Jiva and Ajiva (Soul & Lifeless Substances)

1)  JIVA..

Types of Jiva.

Immobile Jivas.

Mobile Jivas.

Four Destinies (Gati).


Prän (Vitality).

Life Dependent on Plants.

2) Ajiva (Non-Living)



1)  JIVA


The principal characteristic of Jiva is upayog (conscious activity). Upayog is the resultant of consciousness which, according to the realistic point of view (Nischaya Naya), is the sole characteristic of Jiva. Upayog may be said to be an inclination which arises from consciousness.  The inclination is either towards Darshan (perception) or towards Jnän (knowledge).  Upayog can be subclassified in twelve parts - four types of Darshan - Chaksu, Achaksu, Avadhi and Kewal, and eight kinds of Jnän: Mati Jnän, Shrut Jnän,  Avadhi Jnän, Manah-paryaya Jnän, Kewal Jnän, KuMati or AJnän of Mati, KuShrut or AJnän of Shrut and VibhangJnän or AJnän of Avadhi.


From the realistic point of view (Nischaya Naya), Jiva is distinguished by its own major quality, consciousness.  Jiva is Ätmä (soul) and it has three major characteristics; a) consciousness, b) bliss and c) energy. The consciousness is the central quality of soul. The soul has a capacity to experience unlimited consciousness, unlimited bliss and unlimited energy, and once that state is achieved - the soul is liberated. There are infinite numbers of Jivas in Lokäkäsh. Darshan and Jnän are two indivisible categories of our consciousness. Darshan and Jnän are inherent in Jiva.  Only in common expression we separate  Darshan and  Jnän from Jiva, but in reality there is no such separation. Liberated Jivas have perfect Darshan and  Jnän.


Bliss is the next important quality of the soul, which can be felt by self-knowledge. The liberated Jivas have pure bliss (svabhäva). When blocked by obscuring/obstructing Karmas, the bliss becomes impure. Impure bliss is called vibhäva. Happiness is dependent on the purity of Darshan and Jnän. Based on the intensity, quantity, type and duration of Karma bound with a soul, the happiness is affected.


Energy (virya) is the third important quality of the soul. Amount of proper Darshan and Jnän is dependent on the amount of the energy and its use. Energy is the very operation of the knowledge and the perception. Impure energy can generate the vibration that attracts new Karmas. Efficient use of the energy can shed the Karmas. Energy can be expressed as the capacity of the soul to give (Dan), receive (läbha), enjoy (bhoga) and re-enjoy (upbhoga). Pure, proper and unlimited use of energy stops the influx of Karma and sheds the bondage of Karma, and soul realizes unlimited consciousness (Darshan and Jnän). Thus, the consciousness is the major element, energy is the operator of bondage  and the happiness is the effect.


Jiva is without beginning and without end. It always existed, it exists  and it will always exist. It is eternal. Jiva is separate from the body. It is arupi (colorless and formless). Jiva is the Kartä of Karma and it bears the consequences as well

Types of Jiva


(1) Siddha


(2) Sansäri




















One sensed

Two sensed

Three sensed

Four sensed

Five sensed


Sense of touch

Sense of touch

Sense of touch

Sense of touch

Sense of touch


Sense of taste

Sense of taste

Sense of taste

Sense of taste



Examples: shells,

Sense of smell

Sense of smell

Sense of smell



worms, insects,

Examples: bugs,

Sense of sight

Sense of sight




lice, etc.

Examples: flies,

Sense of hearing





beetles, scorpions,

Examples: Human





crickets, spiders,

beings, animals,






heavenly beings &






hellish beings.












Sädhärana Plant


Individual Plant




(Infinite/innum-erous souls per one common body; e.g. root vegetables)


(one soul per one body)




The living being is that which grows, decays, fluctuates, varies, eats, sleeps, awakes, acts, fears, rests; has knowledge and perception; attempts to self defend, and reproduces. These and other qualities are obvious in a physical body when the soul is present in it but when the soul leaves the body, these qualities cease. These qualities are external features, and the consciousness (chetanä) is the basic inner feature of the soul. This also makes it clear that the body and the soul are separate entities. Since the soul has a flexible size, it pervades the entire body that it occupies. For example, the same soul can occupy the body of an ant or an elephant. Such bodies stay alive as long as there is soul within.  A live body, or rather, a body with a soul is described as Jiva.


Jivas are categorized in two groups: 1. Liberated Jiva or Siddha and. 2. Non-liberated Jiva or Sansäri Jiva. Liberated souls have no Karmas and therefore, they are no longer in the cycle of birth and death. They do not live among us, but reside at the uppermost part of this universe called Siddhashilä. They are formless and shapeless, have perfect knowledge and perception, and have infinite vigor and bliss. All Siddhas are equal and there is no difference in their status.


On the other hand, non-liberated (worldly) Jivas have Karmas, and they are continually going through the cycle of birth and death. They experience happiness and pain, and have passions, which in turn cause the soul to wander. Except for the Jiva of  Arihants and kevalis, non-liberated Jivas have limited knowledge and perception. Jain scriptures state that there are 8.4 million species of Jiva in all. All Jivas have attributes  corresponding to their bodies like varying degree of paryäpti (bio-potential) and Prän (vitality). Ajiva does not possess any such qualities. Non-liberated Jivas can be classified as immobile and mobile.

Immobile Jivas

Immobile means Sthävar Jiva - those that can not move at will. They are one-sensed called ekendriya Jiva. Ekendriya Jivas are further divided into the following five sub-categories.


(1) Prithwikäya or earth bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of earth are actually living beings, e.g. clay, sand, metal, and coral, etc. They have earthly bodies, hence the name Prithwikäya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for earth, Prthwi.


(2) Apkäya or water bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of water are living beings, e.g. dew, fog, iceberg, rain, etc. They have water bodies, hence the name Apkäya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for water, Ap.


(3) Teukäya or fire bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of fires are living beings, e.g.  flames, blaze, lightening, forest fire, hot ash, etc. They have fire bodies, hence the name teukäya which is derived from the Sanskrit term fire, Tejas.


(4) Väyukäya or air bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of air are actually living beings e.g. wind, whirlwinds, and cyclones, etc. They have gaseous bodies, hence the name Väyukäy which is derived from the Sanskrit term for gas, Väyu.


(5) Vanaspatikäya or plant bodied: It is well known that plants grow, reproduce, etc., and are accepted as living beings. Trees, plants, branches, flowers, leaves,  and seeds, etc. are some examples of plant life. The Sanskrit term for plant is Vanaspati and therefore such Jivas are called Vanaspatikäya Jiva.


A plant life can have one or more souls in a single body and, depending upon this, plant life is further divided into the following two sub-categories:


a) Pratyek Vanaspatikäya:  Pratyek means one. Such plant life has one soul in one body. Therefore, they are called Pratyek Vanaspatikäya. Trees, plants, bushes, stem, branches, leaves, and seeds, etc. are all examples of Pratyek Vanaspatikäya Jiva.


b) Sädhäran Vanaspatikäya:  Sädhäran means common. In such plant life many souls occupy the same body making this type of plant life multi-organic.  Therefore, such plant life is called sädhäran Vanaspatikäya. Such plant life has infinite number of souls in one body and is called "Anantkäya". Roots such as potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beats, etc. belong to this category.


Tuber vegetation (root vegetables, kandamul) is classified as sädhäran vanaspatikäy (common body plants) in Jainism. Another word for it is nigod. There are two types of nigods - subtle (Sukshma) nigod and gross (sthul) nigod. Sukshma nigods are all over the universe, while sthul nigods are at few places. Omniscients have told us that there resides infinite souls in a space equivalent to the top of a sharp needle. In such a small place, there are innumerous nigod balls. There are innumerous layers in each nigod ball. In each layer, there are innumerous nigods. Each nigod has infinite souls.


Now another thing - there are many births and deaths involved in a life as nigod. In one breathing cycle, they have an average of 17-1/2 cycles of birth and death Nigod’s life  span is the shortest among all living beings. Its each life is called shullak(?) bhav. In forty eight minutes, each nigod has 65,536 bhavs. The body of a nigod is subtlest possible. Sukshma nigods are called avyavahär (impractical) räshi (division) Jiva. It means they have not come out of it in any other practical life-forms (vyavahär räshi) so far. Since the time without beginning (anädi käl), they have been in that same form. The question may arise: ‘What kind of Karmas Sukshma nigods might have acquired so that they have not been able to be born in a better living form? Only reply is that Sukshma nigod Jivas have been in that form since the time without beginning. One nigod soul comes to a practical living form (vyavahär räshi) when one soul is liberated. Number of Jivas in vyavahär räshi remains constant - the number does not increase or decrease. If 25 Jivas are liberated, 25 Jivas come out from the avyavahär räshi.

Mobile Jivas

Mobile means Trasa Jiva - those that can move at will. They are beindriya (two-sensed), treindriya (three sensed), chaureindriya (four sensed) and pancheindriya (five sensed) Jivas. Among the five sensed beings some have minds, while others do not. These two, three, four or five sensed beings are divided into the following categories:


(1) Two sensed beings (Beindriya Jiva): Two sensed beings have the senses of touch, and taste. e.g. shells, worms, insects, microbes in stale food, termites, etc.


(2)  Three sensed beings (Treindriya Jiva): Three sensed beings have the senses of  touch, taste, and smell, e.g. bugs, lice, white ants, moths and insects in wheat and other grains, centipedes, etc.


(3) Four sensed beings (Chaurindriya Jiva): Four sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, smell and sight, e.g. scorpions, crickets, spiders, beetles, locusts, flies, etc.


(4) Five sensed  beings (Panchendriya Jiva): Five sensed beings have all the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing e.g. human beings, cow, lions, fish, birds, etc. 


The following are four sub-categories of the Panchendriya Jivas.

a) Infernal (Näraki) - Jivas living in hell,

b) Tiryancha - Non-human beings  i.e. elephants, lions, birds, fish, insects, etc.            

c) Celestial (Dev) - heavenly beings,

d) Manushya - Human beings.


Among the five sensed beings some have minds, while others do not. Those having a mind are called  Sanjni Panchendriya and those without a mind are called Asanjni Panchendriya.

Four Destinies (Gati)

Unless the soul gets rid of its Karmas, it will never be free. When a living being dies it can be reborn into one of the four destinies. These four destinies or Gatis are: (1) Hellish beings, (2) Tiryancha beings, (3) Human beings and (4) Heavenly beings. (1)  Hellish Beings: As a hellish being (living in hell), one has to continuously suffer. Most of the time hellish beings fight among themselves, and cause more suffering to one another.  (2)  Tiryancha Beings: As a tiryancha (being born as an animal like lion, elephant, bird, plant, insects, etc.) one is considered to be in a lower form of life. (3)  Human Beings: As human beings we have been endowed with the ability to think and we can differentiate right from wrong. We can decide what is good for  us and what is not. We also have the capacity to control our mind and activities. We can learn about the wholesome religious principles of Jainism and put them into practice by adopting appropriate vows and restraints. We can also renounce worldly life for the monkhood which can lead to liberation from the worldly life (Sansär). (4)  Heavenly Beings: As heavenly being one has, of course, superior physical capabilities, various supernatural powers, and access to all luxuries. But heavenly life is also impermanent and when it comes to an end, heavenly beings feel very unhappy. They cannot adopt restraints or renounce their lives to become monks or nuns. Therefore, there is no liberation in heavenly life. Such beings have to be reborn as human beings in order to attain liberation.


Among all of these Jivas the most happiness is found in the heavenly beings, while the most suffering is found in the hellish beings. Neither heavenly nor hellish beings can perform any austerities and cannot attain liberation during that life. Animals possess limited restraint and therefore, they also cannot attain liberation directly. The human state of existence is the most preferable because during that life one can use logic to the fullest extent, can observe austerities, can live with restraint, and thus only through the human phase a Jiva can attain liberation or Moksha.


Paryäpti means special bio-potential power through which the Jiva takes in matter (Pudgals) like food and converts it into different kinds of bio-potential powers. There are six kinds of Paryäptis: (1) Ähär (food), (2) Sharir (body), (3) Indriya (senses),  (4) Shväsoshväs (respiration), (5) Bhäshä (speech) and (6) Mana (mind). When the life of a Jiva is over, the soul along with tejas and Karman bodies leaves that body and acquires a new one. As soon as a Jiva is conceived, the first thing it does is to consume food. The Jiva, with the help of Tejas body, digests the food. After this, the Jiva gradually completes the bio-potential of the body and then that of the senses.  The activities of consuming food, developing the body, and forming and strengthening the sense-organs go on continuously. Next, the Jiva receives the matter of respiration which allows it to acquire bio-potential of respiration, then for speech and eventually the bio-potential of mind. All the bio-potentials are formed in an Antarmuhurt (within 48 minutes).


The Ekendriya, one sensed Jivas have (1) Ähär, (2) Sharir, (3) Indriya, and  (4) Shväsoshväs Paryäptis. Beindriya, Treindriya, Chaurindriya  and Asanjni (without mind) Panchendriya Jivas possess (5) Bhäshä paryäpti in addition to the above four. Sanjni (with mind) Panchendriya Jivas possess (6) Mana paryäpti in addition to the above five. Depending upon the completeness of paryäptis the Jivas are also classified as (1) Paryäpta Jiva, (2) Aparyäpta Jiva. Paryäpta Jiva means that their corresponding paryäptis have developed to the full capacity. While, Aparyäpta Jiva means that their corresponding paryäptis are not yet developed to full capacity. They at least develop 3 paryäptis but no more than 4.


Type of Jiva

No. of paryäptis

No. of präns













Five-sensed (without mind)



Five-sensed (with mind)



Prän (Vitality)

Paryäpti is the reason and the Prän  is the action. We can call one is living as long he has his präns. Depending upon the development of the Jiva, there are up to ten kinds of Präns or vitalities present in each Jiva. These vitalities are: 1) Sparsh-Indriya (Touch): The ability to feel the sensation of touch, 2) Ras-Indriya (Taste): the ability to taste, 3) Ghrän-lndriya (Smell): the ability to smell, 4) Chakshu-lndriya (Vision): the ability to see, 5) Shrotra-Indriya (Hearing): the ability to hear, 6) Mano-bal (Mind): the ability to think, 7) Vachan-bal (Speech): the ability to speak, 8) Käy-bal (Body): the ability to move the body,  9) Shväsoshväs (Respiration): the ability to inhale and exhale, and  1O) Ayushya (Longevity): the ability to live.


The Ekendriya Jivas possess only four Präns: (1) Touch, (2) Respiration, (3) Body and (4) Life. The Beindriya Jivas possess six Präns: : (1) Touch, (2) Respiration, (3) Body, (4) Life, (5) Taste and (6) Speech. The Treindriya Jivas possess seven Präns (seventh one - Smell). The Chaurindriya Jivas possess eight Präns (eighth one - Vision).  Asanjni Panchendriya Jivas possess nine Präns (ninth one - Hearing). Sanjni Panchendriya Jivas possess all ten Präns.

Life Dependent on Plants

Without food, one’s body will not last too long. One should choose the food in a manner that involves the minimum form of Himsä (violence). Using the Individual body plants (Pratyek vanaspatikäy) involves the minimum form of Himsä. Sädhärana (common body) plants have infinite souls in one body and therefore consuming them involves a higher form of Himsä. therefore, one should not use root vegetables.


One should develop a feeling of compassion for all living beings after knowing what Jiva is. One should abandon eating fish, meat and eggs. One should exercise restraint in using water, earth, fire and air because they are also living beings.

2) Ajiva (Non-Living)


Characteristics of Ajivas - no feelings of happiness or sadness; cannot endeavor itself, do not have the sense of fear even  if they face something that is harmful. Anything that does not have life (consciousness) is Ajiva.  Ajiva literally means without a soul and therefore, they cannot accumulate any Karmas. They have no birth, death, pleasure, or pain; they are achetan (inert). Examples of Ajivas are: a box, car, fan, television, photo frame, iron, watch, etc. There are  five kinds of Ajivas, and together with Jiva there are six basic substances (Dravyas). The universe consists of these six substances.  All of the six  substances are indestructible, imperishable, immortal, eternal and continuously undergo changes. Ajivas are of the following five categories:


(1)    Dharmästikäy (Medium of Motion) -

(2)    Adharmästikäy (Medium of Rest) -

(3)    Äkäshästikäy (Space) - provides the space. There are two subtypes - Lokäkäsh & Alokäkäsh

(4)    Käl (Time) - assists in modes of Jivas and pudgals

(5)    Pudgalästikäy ( Matter) - has nature of joining and disintegrating


The term Astikäy is formed of two words: Asti + Käy. Asti denotes Pradesh (smallest part - equivalent of paramänu) and Käy means samuh (collection). Parmänu means atom. Per Jainism, paramänu is much subtler than the atom defined by today’s science. Parmänu is the smallest possible form that is indivisible. So, Astikäy means aggregate of Pradesh..


1.      Dharmästikäy (Medium Of Motion): Dharma is instrumental to Pudgal and Jiva in making movement. But, Dharma does not make them move. In the case of a fish in water, water is the Dharma and water helps the fish move. But the fish has to make an effort to move. Dharma is formless, inactive and eternal. Pudgal and Jiva cannot realize their potential until Dharma is present. There is one dharmästikäy in lokäkäsh with innumerous Predesh. Ether as identified by today’s science comes closer to Dharmästikäy.


2.      Adharmästikäy (Medium Of Rest): Adharma is instrumental to Pudgal and Jiva to stay at rest. But, Adharma does not make them rest. Shadow of a tree can provide the place for rest. But the shadow does not make Pudgal and Jiva to rest. Adharma is  opposite of the Dharma. Adharma is formless, inactive and eternal. There is one Adharmästikäy in lokäkäsh with innumerous Predesh.


3.      Äkäshästikäy (Space): Äkäsha (space) provides the space to other five substances. Akäsha does not act as an obstruction. There are two types of Akäsha; a) Lokakäsha and b) ALokäkäsh. Alokakäsha is beyond the Lokakäsha and is empty, has no other substances. The portion of the Äkäshästhikäy where all six substances are present is called lokäkäsh. There are three types of Lokäkäsh; a) Urdva Loka, where heavenly beings live, b) Madhya Loka - where human beings and other creatures live, and c) Adho Loka, where the inmates of the hell live. Siddhas are at the top of the Lokäkäsh. Even Siddhas cannot go in ALokäkäsh because Dharmästikäy is absent there.


4.      Käl (Time): There are two types of time: realistic (nishchaya) time and conventional (vyavahär) time. From realistic point of view, it means continuity. Time is the measure of changes. The conventional time is only in the first two and half continents (dwips) where human beings live.


The smallest indivisible portion of time is called Samaya. Samaya can be compared to a Parmänu. Time required for one blink of eye comprises innumerous Samayas. Combination of Samayas are: seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc.


Indivisible finest time                                     = 1 Samay

Countless Samayas                                      = 1 Ävalikä

16777216  Ävalikäs                                    = 1 Muhurt (48 minutes)

30 Muhurtas                                               = 1 Day and night

15  Days and nights                                      = 1 Fortnight 

2 Fortnights                                                  = 1 Month

12 Months                                                   = 1 Year

Countless years                                            = 1 Palyopam

10 Crores of Crores of Palyopams              =  1 Sägaropam

10 Crores of Crores of Sägaropams            =  l Utsarpini or 1 Avasarpini.

1 Utsarpini +  1 Avasarpini                        =  1 Kälchakra (One time cycle)

Infinite kälchakras                                       =   1 Pudgal parävartan käl


Jains believe that time is infinite, without any beginning or end. Time is divided into infinite equal time cycles (Kälchakras). Every time cycle is further sub-divided in two equal halves. The first half is the progressive cycle or ascending order, called Utsarpini.  The other half is the regressive cycle or the descending order, called Avasarpini. Every Utsarpini and Avasarpini is divided into six unequal periods called Äräs.  During the Utsarpini half cycle, development, happiness, strength, age, body, religious trends, etc. go from the worst conditions to the best. During the Avasarpini half cycle, development, happiness, strength, age, body, religious trends, etc. go from the best conditions to the worst. Presently, we are in the fifth Ärä of the Avasarpini phase. When the Avasarpini phase ends the Utsarpini phase begins. Thus Kälchakra goes on repeating and continues forever. The six Äräs of Avasarpini are called::  (1) Susham Susham (very happy),  (2) Susham (happy), (3) Susham Dusham (happy-unhappy), (4) Dusham Susham (unhappy-happy), (5) Dusham  (unhappy) and (6) Dusham Dusham (very unhappy). The Äräs in  Utsarpini are in the reverse order.


1)  Susham Susham:  This is the time of great happiness.  During this phase people are very tall and live for a very long period of time.  Children are born as twins, a boy and a girl. All their needs and desires are fulfilled by ten different kinds of Kalpavriksha (wish-giving trees).  The trees provide places to live, clothes, pots and pans, good food, fruits and sweets, harmonious music, jewelry, beautiful flowers, radiant lamps, and a bright light at night. There is no killing, crime, or other  vices.


2) Susham - This is also the phase of happiness, but not as happy as the first Ärä. The wish-giving trees still continue to provide for the people’s needs, but the people are not as tall and do not live so long. 


3) Susham Dusham - This is a phase consisting of more happiness than misery.  During this period the kalpavrikshas do not consistently provide what is desired.  Towards the end of this period in the current time cycle, Rushabhdev became the first Tirthankar. He realized that things were going to get worse. So he taught the people useful arts including, sewing, farming, and cooking which would enable them to depend upon themselves. He also introduced the political system and became the first king. That Ärä came to an end three years and eight months after the Nirvän of Rushabhdev. The first Chakravarti Bharat, Bahubali, known for his intense strength, and Brahmi who is believed to have devised eighteen alphabets were Rushabhdeva’s children.


4) Dusham Susham - This phase has more misery than happiness. The other twenty-three Tirthankaras and eleven Chakravarties were born during this Ärä which came to an end three years and eight months after Lord Mahavir’s Nirvän.


5) Dusham - This Ärä is currently prevailing.   It is an Ärä of unhappiness which began a little over 2,500 years ago and will last for a total of 21,000 years. No one born during this period will gain liberation in his present life, because no one will observe the true religion.  It is said that by the end of this Ärä, the Jain religion will be lost.


6) Dusham Dusham - This phase is of extreme misery and unhappiness. During this time people will experience nothing but suffering. There will be no trace of religious activities. The life spans of people will be very short, exceeding no more than twenty years.  Most people will be non-vegetarian and the social structure will be destroyed. The weather will become extreme, the days will be very hot, and the nights will be very cold.  At the end of this Ärä, a period of Utsarpini will start and the time wheel will take an upward swing. There will be days of rain which will provide nourishment so that seeds can once again grow.  Miseries will diminish and happiness will increase until very happy phase is once again reached.


Time is only an aid as the substance. It is not an astikäy since the present Samaya is one in number. In past, infinite time has passed by, but it cannot be accumulated. In future, infinite time will pass and still it will not be accumulated. Present Samaya becomes the past and the next Samaya becomes the present. When this happens, the past Samaya is destroyed and it no longer exists. Therefore, time is not considered astikäy, and it does not have any Pradesh. All other five substances have Pradesh and they are astikäys.


5.      Pudgalästikäy (Matter & Energy): Pudgal is made of Pud + Gal meaning Joining and disintegrating. Pudgals are matters and associated energy. Pudgals are constituted of atoms (Parmänu - finer than the current definition of atom by the science) , can be perceived by the senses (eye, nose, ear, touch and hearing) and have sensory qualities. Karmic matters are also Pudgalas. Body, bones, flesh, mental organs, speech, etc. are Pudgals.  There are infinite Pudgals in Lokäkäsh. Pudgal has the four properties of color (varna),  taste (ras), smell (gandha), and a  kind of palpability (sparsha, touch). These qualities  vary from time to time; for example, a red color being replaced by blue, or a sweet taste by bitter. Body, sense-organs, etc. are also pudgals. Out of the six substances only pudgals are rupi; they have form. Other substances are formless; they are invisible.


There are four forms of Pudgal (matter):-:1)  Skandha (whole-mass): Any object which is a mass of matter can be called skandha,  e.g., stick, stone, knife, a particle of sand, 2) Skandha-desa (portion of mass): Desa means a part, portion, or division. 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 part of Skandha): The smallest undetached portion of skandha, which cannot be further divided is called skandha-pradesa.   4) Paramänu  (atom):  When the smallest portion of the matter is separated from its skandha, it is called paramanu.  Parmänu cannot be further sub-divided, cut, or pierced. Karmic matter is one of the categories of Pudgal. Karmic particles are of finest matter not perceptible to the senses.  The entire universe is filled with karmic matter.


There are many types of atoms in the space (Loka-äkasha). One type of atoms does not combine with others. These atoms fall into first varganä (group). In second varganä (group), two atoms combine, and onwards. Second group is subtler than first one, and third one subtler than second one. Every atom has one color, one smell, one taste and two touches. There are eight touch qualities - rough, smooth, hot, cold, light, heavy, sticky and dry. The stickiness and dryness are the important qualities of the touch for bonding two or more atoms together. There are infinite levels (degrees) of stickiness and dryness.


·        For atoms of similar touch quality (stickiness or dryness) to bind, there should be at least a difference of two levels in their stickiness or dryness.

·        For atoms of opposite touch quality (one with stickiness and another with dryness), they should have similar level (at least two) of touch quality or a difference of two. The quality level should be even (2, 4, 6, etc.). The atoms with odd level (1, 3, 5, etc.) do not join with each other.

·        Therefore, there are infinite number of individual atoms that do not join with others. The group of such atoms is known as first varganä.

·        Similarly, there are infinite numbers of 2 atoms joined (such group is called second varganä), infinite numbers of 3 atoms joined (called third varganä), and going up to the group of infinite atoms joined.

·        Now we come to the great group called mahävarganä. In the first mahävarganä, there are infinite number of first varganäs, second, third, up to infinite varganäs. In second mahävarganä, the first group has one more atom joined than the last group of the first mahävarganä, (the first row of this mahävarganä has infinite number of such groups) and the last group has infinite more atoms joined than the last group of the first mahävarganä (the last row of this mahävarganä has infinite number of such groups). Similarly, third, fourth and up to sixteenth mahävarganä are there in this universe. The number of atoms are more and the size is finer in the second mahävarganä than in the first mahävarganä and onwards.

·        The mahävarganäs with odd number has no usefulness to the living beings. The body of human beings  and tiryancha, known as Audärik sharir, is made from second mahävarganä. The body of hellish beings and heavenly beings, called vaikriya sharir is made from fourth mahävarganä. Similarly, ähärak sharir (special holy body - only very knowledgeable Sädhus can have capacity to develop), Taijas sharir (body of vital energy), anäpana (respiratory system), Bhäsha (speech), Manah (mind) and Karman sharir are made from sixth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, fourteenth and sixteenth mahävarganä respectively. All living beings have taijasa sharir and Karman sharir in addition to their gross body.



6.      The knowledge of Jiva Jivä and Ajiva should inspire us to lead a life of self-restraint; should help in developing inner feelings that the soul is our true nature and we are obligated by its true nature. Ajiva should be used as a helpful substance. We should not develop any attachment to it. We should use pudgals with a feeling of necessity to maintain our body so that we can progress spiritually without any obstructions. We should always be aware that our true quality is our consciousness, and to purify it (free it from Karmas) should be the only objective of our life.