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Main Points in Jainism

Fundamental Principles (Tattvas)

Main article: Tattva (Jainism)

Jain philosophy can be described in various ways, but the most acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms of the Tattvas or fundamentals.[2] Without knowing them one cannot progress towards liberation. They are:

  1. Jīva - Souls and living things
  2. Ajiva - Non-living things
  3. Asrava - Influx of karma
  4. Bandha - The bondage of karma
  5. Samvara - The stoppage of influx of karma
  6. Nirjara - Shedding of karma
  7. Moksha - Liberation or Salvation

Each one of these fundamental principles are discussed and explained by Jain Scholars in depth.[3] There are two examples that can be used to explain the above principle intuitively.

(1) A man rides a wooden boat to reach the other side of the river. Now the man is Jiva, the boat is ajiva. Now the boat has a leak and water flows in. That incoming of water is Asrava and accumulating there is Bandh, Now the man tries to save the boat by blocking the hole. That blockage is Samvara and throwing the water outside is Nirjara. Now the man crosses the river and reaches his destination, Moksha.

Nine substances

Nine substances are explained as: Consider a family living in a house. One day, they were enjoying a fresh cool breeze coming through their open doors and windows of the house. However, the weather suddenly changed to a terrible dust storm. The family, realizing the storm, closed the doors and windows. But, by the time they could close all the doors and windows some of the dust had been blown into the house. After closing the doors and the windows, they started clearing the dust that had come in to make the house clean again.

This simple scenario can be interpreted as follows:

  1. Jivas are represented by the living people.
  2. Ajiva is represented by the house.
  3. Punya is represented by enjoyment resulting from the cool breeze.
  4. Pap is represented by the discomfort resulting from the storm.
  5. Asrava is represented by the influx of dust.
  6. Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house.
  7. Samvara is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop the accumulation of dust.
  8. Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of already collected dust from the house.
  9. Moksha is represented by the cleaned house, which is similar to the shedding off all karmic particles from the soul.

Jīvas (souls)

Classification of Saṃsāri Jīvas (Transmigrating Souls) in Jainism.According to Sacred Jain text, Sarvārthasiddhi: "Immobile beings (sthāvara jīvās) possess the four vitalities of the sense-organ of touch, strength of body or energy, respiration and life-duration.[4]

There are five classes of beings:

One-sensed beings (Ekendriya Jiva) have:

Two-sensed beings (Beindriya Jiva) have:

Three-sensed beings (Trindriya Jiva) have:

Four-sensed beings (Caturendriya Jiva) have:

Five-sensed beings (Pañcendriya Jiva) have:

There are two sub-categories among the five-sensed beings: Sanjñi - With mind; Asanjñi - Without mind


A prana (vitalities) is the inherent ability of a jiva to perform a certain act. The 10 pranas are as under:

  1. Shrotrendriya Prana - Ability to hear
  2. Caksurendriya Prana - Ability to see
  3. Ghranendriya Prana - Ability to smell
  4. Rasanendriya Prana - Ability to taste
  5. Sparshanendriya Prana - Ability to touch
  6. Manabala Prana - Ability to think
  7. Vacanabala Prana - Ability to speak
  8. Kayabala Prana - Physical ability
  9. Shvasocchvasabala Prana - Ability to breathe
  10. Ayushyabala Prana - Ability to live.

(It is said that any living being lives only as long as his/her Ayushyabala Prana permits him/her to.)

Types of Kaya (Bodies)


The Five Indriyas, or 5 senses are:

  1. Sparshana Indriya - Sense of touch
  2. Rasana Indriya - Sense of taste
  3. Ghrana Indriya - Sense of smelling
  4. Chakshu Indriya - Sense of seeing
  5. Karna or Shrotra Indriya - Sense of hearing


Paryaptis or sufficiencies, which are determined by the presence of karmin particles in each soul at the time the soul is taking a new birth. Paryaptis are of 6 types:

  1. Ahara Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that determine the ability of a jiva to eat
  2. Sharira Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that determine the ability of a jiva to have a body.
  3. Indriya Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that determine the ability of a jiva to have the organs of sense, namely, touch, taste, smell, hearing and vision.
  4. Shvasocchvasa Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that enable a jiva to breathe.
  5. Bhasha Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that enable a jiva to speak.
  6. Mana Paryapti - The presence of karmic particles that enable a jiva to think rationally and distinguish between the heya (avoidable), jneya (knowable but not doable) and upadeya (worthy of emulation).

Types of physique

Worldly souls (souls that have not attained liberation) are accompanied by 5 types of physique:

  1. Audarika Sharira - The physical body, made up of skin, bones, meat, blood, etc. All the living beings who lived on Earth have this body.
  2. Vaikriyaka Sharira - The body of heavenly beings and hellish beings. Not subject to the physical laws of the Earth. It is believed that this kind of physique can morph into various forms.
  3. Aharaka Sharira - This is a special kind of physique and can only be formed by very special ascetics who are extremely learned in the Ancient texts (the Purvas).
  4. Taijas Sharira - This kind of physique is had by each living being, since it is essential in order to absorb the food we eat, the liquids we drink and the air we breathe. It is likened to fire, since fire can consume all before it.
  5. Karmana Sharira - This kind of physique is had by each living being which is not liberated, whether the being lives in hell, heaven or Earth. This physique is made of karmas.


The fifteen Yogas (sum total of activities) are made up of four Manoyogas (mental activities), four Vacanayogas (verbal activities), and seven Kayayogas (physical activities).

The four Manoyogas are:

The four Vacanayogas are:

The 7 Kayayogas are:

Karma theory

Main article: Karma in Jainism

The Jain religion places great emphasis on Karma. Essentially, it means that all jivas reap what they sow. A happy or miserable existence is influenced by actions in previous births. These results may not occur in the same life, and what we sow is not limited to physical actions. Physical, verbal, and mental activities affect future situations. Karma has long been an essential component of Jainism, and other Indian religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. It is believed generally that an omniscient Tirthankar can foresee all things, long before science.

Types of Karmas

  1. Ghātki karmas are those karmas that obstruct the soul's innate abilities of omniscience, omni-perception, supreme bliss and omnipotence.
  2. Jñānāvaraṇīya karma - Karmas that obstruct the soul's intrinsic ability to know everything (omniscience)
  3. Darśanāvaraṇīya karma - Karmas that obstruct the soul's intrinsic ability to see everything (omni-perception)
  4. Mohanīya karma - Deluding karmas that obstruct the soul's intrinsic ability to be supremely blissful.
  5. Antarāya karma - Obstruction-causing karmas that obstruct the soul's intrinsic supreme strength (omnipotence)
  1. Aaghātki karmas are those karmas that cause temporal bondage.
  2. Vedanīya karma - Karmas that cause feelings of happiness and unhappiness.
  3. Nāma karma - Karmas that determine the type of body the soul will take birth in.
  4. Āyushya karma - Karmas that determine life span of the body the soul will take birth in.
  5. Gotra karma - Karmas that determine whether one is born in a high status family or a low status family.

Components of Samyaktva

Bhāvanā (Mental Contemplations)

Sinful activities

Jains observe the vow of ahimsa and refrain from all violence. It is recommend that sinful activities should be eradicated. Some sinful activities are as under:

  1. Pranatipata/Himsa: Violence
  2. Mrushavada: Untruth
  3. Adatadana: Theft
  4. Maithuna: Unchaste behaviour
  5. Parigraha: Possessiveness
  6. Krodha: Anger
  7. Mana: Arrogance
  8. Maya: Illusion
  9. Lobha: Greed
  10. Raga: Attachment
  11. Dvesha: Hate
  12. Kalaha: Agitation
  13. Abhyakhyana: Accusation
  14. Paishunya: Gossip
  15. Rati-Arati: Likes and dislikes
  16. Para-parivada: Criticism
  17. Mayavrushavada: Obsession
  18. Mithyatvashalya --- Wrong belief


  1. ^ Collected these points during my visit to South Indian Jain religious place at Ponnur Hill, Kund Kund Nagar, Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu, PIN 604505, India. It is a logical explanation of the Jainism philosophy in summary form.
  2. ^ Uma Swami, Tattvartha Sutra,100-200 BC
  3. ^ Mehta, T.U. Path of Arhat - A Religious Democracy, Volume 63 Page 112, Faridabad: Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha, 1993.
  4. ^ Jain 1960, p. 62-63.

Works cited