The Four Abhavas
life-story of Swami Samant Bhadra, who always remained away from worldly
fame is practically unknown. It has been a characteristic of the Jain
acharyas that though they wrote splendid works, they did not write
anything about their own lives. Whatever small is available is not
He was a
prince of the Kadamb dynasty of kings. He was named Shanti Verma in his
childhood. He was born in Uragpur town on the bank of the river Kaveri in
the Deccan. He was alive till Vikram Samvat 138.
known about his family life. He was initiated into the order of Digamber
Jain sainthood at an early age. Then he passed through hard penance and
obtained a very deep knowledge of God and soul. Besides being a great
scholar of Jain philosophy, he was an incomparable master of logic,
grammar, prosody, poetry and lexicography. He was, possessed of an
uncommon power of exposition of the holy texts. He shattered the pride of
perverted orators of religious thought. He writes- " I roam about like a
lion for exposition of the religious truth".
acharyas have remembered him with great respect. He is known as the first
writer of verses of adoration. He has given strength to lyric poetry. His
verses of adoration are full of great logic. Vadibhsingh Suri, Veervandi
Acharya and Acharya Shubhchandra have showered praises on him and compared
him with the sun in dispelling the darkness of ignorance.
lesson has been written on the basis of the ninth, tenth and eleventh
verses of Aptamimansa.
Samant Bhadra : The nature of substance is multifacedness. Just as
existence is the nature of the substance from the point of view of the
self, Abhav (absence - non existence) is also in the nature of the
substance from the point of view of the non-self.
: What is an Abhav ? How many are they ?
Samant Bhadra : Non-existence of one substance into the other
substance is called absence (Abhava). There are four kinds of
absence (i) Praagabhava, (ii) Pradhvansabhava, (iii)
Anyonyabhava, (iv) Atyantabhava.
: Kindly explain the.four Abhavas briefly.
Samant Bhadra : The absence (non-existence) of the present
modification in the former (past) modification (of a substance) is called
Praagabhava. The absence (non-existence of the present modification
in the posterior (future) modification (of a substance) is called
Pradhvansabhava. For example the former modification of curd was milk,
wherein curd was absent. This absence is Praagabhava. Curd-water is
the future modification of curd, in which the present modification of curd
is non-existent. This absence is called Pradhvansabhava.
: Sir, you have explained this with the help of the example of milk
and curd. Kindly explain it with reference to the soul.
Samant Bhadra : The non-existence of the modification of an introvert
in the former modification of an extrovert is Praagabhava and
absence of the same in the future modification of Godhood is
: What is Anyonyabhava ?
Samant Bhadra : The absence (non-existence) of the present
modification of one particular matter substance into the present
modification of any other matter substance is called Anyonyabhava,
e.g. the present bitter taste of lemon is not present in the present
sweetness of sugar.
: Please explain this also in the context of the soul.
Samant Bhadra : This does not apply to soul. You have not read the
definition carefully and so you put such a. question. It is clear in the
definition that the absence of the present modification of one matter
substance with the present modification of any other matter substance is
Anyonyabhava. This applies to matter substance only and that too in
their present modifications.
: What is Atyantabhava ?
Samant Bhadra : The absence (non-existence) of one substance (entity)
into the other substance is called Atyantabhave, e.g. the soul and
matter substances have Atyantabhava in each other.
that Atyantabhava applies to two of the six substances.
Anyonyabhava applies to the present modifications of two matter
substances. Praagabhava applies to the present and the past
modifications of one of the six substances and Pradhvansabhava
applies to the present and the future modifications of the six substances.
Atyantabhava alone applies to a substance, the rest of the
Abhavas apply to the modifications of substances.
can say that Praagabbava is that by virtue of whose absence
activity or behaviour definitely follows. Pradhvansabhava is that
by virtue of whose existence a particular activity is definitely
of the present modification of one matter into the present modification of
any other matter is Anyonyabhava and the absence in the context of
all the three divisions of time is Atyantabhava.
:What wrong will follow if we do not accept these four Abhavas
If we do not recognise Praagabhava all modifications of the
activities will have to be accepted since beginningless times.
2. If we do
not recognise Pradhvansabhava, all modification will remain up to
3. If we do
not accept Anyonyabhava, all the modification of all the matter
substances will be merged into one, that is, the will become one and the
4. If we do
not accept Atyantabhava, all the substances will abandon their
natural attributes; the differences in the substances will be annihilated
and all the substances will be one.
5. It is
hoped that you have understood the four Abhavas.
: Yes Sir, I have followed them.
Samant Bhadra : What Abhava exists in the body and the soul?
Samant Bhadra : Why?
: For one is matter substance, while the other is soul
substance and the absence between two substances is called Atyantabhava.
Samant Bhadra : What Abhava exists in the book and the jar?
: Anyonyabhava, because the book and the jar both are the
present modifications of matter substance.
Samant Bhadra : "The soul is from beginningless times omniscient".
: Praagabhava, for omniscience is the modification of the
attribute of consciousness and as such modifications of sensory knowledge
and others do not have its existence.
Samant Bhadra : What Abhava has not been accepted by those who
believe that the present attachment will trouble one throughout life ?
: Pradhvansabhava, because the present modifications of
attachment are non-existent in the future modifications of the attribute
of conduct. As such the present attachment cannot be in instrumental to
future happiness or unhappiness.
: What are the benefits of understanding these four Abhavas ?
Samant Bhadra : If one who has been indulging in sinful wrong
faith and other demerits, makes effort, can destroy these and develop the
religious states of correct faith and other merits, because the present
modification does not exist in the past modifications. The inferiority
complexes like those that lead to regarding oneself as a sinner and not
having the capacity to adopt religious style of life are removed by
understanding Praagabhava In the same way by understanding
Phadhvansabhava, one can achieve glorious modifications in future,
however mean and low the present conditions may be, because the future
modifications have absence of the present modification. This way, one is
encouraged to become soul-minded even in the present ignoble states,
disregarding all inferiorities.
: Kindly let us know the benefits of Anyonyabhava and
Samant Bbadra : Because there is Atyantbhava in different
substances, one substance cannot change or create or destroy the other
ones. By such understanding our eternal fear that somebody can do us any
harm is removed. Looking to others for our own welfare and knowing that
others will do us some good are also washed off. Anyonyabhava
creates a feeling of independence in us, for when one modification of
matter substance is quite different from and independent of the same of
other substance, the same are quite so from our soul.
understanding these four Abhavas, feelings of independence grow,
hopes that others can help or harm us are dashed to pieces, fear is
totally annihilated and the feelings of loneliness and inferiority in the
face of weaknesses of the past and the present and the consequent
impurities are done away with and spiritually minded persons become
introvert and proceed on the path of complete liberation. I hope you have
understood the benefits arising out of the knowledge, of these Abhavas.
: Yes Sir, I have followed them perfectly well.
Samant Bhadra : Then tell me what mistake one commits, if one believes
that if our bodies are strong our voice is also strong.
: He does not know the nature of Anyonyabhava, because the
strength and fatness of the body are due to the Ahar Vargnas (Karmic
matter) and the force of the voice is the work of speech karmic
matter. This way there is Anyonyabhava in the fatness of the body
Samant Bhadra : "Omniscience emerges after the destruction of
consciousness covering karma (Gyanavarni karma)." What is wrong in
believing like this ?
: Person with such a belief does not know Atyantabhava, for
there is this Abhava in Gyanavarni karma and the soul. More
so, how can one substance effect any modification in the other one ?
Samant Bhadra : Religious texts declare like that from untrue
conventional aspect to give us knowledge of the indifferent instrumental
causes present at the time of the birth of the new modifications, but from
the real point of view, one substance cannot create, change or destroy the
nature of things is multifaced. One modification is not the nature of the
whole substance. Abhava is also in the nature of the things. The
scheme of things will fail without accepting it. It is, therefore,
necessary to understand the nature of all the four Abhavas, to do
away with all the delusions, attachments and aversions and remain very
alert in this attempt.
By Dr. H. C. Bharill
Here, 1 put an example. It we want to get our stomach operated,
would we get it done by any body without knowing the details of the
operator and the operations ? No, we try to gather complete
information about the doctor. The doctor too, does not get
ready, easily to do the work in which he is not an expert.
The question of operating apart, even if we want to get a shirt
stitched, we try to search an expert tailor and the tailor,
too, if does not know the stitching of a shirt, might refuse to
stitch it. But the scope of religion is made so wide open that
anybody, without understanding and knowing the truth or
reality, gets ready to preach and he also finds listeners.
Ke Dashlakshana, Page 120 Dr. Hukamchand Bharill