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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: Neither The Basis For Classification Of Living Organisms Nor The Stages Of Spiritual Advancement Are Identifiable As 'Soul'

Published: 04.06.2010
Updated: 25.06.2010

ekkaṃ ca doṇṇi tiṇṇi ya cattāri ya indiyā jῑvā.
bādarapajjattidarā payaḍῑo ṇāmakammassa..

edāhi ya nivvattā jῑvaṭṭhāṇā du karaṇabhūdāhiṃ.
 payaḍῑhiṃ poggalamaihi tāhi kiha bhaṇṇade jῑvo..

pajjattāpajjattā je suhumā bādarā ya je jῑva.
 dehassa jῑvasaṇṇā sutte vavahārado uttā..

mohaṇakammassudayā du vaṇṇidā je ime gunaṭthāṇā.
 te kiha havaṃti jῑvā je ṇiccamacedaṇā uttā..

(Ekkaṃ ca doṇṇi tiṇṇi ya cattāri ya paṃciṃdiyā) Possession of one sense, two senses, three, four and five senses (vādarāpajjattidara) to be gross and fully developed or their opposites viz., subtle and partly developed—all these are (different) sub-species of body-making—nāma karma; (Edāhi ya payadῑhiṃ poggalamihi) these sub-species are karmic matter (tāhi du karaṇabhūdāhiṃ jῑvaṭṭhāṇā ṇivatta) and (different) classes of living organisms are their modifications, (jῑvo kiha bhaṇṇade) how can they be called soul?

(Je pajjattāpajjattā je suhumā vādarā) Fully developed or partly developed, subtle or gross etc. (jῑvā) are called classes of living organisms (dehassa jῑvasaṇṇā) on the basis of differences in their bodies; all these (sutte vavahārado uttā) are so mentioned in the scriptures only empirically.

(Je ime guṇaṭṭhāṇā) The aforementioned stages of spiritual purification (mohaṇakammassudayā du vaṇṇidā) are shown to be (different) degrees of fruition of the deluding karma (je niccamacedaṇā uttā) and which are always inanimate being karmic matter; (te kiha havaṃti jῑvā) how can these become conscious (animate) i.e., soul?


In previous verses (50 to 55) the author had enumerated many attributes which were finally stated/declared to be modifications of matter. Of these attributes such as colour, smell and the like (which were patently physical qualities and modes because they could be ascribed to the gross or physical body) were dealt with in the preceding verses (56 to 64). Now in these verses some more complex attributes (which are not so obviously material and cannot be ascribed to the physical body, because they are the results of the interaction of soul with karmic matter) are dealt with. Important among such attributes are jῑvastānas—classifications of living organisms i.e., souls subject to metempsychosis and guṇasthānas—stages of spiritual purification. Former are the results of the fruition of body-building (nāma) karma and āyuṣya karma. Thus ultimately they are modifications of karmic matter. Guṇasthānas are fourteen stages of spiritual advancement on the path of emancipation. These stages are of the nature of purification due to the emergence of obscured qualities of the soul consequent upon the demolition or subsidence of the deluding karma. Thus ultimately both are modifications of karmic matter and not those of the soul.

Classification of Souls: Basically there are two categories of souls:

  1. Living organisms--those which move from birth to birth are subject to metempsychosis and
  2. Those who are emancipated. All emancipated souls are exactly identical to one another and are, therefore, not subject to further division. Those subject to metempsychosis are classifiable from various aspects. One of these aspects is jāti i.e., number of senses possessed by the organism. Thus there are--
    1. One-sensed organisms such as plants,
    2. Two-sensed organisms such as worms,
    3. Three-sensed organisms such as ants,
    4. Four-sensed organisms such as bees and flies, and
    5. Five-sensed organisms which include animals and humans.

From some other aspects they are classified as subtle or gross, fully developed (paryāpta) [1] or partly developed; males, females, bisexuals or asexuals. Some other aspects are: four types of gati (realms of mundane existence), six types of beings based on the material of their bodies and so on. All these innumerable varieties are determined by the fruition of different sub-species of the body-making (nāma) karma. Since the substantive cause of all these manifestations is karmic matter, how can they be called souls or possessed by souls?

It is true that in the scriptures such classifications, as stated above, are mentioned as classes of jīva. But it should be remembered that they basically refer to the varieties of the bodies and conventionally applied to jīva. And hence the scriptural statements must be taken as made in popular parlance and not ultimate.

And finally, the stages of spiritual progress—guṇasthānas—are no doubt referred to and made applicable to the soul, also in popular parlance. In the ultimate analysis they are also proved to be different degrees of fruition, subsidence or destruction-cum-subsidence of the deluding (mohanīya) karma. Deluding karma is also like body-making karma composed of karmic matter. So again, how can even stages of spiritual development become soul since ultimately they are karmic matter?

(Idi dudiyo jῑvājῑvādhiyāro samatto)

[Here ends the second chapter on Psycho-physical Relations]


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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda Publishers:
Jain Vishva Bharati University First Edition: 2009

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhāṣā
  2. Body
  3. Environment
  4. Gati
  5. Guṇasthānas
  6. Indriya
  7. Jīva
  8. Karma
  9. Karmic matter
  10. Manaḥ
  11. Mohanīya
  12. Nāma
  13. Nāma Karma
  14. Nāma karma
  15. Paryāpta
  16. Paryāpti
  17. Prāṇa
  18. Soul
  19. āhāra
  20. āyuṣya
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