Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.4.2] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Pudgala Classification - (B) Two Types

Published: 11.01.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

Pudgala - Classification

(B)  Two Types

Paramanu is the ultimate building block of the physical reality. It can exist in a free state and because it has innate capacity to combine with other paramanus, they unite together and produce composite bodies, which are called skandha. Any modification in this would be due to fission or fusion of paramanu. In this respect, therefore, the physical reality can be classified into two types:

  1. Paramanu or freely existing ultimate atom,
  2. Skandha or composite aggregate composed of two to infinite number of atoms.

Composite aggregates (skandhas) are again of two types:

  1. catuhsparsi
  2. astasparsi.

Catuhsparsi bodies, as the name indicates, have only four sparsa viz., hot or cold, dry or glutinous.

Astasparsi bodies, on the other hand, have in addition heaviness or lightness and hardness or softness (or roughness or smoothness). This means that catuhsparsi bodies are agurulaghu i.e. neither heavy nor light.

In other words, they are massless. The quality of mass is acquired when the material bodies become astasparsi skandhas.

From some other aspects, also, pudgala can be classified into two types:

One of them is its capability of being perceived by sense organs, which gives two types:

  1. suksma
  2. badara

The type which cannot be an object of sensory perception is suksma or subtle. While those aggregates which are perceivable by the sense-organs are called badara or gross. It should be noted that suksma type is not devoid of sense-data, but it is so miniscule that normal sense-organs are incapable of being stimulated by them. Since sense-organs are incapable of perceiving paramanus, all paramanus fall in this class, viz. suksma. Again, all aggregates composed of two, five,... ten upto innumerable (asamkhya) paramanus are also suksma. i.e. catuhsparsi bodies are also always suksma. Aggregates composed of infinite particles and which are astasparsi are badara as well as suksma. Only some astasparsi aggregates are perceivable and are therefore badara.

Pudgala can also be classified from yet another aspect, viz., capability of being associated with jiva (i.e. conscious substance). We have stated before that some kinds of pudgala interact with jiva and become associated with it. Thus, we have two types of pudgala:

  1. capable of interaction or associable
  2. not capable of interaction or unassociable.

All paramanus in their free state fall in the second category. Amongst the composite bodies, some can interact, while some cannot. [see “Twenty-three Types” of this section].

  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agurulaghu
  2. Asamkhya
  3. Jiva
  4. Paramanu
  5. Paramanus
  6. Pudgala
  7. Skandha
  8. Sparsa
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