Reality (Sat) and Concept of Dravya (Substance) in Jaina Philosophy (2/2)

Posted: 01.08.2008
Updated on: 13.10.2008

Part (2)

C. Dharma or Principle of motion & Adharma or principle of rest

Here the terms dharma and adharma do not mean the contemporary meaning of religion and non religion. Jain philosophy says that like living beings and non-living beings, there are two more entities known as dharma or principle of motion and adharma or principle of rest. Both are real and existent and hence have all the attributes associated with dravya. Because they are non-concrete, they cannot be cognized directly by sense organs. Even the scientists have proved the existence of these entities.

Gatisthityupagrahau dharmādharmayorupakāra?. (TS/V/17)

Dharma in Jainism has been defined as a substance which it self does not move but helps the moving living beings and matters in their movement, just as water of river assists to movement of moving fishes. The fish swims by its own force but the water is essential for swimming. Principle of motion supports the motion of those objects (living beings and matter), which are moving e.g. water supports the movement of fish or the rail-lines support the movement of trains. It is one in number and omnipresent throughout the cosmos.

Adharma is the principal of rest and pervades the whole universe. This is the auxiliary cause of rest to the soul and matter. Adharma has been defined as a cause of helping the matters and souls which are at rest, in taking rest just as earth, which is at rest, helps those who want to stay and take rest. [16] It is a substance, which supports the resting entities (living beings and matter), e.g. the shade of a tree supports a tired traveler’s intention to rest. It is like force of friction in modern science. It is also one in number and omnipresent throughout the cosmos.

The medium of motion and rest never lose their special characteristics of facilitating movement and rest etc., and their common characteristics of existence etc., they are eternal, fixed in number and colour less (non-material).These are also without activity. There are innumerable points of space in the medium of motion, the medium of rest. They are located in the space of universe and pervade the entire universe-space.

It is important to note that both these principles of motion and rest are the efficient cause (nimitta) only for the entities to be in these states. They, on their own do not encourage or cause these entities to move or rest. This point is very emphatically clarified in all texts of Jain philosophy e.g. Dravya Saṅgrah in both gāthās (12 and 13) say ‘acchaṅtā ṇeva so ṇeī’ and ‘gacchaṅtā ṇeva so dharadi’ on the subject clearly say so.

D. Ākāśa or space

The entity, which provides space for all ji-va and matter, is called ākāśa or space. It is also one in number and omnipresent through cosmos and beyond. Even though it is one in number, yet from the point of view of six substance types, it is divided in two conceptual parts, namely lokākāśa and alokākāśa. Lokākāśa is the space where all the substances are found. It is surrounded by an infinite space called alokākāśa which is like void i.e. no other substance exists there except just space. To give an example, consider a glass half full with milk. Then in speaking terms one can say that this glass is with milk and this glass is without milk to give a feeling that there are two glasses though only one glass exists. Similarly ākāśa is just one but divided in two parts for the sake of understanding and function.

E. Kāla or Time.

The entity, which supports transformation or change taking place in living beings and matter, is called kāla or time. It is also non-concrete and in innumerable in number. Time also is a non-living being substance. It has no body as it occupies only one space point and has no extension or body. Still it is classified as a substance as it has the essential characteristics of substance namely origination, destruction and permanence and that which is an aggregate of qualities and modes. Both these characteristics also apply to time. Transformation in the substance cannot be conceived without the presence of time.

Vartanāpariṇāmakriyaћ Paratvāparatve ca Kālasya (TS/V/22)

Like jewels, it is spread throughout space (lokākāśa). From practical viewpoint, it is denoted as year, month, week, day, hour, minute; second etc but these are all modes of kāla. It is through time that changes are reflected in the other substances. This proves the importance of time. This fact itself proves existence of kāla. In Śvetāmbara texts, generally they do not consider kāla as substance but because of its usefulness, sometimes they do accept kāla as substance also. Primary attributes of time are assisting substances in their continuous transformation; modifications, in their priority and non-priority in time etc. From practical viewpoint time is expressed in terms of year, month, day, hour ad minute etc. Smallest unit of time is called samaya (infinitely small part of time) in Jain texts. And it consists of infinite instants –

So(a)nantasamayaћ(TS/V/40)

2.3 Classifications of dravya
Substances can be classified or grouped in two classes based on their similar attributes. The most prominent classification is as sentient (jīva) and insentient (ajīva). Similarly substances are classified as concrete and non-concrete or active (sakriya) and passive (niṣkriya) or svadravya and pardravya as below.

  1. Concrete and non concrete: Only matter is concrete rest all substance types are non concrete.
  2. Active and passive: Only jiva and matter are active and the remaining four are passive or supporting in nature.
  3. Sva-dravya (self-same) and par-dravya (others): This classification is seen in spiritual texts only where the soul/ atma is svadravya and all other living beings and other substance types are par-draya. This classification is essential to understand and contemplate on the self for spiritual purification.
  4. Astika-ya (many space points) and An-astika-ya (one space point only): Except time, all other substance types are with many space points and hence are classified as astika-ya while time is with one space point only and not an astika-ya. Kala is also called any without any space point. Thus, except time, all other substance types are clubbed together and called pan'ca-stika-ya. A Kunda Kunda’s famous text Pan'ca-stika-ya describes these five substances only.

#

Name

Nature

Number

Space points

Concrete

Sentient

Active

Astika-ya

1.

Ji-va

Knowledge, bliss

infinite

innumerable

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

2.

Pudgala

Fusion & fission

infinite

do

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

3.

Dharma

Supports motion

one

do

No

No

No

Yes

4.

Adharma

Supports rest

one

do

No

No

No

Yes

5.

A-ka-s'a

Provides space

one

do

No

No

No

Yes

6.

Ka-la

Supports change

innumerable

one

No

No

No

No

It is important to note that as per Jain philosophy, the number of substances in this cosmos do not change i.e. no new substance is created and no existing substance gets destroyed; they just change form. Hence all substances are eternal i.e. they were existent in the past, exist now and will continue to exist forever. Also it is true that they keep on transforming continuously. No substance stays in the same state even for a minute faction of a second i.e. transformation is the nature of all substances.

It is also to be noted that transformation of any particular substance is within certain limits. No substance will ever leave its nature i.e. sentient can never become insentient and vice versa.. Similarly Jīva can never become matter and matter can never become jīva. Similarly we can surmise for other substance types also. [17] Similarly each substance is the material cause of its own transformation; no other substance can be so. Other substances can have a relationship like cause and effect only i.e. other substances can be the efficient cause of transformation in the main substance.[18]

Another important feature of substances in Jain philosophy is that ‘each substance is eternally independent and complete in itself. No substance has origination from ab-initio i.e. totally new and no substance gets totally destroyed. Similarly no substance is dependent on other substances. No substance does anything for any other substance and neither obstructs in the functioning of other substances. From practical point of viewpoint, however it is said that all substances are inter related but from absolute viewpoint no substance is the doer of anything for any other substance. Every substance stays in its nature and they do not enter or interfere in the nature of other substances. Following verse from Kunda Kunda is worth mentioning here in this context.

Aṇṇoṇṇaṅ pavisaṅtā diṅtā ogāsamaṇṇamaṇṇassa,
Melaṅā vi ya other, ṇiccaṅ sagasabbhāvaṅ ṇa vija haṅti [19].

These substances do meet each other, interact with each, support other’s activities; but they never leave their nature or adopt the nature of other substances. Like Kunda Kunda, other ācāryas have also said similarly; notably ācāryas Vīra Sena and Kārtikeya.

3.0 General and specific attributes of substances.

As we have seen earlier, each substance has infinite attributes. Some attributes out these are generic in nature i.e. found in more than one substance types while the others are termed specific or unique to a particular substance type. Generic attributes which are found in all substances, be they sentient or insentient are as follows:

  • Existence / eternal existence (Astitva) i.e. by its virtue the substance exists forever and can be neither created nor destroyed.
  • Causal efficiency or functionality (Vastutva) i.e. every substance is capable of performing a purposeful action (artha kriya-)
  • Substantive-ness or fluency or persistence (Dravyatva) i.e. due to this attribute the substance keeps on changing e.g. the ocean keeps on changing its modes by having waves at every moment but it always stays as ocean.
  • Objectivity or measurability (Prameyatva) i.e. by its virtue a substance can become an object of knowledge.
  • Extension in the space / occupying space or some sort of form (Prades'atva) i.e. by virtue of this attribute a substance can occupy space and have some shape / form.
  • Eternal persistence or identity / essence/ invariance (Agurulaghutva) i.e. an attribute which prevents the substance and its attributes from leaving its substance hood or attributes, e.g. sugar even if mixed with poison does not leave its nature of being sweet.

Generic attributes which are found in more than one substance types:

  • Insentient e.g. matter, space, time etc except living beings.
  • Non-concrete e.g. all substance types except matter.

Specific attributes, specific to a particular substance type are as follows:

  • Living beings knowledge, intuition, conduct, bliss, energy etc.
  • Pudgala Touch, taste, odour, colour or from etc.
  • Dharma Supports motion
  • Adharma Supports rest
  • Space Provide space to stay / exist.
  • Time Supports change / transformation

We thus conclude discussion on substances as per Jain philosophy. For further details the texts Kunda Kunda’s Paṅcāstikāya with commentaries; Nemi Chand’s Dravya Saṅgraha with commentaries; Kunda Kunda’s Pravacana Sāra Part I with commentary Paṅcādhyāyi by Pt. Rāj Mal and Umāswami’s Tattvārtha Sutra are recommended.

Footnotes:
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
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