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Concept Of Ajiva In Jainism


Six Dravyas

According to Jainsim this universe is composed of six fundamental verities; the Jain word for the universe is "Loka" The co-existence of these six substances is called "Loka".

There are five Astikayas. (massed verities) among these six fundamental verities. Jiva, Padgala, Dharma, Adharma Akasa and Kala - these are the six fundamental verities. Except Kala, the five are Astikayas. These five Astikayas can be grouped under one name Ajiva.

The Jiva dravya has 563 divisions, while the Ajiva dravya has 560 divisions. Jiva and Ajiva are included in the nine tattvas and the six dravyas.

The universe is made of Jiva and Ajiva. There are only two tattvas in the univese : (1) Sentient (2) Non-sentient. Jiva is sentient, with a soul while Ajiva is non-sentient, without a soul.

There are detailed and lucid discussions on the nature of Jiva and Ajiva in Jain literature. Ajiva dravya plays a crucial role in the construction and management of the universe. A short discussion follows :

Ajivatattva is not an agent nor an enjoyer nor a sufferer and it has no soul sentience or Jiva. Like Jiva, the Ajiva tattva is beginningless, endless and eternal. There are two main types of Ajiva - (1) formless and (2) with a form. Dharma, Adharma, Akasa and Kala are formless, while Pudgala has a form.

Except Kala, the other five dravyas are called Astikayas. Astikaya means having a group of Pradeshes. The constituent units every fundamental verity is called a Pradesha. The Kaya (mass) of Pradeshas is Astikaya

"Astikaya is Pradesatmaka, i.e. occupies space; hence it is called an ‘expanded entity’. Kala is not so called because it has astiva (existance) but not Kayatva (expansion in space)".

Dr. S.K. Belvelkar - Brahma - Sutrabhasya 2-2-33

Dharmastikaya and Adharmastikaya

The words - Dharma and Adharma are used here in a technical, special sense. They are not used here in the traditional sense of good conduct and bad conduct. The peculiar meaning of these two words in Jain religion is an original contribution of Jainism to the world.

The famous scientist Newton was the first to accept the Principle of motion. A fruit falls down form a higher level. Words flow from a flute. There is some medium through which a substance passes. Scientists give the name ‘ether’ to this medium. But Bhagavan Mahavira said ago 2500 years ago that all moving psychical states are only the subtlest vibrations. All these become active through the help of ‘dharma’.

We are able to move through dharmastikaya; birds can fly and fish can swim. Thus, that which helps motion is ‘Dharma’. It is a mass of pradeshas; hence it is called dharmastikaya.

Dharma helps motion, while adharma helps inertia.

The support of Jiva or Ajiva, which remains steady is a tattva which helps inertia. It is called Adharmastikaya. It helps in keeping one steady.

Whatever is moving or steady in this world is due to these two astikayas. Only Jainism uses these two words - Dharma and Adharma, in this peculiar sense.   



Akasa (space) means the place where Jiva and Ajiva are accommodated. It is formless and supportless. All these six dravyas are accommodated by it.

Akasastikaya is the receptacle of all motion and inertia, Kala and Pudgalas - directions and intermediate directions are its imaginary divisions. Pervasion is its property.

There are 2 types of Akasa. Lokakasa and Alokakasa. That area is called Lokakasa where Dharma and Adharma, the two helping entities in motion and inertia, reach; while infinite space, where there is no Jiva or Ajiva is called Alokakasa.


Only Jainism has discussed, in detail, the nature of Pudgala. The word ‘physical element’ is current, while Jainism calls it ‘Pudgala’. The word Paramanu (atom) has become current nowadays in science and technology. There is a well-known theory of ‘atomism’. Jainism has discussed, the parmmanu for the first time. Pudgaladravya is divisible in small, big, minute and coarse pieces. Jiva, Dharma, Adharma, and Akasa are non-divisible. There are no conjuctions and disjuctions in them. Pudgala is not an impartite substance. It comes into existence, it is destoryed. Permanent and regular change is its nature.

The smallest and minutest form of a Pudgala is a Paramanu. The Padgala, which cannot be cut, pierced, grasped, burnt and divided is a Paramanu.

Eight types of touch, five types of taste, two types of smell, five types of colour - these twenty are the qualities of a Pudgala.

Four types of Pudgala :

(1) Skandha - The impartite portion of a Paramanu
(2) Desa - Imaginary portion of a skandha
(3) Pradesa - an indivisible part, jointed with the skandha
(4) Parmanu - the minutest part, separate from a skandha.

There are 8 types of a Parmanu.

When a parmanu is changed into a skandha, it has ten forms such as word, sunshine, shade, light etc.

Jain religion has, for the first time, called Shabda (word) a Pudgala and discussed it deeply and fully. It has for the first time said that a word moves quickly, pervades the world, and remains steady in the world. The concrete form of this thinking by Jainism is seen today in messages through telegrams, phones, the radio, the T.V. etc.

Kala (Time)

The word ‘Time’ explained in simple and easy way, is Kala, but this is only one type. There are 4 types of Kala.

1. Pramana Kala - An object is measured through kala hence it is called pramana kala.

2. Yathayu nivrti kala - life and death are relative. The various stages of life are therefore called yathayu nivrtti kala.

3. Marana kala - The end of life is called marana kala.

4. Adda kala - The kala conected with the motion of the sun and the moon is called Adda Kala.

Adda Kala is the most important division. The other three are its special forms. Adda Kala is used in practice and it is used in the human world. For example, day-night, past tense, present tense, future tense, etc.

The minutest part of kala is called ‘Samaya’.

The calculation of time in Jainism is typical and distinct. It is as follows :

* Indivisible kala - one samaya
* Innumerable samayas - one avalika
* 256 Availikas - one ksullaka dhava
* 2223-1229/3773 avalikas - one breath
* One breath - one prana
* 7 prans - one lava
* 38 1/2 lavas - one ghadi (24 minutes)
* 77 lavas - one muhurta (48 minutes)
* 30 muhurtas - one whole day
* 15 days - one fortnight
* 2 fortnights - one month
* 2 months - one season
* 3 seasons - one half of the year
* 2 halves of the year (ayanas) - one year
* 5 years - one yuga
* 70 Krodakroda 56 lakh kroda years - one purva
* Innumerable purvas - one palyopama
* 10 krodakroda palyopamas - one sagaropama
* 20 krodakroda sagaropamas - one kalacakra
* Infinite number of kalacakras - one pudgala paravartana

The briefest form of all these varieties of kala - today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Literature - Read ‘Navatattva,’ ‘Tattvayathasutra,’ and ‘Padarthasangraha,’ etc.



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