Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [5.8] Atomic Theory And Paramanuvada - Sparsa (Touch)

Published: 08.04.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

We now come to another important characterstic quality of paramanu, viz. sparta (touch). We have seen that there are two types of composite bodies:

  1. catuhsparsi (those with four kinds of touch),
    and
  2. astasparsi (those with eight kinds of touch).

The former are possessed of:

  1. snigdha (gluey) and ruksa (dry)
  2. sita (cold) and usna (hot)The latter have four additional kinds of touch:
  3. laghu (light) and guru (heavy)
  4. mrdu (soft) and kathora (hard)

The paramanus have only two sparsa:

  1. either snigdha or ruksa
  2. either sita or usna.

Comparing these characteristic qualities of pudgala with those of subatomic particles - protons, neutrons, etc., we find that:

  1. snigdha (gluey) and ruksa (dry) correspond to the electric charges + ive and - ive respectively.
  2. while guru (heavy) and laghu (light) correspond to the quality of 'mass'.

Our identification of snigdha and ruksa with + ive and - ive charges is based on the following commentary in Sarvarthasiddhi on sutra 5/24 of Tattvartha sutra: "...Snigdha-ruksatva-guna-nimitto vidyut..." That is, lightning in clouds is produced by the qualities of snigdha and ruksa, i.e., due to the development of + ive and - ive charges in the clouds.

Similarly, the sparsa guru (heaviness) and laghu (lightness) are to be identified with mass. A paramanu has no mass but it must possess either a + ive electric charge (snigdhatva) or a - ive electric charge (rukstva). All catuhsaparsi compositions have no mass. In other words, parmanu pudgala and all catuhsaparsi pudgala are neither guru nor laghu. They are agurulaghu i.e. without mass. When physicists listed all the known particles by the order of their masses, from the lightest to the heaviest, they discovered that subatomic particles fall roughly into three categories:

  1. the light-weight particles,
  2. the medium-weight particles,
    and
  3. the heavy-weight particles.

They were called

  1. leptons (the light ones)
  2. mesons (the medium ones),
    and
  3. baryons (the heavy ones).

Sources
  • 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. Agurulaghu
  2. Guru
  3. Paramanu
  4. Paramanus
  5. Parmanu
  6. Pudgala
  7. Ruksa
  8. Snigdha
  9. Sparsa
  10. Sutra
  11. Tattvartha Sutra
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