Tag Archives: āhārak

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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Variety of Living Beings

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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.

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