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August 10th, 2010, 12:54 AM
Nine Tattvas (Principles) (E00) 01/19/93 9TATTVAS.A01
Complied by Pravin K. Shah, Jain Study Center of North Carolina

Nine Tattvas (Principles)

The nine tattvas, or principles, are the single most important
subject of Jain philosophy. It deals with the karma theory of
Jainism, which provides the basis for the path of liberation.
Without the proper knowledge of this subject, a person can not
progress spiritually. The true faith and understanding of this
subject brings about right faith (samyak-darshana), right
knowledge (samyak-jnana), and right conduct in an individual.

Nine Tattvas (Principles):
1. Jiva - soul or living being (Consciousness)
2. Ajiva - non-living substances
3. Asrava - cause of the influx of karma
4. Bandh - bondage of karma
5.*Punya - virtue
6.*Papa - sin
7. Samvara - arrest of the influx of karma
8. Nirjara - exhaustion of the accumulated karma
9. Moksha - total liberation from karma

* Punya and Papa are the diverse results of Asrava and Bandh. Some
exponents of Jains do not treat them as separate tattvas.
According to them, there are only seven principles instead of

1. Jiva (soul) Substance:
Explained in The Six Universal Substances chapter.

2. Ajiva (Non-living) Substances:
Explained in The Six Universal Substances chapter.

3. Asrava (Cause of the influx of karma) -
Asrava is the cause which leads to the influx of good and evil
karma which lead to the bondage of the soul.

Asrava may be described as attraction in the soul toward sense

The following are causes of influx of good and evil karma:

Mithyatva - ignorance
Avirati - lack of self restraint
Kasaya - passions like anger, conceit, deceit, and lust
Pramada - unawareness or unmindfulness
Yoga - activities of mind, speech, and body

In addition to the above causes, the five great sins; violence,
untruth, stealing, sensual indulgence, and attachment to worldly
objects are also the cause of the influx of karmas.

4. Bandha (Bondage of karma)-
Bandha is the attachment of karmic matter (karma pudgala) to the
soul. The soul has had this karmic matter bondage from eternity.
This karmic body is known as the karmana body or causal body.

Karmic matter is a particular type of matter which is attracted to
the soul because of its ignorance, lack of self restraint,
passions, unmindfulness, activities of body, mind, and speech.

The soul, which is covered by karmic matter, continues acquiring
new karma from the universe and exhausting old karma into the
universe through the above mentioned actions at every moment.

Because of this continual process of acquiring and exhausting karma
particles, the soul has to pass through the cycles of births and
deaths, and experiencing pleasure and pain. So under normal
circumstances the soul can not attain freedom from karma, and hence

Karmic matter attaching to the soul assumes four forms:

Prakriti bandha - Type of karma
Sthiti bandha - Duration of karma
Anubhava bandha - Intensity of attachment of karma
Pradesa bandha - Quantity of karma

Prakriti Bandha:
When karmic matter attaches to the soul, karma will obscure its
essential nature of:
perfect knowledge, vision, bliss, power, eternal existence,
non-corporeal, and equanimity.

Prakriti bandha is classified into eight categories, according to
the particular attribute of the soul that it obscures.

It covers the soul's power of perfect knowledge.

It covers the soul's power of perfect visions.

It obscures the blissful nature of the soul, and thereby
produces pleasure and pain.

It generates delusion in the soul in regard to its own true
nature, and makes it identify itself with other substances.

It determines the span of life in one birth, thus obscuring
its nature of eternal existence.

It obscures the non-corporeal existence of the soul, and
produces the body with its limitations, qualities, faculties,

It obscures the souls characteristics of equanimity, and
determines the caste, family, social standing, etc.

It obstructs the natural energy of the soul and prevents it
from attaining liberation. It also prevents a living being
from doing something good and enjoyable.

Ghati and Aghati karmas:
The above eight karmas are also categorized into two groups,
known as ghati and aghati karmas.

Ghati Karmas
Jnana-varaniya, Darasna-varaniya, Mohaniya, and Antaraya
karmas are called Ghati karmas (dangerous karmas) because
they obscure the true nature of the soul.

Aghati Karmas
Ayu, Nama, Gotra, and Vedniya karmas are called Aghati
karmas. They do not obscure the original nature of
the soul. However, they associate with the body of the
soul. Hence they can not destroyed by the soul so long as
it possesses a body.

When a person destroys all of his ghati karmas, at that time he
attains keval-jnana. However, he continues to live as a human
being because none of his aghati karmas are destroyed. He can
only attain liberation after all of his aghati karmas are
destroyed. Hence he attains liberation after his death.

When a person attains keval-jnana, he is known as an Arihant.
If an Arihant establishes the four fold order of Monks, Nuns,
Sravaka, (male layperson), and Sravika (female layperson) then
the Arihant is called a Tirthankara. Other Arihantas are known
as ordinary Kevali. After Nirvana (death) both Tirthankaras and
ordinary Kevalis are called Siddhas.

All Siddhas are unique individuals, but they all possess perfect
knowledge, vision, power, and bliss. Hence from the qualities
and attributes point of view all Siddhas are same.

Sthiti Bandha
When karmic matter attaches to the soul the duration of the
attachment is determined at that time according to the intensity
or dullness of the soul's passions.

Anubhava Bandha or Rasa Bandha
What fruits the karmic matter will produce is determined at the
time of attachment by varying degrees of passions.

Pradesa Bandha
The quantum of karmic matter that is drawn towards the soul for
attachment is determined by the intensity or dullness of the
soul's action.

5. Punya (Virtue)
The influx of karmic matter due to good activities of the mind,
body, and speech with the potential of producing pleasant
sensations is called punya or virtue.

Activities such as offering food, drink, shelter, purifying
thought, physical and mental happiness, etc. result in
producing punya karmic matter.

6. PAPA (Sin)
The influx of karmic matter due to evil activities of the mind,
body, and speech with the potential of producing unpleasant
sensations is called papa or sin.

Activities such as violence, untruth, theft, unchastity,
attachment to objects, anger, conceit, deceit, lust, etc.
result in producing papa karmic matter.

7. Samvara (Arrest of Karma)
The method which arrests fresh karma from coming into the soul
is samvara. This process is a reverse of asrava.

It can be accomplished by constant practice of:
- restraint of mind, body, and speech
- religious meditation
- conquest of desire
- forgiveness, tenderness, purity, truth, austerity,
renunciation, unattachment, and chastity

8. Nirjara -
Nirjara is the exhaustion of karmic matter already acquired.

- The karmas exhaust themselves by producing their results when
it is time for them to do so.

- Unless they are exhausted before they are mature and
start producing results, it becomes difficult to be free.
By that time, new karmic matter begins to pour in.

- Therefore, it becomes necessary for one who desires final
liberation to exhaust all karmas before maturity. This is
called nirjara.

Nirjara is to be done by rigorous austerities.

External Nirjara:
Anasan - complete abstinence of eating and drinking

Alpahara - reduction in the quantity of food one
normally eats

Ichhanirodha - control of desire for food and material things

Rasatyaga - complete abstinence of eating or drinking juicy
and tasty foods such as honey, alcohol,
butter, milk, tea, sweets, juice etc.
(no attachments to the taste of the foods)

Kayaklesa - control of passions by discipline

Samlinata - sitting in a lonely place in due posture
with senses withdrawn

Internal Nirjara:
Prayaschita - repentance for the breach of vows

Vinaya - appropriate behavior towards a teacher

Vaiyavrata - selfless service to the suffering and

Svadhyaya - studying/listening of religious scriptures

Bhutsarga - non-attachment to the body

Subha-dhyana - religious meditation

9. Moksha -
Moksha is the liberation of the living being (soul) after
complete exhaustion or elimination of all karmas.

A liberated soul regains totally its original attributes of
perfect knowledge, vision, power, and bliss. It climbs to the
top of Lokakas and remains there forever in its blissful and
unconditional existence.

It never returns again into the cycles of birth, life, and death.

This state of the soul is the liberated or perfect state, and
this is called "Nirvana."