Living and Non-Living
(Jiva and Ajiva)
(Teacher is putting something on the table)
Teacher: Ravi, what is this?
Ravi: Sir, that is a baby doll.
Teacher: Right. Can this doll walk by itself?
Ravi: No, it cannot walk by itself, but I can make it look
as if it is walking.
Teacher: Neela, can this doll see with its eyes?
Neela: No, it can not see with those eyes.
Teacher: Ramesh, can it can sing?
Ramesh: How can it sing when it cannot even talk?
Teacher: Well, it has ears so it should be able to hear
Ramesh: (laughing) Sir, it can not hear or understand what
we are talking about.
Teacher: Komal, can it can eat since it has mouth?
Komal: It can not eat or drink.
Teacher: Chetan, will it cry, if I drop it off the table?
Chetan: It will not cry.
Teacher: You all gave good answers. Do you all agree that
this doll can not walk, see, eat, or listen like us?
Children: Yes, we all agree.
Teacher: What is the reason for this? What is the
difference between the baby doll and us? Ravi, do you know?
Ravi: We are real people, while the baby doll is only a
Teacher: Ravi, can you tell me what "real people" mean to
Ravi: (scratching his head and does not answer)
Teacher: The difference between toys and real people is
that those who can see, talk, walk, hear, feel pain, and pleasure are known
as living beings (jiva). Those who can not talk, walk, hear, feel pain, and
pleasure, etc. are known as non-living objects (ajiva).
So now Ravi, can you tell me the difference between the
doll and us?
Ravi: Yes, since the doll cannot hear, talk, or feel pain
and pleasure, it is a non-living thing. While we can talk, see, hear, and
feel pain and pleasure, we are living beings.
Teacher: Very good, Ravi. Now you understand it right.
Children, listen carefully, I am going to explain more about living and
Anything which has the capacity to know, learn, understand
feel pain and pleasure, or has various senses is known as a living being (jiva).
We can learn, know, understand, and feel pain and pleasure, and have five
senses, so we are living beings.
Anything which does not have the capacity to know,
understand, feel pain, and pleasure, or does not have various senses is
called non-living thing (ajiva). Therefore, this doll is a non-living thing.
Komal, is the bench which you are sitting on living or
Komal: A bench is a non-living thing, because it does not
know, understand, or feel the pain of my weight.
Teacher: Komal is right. Now, what happens when you get an
"A" on your test?
Komal: I feel happy, because I have feelings.
Teacher: Ravi, can you name some examples of non-living
objects around us.
Ravi: Books, the table, chairs, pens, the clock, and the
ruler are all non-living objects.
Teacher: Neela, can you name some living beings?
Neela: Yes. Dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, parrots, lions,
elephants, fish, chickens, and human beings are all living beings.
Teacher: Children, do you have any questions?
Children: No sir, now we understand the difference between
living beings and non-living things.
Teacher: Before we finish our class, I would like to
remind you to be good to each other because everyone feels pain and
(One more thing for homework. I would like everyone to
write down the names of twenty living beings and twenty non-living things
for our next class.)
1) What does Jiva mean?
2) What does Ajiva mean?
3) Can you name five examples of Jiva?
4) Can you name five example of Ajiva?
Circle whether the following sentences are true or false.
A bench can talk. True or False
A lion can not breath. True or False
An ajiva has no senses. True or False
A doll can eat by itself. True or False
A ball can feel pain. True or False
A man can learn. True or False
All jivas have five senses rue or False
Tell whether the following are Jiva or Ajiva: