Jaina Concept of Sat

Published: 29.02.2016
Updated: 16.12.2017

Jaina philosophy has an important place in the domain of Indian philosophies. The concept of sat (Reality) occupies a foremost place in Jaina metaphysics. It is sat (Reality) which acts as a foundational stone in explaining the basic concepts of Jaina Ethics, Jaina theory of Karma, Jaina epistemology and Jaina logic. The essence of threefold nature of reality, i.e., Utpada, Vyaya and Dhrauvya will be dealt in brief and thereby its contribution to the world of philosophy and the world of affairs. In my view, the concept of reality is very peculiar and unique in Jaina philosophy. Now, let us see what actually Jaina reality is.

Definition of Sat

In Jaina philosophy the doctrine of reality (sat) is different from the rest of the other systems of philosophies. The definition of Sat as given by Umasvati (3rd cent. A.D.) is:

Utapada-vyaya-dhrauvya-yuktam Sat.[1]]

Existence is characterised by origination, destruction and permanence. This conception of reality is peculiar to Jainism. An existing reality in order to maintain its permanent and continued existence must necessarily undergo change in the form of origination and destruction. It seems to us a paradox at the beginning. But a closer analysis and minute observation will help us to appreciate the significance of this description of reality.

Definition of Utpada

Acarya Akalanka (8th cent. A.D.), the commentator of Tattvartharajvartika explains utpada as the modification of a substance without giving up its own nature.

स्वजात्यपारित्यागेन भावान्तरावाप्तिरुत्पादः । [2]

With a slight difference Acarya Pujyapada devanandi (9th cent. A.D.) defines utpada or origination as the attainment of other modes by souls or other substances by means of external and internal causes, without giving up their essential characteristics. For instance, the production of a pitcher from clay.

चेतनस्याचेतनस्य वा द्रव्यस्य स्वां जातिमजहत् उभय निमित्तवषाद् भावान्तरवाप्तिरूत्पादनमुत्पादः मृतिपिण्डस्य घट पर्यायवत्। [3]

Definition of Vyaya

As per Akalanka Vyaya is the disappearance of its form.[4]

Acarya Pujyapada defines Vyaya as "the loss of the former mode is destruction. For instance the loss of the lump shape of clay in the production of the pitcher.

तथा पूर्वभावाभिगमन व्ययः। यथा घटोत्पत्रौ पिण्डाकृतेः। [5]

The definition of Dhrauvya

Acarya Pujyapada defines dhrauvya as there is neither annihilation nor origination of the inherent nature, it is permanent of quality it is lasting. That is it is permanent. For instance, clay continues to exist in the lump, the pitcher and in its broken parts. So, reality retains its essential nature in the midst of series of changes which take place in it.

अनादिपारिणामिकस्वभावेन व्ययोदयाभागद् ध्रुवति स्थिरीभवतीति ध्रुवः। ध्रुवस्य भावः कर्म वा ध्रौव्यम्। यथा मृत्पिण्डघटाघवस्थासु मृदान्द्यन्वयः।[6]

Thus existence is accompanied by origination, disappearance and permanance. The three-fold nature of reality is so inter-related that we cant distinguish them from one another.

Inter-relation of Utpada-Vyaya-Dhrauvya

As the nature of reality is characterized by origination, cessation and permanence. Acarya Kundakunda (2nd cen. A.D.) deals with this concept of Tripadi (utpada-vyaya-dhrauvya) by dividing it into two parts as, (i) utpada and vyaya in relation to paryaya (mode) and (ii) Dhrauvya to Dravya (substance).[7] Here Acarya Kundakunda is highlighting the identity and difference of Dravya and paryaya by explaining it on the basis of the Agamic view, in this manner. There cannot be a substance without modes nor modes without a substance; they have a non-different state of relation.[8]

Here one objection can be raised as, in one and the same reality, there cant exist at a time two elements – permanence and impermanence, like cold and hot because of being opposite to each other, for this reason, here there is a need to explain the nature of the principle of permanence of Jaina philosophy in order to avoid the self-contradictory statement. Umasvati defined permanence as in destructibility of the essential nature of reality.[9] Acarya Pujyapada opines that the permanence of a substance should be taken from one point of view. If it is permanent from all points of view, then there can be no change at all. And in that case transmigration as well as way to salvation would become meaningless. So Lord Mahavira explained to understand the permanent, and impermanent nature of the reality from different viewpoints. In the Bhagavati Sutra, it is explained that (souls may be) the non-permanent part (asthira) of a reality changes, but the permanent (sthira) does not change.[10] Moreover, Lord Mahavira elaborated this idea and said, "Souls may be eternal in a respect and may be non-eternal in another one. They are eternal from the substantial point of view and non-eternal from the modal point of view.[11] If we accept identity-in-difference in a reality from two different standpoints then no error can be traced by any other schools of philosophy.

Varieties of examples highlighting inter-relation of Trinity:

Examples of Kundakunda (2nd cent. A.D.)

Acarya Kundakunda quotes the example of seed, sprout & trueness. Jaina acaryas have cited different types of novel and living examples for showing the inter-relation of utpada-vyaya-dhrauvya nature of sat. The very common example of ancient time, i.e., pitcher, clay, and mud which is already mentioned is used by Kundakunda in pravacana sara, by Akalanka in Tattartharajvartika and Devanandi in Sarvarthasiddhi.

For example, let us look at the seed of a plant. When the seed is planted in the soil it must necessarily break the shell and sprout out. This is the first step in its attempt to grow. Then the sprouting seed further undergoes change and some portion of it comes out seeking the sunlight and the other goes down into the soil, will undergo enormous changes into the root system. Similarly, the portion that shoots up into the air and sunlight will also undergo enormous changes, of sprouting out in tendrils and leaves, finally resulting in branches and stem of the plant all engaged in the task of procuring nourishment with the help of sunlight. At every stage thus we find change, the old leaves being shed off and the new sprouts coming in. This seems to be the general law of nature. The life of the seed does never die; it lives even though it is being constantly changed, and this is what is sat.

पर्यायास्तूत्पादव्ययध्रौव्यैरालम्ब्यन्ते उत्पादद्रव्यध्रौव्याणामेषधर्मत्वात् बीजाङ्कुरपादपवत्। यथा किलांषिनः पादपस्य बीजाङ्कुरपादपत्वलक्षणास्त्रयोऽषाभंगोत्पादध्रौव्य- लक्षणैरात्मधर्मैरालम्बिताः सममेव प्रतिभान्ति। [12]

He says, Gold is substance; ornaments like ear-rings etc., made of gold are paryayas (modes) of it. "These may change", one ornament may be melted and a new one be made. The disappearance of the previous bangle ornament is Vyaya and the appearance of the new ornament is utpada, and yet all the while there is the same gold-dhruva (permanent). So, in a substance some modification originates and some other passes away, but the substantiality neither originates nor is destroyed.

यथाहि जात्यजाम्बूनदस्याङ्गदपर्यायेणत्पत्तिर्दृष्टा।
पूर्वव्यवास्थिताङ्गलीयकादिपर्यायेण च विनाषः।।
पीततादिपर्यायेण तूभयत्रात्युत्पत्तिविनाषवानसादयतः ध्रुवत्वम्। [13]

A mango in its unripen state is green in color. But, as the process of ripening continues it becomes yellow in color. This shows the destruction of green color and origination of yellow in the same (fruit called) mango, which also shows its permanency.

यथैव चीत्यधिमान पाण्डुभावेन व्ययमानं हरितभावेनावतिष्ठमानं सहकारफलत्वेनोत्पाद व्ययध्रौव्याण्येकवस्तुपर्यायद्वारेण सहकारफलं...।[14]

Lord Mahavira never admitted the absolute nature of reality as permanent or impermanent. He cited an example of Bala (from vyavahara point of view a child, from spiritual point of view unrestrained being). Pandita (from vyavahara point of view, knower of scriptures, from spiritual point of view restrained being i.e. when the modes of Bala originated, the modes of Pandit are destroyed. But soul remains permanent in both the modes.

सासए बालए बालियत्तं असासयं
सासए पंडिए पंडियत्तं असासयं।।[15]

Examples of Umasvati (3rd cent. A.D.)

Umasvati explains the inter-relation of trinity through the verse as, the mundane soul when attains the state of siddhahood, in this process there is origination of siddhahood mode & destruction of mundanehood but something permanent in both the stages is soulhood. Thus, Trinity is proved.

सिद्धत्वेनोत्पादो व्ययोऽस्य संसारभावतो ज्ञेयः।
जीवत्वेन ध्रौव्यं त्रितययुतं सर्वमेवं तु।। 5 ।।[16]

Umasvati in his bhasya cites an example of trinity. As elevation and depression of a balance occurs simultaneously – while one end of the beam of the balance rises, the other end falls at the same time; if one end falls the other rises at the same moment; similarly, without cessation in the prior order the posterior order cannot come into being. Therefore, both must be accepted to occur simultaneously.[17]

Umasvami in his Tattvarthadhigama sutra cites an example of a man in anger and forgiveness supervenes, his angry soul is replaced by a forgiving one, i.e., the forgiving condition comes into existence at the same time an anger goes out of existence; and all through the soul continues the same.[18]

In visesavasyaka bhasya, utpada, vyaya and dhrowya are explained by Jinbhadragani (5th cent. A.D.) as destruction of darkness, origination of light, but the atoms of both, darkness & light are permanent in both the stages. Likewise the destruction of knowledge covering karma and origination of omniscience is simultaneous, still the soulhood is permanent.

नाणस्सावरणस्स य समयं तम्हा पगास-तमसो वा।
उव्वाय-व्यय धम्मा तह नेया सण्वभावाणं।।[19]

In the same way even Jinadasgani (6th cent. A.D.) in his Dasvaikalika churni cites two examples of soul & matter. The birth in the human realm is caused due to the death from the heavenly realm, still soulhood is eternal. Likewise the destruction of an atom & origination of dvipradeshi skandha and aggregate in both the cases, the atterhood remained as permanent.[20]

Examples of Siddhasena Gani (6th cent. A.D.)

Siddhasena Gani in his „Sanmati Tarka‟ text gave a very living example of trinity. He says, Finger is a thing when bent cannot remain erect and vice-versa. Straightness and crookedness of a thing take place successively. The origination of „Straightness‟ (racelata paryaya) means the destruction of crookendness (vakrata paryaya). They both are the results of one and the sane action taking place at one and at the same time. And at the same time „finger‟ is permanent (sthica) as a finger. This establishes the fact that trinity are samakalina, that is to say, they occur at one and the same time.

Now, contrary to that if we take only one paryaya, namely, crookedness (vakrata) or straightness (saralata) we are able to accomodate a different time limit for each of the three utpada, sthiti, nasa. When the finger ceases to be crooked and becomes straight, from that very moment saralata-paryaya begins. Vakrata paryaya begins when the finger loses straight condition and assumes crookedness. And sthiti samaya remains in force from the moment it becomes straight upto the moment it loses straightness. Thus we are able to allot different moments for each of them.

जो आउंचणकालो सो चेव पसारियस्स वि ण जुत्तो।
तेसिं पुण पडिवत्ती-विगमे कालंतरं णत्थि।। 36।।
उप्पज्जमाणकालं उप्पण्णं ति विगयं विगच्छंतं।
दवियं पण्णवयंतो तिकालविसयं विसेसेइ।। 37।।[21]

Utpada, Sthiti and Nasa (all these three) – Bhinnakalina (occurring at definite intervals) or Ekakalina (occurring simultaneously) – as we saw above, are themselves different from or one with the Dravya of which they are the Dharmas (properties).

They are different because they are its constituents and they are not different also because they don`t claim a separate existence being all included in the Dravya. If we want to understand a particular Dravya with reference to past, present and future, we should do so in this manner. Let us take the example of a building. When it is in the process of building we think that the whole building is being built but it is not so really speaking because some portion of it is already built while some is still to be built.

In the same way the building is Vigacchat (in the process of destruction) because the constituting parts such as bricks etc. are giving up their loose condition; it is Vigara (destructed) as far as its completed part is concerned, because the loose condition of its constituting parts is already destructed; it is Vigamisyat (about to be lost) so far as the incomplete part is concerned because the destruction of loose condition of the constituting part such as bricks etc; is still to take place. Thus all the three states can be very well accommodated. Thus, going deeper into details, three conditions namely Utpadyamana, Utpanna and Utpatsyamana can be a established regarding every destruction (Vigama) and vice versa.

Examples of Samantbhadra (8th cent. A.D.)

In our day-to-day affairs, we experience (see) change in the form of origination and cessation in a substance and its permanent nature at one and the same time. Samantabhadra cites an example. For example, different psychological reactions are perceived in different individual persons at one and the same time on the breaking up of a gold vase (pot) and the making of a crown out of the same stuff; the man desiring the vase is sorry over its destruction, the other man desiring the crown is happy on its making, the third person desiring only gold appears to be neutral. Thus, origination, cessation and persistence are identical in this respect that they are in one and the same substance, but they are also different in the sense that they give rise to different cognitions, so it is clear that the object is characterized by the three aspects origination, cessaton and persistence. Kumarila Bhatta, also has dealt with the problem of the three aspects of an entity by giving the same example.

घटमौलिसुवर्णार्थी नाषोत्पादास्थितिष्वयम्।
शोकप्रमोदमाध्यस्थ्य, जनो याति सहेतुकम्।।[22] 3.59

Samantabhadra tries to prove the triple nature of a reality through an example of milk. He says one vowed to milk does (not) eat curds; one vowed to curds does not eat milk; one vowed to abstinence from cow products avoids both. Therefore, the entity is triple.

पयोव्रतो न दध्यति न पयोऽत्ति दधिव्रतः।
अगोरसव्रतो नोभे तस्मात् तत्वं त्रयात्मकम्।। 3.60

Examples of Mallisena (10th cent. A.D.)

Mallisena says, we can experience the origination and cessation through an example of conch. When a white conch is perceived as yellow and when our eyes, defect is removed, again we get K. of white conch and yellow conch K. disappears. In white conch origination of yellow colour and cessation of the same two, again origination of white colour K. of conch is prevailing in both the states of modes.[23]

Another example is given by Mallisena in his Syadvada manjari that nails and hair although we cut still they grow every now and then, the nails are changing every moment origination of new nail and disappearance of the old nails occurs, still Mallisena accepts it as the same nail. This sort of pratyabhigya (recognition) can occur only in the triple nature of Reality.[24]

Likewise, we experience in our day-to-day life the various modes of human emotions, namely, pleasure, anger and sadness etc. So, these modes are seen logically undeniable and unobjectionable experienced in the same human being. Thus the three-fold nature of reality is proved.[25]

न च जीवादौ वस्तुनि हर्षामर्षोदासीन्यादिपर्याय।
परम्परानुभवः रसलदरूपः कस्यचिद् बांधकस्याभावात्।।

This theory of the Jainas of identity and change has been compared to the chemical change. In 1789, Laworier, an eminent scientist, propounded the theory of conservation of matter. According to this theory, matter is constant. Its modifications are only expressions. The modifications do not destroy matter, nor do they add to the quantity of matter. Just as the coal when burnt becomes ash, the

matter is not altogether destroyed. It is only converted into ash. The Jainas have affirmed the same point when they say that in the modifications of dravya the quantum of dravya does not change, it is eternal. It expresses itself in indifferent forms. Therefore, dravya is constant in all its modifications.[26] The very same example is quoted by pujyapada in his Sarvasthasiddhi text.[27]

Thus, we see, the three-fold nature of reality meet together simultaneously in a single period of time. All the examples quoted above are very much related to our day-to-day life.

The transgressions occurring due to acceptance of absolute origination of Sat

Kundakunda says, those who assert mere origination, two-fold transgression will occur in that case. Firstly, no origination of any sort of effect will take place and secondly there will be chance of origination of unreal. In brief, if only origination is accepted and no destruction, then there will be lack of cause of origination or the destruction of clay. As pot cannot originate as an effect likewise all the objects of the world also will cease to originate. This is first transgression. Secondly the possibility of origination of Asat will take place, which is impossible.[28]

The transgressions occurring due to absolute destruction of Sat

Kundakunda says that those who assert mere. Sat destruction, two fold transgressions may occur in that case. Firstly, there will be a lack of destruction at all because the pot originates due to destruction of clay, i.e., if we accept absolute destruction only, then lack of destruction will prove because destruction can't take place bereft of origination. Secondly, when the reality will cease, due to this destruction of sat or reality, the knowledge intuition etc. also will cease, in that case there will not be any retention at all.[29] The transgression occurring due to destruction of absolute permanence.

The transgressions occurring due to destruction of absolute permanent nature of Sat

Kundakunda says, those who assert destruction of absolute permanence or dhrouvya nature of reality, two types of transgressions may occur. Firstly, modes will cease. If modes are destroyed, then reality bereft of modes cannot exist at all so the occasion of destruction of reality may occur. Secondly the permanent nature of reality converts as impermanent if we accept the destruction of dhrauvya nature of reality.[30]

Devanandi (9th cen.) explains the same view with a slight difference. He says, from the point of view of modes, these three characteristics (origination) etc. are mutually different from one another and are also different from the substance. From the point of view of substance these three are not perceived separately from the substance.

Mere origination does not exist; because that is without stability and departure; like the hair of a tortoise. Likewise, mere destruction does not exist, because it is without stability and origination, like the same. Likewise mere stability dose not exist, because it is void of destruction and origination like just the same. So, an existence in the entity of mutually respective origination etc., must be conceded.[31]

If it is said that origination, etc. are mutually distinct or not. If origination, etc., are different, how is there one thing triple or if origination, etc., are not different, how is there one thing triple?[32]

तत्र पर्यायार्थिकनयापेक्षया परस्परतो द्रव्याच्चार्थान्तरभावः।
द्रव्यार्थिकनयापेक्षया व्यतिरेकणानुपलब्धेरनर्थान्तरभावः।।[33]

Transgressions occurring due to acceptance of absolute permanent nature of Sat

As per Umasvati´s Sabhasya Tattvartha Digama Sutra, if we accept absolute permanent nature of a reality like Vedanta philosophy, then soul will remain static in its own one inherent nature. No difference in his states will occur. In the absence of change in the states of soul, the difference of samsara and moksha will never occur. If we consider. This difference of samsara and moksha as mere imaginary then we have to accept the soul bereft of any sort of inherent nature of its own. Because samsara and moksha are also the nature of soul. When we consider the soul‟s nature samsara and moksha and its changing state as imaginary then we are compelled to agree to the naturalness and imaginary existence of the soul also. If we deny any nature of soul, in the absence of its nature, we are bothered to accept non-existence of the soul itself.

उत्पादादियुते खलु वस्तुन्येतदुपपद्यते सर्वम।
तद्रहिते तदभवात् सर्वमपि न युज्यते नीत्या।।[34]

As quoted in the Sanmatitarka of Siddhasena Gani (6th cen. A.D.), from the point of view of those who hold that an entity is unchangeable, happiness and misery cannot stand; in the opinion of those who hold that things eternally change, the idea of happiness and misery can never hold good. Moreover, Siddhasena continued to raise problems in the next stanzas that „Action current" (yoga) attaches or binds a man through mind, speech and body. And it is through our passions (kasayas) that this action-current binding a man takes its firm stand. But if we think that a thing is eternally unchangeable or when we think the thing is born and in a moment decays, we can never account for the binding of an action or its continuance. If there is no binding by action current, then it will be a folly to desire the happiness of liberation, in fact, then there cannot be any such thing as liberation at all.

सुह-दुक्खसंपओगो ण जुज्जए णिच्चवाय पक्खाम्मि।
एगंतुच्छेयाम्मि य सुह-दुक्खवियप्पणमजुत्तं।। 18।।
कम्मं जोगनिमित्तं बज्झइ बंध-ट्ठिई कसायवसा।
अपरिणउच्छिण्णेसु य बंध-ट्ठिइकारणं णत्थि।।19।।
 बंधम्मि अपूरन्ते संसारभओघदन्सणं मोज्झं।
बन्धं व विणा मोक्खसुहपत्थणा णत्थि मोक्खो य।।20।।[35]

Samanta Bhadra also quoted the very same idea against Ekantavada in Apta mimansa that the person who accepts absolute eternal nature of a reality, there will be no virtuous or sinful acts. Then how can there be rebirth as fruits (of the same), O Lord! Whom you do not guide cannot establish bondage or liberation.

पुण्यपापक्रिया न स्यात् प्रेत्यभावः फलं कृतः।
बन्धमोक्षौ च तेषां न येषां त्वं नासि नायकः।।[36]

Devanandi says, the dhrauvya nature of Nitya is that which is the cause of recognition. The remembrance that this is the same thing I saw yesterday is recognition. That does not occur accidentally. That which is the cause of such a statement is its intrinsic nature (tadbhava). Tadbhava is its existence, condition or mode. A thing is seen as having the same nature with which it was seen formerly. So it is recognized in the form,

„This is the same as that‟. If it be considered that the old thing has completely disappeared and that an entirely new thing is come into existence, then there can be no remembrance. And worldly relations based on it would be disturbed. Therefore, the indestructibility of the essential nature of a substance is determined as permanence. But it should be taken from one point of view. If it be permanent from all points of view, then there can be no change at all. And, in that case, transmigration as well as the way to salvation, would become meaningless. (Transmigration of the soul as a man, a hell-being and so on and liberation, the end of transmigration, would both be impossible).[37]

Acarya Samantabhadra discusses the transgressions occurring due to the acceptance of absolute momentary nature of Sat. He says –

क्षणिकैकान्तपक्षेऽपि प्रेत्यभावाद्यसंभवः।
प्रत्यभिज्ञाद्यभावान्न कार्यारम्भः कुतः फलम्।।[38]

In the view of those who accept ksanikaikanta (absolute momentariness), existence after death etc. is impossible. As there will be no pratyabhijna (This is that only this kind of recognition or memory etc., is impossible.) there cannot be any beginning of any effect leading to any fruit. It means, if a man does not remember his previous experience, how can he act to satisfy his desire by doing necessary acts.? One collects firewood, cooking pot, rice and water, wishing to cook food without pratyabhijna (memory); this action (karyarambha) can never take place, and the fruits of the act (phala) can consequently never happen. Another argument is preferred against the Buddhists in this verse.

न हेतुफल भावादिरन्यभावादनन्वयात्।
सन्तानान्तरवन्नैकः सन्तानस्तद्वतः पृथक्।।[39]

In this verse, Samantabhadra refutes the view of the Buddhist ksanikavada recognizing different moments and unconnected with one another but taking rise one after the another is untenable. Being different and unconnected, relationship of cause and effect cannot exist, as one cannot be like another santana.

Hemachandra (1088-1172) also raised many objections. He says, if we accept the nature of sat as absolute eternal or absolute non-eternal, then we can't explain the experiences of pleasure and pain, merit and sin, bondage and liberation. The triple nature of Sat can explain obviously above mentioned questions or problems in a right perspective.

नैकान्तवादे सुखदुःखभोगौ न पुण्यपापे न च बंध मोक्षौ।
दुर्नीतिवाद-व्यसनासिनैव, परैर्विलुप्तं जगदप्यषेषम्।।[40]

The transgressions of accepting absolute momentary nature of Sat

Hemachandra in his work Anyayogavachedika, explains that if we accept absolute momentary nature of Sat, then it will lead to the fault of loss of deeds, the fault of enjoyment of deeds not done, the fault of ruin of becoming, the fault of ruin of liberation, the fault of ruin of memory. These faults obviously occur as established by experience.

कृतप्रणाषाकृतकर्मभोगः भवप्रमोक्ष-स्मृतिभंगदोषान्।
उपेक्ष्य साक्षात् क्षणभंग मिच्छन्नहो! महासाहसिकः परस्ते।।[41]

The explicit order of the universe is fundamentally dependent upon the theory of change. If there would be no possibility or potency of change, then cause-effect relationship among the objects can never occur. All the schools of thought unanimously accept the essence of cause & effect in the universe. Most of the scientific researches and experiments are based on the cause-effect principle. The philosophies like vedantins who do not believe in the reality of modification or change have no answer to the question of how the universe originates out of absolute static reality. To answer this, they might have accepted the concept of maya. Accordingly it is maya, with the help of which change takes place. In brief, to deny the concept of change is tantamount to the denial of the existence of the entire world of being.[42]

The denial of change will lead us to the unending questions and problems regarding the concept of karma theory, concept of purusharthavada, the concept of inflow of karma (Assava) and inhibition of karma and shedding of karma will never occur. If everything in the world of affairs would be static bereft of any sort of change, then, every object which is present, will remain as it is, if we deny change. Then clothes, things will remain new forever, which is contradictory to our human experience.

If we accept soul as permanent by its nature and any change in their nature accepted, then there will be no fluctuations in the human emotions, no feeling of happiness or sorrow, no transmigration of soul from one realm to another realm can occur, no rebirth or prebirth can take place, human efforts will not work at all, then entire human race will never try to attain emancipation, entire world religious beliefs and practices, God worship will prove to be of useless effort.

Criterion of Reality

After determination of the nature of reality, the question arises what is the criterion of reality in Jaina philosophy? In the Indian system of thought, the following four doctrines are found to have determined the criterion of reality, viz. (i) the doctrine of absolute permanence (kevalanityata or kutasthanityata), (ii) the doctrine of absolute impermance (kevala – anityata or santalinityata), (iii) the doctrine of absolute permanence and absolute change (nityanityata) and (iv) the doctrine of permanence-in-change (parinaminitya).[43]

As the advocate of the doctrine of permanence-in-change Jaina philosophy also speaks against the doctrine of absolute permanence and that of absolute impermanence and takes up the middle path of parinaminityata (permanence-in-change) in the following manner. It was quite natural that in the beginning of the rise of philosophy every school should speak in support of its own doctrine and against the invalidity of those of others, "in the name of these very doctrines of karma, etc." But in the age of Logic the Indian scholars advanced the argument that the entity which is capable of performing a function (arthakriyakarin) can be only Sat-real but nothing less. The credit of advancing this logical criterion of Arthakriyakaritva (causal efficiency) goes to the Buddhist tradition. The word „arthakriya‟ occurs in the early Buddhist work

Lalitavirtara[44] in the sense of being useful to others without any metaphysical significance.

What is Arthakriya?

Dr. S.N. Dasgupta explains the meaning of Arthakriyakaritva in this way. It is the power of performing actions and purposes of some kind.[45] Hemachandra defines the Arthakriyakaritva as the criterion of existence or being in the performance of certain specific action, or rather, existence, means that a certain effect has been produced in some way (causal efficiency) is then called Reality or Sat.

अर्थक्रिया सामथ्र्यात्। 31, तल्लक्षणत्वाद् वस्तुनः।[46]

According to Jaina metaphysics, substance and its modes are not absolutely different like substance and its qualities of the Nyaya-Vaisesika Philosophy and they are also not absolutely identical, one merging into the other and thus giving rise to absolute eternalism of the Vedanta or absolute momentarism of the Buddhist system of thought. There exists a relation of identity-cum-difference between them.[47]

One mode cannot be different from another because of the continuity of the same substance through them. This makes the psychical phenomena of recognition and memory possible to occur.[48]

Acarya Hemacandra advanced the argument that a real entity as conceived by the Jainas is alone capable of performing a function. This criterion of Reality can be applied only to the concept of substance (Dravya) of Jaina Philosophy in its defence. According to Acarya Hemacandra, Arthakriyakaritva (causal efficiency) is the criterion of an eitity. If an entity is as absolutely permanent or absolutely non-permanent, then this characteristic does not really occur because according to the Vaisesika view, that whose destruction never takes place, which is not produced and which always remains in the same form, is permanent. Now, if there is any permanent entity, there must be causal efficiency in it. This casual efficiency takes place in this permanent entity in succession or all at once, i.e., simultaneously. There cannot occur causal efficiency in a permanent entity, because it is capable. For this reason it cannt perform a function which is going to take place in the second moment, together at the time of a function which is going to happen at the first moment, because that which is capable does not make delay in performing a function, otherwise it cannot be called capable. If someone doubts that even being capable, an entity performs a function only on the association of its subsidiaries, then the incapability of a permanent entity is proved by this fact, because it is dependent on the assistance of others. The principle of the Nyaya is this, "that which depends on others is incapable".[49]

A permanent entity does not perform a function even simultaneously, for it is not found in experience that an entity performs at a time a function which is going to be performed in the entire time, or if a permanent entity performs it even simultaneously, then will it do it at the second moment? If it is said that it performs a function at the second moment also, then the defect which comes in the case of performance of a function in succession will also come in this case. If it is argued that a permanent entity does not do anything at the second moment, then because of the absence of causal efficiency, a permanent entity will appear as a non-entity. Thus, there does not take place causal efficiency (arthakriyakaritva) in an absolutely permanent entity in succession and simultaneously (kramakrama). On the destruction of causal efficiency in an entity, the existence of it does not remain.[50]

Like an absolutely permanent entity, it is not rational to regard an entity absolutely momentary, because a momentary entity is destructible at every moment. For this reason it cannot perform a function either successively or simultaneously.


Therefore, it is concluded by Acarya Hemacandra that Arthakriyakaritva (casual efficiency) as the criterion of Reality is only possible in the case of Reality which is permanent-in-change as conceived in Jaina Philosophy. That is to say, this criterion is only applicable to the concept of Dravya (substance) of Jaina metaphysics.[51]



Apta mimamsa of Samantabhadra, edited with introduction, Translation, Notes and an original commentary in English by Saratchandra Ghoshal, Bharatiya Jnanpith, Delhi 1st edn. 2002.

Bhagavai – Vacana Pramukha Acarya Tulsi, ed. by Acarya Mahaprajna, Jain Vishva Bharati, Ladnun, Rajasthan, Vol. I., 1st edn. 2005.

Pancastikaya of Acarya Kundakunda, with Tattva praveepika – Tatparyavritti, Paramshrut Prabhavak Mandal, Agas, Gujarat, (1st edn. 1988), 4th edn. 1986.

Pancastikayasara of Kundakunda, Translated and ed. by A. chakravarti and Prakrit text, Sanskrit chaya, English and historical introductions, Bharatiya Jnanpitha Publication, Jnapitha Murtidevi Granthmala, Series no. 4, New Delhi, 1975.

Pravacanasara of Kundakunda, ed. by A.N. Upadhye, Paramshruta Prabhavak Mandal, Ragachandra Jain Shastramala, series no? Agasa, Gujarat (1st edn. 1911) 4th edn. 1984.

Pramana Mimamsa of Hemachandra ed. by Sukhalalji Sanghavi and others, Saraswati Pustak Bhandar, Saraswati Oriental Series no. 1, Ahmedabad, IInd edn. 1989.

Sabhasya Tattvarthadhigama Sutra of Umasvati, edited & translated by Khubachandra, Shri Paramshruta Prabhavak Mandal, Agas, 3rd edn. 1992.

Saddarsana Samuccaya of Haribhadrasuri ed. by Mahendra Kumar Jain, Bharatiya Jnanpith Publication, Delhi, 1981.

Sarvarthasiddhi of pujyapada, the commentary on Tattvarthasutra, edited and translated by Phoolchandra Shastri, bharatiya Jnapitha, Murtidevi Jain Granthamala, Sanskrit Series-13, Delhi, 13th edn. 2005.

Sanmati Tarka of Siddhasena Gani – ed. by Sukhalalji Sanghavi and Pandita Bechardasji, with a critical introduction and an original commentary, L.D. Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad, (Ist edn. 1939 A.D.) 2000.

Syadvad-Manjari of Mallisena Suri, with Hindi Translation by Jagadish Chandra Jain, Paramsruta Prabhavak Mandal, Agasa, Gujarat (1st edn. 1910), 1970.

Tattvarthasutra of Umaswati/Umasvami, English translation by Nathmal Tatia under the title „That which is‟ with the combined commentaries of

Umaswati/Umasvami, pujyapada and siddhasena gani, collins publications, America, 1994.

Tattvartha Sutram of Umaswami, ed. by J.L. Jaini, Barrister ChampatRai Jain Trust, Delhi, 1956.

Tattvartharajavartika of Akalanka Deva, ed. by Mahendra Kumar, Nyayacarya, Vol. II, bhartiya Gnanpitha Prakasan, Delhi, IInd edn. 1999.

Visesavasyaka Bhasya of Jinabhadra Gani, ed. by Dalsukha Malavaniya and Bechardasji, Vol. 1, Lal Bhai Dalpatabhai, Bhartiya Samskrti Vidyamandir, Ahmedabad, 1st edn. 1968.


Dasgupta, S.N. – History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. I-IV, the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1952.

Jain, S.A. – Reality, English translation of Shri Pujyapadas Sarvarthasiddhi, Vira Sasana Sangha, Calcutta, 1960.

Kalghatgi, T.G. – A Source Book in Jaina Philosophy, translation from Devendra Shastris, Jaina Darsana Ka Svaropa, Sri Tarak Guru Jain Granthalaya, Udaipur, 1st edn. 1983.

Mahaprajna, Yuvacharya – Jain Darsan Manan Aaur Mimamsa, Adarsa Sahitya Sangha, Churu, Rajasthan, (1st edn. 1969), 4th edn. 1995

Padmarajiah, Y.J. – Jaina Theories of Reality and Knowledge, Jain Sahitya Vikas Mandal, Bombay, 1963.

Sikdar, J.C. – Jain Theory of Reality, ed. by Sagarmal Jain, P.V. Research Institute, Series no. 58,1st edn. 1991.

Satkari, Mookerjee, Illuminator of Jaina Tenets, Translation of Jain Siddhanta Dipika of Acarya Tulsi, Anekant Shodhapitha, Jain Vishva Bharati, 1995.

Sastri‟s Devendra – Jaina Darsana Ka Svarupa Aur Vislesana, text translated under the title, „A Source Book in Jain Philosophy‟, Sri Tarak Guru Jain Granthalaya, Udaipur, 1st edn. 1983.

Thomas, F.W. – The flower spray of the quodammodo Doctrine, translation from mallisena Suri‟s Syadvada Manjari, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, 1968.


Classifications of Utpada & Vyaya

There are two diametrically opposed world-views in Indian philosophy: Creationism and non-creationism. The former believes in the origin and destruction of things due to the activity of God. Lord Mahavira did not accept creation and destruction due to the exertion of God. In his philosophy, both creation and destruction were due to the effort of the souls, and also without such effort. A lump of earth transforms into a jar. There is exertion of an individual living being behind such creation. The sky is overcast with clouds. There is no human effort behind such phenomenon which is due to intrinsic operation of the clouds themselves. An aggregate is formed by integration of atoms which is not due to any human effort. Thus, creation and destruction which are effect by human effort are due to extrinsic operation, whereas the phenomena of creation and destruction which have no human effort behind them are purely natural events. Unlike the Vaisesika philosopher who regards creation of all objects as ultimately due to the effort of some supreme person (i.e. God), the Jain philosophy does not admit all creation as due to effort of a conscious being, as there are also creations that are due to nature. Just like the mode of creation, the mode of destruction also may be due to a person or simply a natural product. Transformation of water into ice, when brought about in a refrigerator, is due to the human effort, whereas transformation of water into ice due to natural temperature is without any such effort.

Umasvati also discussed in Tattvarthadhigama Sutra, the two types of stpada & Vyaya in a different way. Svanimitta, in the pure substance itself due to modification in the attribute of individuality, Agurulaghutva on account of the substance time; and paranimitta, modification in the impure substancewith the auxiliary help of another substance, e.g. in Dharma and Adharma, Akasa and Kala, which have only svanimitta kind of utpada and vyaya. The maturity of karma is the paranimitta (by the shedding of some karmic matter) of a change in the thought-activity of the soul.

Umasvati speaks two types of Utpada & Vyaya - Svanimitta, in thd pure substance itslef due to modification in the attribute of individuality, Agurulaghutva, on account of the substance Time; and Paranimitta, modification in the impure substance with the auxiliary help of another substance, e.g. in Dharma and Adharma, Akasa and Kala, which have only Svanimitya kind of Utpada and Vyaya. The maturity of karma is the paranimitta (by the shedding of some karmic matter) of a change in the thought-activity of the soul.[52]

Jaina Concept of Utpada-Vyaya-Dhravya

A study of the theory of Reality (Sat) in Jaina philosophy comes under the domain of metaphysics. Metaphysica is the foundation stone of Jaina hilosophy. We can‟t understand the basic concepts of Karma, samvara, nirjara Ascarava i.e. (inhibion, shedding of karma, inflow of karma) the doctrine of Anekant etc. without understanding the nature of Jaina realiyt. According to my view, the concept of reality is very peculiar and unique in Jaina philosophy. Now let us discuss what actually Jaina Reality is.

Nature of Jaini Reality

Defines real as that which are Umasvati, consists of three parts; (utpada, vyaya and dhrauvya). Akalanka, the commentator of Tattvartharajvartika, explains or defines the three aspects of reality as utpada (origination) is the modification of a substance (dravya or reality) without giving up its own nature, vyaya (cessation) is the disappearance of its form and dhrauvya (permanency) consists in the persistence of its fundamental characteristics through out its various modifications. Now let us proceed to the main subject as what is utpada? what is vyaya? what is dhrauvya?

In Sanmati tarka, Siddhasena Divakara expalins two kinds of utpada (creation) and vyaya (destruction) with a slight difference

Uppao duviyappo paogajanio ya visasa ceval
Tatth u paogajanio samudayavayo Aparisuddho

two types one natural creation is of brought about by special efforts (artificial). Artificial creation is known by the names of samudayavada and Aparisuddha. 3.32

Sabhavio vi samudayakao vva egantio vva hojjahi Agasaia nam Tinham, parapaccao niyama

Natural creation is also of two kinds: Samudaya-krta and Aikatvika. Aikatvika creation (or rather one-sided creation) is seen in Akasa, Dharma and Adharma. It is due to external causes and is not seen invariably.

Vigamassa viesa vihi samudayajaniyammi So u duviyappo
Samudayavibhagamettam Atthant arabhavagam anam ca 34

The same is the case with destruction. It is of two kinds – natural and artificial. It is also found in Samudayakrta creation in two ways. One in the form of separation of aggregates and another is destruction, which is in the form of assuming quite a new form.


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  1. Acarya
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