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The Enigma Of The Universe : Quantization of Time

Published: 04.08.2014
Updated: 02.07.2015
(2) Quantization of Time

Another innovative finding that emerges from my endeavour in this book is the idea of "Quantization of Time". Just as according to quantum theory, the energy does not flow incessantly but in quanta, in the same way we may say that according to Jain philosophy, time also flows in quanta. The ultimate quanta of time is called samaya. It is an indivisible unit of time.

A paramāṇu is the ultimate indivisble unit of pudgala but it is an infinitesimal part of the substance called pudgala. The samaya, however, is not an infinitesimal part of time, but only asaṃkhyātath (i.e., innumerableth) part of time. As already mentioned above, this 'asaṃkhyāta' is not a vague number, but a definite and welldefined number, which although cannot be expressed through a digital number but expressed in the form of a series. (See, Appendix III, p. 374). Though the number Jaghanya-Yukta-Asaṃkhyāta (= J. P. A.) is innumerable, it is not infinite.

In Jainism the word 'paramāṇu' is actually used not only in the sense of pudgala paramāṇu, but in general sense, meaning 'indivisible unit'. The Bhagavatī Sūtra[1] enumerates four types of paramāṇus indivisible units, just as paramāṇu pudgala is the indivisible unit of pudgala. The four types are:

  • dravya paramāṇu or pudgala paramāṇu the indivisible unit of pudgala substance.
  • ksetra paramāṇu the indivisible unit of space i.e. spacepoint or ākāśapradeśa.
  • kāla paramāṇu the indivisible unit of time or timepoint called samaya.
  • bhāva paramāṇu the indivisible unit of quantum of intensity of sensuous qualities, viz., colour, odour, taste and touch.

Thus, paramāṇu is the direct unit of the physical substance (pudgala) and also the indirect unit of space, time and modification. The quantitative difference in matterspacetime as well as the qualitative difference in physical objects may ultimately be traced to constitution of paramāṇu. Thus, being the constituent element of physical composite bodies, it may be considered to be the determinant of the difference of aggregates, and for the same reason, it is also their substantial cause. By its own motion (vibration, oscillation, etc.), it becomes the measure of time, i.e., a samaya (timepoint) which corresponds to a unit shift of a paramāṇu from one position to the immediately next. (It should be remembered that time itself is quantized, and a samaya a quantum of time and is, therefore, indivisible).

Since its associated spacepoint is the constitutive element of space, it is indirectly the cause of quantitative difference of space (ksetrasaṃkhyā).
Since its motion from pointtopoint corresponds to duration of time, it is also the basis of quantitative difference of time (kālasaṃkhyā).
Again, because it is the basis of modification of physical objects through combination of separation, it is also the condition of the quantitative difference of modes (bhāvasaṃkhyā)[2]

Thus, it becomes clear that the kāla paramāṇu is larger than the dravya paramāṇu.

1 samaya =1 / x x āvalikās


x = yyyy...........(10134) times and y = 10101043

We may compare this with quanta of energy. The Planck's constant h is the universal constant relating the frequency of a radiation, υ, with its quantum of energy, E; i.e., E = hυ, where

h = 6.626 x 1034 joule second.

Thus if frequency (υ) is one, then energy = h. This is the minimum quantum of energy.

Although the value of samaya is much much smaller than h, yet it is not infinitesimal part of āvalikā. It follows from the above discussion that samaya is the quanta of time, which cannot be further divided. In other words, there is no time smaller than one samaya and in this way time flows in quanta of samayas.

I would like to draw the attention of the scholars and scientists to this hypothesis of quantization of time for further criticism and scrutiny. It may prove quite useful in further development of science. Also, it is important for the students of the Jain philosophy to understand many a Jain doctrine. For example, when the paramāṇu can travel 14 rajjus in only one samaya, it would mean that the whole length of space is covered in one samaya at a stretch and there is not such concept as covering 7 rajjus in 1/2 samaya. This is what is meant by aspṛṣad (aphusamāṇa) gati as explained in the Prajñāpanā Sūtra.[3]


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Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhāva
  2. Dravya
  3. Gati
  4. Jain Philosophy
  5. Jainism
  6. Kāla
  7. Paramāṇu
  8. Paramāṇus
  9. Pudgala
  10. Quantum Theory
  11. Samaya
  12. Samayas
  13. Science
  14. Space
  15. Sūtra
  16. Vṛtti
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