Jivas are found on earth, as well as in the water, air, and sky, and are scattered all over the universe. Human beings, celestial beings,infernal beings, animals, fish, birds, bugs, insects, plants, etc. are the most common forms of Jiva with which we can easily relate. However,Jain scriptures state that there are 8.4 million species of Jiva in all. They are known by the senses they possess. There are five sensesin all, namely those of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.Different types of Jivas possess one or more of these senses. Based upon the number of senses and mobility, Jivas are classified into two categories.
Based on mobility, all Jivas are divided into two broad categories:
A) Non-Mobile or Sthavar Jiva - those that can not move and have onlyone sense.
B) Mobile or Trasajiva - those that can move and have two to five senses.
A) Non-Mobile (Sthavarjiva, single sense being, or ekendriyajiva):Jivas having only one sense, the sense of touch are called Ekendriya.EkendriyaJivas are further divided into the following fivesub-categories.
(1) Prithwikaya or earth bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of earth are actually living beings, e.g.clay, sand, metal, and coral, etc. They have earthly bodies, hence thename Prithwikaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for earth,Prathwi.
(2) Apkaya or water bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of water are living beings, e.g. dew, fog, iceberg, and rain, etc. They have water bodies, hence the name Apkaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for water, Ap.
(3) Teukaya or fire bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of fires are living beings, e.g.flames, blaze, lightening, forest fire, and hot ash, etc. They have fire bodies, hence the name Apakaya which is derived from theSanskrit term fire, Tejas.
(4) Vayukaya or air bodied: Seemingly inanimate forms of air are actually living beings e.g. wind, whirlwinds, and cyclones, etc. They have gaseous bodies, hence the name Vayukay which is derived from the Sanskrit term for gas, Vayu.
(5) Vanaspatikaya or plant bodied: It is well known that plants grow, reproduce, etc., and they are accepted as living beings. Trees, plants, branches, flowers, leaves, and seeds, etc. are some examples of plant life. The Sanskrit term for plant is Vanaspati and therefore such Jivas are called Vanaspatikaya Jiva.
A plant life can have one or more souls in a single body and, depending upon this, plant life is further divided into the following two sub-categories:
a) Pratyek Vanaspatikaya: Pratyek means one. Such plant life has one soul in one body. Therefore, they are called Pratyek vanaspatikaya. Trees, plants, bushes, stem, branches, leaves, and seeds, etc. are all examples of pratyek vanaspatikayajiva.
b) Sadharan Vanaspatikaya:Sadharan means common. In such plant life many souls occupy the samebody making this type of plant life multi-organic. Therefore, suchplant life is called sadharan vanaspatikaya. Such plant lives have aninfinite number of souls in one body are called “Anantkaya”. Roots such as potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beats, etc. belong to this category.
Thus stationary jivas are of 5 kinds. We should bear in mind the point that the creatures that live in water are different from water. Water is the body of a jiva different from them. The jivas that assume the form of water and live in that form are called the apkayjivas. Even the extremely small and minute particles of water are the bodies of jivas. When those countless particles come together we see them in the form of a drop. In the same manner, countless particles embodying jivas make up the Prithvikay, the Tejaskay, the Vayukay and the extremely small particles of the Vanaspathikay. The particles of vegetation are called Nigodhs.
B) Mobile (Trasjiva, multi sensed being, bahuindriyajiva): These two, three, four or five sensed beings are divided into the following categories:
(1) Two sensed beings (Beindriya Jiva): Two sensed beings have the senses of touch, and taste. e.g. shells, worms, insects, microbes in stale food, termites, etc.
(2) Three sensed beings (Treindriya Jiva): Three sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, and smell, e.g. bugs, lice, white ants, moths and insects in wheat and other grains, centipedes, etc.
(3) Four sensed beings (Chaurindriya Jiva): Four sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, smell and sight, e.g. scorpions, crickets, spiders, beetles, locusts, flies, etc.
(4) Five sensed beings (Panchendriya Jiva): Five sensed beings have all the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing e.g. human beings, cow, lions, fish, birds, etc.
The following are four sub-categories of the PanchendriyaJivas.
a) Infernal (Naraki) – Jivas living in hell,
b) Tiryancha - Non-human beings i.e. elephants, lions, birds, fish,etc.
c) Celestial (Dev) - heavenly beings,
d) Manushya - Human beings.
Among the five sensed beings some have minds, while others do not. Those having a mind are called Sangni Panchendriya and those without a mind are called Asangni Panchendriya.
Among all of these Jivas the most happiness is found in the celestial being, while the most suffering is found in the infernal beings.Neither celestial nor infernal beings can perform any austerities and cannot attain salvation during this life. Animals possess limited restraint only and therefore, they also cannot attain salvation directly. The human state of existence is the most preferable because during this life one can use logic to the fullest extent, can perform austerities, can live with restraint, and thus only through this human phase can a jiva attain salvation or Moksha.