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Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.5.3] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Paramanu - Properties

Published: 31.01.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

The Ultimate Indivisible Unit Of Physical Existence


Let us now see which of the properties of pudgala which were discussed in detail in the previous section are applicable to paramanu:


Paramanu is a real and a substance. By itself it is not kaya (extensive body), because being a single point, it is singularity. However, when united with other paramanu in a composite body, it is a constituent of kaya.


It is eternal (nitya) and non-transmutable (avasthita). This is so because paramanu never loses its identity even though it participates in the union to produce composite bodies. Thus not a single paramanu is destroyed not a new one created. The total number of paramanus is eternally the same.


Paramanu belongs to the physical order of existence and not psychical, because it is devoid of consciousness.


It possesses four primary sensuous qualities - colour, taste, smell, and touch, but is devoid of samsthana because it has no shape and it has no length, breadth or thickness.


Paramanu is subject to mutation (parinami). By itself, it is agurulaghu parinami. The mutation is in respect to its innate qualities viz., colour, smell, etc.


Paramanu is capable of being dynamically active (kriyavdii). When mobile, it may have vibratory as well as migratory motions. The activity of a paramanu is not continuous but rather in the form of quantas. When dynamic, it can assume a very high velocity, since it is completely massless, there is no upper limit to its speed, and it can travel from one end of the loka to the other within one time-point (samaya).[Bhag. Sut., 1/61: "Eka - Samayalokanta - prapinam."] It cannot, however, cross the boundary of loka (since there is no dharmastikaya beyond it).


Paramanu is fusionable and not fissionable, because by itself it is indivisible. It unites with other paramanus to form composite bodies, and therefore, it is fusionable. Fissionability strictly is. an attribute of composite bodies only.
A single paramanu cannot be attracted by jiva, and therefore, it does not interact with jiva.

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

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agurulaghu
  2. Avasthita
  3. Body
  4. Consciousness
  5. Dharmastikaya
  6. Jiva
  7. Loka
  8. Nitya
  9. Paramanu
  10. Paramanus
  11. Pudgala
  12. Samaya
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