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Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.4.4] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Pudgala Classification - (D) Four Types

Published: 14.01.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

Pudgala - Classification

From structural aspect, physical reality can be classified into four types:

  1. Skandha
  2. Skandha-desa
  3. Skandha-pradesa
  4. Paramanu

These are the four basic structural modification of pudgala, out of which infinite modes are produced.

  1. Skandha:
    Skandha is defined as an inpidual aggregate formed by combination of ultimate atoms or small composite bodies. The smallest skandha is a 'dvipradesiya skandha" (diatomic aggregate) produced by the combination of only two paramanus and the largest is ''acitta mahaskandha which is the material body extending over the whole cosmos (loka).

  2. Skandha-desa:
    Desa means a fraction, and not a whole. A skandha is pisible, because it is made up of number of parts. Thus, if a skandha is mentally pided, any fractional portion (1/2, 1/4 and so on) is skandha-desa. This is an example of physical pision. Chemically a substance may be a compound of two or more elements. In this case, each element is a skandha- desa. For example, a molecule of water is a compound of two elements viz. hydrogen and oxygen. A molecule of water is a skandha, while atoms of hydrogen and oxygen unit are skandha-desa. This is an example of chemical pision. It should be remembered that pision is merely conceptual. When, on the other hand, a skandha breaks up physically or chemically into fragments, each fragment becomes a whole aggregate i.e. skandha and not skandha-desa.

  3. Skandha-pradesa:
    Pradesa means an inpisible undetached part of a skandha.

    The smallest desa, which is further inpisible, is thus a pradesa. Like desa, pradesa is also merely conceptual. In other words, a pradesa is an undetached part of a thing whose dimension is equal to that of a paramanu.

    Another term used for pradesa is avibhagi pariccheda (i.e. inpisible fragment). A paramanu, however, being a separate entity is different from a pradesa. The former is an objective entity, whereas the latter is only an ideal construct.

  4. Paramanu:
    The word is derived from parama' and 'anu'. Parama means the 'ultimate' and anu means 'atom'. According to Jain Microcosmology, paramanu is the eternal and indestructible ultimate atom and also the primary constitutive cause of the entire physical universe. Thus, the infinitesimally small, inpisible and free i.e. unattached to another particle of matter is paramanu. Paramanus are the ultimate building blocks, which by mutual combination produce the whole of physical universe. So long as it is considered to be a portion of an aggregate, it is pradesa, while in its free i.e. unattached state, it is paramanu.
  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acitta mahaskandha
  2. Anu
  3. Body
  4. Loka
  5. Paramanu
  6. Paramanus
  7. Pradesa
  8. Pudgala
  9. Skandha
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