Sub-Categories under the
category : Junior Level
Jain philosophy can be described in
various ways, but the most acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms
of Nav Tattvas or nine fundamentals. They are:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
When we get rid of all the karmas, we attain liberation
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
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
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