According to Jaina thinkers, the entire cosmos is
composed of real substances of different kinds. Thus the universe has
neither any beginning nor any end. The essence of substance consists in
its existence (sat), so that whatever is a substance, is real.
Substance is defined as that which possesses the three characteristics
of production (utpada), destruction (vigama) and permanence (nityatva)
(Pr. 204). Substance has its unchanging essence and therefore it is
permanent. But it also has its changing modes and destruction.
Attributes and modification blong to substance. Attributes and
substance are inseparable from each other. Attributes are essential to
substance, while modes are due to accidental changes in the attributes
of substance. A substance is permanent in the sense that, its essence
is characterized by indestructibility and continuity. But it is also
subject to generation and destruction in the sense that some new
qualities may suffer destruction (Pr.205-6). A substance then, is
permanent (=nitya) in respect of its essential qualities and impermanent
in regard to its changing modifications.
Umasvati defines substances as
possessing origination, decay and permanence (Pr. 204). When a
substance, conscious or unconscious originates without leaving its own
nature it is called origination. To cite an example, jar originates
from clay without leaving the nature of clay. Destruction is the name
of leaving the former mode. As for instance, clay leaves its former
mode when it becomes a jar. (Pr. 205). Permanence is the essential
characteristic of substance which remains unchanged in both the
conditions, viz., in origination and decay. It is neither created no
destroyed. It is etemal, it is changeless. As for instance, the
essential nature of clay remains unchanged among its various modes.
The universe is composed of six substances. The first
substance is called Jiva (soul) and the remaining ones are together
brought under the single category of Ajiva (non-soul). In this respect
Jainism can be called as an advocate of dualism, it admits two kinds of
reality, the Jiva and Ajiva which are obviously contradictorily related
to each other.
Soul substance is characterized by consciousness and
life and non-soul (ajiva) by the opposite of these. Consciousness is
the essential nature of the soul, nonconsciousness is the common feature
of the non-soul. The non-soul substance is divided into five kinds :
Dharma (medium of motion), adharma (medium of rest), akasa (space,
pudgala matter), and Kala (time). These together with soul, constitute
the six substances of Jainism. They are again classified into astikaya
(extended), anastikaya (non-extended). Substances of first kind exist
like a body possessing extension. Except time substance all other
substances are extended. Time is not extended substance. Again pudgala
alone has a form all other substances are formless (Pr. 207).
Dharmastikaya, adharmastikaya and Akasastikaya are ane each, Pudgala,
Jiva and Kala are infinite in number (Pr. 214). This universe is, thus,
divided into two halves respectively-constisting of the Jivas and the
Jiva is spiritual conscious
substance. It is spiritual in the sense that it is immaterial,
incorporeal and formless (amurta) and distinct from the body and the
senses organs. It is coextensive with the body (svadeha parimana) which
it occupies. It is endowed with capacity of knowing, feeling and
acting. It is characterized by consciousness, a quality that
distinguishes it from all other non soul substances. It is agent of
action. All other substances lack this capacity of action. As an agent
of action the Jiva is possessed of freedom of will.
The Jiva endowed with freedom of will is capable to
choose either path of bondage or path of emancipation. Jainism believes
in plurality of souls. Jivas are many in number.
Dharma is the principle of motion. It is not used in
the sense of religious merit, moral ought. This evaluated word is used
in the most unusual sense of the imperceptible medium of motion of
matter as well as the soul. It is an ontological reality, constituent
of the physical universe. But it does not make the spiritual and the
material substance move. On the contrary, these move of themselves.
Dharma is only the medium of their motion just as water is the medium of
the movement of the fish. While it itself does not move, it provides
the movement medium for substances which have capacity of moving. It is
nor only devoid of motion but it is also lacking in all sensible
qualities such as color, taste, smell etc. Dharma is thus, the unitory,
incorporeal, imperceptible, immobile, all pervasive and continuous
medium of motion.
Adharma (medium of rest) is the
counterpart of dharma. It serves as the auxiliary cause of rest. This
word is also detached from its usual moral of religious significance and
is taken to mean the supporter, the helping condition of the rest of
stationary things as well as of things in motion. Despite the fact that
it is the opposite of dharma, Adharma has the same characteristics as
Dharma (Pr. 215). It is unitary, eternal, formless, immobile,
co-extensive with mundane space and hence all-pervasive, simple and not
atomic but imperceptible, being devoid of sensible qualities. The only
difference between Dharma and Adharma then consists in that, whereas
former is the auxiliary condition of motion, the latter is the similar
condition for rest. Akasa (space) is that in which all things exist.
It is eternal, all-pervasive and without form (Pr. 215). It is a
single substance, consisting of infinite units called pradesas. Space
is divided into mundane space (lokakasa) in which all Jivas, all
material objects, dharma, adharma and kala exist and supper mundane
space (alokakasa) space beyond the world, in which there exist, no soul,
no matter, neither Dharma nor Adharma, and no time (Pr. 213). It is
space par-excellence, being completely devoid of any content. Pudgala
(matter) etymologically means that which is liable to integration and
disintegration. Matter (pudgala) is that substance, which along
undergoes modifications by combinations and dissections. This process
of integration and disintegration does not occur in the other
substance. It is of the non-spiritual substances which are extended and
as an extended substance it has form or shape. It has color, touch,
smell and taste. It exists in either of the two forms in the form of
atoms (anus) and in the form of aggregates or mass of atoms (Pr. 208).
Atoms are indivisible, and corporeal elements of matter. Matter in the
aggregate (mass) form (skandha) is the result of the combination of or
integration of atoms. It is capable of modification (parinamaguna) and
so is subject to increase and decrease, growth or decay. Atoms have
only, unmanifest qualities of color, touch, smell and taste, while the
aggregates (mass) of atoms (skandhas) have all these four qualities and
sound as well as the qualities of hardness, softness, heaviness etc.
Atom has no pradesa, where as a skandha has more than one and the
biggest skandha, having infinite atoms (Pr. 208). Our Karma, bodies,
mind, speech, breath and the objects of nature are products of matter
and bestower of pain and pleasure are products of matter and bestower of
pain and pleasure and these matters assist the samsari Jivas to take
birth and death (Pr. 217).
Kala (time) is the cause or
circumstance of the modification (parinama) of the soul and other
substances. It is a substance, but not an extended substance as are the
remaining ones. It is the auxiliary condition of the modifications (parinama)
and the continuance (vartana). It is infinite. It is not perceived,
but inferred from its characteristics which make possible modification,
continuity, activity (kriya), near and far, now and then (aparatva) (Pr.
218). It is one and indivisible.
The entire universe is composed of these six
substances. The conception and these classifications of substances of
Jaina make it very clear that universe cannot be explained with the help
of spirit alone or matter alone or both spirit and matter. The
explanation of the universe demands admission of the reality of the
spirit and the matter on the one hand and of several other items,
including space and time and the media of motion and rest on the other.