Parmanu

Published: 20.05.2021

The ultimate indivisible unit of matter or pudgala is called Parmanu. It occupies only one unit of space or pradesha.

It posses the four qualities that are intrinsic to every pudgala i.e. colour, smell, taste and touch. As the smallest unit of matter it has any 1 colour from the 5 types of colours, any 1 smell from the 2 types of smell, any 1 taste from the 5 types of taste and any 2 touches from the 4 primary touches. Further, with respect to touch, it can be any one attribute from hot or cold and any one attribute from dry or gluey. Thus, a parmanu always has 2 non-opposing attributes of touch.

Fusion of parmanus forms an aggregate or skandha. For instance, the fusion of 2 parmanus creates a bi-unit aggregate, the fusion of 3 parmanus creates a tri-unit aggregate and so on. Similarly, when an aggregate or skandhadis integrates, it breaks down into several parmanus or smaller aggregates.

For an innumerable span of time, a parmanu can remain in its present form. After that it transforms into a skandha. No parmanu or pudgala can retain its form forever. It is bound to change. Even one unit of time or samay is sufficient to bring about this change. This is true for both parmanus and skandha. A parmanu with infinite attributes can transform into a parmanu with one attribute and vice-versa.

Parmanu can be classified into 4 types -

  1. Dravya Parmanu is an indivisible unit of matter.
  2. Chetra Parmanu is an indivisible unit of space.
  3. Kaal Parmanu is an indivisible unit of time.
  4. Bhaav Parmanu is the intrinsic nature.

Aggregates and their qualities

Aggregate Minimum Qualities Maximum Qualities
Total Colour Smell Taste Touch
2 unit aggregate 5 10 2 2 2 4
3 unit aggregate 5 12 3 2 3 4
4 unit aggregate 5 14 4 2 4 4
5 unit aggregate 5 16 5 2 5 4

Thus, subtle numerable, innumerable as well as infinite unit aggregate or skandha can have minimum 5 and maximum 16 qualities. This is with regards to subtle aggregates.

Parmanu is dynamic and is characterized by motion. A few important characteristics in this respect are -

  1. The movement of a parmanu is self-generated. It does not move by the effort or force of others.
  2. They are neither in a state of continuous motion or in a state of continuous rest.
  3. The minimum time it can stay in the state of motion is 1 samay and the maximum is an innumerable part of one avlika (unit of time).
  4. The minimum time it can stay in the state of rest is 1 samay and the maximum is an innumerable span of time.
  5. In the absence of any outside force, a parmanu moves in straight lines. However, with outside influence it can change course and deviate.
  6. It is maximum speed a parmanu can travel 14 raju in 1 samay.
  7. The direction of its movement is not pre-define.
  8. Oscillation, rotation, vibration are some other types of kriya or motion.
  9. The speed of parmanus can accelerate due to the force exerted by other pudgalas.
  10. The period time after which a parmanu that is in a state of rest will be set into motion is not pre-determined.
  11. Its movement is not obstructed by other substances on its way.
  12. When a parmanu is a part of an aggregate, its movement is not independent.
  13. When 2 parmanus travelling at high speed collide, it results in de-acceleration of both.

References

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Sources
English translation by Pooja Baid
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhaav
  2. Dravya
  3. Kaal
  4. Kriya
  5. Pooja
  6. Pooja Baid
  7. Pradesha
  8. Pudgala
  9. Skandha
  10. Space
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