Go to Homepage

A comprehensive guide to Jains, Jainism & Jain places of Pilgrimage

[ Home ][What is a Tirth][Tirth - Gujarat][Tirth - Rajasthan] [ Tirth - Rest of India ][ Jainism ][Tirthankars]

<< Back

Philosophy Of Jain Dharma

Nine Tattvas

Knowledge occupies the first place in self realization. It is further stated - "First knowledge, then compassion".

If one properly and thoroughly grasps the purpose of compassion and the person to whom compassion is to be shown, then and only then, the bestowing of mercy bears fruit. Mercy or compassion is therefore given the second place. Knowledge comes first.

He who does not know himself - who he is, where he has come from or the purpose of his life - cannot be helpful to himself.

Knowledge is deep, unfathomable and infinite. Only the person who is endowed with attaining absolute knowledge can possible master it. For attaining sbsolute knowledge therefore, it is first of all necessary to have the knowledge of the nine tattvas.

Infinite knowledge is, only the vast extpansion of these nine tattvas. The aspirant attains to the bliss of his soul definitely through this knowledge, plus, of course, faith.

The nine tattvas of Jainism are -

1. Jiva, 2. Ajiva,
3. Punya, 4. Papa,
5 Asrava, 6. Samvara,
7. Nirjara, 8. Bandha,
9. Moksa.

He who knows these nine tattvas gets interested in them and grasps them, has full faith in them; he is the person duly qualified to realize the soul. Such a duly qualified aspirant is known as a samakit, i.e. one on whom right knowledge has dawned.

Knowledge of and unstinted faith in these nine tattvas is called. "Samyaktva" (righteousness) or rather "Samakiti", which is the first step to the pilgrimage on the path of liberation. Without attaining samyaktva, the soul can never attain liberation.

Nine Tattvas In Brief

Jiva is called the soul. Soul is a sentient, formless entity. Sentience is the essential characteristic of the soul.

1. Jiva (the soul)
There are 563 types of soul

2. Ajiva (non-soul)
Absence of sentience or soul is Ajiva. It is so called because it is inert and it remains without a soul forever.Ajivatattva consists of 560 types.

3. Punyatattva (merit)
The soul receives, it earns good Karma-pudgalas (Karmic matter) by noble thoughts and feelings, good conduct of mind, words or body. This is designated ‘Punyatattva’. (merit).
Nine different ways are shown to acquire merit :
(1) Annadana or giving food to the hungry and alms to ascetics, etc.
(2) Jaladana or giving water to the thirsty.
(3) Giving vessels, etc.
(4) Giving clothes, etc.
(5) Giving beds and resting places, etc.
(6) By thinking only of good to others.
(7) By praising merits.
(8) By other services to good people, ascetics, etc.
(9) By praising and honouring worthy persons.

A meritorious person enjoys good fruits and rewards of 42 types.

4. Papatattva (Demerit) :
The soul becomes the recipient of bad Karma-pudgalas (Karmic matter) through bad feelings, bad thoughts and bad conduct of mind, words and body.

Sins arise from eighteen sources.

(1) Violence
(2) Falsehood
(3) Theft
(4) Adultery
(5) Covetousness
(6) Anger
(7) Pride
(8) Deceit
(9) Greed
(10) Attachment
(11) Jealousy
(12) Quarrels
(13) Allegations
(14) Backbiting
(15) Censure
(16) Joy and misery
(17) Falsehood through deceit
(18) Faith in false doctrines

By the practice of one or more of these sins, the soul gets bound. The sinful man receives bad fruits or rewards of 85 types.

5. Ashravatattva (influx of karmic matter) :
The inlets through which karma particles (pudgalas) enter the soul and make it sinful are called Asravatattvas.

Water fails to enter a bucket or utensil if it is intact and without any hole. Water cannot enter a ship if it is without any hole. Similarly the inlets or holes through which karma pudgalas enter the soul are known as "Asrava". In other words, Ashravas are the inlets through which karmic matter flows.

The number of Asravas is 42. It is through these that the soul sinks into the ocean of life.

6. Samvaratattva (stopping the entry of karma) :

"Samvara" means stoppage or prevention. "Samvara"thus means closing the inlets or causes through which the karma enters the soul.

7. Nirjaratattva (drying up) :

Agreed that through Samvara, the entry of karma is stopped. But what about the karmas that have already entered the soul ? To dry up or destory these karmas is what is known as Nirjara. 12 are the ways in which Nirjara works. These constitute the twelve types of penances prescribed by the Jain code of conduct.

8. Bandha (bondages) :

The position of the soul between asrava and nirjara is called "Bandha" (bondage). The process of transformation of karmic atoms into karma attaching to the soul, is called Baudha.

Just like water in milk, oil in til, fragrance in flowers, the soul and the karmic matter are bound with each other. This is "Bandha".

Four are the types of Bandha.

9. Moksa (liberation) :

The complete annihilation and cessation of all types of karma is designated Moksa.

Moksa can be attained by the potent and pure practice of these four - right faith, right knowledge, right conduct and austerties.

Out of these nine tattvas Jiva and Ajiva are jneya (worth knowing) Papa, Asrava and Bandha are heya (deserving to be condemned and abandoned).

Punya, Samvara, Nirjara and Moksa - these four are upadeya (deserving to be put into practice.

Literature for deeper study-

"Navatattva", and "Tattvartha sutra"



About Us | Feedback
copyright© 2001, Jinalaya.com Prodigy Software Ltd India, a Weathercraft group company
Best viewed with a resolution of 800*600 and 256 colors or higher