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Classification of Pudgal

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Pudgal is infinite, i.e. have infinitely infinite varieties – at least from parmāṅu perspective. Infinite number of parmāṅu occupy each space point in the lok. All the pudgal have been there since minus infinity and would be there since plus infinity. Pudgal as such have four fundamental characteristic qualities, viz touch, taste, smell, colour. However, there could be infinite gradations in each one of them. Thus making infinite varieties of the characteristic qualities, as well. This is what we have discussed till now. But, just talking about infinite and infinite doesn’t make pudgal cognizable (knowable). So, that’s where we start classifying pudgal in various ways, from various aspects. And, that’s what would be our topic of discussion, today.

“Wouldn’t this just become another way of identifying pudgal?”, questioned Indriya.

Yes, you are correct. In a way, it would definitely help. But, here the purpose of classification is a better understanding of pudgal.

One Type

As a first classification, pudgal is just one, different from all other substances, viz dharmāstikāy, adharmāstikāy, space, time, and jīvāstikāy (souls).

Two Types

Then, we can classify pudgal into two types.

That’s interesting. Pudgal is both one and more than one, at the same time.

That’s the beauty of anekāntvād – viewing from different perspectives. So, what do you guys think would pudgal’s classification into two types be?

“It could be divided into parmāṅu & non-parmāṅu”, attempted Dravya.

Very good. And there is a separate term for non-parmāṅu – skandh, i.e. aggregates. And the skandh could be further classified into chatusparshī (four-touch) aggregates and aṡṫasparshī (eight-touch) aggregates, which we have discussed earlier. From another perspective, pudgal could be categorized into subtle & gross. Subtle are the invisibles – pudgal, but not perceivable by sense organs. Gross are the perceivable pudgal – perceivable just means could be perceived, need not necessarily be perceived as of today.

Parmāṅu is an example of subtle pudgal, right?

Why only parmāṅu? Aggregates of two or more parmāṅu, upto innumerable (असंख्य) parmāṅu are all subtle. Even in the aggregates of infinite parmāṅu, all the chatusparshī aggregates are subtle. And even among the aṡṫasparshī aggregates, there are only some which are gross.

And that gross is only what we see.

And that also not all through naked eyes but possibly through instruments – and even that many are yet to be seen.

Then, how huge is the whole pudgal world?

Just keep your imagination going. Another way of dividing pudgal into two could be based on its capability of being associated with jīv. All aggregates without infinite parmāṅu are incapable of associating with jīv. And only some with infinite parmāṅu are capable of associating with jīv, and those we have already classified, in our introductory class on pudgal, into eight vargaṅā.

Three Types

Using this capability of being associated with jīv, pudgal can also be classified into three varieties:

  1. Prayog pariṅat – pudgal which is taken in and transformed by jīv. Examples: Bodies of all living beings, pudgal utilized in their vital processes viz speaking, thinking, breathing.
  2. Mishra pariṅat – pudgal which was associated with jīv, but not anymore. Examples: Leather. Pudgal whose transformation is partly influenced by jīv and partly automatic (aka self induced) also belongs to this category.
  3. Visrasā pariṅat – pudgal which undergoes only auto transformation, i.e. transformation induced by itself. These pudgal had, have and will have, no interaction with jīv.

“I guess all the pudgal aggregates without infinite parmāṅu belong to the third category”, quipped Viṡay.

Absolutely. And among the aggregates with infinite parmāṅu also, there are many belonging to this category. To be precise, any aggregate with less than infinitely infinite (अनन्ता नन्त) parmāṅu cannot associate with jīv, and hence belongs to this category.

But I guess, the gross pudgal would not belong to this category. Right?

Why not? In fact, all three categories could have both subtle & gross pudgal.

Four Types

From structural aspect, pudgal can be classified into four types:

  1. Skandh
  2. Desh
  3. Pradesh
  4. Parmāṅu

Skandh and Parmāṅu are the ones we have already categorized as the (individual) aggregates and the ultimate atoms. Now, desh means fraction of a whole. And as skandh is made up of many parts, it can be mentally divided into parts, each being a desh.

“Why mentally?”, asked Dravya.

Because if you actually divide, then those new parts would themselves become skandh, and not desh. So, half chapāti is a desh of a full chapāti, as long as the chapāti is not split into two, otherwise it is a skandh. This is an example of physical division. Similarly, you may think of a chemical division. A water molecule is a skandh whose desh are the hydrogen and oxygen atoms, but only as long as they are forming the molecule. As soon as the molecule breaks up, each atom is a skandh in itself.

That’s an interesting division. What is pradesh?

Pradesh is the ultimate smallest indivisible desh of a skandh.

You mean parmāṅu.

In a way. But pradesh is undetached from its skandh, whereas by parmāṅu we mean it to be in free state.

So, all parmāṅu in an aggregate are pradesh?

Yes.

Six Types

Here’s an another interesting subdivision into six types:

  1. Bādar-bādar (gross-gross), i.e. solid aggregates, e.g. mountains, rock, wood, etc
  2. Bādar (gross), i.e. liquid aggregates, e.g. water, oil, milk, etc
  3. Bādar-sūkṡm (gross-subtle), i.e. aggregates which can neither be cut nor broken, nor can be physically transported, but are visible, e.g. visible light, shadow, etc
  4. Sūkṡm-bādar (subtle-gross), i.e. aggregates which are not visible but can be perceived by other four senses (ultra-visible), e.g. gases, infra-red rays, X-rays.
  5. Sūkṡm (subtle), i.e. aggregates which are not perceivable by any sense (ultra sensual), but they interact with jīv and are transformed by it in the form of speech, thought, karm, etc
  6. Sūkṡm-sūkṡm (subtle-subtle), i.e. subtle aggregates which do not interact with jīv, e.g. all aggregates composed of two to less than infinite parmāṅu.

“Wow! This categorization makes lot of sense from the perspective of science”, expressed Viṡay.

Wasn’t the four type categorization, also relevant from science angle?

Ya, it was. But this is on the spot – solids, liquids, gases, energy, and the invisibles (useful and not useful for jīv).

Twenty Three Types

Ok. And finally, here’s a detailed philosophical categorization into twenty three types:

  1. Aṅuvargaṅā, i.e. category of unattached solitary parmāṅu
  2. Category of aggregates with two to numerable parmāṅu
  3. Category of aggregates with innumerable parmāṅu
  4. Category of aggregates with just infinite parmāṅu, but not infinitely infinite

Note that all the above four are not associable with jīv and are in subtle to less subtle order. All the following categories are of pudgal aggregates with infinitely infinite parmāṅu, and in gross to subtle order.

  1. Āhār vargaṅā, literally meaning category of pudgal endowed with associability with jīv, viz oudārik, vaikriya, āhārak (body) vargaṅā, and shwāsochchhwās (breath) vargaṅā
  2. Pratham agrāhya, literally meaning first category of non-associable pudgal
  3. Tejas vargaṅā, i.e. pudgal aggregates essential for energy body
  4. Second non-associable pudgal category
  5. Bhāṡā vargaṅā, i.e. pudgal aggregates essential for speech
  6. Third non-associable pudgal category
  7. Man vargaṅā, i.e. pudgal aggregates essential for thinking
  8. Fourth non-associable pudgal category
  9. Kārmaṅ vargaṅā, i.e. pudgal aggregates responsible for contaminating jīv

“Is even this kārmaṅ category have aggregates with infinitely infinite parmāṅu?”, asked Guṅasthān.

Yes, even though this is the most subtle pudgal category, having any practical significance. The next 9 categories from 14 to 22 are of little practical significance and more of academic interest. And finally, the most gross category.

  1. Mahāskandh, i.e. the largest pudgal aggregate which pervades the entire lok

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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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Classification of Everything

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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: 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.

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