Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 02 ► [2.1.5] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Metaphysical View - Qualities And Modes

Posted: 05.08.2007

Substance, Qualities, Modes

[1] Uttar. 28-6: "Lakkhanam pajjavanam tu, ubhao assiya bhave" [2] Approximate parallel conceptions in the Western thought are Spinoza's substance, qualities and modes. The term 'attribute' which is used in a tech­nical sense by Spinoza, merely means quality (guna) in the Jain Metaphysics.

Thus, the dynamic substance i.e. dravya is always associated with certain intrinsic and unalienable attributes called gunas (qualities). A substance does not exist without qualities because nothing can be (or exist) with being in some determinate way and the possession of qualities by a substance means its existence in a determinate way. One cannot divorce the existence of a 'real' from its determinate mode of being. Again, a substance and its quality must exist in some state or form, and so each one of them is a substratum for infinite modes called parydya. Parydya like guna is another technical term demanding careful understanding. The modes subsist in both substance and quality.[1] They are infinite in number and transitional in nature. In other words, cessation of the precedent mode is followed by the origination of the succeeding one.[2]

The intrinsic change in substance is called arthaparyaya (or intrinsic mode), which is subtle and continues without any external influence. Thus molecular disintegration and aggregation that occur every moment in a physical object is an intrinsic mode. A particular gross mode of existence, on the other hand, which is stable, and lasts for some time is called vyanjana parydya or 'extrinsic' mode. A physical object may have a particular mode - say, as a pen - for a certain duration of time. This state of pen is vyanjana-parydya of pudgala. Similarly, the continuous change that takes place in consciousness is jiva's artha-parydya while its existence as a particular organism - say, a man - is jiva's vyanjana parydya which is with a determinate life-span. It should be noted that jiva and pudgala have both kinds of parydya whereas the other four substances have got only arthaparyaya.

As we shall presently see, we have to deal with six distinct substances or dravyas and each dravya has its own characteristic attributes. Thus, "colour" is an attribute of the physical substance (pudgala) and "yellowness" is a parydya of the colour.

In the Non-absolutist Realism, all change must be change ‘of’ and ‘in’ something, i.e. a succession within a permanent identity. Thus, while a mode originates and ceases, the constitutive substratum of change can neither be destroyed nor created.

This brings us to an irritating problem in metaphysics, viz., the problem of relation. We shall discuss this in greater detail in the succeeding chapter of this book. Here, we shall only mention that the reality of relation is a fundamental concept of the Jains. A "dravya" isthe identity of an infinite multiplicity of modes. It is a unity and diversity in one, and the relation involved is neither one of absolute identity nor one of absolute otherness, but something different from both. It is sui generis which does not permit of being determined by absolute criteria. A substance exists 'in' and 'through' its attributes, and the latter, related and organized, constitutes a 'substance'. In simple language, quality (guna) and 'mode' (parydya) cannot be absolutely different from the substance nor can they be absolutely identical with it. The difference is only that of reference and not that of existence.

Earlier, it has been stated that the Non-absolutist Jains assert that while the universe is an order by whole, it is, at the same time, a plurality of its constituents. The six substances to be described below are deductions from experiential data. Each substance is distinct from another by virtue of possessing one or more particular qualities, which are not possessed by the others. Besides, since all substances are constituents of a single Reality, a thread of unity runs through all of them in the form of universal qualities. In subsequent pages, we shall first deal briefly with the particular qualities of each substance, which shall be followed by the discussion of universal qualities.

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