Acharanga Bhasyam: Sūtra 28-30 : The Earth-Bodied Beings, Their Animation And Experience Of Pain

Published: 11.10.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

1.28 se bemi - appege aṃdhamabbhe, appege aṃdhamacche.

Thus I say; some body pierces or cuts the blind (earth-bodied beings that have the feeling of intense pain like that of the human beings born blind, deaf, dumb, lame and deficient in other limbs).

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 28

The doubt might arise - are the earth-bodied objects living organisms? For the knowledge of subtle entities, extra-sensory perception is the only way. But the ancient authors have advanced some arguments to prove their existence. There is the sign of consciousness, such as replication, in the earth-bodied objects like the growth of a homogeneous slab in the rock, just as in the sprouts of the flesh of hemorrhoid.[1]

In his Pañcāstikāya, Ācārya Kundakunda has advanced the following arguments in order to prove the animate character of one-sensed beings: even as the animate character of the substances in an egg or in an embryo or in a person in coma is accepted, though there is no perceptible intelligent activities in them, exactly so the animate character of one-sensed being is to be admitted. There is similarity of the non-perceptibility of intelligent behaviour in the one-sensed being on the one hand and the five-sensed one inside the egg.[2]

Modern geologists also agree that rocks, mountains etc. undergo growth and decay. They suffer fatigue, metabolism and death that are sure signs of life.

As the consciousness in the aforesaid entities is unmanifest, they are not easily identifiable as living beings, like the creatures in whom consciousness is manifest. Lord Mahāvῑra did not propound mere consciousness in the earth, but he disclosed many other facts about them as listed below:

(i) Respiration

"O Lord," asked Gautama, "we do not perceive respiration in the earth-bodied organisms, nor do we know about it in them. Do they really inhale or exhale?"

"O Gautama," answered the Lord, "they can inhale and exhale from all the six directions, if there is no obstruction in any one of them. But in case there is obstruction, they can do so from only three, four or five sides according to circumstances."[3]

(ii) Senses (Karaṇas)

" O Lord!" asked Gautama, "How many means of action (Karaṇa) are there in one-sensed beings?"

"There are two", said the Lord, "corporeal means of action and karmic means of action."[4]

A sense is an instrument through which actions are done or feelings and cognitions are produced. The 'sense' is sometimes identified with the body; sometimes with karma; sometimes with the sensual organs; sometimes with psychic centres responsible for extra-sensory perception, sometimes with the centres of different sensations.

(iii) Sensation

Asked Gautama, "O Lord, do the earth-bodied beings feel pleasure and pain through their senses (karaṇas) or without them?"

Said the Lord, "they enjoy sensations through senses that are auspicious or inauspicious and not without any sense."[5]

Asked Gautama, " O Lord! the non-rational beings like the earth-bodied are blind, deluded, immersed in darkness and subject to non-rational sensations. Is it true?"

"O Gautama," said the Lord, "it is true indeed."[6]

(iv) Volume of the body

Asked Gautama, "O Lord! how big is the volume of the body of the earth-bodied beings?"

"O Gautama," said the Lord "If a young spouse to the paramount sovereign, with steady forepart of the arm and abdominal might, takes up a lump of earth-bodied beings, puts it on a sharp piece of rock and grinds it with a sharp pestle of stone, as hard as diamond, as many as twenty-one times, even then only a few of the earth-bodied beings are ground and others are not, only a few are hurt and others are not, only a few are tortured and others are not, only a few are touched and others are not. So subtle and superfine is indeed the volume of the body of earth-bodied beings."[7]

(v) Visibility

The earth-bodied organisms have very subtle bodies and therefore the bodies of one, two or more such beings are not visible but we are able to see only a big lump of innumerable such beings huddled together.[8]

(vi) Enjoyment

The earth-bodied beings have sexual urge or sensuous feeling?

Lord: They have no sexual desire, but they have tactile enjoyment of sex.[9]

(vii) Inflow, etc.

Asked Gautama, “Is it true that  sometimes the earth-bodied beings are subject to  massive inflow, massive urge, massive experience and massive falling off of karma and sometimes they are subject to meagre inflow, meagre urge, meagre experience and meagre falling off of karma?"

Said the Lord, "O Gautama! this is true "[10]

(viii) Ageing and grief

Asked Gautama, "Are the earth-bodied beings subject to old age and bewailing?"

Said the Lord, "O Gautama! the earth-bodied beings have the feeling of physical pain, and therefore, they have ageing. They have no mental pain and so they have no bewailing."[11]

(ix) Frenzy

Gautama: "O Lord! How many kinds of frenzy are there?

Lord: "The frenzy is of two kinds, e.g., due to being possessed by a goblin or due to the rise of deluding karma."

Gautama: "O Lord! Is frenzy possible in the earth-bodied beings?"

Lord: "Gautama, both types are possible in them.[12] When the goblin and the like sprinkle them with inauspicious particles, it is a case of frenzy due to being possessed by a goblin. When such frenzy occurs due to the maturation of deluding karma, it is called frenzy due to the rise of delusion."

Even today such frenzy is visible in diamonds inhabited by the evil spirits.[13] There are also some houses haunted by goblin.[14]

(x) Instinct

Gautama: "Lord, how many kinds of instincts are there?" Lord: "Gautama, there are ten instincts, e.g., food, fear, sex, possession, anger, pride, deceit, greed, mundane and collective."[15]

Gautama: "Lord, how many instincts are there in the earth-bodied beings?"

Lord: "There are all the ten instincts."

(xi) Knowledge

Both the two varieties of knowledge - sensual and articulate are tacitly present in them.[16] They have the power of grasping the vibrations caused by the speech and mind of the human beings, although it is not possible for the one-sensed beings to listen to the instructions given by others; even then they have a kind of tacit linguistic potential on account of a peculiar type of elimination-cum-subsidence of relevant karma due to which articulate knowledge associated with linguistic symbol arises. The earth-bodied beings have the desire for food, which is a kind of wish like - 'if I get the food, it would be beneficial to me'. Such wish is certainly informed with linguistic symbol however inarticulate. It is reasonable therefore to admit that the earth-bodied beings have the tacit language potential.[17]

In the earth-bodied beings there is only a tacit and undeveloped mind owing to which there finds manifestation in them only indistinct instincts of food and the like.[18]

The knowledge of the one-sensed beings is the least manifest like that in a person who is mad, fainted or poisoned. [19 ]

(xii) Food

Gautama: " Lord, at what intervals do the earth-bodied beings hanker after food?"

Lord: "Gautama, they hanker after food every moment without break They consume food by the entire surface of their body, transforming all old properties viz, colour, taste etc., into new ones.[20]

(xii) Modes

Gautama: "Lord, how many modes are there in earth-bodied beings?"

Lord: "Gautama, they undergo infinite number of modes which mutually vary between a set of six extremes with regard to infinite, innumerable and numerable parts lesser, and infinite, innumerable and numerable times lesser; another set of six extremes with regard to infinite, innumerable and numerable parts greater, and infinite, innumerable and numerable times greater in respect of colour and the like and also knowledge and intuition.[21] [22]

(xiv)  Invisibility to sensuous knowledge

Even as in a plant there is fine viscosity due to which its body is nourished by means of food that it intakes, although the process is invisible on account of its fineness, just so there is very subtle viscosity in the earth-bodied organism which is not perceptible to our sense-organs.[23]

(xv) Passions

The passions of anger, pride, etc., are also there in the earth-bodied beings, but they are too subtle to be perceived by persons endowed with the power of sensory perception alone. The humans curse, blame and frown on the rise of anger. But the earth-bodied beings are not capable of exhibiting such signs when they are angry.[24]

(xvi) Psychic Colouring (leśya)

There are four psychic colourings in the earth-bodied beings: black, blue, gray and fiery.[25] This shows that even though they have no mind, they are subject to peculiar transformations which find vent as aura.

Purport of the Sūtra

Here a question arises: The earth-bodied beings can neither hear, nor see, nor smell, nor move. How can then we believe that they have pleasurable or painful sensation?

The Lord explained the problem through three examples. The first example - Just as the dumb cannot articulate his pain however intense, when cut or tortured, likewise the one-sensed being like the earth-bodied organism feels pain though it is incapable of articulating it on account of his being bereft of any other sense-organ to express it. The Cūrṇi on this Sūtra refers to a five-sensed individual who was absolutely incapable of movement, aga. He was the son of Queen Mṛgā, and called Mṛgāputra. He was like a lump of earth experiencing extreme pain.[26] The earth-bodied beings are comparable to him in respect of their feeling of pain.[27 ]

1.29 appage pāyamabbhe, appage pāyamacche, appege gupphamabbhe, appege gupphamabbhe, appege jaṃghamabbhe, appege jaṃghamacche, appege jāṇumabbhe, appege jāṇumacche, appege ūmmabbhe, appege ūrumacche, appege kaḍimabbhe, appege kaḍimacche, appege ṇābhimabbhe, appege ṇābhimacche, appege uyaramabbhe, appege uyaramacche, appege pāsamabbhe, appege pāsamacche, appege piṭṭhamabbhe, appege piṭṭhamacche, appege uramabbhe, appege uramacche, appege hiyayamabbhe, appege hiyayamacche, appege thaṇamabbhe, appege thaṇamacche, appege khaṃdhamabbhe, appege khaṃdhamacche, appege bāhumabbhe, appege bāhumacche, appege hatthamabbhe, appege hatthamacche, appege aṃgulimabbhe, appege aṃgulimacche, appege ṇahamabbhe, appege ṇahamacche, appege gῑvamabbhe, appege gῑvamacche, appege haṇuyamabbhe, appege haṇuyamacche, appege hoṭṭhamabbhe, appege hoṭṭhamacche, appege daṃtamabbhe, appege daṃtamacche, appege jibbhamabbhe, appege jibbhamacche, appege tālumabbhe, appege tālumacche, appege galamabbhe, appege galamacche, appege gaṃḍamabbhe, appege gaṃḍamacche, appege kaṇṇamabbhe, appege kaṇṇamacche, appege ṇāsamabbhe, appege ṇāsamacche, appege acchimabbhe, appege acchimacche, appege bhamuhamabbhe, appege bhamuhamacche, appege ṇiḍālamabbhe, appege ṇiḍālamacche, appege sῑsamabbhe, appege sῑsamacche.

Some people pierce and cut foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, waist, belly, stomach, flank, back, bosom, heart, breast, shoulder, arm, hand, finger, nail, neck, chin, lip, tooth, tongue, palate, throat, temple, ear, nose, eye, brow, forehead and head.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 29

The second example - As in the case of man, endowed with all the sense-organs and with fully manifest consciousness, there arises inexpressible extreme pain, when simultaneously are pierced or cut all his aforesaid thirty-two organs, e.g., foot, ankle, etc., exactly so there arise similar extreme pain in the earth-bodied beings too.

1.30 appege saṃpamārae, appege uddavae.

Sometimes a person is beaten to a state of unconsciousness and sometimes tortured to death.

Bhāṣyaṃ Sūtra 30

The third example - Just as when a person is led into a state of unconsciousness and put to death, he feels a kind of indistinct pain in the state of unconsciousness, and while dying also; exactly so the earth-bodied beings experience pain on account of their consciousness being dim due to the rise of extremely drowsy slumber.

Beating into the state of the unconscious can be compared with calcination of mercury, as it has been said that the calcination of mercury is a kind of death.[28] It is also said that the mercury when calcified cures diseases. In other words, by getting dead, it enlivens others. It removes the ailments of the patients afflicted with serious diseases. It Sanskrit, the name 'pārada' (lit. leading to the other end) is significant as leading from death to life.

In the Bhagavatῑ Sūtra also, pain has been shown to exist in the earth-bodied beings:

Gautama: "Lord, what kind of pain do the earth-bodied beings experience when injured with weapon?"

Lord: "Gautama, what sort of pain does an aged and decrepit person experience when struck on the head by a strong and hefty youth with his fist?"

Gautama: "O long-lived ascetic! he feels excruciating pain." Lord: "Gautama, the earth-bodied beings, when struck, feel a pain that is much more excruciating."[29]


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Jain Vishwa Bharati

Ladnun- 341 306 (Raj.) India © Jain Vishva Bharti

ISBNS 1-7195-74-4

First Edition:2001

Courtesy :
Shree Chhotulal Sethia Charitable Trust Sethia House, 23/24,
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Aura
  3. Body
  4. Consciousness
  5. Cūrṇi
  6. Daśavaikālika
  7. Deceit
  8. Fear
  9. Gautama
  10. Greed
  11. Jarā
  12. Karaṇa
  13. Karma
  14. Kundakunda
  15. Leśya
  16. Lord Mahāvῑra
  17. Niryukti
  18. Pañcāstikāya
  19. Pride
  20. Psychic Centres
  21. Sanskrit
  22. Sūtra
  23. Vṛtti
  24. Ācārya
  25. Ācārāṅga
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