Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [3.2.1] A Critique - Pudgala : Attributes - A) Pudgala : Definitions

Published: 20.02.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

Definitions: Nomenclature

The nomenclature of pudgala is quite peculiar to Jain Philosophy; it does not even exist in the lexicons edited by non-Jain writers. The word pudgala, derived from pud - integration or fusion and gala - disintegration or fission, emphasizes the Jain sages deep insight into structure and character of physical existence.

The discoveries of immense sources of nuclear energy have thrown the words fission and fusion into popular limelight. But quite apart from this comparatively recent knowledge of the nuclear physics, we have seen that there are innumerable instances of both fusion and fission of pudgala even in everyday life. Both are essential whenever energy is released, as in the common case of lighting of the matchstick. The cellulose of the match fissions into its components of carbon and hydrogen which are then fusioned with the oxygen of the air, to burn and release the chemical energy; the same thing happens when the coal catches fire. The continuous processes of emission and absorption by the radioactive elements are also example of self-activated pud and gala. Use of this unique property of the substance in its nomenclature reveals the profoundness of knowledge.

In science, the exploration of the subatomic world has revealed the intrinsically dynamic nature of matter. It has shown that the constituents of atoms, the subatomic particles possess a dynamic character as integral part of an inseparable network of interactions. These interactions involve a dynamic interplay in which particles are emitted and absorbed, created and destroyed in a continual variation of energy patterns. They give rise to the stable structures, which build up the infinite variety of material world. The whole physical universe is thus engaged in endless integration and disintegration (= pud and gala).


According to the Jain canonical literature, every pudgala (physical object) does possess colour, taste, smell and touch Conversely pudgala is the only substance, which is the object of sensuous cognition. The other five substances are devoid of sense-data. Thus, matter alone is 'rupi' while the others are arupi. The term rupi does not mean visible but perceivable and signifies the concurrent existence of all the four sense-data The physical order of existence, according to the modern science, comprises all existence which can be perceived by means of sense-organs. The physical order does not depend for its existence upon the fact of actually being perceived. Thus the Jain views broadly agree with the modern science insofar as the general definition of the physical existence is concerned.

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

Share this page on:
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Arupi
  2. Jain Philosophy
  3. Pudgala
  4. Science
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 1260 times.
© 1997-2023 HereNow4U, Version 4.52
Contact us
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: