Tag Archives: time

The Expanse of Time

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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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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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Drivers of Activities

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“World is made up of precisely two things: living beings and non living things, and then there are all kinds of activities around. Who or What drives these activities, which are happening all around?”, kicked off the 5th session on philosophy.

“As per some philosophies, it is some super power called God, who makes all the things happen around”, answered Viṡay.

“But then does that mean, no one has any control on doing anything, it is all as per the super power”, quizzed Mitthyātva.

“Such philosophies believe so. But I don’t think that is practical. May be God has some control and remaining control is left to the individuals – the living beings”, replied Viṡay.

“Yes, I know of many philosophies, which propound that doer is the individual, but the result provider is the super power”, intervened Tatva.

“There are a few who believe in no super power as well, and dictates that you are the sole controller of your destiny”, added Ātmā.

“But again, that may not be practical, as we have seen incidents which are totally out of one’s control, whatever one may do”, interrupted Viṡay.

“I liked it. A really healthy debate”, praised the professor. “In fact, nothing really right or wrong about these philosophies. It is just that they have been put up from different perspectives, and they may be valid from that perspective.”

“That’s really interesting”, expressed Mitthyātva.

“Yes it is, indeed. And, how about incorporating various of these perspectives in say a unified philosophy?”, questioned the professor.

“O Wow! Don’t tell me that’s possible”, exclaimed Tatva.

Why just possible? In fact, there is a name for the technique of incorporating multiple perspectives.

What is it?

Anekāntvād (अनेकान्तवाद), which is one of the foundation pillars of the philosophy under discussion, all these days.

Okay, so what does it talk about the driver of the activities?

As per it, there is not just 1 or 2 but 5 samvāy (समवाय) or the so called drivers of activities.

Five?! We are already puzzled with two.

Don’t you worry. It would rather help us resolve the unanswered from other philosophies. And the five are:
+ kāl (काल) – time
+ swabhāv (स्वभाव) – the intrinsic property or nature
+ karm (कर्म) – the tiny particles, we learnt about in our previous session
+ puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ) – one’s effort, we discussed in our previous session
+ niyati (नियति) – the pre-determined activity – the destiny, which can’t be changed

That seems complicated.

Let’s take some examples to simplify. Take for example a mango seed. We sow that for growing a mango plant, and then into a mango tree, to finally bear mangoes. We water it, manure it, for it to grow healthy and faster. Now, whatever be done, it would take a minimum time for the seed to sprout and come out as a sapling, one can’t make it faster – that is the kāl in action. After all these, what size of tree it grows into, what taste of mango it bears, … is all decided by the karm attached with the soul in the mango tree. Now, if one expects berry from the mango tree, it wouldn’t but give only mango – that is its swabhāv in action. Now, even after the first three in action, if one wouldn’t have done the puruṡārth of sowing the seed, it wouldn’t have even grown, forget about bearing fruits.

“So, puruṡārth is the most powerful – that’s why people say don’t stop putting in your effort”, quipped Ātmā.

Your second part is correct that don’t give up your effort, but not the first one. Actually, all the samvāy have their own roles to play. Sometimes one may seem to be more powerful than the other, but all of them have their importance – again that is what is anekāntvād.

If it is not *the* powerful, then what’s the point of doing puruṡārth?

Understand that you may need all the drivers for an activity to happen. So, skipping puruṡārth may cause it not to happen at all. Say you are all planned to become rich, you have the characteristics to earn (swabhāv), opportunities to earn (kāl), and karm supporting it – but then you don’t even attempt to earn. In such a scenario, given all possibilities of you becoming rich, you won’t become rich.

What if any of the others is not supporting?

Exactly. Note that, in this scenario, all may be important – and any one missing may lead to not becoming rich. But the challenge is our inability to know about the state of others. More importantly, out of all the samvāy, it is only puruṡārth, which is under one’s control, none others are – so this is our only key, and *the* key to control or drive the activity – and that’s why we should not stop putting in our effort.

“What is the role of niyati? That has not come in any of the above examples”, asked Tatva with curiosity.

Niyati is what people call the destiny – whatever may happen, if something has to happen, it would happen. For example, if the niyati of the mango seed was to not sprout, even after all the first four supporting samvāy, it would not sprout.

That’s dangerous.

Yes, it is. But typically, only very few things are niyati. And that’s why most of the times, it is not *the* most powerful one, as it may look like in the first go.

But, how is niyati decided? Is it set by a super power? And why is it set, in the first place?

It is set or rather attracted by no other super power but the soul itself. Niyati is basically driven by a special type of karm called nikāchit (निकाचित) karm, attracted & set by soul itself. And it is such, that its effects cannot be altered or removed without bearing them as is, unlike other karm.

But, why would the soul attract the nikāchit karm, in the first place?

As discussed earlier, as long as we do activity, there is continuous inflow & outflow of karm particles. However, if during the inflow, we (as in our soul) is in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), these karm particles get transformed into nikāchit karm.

So, if our soul (as in we), through our puruṡārth, are never in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), we’d never attract the nikāchit karm, avoiding any effect of niyati.

Yes, no more new niyati drivers. But, you’d have to bear the past ones, if you had already accumulated any.

Hmmm! So, that’s one more strong reason for being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit, at least the intensest ones.

Excellent recall. And, finally note that the five drivers are for the activities of living beings. For non-living things, it is only the first two, others don’t make sense.

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