Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science ► 02 ► [2.1.11] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Metaphysical View - (5) PUDGALASTIKAYA - Physical Existence (Matter & Energy)

Posted: 18.08.2007

[1] Tat. Raj. p. 190

[2] Tat. Sut. 5/23

Matter and energy of modern science are called pudgala by Jains. The use of this word is almost exclusive to the Jain literature. It is a derivative made up of two words: pud meaning combining or fusion and gala meaning dissociation or fission.[1] The properties of fusion and fission which characterize all matter are also responsible for the name pudgala given to this substance. They are also responsible forgiving it an atomic constitution.

The characteristic attribute of pudgala is that it possesses the properties which can be perceived by sense-organs viz. colour, smell, taste and touch.[2] Concomitance of all the four is emphasized by the Jains. In other words, if a thing is perceived by the sense of touch, it must also necessarily possess smell, taste and colour. The atomic structure of pudgala is, as its name implies, absent in the other astikayas. Whereas the other four astikayas are indivisible i.e. not disintegrable, pudgala is divisible. The ultimate indivisible unit of pudgala is called paramanu or ultimate primary atom. This atomic structure of the physical universe is the most interesting part of the Jain physics. The paramanu can neither be created nor can it be destroyed. It is eternal. Although it possesses sense-qualities, it cannot be an object of sense perception. It is thesubtlemost physical entity. By itself it transcends the sense experience, though it is basic constituent of all perceivable objects. We shall deal with this primordial physical existence, at length, in the section five of this chapter.

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