Atom In Jain Philosophy

Posted: 06.10.2004
Updated on: 02.07.2015

Introductory

"Ever since men became capable of rational thinking, their actions have mostly depended upon their theories about the universe and its contents and also as to what is good and what is evil. This is an almost eternal truth. Men's environments play and important part to determine their way of living, but conversely their philosophy do much to determine their circumstance."

"Philosophy is neither theology nor science but something of both. It appeals to reason, rather than authority, like science, but like theology it speculates on matters about which definite knowledge is not ascertained. Science is bounded by definite knowledge while dogma as to what surpasses definite knowledge belongs to theology. Intermediate between them is philosophy."

"Science will not, because it cannot, answer all the questions of great interest to human mind and if wee forget what we cannot know, we become insensitive to many things of great value. Are there two orders of existence? Is the universe a systematic unity or a conglomeration of multiplicity? Is reality objective or merely subjective? Answers to these and many other such questions cannot be found in the laboratories. On the other hand, dogmatic belief that we have knowledge, where in fact, we have ignorance, induced by theologies and the very definiteness of the answers given by them causes modern mind to view them with suspicion. It is the business of philosophy to study such problems and discuss them even if they cannot be solved."

Jain philosophy is one of the most ancient Indian philosophies. According to the Jain canonical literature the same tenets are propounded again and again by various Tirthankaras by who the truth is realised, and whose mission is to propagate right knowledge.

Bhagawan Rsabha was the first of the 24th Tirthankaras. References to him are found in Vedas, in Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana. 23rd Tirthankaras followed Bhagawan Rsabha. Bhagawan Aristnemi, the 22nd Tirthankaras was contemporary with Lord Krsna. Bhagawan Parsva, the 23rd Tirthankara, is accepted by the modern historians to have lived in the 8th century B.C. After 250 years, Parsva was followed by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara. Bhgawan Mahavira was a senior contemporary of Lord Buddha. He lived for 72 years and attained Nirvana at Pavapuri in Bihar in 527 B.C. Like all other Tirthankara Bhagawan Mahavira was also omniscient, which means that he had developed the capability of an absolute all-containing coherent experience of the Reality. Consequently, his philosophy was based on an unbiased Truth which is fortunately available to us in the Jain canonical literature which dates back to the 5th-6th century B.C. The discussion of physical existence in general and of atom in particular has been very exhaustive in the Jain canonical literature. Other Indian (and non-Indian) schools of philosophy have not treated this subject with such thoroughness.

In the following pages, we shall briefly deal with the theory of atom as discussed in Jain canonical literature and its commentaries by ancient Jain saints and seers.

Section I
Metaphysical View

Idealism Vs. Realism

To grasp properly the Jain views, regarding the theory of atom, it is necessary to understand the Non-absolutist attitude of the Jains regarding the nature of Reality. We shall, therefore, very briefly discuss the Non-absolutist Realism of the Jain Philosophy.

The Jains have developed, perhaps, a unique system of metaphysical thinking based upon their unique epistemology which recognizes both empirical and transcendental experience to be within the scope of human knowledge. According to them, reality is self-existing, self-consistent, and self-contained. It does not depend upon something outside it for its existence. Secondly, the Jain system is free from all absolutism. It does not deprecate common sense interpretation of experience in favour of abstract a priori logic. The logical attitude is intimately bound up with its empiricism. This realistic view stands in a close relation of kinship not only to the other realistic philosophies but also to science.

Since we want to make an attempt to compare the findings of Jain philosophical inquiry with the results of scientific pursuit, it would not be improper to devote a little space to a brief study of Western philosophical views, both ancient and modern.

Jain Philosophy, however, has the misfortune of not being able to attract Western scholars to rediscover it for its interpretation in terms of modern scientific concepts, unlike Buddhism and other systems of Indian Philosophy.

Over the centuries, the philosophical attitude in the west has never been constant but undulated between idealism and realism. The difference between these two appears to be irreconcilable, being more or less bound up with the innate difference of predispositions and tendencies varying from person to person. The result is an uncompromising antagonism. The western scholars, who were brought up in the tradition o Kant and Hegel, and who studied Indian Philosophies, were more sympathetic towards the Idealistic systems of India. In the 19the century, there was a predominant wave of Monism and scholars like Max Muller were naturally attracted towards the metaphysical views of Sankara, etc. and the uncompromising Monism of Vedanta was much admired as the cream of the oriental wisdom.

Realism Of Jains Deserves More Attention

Recently, however, a set-back to Idealism has been observed, and staunch Idealists like Bradley are being openly challenged. Idealism in now virtually condemned because it does not satisfy the philosophical curiosities. It is generally accepted that the mind, even with its active contribution is, after all, an instrument of discovery and not a creator of facts. Vedanta appears to be the perfect philosophy from the Idealistic standpoint, and Jain Philosophy, being the complete anti-thesis of Vedanta, should be entitled to equally extensive study. New-Realism, (the real opponent of Idealism), is further intensified because it is intimately associated with modern science. Can anybody remain blind to the claim of science to be a safe means of revealing Truth, specially when it is substantiated by its achievements? Hence any system of Metaphysics which aspires to unlock the secrets of Reality cannot afford to totally disagree with modern science. We shall see in the following pages that the ancient Jain system of thought is more consistent with modern science than any other Indian philosophy.

The Non-absolutist realism - Anekantavada - of Jain is, at least, 2500 years old, if not oldest. The discussion on physical existence in general, and atom in particular, is very exhaustive in the Jain canonical and other literature. Other Indian (and non-Indian) philosophies have not treated this subject with such thoroughness. It is, therefore, ironical that when physicists referred to ancient theories of atom, they talked about Democritus and Kanada, the prpounder of Indian school of Vaisesika Philosophy, while the Jain philosophy is hardly mentioned.

Non-Absolutist Character Of Reality

Jain assert that if philosophy is not to stultify itself in its mission to organize our thought and experience into and ordered whole, it must directly approach and study its character and behaviour free fro preconceived bias. Dispassionate study reveals reality to be a synthesis of opposites - change and permanence, universal and particular - and we have no warrant to over ride the plain delivery of experience in deference to abstract considerations. In this respect, the other Indian Philosophies, particularly Vedanta and Buddhism, are regarded as absolutists by the Jains. For instance, the Vedantists maintain that Reality is one universal existence and the multiplicity is only an illusory appearance called into existence by the inherent nescience of the percipient; on the other hand, the Buddhist Fluxists believe in atomic particulars, each absolutely different from the rest, and having nothing underlying them to blind them together. The Jains differ from them both, and maintain that the 'universal' and 'particular' are qualities, (and not substances), i.e. they are distinguishable traits in a substance (real). A real is neither a particular nor a universal in an exclusive (absolute) matter but a synthesis embracing both of them in its fold. A real is sui generis, and therefore, answers all demands of experience and all the requirements of thought. Thus, the Jains insist that the nature of reality must determined in conformity with the evidence of experience, undeterred by abstract logic. Loyalty to Experience and to fundamental concepts of philosophy alike makes the conclusion inevitable that absolutism is to be surrendered.

"Our Universe", emphatically assert the Jains, "must be an orderly whole or system. To be a system, it must most certainly be one. But again, because it is a system, it must be the expression of a single binding principle in and through a multiplicity of constituents (and not a medley of independent particulars as asserted by the fluxists). In practice, a thing is one or many according to the point of view from which it is looked at i.e. according to the purpose in the light of which it is studied. Not only must it be both- one and many, but it must be many precisely because it is many. Taking a further most important step forward, the Jains maintain that in the all embracing systematic whole, the unity and the multiplicity must be equally real, and each must be real through the other (and not an illusionary appearance as asserted by the Vedantists).


Substance, Qualities, Modes

Substance

In the Jain metaphysical terminology, 'dravya' (substance) denoted a real existence which is characterized by persistence through-change. The Non-absolutist Realism of Jains is based on the doctrine of persistence-through-change. While the absolutists find self-contradiction in asserting both permanence and change in the same reality with reference to identical space and time, the Non-absolutist Jains maintain that one need not be afraid of accepting this as the Truth, as the very nature of things -since our common experience-give this as a fact. They, therefore, reject both - an unchanging permanent real of Vedantist and Permenides and also mere eternal flux of Nihilists and Heraclitus. An unchanging permanent as well as mere change without a substratum are impossible abstractions. The Jains therefore, define substance (dravya) as "what is capable of eternal continuous existence through infinites succession of origination and cessation." They also define it as "what possesses and infinite number of attributes." and alternately as" the substratum of both qualities and modes."

According to the Jains, "Substance is a real" because they assert the dynamic reality of dravya with permanent substantiality manifesting itself through (change in the form of) origination and cessation. The trinity of utpada (origination), vyaya (cessation), dhrauvya (permanence) form the triple characteristics of reality.

Qualities And Modes

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 paryaya. Paryaya like guna is another technical term demanding careful understanding. The modes subsist in both substance and quality. 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.

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 paryaya or 'extrinsic' mode - say, as a pen - for a certain duration of time. This state of pen is vyanjana-paryaya of pudgala. Similarly, the continuous change that takes place in consciousness is jiva's artha-paryaya while its existence as a particular organism - say, a man - is jiva's vyanjana paryaya which is with a determinate life-span. It should be noted that Jiva and pudgala have both kinds of paryaya whereas the other four substances have got only arthaparyaya.

As we shall presently see, we have deal with six distinct substances or dravyas and each dravya has its own characteristic attributes. Thus, "occur" is and attribute of the physical substance (pudgala) and "yellowness" is a paryaya 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" is the identity of an infinite multiplicity of modes. It is a unity and diversity in one, and the relation in mvolved is neither one of absolute identity nor one of absolute otherness, not permit of being determined by absolute criteria. A substance exists 'in' and 'through' its attributes, ant the latter, related and organized, constitutes a 'substance'. In simple language, quality (guna) and 'mode' (paryaya) 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 once 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.

SIX ULTIMATE SUBSTANCES

Jains believe in the existence of six ultimate real substances as under


1

Dharmastikaya

Medium of Motion

2

Adharmastikaya

Medium of Rest

3

Akasastikaya

Space

4

Jivastkaya

Psychical Existence (Soul)

5

Pudgalastikaya

Physical Existence (Matter and Energy)

6

Kala

Time



The first five substances are called astikaya, because each of them is a homogeneous continuum composed of multiple parts. Kala (i.e. time) is also included in the above list as the sixth substance, but it is not an "astikaya." The term astikaya is a compound word made up of 'asti' and 'kaya', which respectively mean '(real) existence' and 'extensive body'. The term astikaya thus means a real extensive magnitude, i.e. having plurality of parts (pradesa) in its constitution. The primal attribute of 'Existence, is the foundational element of the nature of an astikaya (existent). An existent is not a mental or objective reality. While such concepts as: substance, attribute etc. are, no doubt, the ways in which the mind works up the data of experience, but this does not mean that they are only mental and have not extra-mental reality. Kala, the sixth substance, has neither extension in space nor plurality of parts and is, therefore, not an astikaya. Each of these substances continues to exist as an entity eternally, and though they co-exist spatially and temporally, they are mutually inconvertible.

We shall examine very briefly the nature and characteristics of these substances before taking up the detailed discussion on pudgalastikaya which is the Jain name for 'physical substance'.

(1) DHARMASTIKAYA & (2) ADHARMASTIKAYA
These are the non-physical real substances as the media of motion and rest respectively. The existence of these two as real is not accepted by any other metaphysical school of thought. The classical physics, however, had accepted the existence of substance called ether as a medium of motion. We shall, for the sake of convenience, translate these terms as positive and negative ethers respectively.

Each of them is a single, indivisible, homogeneous continuum pervading the entire occupied universe (loka), but does not extend beyond it. In fact, they are the causes of the finiteness of the loka. Temporally, they are beginning less and eternal. Being non-physical and non-corporeal (amurta), they are devoid of sense-qualities of smell, taste, etc., and, therefore, imperceptible to the sense-organs and physical instruments. Immobile themselves they passively assist the motion or rest of mobile stationary objects; positive ether (dharmastikaya) is that of the static state. Not even the minutest vibration is possible without the assistance of positive ether. Hence, where there is no ether, there is neither psychical nor physical existence.

(3) AKASASTIKAYA (SPACE)
According to the Jains, space is a real substance, because it satisfies the requirement of substance as well as a real. It is the container of all other substances. It is boundless/infinite. Ethers and other substances do not occupy the whole space as they are finite. That portion of space which is occupied by other substances is called loka (cosmos). Loka is finite and is surrounded in all direction by aloka which is inert, empty pure space - a boundless void. Beyond loka, there is no object - animate or inanimate. Not a single tiny atom of matter nor a Jiva would be able to cross the boundary and go beyond the limit of loka. Actually, the space is one indivisible entity. The ethers determine the boundary of the loka-akasa by their own finiteness.

Before proceeding further, let us emphasize the utmost importance of the three reals mentioned above viz. Dharmastikayaya, adharmastikaya and akasastikaya (space). Dharmastikaya and adharmastikaya are mutually inter-penetrating and concomitant with loka-akasa. They are real constituents of the cosmos. Their existence and influence do not extend beyond the loka-akasa, but within cosmos they are all-pervading and co-extensive, Their separate existence cannot be inferred from their difference of locality as there is no such difference, but they have fundamentally different functions. In other words, they have a unity of locality with diversity of functions. Being devoid of physical qualities as well as consciousness, they can be distinguished by their respective functions.

Conception of these is essential to the conception of motion, If one accepts the reality of the physical object, one must also accept the reality of motion. Although looked upon with suspicion by idealistic metaphysicians, the doctrine of reality of motion is accepted by both realistic philosophers as well as scientific thought.

In order to accept the reality of motion of physical objects, the reality not only of space by media of motion and rest must also be postulated. None of the non-Jain Indian schools of thought has paid attention to this problem. Vedanta uses the term akasa rather indifferently to denote space and ether. It is to the credit of the ancient Jain sages alone that they boldly attacked the problem with significant success.

In the scientific world, the problem of motion was first dealt with by Galileo, considered as father of modern science and later on by Newton. Before them, Aristotelian tradition of absolute rest was generally believed. But Newton's theory got rid of the idea of absolute rest and introduced conception of a substance called the "ether", that was present everywhere, even in the empty space. Einstein pointed out that the conception of ether was unnecessary provided that one was willing to abandon the idea of absolute time.

The discoveries of modern science - the dual nature of matter, the standing wave-patterns of electrons - are all associated with the reality of space and its contents. Now the space itself, according to the Jains, is infinite extension and only a portion of it is filled with other real substances. it is this finite portion (which must curve upon itself as per Einstein's suggestion), which is the theatre of all the drama of cosmic dance. And the finiteness of the cosmos is due to the two other substances viz. media of the cosmos would have been a chaos. We shall have occasion to revert to this in the following chapter.

(4) JIVASTIKAYA
Jivastikaya is the psychic order of existence and cetana or consciousness is its chief characteristic. Individual Jiva is the SELF, ultimatic Reality of which is self-evident. It is the central conception of Jain thought. Life and consciousness are co-extensive. Wherever there is life, there is consciousness and the vice versa, but there are degrees of explicitness or manifestations of cetana in different organisms. In the lowest class of organisms, it is very much latent; while in human beings, it is very much manifest. it is entirely distinct from all inanimate existence. Characteristic qualities viz. colour, odour, etc. inherent in physical existence have no relevance in the case of jiva, and hence, it cannot be cognized by sense-perception. Cetana manifests itself in several ways: intuition, perception (cognitive elements), emotions, will, attitude and behaviour, awareness of pleasure and pain.

(Union Of) Soul And Body
Every animate organism is an organic union of non-physical jiva - soul - and physical body. This is the state of soul in mundane existence. But in the state of emancipation, (or moksa which literally means freedom) the union of the self (soul) with the non-self (body) ends once and for all. In both these states, the existence of jiva is real. Bondage in not merely empirical, and emancipation does not mean total cessation of the individual jiva but freedom from passions, cycles of births and deaths and worldly existence. It is the pure and perfect state of the SELF - the same old self which was once in bondage.

Emancipation presupposes contamination (which in itself is beginning less) of the self by non-self called karmic matter or karma sarira.

It is beyond he scope of this book to discuss the modus operandi of karma comprising the processes of attraction, assimilation, rise, fruition and dissociation of karmic matter. Suffice to say here that the association of self and non-self generates passions and the passions reaffirm the association. The Doctrine of Karma explains the diversities and inequalities that undeniably exist in the world. Worldly happiness or misery, good or bad health, high or low status, riches and poverty of an individual are all results of karma. But the soul can free itself from the contamination and become emancipated. Until then, the soul and body interact and a change in one (or the other) always involves both physical and psychical antecedents. If this is not admitted, ethical value will remain unintelligible.

(5) PUDGALASTIKAYA - PHYSICAL EXISTENCE (MATTER & ENERGY)
Matter of 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. The properties of fusion and fission which characterize all matter are also responsible for the name pudgala give to this substance. they are also responsible for giving it an atomic constitution.

The characteristic attribute of pudgala is that is possesses the properties which can be perceived by sense-organs viz. colour, smell, taste and touch. 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 the subtle most 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.

(6) KALA - TIME
Time is not included in the list of astikayaya but is included in the list of six dravyas.

Time possesses the characteristic of 'persistence-though-change' and is, therefore, a dravya. It is the necessary condition of duration (continuity), change (modification), motion. newness and oldness of substances. Time by itself cannot cause a substance to exist, but continuity of existence implies duration in terms of time. Mutation or change or modes also cannot be conceived without time, because change implies temporal succession in which modification takes place. Similarly, motion implies different positions of an object in space in temporal succession. Lastly, time causes the distinction between the old and new, the 'before' and the 'after'. Ultimate indivisible unit of time. i.e. time-point is called samaya.

Notions of space and time figure prominently on the map of Reality, and are, therefore, of paramount importance in our efforts to understand it (Reality) through philosophy as well as science. It would, therefore, be more appropriate to discuss this elaborately in the next chapter.

SIX UNIVERSAL QUALITIES
The following are the six universal qualities (samanya guna) i.e. they are possessed by all the six substances:
1. (Eternal) Existence (Astitva)
2. Causal Efficiency (Vastutva)
3. Substancehood (Dravyatva)
4. Objectivity (Prameyatva)
5. Extension-in-space (Pradesavatva)
6. (Eternal) Persistence/Permanence (Agurulaghutva)

1. (ETERNAL) EXISTENCE (ASTITVA)
Eternal existence means continuous duration by reason o which each substance maintains its 'BEING' and is never confronted by extinction. It is by virtue of this quality that a substance is neither created nor destroyed, but maintains its identity eternally.

While emphasizing the plurality of the six substance, it is also emphasized by the Jains that plurality is not an unrelated chaos but system, inasmuch as each substance is cemented with the rest by definite bonds of relationship.

The Non-absolutism of Jains is not the result of negation of absolute and extremes but their unification and integration as a system. Absolutism consists in maintaining either unity or multiplicity as absolute truth and holding that one is in absolute opposition to the other, e.g. Vedantists hold the unity (of Reality) as the whole truth, whereas the Buddhist nihilists accept multiplicity as the only truth, but the non-absolutist Jains accept both unity and multiplicity as the true determinations of the Reality. Thus, while propounding the division of Universal Reality into six substance each with its own particular characteristics, the Jains also emphasize their unity by propounding certain universal attributes possessed by all of them. The universal attribute "Existence" may be regarded as the highest universal, and is proclaimed by the Jains to be Mahasatta i.e. essence of Reality. This means that in spite of their multiplicity, the six substances comprise on e universal system. This aspect unity (viz. Mahasatta) is emphasized not only in the individual substance's constitution as an individualistic trait (i.e. Avantarasatta) but the unity of all Real. Existence, however, should not be abstracted and postulated as the unitary substance of which the other substances may be take as paryayas (modes). The six substances, in spite of their common characteristic of existence, are fundamental and irreducible one to another.

Thus, the metaphysical system propounded by Jain philosophers is not a hopeless chaos of pluralism but a pluralism integrated into a system.

2. CAUSAL EFFICIENCY (VASTUTVA)
The vastutva is the second universal quality, which emphasizes the dynamic nature of the six substances.

We have already discussed in the previous section that a substance is characterized by permanence-through-change. The quality vastutva emphasizes the aspect of 'change'.

Both 'being' and 'becoming' are necessary concomitants of Reality and one is as ultimate as the other. Becoming or change presupposes causality, which is again reducible to identity-cum-difference, which is the fundamental nature of all Reals. But what is the occasion or rather the raison d'etre of change? According to the Jains, change is integral in a substance and the stimulus of change is seated in the very nature of substance. This is vastutva or casual efficiency. As regards the question, whether causal efficiency is different from or identical with substance, the answer is - it is different, and at the same, identical.

3. SUBSTANCEHOOD (DRAVYATVA)
The quality of substancehood enables a substance to be the substratum of qualities and modes. As we have seen before, the qualities and modes cannot exist without any support. Such support is the substance. In other words, they will have no basis, if they do not rest in something real. This does not mean, however that dravya is merely a prop, supporting an alien fact, the quality. The quality characterizes the substance and the substance has the quality. It should also be remembered that the attributes alone are not sufficient to constitute substance, because for the Jains, esse is not identical with percipi. Qualities, in order to be objective and not merely subjective, do require an objective base. Such a base the dravya is.

The problem of relation between a substance and its attributes has already been discussed.

4. OBJECTIVITY (PRAMEYATVA)
By the virtue of this quality, a substance can become an object of knowledge. The Jains are realists and not idealists. A substance is a real and constituent of the Universal Reality. This quality i.e. prameyatva enables the substance to be an objective reality. Realism of Jains has already been discussed earlier.

5. EXTENSION IN SPACE (PRADESAVATTVA)
By virtue of this quality, the substance extends in space Pradesavattva is also called as 'ksetratva' (i.e. quality of occupying space). This enables us to predicate a substance by the determinant 'ksetra'.

6. (ETERNAL) PERSISTENCE/PERMANENCE (AGURULAGHUTVA)
While discussing the universal causal efficiency (vastutva), it was stated that a substance is characterized by persistence/permanence-through-change. While the quality 'causal efficiency' emphasizes the aspect of change, this quality viz. agurulaghutva emphasizes the aspect of persistence/permanence. It is precisely this quality which prevents the substance from surrendering its own specific substancehood and prevents the quality from abandoning its 'qualityhood'. Further, both the substance and the quality undergo infinite modifications, intrinsically as well as extrinsically. But they do not lose their identity. Secondly, the interaction between two substances can never change the specific nature of either substance. Thirdly, each substance which is the substratum of infinite qualities of its own, continues to support its substance and they do not scatter away. The inalienability of the respective qualities of each substance also is due to this quality of agurulaghutva. All these mean that each substance and its characteristic qualities maintain their individuality in-spite of not only the interaction between two or more substances but 'self-interaction' also. The phenomena of ceaseless self-interaction has its parallel in the 'self-interaction of 'nucleons' very recently discovered in the subatomic reactions. According to Jain, such self-interaction is not restricted to physical existence (pudgala) only, but also extends to all the substances. It is called "sadguna-hani-vrddhi", i.e. "six-steps of infinitesimal change in descending as well as ascending order". We shall revert to this important phenomena in the next chapter.

After this brief description o six real existents, we shall take up detailed discussion on pudgala i.e. physical existence.

The quality agurulaghutva is thus responsible for maintaining the individuality of the substance and its characteristic properties. The intrinsic modifications of the substance is in the form of "self-interaction" and takes place in 12 steps - 6 upwards and 6 downwards (sad-guna vrddhi and sad-guna hani or sat-sthana- patita-vrddhi-hani). An infinitesimal change takes place in each step and can be mathematically explained and expressed as under.

The six steps upwards are:
(1) infinitesimal increase
(2) by a countless fraction,
(3) by a countable fraction,
(4) numerable times
(5) innumerable times
(6) infinite times

The six steps downwards are in exactly reverse order.....

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'Microcosmology Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science'
Published by Jain Vishva Bharti Institute, Ladnun (Rajasthan) in 1995