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Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.2.03] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Pudgala - Other Important Attributes (Modes) - Sound

Published: 07.09.2007
Updated: 02.07.2015

Some important modes of the physical substance (pudgala) are: sound, light and darkness; integration and disintegration; microscopicness and macroscopicness & shape or configuration. [Tat.Sut.5/24]

1. Sound

Sound is produced by collision or separation of two or more physical objects. It is the agitation set up by knocking together or splitting of two aggregates. [(a) Utt. 28/12, 13. (b) I.J.T., 2/15]

An ultimate atom cannot produce sound by itself. [Panca., verse 79]

It is of two kinds (in respect of genesis):

  • Natural or spontaneous, e.g. thunder and
  • that produced by conscious effort.

The latter is again of two kinds:

  • lingual and
  • non-lingual. [Tat. Raj. 5/24]

The lingual sound is again of two kinds:

  • articulate i.e. made up of alphabetical composition, and
  • inarticulate i.e. sound produced by subhuman animals.

Non-lingual sound is produced with the help of (musical) instruments and is of four kinds:



sound produced by percussion instruments like drum.


vi toto

sound produced by stringed instruments like violin. [There is slight difference between the Jain and lexicographers terminology for sound of musical instruments. According to the latter, tata stands for the sound produced by stringed instruments, while anaddha stands for that by percussion instruments.]



sound produced by bells, etc.



sound produced by flute, and such other wind-instruments [Sarvarthasiddhi, 5/24]

Classification of sound can be tabulated as under:

Produced by living beings


Bells etc.


From a different aspect, sound may be divided into three kind:

  1. Sound produced by animate organisms.
  2. Sound produced by inanimate objects.
  3. Sound produced jointly by both.

Thus, sound is not a quality (guna) but modification (parydya) of pudgala. Sound is in the form of waves produced by the vibrations of sound-producing aggregates and is propagated by material medium such as air or water but not by space i.e. in vacuum. Sound is perceived by the sense organ of hearing.

The Vaisesika philosophy does not accept sound as the modification of pudgala, but an attribute of space.

This view is patently untenable. Firstly, sound is murta - perceivable by a sense organ, while space is amurta - devoid of sense-data. The attribute of an amurta substance can never be murta. For the sound to be an attribute of space, either the space must be considered as murta of the sound to be amurta, which is obviously not the case. Moreover, sound waves are propagated, and therefore, dynamic, while space is static (niskriyd). According to science, sound waves cannot be propagated in vacuum (space). If it was an attribute of space, it must inhere everywhere in space.

  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aksaratmaka
  2. Anaksaratmaka
  3. Guna
  4. Murta
  5. Pudgala
  6. Science
  7. Space
  8. Utt.
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