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 us.

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 toy.

Teacher: Ravi, can you tell me what “real people” mean to you?

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 non-living objects.

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 non-living?

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 pleasure.

(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:

Lion ___________

Bench ___________

Doll ___________

Fish ___________

Dog ___________

Ball ___________

Chicken ___________

Cat ___________

Chair ___________

Parrot ___________

Books ___________

Clock ___________