressible.

Not really. If you want to just get a feel of innumerous, mathematically, check this video out:

Morover, the overall volume of the complete lok is 343 cubic rajju. In case you are interested in more details like the curve equation of lok, volume calculation of lok, how to define innumerous, varieties of infinity, you may refer to the book: ‘The Enigma of the Universe’ by Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar.

Next Article >>

www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Unknown Worlds of Living Beings

<< Previous Class

Last class, we completed classifying living beings based on their senses. In that, all one to four sensed beings belonged to the earlier defined category of tiriyanch. However, the five sensed beings included humans, celestial beings, hellish beings, and tiriyanch – the animals.

“So does that mean, all who are not tiriyanch, are five sensed?”, asked Danḋak.

Yes. And in tiriyanch also there are five types of five sensed beings.

Yes, yes – you told us in the previous class.

I just told some examples. However, they can also be further classified into five, viz jalchar (creatures living in water like crocodiles, fish, …), sthalchar (creatures walking on land like elephants, horses, cows, …), urparisarp (creatures creeping using their chest like snakes, …), bhujparisarp (creatures creeping using arms like rats, …), khechar (creatures flying in the air like birds, bats, …)

Do we need to remember these names?

Not necessarily. But, knowing them helps you relate & understand things better, when you come across such names. Anyways, today, we would further explore the scientifically unknown world of vanaspatikāy, celestial and hellish beings.

“Isn’t vanaspatikāy the biological plant kingdom?”, clarified Rāshi.

All plant kingdom as in biology is definitely included in vanaspatikāy. But there are infinitely many beings in vanaspatikāy way beyond the plant kingdom.

Yes, even biology accepts that there would be a whole lot more of unknown species of plant kingdom.

I am not talking of the unknown species of observable visible plant kingdom, which may be known one day using our sense organs & instruments – but the observable invisibles, which couldn’t be known using our sense organs, even with the help of instruments.

Why not, when they are observable?

Because they are infinitesimally tiny, way smaller than the observable lower space limit of science, forget about our sense organs. Vanaspatikāy could be classified into two: avyavahār rāshi, vyavahār rāshi – the invisibles and visibles. Vyavahār rāshi includes all plants what we know, use, and usually talk about – also the unknown species, we talk about. In fact, all beings other than vanaspatikāy are also vyavahār rāshi. Avyavahār rāshi is the scientifically unknown world of vanaspatikāy.

So then, would science ever be able to observe avyavahār rāshi beings?

May not be, unless it goes beyond sensing based instruments. However we may, using our inner knowledge. Avyavahār rāshi beings constitute the biggest infinite population of worldly beings. One can imagine – as even after being so tiny, complete lok is filled up by them. They are sādhāraṅ, i.e. infinity of them in a single body. Contrast that with pratyek, i.e. one body with one being. Moreover, their bodies are further invisible and there are infinity of such invisible bodies.

“Wow! They are all here, around us. I can smash them”, exclaimed Leshyā along with action of her hands.

Not really. By the nature of their tininess, they can’t be killed or even hurt by our movement or say even fire – for that matter, by anything visible. However, they themselves die and gets reborn 35 times by the time we take two breaths.

That’s too small a life to live.

Not only small but spatially too constrained and painful. In fact, there is a variety of mindless humans – so called asanjyni manuṡya, which are also equivalently tiny and having a similar life style, so as to say.

Where do we find such humans?

“I guess, we’ll find many around”, naughty Bhāngā answered in a lighter vein.

“Yes you may. But mind that, we are not referring to we humans without mind”, the prof added to the fun. “These humans are too tiny to find, but they do get born in many of the excreta of ‘mindful’ humans in 48 minutes of their excretion”.

Is it the bacteria in there?

No. They are even tinier and five-sensed humans. I know it sounds odd. But that’s what reality is way weirder than what we see. So, let’s get more weird. There are seven hells, where the hellish beings live, viz ratnaprabhā, sharkarāprabhā, bālukāprabhā, pankaprabhā, dhūmaprabhā, tamahprabhā, mahātamahprabhā – each more merkier, darker, painful than the previous. Painful due to harshest of climate, continuous fights, extreme hunger and thirst – to list some.

Can we go and check them out?

Ya sure. But not in this life; by taking a rebirth in a hell.

Why not in this birth?

As the hells are too far away, beyond human reach. Same is the case with the heavens. Why else do you think, they are still the unknown worlds from the scientific perspective. However, unlike the hellish beings, the celestial beings can visit other places including ours. In fact, there are many celestial beings which reside not very far away from us.

Okay, so I’d be able to see the celestial beings, in case they come down to meet me.

That might still not be possible as hellish & celestial beings have vaikriya bodies, which are not visible through naked eyes. Though you may feel them. In a broader sense, the celestial beings may be further categorized into four: bhavanpati, vyantar, jyotiṡ, vaimānik. bhavanpati beings reside in bhavans or palaces quite far away, though nearer than the hells. vyantar beings typically reside on trees, in jungles, in isolated places, and the likes, not very far away from us.

“By vyantar, are you referring to ghosts? Don’t tell me, they do exist”, asked Chāritra.

They do exist, though not as shown in movies. And they are not visible to our naked eyes, due to their vaikriya bodies. They are just one of the vyantar beings. Broadly speaking, there are eight varieties of vyantar beings: pishāch, bhūt, yakṡ, rākṡas, kinnar, kinpuruṡ, mahorag, gandharv. jyotiṡ beings reside on various celestial bodies like suns, moons, planets, stars, …

“Does it mean that the bhavans of bhavanpati beings, these celestial bodies, etc are the heavens, we have been talking about?”, quizzed Danḋak.

Not really the 26 heavens, we earlier talked about. These are all just the living places of the close by celestial beings. The far away heavens we typically refer to, are the places where the vaimānik beings reside. There are first 12 of them, viz soudharm, īshān, sanatkumār, māhendra, brahmalok, lāntak, mahāshukra, sahasrār, ānat, prāṅat, āraṅ, achyut – each one above the previous one. Above them are 9 more, in a neck-like formation for graiveyak beings (a category of vaimānik beings). And finally 5 more, viz vijay, vaijayant, jayant, aparājit, sarvārthasiddh for anuttar beings – the topmost category of vaimānik beings – thus a total of 12 + 9 + 5 = 26 heavens.

Next Class >>

en.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Variety of Living Beings

<< Previous Class

Did anyone of you got a chance to read the reference suggested in our previous class?

After a pause of silence.

Seems like none. Anyways, once you get a peek into it, I’d know it for sure, as you can’t but have a lot of questions to discuss here. So, after our first level of classification of non-living beings, let’s continue the same, now for living beings, beings having consciousness, beings having soul.

“Didn’t we already do it during our discussion of cycle of birth and death?”, questioned Dravya.

Yes, but that was just from one perspective. Now, we’d like to dive deeper and apply anekāntvād to see the multi-perspectives.

“And I believe, that didn’t even classify all the living beings, and currently we are classifying everything”, completed Rāshi.

Sort of yes. So, can you tell us the first level of classification of all living beings?

All living beings could be classified into two: the emancipated beings and the worldly beings.

Exactly. The beings who are now just pure souls, out of the cycle of birth and death. And the worldly beings who are still wandering through the four gati, taking birth and dying, leaving one form of body to enter an another body.

“Doesn’t the pure souls have any body?”, asked Leshyā.

No. They are just pure souls, with no non-living things attached to them.

Now, I have a fundamental doubt. I remember we discussing that once a soul reaches its pure form, then it can never get impure again, and that’s how mokṡ, the pure state, is permanent.

Yes, perfectly correct.

So, when the soul is leaving a body from one gati and going to another, wouldn’t there be even a momentary state, when it is pure, devoid of any body, any non-living thing? And if it is, then that would be its state of mokṡ, and so shouldn’t even further enter into any body. So, everyone should go to mokṡ, as soon as they die.

“Seems like a full proof argument, but just with a little flaw”, smiled the professor.

What’s that? Would there be no moments between the transition from one body to another?

No, there could be moments between the transition. But during those moments the soul is not pure, it has non-living particles attached around it.

O yes! I remember. You said the karm particles would be there always and they are non-living things.

Exactly. Now that can also be viewed from a different perspective. There are five kinds of bodies: oudārik, vaikriya, āhārak, tejas, kārmaṅ. And, any of these bodies can be had only by worldly souls. One or two of the first three types of bodies can be had by a worldly soul only when it is living in any gati. However, the last two bodies are always there with the worldly soul, even during the gati transition.

“This kārmaṅ body sounds very similar to karm”, commented Vrat.

Yes indeed. kārmaṅ is nothing but the body made of karm particles – our past impressions, attached closest to the soul. Just an another perspective of putting across the same concept.

“That explains, how our previous births could have impact on our current and future births, even after the body change”, added Leshyā.

And our current one on the future one as well, as our current actions are getting encrypted into our kārmaṅ body.

“What then is this tejas body?”, queried Vrat.

Tejas is the energy body attached next around the kārmaṅ body.

Hmmm! That possibly explains experimentalists claiming to have taken pictures of soul going out of a dying person, even though soul is non-observable.

Yes. The pictures would possibly be depicting the tejas body leaving along with the soul, not really the soul. Now, coming back to classification. The emancipated souls doesn’t need any further classification, as they all are just pure souls, and hence identical in their properties. So, all our further classification of living beings would refer only to the worldly living beings.

“So, can we say that gati was just a classification of worldly beings alone?”, clarified Dravya.

Yes. As emancipated souls are beyond gati. And just to complete the complete classification of worldly beings, we can add the fifth gati – antarāl gati, the worldly being form when it is under transition from death to birth.

What is a typical time interval of this antarāl gati?

1-4 samay, where samay is the smallest indivisible unit of time. Now, we would like to do an another classification of the worldly beings – based on the senses they possess.

“As we were discussing in one of our previous sessions, each of the four gati themselves have so many varieties. So, shouldn’t we just further sub-classify the four gati?”, interrupted Leshyā.

Yes we definitely would. And once we go in that direction, there is so much to explore into the unknowns that we would easily need at least one complete session for it. So, we’ll possibly do that in our next class. And before that, it would be great, if you all can skim through the book ‘Jīv Ajīv’ by Acharya Mahaprajna.

“‘Jīv Ajīv’ meaning living beings and non-living beings?”, clarified Mahāvrat.

Yes. It would give you a glimpse of what we have been discussing, and what we are going to discuss further. So, continuing with our last perspective of classification for today – the senses.

“Senses meaning the five senses of touch, taste, smell, light, sound, right?”, recalled Viṡay.

Right. And with that, you have already laid down the foundation for the senses-based classification of worldly living beings. Note that emancipated beings are anyways beyond these bodily senses, as they don’t need them anymore.

One I can think of is living beings with only the sense of touch, like plants.

Very good. It would also include water, earth, fire, air life forms. And from there, you can gradually move on to living beings with only two senses namely touch and taste, like snail, oyster, mites, etc

Then, living beings with only three senses. But which three senses? Is it any three senses?

That’s an interesting point. You’ll note that in nature, there’s a beautiful sequence. The senses develop exactly in that order. And hence, three-sensed beings would exactly have the sense of touch, taste, and smell, like in lice, ants.

So, four-sensed beings would additionally have the sense of light, like in cockroaches, lizards, etc.

Yes. And five-sensed beings will have all the five senses, like in humans, celestial beings, hellish beings, crocodiles, cows, horses, lions, elephants, snakes, rats, birds, …

But snakes don’t have ears?

We are not talking of (external) ears here, but sense of sound. Snakes do have that.

Are Celestial & Hellish beings also five-sensed?

Yes. Let’s dig deeper into those in our next session.

Next Class >>

PDF24    Send article as PDF   

Classification of Everything

<< Previous Class

Philosophers & Scientists specifically Physicists, and humans in general have been driven by the quest to find a unified theory of everything. However, scientists themselves believe that they may never be able to find the same.

“By that, do scientists mean that it doesn’t even exist?”, asked Driṡṫi

No, not really. They do believe that such thing might exist. But that would go beyond the materialistic world – the world of space, time, matter, energy – which is what the current science typically deals with.

Then, why are they still striving for it?

Because they believe that even with materialistic world science, they can go far more closer to it, than what they are today.

That’s at least motivating. And I assume, philosophers do have a different view.

You got it. They believe that if we attain kewal knowledge, we’d know the theory of everything, as that knowledge, by definition itself, is complete and infinite, going beyond the materialistic world.

Ok. Then the philosophers must be working towards it?

They do and they had. In fact, in the past, people have attained kewal knowledge. That’s how we know that it’s possible.

Then, why don’t we know it? Didn’t they share or tell it to the whole world, as the scientists do by publishing papers.

The only challenge is that all our means of knowledge sharing or transfer are all finite, and hence incapable of sharing the infinite knowledge.

So, everyone interested in theory of everything has to get to it, on its own.

Yes. At the least, to the final major part of it. However, the techniques to get there are somewhat shareable.

At least, do we know those?

They were known, but many got lost with the sea of time. Not all are currently available. But we can definitely start with the ones available and work towards exploring the rest.

Great. So, when do we start?

All of our these classes & concepts therein are steps in that direction only. Getting to know more and more of it. So, let’s take a leap further into it by doing a classification of everything.

“Wow! Classification of Everything – that sounds interesting”, quipped Tatva.

Okay gals n guys, so if we would like to categorize everything in two baskets, what would it be?

“Gross and subtle”, replied Tatva.

Not a very clear classification, as it would be relative.

“I guess, living and non-living”, responded Dhyān.

Exactly.

“Aha! that was easy – I thought unnecessarily complex”, interrupted Tatva.

No worries. That’s were we start – simple & obvious. But then dive into it to understand the more complex & non-obvious details in there. So, now what would be the categorization of non-livings?

“Matter and energy is all non-living”, answered Dravya.

“But if everything have to be categorized in two, wouldn’t all which is not living is non-living”, interrupted Dhyān.

“Yes, but we would like to further list them out all”, professor emphasized.

Okay… Then, also add space (आकाश) and time (काल) to the list.

Good. And there are two more to complete the list of non-livings.

Students went thinking but ran out of choices.

I know its difficult, as science has not yet recognized them. They are dharmāstikāy (धर्मास्तिकाय) and adharmāstikāy (अधर्मास्तिकाय) – the two non-observable implicit assistants of motion and non-motion, respectively.

Motion and non-motion of what all?

Matter, Energy, and Living beings.

So, does that mean they are in vacuum also?

Yes. In fact, both of it occupies the complete lok – lok as understood in our previous class.

But definitely not in alok, right?

Yes, perfect – as alok consists only of space and nothing else. Moreover, each of dharmāstikāy and adharmāstikāy, as such, are single stationary entities, composed of innumerable inseparable pradesh.

What is pradesh?

Smallest indivisible unit of anything is called its pradesh. For another example, even space is composed of inseparable pradesh, just that it is not composed of innumerable but infinite pradesh.

So, even time is composed of pradesh?

No. However, that’s the only exception, as it is only a conceptual non-living thing.

Being the tiniest, would it be anywhere possible to separate out the pradesh?

Yes, it may be, in case of matter & energy, together called pudgalāstikāy (पुद्गलास्तिकाय). And in such case, the separated pradesh is called parmāṅu. Contrast that, this is not the atom of current science, neither any sub-atomic particle like electron, nor photon. It is way too smaller than all these. In fact, a sub-atomic particle, or even a photon is composed of infinte number of parmāṅu. It can be termed as wavicle, a thing yet unknown to science.

If I understood correct, parmāṅu is a pradesh – just that it is separable from other pradesh, right?

Yes. Additionally, parmāṅu are the only pradesh which has attributes of colour, smell, taste, and touch.

These attributes at this tiniest level?!

Yes.

“What exactly do you mean by attribute of touch?”, queried Viṡay

It includes the attribute of temperature, charge, hardness, mass, where the latter two are optional, and if present are created by the combination of the former two.

That’s quite a different way of putting the stuff around.

Yes it is and it is not.

With that rings the bell.

And, I am sure you’d like to explore this further. Check out ‘Microcosmology: Theory of Atom in Jain Philosophy & Modern Science’ by J S Zaveri & Muni Mahendra Kumar, for further reading. We are still to do further classification of living beings. Let’s do it in our next session.

Next Class >>

PDF24    Send article as PDF   

Cycle of Birth and Death

<< Previous Class

While discussing about knowing the knowledge, we concluded that soul is the beholder of knowledge, in fact complete knowledge, and also from time immemorial. Moreover, it would have it forever.

“Wouldn’t that mean existence of everyone’s soul also from time minus infinity to time plus infinity?”, questioned Jāti.

Yes, it does. And not only that, they have been even bound by karm particles from time immemorial.

So you mean, there was worldly existence of my soul before my birth, and would be there after my death, as well?

Yes Jāti, we all had a worldly existence before our *this* birth. In fact, we had already gone through infinite births and deaths. And that’s what our topic of discussion today – the cycle of birth and death.

So, would we have infinite births and deaths in the future also?

That depends. Going forward, if we get rid of all our karm particles and attain mokṡ, we come out of this painful cycle – no worldly existence – no rebirths, no deaths – just stay forever in mokṡ-shila. Otherwise, yes we would further keep going through this cycle of birth and death.

“Where is this mokṡ-shila?”, asked Ātmā curiously.

It is within this universe only, but at one of its ends.

O! So this universe have an end also.

Yes, the universe which contains matter, energy, soul, … is humongous but finite – and is referred to as lok (लोक). However, outside that, is alok (अलोक), which is infinite and has nothing in it and cannot have anything in it, except the empty space.

Can’t we go in alok?

No, nothing can be there, and so nothing can go there either.

How old are these lok and alok?

Again, like the soul, they were never created, they would never be destroyed. They have been there without any beginning (अनादि) and would be there forever without any end (अनंत).

How big is this finite lok?

I think, we are going off-topic for today. We would talk about lok in detail, some other day. So, we were talking about our existence before birth. In broad level, there are four gati (गति), so called forms through which soul can move through, while being in this world.

“How does the soul decide its gati?”, queried Danḋak.

It is decided by the karm particles, the soul has accumulated in its previous gati, by its puruṡārth (deeds).

Do you mean the karm particles keep moving around with the soul, through these gati?

Yes. Because if they don’t, the soul would attain its purest form and attain mokṡ, getting rid of moving through the various gati.

Ok. What do you exactly mean by gati?

These are the four forms or categories of worldly living beings, namely Celestial being (देव), Human being (मनुष्य), Tiriyanch being (तिरियंच), Hellish being (नारक).

So do these celestial and hellish kind of beings really exist? If yes, then why don’t we see them.

Yes, they very well do exist. We do not see them because their bodies are of different kind, which are not visible to our eyes. Moreover, they generally do not live here among us.

Where do they live? Heaven & Hell?

Sort of. Most of the celestial beings live in the various heavens (स्वर्ग) and all the hellish beings in the various hells (नरक). To be more precise, we’d need to understand the structure of lok.

Did you say heavens & hells? Are they not just one-one each?

No. There are 26 heavens & 7 hells.

And for sure, all of them are in this lok only, as there can’t be anything in alok?

Yes, exactly. We’ll talk more about their positions in our detailed discussion on lok.

What are these tiriyanch beings? I hope them to be the normal living beings, we see.

Yes, all the living beings except human beings, which biology talks about falls into this category.

So, the complete animal kingdom (except humans) & plant kingdom constitute the tiriyanch gati.

Animals, plants, and four more living beings.

“What else is left?!”, exclaimed Kāy.

Water (अपकाय), Earth (पृथ्वीकाय), Fire (तेजसकाय), Air (वायुकाय).

What?! Even they are living beings?!

Yes – they have souls residing in them, as well. In fact, one drop of water, one pinch of soil, a spark of fire, handful of air, each may contain innumerable number of souls.

You mean to say they may contain so many microbes.

No, not microbes – microbes would come under the biological animal or plant kingdom. Here, we are referring to living beings, whose body is water, earthly components (soil, minerals, …), fire, air, respectively.

That will take some time to digest.

No problem. Bose’ experiments had already shown signs of living beings from various minerals. In future, science will possibly verify others also.

Oh! Okay. I hope gati of human beings at least contains just we humans.

Human beings, yes. But not just we, there is at least one more variety, in there – though not getting in detail of that right now. With this, I hope you have got a bigger picture of the four gati, through which soul can travel.

“Each gati also seems to have further varieties. So, do all souls travel through all of them?”, asked Leshyā.

Not necessarily, as there are infinite tiriyanch, who would remain as tiriyanch. So, what all varieties, they would not even go through all gati. But highly likely that ours would have gone through at least all the four gati, if not all varieties.

Why do you say so for our souls?

When soul enters into a living form, we refer to it as its birth (in that life), and when it quits that living form, we refer to it as its death (in that life). But, the soul actually never dies. It just moves around from one living form to another. And every soul had already gone through such infinite births & deaths. And our soul is currently out of tiriyanch gati. So, with high probability, it would have gone through all the four gati, at least once.

“Even through tiriyanch?! Eeek! Animals, plants, water, earth, … whatever”, exclaimed Leshyā with an uneasy face & feeling.

Highly likely. That’s why, we in this human gati, should take maximum advantage to understand all these and try our best to get rid of all the karm particles, so as to avoid going into any further gati.

Meaning, even the life in heaven & hell is not permanent, the soul returns from there?

Yes, the only permanent thing is mokṡ – and that’s why the ultimate goal of life should be to settle in mokṡ.

Next Class >>

PDF24 Tools    Send article as PDF