Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 05 ► [5.4] Atomic Theory And Paramanuvada - Paramanu: Indivisible Unit Of Pudgala

Posted: 04.04.2008

Two types of Paramanu

In Anuyogadvara Sutra two types of paramanu are postulated:

  1. Suksma (transcendental/absolute)
  2. Vyavaharika (empirical).

The suksma paramanu has been described above in section V of chapter II (pp. 120-132). It is absolutely indivisible.

Vyavaharika paramanu, on the other hand, is composed of infinite suksma paramanus. Even though it is a composite body, it is too subtle to be cognized singly. It can only be cognized through effects of collective action. Its interactions and mutations are very subtle and so it is called paramanu. We can compare a sub-atomic particle or an atom of modern physics with this Vyavaharika paramanu. Thus, applying the law of Anekantavada, it can be said that in the context of transcendental paramanu, the paramanu is absolutely indivisible, whereas in the context of empirical one, paramanu can be said to be divisible.

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