Jainism and Patanjali Yoga (Comparative Study)

by Deepak bagadia | 2016 | 109,819 words

This page relates ‘Nine Elements (1): Jiva (self, soul)’ of the study dealing with the Spiritual Practices of Jainism and Patanjali Yoga in the context of ancient Indian Philosophy (in Sanskrit: Darshana), including extracts from the Yogasutra and the Tattvartha-Sutra. The system of Yoga offers techniques which are scientifically designed for the spiritual development of an individual. Jainism offers ethicical principles and meditation practices to assist with spiritual development.

Part 3.4 - Nine Elements (1): Jiva (self, soul)

[Full title: Doctrines of Jainism (4): The Nine Elements (nava-tattvas) (1): Jiva (self, soul)]

It is soul, living being or consciousness. Though, modern science may not believe in the existence of soul, which is not seen or perceived by our senses. But then, it is not clear what exactly makes our body active and how activity comes to the end, though the organs have life in them when a person dies. The invisible energy or life force which keeps us alive and disappears when we die is the main difference between life and death. Even Oxygen can not give life to a dead body.

Soul is invisible, shapeless, colorless, tasteless, formless and eternal. A given body of man or animal is temporary residence of a soul. The transmigration from one body to another and new embodiment birth after birth has been going on since the time without beginning as per Jainism. Ignorant of its true nature, the jiva aspires to get maximum happiness within the framework of its given embodiment and surrounding situations. This attachment gives rise to the disposition of craving for the desirable and of aversion for the undesirable. These craving and aversion are the main causes of the bondage of karma.

We do not experience lasting happiness, because we don”t realize the true properties of the soul. Happiness is the inherent property of the soul. Our seers, after thoroughly exploring the nature of the soul, concluded that true property of soul that distinguishes it from lifeless matter is the capability to know, to become aware. None of the five lifeless substances possesses this property. The three inherent nature of soul are the principle of life (consciousness), capacity for salvation and incapacity for salvation[1].

Consciousness is the distinctive characteristic of the soul[2]. Also, capability to know is the characteristic of the soul[3]. The principal characteristics of jiva are infinite awareness and eternal bliss. Sanskrit words for eternity, consciousness and bliss respectively are sat, citta and ananda. Thus the perfect soul is saccidananda.

Each soul (jiva) is capable of and gifted with infinite knowledge, faith and conduct. So, virtues like jnana, darsana and caritra are not separate from our soul.[4] Different catagories of jiva, their modes, sense organs, objects of senses, types of bodies and life span are described in Jain literature. Mainly five types of jiva are described here[5].

The distinctive characteristics of the soul are the dispositions (thought-activities) arising from subsidence, destruction, destruction-cum-subsidence of karma, the rise of karma and the inherent nature or capacity of the soul.

Thus, there are five modes or states of soul as under:

a) Aupasamika or suppressive jiva: Pacification or suppression of operative karma is done temporarily with right perception and right conduct. Aupasamika mode of jiva relates to two categories of deluding karma namely, darsana-mohaniya and caritra-mohaniya i.e. Perception deluding and conduct deluding.

b) Ksayika or Destructive or elimination mode of jiva: This everlasting mode arise when all karma are destroyed. Here, two types of Omniscience-obscuring kar-ma namely, kevala-jnanavaraniya and kevala-darsanavaraniya karma and five types of obstructing karma relating to charity, benefit, availing of consumer and durable goods and vigor and two kinds of deluding karma mentioned above get destroyed.

c) Ksayopasamika or mixed mode: The above two modes arise when impact of karma either get destroyed or suppressed. But, when it is partly suppressed or destroyed, the state is called ksayopasama.

d) Audayika or operative mode: It is possible that one may not resort to any of above mentioned modes or while resorting to any of such modes in respect of some karma, he may not be able to do so in respect of other karma, then the mode stays in consonance with the operative karma. As the rise of karma is called udaya, the mode in accordance with that is audayika. There are four types of existence (human, heavenly, animal or infernal), four types of defilement, three types of sex inclination, wrong perception, one type of nescience and one type of non-restraint, embodiment and six types of aura. These twenty one categories relate to audayika mode of jiva.

e) Parinamika or intrinsic mode: This intrinsic nature of soul does not depend on any external factor. Consciousness and being worthy or unworthy of liberation are three innate characteristics of the soul. Jain traditions maintain that some souls are so addicted to wrong concepts that they can not see the truth.

Jiva (Souls) are divided into two categories: samsarik or worldly souls ?[(] transmigrat-ing) and siddha or liberated (emancipated) ones[6]. The wordly souls can be with or without minds (brain)[7]. Wordly souls can be mobile (trasa) or immobile (sthavara)[8].

Immobile ones are sthavara jiva, one-sensed, earthly, aquatic beings or plants. They are of five types[9] :

  1. Prithvikaya jiva: These are earth bodied like sand, clay.
  2. Apakaya: These are water bodied like dew, fog, water.
  3. Tejokaya are innaminate types of fire bodies like flame, blaze, lightening.
  4. Vayukaya or air bodies like wind, cyclone.
  5. Vanaspatikaya or plants bodies like leaves, branches, flowers and seeds.

Depending on number of bodies in a plant they are of two types: pratyeka vanaspatikaya, which has single soul in plant body and sadharana vanaspatikaya which has more than one soul or infinite souls in one body (anantakaya) like roots of potato, onion and garlic.

Mobile ones or trasa are either two or more sensed bodies[10]. Jivas with two senses are (beyindriya jiva) like worms, insects and termites. They have sense of touch and taste. And others are more than two sensed beings, lusterous and gaseous. Three sensed jiva (treindriyas) have additional sense of smell. They are bugs, white ants, lice and others. Four sensed (cauindriyas) jiva have additional sense of sight or vision. They are scorpions, crickets, spiders, flies and others. Five senses, pancendriya jiva, which are physical organs with additional sense of hearing, namely skin, tongue, nose, ears and eyes, can be material or dravyendriya. Examples are human beings, monkeys, cow, fish, birds and others. Mind which is an internal organ (bhavendriya) has intellectual and spiritual capacity to know.

The following are four sub-categories of the pancendriya jivas.

  1. Naraki (Infernal)–jivas living in hell.
  2. Tiryanca -Non-human beings i.e. elephants, lions, birds, fish, insects and others
  3. Deva (Celestial) -heavenly beings,
  4. Manusya -Human beings.

Those pancendriya jiva without mind are called as asamjni jiva.

According to Tattvarthsutra, a soul can take birth in three ways[11] : through pregnancy (Garbhajanya), spontaneous emergence (Upapaatajanya) for heavenly and infernal bodies and agglutination (Sammoorchchhin) where soul absorbs the material particles lying on the spot and converts them into the agglutinated body. Garbhajanya jiva can be of three types: andaj (born from egg like birds), potaj (infant like elephant) and jarayuj (placenta like man, cow). Sammoorchchhin (asexual origin like flies, mosquitos) can be of four type: rasaj (out of liquid like bacteria), samavedaj (born out of sweat like bugs, mites), udbhij (burst out of earth) and aupapatik (spontaneous births in hell of heaven).

Souls moving from one body to another have only Karman body. Liberated souls move straight upward, whereas worldly souls can move straight or with turns.

According to Tattvarthsutra, madhyalok is the the area where we live and the infer-nal world (Nark) is the down most where infernal jiva live. There are seven layers of infernal abodes[12] (sapta naraka) below our madhyaloka, named ratnaprabha, sarkaraprabha, valukaprabha, panka, dhuma, tamas and mahatamas. They are in-fested with increasingly unwholesome lesya (aura) and with maximum lifespan of 1, 3, 5, 10, 17, 22, 33 sagaropams[13]. These jivas have poor metabolism, ugly bodies, horrible experiences and appalling shapes[14]. They cause pain to one another.[15]

Madhyalok consists of series of iselands, oceans is named as Jamboodweep, the ocean as Lavamsamudra and mountain Meru. Tattvarthasutra (3.16) states that out of 35 continents in Madhyalok, five Bharats, five Airavats and five Mahavidehs are karmabhoomis where people work for their livelihood. Tirthankars are born only in these karmabhoomis. Our Bharatksetra lies on extreme south of Jamboodweep. Maximum lifespan of human being or other creature is three Palyopams and minimum is antarmuhurta, which is less than 48minutes.

Above our Madhyaloka is located Urdhvalok, Celestial abode. We need to study how the minds of ancient seers were working to form Jain concept of Geography and Cosmology which are not in accordance with current Science. The entire study indicates that we must have been born in all these wholesome and unwholesome abodes at different times and would continue to do so unless we undertake the spiritual pursuit for ending the cycle of birth and death. Jivas in Urdhvalok are Cosmic beings or Devas. They are imbibed with much physical strength, can move in any part of this universe and live luxurious life due to their austerities, restraints observed in previous lives. They are of four types Bhavanapati, Vyantar, Jyotishka and Vaimanik.[16]

Jivas are mutually helpful. Living beings are interdependent is a well known percept of Jainism. We know the interdependency of human and bacteria. The truth lies between two extremeties. Concept of modified constancy in Jainism says that everything remains constant within its property, but its states keep on changing.[17] Soul is eternal and is always imbibed within its properties of knowing and perceiving. However, it assumes heavenly, human or other states like male and female from time to time. Everything retains its existence while undergoing changes in its states and forms. Each one has two aspects; one is constant which its inherent property and another is everchanging states of its forms. Everything is constant from absolute point of view, while from the practical point of view, it is temporary. Giving multiplicity of views is inexpressible and it leads to Saptabhangi.

Gunaparyayavada dravya [dravyam][18], another principle of Jainism, explains that every substance is imbibed with its properties and changing modes. Thus, all living beings are embodied souls. Every soul is an independent entity and has been undergoing cycles of birth and death as a result of bondage of karma.

A soul can abide in innumerable parts by virtue of its capability to expand and contract like light of a lamp. Jiva varies from body to body. The maximum size of jiva occurs at the time of liberation. One expands the body to the extent of the entire cosmic Universe when an Omniscient being is on the point of being liberated. This state is Kevali Samudghata.

Footnotes and references:


jīvabhavyābhavyatvāni ca | Tattvartha-sutra 2.7, Acharya Umaswati, Tattvarthasutra, JAINA and Shrut Ratnakar, Ahmedabad, (July, 2007)


upayogo lakṣaṇam | Tattvartha-sutra 2.8


Jain Philosophy and Practice”, JAINA Education Committee, North America (2002), p.82


ekaeva hi tatrātmā svabhāve samavasthitaḥI jñāna-darśana-cāritralakṣaṇaḥ pratipāditaḥ II Adhyatmasara (6/18/6)


aupaśamikakṣāyikaubhāvau miśraśca jīvasya svatattvamaudayikapāriṇāmikoca | Tattvartha-sutra 2.1, Acharya Umaswati, Tattvarthasutra, JAINA and Shrut Ratnakar, Ahmedabad, (July, 2007)


saṃsāriṇo muktāśca | T.S. 2.10


samanaskāmanaskāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 2.11


saṃsāriṇastrasasthavarāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 2.12


pṛthivyaptejovāyuvanaspatayaḥ sthavarāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 2.13


dvīndriyādayastrasāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 2.14


saṃmūcchaṃnagarbhauparādā janma | Tattvartha-sutra 2.32


ratnaśarkarābālukāpaṃkadhūmatamomahātamaḥ prabhā bhūmayo ghanāmbuvātākāśa pratiṣṭhāḥ saptādho'dhaḥ |Tattvartha-sutra 3.1


teṣvekatri sapta daśasaptadaśatnavā viṃśati trayastriṃśatsāgaropamāsattvānāṃ parā sthitaḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 2.8.
1 Sagaropam = trillions of Palyopams, can’t be explained in mathematical figures, but only by similies. For instance, if we make a chasm of 512cubic miles and tightly fill with fine particles of hairs or fibres and if 1hair is removed out of it every 100 years, time taken to empty it is one Palyopam.


nārakānityaśubhataraleśyāpariṇāma dehavedanāvikriyāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 3.3


parasparodīritaduḥkhāḥ | Tattvartha-sutra 3.4


Acharya Umaswati, Tattvarthasutra, JAINA and Shrut Ratnakar, Ahmedabad, 2007, Tattvartha-sutra 4.1 and 4.2


Tattvartha-sutra 5.29 -5.31


Ibid, 5.38

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