Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 05 ► [5.12] Atomic Theory And Paramanuvada - Rules Of Motion Of Paramanu

Posted: 14.04.2008

The motion of paramanu in space is subject to the following rules:

Spontaneous motion is in 'anusreni' which literally means straight line but which really means the minimum distance between the two space-points. If the geometry of the lokakasa is Euclidian, then it will be a straight line, but if this geometry is non-Euclidian, as asserted by General Theory of Relativity, then the minimum distance may be a curved line. Since the space of lokakasa is accepted to close upon itself, the latter alternative is a greater possibility. According to the rules and propagation of radiation in space, light also travels in a straight line (if free from the influence of external forces). But, because, the modern cosmology accepts the geometry of the space as non-Euclidian (i.e. it closes upon itself), the path of light also will be curved. Motion of a paramanu under the influence of external forces may also be in visrenii.e. with change of direction. But if the time of motion is one time-point only, the motion is always in anusreni.

The minimum velocity of a paramanu is one space-point in one samaya1 (time-point), while the maximum velocity is the entire length of the lokakasa in one samaya. When in motion, the minimum distance travelled by a paramanu in one samaya is one space-point i.e. the distance between two adjacent space-points. And the maximum distance travelled by a paramanu in one samaya is between the extremities of the loka2.

How is this Jain view compatible with the Einsteinian equation of the increase of mass and the inference that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, the theoretical speed limit of the universe?

Now, we have seen that 'mass' is not an intrinsic quality of paramanu. Mass, according to the Jain view, is one of the four pairs of sparsa, which are:

  1. hot-cold
  2. gluey-dry
  3. heavy-lignt
    and
  4. hard-soft.

Paramanus (and even material aggregates of some varganas though composed of innumerable paramanus) are chatuhsparsi i.e. are agurulaghu (literally neither heavy nor light) which means that they have no mass.

If we accept the value mo=0, i.e. a paramanu has no mass then the equation of the increase in mass with velocity becomes inapplicable, and, therefore, paramanu can travel at a speed higher than that of light


  1. Samaya and loka are two terms unique to the Jain Philosophy. Samaya is the inpisible quantum of time. A comparatively larger and more practical unit of time which is measurable is called avalikd and is equal to 1.7 x 10"4 seconds. One avalikd covers 'Jaghanya-Yukta-Asamkhydta'samayas. This number is impossible to be expressed in numerical figures, but it can be shown to have definite measurable value and its lower limit can be calcu­lated. Jain mathematics expresses this number as greater than x where8174276986
    (See, Visva Prahelika by Munisri Mahendra Kumar, pp. 255-270)

    A comparison of this Jain view with the most modern scientific attempts and various methods for the accurate measurement of time might be interesting.

    'Second', the present unit of time, was earlier defined with reference to the time taken for the rotation of earth and in 1954 the International Committee of Weights & Measures standardized the 'second' as 1/31, 556,925,975 of the tropical year 1900. The 'second', thus, defined was known to vary to the extent of 1 part in 108 and did not entirely satisfy the present scientific quest. Sub­sequently, other considerations compelled them to switch over to a different form of time standard, which ultimately led to the advent of atomic standards. In 1964, the above Committee adopted the transition between two specified energy levels of Caesium133 for the purpose of defining the basic unit of time. Caesium beam oscillators were developed and in 1967, the committee defined the unit of time as follows:

    'The second is the duration of 9, 192, 631, 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the fun­damental state of Caesium133 atom."

    Various methods of standardization of time in terms of the frequency of hydrogen measure are also avaiable but the order of accuracy does not seem to exceed that of the former cases.

    Some time ago, a new and simple method for standardization of time is suggested by S.K. Mukherjee and A. Choudhury of Jadavpur University. It is based on the velocity of electrons under the action of crossed electric and magnetic fields. It has been shown that under certain conditions, the electron will move in a rectilinear path at a constant velocity and the time taken to traverse a distance of 1 cm. is 0.533,168,432 x 10"9 second. This suggestion leads to the conception of a unit of time very much smaller than the second. It will be 533,168,432 x l0-9 second. In other words, one second will contain 1.87557997 x 109 units and one avalika will contain 3,00,000 (app.) of these units.

  2. The maximum distance between two extremities of loka is 14 rajjus where a rajju covers asamkhyata yojanas and can be roughly expressed as

8174277184

light years. Thus the maximum velocity of a paramanu is not less than N light-years per second where N=x2 x R. (For the value of x, see the previous footnote).

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