Identifiers of Pudgal

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Continuing our discussion in understanding, defining, and identifying pudgal (matter & energy), let’s check out some more perspectives. There are many other important & unique qualities of pudgal, which only exist in pudgal, but only in some of its paryāy. Thus, presence of these, leads us to identify pudgal. However, absence of these doesn’t mean anything, as these are not the characteristic (always present) qualities of pudgal.

Today, let’s talk about five such identifiers or modes:

  1. Sound
  2. Radiation
  3. Integration & Disintegration
  4. Minuteness & Largeness
  5. Shape aka Configuration

“I guess we have already talked about the pudgal’s property of integration & disintegration under the name of fusion & fission”, interrupted Tatva.

Yes, exactly. In fact, that’s where we started with when defining pudgal. And had also summarized that fusion & fission is an identifier of pudgal, only when the pudgal is changing, and hence is not a characteristic quality. However, the reason to take that up again is today we are going to discuss all these non-characteristic qualities from their classification perspective.

You mean to say, today we are going to further sub-divide all these five top-level non-characteristic qualities.

Yes. Doing that would throw light into their details, helping us to better identify pudgal, using them.

Okay. That’s interesting. I wonder, what do you further sub-classify sound into?

No worry. Let’s begin.

Sound is produced only when two or more physical objects collide or separate – and hence it is not an characteristic quality of pudgal. In fact, a parmāṅu cannot produce sound by itself. So, let’s sub-classify sound based on its origin. 1) Natural or spontaneous (vaisrasik), e.g. thunder and 2) Produced by living beings (prayogik), e.g. speaking, clapping, etc.

“What about the sound produced by dropping of a stone?”, questioned Indriya.

If natural drop, them it belongs to the first category. If dropped by you, it would fall under the second category. The second category can be further sub-classified into 1) Lingual (bhāṡātmak) and 2) Non-lingual (abhāṡātmak). Lingual could be articulate, i.e. made up of alphabets (the one spoken by humans), and inarticulate, e.g. the one spoken by animals. Non-lingual is basically produced using non-living things like musical instruments, which could be further divided into 1) tat – produced by percussion instruments like drum, 2) vitat – produced by stringed instruments like violin, 3) ghan – produced by bells etc, 4) suṡir – produced by wind instruments like flute.

That’s a lot of sub-classification.

Worry not. To simplify it, and triggered by your thought of dropping of a stone, sound could be simply classified in 3 categories: 1) Jīv – produced by living beings, 2) Ajīv – produced by non-living things, 3) Mishra – produced jointly by both.

And for sure, speaking, animal sounds would fall in the first one. Natural phenomenon sounds like thunder, stone drop, etc would fall into the second. And clapping, hitting a stone, etc would fall into the third.

Excellent.

That’s easy to remember.

Coming to radiation, again it is there only in pudgal but not all. For example, the invisibles (pudgal vargaṅā with only four touches) have no radiations. So, not a characteristic quality of pudgal. It could be divided into light & darkness, both being the attributes of pudgal, causing visibility & obstructing visibility of the (visible) pudgal, respectively. Darkness is not just absence of light, but combination of black &/or light not visible to our eyes.

“Do you mean the light not visible to our eyes is being referred to as darkness, here?”, clarified Leshyā.

Yes – the infra red, ultra violet, x-rays, radio waves, etc. And the visible light radiations could be further classified into 3 categories:

  1. Hot effulgence (ātap) – Radiations with more heat than light, e.g. sun light (35% light), lamp light (7-10% light)
  2. Cold effulgence (udyot) – Radiations with more light than heat, e.g. moon light, light from a firefly (99% light)
  3. Lustre (prabhā) – Light Radiations emitted by certain gems

But isn’t that, gems only reflect the light which fall on them?

Not always. There are certain gems, which even if you keep in absence of any light, would keep emitting light from themselves. Also note that as shadow (chhāyā) is produced by light, it is also pudgal.

Isn’t the shadow, more like the darkness attribute?

You may say so.

Coming to integration (bandh) & disintegration (bhed), they also can be classified into two: 1) Natural or spontaneous, and 2) Done by living beings. Clouds, lighting, rainbow, etc are examples of natural integrations. Radioactive decay, breakdown due to wind, rain, etc are examples of natural disintegrations. Integration & Disintegration by living beings could be further divided into two types: 1) Between pudgal & pudgal, and 2) Between pudgal & living beings.

“Various reactions like chemical, nuclear, etc would be the examples of integration & disintegration between pudgal & pudgal”, added Karm.

Yes. But why only reactions, even mixtures, cutting, grinding are all examples of the same.

I guess body is an example of integration between pudgal & living beings.

Yes, absolutely. In fact, the integration between pudgal & living beings could be broadly categorized into two: 1) karm bandh – bonding of karm particles with soul, and 2) akarm bandh – bonding of all other particles with soul, e.g. particles of breath, thought, speech, various bodies except kārmaṅ. And similarly, the disintegration between pudgal & living beings could also be classified into the same two.

“I see – this detailing gives further clarity on integration & disintegration”, added Tatva.

Minuteness & Largeness is something we talk only about physical objects. Hence, it becomes a special attribute (identifier) of pudgal, though not a characteristic quality, as minuteness & largeness are mostly relative. For example, a dot is smaller than a ball, but at the same time, it is larger than an electron.

“But you only said, there is this ultimate smallest indivisible unit of pudgal called parmāṅu – nothing should be smaller than that?”, doubted Dravya.

Absolutely right. And that is the only exception to relative minuteness. Similarly, there is just one exception to relative largeness. The ultimate largest aggregate of pudgal which pervades the entire lok, called achitt mahāskandh.

Is it a single entity?

It is the perspective from which you look at it. In a way, it is a collection of all pudgal. In another, it is the all pervading single pudgalāstikāy.

Finally for today, the shape aka configuration (sansthān). It is the ability of physical objects to extend in the (3-D) space. However, this again is irrelevant for pudgal which fits into a single space point (smallest unit of space), e.g. a parmāṅu. Hence, not a characteristic quality of pudgal.

“But isn’t it a characteristic quality of all our, so as to say, visible pudgal?”, interrupted Viṡay.

You may think so, as it is a very important & relevant attribute in our day-to-day visible world. However, from pudgal as a whole perspective, it can’t be put as a characteristic quality.

Now, how do we classify shapes? They could be of infinite varieties.

Yes. So, we can broadly classify them as regular and irregular shapes. Regular like sphere, pyramid, etc. And all the non-defined ones as irregular.

That’s nice.

Even after all these identifiers & the earlier perspectives, beware that there are many pudgal forms, which we are & would be incapable of perceiving. parmāṅu of all pudgal is definitely one such. But even many vargaṅā like kārmaṅ vargaṅā would be never perceivable by us. In fact, all the four-touch vargaṅā will never be perceivable by us.

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Matter and Energy

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We started with the understanding of science as a branch of philosophy, and after that we have talked about a whole lot of things under philosophy. Lot of new information – many beyond the realm of science, like knowledge, rebirth, … – most of which seemed not directly connected with our today’s science – some seemed to have some connection, like classification of everything, living beings, space, time. And now we shall take up the one, which has the most direct connection with science, or rather is the topic of science. And this, without any doubt, would show science as one of the aspects of philosophy. Any guesses as to what it is about?

“I guess energy, atom, …”, tried Dravya.

Yes, it is about matter & energy – the physical existence – the observable world. And as it is THE topic of science, but from a different perspective, we would like to spend a few sessions on this. The philosophical term for the same is pudgal, the collection of all of which is termed pudgalāstikāy, one of the six fundamental substances of reality.

So, it includes all the sub-atomic particles, elements, compounds, all forms of energies like heat, light, sound, …

Absolutely. And till date, all of you have been knowing all of these from purely science perspective. So, now let’s look at them from the philosophical perspective. And let’s see what more do we get, to further open up doors for deep farther reaching research into science.

“That would be amazing!”, exclaimed Tatva.

The word pudgal is formed of two parts: pud meaning combine / integrate, and gal meaning separate / disintegrate. So, fundamentally anything which undergoes modification through integration and disintegration is pudgal. In the words of modern science, anything which is fusionable and fissionable is pudgal.

Okay. But that is a definition based on when its changing. How do we identify it, if it is not changing?

Exactly, that’s why that is a definition just from one perspective. Depending on the perspective, pudgal can be defined, characterized, classified from many more ways. And to start with, we would look at a few important ones.

But fundamentally all of these would be based on its qualities only, right?

Yes obviously. And not just qualities, it is specific qualities possessed exclusively by pudgal, which distinguishes it from the other five fundamental substances. Now, out of these qualities, some are found in all paryāy (forms & form changes) of pudgal, and some only in some paryāy. The former ones are called characteristic qualities (lakṡaṅ). Pudgal has four such characteristic qualities. Anyone?

“Yes, yes, we already discussed that under the 16 specific qualities: colour, taste, smell, and touch”, quipped Viṡay.

Excellent. So, pudgal can be identified by these as well.

So you mean, every pudgal will have all four of them, or at least one of them?

All four of them.

But how about energy, like sound, heat, … – they don’t have any taste or smell?

Fundamentally, even they have – just that, it is subtle in them. Moreover, as these are the characteristic qualities of pudgal, it is the only observable or mūrt substance out of the six fundamental substances. All others are non-observable aka amūrt. But beware that, pudgal is observable doesn’t mean that we’d be always able to observe it. Observing even the observables is finally limited by our capabilities, not just of our senses but even of our instruments. So in fact, there are many observables aka pudgal, which we won’t be able to observe.

“So, humanly is it not always possible to identify pudgal using even these four characteristic qualities”, questioned Indriya.

Yes. And that’s why, we have various perspectives to look at, so that it at least fits in some. On those lines, let’s explore a very commonly used method (in philosophy) of characterising any substance. It is using the four fold determinants: dravya (substance), kṡetra (location in space), kāl (time), bhāv (qualities), plus the fifth one swabhāv (also at times called guṅ) (behaviour).

Can all substances be characterized using this technique?

Yes. But remember that it is just one of the perspectives of defining. Let’s apply the technique for pudgal. Substantially, i.e. by dravya, pudgal is infinite in number, meaning there are infinite number of different physical entities. Spatially, i.e. by kṡetra, pudgal fills the complete lok (universe). Temporally, i.e. by kāl, pudgal is eternal, i.e. without any beginning and without any end. Qualitatively, i.e. by bhāv, pudgal possesses colour, taste, smell, and touch. Behaviourally, i.e. by swabhāv, pudgal is fusionable and fissionable.

In a way, we have summarized all our (till now) understanding of pudgal in the above five determinants.

Sort of. Additionally, we can talk interactionwise, i.e. about pudgal’s interaction with soul. pudgal is capable of being taken in and transformed by soul in eight forms. Five in form of the five types of bodies, we have already discussed, while discussing variety of living beings.

“You mean: oudārik, vaikriya, āhārak, tejas, kārmaṅ”, confirmed Sharīr.

Yes. The corresponding pudgal vargaṅā (collection) is taken in by soul to transform into the respective body, e.g. oudārik pudgal vargaṅā to form the oudārik body, and so on. And, the remaining three forms are to do with the vital functions of breathing, speech, and thought. All these physiological functions of living beings are possible only by taking in the corresponding pudgal vargaṅā possessing specific properties useful for specific function.

Is it that all pudgal falls into these eight vargaṅā?

No. No. There is a infinite bunch of pudgal which doesn’t interact with soul but only with other pudgal. They don’t fall under these eight. These eight are just an interactionwise understanding of pudgal with soul – so that we know that even these are non-living pudgal, not living things.

“Hmmm. Seems like many angles to understand pudgal, but none seems to completely define it”, Viṡay expressed unsatisfactorily.

Not really true. The four characteristic qualities – colour, smell, taste, touch – completely define pudgal – it is just our incapabilities that we cannot perceive them always. Let’s further categorize them for a better understanding of pudgal.

Ok.

Colour: There are five fundamental colours – black, blue, red, yellow, white.

Meaning all other colours can be formed using these. But why black & white, they are just absence & presence of all colours, right?

Yes from science perspective, but not from inherent colour perspective of pudgal. Smell: good & bad smell. Taste: acrid / spicy, bitter, astringent (kaṡailā), acidic / sour, sweet. Touch: cold, hot, positive, negative, hard, soft, heavy, light.

So, does each pudgal have one category of quality from each of the four, meaning one colour of the five, one smell of the two, one taste of the five, one touch of the eight.

That’s not really a correct question. pudgal is a general term. So, your question is like asking – does each matter has one category of quality from each of the four. And in that case, the answer also would be a general answer – it could have multiple of them. The more specific question would be about the ultimate constituents of pudgal.

“You mean atom, or electron, or may be sub-atomic particles”, added Paryāpti.

Yes – in those lines. But even they are constituted of infinite of parmāṅu – the smallest unit of pudgal. That’s why, even they could have multiple of colours, smells, tastes, and touches.

So, even these sub-atomic particles are not the smallest unit of pudgal?

No way. Think of energy. That is also pudgal. Smallest unit of pudgal has to be the smallest unit of energy also.

“Okay. So, what colour, taste, etc does this so called parmāṅu have?”, continued Viṡay.

If you talk about a parmāṅu, it would exactly have one colour, one smell, one taste, and two touches.

Any one colour, any one smell, any one taste, and any two touches. But why two touches?

Yes, any one colour, any one smell, any one taste, but NOT any two touches. Specifically, one touch of either cold or hot, and one of either positive or negative.

What about then of the other four touches?

They are formed at a grosser level by the various combination of (parmāṅu having) the first four touches.

“So, the various pudgal vargaṅā (collection) we talked about earlier, would possibly also have the other four touches”, questioned Paryāpti.

Possibly yes, but not always. For example, the vargaṅā of each of kārmaṅ body, speech, thought always constitute of only the first four touches. And the remaining five vargaṅā constitute of all the eight touches. With this level of detailing, I hope that we’d understand the intricacies of pudgal better.

“Yes, that’s lot of detailing, and wow, there is actually an ultimate unit of pudgal – the parmāṅu. Can you share more details about it?”, probed Dravya.

Definitely, we would talk about it separately. But before that we shall complete discussing some more perspectives of defining & identifying pudgal, which might be handy when we are unable to perceive its four characteristic qualities.

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Ever-Changing Modes of Reality

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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.

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Fundamentals of Existence

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Hope you guys had enough time to go through the reference text ‘Microcosmology: 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: 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.

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The Kālchakra

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 mesmerized, 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.

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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.

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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 >>

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