Scientific Vision Of Lord Mahāvīra ► [05] Theory Of Atom ► Touch (Sparśa)

Posted: 04.08.2009

Touch (Sparśa)

Another important characteristic quality of an atom is touch. The Bh.S mentions two types of composite bodies—(i) catuḥsparśī i.e. those with four kinds of touch and (ii) aṣṭasparśi i.e. those with eight kinds of touch.[40] The former are possessed of four kinds of basic touch:

  1. Viscous
  2. dry
  3. Cold
  4. hot

The latter have four additonal kinds of touch:

  1. Light
  2. heavy
  3. Soft
  4. hard

In fact, atoms have only two kinds of basic touch. They are:[41]

  1. either viscous or dry
  2. either cold or hot

Similarly, the heaviness and lightness are to be identified with mass. An atom has no mass but it must possess either a positive electric charge (snigdhatva) or a negative electric charge (rukṣatva). All catuḥsparśī compositons have no mass. In other words, paramāṇu pudgala and all catuḥsaparśī pudgala are neither heavy nor light. They are massless.

When physicists listed all the known particles by the order of their masses, from the lightest to the heaviest, they discovered that sub-atomic particles fall roughly into three categories—(i) the light-weight particles (lepton), (ii) the medium-weight particles (meson), and (iii) the heavy-weight particles (baryon).

Some of sub-atomic particles compared with Jain Physics by Muni Mahendra Kumar are given in the following table:[42]

Table No.: 5

Name of the particle

Mass

Electric charge

Touch

Electron

A

negative

dry, light

Positron

A

positive

viscous, light

Proton

C

positive

viscous, heavy

Neutron

C

neutral

viscous, dry, heavy

Photon

O

neutral

viscous, dry, neither heavy nor light

Pion positive

B

positive

viscous, light

Pion-negative

B

negative

dry, light

Pion neutral

B

neutral

viscous, light, dry

A = light [lepton] B = medium [meson] C = heavy [baryon]

Thus, electron one of the lightest particles, is a lepton and proton, the lightest of the heavy ones is a baryon. However, a few particles do not fit into the lepon-meson-baryon framework. Some of them are well-known like the photon while others have been theorized but not discovered yet like the graviton. All of them have, in common, the fact that they are massless particles. A particle that has; zero rest-mass is a massless particle. All its energy is energy of motion. Though physicists know exactly what they mean by 'massless' in a mathematical structure, in the view of J.S. Zavery and Muni Mahendra kumar, it is difficult to describe it in non-mathematical language because the very term 'particle' means 'some thing that has mass'.[43]

There is a remarkable similarity in the views of the Jains and physicists regarding massless particle. Not only a transcedental atom, the smallest indivisible particle, is massless but all catuḥsparśī compositions also are massless. The quality of mass is found only in gross aṣṭasparśī material compositions.[44]

The above description of the characteristic qualities of an atom wouldnaturally introduce qualitative difference between atoms. But the difference is only qualitative, that is, in the phases of different atoms. From the point of view of substance, every atom is identical to every other. This is the law of Non-absolutism.

Footnotes:
[40]
[41]
[42]
[43]
[44]
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