Justice T.U.Mehta


Categories of Ajiva ( Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma, Akasa, Kala )

"Jiva and Ajiva together constitute universe. If they are separate, nothing more is needed. If united, as usually is the case, the stoppage, the gradual and then ultimate destruction of the union is the only possible course of considering them."

Really the bondage is nothing but the union of Jiva and Ajiva. This union is from the time immemorial, hence there is endless effort on the part of every Jiva to break this union to achieve real freedom. That is why, the study of the nature and character of Ajiva is essential.

Lay meaning of Ajiva is the thing not moving. But in Jaina metaphysics this term does not connote that sense because, here, some specific Jivas also are immobile - those found in earth and other immovable matters.


Categories of Ajiva

In short, Ajivas are those who are not Jivas. The categorization of Ajivas would give us proper understanding of the expression. There are five categories of Ajiva, namely - 1, Fudgala, 2. Dharma, 3. Adharma, 4. Akasa and 5. Kala. The Jainas have bestowed upon these terms the special meanings, distinct from those ordinarily attached to them in day to day language. These are called Sad-dravyas. Their interplay with Jiva constitutes and explains all the movements of the universe. A brief description of the five types of Ajivas are as follows -

(1) Pudgala -- The most important of all the five Ajivas is Pudgala. Etymology of this expression clarifies its meaning. The term ‘Pud' connotes the process of combination and the term ‘gal' signifies dissociation. So the expression ‘Pudgala' means one in the constant process of combination and dissociation. In other words, Pudgala is that which undergoes constant outward change in form.

The Pudgalas are substances both tangible as well as intangible. They can, however, be perceived by senses. The Jaina philosophers have divided that the ‘Pudgala' dravyas upto the stage where further division is not possible. This is called ‘Anu', meaning atom. Pudgalas are of variegated types with innumerable atoms. Different atoms of different types of Pudgalas combine, dissolve and again combine in different and variegated forms. This process of combination gives rise to different and variegated molecules, referred to as ‘Skandha'. Thus, innumerable varieties of ‘Skandhas' with different varying qualities are found in the universe. Sri, Pujyapada Devanadi's classic ‘Sarvartha-siddhi' says that, some ‘Skandhas' are visible and some invisible. There are six forms of recognised ‘Skandhas'. Of these extremely subtle and beyond sense-perception are the ‘Skandhas' formed by particles of Karma. When the self (Jiva) enjoys sensual objects, it gets smeared with these Karma particles and this results in further journey of birth and rebirth of the self.

In short ‘Pudgala' may be defined as ‘that which can be experienced by sense-organs'.

According to Jaina view, the existence of Pudgala is real. It is distinct and separate from self. It has no beginning and no end. It is indestructible, though it is constantly changing in form. From time immemorial it is associated with self and gives its own colour to the self. Self works through it so long as it enjoys the sensations conveyed by it. But the effort of the aspiring self is to dissociate itself from the company of Pudgala and thus to gain its real luster and form.

This Jaina realism is quite distinct from the Sankara Vedanta considering Pudgala as ‘Maya', and illusion. The root ‘Ma' in Samskrta means ‘to form' and it is believed that the word ‘Magic' is derived from this root. So ‘Maya' means a formation which is not real. Sankhya philosophers think greatly in lines with Jainas. According to them, the universe is made up of two elements -‘Purusa', the Atman and ‘Prakrti', the matter. According to Sankhyas, however, Purusa, the Atman, remains ‘Kutastha', i.e., at the summit, isolated, and does not participate in any way in human pains, passions and feelings, though it ‘appears' to be involved in life because of apparent association with conditioning attributes of ‘Prakrti' (matter) which manifests itself in three aspects (Gunas), namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas (good, active and dark).

(2) Dharma - Here the word Dharma is not used in its popular sense that is religion. Dharma here means the principle of motion. It is a necessary condition and medium of motion. Conscious objects and other matters have their own motion but the medium through which they gain their motion is called Dharma. For example fish has its own motion but that motion is possible only through the medium of water. This medium which makes the motion possible, is Dharma. It is said that the nature of every object is its Dharma ‘Dhammo Vatthu Sahavo'. Word ‘Sahavo' means ‘Svabhava', i.e., one's own nature. Every object express itself and moves in the universe and progresses through the medium of its own nature. This medium itself is unconscious and is therefore Ajiva. In application of this theory to Atman (soul), it is important to note that so long as the soul moves through the medium of its ‘own nature' (Sva-bhava) it is moving in Dharma. ‘Sva-bhava of soul is its own consciousness. But when the soul is smeared by Kasayas, i.e., passions such as attachment, hatred, greed, etc. It moves in Para-bhava, i.e., in the field which is alien to it and hence, it is not moving in Dharma.

(3) Adharma : If Dharma signifies the principle of motion, Adharma in Jainism signifies the principle of non-motion, i.e., rest. It is also unconscious and so does not interfere with the motion of an object. It is just like earth which enables the moving object to take rest and stop the motion.

These concepts of Dharma and Adharma constitute the systematic dynamism of Universe, as without them, there would be chaos. If things of the Universe are moving according to their nature smoothly, the universe would function smoothly but not otherwise.

(4) Akasa (Space) - It is eternal and uncreated. Without space Dharma and Adharma cannot exist and pudgalas as well as Jivas cannot move. Space is also unconscious and is inseparable constituent of universe.

It is divided into two parts- Lokakasa and Alokakasa. ‘Lokakasa' means space for the functioning of six Dravyas and ‘Alokakasa' means space beyond Lokakasa, where nothing exists.

All these Dravyas except Kala namely Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma and Akasa move and form their own collections, called ‘Astikaya' meaning collectives in space.

(5) Kala (Time) - It does not require any space and has, therefore, no Asti-kaya. It is beginning-less, unconscious and helpful in measuring the changes in Pudgalas. Just as space is infinite, time is eternal and an unavoidable component of universe. It is in coordination of time, space and motion that Jiva (self) function in the universe in union with Pudgalas. It is Jivas's motivation which make Pudgalas active and the activity created thereby is manifested through space and time. This is how the universe functions.

This analytical concept of universe is peculiar only to the Jainas. It gives us a comprehensive idea of the whole mechanism of the functioning of universe and helps us in further understanding the life and its riddles.

Here, it would not be out of place if we revert back to some of the queries, posed in the beginning of the first chapter. "Whence has it all proceeded and whether is it tending ?" "Is it all without purpose, without aim and without a scheme ? Or, is all this created, guided and controlled by some super power, beyond human comprehension ?" These are the consequential questions, which may be replied, on the basis of discussion contained in the foregoing chapters, in the following manner :

(1) This Universe, is uncreated, is existent from eternity and will exist till eternity, having no beginning, no end.

(2) It is controlled and guided by its own force and not by any outside super power. Its motivating force is generated by one of its own principal elements, namely, spirit or soul.

(3) It is tending nowhere, but it supplies proper medium for its elements to function.

(4) The real ‘purpose', of all the strains and struggles and all the phenomenal happenings in the universe is to enable different Jivas (souls) to achieve final liberation through their own endeavour and obtain Godhood (State of Siddha).

(5) There is a recognizable and systematized scheme under which this universe is functioning, the main key being the theory of Karma and transmigration. It is not a super imposed scheme of any outside force. We may now proceed to consider how the main ‘purpose', that is, emancipation referred to in item no. 4 above, is fulfilled and what is the modus operandi thereof.