Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.4.7] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Pudgala Classification - (F) Twenty-Three Types

Published: 17.01.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

Pudgala - Classification

(F) Twenty-Three Types

In Jain Canonical literature, its commentaries, and other literature, most of the above eight important categories are generally included in twenty-three types. Beginning from most minute parmanu vargana and ending with the largest achitta-mahaskandha-vargana, there are an infinite number of groups of pudgala. But it is possible to reduce the number of varganas to twenty-three by grouping them together from certain aspects. [ (a) Gom., Jiva-kanda, verses 594, 595; (b) Dhavala, book XIV, part V, VI, sutra 97, ver

  1. In the first category, there are free (unattached) solitary paramanus, which form "anuvargana.“
  2. The second category contains composite bodies (skandha) composed of from two paramanus to the limit of "innumerable paramanus."
  3. We, then, come to the category of composite bodies made up of "innumerable (asamkhyata) paramanus.“
  4. Next comes - the category of the composite bodies constituted by "infinite (ananta) paramanus.“

    All these four categories are incapable of being attracted, assimilated and transformed by the psychical order of existence. It has been emphasized that it is an immutable physical law of the universe that the quality of associability is forever absent in the composite bodies constituted by less than infinitely infinite (anantananta) paramanus. Only when the number of constituent ultimate atoms exceeds the threshold of non-associability, then and only then they could be used by the psychic order of existence. This does not mean that all the composite bodies with larger number than mentioned above possess this attribute. Some of them can be associated and some of them cannot be, as we shall see below.

  5. Ahara-Vargana
    The fifth category is the first one, which crosses the above-mentioned threshold of associability. In this category fall the groups of audarika, vaikriya, aharaka and Svasocchvasa. Ahara literally means association. Hence, ahara vargana stands for the category of pudgala endowed with associability.
  6. Prathama agrahya (i.e. First unassociable category)
  7. Taijas (Luminous)
  8. Second unassociable category.
  9. Bhasa (Matter essential for function of speech).
  10. Third unassociable category.
  11. Manas (Matter essential for the function of thinking).
  12. Fourth unassociable category.
  13. Karmana (Matter responsible for contaminating souls). This is the most subtle category of pudgala which has any practical significance.
  14. (14-22). These categories are of little practical significance and are merely of academic interest

     23. The 23rd category is mahaskandha i.e. the largest aggregate that  pervades the entire cosmic space.

  • 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. Ahara
  2. Ahara vargana
  3. Ananta
  4. Anantananta
  5. Asamkhyata
  6. Paramanus
  7. Parmanu
  8. Pudgala
  9. Skandha
  10. Space
  11. Sutra
  12. Vargana
  13. Varganas
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