According to Jainism there are Five different kinds of Knowledge that a man can achieve. This concept of five-fold knowledge is very old. Even before lord Mahavira these descriptions existed. Jain thinkers have always considered knowledge as the chief characteristics possessed by the soul.
The five main categories in which knowledge is divided are :
Mati Gyan(Knowledge from brain, commonsense or understanding power) :- it is that knowledge which we gain through the senses and the mind. It has avagraha (analysis), curiosity, division and direction etc. as its numerous kinds. Development of senses, mind and right thinking is what is what is aimed by this kind of knowledge.
Shrut Gyan(knowledge from hearing) :- that knowledge which is got after matigyan and which has been solidified through thinking and reasoning is known as shrutgyan. It refers to verbal testimony or knowledge achieved by verbal transit. Matigyan is the cause and shrutgyan is the effect. So to develop a keen sense of hearing and not to miss even a single word of right knowledge is what is aimed by shrutgyan.
Avadhi Gyan(Knowledge of those things that can be seen from naked eyes) :- that knowledge which is limited to the knowledge of things having form only it does Avadhigyan require senses and mind in its functioning. Avadhi gyan has many kinds such as following (coming after), not following, developing, declining, non-corresponding, corresponding, etc. avadhigyan capacity is present in Gods and the denizens of the hell. It aims at gaining special quality of knowledge so as to decline the tendency towards degeneration into anger, greed and infatuation.
Manopriya Gyan(Knowledge that makes capable of having telepathy or reading
faces and minds of others) :- it is the knowledge of the objects of thinking of the others mind. It also has Rajumati (simple telepathy) and also Vipulamati (Elaborated telepathy). Entirely it is a power of the soul and is attained only by high quality seekers after spirituality and deep meditation.
Keval Gyan(Ultimate Knowledge – knowledge of past, present and future) :- that knowledge which is acquired after the total destruction of the knowledge-obscuring activity is Keval gyan or Omniscience. This knowledge is pure (shudh), total (Sakal) extraordinary and infinite. The moment one attains Keval gyana, i.e, one becomes keval gyani, one comes to know all that is there in inhabited space and outer space. Keval gyan can be obtained by destroying all the Karmas attached by the soul. That was what all the keval gyanis did – and remember one thing that all Tirthankaras were Keval gyani but all keval gyanis were not Tirthankaras. Deep spiritual practices, Nirjara of all the karmas, destroying of anger, greed, infatuation, attachment, pride, etc can be a step towards this knowledge.