The substance, the modes and the attributes – substance

Jain Siddhant Praveshika (Q and A)
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The substance, the modes and the attributes

The substance

  1.    What is a substance (Dravya)?
  • The assortment of qualities/attributes (Guna) is called a substance.
  1.    What is a quality/attribute (Guna)?
  • One, which stays in all the parts, as well as in all the conditions of a substance, is called a quality/attribute.
  1.    How many different types of attributes are there?
  • There are two types– common and specific.
  1.    What is meant by common qualities/attributes (Samanya Guna)?
  • The quality/attribute, which is present in all six universal substances, is called a common quality/attribute.
  1.    How does one define a specific attribute (Vishesh Guna)?
  • Any attribute, which is present in only one universal substance but is absent in the other five substances, is called a specific attribute.
  1.    How many common attributes are there?
  • As such, there are many common attributes; but, for our understanding, we need only to consider six of them.  These are as follow:

    1. Eternal existence (Astitva)
    2. Causal efficiency (Vastutva)
    3. Substance hood (Dravyatva)
    4. Objectivity (Prameyatva)
    5. Eternal persistence / permanence (Agurulaghutva)
    6. Extension into the space (Pradeshatva)
  1.    Define eternal existence (Astitva)?
  • Eternal existence means the continuance duration by reason which permits each substance to maintain its ‘being’, while never being confronted by extinction.  It is a virtue of this attribute that the substance was neither created nor may it ever be destroyed and maintains its eternal identity.
  1.    What is the meaning of the causal efficiency (Vastutva)?
  • Every substance is capable of performing any action – i.e. any purposeful action (Arth kriya – Prayojanbhut kriya).  This happens due to causal efficiency.  For example, the purposeful action of a water pot is to store water in it.
  1.    Explain substance hood attribute (Dravyatva Guna).
  • Substance hood is an attribute by which the substance keeps on changing.  The modes   (Paryays) keep on changing continuously in a substance. For example, the ocean keeps on changing its modes by having the waves at every moment, but the ocean –the substance by itself remains unchanged.
  1.      Define the objectivity attribute (Prameyatva Guna)?
  • By virtue of this attribute, a substance can become an object of one’s knowledge. For example, I know that this object is a pen. The pen has an objectivity attribute. That is why the pen becomes the object in our knowledge.
  1. What is the meaning of eternal persistence / permanence attribute (Agurulaghutva Guna)?
  • It is precisely this attribute, which prevents the substance from surrendering its own specific substance hood, or the qualities from abandoning their quality hood.  Furthermore, in spite of numerous changes occurring in substance and qualities, they do not loose their separate identities.  Each substance is the foundation for its own infinite attributes. Each continues to support its substrates and does not scatter away. For example, the sugar never gives up its nature of sweetness. The sugar and the sweetness are inseparable. Even if the sugar is mixed with a poison, it never gives up the nature of its sweetness.
  1.    Explain the attribute – “extension into the space” (Pradeshatva Guna)?
  • By virtue of this attribute the substance extends into the space.  A substance can occupy space.  Each substance occupies a certain area. Therefore each substance has a specific shape of its own. For example, each and every thing that we know occupies the specific shape such as a  pen, a computer, or a house-each has a shape of its  own.
  1.    How many different types of substances (Dravyas) are there?
  • There are six types:

    1. Living (Jiva)
    2. Matter (Pudgal)
    3. Space (Akash)
    4. Time (Kal)
    5. Medium of Motion (Dharmastikaya)
    6. Medium of Rest (Adharmastikaya)
  1.    Define living (Jiva).
  • Living is a substance, which has a presence of vitality (Chetna).
  1.    What is matter (Pudgal)?
  • Matter is a substance, which has characteristics such as, touch, taste, smell, or color.
  1.    How many types of matter are there?
  • There are primarily two types:

    1. Atom (Parmanu)
    2. Composite Aggregate – material cluster (Skandha)
  1.    What is an atom (Parmanu) according to Jain philosophy?
  • An atom is the ultimate freely existing smallest part of a matter, which cannot be divided further.
  1.    What is a material cluster (Skandha)?
  • A material cluster is composed of bondage of at least two to any infinite number of atoms.
  1.    What is the bondage (Bandha)?
  • The bondage is a characteristic by virtue of which the union of many things can be come known as one thing.
  1.    How many different types of material cluster (Skandha) are there?
  • Material clusters may be identified as matter endowed with associability (Ahar Vargana), luminous bodies (Tejas Vargana), clusters of speech materials (Bhasha Vargana), clusters of mind materials (Mano Vargana), or clusters of karmic material (Karman Vargana). Gommatsar scripture, Jivkanda section, and stanza 594-601 it further devide them in to twenty-two sub-divisions.
  1.    What are the matters endowed with associability (Ahar Vargana)?
  • Gross bodies (Audarik Sharir), protean bodies (Vaikriya Sharir), and conveyance bodies (Aharak Sharir) are three parts of matter endowed with associability.  Matter endowed with associability occurs when infinitely infinite (Anantanant) atoms exist. Then and only then can that material cluster can be attracted, assimilated, or transformed by thought karma of the living being. (Bhav Karma).
  1.    Explain the gross bodies (Audarik Sharir)?
  • Bodies of all humans (Manushya) and sub-humans (Tiryanch) are called gross bodies.
  1.    What are the protean bodies (Vaikriya Sharir)?
  • The bodies of celestial (Dev) and infernal (Narki) are called protean bodies.  These bodies have special characteristics such as the ability to take different shapes, the ability to be cut in to pieces or again immediately to become as one body.
  1.    Can you explain the conveyance body (Aharak Sharir)?
  • Enlightened ascetics (One who has achieved the sixth stage of spiritual development) may have this type of body. If so, he has acquired special powers to create an unique subtle body called conveyance body.  The enlightened ascetic uses this type of body for visiting the omniscient lord (Kevali Bhagwan) in far off places for the purpose of clarifying doubts about intricate facets of truth.  The subtle body is the size of a hand, comes out of the head and it stretches out so as to be in communication with the omniscient lord from whom the information sought for is secured.
  1.    What is a luminous body (Tejas Sharir)?
  • The material belonging to this group is used by the soul to make a subtle body, which always accompanies the mundane soul in its mundane existence, i.e. until the soul achieves emancipation (Moksha).  The body forms an essential link between the soul and its karmic body. Luminous body provides energy required by the vital processes of the living organisms such as radiance and digestion.
  1.    a.    How do you explain ‘clusters of speech materials’ (Bhasha Vargana)?
  • Bhasha means speech.  Living organisms, which are capable of producing speech, give voices to their feelings.  The clusters of matters responsible for this process are called speech material clusters.

    1. How do you explain ‘cluster of mind materials’ (Mano Vargana)?
    • Clusters, which are involved in the functioning of the mind, are called mano vargana.
  1. Define cluster of karmic material (Karman Vargana)?
  • The material clusters, which are responsible for contaminating the soul, by becoming karma and keeping one in bondage, are called cluster of karmic materials.
  1. What is the karman body (Karman Sharir)?
  • Eight types of karma to include Knowledge obscuring, perception obscuring, etc., compose what are called karman bodies.
  1. Who have luminous and karman bodies?
  • All transmigratory souls (Sansari Jiva) have luminous and karman bodies.
  1. Define ‘medium of motion’ (Dharmasti kaya)?
  • The soul and the matter can move by themselves.  The substance, which helps them move, is called the medium of motion.  It is present as an inactive substance, e.g., water is the medium for fish to swim. The fish is swimming because of its own capacity.  Water provides only the medium.  Water here is inactive in the process enabling the fish to swim.
  1. Explain the ‘medium of rest’ (Adharmasti kaya).
  • The soul and matter can move by themselves.  The substance that helps them stop while they are in motion is called medium of rest.  It is present as an inactive substance, e.g., a person is walking in the hot sun.  He desires to rest.  At that time the shade of a tree helps provide him comfort.  Here the person is stopping by himself and the shade of tree is inactive in the process.
  1.    What is the ‘space’ (Akash)?
  • It provides the accomodation necessary to the soul, matter, time, medium of motion, and medium of rest to occupy.
  1.    What is the ‘time’ (Kal)?
  • Every substance keeps on changing all the time by itself.  During this change, the     substance that is present as an instumental cause (Nimitt) is called the time.  The time is merely passively present during the changes occurring in the substance, e.g., the presence of the central nail in the pot maker’s wheel.  Here the wheel moves by itself.  The nail is passively present in the process of movement of the wheel.
  1.    How many different types of ‘times’ are there?
  • There are two types:

    1. Absolute time (Nischaya kal)
    2. Practical time (Vyavahar kal)
  1. What is ‘absolute time’ (Nischaya kal)?
  • The substance ‘time’ itself is called the absolute time.
  1. What is ‘practical time’ (Vyavahar kal)?
  • The substance ‘time’ has modes such as seconds, minutes, hours, days and months.  These modes are called the practical times.