(Last Updated on : 10/01/2011)
According to Jainism concept of atman or soul is such that it is present not only in living beings but is also present within inanimate objects. The soul is present everywhere, every rock, and every particle of water, in the breeze, in every ray of light. Rather it can be said all objects in the universe have a soul.
says that the soul or the atman is not without any qualities. They are liable to change. The soul expands and contracts depending on the size of the body and the nature of Karma of a jiva. Jains also believe that the jiva or the soul cannot be smaller in size than the body in which it resides. At the time of death the soul contracts and becomes like a tiny seed. Then it starts a new life in a new body.
According to the philosophy of Jainism jivas or souls are infinite in number. They exist eternally in the universe and they can neither be created nor destroyed. It is true that jivas may change their forms based on their evolution and previous activity.
Jain Scriptures have discussed certain categories of Jivas. They are:
1. Nritya-Siddhas the perfect souls
2. Muktas- the souls which are emancipated and would never take a birth again
3. Baddha-those souls which are still held under the cycles of birth and death and there is a continuous inflow of karma into their bodies.
It has been said that the Mukta Jivas or the liberated souls enjoy infinite perception, infinite knowledge and an eternal bliss. On the other hand the ordinary jiva continue to suffer from illusion and ignorance. The Karma which continues to inflow in the body prevents the liberation of the soul and the jivas continue to wander amidst the gross matter.
An important aspect of Jain Philosophy is that it regards the presence of soul in every object and so it is very evident that a follower of Jainism carries out his day to day activity with lot of care and caution. A Jain tries his best not to harm or to injure any object because he believes that if he injures a jiva with a soul the soul will be forced to leave the body and find a new body and that is the reason a Jain follower covers his face with a white cloth while breathing because he believes that while breathing he should not injure or harm any living being.