Dravyas or Substances in Jain Philosophy - Informative & researched article on Dravyas or Substances in Jain Philosophy
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Home > Reference > Indian Philosophy > Schools of Indian Philosophy > Jain Philosophy > Dravyas or Substances in Jain Philosophy
Dravyas or Substances in Jain Philosophy
Dravyas or Substances occupy an important place in the Jain school of thought. The Jain philosophers believe that the universe or the ultimate reality is made up of animate and the inanimate objects.
 Dravyas or Substances in Jain PhilosophyDravyas or substances according to Jain philosophy are eternal entities which have certain, unalterable qualities and in which the accidental, alterable conditions (Paryaya) of different type can be developed. Substances are divided into two groups: animate (Jiva) and inanimate (Ajiva). Jain Philosophy further states that the universe is made up of six substances or dravyas and they are the fundamental constituents of the universe.

Jiva or Soul
The foremost Dravya or substance in Jain Philosophy is the Jiva. Souls are uncreated, imperishable, immaterial, knowing, active and acceptable entities and are present in endlessly great or endless numbers. Every soul is an individual entity, independent of the others, but can get in touch with other souls and substances. Every soul as such is from nature in possession of perfect knowledge, perfect belief and perfect moral behaviour; it has unlimited energy and unending bliss, complete incorporeity and has equality of position with all other souls. Its movement is directed straight upwards.

Inborn qualities of soul appear in it when it is independent of all the alien influx. This is the case only for a very small number of existing souls. Most of the souls cannot develop their natural qualities, because they are made completely or partially ineffective by an alien element which does not belong to them.

Ajiva or the Inanimate
There are five substances besides the soul, and these too are eternal and imperishable, the only difference being that they are inanimate. They are: space, the media of movement and rest, time and matter.

Akasa or Space
Space is the receptacle of all things, but it is not contained in anything. Its only assignment is to offer place. Different from all other substances, it is not only in the world, outside of it in the non-world (Aloka). It contains of an unending amount of points (pradesa).

Dharma and Adharma
Dharma and Adharma is a sort of ether. They are the media of movement and rest. This is to be understood in the sense that they themselves do not cause motion and obstruction, but create preconditions for them. Dharma is, therefore, compared with water which is a precondition that a fish swims, and Adharma with ground whose existence enables a wanderer to put himself to rest. They occupy the whole world-space and they have endlessly many space points. The presumption of two special substances Dharma and Adharma is a characteristic speciality of Jainism since these two words do not appear in Sanskrit language in this special meaning, the researchers dealing for the first time with Jaina-philosophy did not understanding their meaning and explained them as virtue and vice, this, of course, does not make any sense.

Kala or Time
Time occasions the changes taking place in other substances; it makes new what is old and old what is new Just like the stone which a potter lays under his disc enables its movement only by its mere presence, with out causing it, time also supports by its being there the changes to which the substances are subject. In the highest sense, it is continuity without any beginning, end or parts. But seen from the point of view of common experience, it consists of endlessly many moments of which one is present, and others belong either to the past or the future. Since it does not possess any space points (Pradesa) in contrast to all other substance, it is not counted among substances (dravya) by many Jaina- philosophers. Others consider it as a substances, it teach that its countless atoms like the jewels lying on a heap, rest next to one another in each of the single point of the world-space without ever being mixed with one another. In any case it is not an "astikaya", i.e. it does not belong to the class of entities which occupy countable, uncountable or endlessly many space points, like Jiva and the other four inanimate substances.

Pudgala, Material Object
The matter consists of an endless variety of quite tiny atoms which cannot be perceived by senses and which cannot be further divided (Paramanu). While all other substances are formless, every atom has a definite smell, a definite colour and two definite varieties of touch.

The smell of the atom is either good or bad, the taste bitter, pungent, astringent, sour or sweet (the salty taste is considered as a variety of the sweet). The colour: black, blue (green) red, yellow or white. The touch: heavy, light, soft, rough, cold, warm, sticky or dry.

(Last Updated on : 20/03/2014)
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