Six Substances (Shad- Dravya):


Albert Einstein presented the theory of relativity when he was only 26 years old (in 1905). Ten years later, he presented the general theory of relativity. He is considered as one of the most influential scientists of all time. His theory of relativity revolutionized the science. That theory deals with the fundamental ideas such as time, space, mass, motion and gravitation. He spent the last 25 years of his life trying to develop a complete unified field theory that includes electromagnetic forces. He was not successful. Many scientists are still trying to fulfill Einstein’s dream of developing a complete unified field theory.


According to Jain philosophy the main factor of the universe is Dravya (substance), which is broadly divided into  two categories of Jiva (living) and Ajiva (non-living).. We believe that a substance has infinite qualities. Everything in this universe is either Jiva or Ajiva or a result of these two. Ajiva (non-living) is of five types; 1) matters & energy (pudgalästikäy), 2) medium of motion (dharmästikäy), 3) medium of rest (adharmästikäy), 4) space (äkäshästikäy) and 5) time (käl). Thus, we have six basic substances (Dravyas). The universe is made of these six substances.  All these  substances are indestructible, imperishable, immortal, eternal and continuously undergo transformation. If we compare these substances with Einstein’s fundamental ideas, it would be seen that his five elements; time, mass, space, motion and gravitation are the same as five Ajiva substances of Jainism. Time is käl, space is äkasha, mass is pudgal and motion is dharma and aDharma (no motion). Gravitational force is also a derivative of pudgal. We also consider electromagnetic force as a derivative of pudgal. We can therefore state that Jain approach is identical to the fundamental ideas of unified field theory. But we recognize one more substance. That is consciousness (Jiva).


1.      AKÄSHÄSTIKÄYA (SPACE): Akäsha (space) provides the space for other substances. Akäsha does not act as an obstruction. There are two types of akäshas; a) Lokakäsha and b) ALokäkäsh. Alokakäsha is beyond the Lokakäsha and is empty, it has no other substance. ALokäkäsh is perceptible only to the  omniscient. There are three types of Lokakäsha; a) Urdhwa Lok, where beings of higher qualities than us live (Siddha Lok where liberated souls stay is at the top of Urdhwalok), b) Madhya Lok - where human beings and other creatures live, and c) Adho Lok, where the inmates of hell live (it has seven layers).


2.      PUDGALÄSTIKÄY (MATTER & ENERGY): Pud + Gal = Joining + Breaking. Pudgals are matters and associated energy. They are constituted of atoms (Parmanu - finer than the current definition of atom). They are too fine to be perceived by us. When combined together to form large size, they can be experienced by the senses (eye, nose, ear, touch and hearing) and have sensory qualities. Karmic matters are also pudgals. Body, bones, flesh, mental organs, speech, etc. are also pudgals.  There are infinite pudgals in Lokakäsh.


Pudgal  possesses at all times four qualities, namely, color (varna),  taste (rasa),  smell (gandha), and  certain kind of palpability (sparsha, touch). These qualities  vary from time to time, for instance, a red color being replaced by blue, or a sweet taste by bitter - but an atom will never be found without these qualities or without certain mode of each of them. Pudgal, however, never possesses consciousness or awareness. 


There are four types of Pudgal (matter):1)  Skandha (whole-mass): Any object which has a mass of matter can be called skandha.  ex. stick, stone, knife, a particle of sand, 2) Skandha-desa (portion of mass):   Desa means a part, portion, or division. When a part of the skandha (skandha-desa) is separated from the whole, it also  becomes another skandha.  A hand of a statue when undetached is known as a skandha-desa but when separated from the statue is known as Skandha.  3) Skandha-pradesa (smallest particle of Skandha): The smallest undetached portion of skandha is called skandha-pradesa.   4) Paramanu  (atom):  When the smallest portion of the matter is separated from its skandha, it is called paramanu.  Parmanu  cannot be further sub-divided, cut, or pierced.


Karmic Matter (Karma Pudgala): Karma is one of the categories of matter (pudgala). Karma particles are of the finest matter, not perceptible to the senses.  The entire universe is filled with such karmic matter.


Every soul (living being) is associated with karmic matter since  the time without  beginning.  It is the karmic matter that keeps the soul away from realizing its true nature.


3.      DHARMÄSTiKÄY (MEDIUM OF MOTION):  Dharma is a substance that enables pudgal and Jiva to move. But, Dharma does not make them move. If we take the analogy of fish in water,  the water is the Dharma, it enables the fish to swim. But the fish has to make an effort to move.  Dharma is formless, inactive and eternal. Pudgal and soul (Jiva) cannot realize their potential in absence of Dharma. There is one indivisible Dharma in lokakäsh and is termed as Dharmästikäy.


4.      ADHARMÄSTIKÄY (MEDIUM OF REST): ADharma enables pudgal and Jiva to rest, but it does not make them rest. Shadow of a tree can provide the place for rest. But the shadow does not make any one to rest. Role of ADharma is exactly opposite of the Dharma. But like Dharma, it is also formless, inactive and eternal. There is one indivisible ADharma in Lokakäsh. It is termed as Adharmästikäy. Its presence is instrumental to pudgal and soul to stay steady.


5.      KÄL (TIME): From realistic point of view, it means continuity. As Dharma  and ADharma are instrumental for motion and rest, Käl is instrumental to other substances to undergo changes. The changes in living being and non-living substances are measured in the units of time, but time is not the  cause of the changes.


From ordinary point of views, Käl is time like hours, minutes, etc. The smallest unit of time is called Samaya. Combinations of Samayas are: moment, second, minute, hour, day, month, year, etc.


Indivisible finest time                                     = 1 Samay

Countless Samayas                                      = 1 Ävalikä

16777216  Ävalikäs                                    = 1 Muhurt (48 minutes)

30 Muhurtas                                               = 1 Day and night

15  Days and nights                                      = 1 Fortnight 

2 Fortnights                                                  = 1 Month

12 Months                                                   = 1 Year

Countless years                                            = 1 Palyopam

10 Crores of Crores of Palyopams              =  1 Sägaropam

10 Crores of Crores of Sägaropams            =  l Utsarpini or 1 Avasarpini.

1 Utsarpini + Avasarpini                            =  1 Kälchakra (One time cycle).


6.      JIVÄSTIKÄY (SOUL): According to the ordinary point of view (Vyavahara Naya), Jiva possesses one or more of the five senses (Indriya), Sight, Hearing, Touch, Taste and Smell, three forces (Bal) of thought, speech and action, life (Ayu) and respiration (Anäpan).


From realistic point of view (Nischaya Naya), Jiva is distinguished by its own great quality, consciousness.  Jiva is Ätmä (soul) and has three characteristics; a) consciousness, b) bliss and c) energy. The body, blood, bones, skins, etc. are not the part of the soul (Jiva), They are Ajivas because They do not have consciousness. Anything that does not have consciousness is Ajiva. The consciousness is the central quality of soul. The soul has the capacity to experience unlimited consciousness, unlimited bliss and unlimited energy, and once this state is achieved - the soul is liberated. As we have relationship with many things like food, cloth, employment, money, shelter, companionship, etc., the state of the soul can be transitorily associated with other substances.


There are two type of souls; a) worldly (Sansäri) and b) liberated (kevalis). There are infinite numbers of souls in Lokäkäsh. Worldly souls are not free from the bondage of Karmas, and, therefore, not free from the cycle of birth and death.


There are two types of Sansäri Jivas; a) Sthavara (immobile) and Trasa (mobile). Earth, water, fire, air, water and vegetable beings are Sthavara Jivas, have one sense, sense of touch. Trasa Jivas (mobile living beings) might possess two, three, four or five senses. Worms, oysters, conches, etc. possess two senses: touch and taste. Ants, bugs, lice, etc. possess three senses: touch, taste and smell. Mosquitoes, flies, bees, etc. possess four senses: touch, taste, smell and sight. Human beings, birds, beasts, inmates of hell, etc. possess all five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. Depending upon the amount (quantity), duration and intensity of the bondage of Karma, Jivas assume different types of bodies.


CONSCIOUSNESS: UpaYoga is the resultant of consciousness which, according to realistic point of view (Nischaya Naya), is the sole characteristic of Jiva.  UpaYoga may be said to be an inclination which arises from consciousness.  The inclination is either towards Darshan (perception) or towards Jnän (knowledge).  In Darshan, the details are not perceived. While in Jnän, the details are also known.


There are four type of Darshan: Chaksu, Achaksu, Avadhi and Kewal. In Chaksu Darshan, Jiva perceives through the eye. In Achaksu Darshan, Jiva gets aware by other four organs: ear, nose, tongue or skin and hearing. Jiva can have Avadhi Darshan (psychic knowledge limited by space and time). Jiva can also attain Keval (perfect) Darshan which is not limited by space and time; it is of three worlds, past, present and future.


Jiva is inherently imbibed with infinite Jnän and Darshan, But different types of Karma tend to obscure these Jnän and Darshan.


There are five types of Jnan: 1) Mati Jnan, 2) Shrut Jnan, 3) Avadhi Jnan, 4) Manah-paryaya Jnan and 5) keval Jnan. In addition there are three types of false Jnan which are known as Ajnan: 1) KuMati or Matiajnan, 2) KuShrut or Shrutajnan and 3) Vibhangjnan or Avadhiajnani. They are to be avoided by gaining right perception.


Mati Jnan is knowledge derived through the senses and the activities of the mind.  Shrut Jnan is derived through symbols or signs (e.g., words which are symbols of ideas, gestures,..). Avadhi Jnan is the psychic knowledge which can be directly experienced by accomplished souls without the medium of senses or mind.   Manah-paryaya Jnan is the knowledge of the ideas and thoughts of others (mind reading is one example of this kind of knowledge).   Keval Jnan is omniscience or knowledge unlimited as to space, time and object. KuMati , KuShrut and Vibhangjnan are opposite to Mati Jnan,  Shrut Jnan and Avadhi Jnan.  It is difficult to understand the real nature of Avadhi Jnan,  Manah-paryaya Jnan and keval Jnan.


Darshan and Jnan are identical in a way.  For proper understanding of the terms we separate  Darshan from Jnan, but in practice there is no such separation. Liberated Jivas have perfect Darshan and  Jnan.


BLISS (HAPPINESS): This is the next important quality of the soul, which can be experienced by self-realization. All the liberated souls experience pure bliss, which is the Swabhäva of soul. When the true nature of soul is blocked by obscuring Karmas, the bliss becomes impure. Such impure bliss is called Vibhäva. Happiness is dependent on the purity of Darshan and Jnan. Based on the intensity, quantity, type and duration of Karma bonded with a soul, the happiness is affected.


ENERGY: Energy (virya) is another important quality of the soul. Exercise of proper Darshan and Jnan depends on the amount of the energy and its use. Energy is the  operation of the knowledge and perception. Impure energy can generate the vibration that attracts new Karmas. Efficient use of the energy can shed the Karmas. Energy can be expressed as the capacity of the soul to give (dana), receive (labha), enjoy (bhoga) and re-enjoy (upbhoga). 


Energy can be directed in eight different directions; a) Bandhana (brings karmic influx), b) Sankraman ( transformation, it alters the type and impact of Karma) c) Udvartana (extends the time and increases the intensity of karmic impact), d) Apavartana (reduces the time and decreases the intensity of karmic impact), e) Udirana (brings the consequences of Karma to premature fruition, f) Upashaman (temporarily prevents Karma from fruition), g) Nidhatti (renders Karmas incapable of all processes except change in fruition time and intensity), and h) Nikachana (renders Karmas incapable of all processes what so ever). The influx and intensity of Karma  depend upon the amount, quality, intensity and duration of the energy used.


Proper use of energy stops the influx of Karma and shreds the bondage of Karma. With the destruction of all Karmas, the soul realizes unlimited consciousness (Darshan & Jnan). Thus, the consciousness is the nature, energy is the operator and happiness is the result.