Contents |





 The Fundamentals –

The Jaina view holds that the ultimate aim of all living existence is to attain nirvāṇa or liberation from the mundane worldly existence beset with the pain and miseries of birth, disease, decay and death. The Jaina philosophy does not believe in an almighty God who can grant liberation to any soul that serves Him or His cause and holds the individual living–beings responsible for their own actions – good or bad. The Jaina thinkers, therefore, have found the answer to this puzzling riddle of miserable worldly existence and liberation there from in terms of nine fundamentals that can logically explain the way it is attained. The liberating path lies in having the right–vision or right attitude (Samyagdarśana), the right–knowledge (Samyagjñāna) and observing the right–conduct (Samyakcāritra). Of these three ingredients of liberty, too, the first – Samyagdarśana is the very basic requirement because in its absence any amount of knowledge and any type of conduct only amount to false knowledge and false conduct. Vācaka Umāsvāti, in his Tattvārthasūtra, has said that Samyagdarśana is nothing but a firm belief in the fundamental verities (Tattvārtha), their proper knowledge is the right–knowledge and the conduct in accordancewith these fundamentals is the right conduct. The Tattvārtha– sūtra of Vācaka Umāsvāti mentions only seven fundamentals excluding the Puṇya and Pāpa. However, the later thinkers have included them and we shall describe them as such.

This chapter enumerates and briefly describes the nine fundamental verities – Jīva (the living), Ajīva (the non–living), Puṇya (acts of piety), Pāpa (sinful acts), Āsrava (karmic influx), Saṁvara (karmic stoppage), Bandha (karmic bondage), Nirjarā (karmic separation) and Mokṣa (liberation).

Before we actually embark on the description of these fundamentals, it will be worth our while to have some understanding of the way these come about and influence the entire process of the soul’s journey to its ultimate destination – liberation or Mokṣa.

The entire universe is composed of two types of matter the living matter and the non–living matter. The living matter or the souls are all essentially the same conscious and formless. The non–living matter is, again, of several types; only one of them (Pudgala) being concrete or tangible or formed. The souls are, however, susceptible to association with the concrete non–living matter (Pudgala), which gives them bodies as well as binds them to the world during their mundane existence. This accounts for the two fundamentals – the living matter (Jīva) and the non–living matter (Ajīva). The way in which the concrete non–living matter (Karma–pudgala) comes into the soul–field, and thereby in contact with it, is known as influx (Āsrava) and the process of binding of the karma matter with the soul is known as bondage (Bandha). It is the sinful or pious actions of a living–being (Pāpa or Puṇya) that are responsible for such interplay of the living and the non–living matters or for the karmic influx and bondage. Again, the soul cannot liberate unless the process of karmic influx and bondage is not stopped and the karma–matter already bonded with the soul is not irresidually separated from it. The way in which the karmic influx and, thereby, bonding as well) can be stopped is termed as karmic stoppage (Saṁvara) and the way it is separated from the soul as separation (Nirjarā). Once a complete separation of the soul from the karmic bondage is achieved, it liberates or gains its ultimate destiny called liberation (Mokṣa). Thus, if we look at them carefully, the basic fundamentals are only two – the living–matter (Jīva) and the non–living matter (Ajīva). Remaining seven fundamentals come about either through their association or dissociation. The time is now ripe for their detailed description.

1. Jīva Tatva (The Living Matter) Or The Soul –

Jīva or living matter is the one that is endowed with consciousness (upayoga), which makes it feel pleasure or pain. Another practical definition says that the Jīva is signified by the possession of at the very least four types of vitality – sense(s), power, life–span and respiration. Consciousness is nothing but the ability to feel and perceive or to visualise and know. (We shall deal with the subjects of visualisation (Darśana) and knowledge (Jñāna), in detail, in the second and the third chapters respectively). However, we must recall that Jīva, by itself, is formless, unmanifest and eternal. It manifests itself through its association with formed non–living matter in the form of its body and karmic adjunct. Detailing its other attributes, Ācārya Nemicandra Siddhānta–Cakravartī says that it occupies the space afforded it by its body, it is the doer of its actions and enjoyer of the fruits thereof, it is either mundane or liberated and, in its natural state, it has a natural tendency to rise.

This brings us to the classification of the souls. As we have mentioned in the last paragraph, the souls are either mundane (Saṁsārī – in the worldly existence) or liberated (Siddha).

The liberated souls (Siddha) are free of all (eight types of) karmic bondage, they are incorporeal and unmanifest, subtle butspatial, they are neither heavy nor light and they have infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite spiritual prowess and eternally rest in the abode of the liberated souls, situated at the forefront of the universe, which is known as the Siddhaśilā or Siddhaloka or —śatprāgbhāra pṛthvī.

The worldly living–beings are, again, of the following fourteen types: –

Developed (Paryāpta)Undeveloped (Aparyāpta)

i. Fine one–sensed beings viii. Fine one–sensed beings (Sūkṣma Ekendriya) (Sūkṣma Ekendriya)

ii. Gross one–sensed beings ix. Gross one–sensed beings (Bādar Ekendriya) (Bādara Ekendriya)

iii. Two–sensed beings x. Two–sensed beings

(Dvīndriya) (Dvīndriya)

iv. Three–sensed beings xi. Three–sensed beings

(Trīndriya) (Trīndriya)

v. Four–sensed beings xii. Four–sensed beings

(Caturendriya) (Caturendriya)

vi. Irrational five–sensed beings xiii. Irrational five–sensed

(Asañjnī Pañcendriya) beings (Asañjnī


vii. Rational five–sensed beings xiv. Rational five–sensed

(Sañjnī Pañcendriya) beings (Sañjnī


The first, second, eighth and ninth categories of these living beings are immobile and are referred to as static living beings (Sthāvara Jīva) and include the Earth–bodied creatures (Pṛthvī–kāya), Water–bodied creatures (Apkāya), Air–bodied creatures (Vāyukāya), Fire–bodied creatures (Tejaskāya) and Plant life (Vanaspati–kāya). The rest are known as mobile creatures or Trasakāyika Jīva and have two to five senses. The five–sensed beings are, again, with or without reasoning minds. having two to four senses are also known as incomplete sensed creatures (Vikalendrīya Jīva) and those having five senses as complete sensed creatures (Pūrṇendriya Jīva). Some thinkers also consider the Air–bodies and the Fire–bodies as mobile as they can move in the three dimensions.

Sufficient And Insufficient Creatures –

Developments in respect of the living beings are in six areas– ability to imbibe food (Āhāra paryāpti), ability to form a body (Śarīra paryāpti), ability to respirate (Ānapāna or Śvāsocchavāsa paryāpti), ability to feel through sensory organs (Indriya paryāpti), ability to communicate through vocal language (Bhāṣā paryāpti) and the ability to think and reason (Manaḥ paryāpti). These are referred to as paryāptis or sufficiencies. On conception in the mothers’ wombs the creatures enter the place of their birth (Yoni–sthāna). There, through their food consuming organ they consume the material necessary for the formation of their bodies and thereby form their bodies, respiratory organs, sensory organs, vocal organs and thinking organs, in this order. There are infinite number of creatures who die before developing these abilities, However, the living beings that are able to form their bodies before their deaths are said to be sufficient creatures (Paryāpta Jīva) even when they might not have acquired the latter four developments of respiration, senses, language and thought. The others that die before forming their bodies are said to be insufficient creatures (Aparyāpta Jīva). The sufficient creatures may have a minimum of four sufficiencies of food, body, respiration and senses in the cases of static fine one–sensed living beings through a maximum of all six in the cases f rational five–sensed beings. They might also be endowed with four to ten vitalities as under: –

Class of Creatures No. And Types of Vitalities Present

i–ii. Fine and gross one– FOUR – Sense of touch, body–

sensed beings power, life–span and respiration.

iii. Two–sensed beings SIX – Senses of touch and taste and

body–power, speech–power, life–

span and respiration.

iv. Three–sensed beings SEVEN –Senses of touch, taste and

smell and body–power, speech–

power, life–span and respiration.

v. Four sensed beings EIGHT– Senses of touch, taste,

smell and sight and body–power,

speech–power, life–span and


vi. Irrational Five–sensed NINE – Senses of touch, taste,

beings smell, sight and hearing and body–

power, speech–power, life–span and respiration.

vii. Rational Five–sensed TEN – Senses of touch, taste, smell,

beings sight and hearing and body–power,

speech–power, mind–power, life–

span and respiration.

There is yet another classification of the living–beings on the basis of the part of the universe in which they dwell. They are as under: –

1. The hellish creatures (Nāraka Jīva)dwelling on the seven hellish grounds (Naraka–Bhūmi) in the nether world (Adholoka),

2. Sub–human creatures (Tiryañca) live in the middle universe (Madhyaloka),

3. The human–beings (Manuṣya), too, live in the human part of the middle universe (Manuṣyaloka) and

4. Heavenly gods (Deva) living in the heavens (Devavimāna) in the upper universe (U+rdhvaloka).

At this stage it would be right to dwell a little on the matter of life and death. We have said earlier that the soul is unmanifest, incorporeal – bodiless and eternal. Then, who are the creatures that we see around us? Why are they born? Why do they die? Who takes birth and dies?

Yes, the soul is unmanifest, incorporeal, bodiless and eternal but, by virtue of its associability and bonding with the manifest non–living matter (pudgala), it acquires bodies and becomes corporeal during its mundane – worldly existence. What we see around us are the worldly souls that have bodies and are in front of us as corporeal creatures. We cannot and do not see the liberated souls that are incorporeal. As the eternal soul transmigrates in its mundane existence it continuously acquires and relinquishes bodies after specific periods of time called life–span (Āyuṣya) that is determined by its karmic associations prevailing at different times. Acquisition of a new body by the soul is termed as birth and relinquishing an existing body as death. It is like changing of clothes. Material body is nothing more than a garb for the soul. The Śrīmad Bhagvadgītā also says that the soul discards a worn out body and takes a new one just as a person discards worn out clothes and takes new ones. So, actually, it is the body, which is created and destroyed or the body is born and the body dies while the soul remains constant, eternal.

2. Ajīva Tattva (The Non–living Matter) –

As mentioned earlier, the universe consists of the living and the non–living matter. Also, that the living matter has a beginningless association with a particular type of non–living matter called karma–matter and which is the cause of its worldly existence and transmigration. The non–living universe consists of five types of non–living matter namely – Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma, Ākāśa and Kāla. These are widely divergent in their characteristics and have only one thing in common that they areall lifeless. Of these only the Pudgala matter is manifest or formed, others are unmanifest or unformed. This section of the chapter is devoted to a reasonably detailed description of these types.

Pudgala Dravya (Manifest Matter) –

The elemental matter that is variously referred to as physical element or physical matter is known as pudgala in the Jaina parlance. This is the manifest part of the non–living universe and all that we see around us is a manifestation of this single type of matter. It is endowed with the attributes of form (rūpa), taste (rasa), smell (gandha), sound (śabda) and touch (sparśa), meaning that it can be seen, tasted, smelt, heard or felt by a touch. However, the pudgala manifests itself through its various modes that are caused by its properties of making sound (śabda), bonding of one part with the other(s) (bandha), fineness (sūkṣamatā), grossness (sthūlatā), configuration (saṁsthāna), divisibility (bheda), darkness (tama), casting shadows (chāyā), radiance (udyota), and heat (ātapa). The constantly changing universe we see and experience is nothing but the manifestation of the changing modes of the pudgala matter. If we analyse the name pudgala itself, it is made up of two parts ‘pud’ meaning ‘to combine’ and ‘gala’ meaning ‘to disintegrate’. Thus pudgala, by its very nature, constantly keeps changing its modes by combination and disintegration. This change comes about in three different ways – 1. Naturally as the shapes of clouds keep changing on their own, 2. By conscious endeavour when it undergoes a change through some effort and 3. By a combination of nature and effort. Because of its constantly changing nature, the pudgala is defined in terms of four variables, namely – 1. Dravya (Matter), 2. Kṣetra (Spatial position), 3. Kāla (Time) and 4. Bhāva (Mode). Together, they are known as its own quartet (Sva–catuṣṭaya).

Eight major types of pudgala matter, called pudgala– vargaṇā, are 1. Audārika vargaṇā, the matter typethat forms the physical bodies of the living–beings, 2. Vaikriya vargaṇā special type of pudgala matter that is capable of transformation, 3. Āhāraka vargaṇā, the matter type with which the accomplished spiritual practitioners form bodies with special powers, 4. Taijas vargaṇā, the type of matter with which the subtle body electric field is formed that gives the body its glow, heat and power to digest, 5. Kārmaṇa vargaṇā, the highly subtle karma–matter that binds with the soul and becomes the cause of its worldly existence and transmigration, 6. Śvāsocchavāsa vargaṇā, the gaseous matter that is inhaled and exhaled by the living beings, 7. Bhāṣā vargaṇā, the mode of matter that creates intelligible sounds, and 8. Manaḥ vargaṇa, the type of matter that creates thoughts in the minds of the rational living beings.

All pudgala matter is made up of ultimate indivisible particles called ‘Paramāṇu’, which combine to form various types of aggregates called ‘skandha’. Here, it must be clearly understood that paramāṇu is the ultimate and indivisible finest part of matter and it ought not to be confused with the currently employed scientific term ‘atom’, which has been divided into finer particles long ago. The finest particle known to science, today, is ‘quark’ and it may not be the ultimate finest particle. Of course, the science is yet to cross many frontiers of discovery.

Two, three or more (including numerable, innumerable and infinite) number of ultimate particles form the aggregates. The ultimate particle is not perceptible by senses but the aggregates are and the manifest universe we see around us is in the form of aggregates (pudgala–skandha) of various shapes, sizes, colours, tastes, smells, and touches. According to their sizes the material aggregates are of six types – 1. Very fine, 2. Fine, 3. Fine–gross, 4. Gross–fine, 5. Gross and 6. Very gross. The Jaina thinkers also accept a relationship between matter and energy and consider energy as a mode of matter, the contention that has been borne out by Albert Einstein’s discovery and the resultant equation(E=MC2) giving a mathematical veracity to this relation.

Any discussion about the manifest matter will be incomplete if we did not mention its spatial dimension. All matter whether manifest or otherwise occupies space. This space is provided to it by the space–matter known as Ākāśa. As we shall dwell upon the details of the space–matter separately, it will suffice, here, to say that, depending upon their density, the smallest unit of space, known as pradeśa, is capable of accommodating a single pudgala particle as well as infinite number of such particles.

We conclude this exposition on pudgala by mentioning its twenty characteristics and five configurations as follows : –

Eight types of touches – Cold, hot, dry, oily, light, heavy, smooth or rough;

Five types of tastes – Sour, sweet, bitter, astringent and pungent;

Two types of smells – Fragrant and foul or pleasant and unpleasant;

Five types of colours – Blue, red, green, yellow and white; and

Configurations – Spherical, circular, triangular, tetrahedral and cuboidal. All other configurations are various combinations and permutations of these basic configurations.

Dharma Dravya (Medium Of Motion) –

The second type of non–living matter is Dharma or the medium of motion. It is defined as ‘an abstract neutral agency that supports the motion of the souls and the manifest matter through space without urging those at rest to move’. It has been compared to water that supports the motion of the fish but does not urge the fishes, that wish to rest, to move. It only provides a neutral medium for such motion and it neither moves with the objects that move through it nor does it urge them to move. It is eternal and its expanse is uninterrupted in the entire universal space comprising innumerable space units. Though the concept of a neutral medium of motion is unique to the Jaina thought and it is not found mentioned in any other religious philosophy, the modern scientific concept of dynamic inertia, which states that any object in a state of uniform motion will continue to move unless acted upon by an external force, comes closest to it. The Dharma–dravya can be compared to ‘ether’ in which everything, including the electromagnetic waves, moves. It must be noted that the expanse of the Dharma–dravya is only up to the universal space and, therefore, no motion is possible in the non–universal space outside the universal space.

Adharma Dravya (Medium Of Rest) –

The next category of non–living matter is Adharma or the medium of rest. It is defined as ‘an abstract neutral agency that supports the state of rest of the souls and the manifest matter in the space without urging those in motion to come to rest’. It has been compared to the shade of a tree that supports the rest of a traveller but does not urge to rest those that wish to move on. It only provides a neutral medium for such rest and it does not urge them to stop. It, too, is eternal and its expanse is also uninterrupted in the entire universal space comprising innumerable space units. Though the concept of a neutral medium of rest is also unique to the Jaina thought and it is also not found mentioned in any other religious philosophy, the modern scientific concept of static inertia, which states that any object in a state of rest will continue to stay in a state of rest unless acted upon by an external force, comes closest to it. It must be noted that the expanse of the Adharma–dravya is also only up to the universal space and, therefore, no position for either the souls or the manifest matter is possible in the non–universal space outside the universal space.

From the discussion on the Dharma and the AdharmaDravya, two things emerge – 1. They are the mediums of all motion and position in the space, and 2. They define the limit of the universal space. The universal space extends up to the extent that these mediums are present. Beyond this limit is the non–universal space in which no motion or position of any kind of matter – sentient or insentient – is possible.

Ākāśa Dravya (Space–matter) –

As the very name suggests the Ākāśa–dravya or the space–matter is the abstract matter that provides space to all other types of matter – Jīva, Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma and Kāla. The ultimately smallest unit of space is known as pradeśa and, depending upon their density, it is capable of accommodating one particle of matter or infinite number of them. Here, it is worthy of mention that a single particle of matter requires at least one unit of space for its accommodation but one unit of space is also capable of accommodating infinite number of material particles. This particular attribute of the space–unit (pradeśa) is known as miraculous power of accommodation or Avagāhana–siddhi. The concept of ‘black holes’, into which large objects vanish by being reduced to dense material points, may be explained by this definition of space–units.

The space, according to the Jaina thought, is divided into two parts – 1. The universal space (Lokākāśa) that accommodates all other types of matter, living (Jīva) as well as non–living (Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma and Kāla), and 2. The non–universal space (Alokākāśa) that affords no location to other types of matter for the media of motion and position are not present therein. In other words, it is only the space–matter, which is not restricted to the universal space and extends beyond it. About the nature of space–matter, the Jaina concept is in conformity with the concept of real void (Śūnya–vāstavika) capable of accommodation – Avagāhana–yogya.

Kāla–dravya (Time–matter) –

The next type of matter is Kāla or time. It is characterised by its passage and its presence is limited to the universal space. It is responsible for all the change in the living and non–living matter. The time is eternal and endless and is composed of time units that are known as samaya – the smallest unit of time defined as the time taken for a paramaṇu to travel from one space–unit to the next. The very next higher unit of time – nimiṣa is innumerable times greater than the samaya. The Jaina precept believes in a three–fold division of time in two ways – Firstly – 1. Past, 2. Present, and 3. Future and secondly – 1. Measurable time (Saṅkhyāt kāla) mentioned in terms of samaya, nimiṣa, kāṣṭha, kalā, ghaṭī, Muhurta, Ahorātra , pakṣa, māsa, varṣa, up to pūrvakoṭi, 2. Immeasurable time (Asaṅkhyāt kāla) mentioned in terms of Palyopama, Sāgaropama, etc, and 3. Infinite time (Ananta–kāla). Though the measurement of time has been dealt with, in detail, in the ninth chapter, the following is one of the representations of measurable time –

Measurable Time (Saṅkhyāt Kāla)

Samaya – The smallest unit of time according to Jaina precept.

Nimiṣa – Time taken to bat an eyelid. However, it is equal to innumerable Samayas.

Kāṣṭhā – 15 Nimiṣa.

Kalā – 20 Kāṣṭha.

Ghaṭī or Nāḍi – 20 Kalā (24 minutes approx.)

Muhurta – 2 Ghaṭis (48 minutes approx.)

Ahorātra – 30 Muhurtas (24 Hrs. or a day and a night)

Pakṣa – 15 day–nights,

Māsa – 2 Pakṣa (a month),

Ṛtu – 2 Māsa,

Ayana – 3 Ṛtu,

Varṣa – 2 Ayana or 6 Ṛtu or 12 Māsa (an year),

Pūrva varṣa – 7056×10 10years,

Koṭākoṭi Varṣa – 10 14 years, etc.

Pañcāstikāya (Five Bodied Existences) –

Out of the six types of matter – one living and five non–living – mentioned above, five except the Kāla, are real (i.e. they exist) and form aggregates (bodies) while Kāla is real (it exists) but it does not form aggregates. The five that exist in bodied existence are termed as Astikāyas while time is excluded from this classification for its inability to form aggregates. Singly, they are respectively called 1. Jīvāstikāya, 2. Pudgalāstikāya, 3. Dharmā–stikāya, 4. Adharmāstikāya and 5. Ākāśāstikāya. Collectively, the five are referred to as Pañcāstikāya.

3. Puṇya Tattva (Pious Activities) –

Puṇya is defined as those actions that yield pleasurable fruition for the doer to enjoy when he reaps the fruits of his actions. This definition is linked with the action (karma) and its inevitable favourable or pleasurable retribution. The meritorious actions attract pious karma–matter towards the soul (Puṇyāsrava) and under right psychic dispositions they get bound with it (Puṇya–bandha). When such karmic bondage ripens and yields fruits, they are invariably pleasurable. Thus, the discussion about the fundamental of merit cannot be de–linked from that of karmic influx and bondage.

The types of actions that are considered pious or meritorious are – Praśasta Rāga (commendable attachment towards the faith, the Prophets and the preceptors), Anukampā or compassionate disposition, Dāna or giving charity of food, clothes and shelter to the deserving, thinking well of others, giving verbal solace to the suffering, serving the elders and the aged, helping the needy, bowing to the venerable, etc.

From the stand–point of types of karmic influx and bondage that takes place while enjoying the fruits of earlier bonded meritorious acts, the puṇya is of two types – 1. Puṇyānubandhī– puṇya in which one gathers more merit while enjoying the fruits of earlier merit. The example of such puṇya is when one gives charity out of the wealth that one got as a result of one’s earlier merit, and gathers further merits. 2. Pāpānubandhī Puṇya, in which one gathers demerits or sins while enjoying the fruits of earlier merit. For example, when one squanders the wealth obtained through earlier merit in sinful pursuits, one gathers demerits while enjoying the fruits of earlier merit.

The list of favourable fruition that one can get through meritorious acts is long. However, some of them are as follows:–

i. Pleasurable feelings,

ii. High status,

iii. Human rebirth,

iv. Heavenly rebirth,

v. Good body and health,

vi. Fame,

vii. Rebirth as a Prophet, etc.

Here, it must be clearly understood that puṇya is both, desirable and undesirable at the same time. From the point of view of pleasurable and favourable fruition, it is desirable but from the point of view of ultimate liberation from the mundane existence, it is undesirable. The reason being that it is itself binding upon the soul though with favourable karmic bondage. But, bondage is bondage, after all. Shackles whether made of steel or of gold are shackles and one type binds the captive as good as the other.

4. Pāpa Tattva (Sinful Activities) –

Pāpa is defined as those actions that yield painful fruition for the doer to suffer when he reaps the fruits of his actions. This definition is also linked with the action (karma) and its inevitable unfavourable or painful retribution. The sinful actions attractimpious karma–matter towards the soul (Pāpasrava) and under right psychic dispositions they get bound with it (Pāpa–bandha). When such karmic bondage ripens and yields fruits, they are invariably painful. Thus, the discussion about the fundamental of demerit is also linked with that of karmic influx and bondage.

In his work ‘Pañcāstikāya’ Kundakundācārya defines sin as actions that are predominantly negligent, wicked thoughts, indulgent attitude in sensual pleasures and tormenting others. The activities that are considered sinful are – violent actions, telling lies, stealing, sexual indiscretion, unlimited accumulation, conspicuous consumption, anger, pride, guile, greed, aversion, quarrelsomeness, laying false blames, back–biting, jealousy, wrong beliefs, impious attachment towards the mundane pleasures and objects of sin, lack of compassion and uncharitable disposition, thinking ill of others, verbally tormenting the suffering, speaking ill of others, etc.

From the stand–point of types of karmic influx and bondage that takes place while enjoying the fruits of earlier bonded sinful acts, the pāpa is of two types – 1. Puṇyānubandhī pāpa, in which one gathers merit while suffering the inevitable retribution of earlier sins. The example of such pāpa is when one suffers in silence and in a state of equanimity of mind thinking that it is his own karma that he is to blame and helps others in spite of his suffering, and gathers merit. 2. Pāpānubandhī Pāpa, in which one gathers further demerits while suffering the retribution of one’s earlier sins. For example, when one laments, cries and yells while suffering the retribution due to one’s earlier bonded sins as well as indulges in further sinful pursuits, one gathers further demerits.

The list of unfavourable fruition that one can get through sinful acts is long. However, some of them are the bonding of following karma : –

i. Knowledge obscuring (Jñānāvaraṇīya) karma,

ii. Vision obscuring (Darśanāvaraṇīya) karma,

iii. Delusion producing (Mohanīya) karma,

iv. Pleasure hindering (Antarāya) karma,

v. Inauspicious physique (Aśubha Nāma) karma,

vi. Low status (Nīca Gotra) karma,

vii. Painful feelings (Aśātāvedanīya) karma, and

viii. Inauspicious rebirth (Nīca Gati Āyu) karma.

Here, also, it must be clearly understood that pāpa is always undesirable. It is undesirable from the point of view of painful and unfavourable fruition as well as from that of barring the ultimate liberation of the soul. One must, therefore, desist from sinful pursuits how–so–ever enticing they may seem at the outset, in ultimate analysis they are painful and binding.

5. Āsrava Tattva (Karmic Influx) –

All activities of a living being whether they are physical, mental or verbal result in vibrations that attract karma–matter (karma–pudgala vargaṇā) in its vicinity. This attraction and resultant entry of the karma–matter into the soul–field is termed as Āsrava or karmic influx.

There are three schools of thought as to the causes of karmic influx. They are as under: –

A. The first school of thought believes that karmic influx results from the presence of passions (kaṣāya) and the activities of the yoga (body, mind and speech).

B. The second school believes that it is caused by false–belief (mithyātva), indiscipline (avirati), passions and yoga.

C. The third school of thought is of the view that karmic influx is a result of falsehood, indiscipline, negligence (pramāda), passions and yoga.

From the consideration of the quality of karmic influx, it can be of two types, namely –

A. Pious karmic influx (Puṇyāsrava)is caused by pious psychic disposition of the creature while performing the activities of body mind and speech. The creature that has pious attachment towards the Prophets, preceptors and the co–believers, who is of compassionate disposition and whose mind is devoid of bad thoughts invites pious karmic influx.

B. Sinful karmic influx (Pāpāsrava)is caused by impious psychic disposition. One, who is negligent in his actions, whose mind is full of envy and ill–feelings for others, who is indiscreet, undisciplined and unrestrained, who always remains engrossed in the pursuit of mundane pleasures, etc invites impious or sinful karmic influx.

From the consideration of level of influx, again, it is of two types –

A. Psychic Influx (Bhāvāsrava) The attraction of the karma–matter due to the mental thought processes of the pious and the impious types is termed as Bhāvāsrava.

B. Substantive Influx (Dravyāsrava)The physical entry of the karma–matter into the soul field due to the thoughts and activities of various kinds is termed as Dravayāsrava.

Again, from the consideration of the potentiality of the influxed karma–matter to bond with the soul also it is of two types, namely –

A. Non–bonding Influx (—ryāpathik Āsrava) – When the activities of the body, mind and speech are conducted in the absence of any passion or desire or attachment, the karma–matter attracted towards the soul does not get bound with it and they fall apart in the very next instant that they are attracted. Such influx is termed as —ryāpathik Āsrava. The example that illustrates such influx is when dry sand is thrown on a dry and smooth wall it readily falls to the ground without sticking to the wall. The coming in contact of the sand with the wall can be compared with karmic influx and its falling to the ground in the absence of any sticking agent to the absence of passions, desire and attachment that act as bonding agents for the influxed karma–matter.

B. Bonding Influx (Sāmparāyik Āsrava) On the contrary, when the activities of the body, mind and speech are conducted in the presence of passions or desire or attachment, the karma–matter attracted towards the soul gets bound with it. Such influx is termed as Sāmparāyik Āsrava. Again, in the same example if the sand is thrown on a wet and rough wall, it gets stuck there. Similarly, the influxed karma–matter gets bonded with the soul in the presence of bonding agents in the form of passions, desire and attachment.

It will be worth our while to dwell a little on the five causes of karmic influx.

A. Mithyātva (False–belief) – The false belief corrupts a person or a creature’s vision. He is unable to see things in their right perspective and indulges in sinful activities thinking them to be pious. However, the law takes its own course and karmic influx takes place into his soul–field even if he thinks otherwise. He is not even aware of the harm being caused to himself. Falsehood is, therefore, a very potent cause of karmic influx.

B. Avirati (Indulgence) – When one indulges in various pious and impious activities, the karmic influx takes place due to the vibrations caused in the soul–field. Indulgence in violence, untruth, theft, sex and unlimited possession and conspicuous consumption can be considered to be in this category.

C. Pramāda (Negligence) – When one neglects to exercise due care in what one does due to the influence of arrogance, sensuality, passion, sleep or sloth and gossipabout food, sex, king or state, one invites karmic influx into one’s soul–field.

D. Kaṣāya (Passions) – When one is under the influence of passions such as anger, pride, guile and greed, one invites karmic influx into one’s soul–field.

E. Yoga (Activities of the body, mind and speech) – As mentioned earlier, such activities cause special vibrations in the soul–field that attract karmic influx.

This discussion on the ‘fundamental of karmic influx’ can be summed up by mentioning its forty–two causes –

A. Five sense–organs of touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing.

B. Four passions – anger, pride, guile and greed.

C. Five indulgences in violence, untruth, theft, sex and attachment for possessions.

D. Three types of activities of the body, mind and speech.

E. Twenty–five activities like physical, jealous, violent, possessive, unrestrained, falsehood prompted, deceptive, instrumental, supervisory, creative, ordered, social, etc.

6. Bandha Tattva (Bondage) –

While discussing the fundamental of karmic influx we had mentioned that in the presence of suitable karma bonding agents such as passions, desire or attachment, the influxed karma–mater gets bound with the soul. This is termed as bondage and is brought about by the bonding properties of the bonding agents. The karma–matter bonded with the soul makes it impure and heavy and forces it to dwell in the mundane existence. It may be called the impure mode of the soul. When the karma–matter is completely separated from the soul by suitable means, it becomes pure and light and rises to the uppermost end of the universe to dwell in the abode of the liberated souls. This is the pure mode of the soul. Karmic influx and bondage are associated with the impure mundane mode of the soul while stoppage (Saṁvara) and separation (Nirjarā) with the process of liberation resulting in its pure mode.

The question that arises is “Since when has the soul been in the grip of the karma–matter?” In the introductory chapter in Section–I, we have mentioned that the beginningless association of the soul with the karma–matter is one of the unquestionable axioms of Jainism. All mundane creatures, by virtue of their mundane status, have initial karmic encumbrance, which they keep reducing or augmenting through their thoughts, deeds and words.

The Causes Of Karmic Bondage –

The causes of karmic bondage are the same as the causes of karmic influx. It is only the presence or the absence of the karmic bonding agents – passions, attachment etc that makes the influxed karma–matter to stick or fall off. In the first case the bondage takes place and in the second it does not.

The Psychic And Substantive Bondage –

The subtle karmic bondage caused due to the psychic states such as attachment, aversion, delusion, etc of the creature is said to be the psychic bondage or Bhāva–bandha.

The substantive karmic bondage is the gross bondage in which the karma–matter actually bonds with the spatial units of the soul. This is known as Dravya–bandha.

Four Types Of Karmic Bondage –

Just as the food, when digested, is converted into flesh, blood, bone, bone–marrow and energy, the karma–matter while in the process of bonding with the soul gets converted into four states, which decide their nature, duration, potency and magnitude.

A. Nature Of Bondage or Quality–bondage (PrakṛtiBandha) – According to the type of activity and psychic state at the time of bonding of karma–matter with the soul, it gets converted into any one or more of the following eight types of karma–matter that bonds with the soul and that decides the nature of retribution it will ultimately yield when it comes to fruition. These eight types are –

i Knowledge obscuring (Jñānāvaraṇīya) karma,

ii Vision obscuring (Darśanāvaraṇīya) karma,

iii Feeling producing (Vedanīya) karma,

iv Deluding (Mohanīya) karma,

v Life–span determining (Āyu) karma,

vi Physique determining (Nāma) karma,

vii Status determining (Gotra) karma, and

viii Obstructive (Antarāya) karma.

B. Duration Of Bondage (Sthiti–Bandha) Each of the above mentioned eight types of karmic bondage remains bonded with the soul before it separates from the soul after yielding its fruition. This period is known as duration (sthiti) of that type of karmic bondage.

C. Potency Of bondage (Anubhāga–Bandha)The intensity with which a particular type of karma yields its fruition is called its potency of bonding or anubhāga. It goes without saying that this potency and resultant intensity of retribution depends upon the intensity of the passions with which such karmic bonds are bonded.

D. Magnitude Of Bondage or Quantity–bondage (Pradeśa–Bandha) – the amount of different types of karma–matter that gets bonded with the soul due to certain action is said to be the magnitude of that particular bondage or Pradeśa–bandha. On this magnitude depends the amount of resultant suffering or enjoyment to be yielded when the specific karma comes to fruition. Here, the difference between the potency and magnitude must be very clearly understood. The most potent karmic bondage resulting in very intense retribution may not be of maximum quantity. The potency depends on the intensity of passions and the magnitude upon the amount of activity at the time of bonding. Persistent action at low intensity will bond more quantity of karma–matter than momentary action under the influence of intense passions.

Though a more detailed discussion on the subject of karma will ensue in the chapter on ‘Karma Theory’, it is pertinent here to mention that all bonded karma–matter is separated from the soul either by giving its due retribution, on coming to fruition, or by expiation through appropriate penance. However, there are some immutable (nikācita) types of karma that admit of no expiation but can be separated only by suffering their due retribution.

Another feature of karmic bondage is that one is free to act at will but is compelled to suffer the retribution due to his actions. One must, therefore be vigilant while acting rather than be repentant while suffering.

7. Saṁvara Tattva (Karmic Stoppage) –

Saṁvara or karmic stoppage is the seventh of the nine fundamentals. It has been defined as the prevention of karmic influx (Āsrava–nirodh) into the soul–field. Therefore, the means of stoppage will be just the opposite of those that result in karmic influx. Such stoppage prevents the incoming of the karma–matter into the soul–field and, therefore, precludes any possibility of its bonding with it. It, thus, indirectly helps in preventing further karmic bondage and leaves the way open for the spiritual aspirantto concentrate on the process of karmic separation, which will ultimately pave the way for his liberation from the mundane existence. This can be understood by the example of a boat that has developed a leak in it and water has started seeping in. A wise sailor will first try to plug the leak and then concentrate on belching out the accumulated water. Unless the leak has been effectively plugged, no amount of belching out will result in throwing out all accumulated water. It is the case with the spiritual aspirant who wishes to achieve complete separation from the accumulated karma–matter in order to attain liberation from the mundane existence. Plugging the leak in the boat can be compared with karmic stoppage (Saṁvara) and belching out of water with karmic separation (Nirjarā). The second cannot be effective without the first.

From the considerations of psychic and physical means of stoppage the Saṁvara has been said to be of two types –

i. Substantive Prevention (Dravya–Saṁvara)– To give up activities that result in substantive karmic influx is substantive prevention.

ii. Psychic Prevention (Bhāva–Saṁvara) To bear such psychic disposition that precludes the possibility of any psychic karmic influx is psychic prevention.

The Means To Achieve Karmic Stoppage –

At the very outset it must be understood that as the karmic influx results from self–indulgence, karmic stoppage can only be achieved through self–restraint. As the karmic stoppage is just the opposite of karmic influx the means to achieve it are also just the opposite of those responsible for karmic influx. This can be easily seen from the following table that compares the means of karmic influx with those of karmic stoppage: –

Means Of Karmic Influx & Means Of Karmic Stoppage

i. False belief, i. Right belief,

ii. Indulgence, ii. Restraint,

iii. Negligence, iii. Vigilance,

iv. Passions, and iv. Controlled passions, and

v. Indiscreet yoga, v. Discreet yoga.

From this discussion emerge the twenty types of medium Do’s and fifty seven types of maximal Do’s that constitute a detailed classification of these means that result in karmic stoppage. They, as will be seen, form the ‘Jaina ethics’ and will be dealt with in detail later in this work. They are as follows: –

A. Twenty Do’s –

Observing five means of karmic stoppage, namely – Right–belief, restraint, vigilance, controlled passions and discreet employment of body, mind and speech. (i–v)

§ Five types of renunciations, namely – violence, untruth, theft, sex, and possession. (vi–x)

§ Restraint over five senses, namely – those of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. (xi–xv)

§ Three disciplines over mind, body and speech, (xvi–xviii) and

§§ Discretion in the use of equipment and implements. (xix–xx).

B. Fifty–seven Do’s –

§§ Three disciplines of mind, body and speech (Trigupti),

§§ Five types of vigilance in moving, seeking, speaking, equipment maintenance and disposal (Pañca–samiti).

§§ Ten monastic duties – forgiveness, humility, simplicity, contentment, truth, restraint, penance, renunciation, poverty and celibacy (Daśa Muni–dharma).

§§ Twelve types of pious contemplation (Dvādaśānu– prekṣā). These are about transient nature of everything in the universe (Anityānuprekṣā), helplessness againstkarmic retribution (Aśaraṇānuprekṣā), miserable nature of the worldly existence (Saṁsārānuprekṣā), loneliness of the individual in taking the consequences of its actions, duality of the body and the soul (Ekatvānuprekṣā), uncleanness of the body constituents(Aśucitvānuprekṣā), means of karmic influx (Āsravānuprekṣā), means of karmic stoppage (Saṁvarānuprekṣā), means of karmic separation (Nirjarānuprekṣā), form of the universe that makes our own insignificance in the cosmic design dawn on us (Lokānuprekṣā), difficulties to be encountered in gaining enlightenment and hence its value (Bodhi–durlabhānuprekṣā) and, finally, the certainty of liberation through the practice of the faith as preached by the Lords Jina (Dharmā–nuprekṣā).

§§ Twenty–two monastic hardships (Bāvīsa Parīṣaha) such as hunger, thirst, heat, cold, etc. And

§§§ Five types of ascetic ordination – 1. Equanimity type (Sāmāyika Cairitra), 2. Relegation and reinstatement type (Chedopasthāpanīya Cāritra). 3. Specially purifying type (Parihāra–viśuddhi Cāritra), 4. Minimal greed–passion type (Sūkṣma–samparāya Cāritra) and 5. As enunciated type (Ythākhyāta Cāritra).

To conclude the discussion on Saṁvara, we can say that it is an important landmark in one’s journey to the ultimate destination of liberation and that unless this landmark is crossed no spiritual progress is possible.

8. Nirjarā Tattva (Karmic Separation) –

The importance of karmic separation lies in the fact that unless the soul gets separated from the bonded karma–matter it cannot liberate. Nirjarā is nothing but a partial destruction or separation of the karma–matter bonded with the soul. It is natural that by such partial separation the soul gets partially purified of the karma–mire that soils it. This fundamental is, thus, reverse of the processes of karmic bondage. Through the means of karmic influx the karma–matter enters the soul–field and through the process of bonding it gets stuck to the soul. It is the gradual process of karmic separation that renders the soul gradually purer and purer and then, if the means of karmic stoppage are in place, there comes a time when the karma–matter gets completely separated from the soul and it becomes absolutely pure. As we had mentioned in the characteristics of the living matter, the soul in its pure mode (liberated state) has a natural tendency to rise to the uppermost limit of the universe and reside there on the Siddhaśilā or the —ṣatprāgbhāra–pṛthvī i.e. in the abode of the liberated souls. In this section of this chapter we shall examine the means and the process of such karmic destruction or separation.

Two Types Of Karmic Separation –

The karma–matter bonded with the soul gets destroyed or separated from it in two ways. –

1. The karma–matter gets separated on yielding the due retribution when it comes to fruition. This is termed as Savipāka Nirjarā (separation on fruition) and is possible only of that karma–matter that has already matured and come to the stage of fruition (udaya). This type of karmic separation happens all the time. The individual aspiring to karmic separation must mark that if he takes the retribution of his actions due to him calmly and without remorse, thinking that it is his own actions that he is answering for and without resorting to despondent and angered thoughts, he does not bind new sets of karma–matter and his separation is final. On the other hand, the aspirant who resorts to remorse, despondence and anger while suffering the retribution of his earlier bonded karma binds new set of karma–matter while getting separated from the earlier bonded ones and the whole processbecomes recurrent. It can be seen that this type of separation is involuntary and that one has no control over when and how of the karmic fruition.

2. It gets separated from the soul by the process of expiation through proper penance. This is called Avipāka Nirjarā (separation, through expiation, without fruition) and is possible even in the case of that karma–matter that has not matured to come to the fruition stage. This process of premature separation of karma–matter through expiation is called Udīraṇā. This type of separation happens only when the subject undertakes appropriate penance in order to expiate for his karmic encumbrance. This is the process that can uplift the soul and give it its desired goal of spiritual emancipation and liberation. As this is the process under our control, we must now concentrate our thoughts on it. However, it must be borne in mind that there are some types of karma that do not brook any interference in the process of their due and inevitable retribution.

Twelve Types Of Nirjarā –

Penance is the only means to achieve voluntary karmic separation or Sakāma–nirjarā. Therefore, the term penance and separation are, at times, taken synonymously. In this section we shall describe twelve types of penance that result in karmic separation. They are as follows: –

A. Six Types Of External (Physical) Penance –

i. Anaśana (Fasting),

ii. Avamaudarya (Reduced diet),

iii. Bhikṣācaryā (Mendicancy),

iv. Rasa–parityāga (Taste renunciation),

v. Kāya–kleśa (tolerating body–pain), and

vi. Sallīnatā (Withdrawal from physicality to concentrate on spirituality).

B. Six Types Of Internal (Psychic or Volitional) Penance

i. Prāyaścitta (Repentance),

ii. Vinaya (Humility),

iii. Vaiyāvrata (Service),

iv. Svādhyāya (Scriptural study),

v. Dhyāna (Meditation),

vi. Vyutsarga (Giving up bodily attachment).

The details of these types of penance have been given under the treatment of penance in the first chapter. However, here we shall dwell a little more on the subject of meditation.

Meditation –

Meditation is the penultimate penance and one of the most potent agent of spiritual purification and, thereby, of liberation. Spiritual benefits apart, meditation has been recognised as a means of reduction of tension and attendant maladies, which makes it a potent tool for leading a healthy life as well. Its importance in the modern era, beset with incessant rat–race and haunting schedules cannot be understated. It reduces tension, improves concentration and increases efficiency and what else?

Meditation is directly related to consciousness and, through improved concentration, effects it at all three levels, namely – those of cognition (specific knowledge or Jñāna), feeling or Vedana and conation (general mental awareness or Darśana).

Periods of meditation are moments of rest for the intellect and the senses tired from over indulgence. They become a means of relief from the tortures of physicality and also pave a path to tread away from tensions and upheavals of tiring schedules.

Thus, we see that penance is not all hunger and abstinence, but besides being a means of karmic separation, it is also a way of leading a healthy and hearty life. It is the redirection of the life–force or vitality in the right direction.

9. Mokṣa Tattva (Liberation) –

Liberation or Mokṣa is the last and the most important of the nine fundamentals of Jainism. It is the final and ultimate destination of every living being to attain. It is quite natural for the soul to seek liberation, as it is its natural state, the state of bondage being the unnatural one. It has been defined as ‘complete separation of the soul from the karma–matter’. The karma, as has been mentioned earlier, is of eight types four of them being destructive and the other four being non–destructive. The destructive types destroy the souls’ power to gain enlightenment while the non–destructive types do not prevent enlightenment and have only to be gone through their due fruition before one can finally exit the mundane existence and reach the final destination. The separation from four destructive types of karma results in enlightenment and an assurance of the fact that once the four non–destructive types are exhausted the soul will exit the mundane world and enter the realm of the incorporeal liberated souls. This is, therefore, called the psychic or objective liberation of the soul while the exit of the soul from the mundane existence after exhausting the four non–destructive types of karma as well is termed as substantive or physical liberation.

Here, I wish to make it quite clear that complete separation from the karma–matter means separation from the good as well as the bad types of karma–matter. This means that one cannot liberate unless one rises above sinning as well as piety. Piety, too, results in influx and bonding of karma–matter, though of the good variety that yields pleasurable fruition, but they also are binding on the soul and unless and until it sheds even the good type of karma–matter, and reaches a state of total freedom from karma, it cannot liberate.

Once the soul is liberated from the shackles of bonded karma–matter – both the good and the bad types – it becomes absolutely pure and rises to the uppermost part of the universe where the land of the liberated or emancipated pure souls, called —ṣatprāgbhāra–pṛthvī or Siddhaśilā or Siddhaloka is situated and dwells there in a state of absolute bliss, complete consciousness, infinite knowledge and vision and spiritual prowess. There, the liberated pure souls exist in formless incorporeal state and pervades the space just like the light of a lamp.

Liberation being so important and desirable, the entire emphasis of all the religious philosophies, including that of Jainism, has been to devise and prescribe the means of attaining this goal. The Jaina thinkers realised that the path to spiritual emancipation lies in the pursuit of three gems of Samyagdarśan (right–vision), Samyagjñāna (right–knowledge) and Samyakcāritra (right–conduct). Some consider Tapa (penance)to be the fourth prong of the path to spiritual emancipation while the others consider it to be a part and parcel of right–conduct.

Here, it will be pertinent to mention the order in which the karma–matter is separated from the soul. Out of the four destructive types, first of all, the twenty–eight sub–types of deluding karma are separated from the soul and the soul is established in absolute right faith. Instantaneously all the sub–types of other three destructive karma namely the knowledge obscuring, the vision obscuring and obstructive are shed and there rises the sun–like Kevalajñāna or omniscience. Thereafter only the pleasurable feeling producing (Śātā–vedanīya), physique making (Nāma), status determining (Gotra), and life–span determining (Āyu) karma are left. These are such that they have to be shed by experiencing their fruition only. Some times it so happens that objectively liberated souls Āyu karma is about to be exhausted but its Vedanīya karma is still left in a considerable quantity. Under such circumstances, in the final moments of its life, the objectively liberated soul undergoes a phenomenon called Kevali–samudghāta in which it so spreads its soul spaces in theentire universal space that it can feel all the remaining Vedanīya karma instantaneously and become completely free from the shackles of karma–matter to exit the world and enter the abode of the all accomplished (Siddha) souls.

From the rigorous process of attaining karmic–separation, it may seem that it is quite a dull and drab process. However, the reality is quite contrary to this mistaken view. The smallest separation also has its own compensation and as the soul becomes purer and purer its powers, intellectual capacity, physical well–being and material prosperity increase proportionately. The road to liberation is quite shady and full of blessings. Only one must stick to it faithfully.

About the nature of Mokṣa all philosophies are unanimous in holding the view that it is a state of the soul where there is all pleasure and no pain. Though different philosophies believe in plurality or singularity of the supreme soul, there is no dichotomy about the nature of Mokṣa.

Lastly, it will not be out of place to mention the attributes of the liberated souls. They are – omniscience (Ananta Jñāna), limitless vision (Ananta Darśan), infinite spiritual power (Ananta Vīrya), absolute bliss (Ananta Sukh), indestructibility (Anaśvaratā) and formless incorporeality (Aśarīratva) that is neither heavy nor light (Aguru–laghutva).

Conclusion –

One can only be wonder–struck by the logical simplicity of the systematic development of the subject–matter of the nine fundamentals mentioned herein. Their cause and effect relationship between various fundamentals is so apparent that no necessity of an arbitrator of a creature’s destiny is ever felt in the scheme of things propounded here.

We can conclude this chapter on the note that the nine fundamentals, described herein, are the very foundation stones on which the entire edifice of Jaina philosophy has been erected. Their proper understanding and belief in their existence and truth is vital to the spiritual progress of an aspirant. Vācaka Umāsvāti in his Tattvārthasūtra, has clearly stated that right–vision is nothing but a firm belief in the existence and truth of these fundamentals. Also, right–vision being the first and the vital part of the path to spiritual emancipation, it follows that without a firm belief in the existence and the truth of these fundamentals the liberation may only be a distant dream.

The fundamentals are thus firmly linked with the concept of right–vision or right–belief or right–faith or right–view or right–inclination or right–attitude or right way of thinking. This, then, forms the subject of our next chapter.Svastika

Contents |