In Jain cosmology, the universe is made up of six dravya (i.e. substances) one of which is dharma (i.e. Principle of Motion). To quote Wikipedia:

Dharma means the principles of Motion that pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by themselves not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharma motion is not possible. The medium of motion helps matter and the sentient that are prone to motion to move, like water (helps) fish. However, it does not set in motion those that do not move.

Is there a word in English which denotes the same concept of “medium in which motion is possible” or the similar concept of “can move through”? I think I knew such a word but for the life of me I can't remember it right now. Perhaps I'm just projecting my Jain knowledge as English knowledge?

Perhaps an example would be helpful. Consider the following wrong sentence:

Light can move through water. Hence water conducts light.

Here the word “conducts” is not the right word to use. However, I hope this sentence explains the kind of word that I'm looking for.

  • I think you're talking about the laws of physics, sort of. This starts with Newton's laws, continues with about a dozen other physicists.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 11:54
  • Maybe you are thinking of something to do with the Aether (or Ether), a concept in medieval Western science? (ether [physics, archaic]: a very rarefied and highly elastic substance formerly believed to permeate all space, including the interstices between the particles of matter, and to be the medium whose vibrations constituted light and other electromagnetic radiation.) Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


Maybe permeable , although this does not seem to quite fit your example sentence:

Light can move through water. Hence water is permeable to light.

Or, maybe, permits:

Light can move through water. Hence water permits light.

  • 1
    Or try the verb channel - water channels light.
    – Davo
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 13:49
  • @Davo - that is possibly a better word, Davo, although I think there might be some subtlety of meaning of 'Dharmastikāya' which I am missing (like the water 'helps' fish, rather than just allowing them to swim)
    – Lee Leon
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 14:07

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