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Philosophy of Jainism
Jainism believes that in this world dravyas, i.e. the substances are real as they are characterized by existence. Jainism also believes that the entire substance of the universe can be broadly divided into two major categories, viz, jïva i.e. living, or soul and ajïva i.e. non-living, or non - soul. These two categories exhaust between them all that exists in the universe. Jaina philosophy is based on the nature and interaction of these two elements.
It is the interaction between the living and non-living, when they come into contact with each other, that certain energies generate which bring about birth, death and various experiences of life. This process can be stopped, and energies already forged can be destroyed by course of discipline leading to salvation.
A close analysis of this brief statement about Jaina philosophy shows that it involves the following seven propositions:
These seven propositions imply the seven tattvas or principles of Jaina philosophy. These are termed as follows:-
In addition to above Some scriptures define Punya (virtue) and Päpa (sin) as separate tattvas while others include them in Äsrava. In reality Punya and Päpa are the result of Asrava. Hence truly there exist only seven tattvas.
It is clear that the first two tattvas deal with the nature and enumeration of the eternal substances of the nature, and the remaining five tattvas are concerned with interaction between and separation of these two eternal substances, viz., jïva and ajïva, sprit and matter. In jaina religion much importance has been given to these seven tattvas as every soul would be aspirant for moksa, i.e., salvation. To achieve the ultimate goal a person has to understand the nature of these tattvas. These seven tattvas point to two groups of substances: soul and non-soul. Non-soul. Non -soul is all that is not soul, devoid of sentience ( capable of feeling). Hence the really sentient object is the soul.
A recognition of these two entities-- soul and non- soul-- at once marks out the Jaina philosophy as dualistic and quite distinguishable from the monistic Vedanta philosophy which accepts only one reality without a second.
In view of the distinguishing feature of Jainism it is necessary to have proper conception of these seven tattvas of Jaina philosophy.
Jainism states that the universe is without a beginning or an end, and is everlasting and eternal. Six fundamental entities (known as Dravya) constitute the universe.
The Six Universal Substances or Entities (Dravyas) are as follows:
A brief description about these substances (Dravyas) is given as under:-
jïva:- The jïvameans soul or spirit / atman. The jïva is essentially an undivided base of consciousness and there is an infinity of them. The whole world is literally filled with them. The souls are substances and as such they are eternal. Their characteristics mark is consciousness that can never be destroyed. Basically the soul is all perfect and all powerful. But by ignorance soul identifies itself with matter and hence all its trouble and degradation start.
Ajïva-As we have seen Jaina philosophy starts with a perfect division of the universe into living and non-living substances, jïva and ajïva. The ajïva, i.e. non-living or non-soul substances are of five kinds, namely, (i) Pudgala, i.e. matter, (ii) dharma i.e. medium of motion, (iii) adharma , i.e. medium of rest, (iv) akash i.e., space and (v) Käla, i.e. time. The following is the description of each of these substances as follows:-
(i) Pudgala, i.e. matter:- Whatever is perceived by the senses, the sense organs themselves, the various kinds of bodies of jïvas, the mind, the karmas, and the other material objects- all of these are known as pudgala or matter.
(ii) Dharma i.e. medium of motion:- Dharma is the principal of motion, the accompanying circumstances or cause which makes motion possible. Just as water itself, being indifferent or neutral, is the condition of movement of fishes, so dharma, itself non-motive, is the sine qua non of motion of jïvas and pudgalas. Hence the dharma is co-terminus with the universe, and is one substance unlike jïva and pudgala which are infinite in number.
(iii) Adharma , i.e. medium of rest:- Adharma or the principle of the rest has all the characteristics associated with dharma. But it is like the earth the sine qua non of rest for things in motion.
(iv) Akash i.e., space:- What contains or accommodates completely all jïvas and pudgalas and the remaining dravyas in the universe is termed as akash or space. It is very pertinent to note that in Jaina philosophy the term akash means space and not ether as it is very often interpreted in other systems of Indian philosophy.
(v) Käla, i.e. time:- That which is the cause or circumstances of the modification of the soul and other dravyas is Käla, that is, time. It is immaterial and it has the peculiar attribute of helping the modification of other substances.
It is thus clear that dharma, adharma and akasha are each a single dravya, whereas jïva, pudgala and Käla are held to be manifold dravyas.
Further, it must be remembered that the doctrines of Jainism firmly emphasize that these six jïva and ajïva dravyas, i.e., living and non-living substances, are externally existing, uncreated and with no beginning in time. As substances they are eternal and unchanging but their modifications are passing through a flux of changes. Their mutual co-operation and interaction explain all that we imply by the term 'creation'. Hence the doctrine of Jainism do not admit of any 'Creator' of this universe.
Note:-For details about Nav-tattavs refer relevant pages on this web site.
The contents of this article are the extract from the book 'Aspects of Jaina Religion' written by Dr Vilas A. Sangave.
The words shown in Italic are from Prakrit Language.
" An aimless life is worthless life"
" Whatever you have to do, do it now"
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