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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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