Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Matter, Essence and Modes: CONSERVATION OF MASS

Here I am going to put some facts of the Universe. It is explained by our Tirthankars (Ford-makers or Enlightened Masters). I love physics and astronomy and I found the Jain philosophy very close to physics… In fact, we should say that physics is rather close to the Jain Philosophy!

Lord Parshva, the earliest Jain leader whose historicity has been accepted

The last two Tirthankars Lord Parshva (877-777 B.C.E.) and Lord Mahavira (599-527 B.C.E.) were very close to us and we have their teaching recorded in the scriptures. People all around the world will have some basic knowledge of physics. We know that everything what we can see, smell is made of particles or atoms. Atoms get together and create some state of matter (i.e. liquid, gas, plasma or solid). Everything is made of particles. A table, a chair, water, a star, or a galaxy everything is made of particles. Now according to Jainism, the Universe is made of six Dravyas or substances. They are Soul, Pudagal, Medium of motion, Medium of rest, Space and Time. All these six are eternal. Nobody has created them and nobody can destroy them. Bhagwan Mahavir said that all these six Dravyas are eternal. The second Drayva Pudagal means atoms and molecules. “Pud” means “to accumulate” and “gal” means “to depart”. Atoms are getting together and depart. This process is eternal. By getting together they form some state of matter like liquid, solid, gas etc. Our sun is a giant ball of plasma, our earth is solid, the water is liquid etc. But they don’t last forever. Their present state will change and some new form will emerge. We are the first Drayva, the soul.

new stars are taking their shape from an emission nebula

Like sub-atomic particles, our soul is also eternal. Our soul also goes through the process of change. It gains various bodies according to its Karma. But such soul can be liberated and can be free from the cycle of birth and death.

Lord Mahavir has said that, “everything emerges, everything vanishes but their essence is unchangeable. For example, many particles accumulate and form a cloud in the sky. You will see a cloud but after sometime it will disappear. The particles will disintegrate. Infinite particles create a star (or sun) and after billions of years due to the chain-process the star will lose its previous form and will gain a new form (a planetary nebula). But the total amount of the particles will remain the same hence their total density is constant. That is called dravya (substance or matter), guna (essence) and paryaya (modification). The total amount of the particles remains constant.

We all in this world focus directly on paryaya (form or mode). We take paryaya different from dravya but actually both are same. We are soul and we possess a physical body which is ultimately made of particles and thus it is Pudagal. We take this body as our self but in fact, our real self is consciousness, the soul. So whenever we face death we become unhappy because our focus is on the body (paryaya). Whenever we experience paryaya (change of form) we become either happy or unhappy.

A person will like a thing made of gold and will value it more than a stone. If someone steals gold from him then he would be unhappy but if someone steals a stone then he won’t be unhappy that much. In fact both the gold and a stone are made of same particles (electron, proton and neutron)!

The sole cause behind everyone’s happiness or sorrow is paryaya (form). If we change our vision and take paryaya and dravya to be same then all the problems can be solved and we can attain the state of perfect equanimity. All the Tirthankars and other Shramanas gained Omniscience or Perfect Knowledge by practicing the highest equanimity. They take their helper and enemy to be same. They take a bacteria and an elephant the same because they directly focus on their essence, the soul or the conscious energy. We should not feel happy on good occasions and sad on bad occasions because now we know that whatever happens is the change of state but the essence remains the same. Thus we can attain Samyak Darshan (Right Vision) and Samyak Darshan is the root of Omniscience (Kewal Gyaan) and thus the final liberation.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Whatever happens with us is due to our own karma (good or bad deeds). It is like action-reaction and we have to pay for whatever we have done. They don’t give instant result but it takes time to give results.

There is an inspiring story of Rukmani. She was a queen and wife of Shri Krishna. According to Jain accounts, Shri Krishna was a cousin of Lord Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankar (Ford-Builder). Lord Neminath was younger than Shri Krishna. By seeing the animals which were to be slaughtered for his marriage, Prince Nemikumar had developed great compassion and after releasing those innocent animals he announced his decision for renunciation.

Meditating on mount Girnar for 54 days, he attained Omniscience and became the 22nd Tirthankar of the present era. He gave his first sermon in the magnetic voice by sitting on Samavasaran (A Divine Preaching Pavilion created by the Heavenly Beings). Thousands of people were present there including Vasudev Shri Krishna and his wife queen Rukmani. By seeing the great power of Omniscience, the absolute knowledge that allows one to see everything in the entire Universe, Queen Rukmani could not stop herself to ask her problem to Lord Neminath. Her son was kidnapped by the time of birth and returned to her after 16 years.

She asked Lord Neminath, “Oh Lord! What mistake I have done in my previous lives so I had to suffer 16 long years without my son?”

Lord Neminath said, “Oh queen! We are the only cause behind our misery and happiness. In your one of the previous lives, you were married to a rich family. Few days after your marriage you went into the jungles with your friends to enjoy the beauty of nature. You all were happy, some one was singing, some one was dancing.”

“After some while you all waited to rest. Just beside the place where you were staying was a nest of a peahen and there were two eggs. By hearing your voice the peahen became threatened and immediately left the nest. You approached the nest and just in fun you carried those eggs in your hands. Your palms were painted with color called mahedi (in India, in many occasions girls and women pain her palms with color). And because of that, those eggs became colorful. You put them back but didn’t notice that the eggs are now colorful.”

“After a short while the peahen returned back to her nest when you left that place. She could not identify her eggs as they were now looking ruddy. The peahen became sad and started to look around for her eggs. The peahen started crying and tears began to flow from her eyes.”

“After sometime the sky became dense of dark clouds and the rain started. The color from the eggs was now removed by the rain and the peahen immediately identifies her eggs. She began dancing in joy and started to hatch her eggs again but because of your mistake, oh queen, the peahen didn’t hatch her eggs for 16 ghadis (1 ghadi =24 minutes). So that’s why, in this birth you suffered without your son for 16 years.”

By hearing this, the queen became shocked and thought, the mistake was 16 ghadis and the punishment is 16 years?

By reading her mind, Lord Neminath said, “yes!”

All the people present there learned about the law of causation and took various vows to get rid of the endless cycle of birth and death.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


There once lived a traveler. He got lost and no one could give him exact direction where to go. He got lost in the dense jungle. Four robbers chased him but the traveler could escape easily by lurking in the dense forest. In the forest an elephant chased him. To save himself from the elephant the traveler jumped down into a well. He grabbed a branch of a tree which was just beside the well. Below him, in the well, were an alligator and four snakes. Up, he saw two rats, one black and the other white. They were chewing the branch on which the traveler was hanging.

Then, at the same time few honey drops from beehive fell in his mouth. The elephant that chased the man approached there and began to shake the branch violently. Now, as the tree was shaking, a few bees stung the poor traveler but as he licked the honey, he would forget his problems (the snake and alligator, the elephant and the rats and the bees).

Now, at that time an angel couple was flying by. By seeing the miserable position of the traveler, angel offered him help. The traveler, now absorbed in taking taste of the honey drops asked the couple to wait for a second until he tasted the next drop of honey, so they waited. Then angel asked him again and the traveler said for wait for few seconds and this went on. The couple got tired of waiting and eventually they left. Few minutes later the mice cut down the branch and the traveler fell inside the well and ultimately died.

1. The story is symbolic for the troubles of any living being.

2. The traveler represents a worldly soul.

3. The elephant is death, something everyone must face.

4. The four snakes and alligator represent the four passions (anger, deceit, greed and pride) and rebirth respectively.

5. The branch cut by the two rats represents the life-span of a living being which is continuously being reduced by the day and night. The white rat represent day and the black rat represent night.

6. The bees represent daily problems.

7. The honey represents sensual pleasures in which all living beings are absorbed.

8. The celestial couple who offered the traveler a shelter represents True Religion.

Thus, enlightened beings have given the above simple example to describe the real nature of mundane world. We would realize that how unsafe it is to be absorbed in the sensual pleasures instead of indulging in our real self. One can get rid of the cycle of birth-death and rebirth only by realizing his/her real self and by destroying all karmas by performing external and internal austerities.