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The Enigma Of The Universe : Explanation by Jain Theory

Published: 06.12.2014
Updated: 13.01.2015

It is a fundamental assertion of Jain metaphysics that substance (reality) always possesses qualities and qualities always exist in substance.[1] A substance devoid of qualities is a figment and qualities outside a substratum are unreal. Thus, matter, which is one of the five fundamental realities, also must possess qualities. Besides the general qualities, matter possesses colour, odour, taste and touch as the particular qualities. These qualities[2] are the characteristic attributes of matter.

Further, according to the Jain atomic theory, there are infinite numbers of atoms (both in the state of skandhas- bodies- and the state of free paramāṇus) in the universe, each of them possessing one colour, one taste and two touches.[3]

Just as the existence of atom itself is objective and not subjective, so the existence of qualities of colour, odour, etc. is also objective. The Jain metaphysics also propounds that the intensity of the colour, odour, etc. in different atoms varies infinitely from atom to atom; so that, not only the qualities of colour, etc. exist objectively in atoms but also the variety of these qualities is objective. Also it is believed that the mode (paryāya) of any objective quality may undergo change with respect to its kind and intensity. This change of mode may take place either due to the interaction with other atoms (or molecules) or of its own accord with the passage of time.[4]

Thus, for example, we take the quality of taste. Out of the five fundamental tastes, an atom must possess one taste. Also, in the atoms of the same taste, the degree of intensity may vary. Thus in the realm of sweet atoms, some atoms may be one unit sweet, some may be two units sweet and so on up to some may be infinite units sweet. In this way, there exist differences in the quality and intensity of all attributes in different atoms, and existence of these differences is neither dependent on consciousness nor these differences are created by consciousness.

Thus, an apple, according to the Jain metaphysics, consists of infinite number of atoms, each possessing in itself a particular taste in a particular intensity. It is also believed that the apple, being a gross body of infinite number of atoms, must have the atoms of all the five kinds of tastes. Consequently, there exists an objective taste in the apple, which is the resultant of all individual tastes of atoms.


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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. Bhagavatī Sūtra
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. JAINA
  5. Jaina
  6. Paramāṇus
  7. Paryāya
  8. Pudgala
  9. Sūtra
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