Five Types of Knowledge
Jainism states that he who
knows is the Atma (soul). The soul knows and knowledge is the means of knowing the soul.
With reference to the agent and the cause, knowledge and soul are different. Still
however, in reality, knowledge constitutes the very nature of the soul. Knowledge is an
attrubute (=quality) of the soul.
The object of knowledge and
knowledge are both independent. The substance, the attribute and the mode are knowledge,
while the object is souls own quality. Mere knowing does not lead to knowledge.
Knowing is an activity, an effort. The substance, the attribute and the mode can be known
according to the capability of knowledge. The senses and the mind are the media of
knowing. The ability of these two is limited and so, only one mode (part) can be known at
a time. But all objects can be known simultaneously, all at a time, only by unobstructed
knowledge (=absoulte knowledge).
(absoulte knowledge) is the only knowledge without any obstruction of Karma, i.e.
unobstructed. On the other side there are four types of knowledge that have some
obstruction of action.
1. Matijnana Senory Knowledge :
This is knowledge acquired through the five senses and the mind.
There are five senses-of touch, taste,
smell-seeing and hearing. The senses grasp external objects and come to know them. The
mind, however, experiences them. The mind thinks and ponders deeply. It performs the
function of knowing, enjoying and thinking over the objects that are grasped by the
sense-organs. Mind is all-pervasive, i.e. it pervades over the whole body.
The difference between knowing by the
senses and by the mind is this. The senses come to know only the present mode of a
substance, while the mind can know the manifold forms belonging to all the phases of time
the present, the past and the future of material and non-material objects. The mind can
come to know even without the help of the senses. The mind is endowed with the ability to
think in manifold ways.
Matijnana has 28 principal divisions in
accordance with thought processes. There are 340 divisions in all.
2. Srutajnana - (Vocal Knowledge) :
The Knowledge acquired
through seeing or hearing is Srutajnana. Again, a particular word has a particular sense,
this too is Srutajnana. It is of 14 types.
These two, Matijnana and
Srutajnana are closely related like milk and water. All living beings in the wrold are
endowed with these two types of knowledge.
Various types Matijnana
also include the knowledge of Jatismarana (remembrance of the past life or lives). As many
as 900 births can be visualised through this type of knowledge in its highest form.
3. Avadhijnana (Clairvoyance) :
When corporeal objects, lying in a certain
limited field, can be known without the help of the senses, the knowledge is known is
avadhijnana. It is of eight types. Thrthankaras, gods and helligh being have
this knowledge from their very birth. Human beings, animals, etc. acquire this knowledge
by annhilation and calming down of Karmas, their effects.
4. Manahparyayajnana (Telepathy) :
Shades of reflections of
Pudgalas-material substances, that would motivate one are formed in the mind, in
accordance with ones throughts. Theses shades or reflections or modes are derived
through this knowledge. In brief, that which directly knows the material objects, which
would motivate or activate the mind, is known as Manahparyayajnana.
This knowledge is of two
types : Rijumati and vipulmati manahparyayajnana. No doubt, the field of this knowledge is
rather limited as compared to that of Avadhijnana, but there is greater purity in it.
The beings in the four
different catagories of life namely gods, men etc., possess Avadhijnana, while only an
ascetic is endowed with Manahparyayajnana. Those who are endowed with Avadhijnana are not
in the know of subtle material modes, which he who possesses Manahparyayajnana knows.
5. Kevalajnana (Absolute Knowledge)
This type of knowledge can
be acquired by complete destruction and cessation of all Karmas. There is no need of the
help of the senses or the mind after one has acquired this knowledge.
The man endowed with
absolute knowledge, knows this world (loka) and also the world beyond (aloka).
For detailed information
and study, please refer to - "Nandisutra". "Anuyogadvara",
"Pravachana Saroddhara" etc.