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According to Jain cosmology, the universe is made up of six dravya (substances): sentient beings or souls (jīva), non-sentient substance or matter (pudgala), principle of motion (dharma), the principle of rest (adharma), space (ākāśa) and time (kāla). The latter five are united as the ajiva (the non-living). As per the Sanskrit etymology, dravya means substances or entity, but it may also mean real or fundamental categories.
Jiva (living entity)
According to Jain philosophy, this universe consists of infinite jivas or souls that are uncreated and always existing. There are two main categories of souls: unliberated mundane embodied souls that are still subject to transmigration and rebirths in this samsara due to karmic bondage and the liberated souls that are free from birth and death. All souls are intrinsically pure but are found in bondage with karma since beginningless time. A soul has to make efforts to eradicate the karmas attain its true and pure form.
The sentient substance (soul) is characterized by the function of understanding, is incorporeal, performs actions (doer), is co-extensive with its own body. It is the enjoyer (of its actions), located in the world of rebirth (samsara) (or) emancipated (moksa) (and) has the intrinsic movement upwards.— Dravyasamgraha—2
Acaranga Sutra describes a pure soul as:
The liberated soul is not long nor small nor round nor triangular nor quadrangular nor circular; it is not black nor blue nor red nor green nor white; neither of good nor bad smell; not bitter nor pungent nor astringent nor sweet; neither rough nor soft; neither heavy nor light; neither cold nor hot; neither harsh nor smooth; it is without body, without resurrection, without contact (of matter), it is not feminine nor masculine nor neuter. The siddha perceives and knows all, yet is beyond comparison. Its essence is without form; there is no condition of the unconditioned. It is not sound, not colour, not smell, not taste, not touch or anything of that kind.— Acaranga Sutra —1.197
The qualities of the soul are cetana (consciousness) and upyoga (knowledge and perception). Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither really destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearing of one state and appearing of another state and these are merely the modes of the soul. Thus Jiva with its attributes and modes, roaming in samsara (universe), may lose its particular form and assume a new one. Again this form may be lost and the original acquired.
Ajiva (five non-living entities)
- Pudgala (matter)
- Matter is classified as solid, liquid, gaseous, energy, fine Karmic materials and extra-fine matter i.e. ultimate particles. Paramāṇu or ultimate particle (atoms or sub-atomic particles) is the basic building block of all matter. One of the qualities of the paramāṇu and pudgala is that of permanence and indestructibility. It combines and changes its modes but its basic qualities remain the same. It cannot be created nor destroyed and the total amount of matter in the universe remains the same.
- Dharma-dravya (principle of motion)
- Dharma and Adharma are peculiar to the Jain system of thought, depicting the principles of Motion and Rest. They are said to pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by themselves not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharma motion is not possible. The medium of motion helps matter and the sentient that are prone to motion to move, like water (helps) fish. However, it does not set in motion those that do not move.
- Adharma-dravya (principle of rest)
- Without adharma, rest and stability is not possible in the universe. The principle of rest helps matter and the sentient that are liable to stay to stay without moving, like the shade helps travellers. It does not stabilize those that move.
- Ākāśa (space)
- Space is a substance that accommodates the living souls, the matter, the principle of motion, the principle of rest and time. It is all-pervading, infinite and made of infinite space-points.
- Kāla (time)
- Kāla is a real entity according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications can be achieved only through the progress of time.
Out of the six dravyas, five except time have been described as astikayas, that is, extensions or conglomerates. Since like conglomerates, they have numerous space points, they are described as astikaya. There are innumerable space points in the sentient substance and in the media of motion and rest, and infinite ones in space; in matter they are threefold (i.e. numerable, innumerable and infinite). Time has only one; therefore it is not a conglomerate. Hence the corresponding conglomerates or extensions are called—jivastikaya (soul extension or conglomerate), pudgalastikaya (matter conglomerate), dharmastikaya (motion conglomerate), adharmastikaya (rest conglomerate) and akastikaya (space conglomerates). Together they are called pancastikaya or the five astikayas.
Attributes of Dravya
These substances have some common attributes or gunas such as:
- Astitva (existence): indestructibility; permanence; the capacity by which a substance cannot be destroyed.
- Vastutva (functionality): capacity by which a substance has function.
- Dravyatva (changeability): capacity by which it is always changing in modifications.
- Prameyatva (knowability): capacity by which it is known by someone, or of being the subject-matter of knowledge.
- Agurulaghutva (individuality): capacity by which one attribute or substance does not become another and the substance does not lose the attributes whose grouping forms the substance itself.
- Pradeshatva (spatiality): capacity of having some kind of location in space.
There are some specific attributes that distinguish the dravyas from each other:
- Chetanatva (consciousness) and amurtavta (immateriality) are common attributes of the class of substances soul or jiva.
- Achetanatva (non-consciousness) and murtatva (materiality) are attributes of matter.
- Achetanatva (non-consciousness) and amurtavta (immateriality) are common to Motion, Rest, Time and Space.
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010). Dravyasamgrha: Exposition of the Six Substances. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series (vol-19) (in Prakrit and English). Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay. ISBN 978-81-88769-30-8.
- Grimes, John (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-3068-5.
- Jacobi, Hermann (1884). (ed.) F. Max Müller, ed. The Ācāranga Sūtra. Sacred Books of the East vol.22, Part 1 (in English: translated from Prakrit). Oxford: The Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-7007-1538-X. Note: ISBN refers to the UK:Routledge (2001) reprint. URL is the scan version of the original 1884 reprint.
- Nayanar, Prof. A. Chakravarti (2005). Pañcāstikāyasāra of Ācārya Kundakunda. New Delhi: Today & Tomorrows Printer and Publisher. ISBN 81-7019-436-9.
- Sikdar, J. C. (2001). "Concept of matter". In (ed.) Nagendra Kr. Singh. Encyclopedia of Jainism. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-261-0691-3.
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p. 1 of Introduction
- Grimes, John (1996). Pp.118–119
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p. 4
- Jacobi, Hermann (1884) verse 197
- Nayanar, Prof. A. Chakravarti (2005). verses 16–21
- Grimes, John (1996). P.249
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p.10
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p.11
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p.11–12
- Acarya Nemicandra; Nalini Balbir (2010) p.12–13
- J. C. Sikdar (2001) p. 1107
- Acarya Nemicandra; J. L. Jaini (1927) p. 4 (of introduction)