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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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:
(1)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.
(2)Three Sensed Beings (Treindriya
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.
(3)Four Sensed Beings (Chaurindriya
Four sensed beings have the senses of
touch, taste, smell and sight. Examples are scorpions, crickets, spiders,
beetles, locusts, flies, etc.
(4)Five Sensed Beings (Panchendriya
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.
Näraki (Infernal) - Jivas living in
Tiryancha (Animals) - elephants,
lions, birds, fish, etc.,
Dev (Celestial) - heavenly beings,
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
(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
3) Ghran-Indriya (Smell): the ability to
4) Chakshu-Indriya (Vision): the ability
5) Shravan-Indriya (Hearing): the
ability to hear
6) Mano-bal (Mind): the ability to think
7) Vachan-bal (Speech): the ability to
8) Kaya-bal (Body): the ability to move
9) Shwasochchhwas (Respiration): the
ability to inhale and exhale
1O) Ayushya (Longevity): the ability to
The Ekendriya jivas possess only four
(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
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
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
The asangni panchendriya jivas possess
nine prans. They possess the hearing vitality in addition to the above
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.
Abilities Paryaptis Prans
Ekendriya - those having one sense 4 4
Dwindriya - those having two senses 5 6
Treindriya - those having three senses 5
Chaurindriya - those having four senses
Asangni Panchendriya- those having five
senses without a mind 5 9
Sangni Panchendriya- those having five
senses with a mind 6 10