The Universe is the only reality. The word "reality"
has many meanings, but as meant here that which is real is called
substance (Dravya). The universe is a universe of substance; and by
universe we mean every thing and being that there is, visible or
invisible, tangible or intangible, sentient or insentient.
If the universe is regarded as one whole, in the past,
present and future then there is but one example of it, there is no other
reality. That which is other than real is not real, but is false or
fanciful, and impossible of existence except as a false idea.
The following paragraph is of interest only to the
Now, as the universe is all that is, it becomes
necessary to understand what is meant by nothing or all that is not. Given
a universe of real substance, the absolute non-existence of any part of
it, large or small, is impossible, as is the absolute non-existence of the
whole of it, to leave an empty nothing. Outside away beyond all the
worlds, heavens, hells, or other abode of living beings, there is empty
space, but space is real and something. Empty nothing is a false idea or
ignorance of what is. Nothing is not real when it means absence of all
reality. Regarding the universe as one whole, we must include ourselves in
it. In thinking of ourselves we exclude the remainder; and in the
remainder we ourselves are excluded. Thus, immediately, the universe,
regarded as one whole, consists of two mutually exclusive parts, -
oneself, and the rest. Directly we get two mutually exclusive things,
there is non-existence of one in the other beyond it! Knowledge is final
ground, and no one can know or truly feel, believe or maintain that the
rest of the universe is himself, or that he is the rest of the universe.
He knows and can truly believe and maintain that he is related to the rest
of the universe, also that the rest is related to him. Thus, to think of
one's own non-existence is simply to think of the part of the universe
which lies beyond oneself; there, non-existence of oneself is to be found,
while he himself exists where he is. Hence non-existence of oneself is a
false idea if it is thought to mean absolute non-existence anywhere,
complete annihilation or ceasing to be. So, in a universe of inter-related
but mutually exclusive units, regarded as one whole, (though not as one
individual whole), while it is universe of everything that is (itself), it
is also a universe of everything that is not (something else). The
universe is always the one universe with its same contents of mutually
exclusive units. Thus the words `existence' and `non-existence' of the
universe produce in the mind the self-same mental picture of the actual
positive omnipresent universe. "Hegel's Logic" is said to show that
existence and non-existence are the same if the universe is regarded as
one whole. The idea which prevents us from conceiving this is the fixed
false idea that non-existence of the universe means absolute non-existence
or empty nothing.
KINDS OF SUBSTANCE
The universe is one reality but it is not one
homogeneous substance. In that part of the universe which is not ourselves
we find insentient matter as well as other beings sentient like ourselves;
also space, time and something to account for movement and for
As religious doctrine concerns only living beings, we
may make the simple division of the universe into: Substance (Dravya):-
1) Alive (Jiva), 2) Not alive (Ajiva)
Substance not alive may for the moment be left without
SUBSTANCE - JIVA (ALIVE)
The particular substance in organized beings which
makes them alive, in the sense of having feeling, awareness, and
self-conscious activity is not generally acknowledged by science to exist,
and some proof of its existence is, therefore, necessary.
All proof starts from some known fact which does not
itself need to be proved. The fact upon which the proof of the existence
of conscious substance is built is the fact that motion of matter (pudgala)
is not consciousness, whether the motion is in the shape of nerve tremor
or in the shape of brain molecules vibrating. Consciousness is different
in kind and not only in degree from vibration of matter or any other
activity of matter.
If this fact is not known it can be learned by
comparing in thought an example of consciousness with an example of
movement of physical mater. Take, for instance, the consciousness of the
swinging of a pendulum, as an example of awareness; and the swinging of
the pendulum as an example of physical matter. If these two example are
compared in thought it will be seen or learned that the one is a different
kind of fact from the other. Or, if we had sufficient insight to see the
molecules in the brain vibrating as they are said to be, the perception
would be a different kind of event from the vibration of the molecules.
The vibration is one kind of kind of activity. The swinging and the
vibrating are the behavior of the pendulum and of the molecules
respectively; our consciousness or knowledge of these events is not in the
pendulum or in the molecules.
Consciousness is a quality. Qualities do not exist
apart from substance. Thus some substance different from the matter which
moves is proved to exist. This conscious substance, which also feels, and
is self-active, is invisible and intangible; but the signs of its
existence are seen in others, and each being experiences his own feeling,
consciousness, and self-activity.
Visibility, tangibility, and movement; self-activity,
feeling, and consciousness are found or are conceivable in men, animals,
cells, devils, and angels, all of which are living beings. Here are two
different sets of qualities :
Visibility, tangibility, movement;
Self-activity, feeling, consciousness.
The last set is never manifested by pure physical
matter; the first set is manifested by physical matter. These livings
beings are thus provided to be compounds of two different kinds of
substance namely, soul and body.
The body is only temporarily a unit, being a vast
multitude of cells which come and go; while the soul is one homogeneous
irresolvable substance not composed of separable factors; its qualities (guna)
do not come and go; it is also permanently itself, never becoming or
merging into another soul. Each set of feeling, self-activity, and
consciousness with all their changing modifications (paryaya) forms
a separate, different, individual soul from every other changing set.
These qualities (guna) are an irresolvable complexity; they (guna)
never part company, become scattered, or float away from or change their
point of attachment; though in their modifications (paryaya) they
are ceaselessly changing.