JAINISM – THE CREED FOR ALL TIMES
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(Moods and modes)
Reality : Permanence And Transience –
The Jaina concept of reality is three–fold. It is endowed with the attributes of production (Utpāda), destruction (Vyaya) and permanence (Dhrauvya). It is evident that due to constant production and destruction the reality or sat or the universal entity is changing all the time. What changes is called mode (Paryāya) and what does not (the permanent aspect) is called matter (Dravya). This chapter dwells on the constantly changing nature of the universe and, with suitable examples, brings the lesson home that all that changes is transitory and not worth getting attached to. One must rise above the transient and dwell upon the permanent.
Constantly Changing Moods And Modes –
Change is the law of nature. It is natural for everything or being to change. Nothing remains the same as the time passes. The living beings are born, they get old, they suffer from diseases, they die, and they are reborn either in the same species or in some others. This is their change of modes or Paryāya Parivartana. The living beings, especially the intelligent ones, also undergo changes in their thoughts, their psyches, their volitional dispositions and their moods. The things are created they wearout, they are broken, they are destroyed, they disappear and they reappear in some other forms. Nothing, living or lifeless remains the same. Everything or being is in a state of flux. The things change their modes; the living beings change their modes as well as their moods.
If we have a careful look at things and beings around us, we cannot be oblivious to this process of change. We see that in the nature the seasons change, the weather changes, the days and nights change, the landscape changes, the trees and plants change, a small seed becomes a sapling and grows to become a big Banyan tree. The trees grow, shed leaves that grow again, it ages, falls and is reduced to fire–wood or dust.
The child is born, grows to be a young man, and becomes a father himself. He grows old and dies. But is it the end of life? No, the person dies but the life goes on. He is reborn in another life to go through the same cycle of birth and death. How long? As long as the karmic bondage holds him to this worldly existence and he is forced by all–powerful karma to transmigrate in this world. He can liberate only after he has irresidually shed the karmic burden and freed himself to become a Siddha. But this is also not an end to the eternal process of change.
Changing Modes of The Living and The Non–living –
We must understand the process of change within the inherent permanence of everything that exists. As we have already seen, the universe is comprised of the living beings and the non–living things.
The Living Changes –
We must understand as to how the living souls change their modes and in what way they remain permanent. Jainism believes in rebirth after death. As long as a soul is in its worldly existence it is reborn after the death in a particular life. A worldly soul is always embodied, that is it always has a gross material body, which is born, which grows old, which falls ill, and which dies. We must understand that all these changes are in respect of the body. Though the soul experiences the pleasures and pains through the body, it is embodied in, and undergoes consequent changes in moods; the sentient matter that the soul is does not change. It passes from one body to the other with every death and rebirth of its bodies. The soul is permanent. The bodies are its modes that change all the time, the sentient soul–matter does not. The bodies are born (production or utpāda), the bodies become diseased, they decay and they perish (destruction or vyaya), the souls remain eternally permanent (permanence or dhrauvya). The changes in the modes in the form of visible changes in the bodies and even the change of bodies on death and rebirth are easy enough to understand. Subtler are the changes in moods of the living beings and they take some understanding to follow. As we have mentioned earlier, the bodies are only means to generate experiences for the souls. The soul experiences pleasures or pains according to the fruition of the auspicious or inauspicious karma–matter associated with it owing to its past actions. The pleasurable and painful experiences generate corresponding feelings in the souls and they undergo suitable changes in moods. Though the change is not observable every time a change of mood takes place, it can be felt by the soul all the same. The mood–changes are also continuous and happen all the time. Even the liberated souls undergo changes of moods in the form of what they perceive from time to time (Jñānapariṇaman) as well as what they see from time to time (Darśana Pariṇaman).
The Non–living Changes –
We must also understand as to how the non–living matter undergoes constant change and even then maintains its permanence. Let us take the example of an earthen brick. The brick maker takes the earth and processes into a brick. Someonebuys it and constructs a house from it. With passage of time the house falls to the ground and the brick crumbles back to become earth. In these instances the basic matter is earth. It has undergone the following changes of modes: –
1. From earth to brick,
2. From brick to house,
3. From house to rubble, and
4. From rubble to dust or earth again.
All these are changes of mode. The basic matter was earth, which was in the dust mode earlier and had been cast into a brick. The dust mode was destroyed, the brick mode was created but the basic matter – earth – remained the same in both these modes. Again, the brick mode gave way to house mode with the brick mode having been destroyed and the house mode coming into being. When the house falls to become rubble and when it is once again converted into dust the similar changes in modes take place. As far as the earth is concerned it was there in the dust mode, it was there in the brick mode, it was there in the house mode, it was there in the rubble mode and it is still there in the reconverted dust mode and it will remain the same in any other changes of modes that might be there in the future. The modes or the shapes of the basic matter – earth – have undergone the change, they have been created and destroyed but the earth maintained its permanence. That is the way of the reality – production, destruction and permanence.
Changes In Six Substances –
We have described the changes in the living matter and the tangible non–living matter or pudgala. The other four substances are – medium of transition or ether, medium of position or anti–ether, space and time. They also undergo change of modes constantly and remain constant as well. Let us see how?
Medium of Motion (Dharmāstikāya) –
This inanimate matter that fills the universal space supports motion of the souls as well as the tangible matter, which are also in states of constant flux. As anything transits through it, the arrangement of the medium in which it does so also undergoes a change. Thus every change in the modes of the souls and the tangible matter is also accompanied by a corresponding change in the mode of the medium – ether. However, in spite of this change of modes, the basic matter – ether remains constant. Change of modes is a result of destruction of one mode and the creation of the other and both these happen to the matter that is constant in the two situations.
Medium of Position (Adharmāstikāya) –
Having understood the change and constancy of the medium of transition, it would not be difficult to understand the changes that take place in the modes of the medium of position as anything or being changes its position in it.
Space (Ākāśāstikāya) –
The function of space is to accommodate all other universal substances. As anything or being undergoes any change (which they do all the time), their spatial form also undergoes a change and hence the spatial arrangement of the space in which they accommodate themselves also changes. This is the change of mode for the space. However, the space–matter remains constant and unchanged.
Time (Kāla) –
We have dealt with the changes in time and the changes wrought by it in other things and beings in the last chapter and it needs no further elaboration here.
Bhāva or the modes and moods of things and beings are changing all the time. They are continuously being destroyed and recreated and, in spite of all this change the basic substances are maintaining their inherent integrity – their permanence. This is, of course, in keeping with the true nature of reality, which is endowed with the qualities of production, destruction and permanence. If we understand this, we understand reality.
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