Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.4.6] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Pudgala Classification - (E) Five and or Eight Types

Published: 16.01.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

Pudgala- Classification

The most important types of physical order of existence (Pudgala) are those, which interact with psychic order of existence (jiva) and are, therefore, mostly encountered by us. There arc five types of pudgala, which are associated with jiva in the form of 'body'. In addition, there are three types, which are associated with the jiva to carry out the vital functions of life, viz., breathing, speaking and thinking.

The word vargana means a category and applies to the group having the same definable attributes-in-chief.


Audarika Vargana

The word audarika can etymologically be explained in two ways:

  1. udarana meaning gross, audarika thus means 'constituted by gross matter'
  2. udara meaning womb, audarika thus means 'what is produced from the womb'. All organic bodies - human, animal and vegetable are audarika.

All physical compositions, large and small, which are/can be made perceivable by sense-organs belong to this category. All organic material which make the cells(blood, bone, skin, etc.) comprising the bodies of all living (including the entire vegetable kingdom) and dead organisms and inorganic atoms, molecules and compounds, in short, almost all things, encountered by us in everyday life belong to Audarika Vargana.


Vaikriya Vargana

The term vaikriya means a "protean" body, i.e. 'what is capable of transformation at will'. The term vaikriya implies transformations (of the body), which are associated with a divine being or deva who can transform the body from minute to huge, and vice versa. Celestial bodies of the inhabitants of heaven (devas) and hell (narakis) are composed of the material of this group which is very much more subtle than the previous category.


Aharaka Vargana

The structure of this category is much more subtle than the preceding ones. It is used by ascetics who have acquired special powers to create a unique subtle body (called aharaka sarira). The learned sage uses this type of body for visiting omniscient persons at far off places, for the purpose of clarifying some doubts about intricate facets of truth. The subtle body stretches out so as to be in communication with the omniscient (kevali) from whom the information sought for, is secured. Thus aharaka-sarira means - communication body.


Taijas Vargana (Luminous Body)

The material belonging to this group is used by the soul to make a subtle body which always accompanies the soul in its mundane existence i.e. until it achieves emancipation. The body forms an essential link between the soul and its karmana sarira. Energy required by the vital processes of the living organism such as effulgence and digestion is provided by the taijas body.


Karmana or
Karma Vargana

Matter of this group also called karmic matter is responsible for contaminating the soul and keeping it in bondage. Minutest activity of a living being - physical, mental or oral - attracts the karmic matter which unites with the soul and is then transformed into karmana sarira which is the basis of the mundane existence (in bondage) of the soul. Every jiva roaming through the cycles of births and deaths (samsara) carries the karma-sarira with itself until it is finally emancipated.
Out of the above five bodies, the first alone is perceptible by the sense-organs and the others are subtle and imperceptible bodies. Each succeeding one is more minute than the preceding one in order. [Tat. Sut. 2/38:  "Param param suksmam.]


Svasocchvasa or Anapana Vargana

Svasocchvasa means respiration, as indicated by its name, matter in this group is what all living organisms need and use for the vital function of breathing.


Bhasa Vargana

Bhasa means speech. Living organisms which are capable of producing speech give voice to their feelings. The matter of this group is essential for this process.


Manah or Manasa Vargana

Manah means mind. According to Jains, mind is an instrument of thinking, which a soul makes for itself out of material bodies and becomes capable of thinking through its agency. The material in this group is fit for this purpose.

It is to be noted that a composite body of the group successively consists of greater number of paramanus, which are more compactly packed and thus occupy less space. Thus, a body of aharaka vargana is more compact and occupies less space than a body of vaikriya vargana which itself is more densely packed in comparison with a body of audarika vargana.

  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aharaka vargana
  2. Anapana
  3. Anapana vargana
  4. Body
  5. Deva
  6. Devas
  7. Jiva
  8. Karma
  9. Karmic matter
  10. Kevali
  11. Manah
  12. Manasa
  13. Omniscient
  14. Paramanus
  15. Pudgala
  16. Samsara
  17. Sarira
  18. Soul
  19. Space
  20. Vargana
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