Tag Archives: vastutva

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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Fundamentals of Existence

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Hope you guys had enough time to go through the reference text ‘Microcosmology: Atom in Jain Philosophy & Modern Science’ by J S Zaveri & Muni Mahendra Kumar?

“Yes Sir”, came a chorus from a big bunch of the class.

That’s great. Then, today let’s start discussing about what is reality, with reference to your reading. Then, we could dive into more “realistic” stuff like matter & energy.

“There is so much of information in the text, and so much to relate with science & beyond”, added Viṡay.

Yes. Exactly that’s why I asked you guys to go through it, so that here we could just summarize the key points, and get into more of Q & A style discussions.

“After going through it, our thinking perspective have hugely expanded, many previous questions got answered, and some more new questions added. It would be really enriching to have such discussions”, supported Tatva.

So, what is Reality?

Reality is self-existing, self-consistent, and self-contained. It doesn’t depend on something outside it for its existence.

Perfect. Alongwith, it is free from all absolutism (single perspectives), and rather a composition of opposites.

“How can opposites be in together?”, quizzed Gati.

That is what is non-absolutism, multi-perspective, or so called anekāntvād. Now, take this. Reality is both change and permanence, it is both universal and specific.

That sounds really weird.

Yes. But if you dig deeper, you will see a beautiful coherence between the opposites. In fact, anything which is real aka exists, i.e. padārth is characterized by persistence-through-change, is a culmination of opposites. If it is not, it is not real. This is the ultimate truth, the very nature of things, since our common experience gives this as a fact.

Padārth meaning any thing or substance which exists?

Yes. Other synonyms for the same are sat, tatva. At times, we use the term dravya for it, as well.

“Can you please elaborate on this persistence through change?”, asked Dravya for further clarification.

Any padārth was there, is there, and will be there, in whatever form, thus proving its persistence. However, no padārth remains in its same form, thus continuously changing – leaving one form and entering the next – through infinite past, present, and infinite future.

Any example for a better understanding?

Let’s take example of say gold. Now that is permanently gold. It was gold, is gold, and would be gold. But it could have been raw in mines, or as biscuits, or coins, or ornaments, etc. These are the various forms. So, while the gold is changing through various forms, it still remains gold.

But gold can be changed into other elements using nuclear reactions?

Ya ya! That’s fine. That was just for an example to understand. The permanence goes even more fundamental, say for gold it would always be pudgal.

Pudgal meaning matter, right?

Yes, which includes energy as well. So, to elaborate further, any substance has permanence of its fundamental attributes or qualities called guṅ. And has change of its forms or modes called paryāy. This trinity of substance (padārth), its qualities (guṅ), and its modes (paryāy) is inseparable, and forms the ultimate truth of everything existing in the world, i.e. reality.

And there are a total of six (mutually exclusive & exhaustive) fundamental substances.

Yes. Can you name them?

Dharmāstikāy, Adharmāstikāy, Ākāshāstikāy (Space), Kāl (Time), Pudgalāstikāy (Matter & Energy), and Jīvāstikāy (Soul aka Psyche).

Excellent. And, their fundamental qualities are permanent. Thus, giving them their unique identity. Let’s dive a little deeper into their qualities. Can anyone list them out?

“Fundamentally there are two types of qualities: Universal & Specific. Further elaborating, there are 6 universal and 16 specific qualities, which sums up all types of guṅ”, answered Rāsi.

Can anyone else elaborate more on what is universal & what is specific qualities?

“Universal meaning quality which exists in every of the six substances. And specific quality meaning which is found in only a particular substance or a set of of substances, but not all – making it a unique characteristic of the substance, or the set.”, replied Bhāngā.

Now, who is going to list out the 6 universal qualities of all substances?

“I’ll”, jumped in Yog, as these were fresh in his mind from his recent read.

Go ahead.

Astitva, Vastutva, Dravyatva, Prameyatva, Pradeshatva, Agurulaghutva. Astitva means Eternal Existence, i.e. the quality which makes the existence of a substance permanent, making it to be never created or destroyed. Vastutva means Causal Efficiency, i.e. the quality which emphasizes the aspect of change of the substance, leading it to have various modes. Dravyatva means Substancehood, i.e. the property of the substance by which it becomes the platform for its qualities and modes to exist with it, i.e. it being a substance in complete sense. Prameyatva means Objectivity, i.e. the property of being an object of knowledge, i.e. by virtue of which a substance is known. Pradeshatva means Extension in Space, i.e. the property of occupying space. It is also called kṡetratva. Agurulaghutva means Eternal Persistence, i.e. the quality which makes the identity of a substance persist, giving it its unique identity, maintaining its individuality.

Wonderful. Excellent. Anyone else about the 16 specific qualities?

When no one approached to answer, professor continued, “16 as a number may be big, but it is logically easy to remember the 16 specific qualities as well”.

Out of the 6 substances, each of the first four have their own one specific quality, pudgalāstikāy & jīvāstikāy each have their own four specific qualities – that makes it twelve.

“I’ll try categorizing the first four”, interrupted Tatva.

Gatihetutva – Property of being Medium of Motion – A property of dharmāstikāy.
Sthitihetutva – Property of being Medium of Rest – A property of adharmāstikāy.
Avagāhahetutva – Property of being Space Provider – A property of ākāshāstikāy.
Vartanāhetutva – Property of causing Temporal Succession – A property of kāl.

Good. To add to the temporal succession, it is this which becomes the necessary condition for duration (continuity), change (modification), motion, newness and oldness of substances.

“I think the four specific qualities of pudgalāstikāy are touch, taste, smell, and colour”, added Viṡay.

Correct. Anyone on the four specific qualities of jīvāstikāy?

“Knowledge (jynān), Perception (darshan), Bliss (sukh), Power (vīrya)”, added Ātmā.

With these twelve in place, the last four are:
Chetanatva – Property of Consciousness – A property of jīvāstikāy.
Achetanatva – Property of No Consciousness – A property of the other 5 substances
Mūrttatva – Property of Perceptibility by Senses – A property of pudgalāstikāy.
Amūrttatva – Property of Non-Perceptibility by Senses – A property of the other 5 substances
That makes up the 16 specific qualities, with first four substances having 3 specific qualities each, and the last two having 6 each.

With that rings the bell.

We have summarized reality, real substances, and their permanent qualities. We are yet to discuss about their ever-changing modes. Guys who have not yet had a chance to go through the reference text ‘Microcosmology: Atom in Jain Philosophy & Modern Science’ by J S Zaveri & Muni Mahendra Kumar, please go through it. That would make the discussion more fruitful. And, let’s continue our discussion on the ever-changing modes in our next session.

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