Some Remarks on Fundamentals of Jain Physics

Published: 30.12.2012

Perception of the universe has remained a great mystic to philosophers as well as scientists. Preaching of religion by supermen is incomplete without reference to the universe. On this topic some important information is depicted in Jain scriptures. These scriptures are recorded from the speech of omniscient lord Mahavir.

Lord Mahavir was 24th Tirthankar. He was Kevalgyani. He had attained full and perfect knowledge by destroying 4 ghati karmas. He saw and knew each and everything of this universe without the help of any other instrument or experiment he has depicted secrets of the universe. Scientists use many instruments, carry experiments, and then produce a theory. After some time and acceptance by others it becomes a postulate. Whereas Lord Mahavirs omniscience has depicted some mysterious information as follows.

There are six basic substances of this Universe called as ‘dravya’. They are

1. Jiva (soul)
2. Pudgala (matter & energy)
3. Dharma (medium of motion)
4. Adharma (Medium Of Rest)
5. Aakash (space)  
6. Kaal (time)

The one which has existence or has entity is called as ‘dravya’ This dravya exists with gunas (attributes) and paryaay modifications) Without these dravya does not exists. Dravya is eternal so it cannot be destroyed. Any new dravya which is not in existence can not be created.

A dravya may not exist in the same form for ever. It changes its forms but always retains itself. Previous form is destroyed and new form is created but the substance remains the same.

Some peculiar actions always function inside the dravya in basic or atomic level by which the substance always retains its originality. So one dravya never converts into another dravya.

Out of these only pudgal’ can be perceived by senses. So this is called as ‘murt’. Other substances are all ‘amurt’ (subtle). They cannot be perceived by senses. ‘Jiva’ has life. It is consciousness. Others are nonliving.   These substances enter each other. Give space to others. Mix with each other, but never loose self entity. There can be many lights in a room, air, radio waves etc but all are separate and independent entities.

Now let us know each substance in details.


Worldly Atma is said to be Jiva. It is Soul or life. Every living body has independent jiva. It is a fundamental substance. Jiva being mass less, and invisible can not be shown to eyes. Jiva is like light or radio waves. Jiva spreads inside all the body. When a bulb of light submerged inside a milk pot illuminates the whole milk similarly jiva animates the body. If jiva is inside a body it is called as living otherwise it is said to be dead.

Knowledge (dhyan) and perceiveness (darshan) are attributes of jiva. They always accompany it. Jiva is affected by karma. Because of this karma a jiva experiences happiness or misery. Jiva is eternal. It takes rebirths as deity (deva), human (manushya), hellish (naraki), animal, bird, insect or plant. (Tiryanch) After death if a person takes rebirth as deity, then human body is destroyed and Deva body is created, but jiva is the same.

A jiva occupies smallest body of a virus and after rebirth the same may occupy huge body of an Elephant.

Scientists have not yet conceived the real nature of soul or jiva, which is consciousness of living bodies. It has a separate entity and it is immortal It takes rebirths. The rebirths and new bodies are outcomes of previous karma. Scientists consider active body as life. But the cause of activeness is jiva which cannot be proved in laboratory.

Karma is massless matter. It is invisible. Minute particles of Karma are filled every where in the space. When jiva performs various feelings karma particles are attracted inside jiva and attached to it. After some period of silence at their proper time karma particles radiate and exit the jiva. While radiating they render various effects to jiva.

A living body’s knowledge, perception, feelings, moha, life length, body, position and hindrances are all effects of previous karma.

In Zoology science of animal bodies, and life styles are depicted. But nothing is explained about their souls. Darwin’s theory is only hypothesis. A monkey cannot be predecessor of man.

Successive rebirth and body is rendered by the accumulated karma of that Jiva. and not on desires or demands of the species.

Psychology is a science of mind which is inner sense of a jiva. Some Psychologists have done research on previous births and found astonishing memories of past life.


The bodies, senses, substances which are perceived by senses, mind, and karma are all pudgal. All inertial matter, mass less electromagnetic waves, gravitational force, Nuclear energy etc. are also pudgal. Pudgal has no soul. It is non living.

Pudgal is found in big, medium, small and paramanu forms or sizes. ‘Paramanu’ is smallest size of Pudgal, which is not further divisible. It occupies one single space point and is not even perceptible to microscopes. The atom of modern science is not paramanu. It has nucleus composed of protons and electrons which revolve around it.

Paramanu is created by splitting or breaking pudgal. Even though it is part of pudgal its entity is independent. Atoms of basic metals vary in structure, But the ‘paramanu’ of all matter or energy is the same.

Dharma & Adharma

These substances are not perceptible to senses. They are amurt (subtle). They occupy whole inner space of universe. The Dharma dravya acts as medium of motion in space. Water acts as medium for motion of fishes, which move on by self power. Similarly dharma dravya acts as only medium but not influences the motion of bodies. Scientists have accepted a matter. Aether to be occupied in the universe which acts as medium for electromagnetic waves to propagate. Dharma is analogous to aether.

The Adharma dravya is said to act as medium of stability to moving bodies. Earth helps to stop running horses without influencing them to stop. The action of this substance is still a mystery Stability in space is a complicated matter which is relative to some other body.There is no analogous matter in science for this. Both of these substances are found in Inner space or Lok and not outside.

Akash & Kaala

Akash is space and kaala is time. Both of these are said to be massless substances. Space is everywhere without boundaries. The scriptures describe a shape of Lok (universe) The space inside universe is said to be ‘Lokakash‘ or Inner space. The remaining is outer space. The space is whole one body. It cannot be cut into parts. Space is stable. Outside space is only empty.

On every point of inner space is located one time particle. These time particles are all independent. They do not come together and form into a body. Because of time all substances are modified. This time is called as Absolute Time. It is eternal. It is not perceptible to senses.

What we count as period is Practical Time. It is created by modification of matter. Second, minute,hour, day, month, year etc. are all forms of Practical Time which has temporary existence. The concept of time depicted in Jain scriptures is unique. No other philosophy in the world has similar statement.

Space is supposed to be three dimensional. Any thing in space can be measured by length, breadth and height. But in 1905 great Scientist Einstein added Time as fourth dimension. In this universe nothing is in fixed state. Every thing is continuously being modified. So to make a statement on any event or matter the time factor has to be taken into account.
Further Einstein introduced ‘SpaceTime’ as joint word. This supports concept of Jain physics that time particles are associated with space points.

Einstein in his special theory of Relativity has stated

  1. Velocity of light which is 300000 km per second is the maximum. Nothing can travel by more than this. Deities visit earth to attend Omniscient Gods (Tirthankars) functions with their family and staff. Habitats of Deities are far away. If they travel in space by less speed, it would take millions of years. But they come in a short time. How is it possible? Deities have special type of bodies called ‘vaikriyika’. They can modify their bodies by mental power. They can become visible or invisible. Perhaps they may be traveling in ‘amurt’ form on which Einsteins postulate has no effect.
  2. Time of every frame of reference is different and cannot be compared with other frames. It is mentioned in scriptures that life tenures of deities are above ten thousand years We cannot compare these periods with our life. This is because heavens are in different space zones.

In General Theory of Relativity

He has changed the interpretation of Gravitational force. The Earth while moving in its orbit warfs SpaceTime fabric around its body. So the falling bodies are attracted towards earth. In Jain scriptures space and time are said to be amurt (subtle). Only murt or inertial pudgal substances can be bent. How can space and time bend? It is not perceptible. Einsteins suggestion may be some what different. But this has been never discussed by other scientists.

This fundamental physics described in Jain scriptures is acceptable to modern science. Only it is necessary to research on soul or jiva.

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adharma
  2. Akash
  3. Atma
  4. Body
  5. Consciousness
  6. Darshan
  7. Deva
  8. Dharma
  9. Dhyan
  10. Dravya
  11. Einstein
  12. Ghati
  13. Gunas
  14. Jiva
  15. Kaal
  16. Kaala
  17. Karma
  18. Karmas
  19. Kevalgyani
  20. Lokakash
  21. Mahavir
  22. Manushya
  23. Moha
  24. Naraki
  25. Omniscient
  26. Paramanu
  27. Pudgal
  28. Pudgala
  29. Science
  30. Soul
  31. Space
  32. Space point
  33. Space points
  34. Tirthankar
  35. Tirthankars
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