Jãvita = life; + Indriya = controlling faculty or principle.
It is called Jãvita because it sustains its co-associates.
It is called Indriya because it controls its co-associates.
Although Cetanà determines the activities of all mental
states, it is Jãvitindriya that infuses life into Cetanà and
Jãvitindriya is twofold—namely, psychic life (Nàma-
Jãvitindriya) and physical life (Råpa-Jãvitindriya). Mental
States are vitalized by psychic life, while material phenomena
are vitalized by physical life.
As lotuses are sustained by water, an infant is sustained
by a nurse, so are mental states and material phenomena
sustained by Jãvitindriya.
One Råpa-Jãvitindriya lasts for seventeen thoughtmoments.
Seventeen Nàma-Jãvitindriyas arise and perish
during the brief life of one Råpa-Jãvitindriya.
There is a certain kind of Råpa-Jãvitindriya in plant
life. But, Råpa-Jãvitindriya in men and animals is differentiated
from that which exists in plants because the former
is conditioned by past Kamma.