Depending upon the number of senses they possess, the jivas are divided into five categories, those having one, two, three, four and five senses respectively. Plants have only one sense, the sense of touch. The mammals have all the five senses. In between there two are the jivas having two, three or four senses. Human beings, gods and higher beings possess an additional sixth sense, called manas or mind, which gives them the ability to think and act rationally. The number of senses is an important criteria in selecting right kind of food for consumption to practice the principle of ahimsa or non injury. Since it is not possible to consume food without indulging in some form of violence of injury to living beings, it is better to select plants which have only one sense. Eating food prepared by killing animals having two or more senses would lead to greater sin and adverse karma.
One of the distinguishing features of Jainism is its belief that souls exists both in animate and inanimate objects. The souls are found every where, in every conceivable object, not only in men and animals, but also in the plants, planets, stars, elements, oceans, rivers, wood, metal and even a dew or a rain drop. The Jain believe that there are planetary souls, elementals souls, ethereal souls and souls living beyond the reach of our senses in invisible and subtle matter. The condition of a soul depends upon the body it occupies. The consciousness of souls which reside in inanimate objects or elemental bodies remains in a latent state in contrast to souls living in more dynamic bodies. The condition of one soul per one body also does not apply in Jainism. Some times a multitude of souls may occupy one body as in case of some tuberous plants. Innumerable souls may also exist together as a loosely held cluster occupying vast stretches of space encompassing the whole world as one complex organism. They are called nigodas, which act like a vast store houses of souls. Suspended in the atmosphere, the nigodas keep filling the empty spaces automatically, whenever they are left vacant by the departing or liberated souls. Like the major air currents that crisscross our planet, the nigodasput great responsibility on us to act carefully lest we harm some souls unknowingly.
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