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CATEGORIES OF JAINISM

CATEGORIES OF JAINISM

CATEGORIES OF JAINISM: We have seen that substance, according to Jainism, has infinite characters and is subject to production, destruction and permanence.

The whole universe is brought under the two everlasting, uncreated, eternal and co-existing categories which are called Jiva and Ajiva. Jiva means the conscious spit it and Ajiva means the unconscious non-spirit. A jiva includes not only matter which is called ‘Pudgala’, but also space, motion, rest and time. Spirit, matter, motion, rest and space (respectively called jiva, pudgaia, dharma, Adharma  and akasha) are described as astikaya dravyas or substances which possess constituent parts extending in space; while time (kala) is the only anastikaya dravya which has no extension in space.Jiva is generally the same as the Atman or the Purusa in other pluralistic schools with this important difference that it is identified with life of which consciousness is said to be the essence. Like the monads ofLeibnitz, the Jivas of Jainism are qualitatively alike and only quantitatively different and the whole universe is literally filled with them. The jivas are divided first into those who are liberated (mukta) and those who are bound (baddha). The bound souls are further divided into mobile (trasa) and immobile (sthavara). The latter live in the atoms of earth, water, fire and air and in the vegetable kingdom and have only one sense— that of touch. The mobile souls are again classified as those who have two senses (e.g. worms), three senses (e.g. ants), four senses (e.g. wasps, bees etc.) and five senses (e.g. higher animals and men).Consciousness is regarded as the essence of the soul (chetanalaksano jiva). Every soul from the lowest to the highest possesses consciousness. The degrees of consciousness may vary according to the obstacles of karma. The lowest souls which inhabit material atoms appear to be lifeless and unconscious, but in fact life and consciousness are prelent in them though in a dormant form. Purest consciousness is found in the emancipated souls where there is no shred of karma. All souls are really alike. The degrees of consciousness are due merely to the karmaobstacles. The soul in its intrinsic nature possesses Infinite Faith, Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Bliss and Infinite Power. In the case of the bound souls these characteristics are obscured by karma. A jiva is a real knower (jnata), a real agent (karta) and a real experient (bhokta). It is included in the astikaya dravyas because its constituents possess extension in space. But it does not extend in space like matter. It is like the light. Just as the light fills the space where it is burning and just as many lights may remain in the same place without coming into conflict with one another, similarly the soul fills the space and many souls may remain together without any conflict. Though itself formless, it takes the form of the body which it illuminates. The soul of an ant is as big as the body of it and the soul of an elephant is as big as the elephant itself.  The soul is coextensive with the body. Though we find souls in this world as embodied and as possessing the senses and the manas which help the souls to know, yet really the body, the senses and the manas are obstructions placed by karma and hinder the souls in their direct knowledge. Knowledge is not a property of the soul ; it is its very essence. Every soul, therefore, can directly and immediately know everything if it is not obstructed by matter. Freedom from matter means omniscience and emancipation.The category of Ajiva is divided into matter (pudgaia), space (akansha), motion (dharma), rest (Adharma) and time (kala). They are all without life and consciousness. Time is anastikaya because it does not extend in space. It is infinite. It is not perceived, but inferred from its characteristics which make possible continuity (vartana), modification (parinama), activity (kriya), ‘now’ or ‘new’  (paratva), and ‘then’ or ‘old’ (aparatva). It is one and indivisible. Some Jaina writers have distinguished between real (paramarthika) and empirical (vyavaharika) time. The former makes continuity or duration possible and is infinite, one and indivisible. The latter can be divided into moments, hours, days, months and years and makes other changes, except duration, possible.Like time, space is also infinite, eternal and imperceptible. It is inferred as the condition of extension. All substances except time have extension and extension is afforded only by space. Space itself is not extension; it is the locus of extension. Two kinds of space are distinguished. In one, motion is possible and it is called Lokakasha or filled space ; in the other, motion is not possible and it is called Alokakasha or empty space. The former contains all the worlds where life and movement are; the latter stretches itself infinitely beyond the former. At the summit of Lokakasha is Siddhashila, the Abode of the Liberated Souls.Dharma and Adharma are used here not in their popular sense of merit and demerit, but in the technical sense of the conditions of movement and rest. Like space and time, these also are eternal and imperceptible. They are inferred as the conditions which help motion and rest respectively. They are formless and passive. Dharma cannot generate motion nor can Adharma arrest it. They only help or favour motion or rest, like water helping the motion of a fish or like earth supportingthings which rest on it.Matter is called Pudgaia which means that which is liable to integration and disintegration (purayanti galanti cha). This word is used in Buddhism in the sense of a soul, while in Jainism it is used for matter. An atom (anu) is supposed to be the smallest part of matter which cannot be further divided. Compound objects (sanghata or skandha) of the material world including senses, mind (manas) and breath are the combinations of atoms. Matter possesses the four qualities of colour, taste, smell and touch. Sound is regarded not as a quality, as other systems have done, but only as a modification (parinama) of matter. These atoms are supposed to house the souls. Like the ancient Greek atomists Democritus and Leucippus and unlike the Nyaya-Vaishesika thinkers, the Jainas do not maintain any qualitative difference in the atoms. All atoms are qualitatively alike and indistinguishable. They become differentiated by developing the qualities of colour, taste, smell and touch. Hence the distinction of the elements of earth, water, fire and air is secondary and transmutation of elements is quite possible. Matter in its subtle form constitutes karma which infiltrates into the souls and binds them to Samsara.