What are the different Jain Fundaments?
Jain philosophy can be described in various ways, but the most
acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms of the Nav Tattvas or
nine fundamentals. They are:
1) Jiva (soul)
2) Ajiva (non-living matter)
3) Punya (results of good deeds)
4) Pap (results of bad deeds)
5) Asrava (influx of karmas)
6) Samvar (stoppage of karmas)
7) Bandh (bondage of karmas)
8) Nirjara (eradication of karmas)
9) Moksha (liberation)
Now, let us use a simple analogy to illustrate these Tattvas. There
lived a family in a farm house. They were enjoying the fresh cool
breeze coming through the open doors and windows. The weather suddenly
changed, and a terrible dust storm set in. Realizing it was a bad
storm, they got up to close the doors and windows. By the time they
could close all the doors and windows, lots of dust had entered the
house. After closing the doors and the windows, they started clearing
the dust that had come in to make the house clean.
We can interpret this simple illustration in terms of Nav-Tattvas as
1) Jivas are represented by the people.
2) Ajiva is represented by the house.
3) Punya is represented by enjoyment resulting from the nice cool
4) Pap is represented by discomfort resulting from the sand storm, which
brought dust into the house.
5) Asrava is represented by the influx of dust through the doors and
windows of the house which is similar to the influx of karman particles
to the soul.
6) Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house, which
is similar to bondage of karman particles to the soul.
7) Samvar is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop
the dust from
coming into the house, which is similar to the stoppage of influx of
karman particles to the soul.
8) Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of accumulated dust from
the house, which is
similar to shedding accumulated karmic particles from the soul.
9) Moksha is represented by the cleaned house, which is similar to the
shedding off all karmic particles from the soul.
1) Jiva: All living beings are called Jivas. jivas have a
consciousness known as the soul, which is also called the atma (soul -
chetan). The soul and body are two different entities. The soul cannot
be reproduced. It is described as a sort of energy which is
indestructible, invisible, and shapeless. Jainism divides jivas into
five categories ranging from one-sensed beings to five-sensed beings.
The body is merely a home for the soul. At the time of death, the soul
leaves the body to occupy a new one. Tirthankaras have said that the
soul has an infinite capacity to know and perceive. This capacity of
the soul is not experienced in its present state because of accumulated
2) Ajiva: Anything that does not have an soul is called ajiva. Ajiva
does not have consciousness. Jainism divides ajiva in five broad
categories: dharmastikay (medium of motion), adharmastikay (medium of
rest), akashastikay (space), pudgalastikay (matter), and kala (time).
3) Punya: By undertaking wholesome activities, we acquire punya or
good karmas. Some such activities are providing food or other items to
the needy people, doing charity work, propagating religion, etc. When
punya matures, it brings forth comfort and happiness.
4) Pap: By undertaking bad activities, we incur pap or bad karmas.
Some such activities are being cruel or violent, showing disrespect to
parents or teachers, being angry or greedy and showing arrogance or
indulging in deceit. When pap matures, it brings forth suffering,
misery, and unhappiness.
5) Asrava: The influx of karman particles to the soul is known as
asrava. It is caused by wrong belief, vowlessness (observing no vows),
passions, negligence, and psychophysical activities. Such and influx of
karmas is facilitated by mental, verbal, or physical activities.
6) Samvar: This is the process by which the influx of karman particles
is stopped. This is achieved by observing samiti (carefulness), gupti
(control), ten fold yati-dharma (Monkshood), and contemplating on the
twelve bhavanas (mental reflections), and parishaha (suffering).
7) Bandh: This refers to the actual binding of karman particles to the
soul. Bandh occurs when we react any situation with a sense of
attachment or aversion.
8) Nirjara: The process through which we shed karmas is called nirjara.
Karmas can be shed either by passivity or active efforts. When we
passively wait for karmas to mature and to give their results in due
time, it is called Akam Nirjara. On the other side, if we put active
efforts for karmas to mature earlier than supposed to be, it is called
Sakam Nirjara. Sakam Nirjara can be achieved by performing penance,
regretting, asking for forgiveness for the discomfort we might have
caused to someone, or meditation, etc.
9) Moksha: If we rid ourselves of all karmas, we will attain moksha or
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