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The Enigma Of The Universe : Pudgala (Matter) and Jīva (Soul)

Published: 01.11.2014

The most important substances out of the six substances are pudgala and jīva. Their exposition is very extensive and deserves independent and detailed discussion. However, as indicated earlier, this book is mainly on the subject of enigma of the universe and those aspects which are related to the universal space. So here we will only briefly discuss pudgala and jīva.

Pudgala is a technical word specifically used in Jain philosophy. That which is possessed of the attributes of touch, taste, smell and colour is pudgala.[1] Modern synonym for pudgala could be matter or physical order of existence. Energy, which really is a kind of non-living matter falls within the category of pudgala. The smallest indivisible part of pudgala is paramāṇu.[2] In the universe (lokākāśa), there is infinite number of paramāṇus and each paramāṇu is an independent entity. When these paramāṇus combine with each other, a skandha (aggregate) is formed.[3] A skandha can be formed by combination of any number of paramāṇus ranging from two to infinite. An aggregate can be produced also by the disintegration of another aggregate.[4] That part of space which is occupied by a single paramāṇu is called pradeśa. On account of the attribute of expansion and contraction possessed by pudgala, even in a single pradeśa of cosmic space, a skandha consisting of infinite number of pradeśas can exist. In the entire cosmic space (which consists of innumerable pradeśas), there are infinite number of anantapradeśī skandhas (aggregates, each consisting of infinite number of paramāṇus). Thus, from the view-point of number of substance, pudgala is infinite. From space standpoint, one independent paramāṇu occupies one pradeśa and an independent skandha occupies anything from one to innumerable pradeśas and all (total number) of pudgalas pervade the whole loka.[5] From point of view of nature, pudgala is possessed of attributes of color, touch, etc., is devoid of consciousness and is corporeal. From the view-point of time, it is without beginning and end.

Out of the six substances, only jīva substance is accepted to have consciousness. Jīva is synonym with ātmā (soul). From substance-point of view, the numbers of jīvas are infinite and each jīva or soul is an independent entity. From space-point of view, one independent jīva occupies at least innumrableth part of loka but occupies innumerable pradeśas in space and at its maximum can occupy even the whole lokākāśa. From substance standpoint, jīva substance extends in the whole of loka. From view-point of time, each jīva is without beginning and end, i.e., eternal. From nature-view-point, jīva is non-corporeal and without attributes of color, touch, taste, etc. but endowed with consciousness. Knowledge, being the activity of consciousness, is characteristic of jīva.

Jīva and special type of pudgala-skandhas, which are called karma, are mutually associated. Because of various activities and actions of jīva, an association is established between karma-pudgalas and jīva and according to these actions/activities; karmapudgalas affect jīva in a peculiar way. All the souls in this universe undergo effects such as sorrow, happiness, birth, death etc. so long as they are afflicted by karma-pudgalas. Only those souls who get emancipated from these effects of karma-pudgalas are designated as ‘Paramatma’ or ‘Siddha


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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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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adharma
  2. Astikāyas
  3. Consciousness
  4. Dharma
  5. Jain Philosophy
  6. Jīva
  7. Karma
  8. Loka
  9. Lokākāśa
  10. Paramatma
  11. Paramāṇu
  12. Paramāṇus
  13. Pradeśa
  14. Pradeśas
  15. Pudgala
  16. Siddha
  17. Skandha
  18. Soul
  19. Space
  20. Vṛtti
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