A study of the philosophy of Jainism

by Deepa Baruah | 2017 | 46,858 words

This page describes the The classifications of the Jiva from the study of the philosophy of Jainism: one of the oldest religions in India having its own metaphysics, philosophy and ethics. Jainism is regarded as an ethical system where non-violence features as an important ethical value.

Chapter IV.d - The classifications of the Jīva

The selves or jīvas are infinite in number. But these are broadly divided into two divisions, viz., mukta or liberated and saṃsāri or bound. The saṃsāri-jīvas are subject to birth, change and death. The mukta- jīvas are those who are free from the cycle of birth and death, and from the resulting joys and sorrows.

The saṃsāri-jīvas are further divided into two types, viz., samanaskā and amanaskā. The latter are also divided into trasa or mobile and sthāvara or immobile. The trasa or mobile selves are again classified as those who have two senses, e.g. worms etc.; three senses, e.g. ants etc.; four senses, e.g. wasps, bees etc. and five senses, e.g. higher animals and men. The sthāvara or immobile selves are divided into five categories: those living in the atoms of earth, water, fire and air and in the vegetable kingdom and have only one sense that of touch.

The liberated jīvasare of two kinds: completely liberated (nirvāṇaprāpta or siddha) and liberated in worldly existence (jāgatikamukta). The nirvāṇaprāpta jīvas are of two types, (i) tīrthaṅkara-siddhas and (ii) sāmānya-siddhas.The jāgatikamukta jīvas are also of two types, (i) yogins or arhatsand (ii) ayogins. The ayogins are also of three types, (i) ācāryas, (ii)upādhyāyas and (iii) sāddhus. These five kinds of liberated jīvasi.e. siddha, arhat, ācārya, upādhyāya and sāddhu are called pañca-parameṣṭhins.

The Jainas hold that the mukta-jīva acquires pure, perfect and infinite knowledge revealing everything of the world. This knowledge is called kevalajñāna.This kevalajñāna is generally attained by the selves in their disembodied state. But one can attain it even in the embodied state who can fully develop his intrinsic nature during worldly life through rigorous practices and persons who can acquire such type of knowledge during their embodied state are called arhatsor tīrthaṅkaras.

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