Pristine Jainism ► Symbiotic Aspects Of Jainism ► Symbiotic Concepts of Jainism

Posted: 21.05.2012

Jainism subscribes to mutualism and opposes predation, parasitism, exploitation and violence in any form. It enjoins on its laity (house holders) and ascetics (monks) strict adherance to code of conduct, revering all forms of life, big and small and prescribing careful, judicious utilisation of gifts of nature with utmost respect for all animate and in animate constituents of environment. According to Jainism the universe comprises six substances (Dravyas) viz., Jiva (all life forms), Pudgal (all inanimate matter), Dharma (substance instrumental in motion), Adharma (substance instrumental in stay), Akasa (all space) and Kala (time). The following excerpts from chapter V of Tatavartha Sutra (Moksha Shastra) by Acharya Umaswami, which is one of the most authentic and accepted canonical literatures, emphasise the mutuality (syhmbiotic existence) of all six substances.

॥गतिस्थित्य्रपग्रहो धर्माधर्म योरुपकारः॥17॥
[Dharma and Adharma substances are instrumental for motion and stay of Jiva and Pudgal and it is their benevolence]

॥ आकाशस्यावगाह॥18॥
[Akasa i.e. space gives place to all ]

॥ शरीरवाङ्मन प्राणपानाः पुद्गलानाम॥19॥
॥ सुखदुःख जीवित मरणोपग्रहाश्च॥20॥
[Pudgal i.e. matter is instrumental for the formation of body, speech, mind and also for happiness misery and the life and death of Jiva]

The doctrine of Karma in Jainism is based on the principle of interaction between soul, matter and environment. The manifestation of soul in passions, commissions and omissions, good or bad, interact and imbibe subtle matter which in turn then conditions the inherent cognitive and intuitional propertics of soul and resultant manifestation of passions and deeds in relation to ambient enviroment. Thus Jiva (Soul) and Pudgal (matter) interact and influence mutually the actions and reactions]

॥ परस्परोपग्रहो जीवानाम्॥21॥
[All life forms are for mutual benefit i.e. even the smallest life forms have beneficial role for the complex whole and therefore must be revered and protected]

॥ वर्तना परिणाम क्रिया परत्वापरत्वे च कालस्य॥22॥
[Kala i.e. time is flowing reality and is instrumental for various actions, interaction of Jiva (Soul) and Pudgal (matter)]

Even the liberated souls (Muktatma) in the highest and purest state (Siddha State) are symbiotic and considerate towards similar other souls. According to Jainism these liberated souls live in eternal peace in a limited space at Siddha Shila at the top of Universe. There are innumerable (Ananta) souls and more and more go on joining them with the passage of time. Though space is limited but there is no problem as each one soul can give space to innumerable other souls within its own space (dimensions) because of its intrinsic infinite power of permeability (Avgahna Shakti). They give space even to the lowest life forms (Nigodiyas). This is an extreme example of symbiosis and cooperation.

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Pristine Jainism
(Beyond rituals and superstitions)


Parshwanath Vidyapeeth, Varanasi, India


Prof. Sagarmal Jain