Saturday, October 22, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


Six Universal Entities(Substances or Dravyas)

Structural View Of The Universe

Jain Philosophy does not give credence to the theory that the God is a creator, survivor, or destroyer of the universe. On the contrary, it asserts that the universe has always existed and will always exist in exact dherence to the laws of the cosmos. There is nothing but infinity both in the past and in the future.

The world of reality or universe consists of two classes of objects:

  1. Living beings (conscious, chetan, jiva) and
  2. Non-living objects (unconscious, achetan, ajiva)
Non-living objects are further classified into five categories

  1. matter (Pudgal)
  2. space (Akas)
  3. medium of motion (Dharmastikay)
  4. medium of rest (Adharmastikay)
  5. time (Kaal or Samay)
The five nonliving entities together with the living beings, totaling six are aspects of reality in Jainism. They are also known as six universal entities, substances or dravyas.

These six entities of the universe however do undergo countless changes, but nothing is lost or destroyed. Everything is recycled in another form.

The Concept of Reality or Entity or Substance (Dravya):

A reality is defined to have an existence (Sat).

Each reality or entity continuously undergoes countless changes known as origination and destruction. This is known as Paryaya of a substance.

In the midst of changes its qualities remain unchanged which is called permanence. This is also known as Gunas of the substance.

Hence every entity (substance or object) in the universe has three aspects:

  1. Origination - Utpada (continuous changes)
  2. Destruction - Vyaya (continuous changes)
  3. Permanence - Dhrauvya (permanent)
Both attributes (Gunas) and modes (Paryayas) are inseparable from an entity.

The same principle can be explained differently as follows: An entity is permanent (nitya) from the stand point of its attributes or qualities (Guna). This is known as substancial stand point (dravyarthik naya).

An entity is transient (anitya) from the stand point of its forms or modifications (Paryaya). This is known as modal stand point (Paryayarthik Naya).

A natural description of reality takes into consideration these three aspects:

  • permanence in the midst of change
  • identity in the midst of diversity
  • unity in the midst of multiplicity
The modifications that an entity undergoes refer to the various shapes and forms into which a substance is transformed, either naturally or artificially.


A living being through the process of growth, undergoes various changes, such as childhood, youth, and old age. These changes are the natural modifications of the living being.

Childhood, youth, and old age are transient forms (Paryaya) of a living being. The soul of a living being is permanent (Dravya).

Clay is molded by a potter into various shapes. Gold is crafted by a goldsmith into various ornaments. These changes are artificial modifications of the nonliving being.

  • ornaments and clay shapes are transient (paryaya)
  • gold and clay are permanent (dravya)
While undergoing various modifications, either natural or artificial, the basic substance remains unchanged and is permanent, while the forms change and are transient.

The six universal substances:

As explained above Jainism believes that the universe is made from the combination of the six universal substances. All of the six substances are indestructible, imperishable, immortal, eternal and continuously go through countless changes.

  1. Soul/Consciousness - Jiva (Living being)
  2. Matter - Pudgala (Nonliving being)
  3. Medium of motion - Dharma (Nonliving being)
  4. Medium of rest - Adharma (Nonliving being)
  5. Space - Akasa (Nonliving being)
  6. Time - Kaal (Nonliving being)
Soul (Jiva): Its essential characteristic is consciousness. This is the only knowing substance. It possesses perfect knowledge, perfect vision, perfect power, and perfect bliss. It also possesses the property of contraction and expansion like that of light. They are of innumerable numbers. Living being can not be created or can not be destroyed. The total number of living beings remain same in the entire universe at all the time.

There are two types of Souls (Living beings):

Free (Mukta) Soul Free soul is defined as a pure consciousness, a soul that has completely exhausted all of its karma. It is a liberated soul. It is also known as Siddha. All siddhas are defined as Gods in Jainism.

Liberated souls or Gods do not possess a body.

They possess perfect knowledge, vision, power, and bliss.

They live in Moksha, which is located on the top of Lokakas.

They never return again into the cycle of life, death, pain, and pleasure.

There are an innumerable number of liberated souls.

All Tirthankaras and other Keval-jnanis become siddhas at the end of their life (death).

Worldly (Samsari) Soul It possesses a body (plants, naraki, tiryanch, human, or angel) and wanders into the cycle of life and death.

It is covered with karma particles.

It possesses limited knowledge, vision, power, and bliss.

It suffers from birth, death, pain, and pleasure.

There are a innumerable number of worldly souls.

It is the doer of all kinds of karmas (actions), and enjoyer of the fruit of the karmas.

It is capable of becoming free from worldly life.

Worldly souls are divided according to the number of senses they possess.

There are total five senses a living being may possess.These are touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.

One sense (Ekendria)

possesses one sense - touch only

it cannot move own its own accord

they are subdivided into five categories

  • Soul possesses earth as its body - Prithvikaya
  • Soul possesses water as its body - Apakaya
  • Soul possesses fire as its body - Agnikaya
  • Soul possesses air as its body - Vayukaya
  • Soul possesses vegetable as its body - Vanaspatikaya
Two senses (Be-indriya)

A living being possesses two senses - touch and taste ex. worms, leeches.

Three senses (Tre-indriya)

A living being possesses three senses - touch, taste, and smell ex. ants, lice.

A living being possesses four senses - touch, taste, smell, and sight ex. flies, bees.

Five senses (Panch-indriya)

A living being possesses five senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing ex. animals, birds, human, heavenly, and hellish beings, etc.

A soul with one to four senses does not a possess mind.

A soul with five senses may possess a mind.

Matter (Pudgala) It is matter or body.

It has senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing).

They are of infinite number

It possesses color

It does not have consciousness or knowledge.

The smallest particle of matter is known as Parmanu (atom).

A paramanu occupies only one pradesa (unit of space)

There are four divisions of matter:

  1. Skandha (whole-matter): Any object which has a mass of matter can be called skandha. ex. stick, stone, knife, a particle of sand
  2. Skandha-desa (portion of matter): Desa means a part, portion, or division. An undetached portion of skandha is called skandha-desa When a part of the skandha (skandha-desa) is separated from the whole, it also becomes another skandha. A hand of a statue when undetached is known as a skandha-desa but when separated from the statue is known as Skandha.
  3. Skandha-pradesa (smallest particle of matter): The smallest undetached portion of skandha, which cannot be further divided is called skandha-pradesa.
  4. Paramanu or Anu (atom): When the smallest portion of the matter is separated from its skandha, it is called paramanu or anu. Parmanu matter can not be further sub-divided, cut, or pierced.
Karmic Matter (Karma Pudgala): Karma is one of the categories of matter. It is known as karmic matter (karma pudgala). Karma particles are of very fine matter not perceptible to the senses. The entire universe is filled with such karmic matter.

Every living being is covered by karmic matter from the beginning of time. It is the karmic matter that keeps the soul away from realization of its true nature or liberation.

Medium of Motion (Dharma) Medium of motion helps in the movement of soul and matter. ex. water provides medium for fish to move.

It does not possess senses, color, or body.

It does not have a consciousness or knowledge.

It exists in Lokakas.

Medium of Rest (Adharma) Medium of rest helps to rest soul and matter. ex. People rest in the shade of a tree

It does not possess senses, color, or body.

It does not have consciousness or knowledge.

It exists in Lokakas.

Space (Akasa) Space provides room to soul, matter, dharma, adharma, and time.

It pervades everywhere (infinite).

It is the support of everything and thus it is self supported.

It has no form, color, taste, smell, and touch.

It does not perform any action (inactive), however it does give accommodation to soul and matter of their actions.

It is one and whole.

Where medium of motion and rest substances exist, it is called Lokakas.

The remaining space is empty and is called Alokakas.

Time (Kaal) There are two views exist in Jainism with regards to time.

One view: Time is an imaginary thing, it has no real existence.

Another view: Time has a real existence consisting of innumerable time atoms.

The changes in living being and non-living being substances are measured in the units of time. However time is not the cause of the changes to living being and non-living substances.

The smallest indivisible portion of time is called Samaya.

Combination of samayas are: moment, second, minute, hour, day, month, year, etc.

  • innumerable samayas = one avali (time required to blink a eye)
  • 16,777,216 avalis = one muhurt (48 minutes)
  • 30 muhurts = one day
  • 15 days = one fortnight
  • 2 fortnights = one month
  • 12 months = one year
  • innumerable years = one palyopama
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000 palyopamas = one sagaropama
Meaning Of Ashta Prakari Puja

Generally Jains use the following eight items to perform puja of a Tirthankara in the temple. Symbolically each item represents a specific religious virtue and one should reflect on it while performing puja.

  1. Jala Puja: Water
  2. Chandan Puja: Sandal-wood
  3. Pushpa Puja: Flower
  4. Dhup Puja: Incense
  5. Dipak Puja: Candle
  6. Akshat Puja: Rice
  7. Naivedya Puja: Sweet food
  8. Fal Puja: Fruit
1. Jala Puja: (Water)

Water symbolizes the ocean. Every living being continuously travels through life's ocean of birth, death, and misery. This puja reminds that one should live his life with honesty, truthfulness, love, and compassion towards all living beings. This way one will be able to cross life's ocean and attain liberation (Moksha). This is known as samyak-darshana, samyak-jnana, and samyak-charitrya in the Jain religion.

2. Chandan Puja: (Sandal-wood)

Chandan symbolizes knowledge (jnana). By doing this puja, one should thrive for right knowledge. Jainism believes that the path of knowledge is the main path to attain Moksha or liberation. Bhakti or devotion helps in the early stages of one's effort for liberation.

3. Pushpa Puja: (Flower)

The flower symbolizes conduct. Our conduct should be like a flower, which provides fragrance and beauty to all living beings without discrimination. We should live our life like flowers full of love and compassion towards all living beings.

4. Dhup Puja: (Incense)

Dhup symbolizes monkhood life. While burning itself, incense provides fragrance to others. Similarly, true monks and nuns spend their entire life selflessly for the benefit of all living beings. This puja reminds that one should thrive for a ascetic life.

5. Dipak Puja: (Candle)

The flame of dipak represents a pure consciousness, i.e. a soul without any bondage of a karma or a liberated soul. In Jainism, such a soul is called a Siddha or God. The ultimate goal of every living being is to become liberated. By doing this puja one should thrive to follow five great vows; non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and non-possession. Ultimately these vows will lead to liberation.

6. Akshat Puja: (Rice)

Rice is a kind of grain which is nonfertile. One cannot grow rice plants by seeding rice. Symbolically, it means that rice is the last birth. By doing this puja one should thrive to put all the efforts in life in such a way that this life becomes one's last life, and after the end of this life one will not be reborn again.

7. Naivedya Puja: (Sweet food)

Naivedya symbolizes tasty food. By doing this puja, one should thrive to reduce or eliminate attachment to tasty food. Healthy food is essential for survival, however one should not live for tasty food. Ultimate aim in one's life is to attain a life where no food is essential for survival. That is the life of a liberated soul who lives in Moksha for ever in ultimate blissful state.

8. Fal Puja: (Fruit)

Fruit is a symbol of Moksha or liberation. If we live our life without any attachment to worldly affairs, continue to perform our duty without any expectation and reward, be a witness to all the incidents that occur surrounding us, truly follow monkhood life, and have a love and compassion to all living beings, we will attain the fruit of liberation. This is the last puja symbolizing the ultimate achievement of our life.

Nine Tattvas (Principles)

The nine tattvas, or principles, are the single most important subject of Jain philosophy. It deals with the karma theory of Jainism, which provides the basis for the path of liberation. Without the proper knowledge of this subject, a person can not progress spiritually. The true faith and understanding of this subject brings about right faith (samyak-darshana), right knowledge (samyak-jnana), and right conduct in an individual.

  1. Jiva - soul or living being (Consciousness)
  2. Ajiva - non-living substances
  3. Asrava - cause of the influx of karma
  4. Bandh - bondage of karma
  5. *Punya - virtue
  6. *Papa - sin
  7. Samvara - arrest of the influx of karma
  8. Nirjara - exhaustion of the accumulated karma
  9. Moksha - total liberation from karma
* Punya and Papa are the diverse results of Asrava and Bandh. Some exponents of Jains do not treat them as separate tattvas. According to them, there are only seven principles instead of nine.

    1. Jiva (soul) Substance: Explained in The Six Universal Substances chapter.
    2. Ajiva (Non-living) Substances: Explained in The Six Universal Substances chapter.
    3. Asrava (Cause of the influx of karma) Asrava is the cause which leads to the influx of good and evil karma which lead to the bondage of the soul. Asrava may be described as attraction in the soul toward sense objects.

The following are causes of influx of good and evil karma:

    Mithyatva - ignorance
    Avirati - lack of self restraint
    Kasaya - passions like anger, conceit, deceit, and lust
    Pramada - unawareness or unmindfulness
    Yoga - activities of mind, speech, and body

In addition to the above causes, the five great sins; violence, untruth, stealing, sensual indulgence, and attachment to worldly objects are also the cause of the influx of karmas.

4. Bandha (Bondage of karma)

Bandha is the attachment of karmic matter (karma pudgala) to the soul. The soul has had this karmic matter bondage from eternity. This karmic body is known as the karmana body or causal body. Karmic matter is a particular type of matter which is attracted to the soul because of its ignorance, lack of self restraint, passions, unmindfulness, activities of body, mind, and speech. The soul, which is covered by karmic matter, continues acquiring new karma from the universe and exhausting old karma into the universe through the above mentioned actions at every moment. Because of this continual process of acquiring and exhausting karma particles, the soul has to pass through the cycles of births and deaths, and experiencing pleasure and pain. So under normal circumstances the soul can not attain freedom from karma, and hence liberation.

Karmic matter attaching to the soul assumes four forms:

  1. Prakriti bandha - Type of karma
  2. Sthiti bandha - Duration of karma
  3. Anubhava bandha - Intensity of attachment of karma
  4. Pradesa bandha - Quantity of karma
Prakriti Bandha: When karmic matter attaches to the soul, karma will obscure its essential nature of: perfect knowledge, vision, bliss, power, eternal existence, non-corporeal, and equanimity.

Prakriti bandha is classified into eight categories, according to the particular attribute of the soul that it obscures.
Jnana-varaniya It covers the soul's power of perfect knowledge.
Darasna-varaniya It covers the soul's power of perfect visions.
Vedniya It obscures the blissful nature of the soul, and thereby produces pleasure and pain.
Mohniya It generates delusion in the soul in regard to its own true nature, and makes it identify itself with other substances.
Ayu It determines the span of life in one birth, thus obscuring its nature of eternal existence.
Nama It obscures the non-corporeal existence of the soul, and produces the body with its limitations, qualities, faculties, etc.
Gotra It obscures the souls characteristics of equanimity, and determines the caste, family, social standing, etc.
Antaraya It obstructs the natural energy of the soul and prevents it from attaining liberation. It also prevents a living being from doing something good and enjoyable.
Ghati and Aghati karmas: The above eight karmas are also categorized into two groups, known as ghati and aghati karmas.
Ghati Karmas Jnana-varaniya, Darasna-varaniya, Mohaniya, and Antaraya karmas are called Ghati karmas (dangerous karmas) because they obscure the true nature of the soul.

Aghati Karmas Ayu, Nama, Gotra, and Vedniya karmas are called Aghati karmas. They do not obscure the original nature of the soul. However, they associate with the body of the soul. Hence they can not destroyed by the soul so long as it possesses a body. When a person destroys all of his ghati karmas, at that time he attains keval-jnana. However, he continues to live as a human being because none of his aghati karmas are destroyed. He can only attain liberation after all of his aghati karmas are destroyed. Hence he attains liberation after his death. When a person attains keval-jnana, he is known as an Arihant. If an Arihant establishes the four fold order of Monks, Nuns, Sravaka, (male layperson), and Sravika (female layperson) then the Arihant is called a Tirthankara. Other Arihantas are known as ordinary Kevali. After Nirvana (death) both Tirthankaras and ordinary Kevalis are called Siddhas. All Siddhas are unique individuals, but they all possess perfect knowledge, vision, power, and bliss. Hence from the qualities and attributes point of view all Siddhas are same.

Sthiti Bandha When karmic matter attaches to the soul the duration of the attachment is determined at that time according to the intensity or dullness of the soul's passions.
Anubhava Bandha or Rasa Bandha What fruits the karmic matter will produce is determined at the time of attachment by varying degrees of passions.
Pradesa Bandha The quantum of karmic matter that is drawn towards the soul for attachment is determined by the intensity or dullness of the soul's action.

5. Punya (Virtue) The influx of karmic matter due to good activities of the mind, body, and speech with the potential of producing pleasant sensations is called punya or virtue. Activities such as offering food, drink, shelter, purifying thought, physical and mental happiness, etc. result in producing punya karmic matter.

6. PAPA (Sin) The influx of karmic matter due to evil activities of the mind, body, and speech with the potential of producing unpleasant sensations is called papa or sin. Activities such as violence, untruth, theft, unchastity, attachment to objects, anger, conceit, deceit, lust, etc. result in producing papa karmic matter.

7. Samvara (Arrest of Karma) The method which arrests fresh karma from coming into the soul is samvara. This process is a reverse of asrava. It can be accomplished by constant practice of:- restraint of mind, body, and speech- religious meditation - conquest of desire - forgiveness, tenderness, purity, truth, austerity, renunciation, unattachment, and chastity

8. Nirjara - Nirjara is the exhaustion of karmic matter already acquired.
- The karmas exhaust themselves by producing their results when it is time for them to do so.
- Unless they are exhausted before they are mature and start producing results, it becomes difficult to be free. By that time, new karmic matter begins to pour in. Therefore, it becomes necessary for one who desires final liberation to exhaust all karmas before maturity.
This is called nirjara.
Nirjara is to be done by rigorous austerities.

External Nirjara:
  1. Anasan - complete abstinence of eating and drinking
  2. Alpahara - reduction in the quantity of food one normally eats
  3. Ichhanirodha - control of desire for food and material things
  4. Rasatyaga - complete abstinence of eating or drinking juicy and tasty foods such as honey, alcohol, butter, milk, tea, sweets, juice etc. (no attachments to the taste of the foods)
  5. Kayaklesa - control of passions by discipline
  6. Samlinata - sitting in a lonely place in due posture with senses withdrawn
Internal Nirjara:
  1. Prayaschita - repentance for the breach of vows
  2. Vinaya - appropriate behavior towards a teacher
  3. Vaiyavrata - selfless service to the suffering and deserving
  4. Svadhyaya - studying/listening of religious scriptures
  5. Bhutsarga - non-attachment to the body
  6. Subha-dhyana - religious meditation
9. Moksha - Moksha is the liberation of the living being (soul) after complete exhaustion or elimination of all karmas. A liberated soul regains totally its original attributes of perfect knowledge, vision, power, and bliss. It climbs to the top of Lokakas and remains there forever in its blissful and unconditional existence. It never returns again into the cycles of birth, life, and death. This state of the soul is the liberated or perfect state, and this is called Nirvana.

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