The cosmos is both static and ever-changing. So it is difficult to express reality in language or in one sentence. To express in language to those who are unenlightened, the Jain seers expounded the Principle of Non-Absolutism. This principle expresses the truth in many ways and the sum of all ways leads to reality. Thus the aspirant grabs the path of purification of his/her soul. But first of all, it is important to learn the picture of the cosmos. The cosmos is made of six substances and all the six are eternal as well as ever changing. Both the eternal and ever changing phases are real. We cannot say that one is real and other is illusory.
Lord Mahavir, the last ford-builder of Jainism (599-527 BCE), shortly after attaining the Absolute Knowledge expounded the philosophy of three phrases to his chief disciple Gautama. These three phrases are known as “Tripadi”. He uttered three words, “Upaneyi Va”, “Vighaneyi Va” and “Dhuvei Va”.
1) Upaneyi Va: EMERGENCE: There emerges a new phase of matter. This is called emergence of new mode.
2) Vighaneyi Va: DISAPPEARANCE: The old mode vanishes. This is called Disappearance of old mode.
3) Dhuveyi Va: PERMANENCE: Original qualities of the matter remain constant.
For example, the essential qualities of matter (pudgal) are, touch, taste, smell, color, odor and energy. Now matter is ultimately made of atomic and subatomic particles. Each subatomic particle has above qualities. Each particle is made of one quality of touch, one quality of color, one quality of taste etc. The one particle combines with other particles and the system of the two subatomic particles is called “Skandha” in the Jain Terminology. This system even cannot be grasped through the senses. Thus the system of innumerable particles becomes “Pradesha”. Such large system can be grasped through the senses. A human body, a stone, a tree, a mountain, a galaxy are the examples of such system and is called matter or pudgal. The particles combine with other particles and depart with them in a course of some time. Now their combination was the emergence of new phase, their partition was disappearance of that phase but their essential qualities still remain the same is called permanence. The qualities are eternal. Even the modern physicists cannot prove the decay of electron. They have not clear answer to the Big Bang theory.
So from above explanation we can see that the substance maintains its essential qualities in all the three times (infinite past, present and infinite future), and still it undergoes changes. Same thing can be thought in rest of five substances (Souls, Motion, Rest, Space and Time). Below are few simple examples to explain the Emergence, Permanence and Disappearance phenomena of a substance.
(1). A bar of gold has its own original qualities. That bar can be converted into a chain. In that case, the shape of the bar is destroyed and a new shape (chain) has been produced. However the qualities of gold remain unchanged. Now if we melt the chain and make a bangle out of it, then we destroy the chain (an old form) and produce a bangle (a new form). Again the inherent qualities of the gold remain unchanged. Therefore, the bar, chain and the bangle are transient forms (Paryaya) while gold is the matter (Dravya) which remains constant...
(2). A living being through the process of growth, undergoes various changes, such as childhood, youth, and old age. These changes are the natural modifications of the living being. Childhood, youth, and old age are transient forms (Paryaya) of a living being. The soul of the living being is permanent substance (Dravya). Similarly, when we die, we will be born in another body. Therefore, the body is also a transient form while our soul is the permanent substance (Dravya).
(3). A soul is a substance (Dravya) that has innumerable qualities such as knowledge (Jnän), bliss (Änanda) and energy (Virya). The knowledge quality, for example, may increase or decrease, but there is never a time when the soul is without knowledge; otherwise it would become, by definition, a non-soul, a lifeless material.
According to the Jainism, the number of substances existing at present, were existing in the past and will continue to exist in future. There cannot be any increase or decrease in that number. All the transformations take place according to their properties and potentialities; and in course of time, one form may get destroyed and cease to exist and another form may emerge. But Dravya remains constant.