Ajiva Tatwa

Lessons for juniors(10)

Ajiva Tatwa

Anything that does not have the life or a consciousness is Ajiva. Ajiva literally means without a soul and therefore, they cannot accumulate any karmas. They have no birth, death, pleasure, or pain; they are achetan (inert). Examples of Ajivas are: a box, car, fan, television, photo frame, iron, watch, etc.

The Jain Philosophy has divided Ajivas into the following five categories:

  1. Dharmastikay (Medium of Motion).
  2. Adharmastikay (Medium of Rest).
  3. Akashastikay (Space).
  4. Pudgalastikay ( Matter).
  5. Kal (Time).


Dharmastikay is formed from two words: Dharma + Astikay. The term Dharma here does not refer to religion, but means the medium of motion. Astikay means collection of spaces.

Dharmastikay denotes the medium of motion for things in the universe. In the absence of this medium, Jivas and other things would be unable to move. This medium prevails in lok, but is absent in alok.


This term is also formed of two terms: Adharma + Astikay. Here again, Adharma does not refer to a lack of religion, but rather it means the medium of rest. In the absence of this medium, jivas and other things would continuously move. This medium also prevails in lok, but is absent in alok.


Äkäshtikay is formed of two words: Äkäsh and Astikay. Whole space in the universe is called Äkäsh. In Jainism, Akash is divided into two parts: Lokakash (Lok) and Alokakash (Alok). Jiva, Pudgal, Kal, Dharmästikäy, and Adharmästikäy exist only in Lokäkäsh. Alokakash is an empty space and does not contain any Jiva, Pudgal, kal, Dharmästikäy, and Adharmästikäy.


The word Pudgal is made up of two terms: Pud means addition and Gal means division. In other words, what continuously changes by addition and/or division is called the Pudgal or the matter. All the matters in the universe are called Pudgals.

A pudgal has the form or a shape. A pudgal can be experienced by touching, tasting, smelling, or seeing. Like Jiva, Pudgal is also mobile. The karman particles that attach to our souls are the pudgal. Pudgal can only be divided and subdivided to a certain extent. This indivisible smallest part of pudgal is called Paramänu. A paramänu is much more minute than even an atom. When a Paramänu is attached to the main pudgal, it is called a Pradesh. These sub-atomic paramänus are too minute to be detected by normal vision, but they can be combined. Thus, when a paramänu is combined with other paramänus, they are called a skandha. A part of a skandha is called the desh. Such skandhas may be large or small. Small skandhas may be invisible to the eye, but they can be seen when the combinations are larger.


Käl means time, which brings forth changes. A child becomes a young person, a young person becomes an old person, and the old person dies. In other words, something which is new becomes old, worn, and torn with the time. All of these changes involve the time. The past, present, and future are the different modes of the time and are measured in terms of the years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds. For all practical purposes a second happens to be the smallest measurement of time. Jainism however, recognizes a very tiny measurement of time known as samay which is an infinite small part of a second.

The following are the measurements of the time as adopted by the Jainism:

Indivisible time = 1 Samay

(finest units of measurement)

Countless Samayas = 1 Ävalikä

16777216 Ävalikäs = 1 Muhurt

30 Muhurtas = 1 Day and night

15 Days and nights = 1 Paksha

2 Pakshas = 1 Month

12 Months = 1 Year

Countless years = 1 Palyopam

10 Crores of Crores of Palyopams = 1 Sägaropam

10 Crores of Crores of Sägaropams = l Utsarpini or 1 Avasarpini.

1 Utsarpini + Avasarpini = 1 Kälchakra (One time cycle).