abhva

Abhva is the element that has a name, form and function and is born when bala or power interacts with abhu.

Abhva is something which can be seen. It is the observed universe which is constantly changing and hence it is destructible. It is bound by time and space. To illustrate, a car, a house, a farm, a mountain, a river or any object or person one can see is abhva—it is observable, it has a name, form and purpose, it is located somewhere and exists within a time-frame. In other words, it is not eternal.

Any object that exists have a form; and if there is a form, there ought to be a name and role, purpose or function of that object. While name, role and functions of an object can change, they never cease to exist, because they are based on amruta or abhu. To illustrate, take the simple example of a shirt. It is made of cotton which comes from cotton plants, which grows in soil. The shirt may become tattered over the period, torn and discarded. Thus there could be a change in the name, form and purpose. Even when the tattered cloth becomes decomposed and becomes soil, it only undergoes another round of change in name, form and purpose.

This process can be understood by anyone. When we look at an object, we have to realise that it is nothing but rasa and the outcome of its interaction with different balas upon it. The objects appear to be different because of the variations in the bala acting on the rasa.

While term abhva is synonymous with bala, karma, prakriti, maya and asatya, it also conveys a sense of awe and dread. The awe is evoked because it is something which comes into existence from a non-existent state. But, on the other hand, since it also separates and creates distortions in an ``unbroken, harmonious and homogenous phenomenon,1`` it creates a sense of dread. Abhva is also called yaksha which stands for something terrible.

References to abhva can be found in the Rigveda, Yajurveda and the brahmanas. Pandit Madhusudan Ojha has explained this term in Samshayataduchchhedavad and Brahmavinaya.