Monthly Archives: September 2017

Variety of Living Beings

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Did anyone of you got a chance to read the reference suggested in our previous class?

After a pause of silence.

Seems like none. Anyways, once you get a peek into it, I’d know it for sure, as you can’t but have a lot of questions to discuss here. So, after our first level of classification of non-living beings, let’s continue the same, now for living beings, beings having consciousness, beings having soul.

“Didn’t we already do it during our discussion of cycle of birth and death?”, questioned Dravya.

Yes, but that was just from one perspective. Now, we’d like to dive deeper and apply anekāntvād to see the multi-perspectives.

“And I believe, that didn’t even classify all the living beings, and currently we are classifying everything”, completed Rāshi.

Sort of yes. So, can you tell us the first level of classification of all living beings?

All living beings could be classified into two: the emancipated beings and the worldly beings.

Exactly. The beings who are now just pure souls, out of the cycle of birth and death. And the worldly beings who are still wandering through the four gati, taking birth and dying, leaving one form of body to enter an another body.

“Doesn’t the pure souls have any body?”, asked Leshyā.

No. They are just pure souls, with no non-living things attached to them.

Now, I have a fundamental doubt. I remember we discussing that once a soul reaches its pure form, then it can never get impure again, and that’s how mokṡ, the pure state, is permanent.

Yes, perfectly correct.

So, when the soul is leaving a body from one gati and going to another, wouldn’t there be even a momentary state, when it is pure, devoid of any body, any non-living thing? And if it is, then that would be its state of mokṡ, and so shouldn’t even further enter into any body. So, everyone should go to mokṡ, as soon as they die.

“Seems like a full proof argument, but just with a little flaw”, smiled the professor.

What’s that? Would there be no moments between the transition from one body to another?

No, there could be moments between the transition. But during those moments the soul is not pure, it has non-living particles attached around it.

O yes! I remember. You said the karm particles would be there always and they are non-living things.

Exactly. Now that can also be viewed from a different perspective. There are five kinds of bodies: oudārik, vaikriya, āhārak, tejas, kārmaṅ. And, any of these bodies can be had only by worldly souls. One or two of the first three types of bodies can be had by a worldly soul only when it is living in any gati. However, the last two bodies are always there with the worldly soul, even during the gati transition.

“This kārmaṅ body sounds very similar to karm”, commented Vrat.

Yes indeed. kārmaṅ is nothing but the body made of karm particles – our past impressions, attached closest to the soul. Just an another perspective of putting across the same concept.

“That explains, how our previous births could have impact on our current and future births, even after the body change”, added Leshyā.

And our current one on the future one as well, as our current actions are getting encrypted into our kārmaṅ body.

“What then is this tejas body?”, queried Vrat.

Tejas is the energy body attached next around the kārmaṅ body.

Hmmm! That possibly explains experimentalists claiming to have taken pictures of soul going out of a dying person, even though soul is non-observable.

Yes. The pictures would possibly be depicting the tejas body leaving along with the soul, not really the soul. Now, coming back to classification. The emancipated souls doesn’t need any further classification, as they all are just pure souls, and hence identical in their properties. So, all our further classification of living beings would refer only to the worldly living beings.

“So, can we say that gati was just a classification of worldly beings alone?”, clarified Dravya.

Yes. As emancipated souls are beyond gati. And just to complete the complete classification of worldly beings, we can add the fifth gati – antarāl gati, the worldly being form when it is under transition from death to birth.

What is a typical time interval of this antarāl gati?

1-4 samay, where samay is the smallest indivisible unit of time. Now, we would like to do an another classification of the worldly beings – based on the senses they possess.

“As we were discussing in one of our previous sessions, each of the four gati themselves have so many varieties. So, shouldn’t we just further sub-classify the four gati?”, interrupted Leshyā.

Yes we definitely would. And once we go in that direction, there is so much to explore into the unknowns that we would easily need at least one complete session for it. So, we’ll possibly do that in our next class. And before that, it would be great, if you all can skim through the book ‘Jīv Ajīv’ by Acharya Mahaprajna.

“‘Jīv Ajīv’ meaning living beings and non-living beings?”, clarified Mahāvrat.

Yes. It would give you a glimpse of what we have been discussing, and what we are going to discuss further. So, continuing with our last perspective of classification for today – the senses.

“Senses meaning the five senses of touch, taste, smell, light, sound, right?”, recalled Viṡay.

Right. And with that, you have already laid down the foundation for the senses-based classification of worldly living beings. Note that emancipated beings are anyways beyond these bodily senses, as they don’t need them anymore.

One I can think of is living beings with only the sense of touch, like plants.

Very good. It would also include water, earth, fire, air life forms. And from there, you can gradually move on to living beings with only two senses namely touch and taste, like snail, oyster, mites, etc

Then, living beings with only three senses. But which three senses? Is it any three senses?

That’s an interesting point. You’ll note that in nature, there’s a beautiful sequence. The senses develop exactly in that order. And hence, three-sensed beings would exactly have the sense of touch, taste, and smell, like in lice, ants.

So, four-sensed beings would additionally have the sense of light, like in cockroaches, lizards, etc.

Yes. And five-sensed beings will have all the five senses, like in humans, celestial beings, hellish beings, crocodiles, cows, horses, lions, elephants, snakes, rats, birds, …

But snakes don’t have ears?

We are not talking of (external) ears here, but sense of sound. Snakes do have that.

Are Celestial & Hellish beings also five-sensed?

Yes. Let’s dig deeper into those in our next session.

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