Jain philosophy can be described in various ways, but the most acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms of Tattvas or fundamentals. They are:
1. Jiva (soul): All living beings are called Jivas. Jivas have consciousness known as the soul, which is also called the atma (soul - chetan). The soul and body are two different entities. The soul can not be reproduced. It is described as a sort of energy which is indestructible, invisible, and shapeless. Jainism divides jivas into five categories ranging from one-sensed beings to five-sensed beings. The body is merely a home for the soul. At the time of death, the soul leaves the body to occupy a new one. Tirthankaras have said that the soul has an infinite capacity to know and perceive. This capacity of the soul is not experienced in its present state, because of accumulated karmas.
2. Ajiva (non‑living matter): Anything that is not a soul is called ajiva. Ajiva does not have consciousness. Jainism divides ajiva in five broad categories: dharmastikay (medium of motion), adharmastikay (medium of rest), akashastikay (space), pudgalastikay (matter), and kala (time).
3. Punya (results of good deeds): By undertaking these wholesome activities, we acquire punya or good karmas. Such activities are: providing food or other items to the needy people, doing charity work, propagating religion, etc. When punya matures, it brings forth worldly comfort and happiness. Digambar consider "Punya" as part of Asrava.
4. Pap (results of bad deeds): By undertaking bad activities, we acquire pap or bad karmas. Such activities are: being cruel or violent, showing disrespect to parents or teachers, being angry or greedy and showing arrogance or indulging in deceit. When pap matures, it brings forth worldly suffering, misery, and unhappiness. Digambar consider "Pap" as part of Asrava.
5. Asrava (influx of karmas): The influx of karman particles to the soul is known as asrav. It is caused by wrong belief, vowlessness (observing no vows), passions, negligence, and psychophysical activities. Such an influx of karmas is facilitated by mental, verbal, or physical activities.
6. Bandh (bondage of karmas): This refers to the actual binding of karman particles to the soul. Bandh occurs, when we react to any situation with a sense of attachment or aversion.
7. Samvar (stoppage of karmas): This is the process by which the influx of karman particles is stopped. This is achieved by observing samiti (carefulness), gupti (control), ten fold yati‑dharma (monkshood), contemplating the twelve bhavanas (mental reflections), and parishaha (suffering).
8. Nirjara (eradication of karmas): The process by which we shed off karmas is called nirjara. Karmas can be shed off either by passive or active efforts. When we passively wait for karmas to mature and give their results in due time, it is called Akam Nirjara. On the other hand, if we put active efforts for karmas to mature earlier than due time, it is called Sakam Nirjara. Sakam Nirjara can be achieved by performing penance, repentance, asking for forgiveness for the discomfort or injury we might have caused to someone, meditation, etc.
9. Moksha (liberation): When we get rid of all the karmas, we attain liberation or moksha.
Now, let us use a simple analogy to illustrate these Tattvas. There lived a family in a farm house. They were enjoying the fresh cool breeze coming through the open doors and windows. The weather suddenly changed, and a terrible dust storm set in. Realizing it was a bad storm, they got up to close the doors and windows. By the time they could close all the doors and windows, much dust had entered the house. After closing all of the doors and windows, they started cleaning away the dust that had come into the house.
We can interpret this simple illustration in terms of Nav‑Tattvas as follows:
1) Jivas are represented by the people.
2) Ajiva is represented by the house.
3) Punya is represented by worldly enjoyment resulting from the nice cool breeze.
4) Pap is represented by worldly discomfort resulting from the sand storm, which brought dust into the house.
5) Asrava is represented by the influx of dust through the doors and windows of the house which is similar to the influx of karman particles to the soul.
6) Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house, which is similar to bondage of karman particles to the soul.
7) Samvar is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop the dust from coming into the house, which is similar to the stoppage of influx of karman particles to the soul.
8) Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of accumulated dust from the house, which is similar to shedding off accumulated karmic particles from the soul.
9) Moksha is represented by the clean house, which is similar to the shedding of all karmic particles from the soul.
In Jainism, Jiva and soul are more or less described synonymously. When the spiritual or psychic status is described it is referred to as the soul, and when the physical structure is described, it is called Jiva.
The jiva which grows, decays, fluctuates, varies, eats, sleeps, awakes, acts, fears, rests, has knowledge and perception, attempts to self defend, and reproduces. These and many more qualities of the jiva are obvious through a physical body when the soul is present in it but when the soul leaves these qualities cease. These qualities are external features and consciousness (chetan) is the basic inner feature of the soul. This also makes it clear for us that the body and the soul are separate entities.
Since the soul is flexible, it pervades the entire body it occupies. For example, the same soul can occupy the body of an ant or an elephant. Such bodies stay alive as long as there is a soul. A live body, or rather, a body with a soul is described here as a Jiva.
Jivas are categorized in two groups:
Liberated or Siddha Jiva
Non-liberated or Sansari Jiva.
Liberated souls have no karmas and therefore, they are no longer in the cycle of births and deaths. They do not live among us, but reside at the uppermost part of this universe called Siddhashila. They are formless and shapeless, have perfect knowledge and perception, and have infinite vigor and bliss. All Siddhas are equal, and there is no difference in their status.
On the other side, non-liberated (worldly) jivas have karmas, and are continually going through the cycle of birth and death. They experience happiness and pain and have passions, which in turn cause the soul to wander more. Except for the jiva of Arihants, non-liberated jivas have limited knowledge and perception.
Jivas are found on earth, as well as in water, air, and sky, and are scattered all over the universe. Human beings, celestial beings, infernal beings, animals, fish, birds, bugs, insects, plants, etc. are the most common forms of Jiva with which we can easily relate. However, Jain scriptures state that there are 8.4 million species of Jiva in all. They are known by the senses they possess. There are five senses in all, namely touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Different types of Jivas possess one or more of these senses.
Based upon the number of senses and mobility, Jivas are classified into different categories.
Based on mobility, all Jivas are divided into two broad categories:
Non-mobile or Sthävar Jiva - those that can not move on their own and have only one sense.
Mobile or Trasa jiva - those that can move on their own and have two to five senses.
(A) Non-Mobile (Sthavar Jiva, Single Sensed Being, or Ekendriya Jiva):
Jivas having only one sense, the sense of touch are called Ekendriya. They are further divided into the following five sub-categories.
1. Prithwikäya or Earth Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of earth are actually living beings, e.g. clay, sand, metal, coral, etc. They have earthly bodies, hence the name prithwikaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for earth, which is prithwi.
2. Apkäya or Water Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of water are living beings. Examples are dew, fog, iceberg, rain, etc. They have water bodies, hence the name apkäya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for water, which is ap.
3. Teukäya or Fire Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of fires are living beings. Examples are flames, blaze, lightening, forest fire, hot ash, etc. They have fire bodies, hence the name teukaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for fire, which is tejas.
4. Väyukäya or Air Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of air are actually living beings. Examples are wind, whirlwinds, cyclones, etc. They have air bodies, hence the name vayukay which is derived from the Sanskrit term for gas, which is väyu.
5. Vanaspatikäya or Plant Bodied Jiva:It is well known that plants grow, reproduce, etc., and they are accepted as living beings. Trees, plants, branches, flowers, leaves, seeds, etc. are some examples of plant life. The Sanskrit term for plant is vanaspati and therefore such jivas are called vanaspatikäya jiva.
A plant life can have one or more souls in a single body and, depending upon this, plant life is further divided into the following two sub-categories:
Pratyek Vanaspatikäya Jiva:
Pratyek means each or one. Such plant life have one soul in one body. Therefore, they are called pratyek vanaspatikäya. Trees, plants, bushes, stem, branches, leaves, and seeds, etc., are all examples of pratyek vanaspatikäya jiva.
Sädhäran Vanaspatikäya Jiva:
Sädhäran means common. In such plant life many souls occupy the same body making this type of plant life multi-organic. Therefore, such plant life is called sädhäran vanaspatikäya jiva. This kind of plants life have an infinite number of souls in one body are called "Anantkäya". Roots such as potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beats, etc., belong to this category.
(B) Mobile (Tras Jiva, Multi Sensed Being, Bahu Indriya) Jiva:
Mobile jivas have two, three, four or five senses and are divided into the following categories:
Two Sensed Beings (Beindriya Jiva):
Two sensed beings have the senses of touch and taste. Examples are shells, worms, insects, microbes in stale food, termites, etc.
Three Sensed Beings (Treindriya Jiva):
Three sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, and smell. Examples are bugs, lice, white ants, moths, insects in wheat, grains, and centipedes, etc.
Four Sensed Beings (Chaurindriya Jiva):
Four sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, smell and sight. Examples are scorpions, crickets, spiders, beetles, locusts, flies, etc.
Five Sensed Beings (Panchendriya Jiva):
Five sensed beings have all the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Examples are human beings, cow, lions, fish, birds, etc.
The following are four sub-categories of the Panchendriya Jivas.
1. Näraki (Infernal) - Jivas living in hell,
2. Tiryancha (Animals) - elephants, lions, birds, fish, etc.,
3. Dev (Celestial) - heavenly beings,
4. Manushya - Human beings.
Among the five sensed beings some have minds and some do not. Those having a mind are called sangni panchendriya and those without a mind are called asangni panchendriya.
Among all of these Jivas the most worldly happiness is found in the celestial being, while the most worldly suffering is found in the infernal beings. Neither celestial nor infernal beings can take any vows. They cannot attain salvation during that life. Animals possess limited restraint only and, therefore, they also cannot attain salvation directly. The human state of existence is the most preferable to attain salvation, because during that life one can use logic to the fullest extent, can perform austerities, can live with restrain. Thus, only through this human phase can a jiva attain salvation or Moksha.
All jivas have special attributes related to the body such as paryäpti (power) and pran (vitality). The inert substance or ajiva does not possess any such quality. The following is the discussion relating to paryapti and pran.
Paryapti means a special power through which the jiva takes in matter (pudgals) like food and converts it into separate kinds of energy. There are six kinds of paryaptis:
(1) Ahar (food) (2) Sharir (body)
(3) Indriya (senses) (4) Shwasochchhwas (respiration)
(5) Bhasha (speech) (6) Man (mind)
When the life of a jiva is over, the soul along with tejas and karman bodies leaves the current body and acquires a new body. As soon as a jiva is born, the first thing it does is consume food. The jiva, with the help of Tejas body, digests the food. After this, the jiva gradually attains the power of a body and the power of senses. The activities of consuming the food, developing the body, and forming and strengthening the sense-organs goes on continuously. The body is formed in a duration called the Antarmuhurt (within 48 minutes). Next, the jiva, receives the matter of respiration, which allows it to acquire the power of respiration and eventually the power of mind.
The ekendriya, one sensed jivas have (1) Ahar, (2) Sharir, (3) Indriya, and (4) Shwasochchhwas Paryaptis. The beindriya, the treindriya, the chaurindriya and the asangni panchendriya jivas also possess (5) Bhasha paryapti in addition to the above four. The sangni panchendriya jivas also possess (6) Man paryapti in addition to the above five. Depending upon the development of the paryaptis the jivas are also classified as (1) Paryapta Jiva, (2) Aparyapta Jiva. The paryapta jiva means that their corresponding paryaptis have developed to their fullest capacity. The aparyapta jiva means that their paryaptis are not developed to their full capacity.
Depending upon the development of the Jiva, there are up to ten kinds of prans or vitalities present in each jiva. These vitalities are:
1) Sparsh-Indriya (Touch): The ability to feel the sensation of touch
2) Ras-Indriya (Taste): the ability to taste
3) Ghran-Indriya (Smell): the ability to smell
4) Chakshu-Indriya (Vision): the ability to see
5) Shravan-Indriya (Hearing): the ability to hear
6) Mano-bal (Mind): the ability to think
7) Vachan-bal (Speech): the ability to speak
8) Kaya-bal (Body): the ability to move the body
9) Shwasochchhwas (Respiration): the ability to inhale and exhale
10) Ayushya (Longevity): the ability to live
The Ekendriya jivas possess only four prans:
(1) Touch (2) Respiration
(3) Body (4 ) Longevity
The beindriya jivas possess six prans. They possess the taste and speech vitality in addition, to the above four prans.
The treindriya jivas possess seven prans. They possess the smell vitality, in addition, to the above six prans.
The chaurindriya jivas possess eight prans. They possess the vision vitality in addition to the above seven prans.
The panchendriya jivas are divided into two groups: (1) The asangni (non-sentient) jivas, whose minds are not developed and (2) The sangni (sentient) jivas, whose minds are fully developed.
The asangni panchendriya jivas possess nine prans. They possess the hearing vitality in addition to the above eight prans.
The sangni panchendriya jivas possess ten pranas. They possess mind vitality in addition to the above nine prans.
The reason we need to know these prans is because any injury, no matter how little it may be to any of these prans, is considered himsa (violence). When himsa is done by us, our soul accumulates the bad karmas or pap (sin). Therefore to prevent accumulation of karma observe ahimsa (non-violence) related to all of these ten prans for all the categories of the Jivas. The first vow of non-violence is very important for the householders, monks and nuns. Now you may understand why we say "Ahimsa Parmo Dharma" (nonviolence is supreme religion), because by observing ahimsa we are protecting the vitality of the soul.
The summary of number of paryaptis and prans in various Jivas.
|Ekendriya - those having one sense||4||4|
|Dwindriya - those having two senses||5||6|
|Treindriya - those having three senses||5||7|
|Chaurindriya - those having four senses||5||8|
|Asangni Panchendriya- those having five senses without a mind||5||9|
|Sangni Panchendriya- those having five senses with a mind||6||10|