Tag Archives: gross

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?


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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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.


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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