Positive Non-Violence


Answers To Objections On

Positive Non-violence



In this chapter an effort is being made to answer the objections raised by several sects of Jaina tradition that consider the activities of positive non-violence such as mercy, kindness, compassion, benevolence charity, service, affection, protection etc., as unacceptable and abandonable.

1. Objection – All activities of the mind, body and speech generate karma, no matter they be the activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, benevolence charity, service, affection, protection etc.,. Therefore, all auspicious activities cause karmic bondage. Karmic bondage is unacceptable and abandonable, not acceptable.

Answer – It is true that activity is in the form of action, but all actions do not result in karmic bondage; there are many activities that do not. Only those activities result in karmic bondages that are associated with passions and desires and expectations of mundane pleasures and the feelings of doership and enjoyership. Those activities that naturally result from karmic fruition and without any feeling of doership and enjoyership and which are done with the feelings of a seer and a watcher do not cause any karmic bondage. That is why such activities have been said to be non-destructive and not even partially destructive. For example – the fully detached omniscient Lords Jina have continuous activities of the body, mind and speech but they do not incur any karmic bondages even when they, breathe, walk and preach.

Not only this, the fully detached Lords Jina naturally engage themselves in activities of general benefit like mercy, charity, affection, etc.,. The Omniscient Lords are infinitely charitable, they are universally beneficial but their activities are not done, they just happen without any desire behind them. They happen just like the drum produces sound when it is struck but there is no desire on the part of the drum to produce that sound. It is only the activities that have desires behind them that suffer from the feelings of doership and consequently they result in karmic bondage. We see all sorts of things as soon as we open our eyes and hear all sorts of sounds with our ears. However, merely seeing and listening does not result in karmic bondages. It results due to the resolves and desires that accompany the actions, due to the feelings of doership and enjoyership and due to passions in the form of attachment-aversion and delusion. As has been said -

Sukh-duḥkha donon basat hain, jñānī ke ghaṭa mānhin|

Giri sara dīse mukura men, bhāra bhījabo nāhin\

That is, – We can see the mountain and the pond in the mirror but the mirror does not get wet with the water of the pond and does not become heavy due to the mountain. Similarly, the enlightened souls also feel the pains and pleasures as per their karmic fruition but they do not incur any karmic bondage due to these feelings. It is clear that the passions that accompany any actions and not the actions by themselves result in karmic bondages. Therefore, the auspicious activities are not unacceptable and abandonable but it is the passions that are unacceptable and abandonable. Passions are the cause of karmic bondage.

2. Objection – Auspicious activities are meritorious activities and they result in karmic bondage. Being the cause of karmic bondage the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, benevolence charity, service, affection, protection etc., hinder liberation.

Answer – To consider the meritorious activities as the cause of karmic bondage is an erroneous assumption because the existence ofkarma depends on their durational bondage. The karmic existence is not possible in the absence of the durational bondage. The durational bondage takes place due to passions. Passions are never meritorious; they are always sinful. Therefore, Puṇya or meritorious – pious acts do not hinder liberation but on the contrary they aid its achievement. Right vision is gained by a high rise of puṇya only. Right vision is impossible to gain without achieving merit to gain it. Such a merit is gained by undertaking meritorious pious or auspicious activities. Without gaining the right vision it is not possible to gain right knowledge and right conduct also and liberation is impossible in the absence of these three. Thus, puṇya is a direct and traditional cause in gaining spiritual liberation.

The rule is that piousness cannot be destroyed by any means. There are two main courses of spiritual practice – karmic stoppage and separation. Both of these result in the ascendance and not descent of the intensity of merit. The excellent or outstanding fruition of the meritorious karma remains till the very last just before the attainment of liberation and final deliverance from the mundane existence. On attainment of the all-accomplished state (Siddhāvasthā) the merits are separated from the soul in the same way as a traveler leaves his vehicle on reaching his final destination. However, he reaches his destination only with the help of the vehicle. Thus, the auspicious activities only help and do not, in the least, hinder the attainment of liberation.

If these activities had been considered as hindrances in achieving liberation in any way, the vows for abandoning them would have been prescribed and given by the religious leaders just as the vows for giving up sinful activities are prescribed and are being given. However, such vows are neither prescribed anywhere in the scriptures nor are they being given by any spiritual master. The vows are taken for forsaking sinful activities and not the pious activities.

According to the Jaina canonical literature, the impious or inauspicious activities are sinful and irreligious and the pious and auspicious activities are meritorious and religious. The 37th verse of the 20th chapter of the Uttarādhyayana sūtra says – “Appā mittamamittaṁca duppaṭṭhiya-suppaṭṭhio|” That is, – indulging in inauspiciousness the soul becomes its own enemy and practicing auspiciousness it becomes its own friend. The Jaina scriptures describe the conversion of karmic subtypes in great detail. According to them – ‘as a rule, when an individual indulges in any sinful activity, his earlier bonded existing meritorious karma subtypes also get converted into sinful subtypes and when someone undertakes some auspicious activity, his earlier bonded existing sinful karma subtypes reduce in intensity and duration, i.e., the sinful karmic bondage is partially destroyed and reduced; and gets converted into meritorious ones. According to modern psychological terms it is called sublimation. Thus, the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, service, charity, friendship, affection, etc., result in destruction, reduction and separation of sinful karma subtypes. The destruction of sinful karmic bondages result in liberation. Therefore, the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, service, charity, friendship, affection, etc., are the helpful means of liberation and to consider them as hindrances in the way of liberation is to contradict the Jaina faith as such.

If the auspicious activities were considered as unacceptable in any way, it will be essential to destroy their meritorious karmic bondage. However, the meritorious karma subtypes cannot be destroyed and separated by the usual means of karmic separation like renunciation, restraint and penance. Actually, they only cause their increase. Therefore, the only way to destroy the meritorious karma subtypes is to indulge in sinful activities. To do so in order to destroy the meritorious karma subtypes will definitely hinder the progress towards spiritual emancipation and liberation.

Not only this, the meritorious karma subtypes are purely nondestructive. That is, they do not destroy any of the basic and natural qualities of a living being. Therefore, to consider them as hindrances in the path of liberation is neither logical nor proper.

3. Objection – Auspicious activities are meritorious and merit is not dharma. There is no liberation without dharma.Answer – Auspicious activities are meritorious as well as dharma. Not only this, merit and dharma go together. Therefore, where there will be dharma, there will be merit also. No creature devoid of merit can ever be religious. Merit is as inseparably together with dharma as the shadow is with the body. Dharma and merit cannot be viewed in isolation of each other. The reason being that the auspiciousness has two aspects – 1. Volitional and 2. Practical. The volitional aspect of auspiciousness lies in giving up passions born out of attachment-aversion and sensory cravings. Their practical form is in pursuing auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, etc.,. This practical aspect of auspiciousness itself is known as merit or puṇya. These two are the two sides of the same coin that cannot be separated. Therefore, where there will be dharma, there will be merit also and where there will be merit, there will be dharma too. By definition puṇya is what purifies the soul and that is dharma too. It cannot be called adharma. That is why the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, etc., have been said to be dharma in Jainism.

4. Objection – In the pursuit of auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, etc.,. there is always violence towards static one sensed and other moving creatures. Violence is sin and a cause of karmic bondage. Therefore, they are abandonable for an ascetic.

Answer – The violence that is caused against the one sensed and other moving creatures while pursuing the auspicious activities is unintentional. It is not only not done deliberately but all care is taken to minimise such violence. The causes of karmic bondage due to violence are intent and yoga – the combination of body, mind and speech. The karmic bondage takes place when both these causes are present. Only intent or only yoga cannot incur the karmic bondage. Therefore, the activity in which both these causes are present results in karmic bondage. If the bondage be assumed in the absence of intent to do, get done or approval of the act in question, then the activities like sitting, rising, speaking, walking, etc., of the fully detached Lords Jina, which also resulted in some violence towards the one sensed and small moving creatures would also have resulted in karmic bondages and they would never have liberated. But it was not so and they did not incur any karmic bondage because the intent to do anything, to get it done and approving anything done by others was totally absent in their case. The sense of doership was not there and that did not cause any karmic bondage.

What is meant here is that in the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, charity, service, affection, etc., the feeling of doership etc., is totally absent and, therefore, they are not sinful activities and do not cause any karmic bondage. It is for the same reason that even though the yoga activities of the ordained monks also cause some violence towards one sensed and other moving creatures, their monastic conduct is believed to be free of karmic bondage due to three means (body, mind and speech) and three agencies (self, other and approval). It is so because the violence in question is committed but they do not commit it. They only aim at the protection and safety of all the living beings of the world and do not intend any harm and violence to any creature. Therefore, the auspicious activities do not result in any karmic bondage.

5. Objection – Any sinful acts committed by a creature that is saved by the auspicious activities of mercy, protection, etc., may incur sinful karmic bondage and the person that saves it would also partially incur that sinful karmic bondage, which is abandonable and would eventually hinder his liberation. Therefore, to save and protect any creature through the auspicious activities of mercy, protection, etc., is a sin and should be abandoned.

Answer – The abovementioned reason is absolutely unsubstantial. The reason being that the person that saves a creature does not save with the intent that the creature so saved may live for doing sinful acts. If the saviour be held responsible for the future sins committed by the saved creature then everyone except the fully detached omniscient Lords are sinners because they are acting to save and protect their near and dear ones who are committing some sins or the others all the time. Their children, parents and even the ordained ascetics up to the tenth stage of spiritual development commit some sin or the other. Therefore to bring up the children to serve the parents and to give the charity of food, clothes, pots, medicine, etc., to the ascetics would all amount to sinning and would be counted as adharma or irreligious. In other words we can say that anyone that saves us from some dangerous situation is also a sinner. Like this, to all acts of mercy, charity and service would amount to sinning and to serve the ill, to give food to the hungry would be all counted as sin and would be considered as abandonable.

Adherence to this belief would result in the disappearance of all acts of dharma in the form of mercy, charity, etc.,. There would be frightful violence and cruelty on all sides and it would be difficult for any creature to live peacefully. So much so that even to expect someone to help us would also amount to encouraging him to perform sinful activities, which would at best be inhuman and demonical. How surprising it is that someone sins, and someone else bears the result for his sin without sinning at all. It is like someone commits murder and someone else is hanged for it. Such a belief is not only against the principles of karma theory and canonical dictates but it is also against all principles of natural justice and jurisprudence and, therefore, abandonable.

The result of the act of saving any creature is the saving and living of that creature. Therefore, those who say that to save a creature is a sin, it is enough to say that according to their precepts the living of any creatures including themselves is a sin. Therefore, those that consider saving or protecting any creatures as sin, have no right to live themselves. To consider saving a dying creature by giving food, water and to try to mitigate its pain as sin and abandonable, is against all principles of humanity, practical commonsense and wisdom and has no place in the human life.

The abovementioned belief is also unsubstantial because one that saves someone has no intention that the saved person should indulge in sinful activities of violence, lying, stealing, exploitation, etc., and should live a life of attachment-aversion, passion, delusion, etc.,, because he himself considers these pursuits as bad and considers giving them up as beneficial. As a rule what one considers bad he also desires that the creatures saved by him should also not pursue those pursuits and benefit himself. Any sinful activity is supported only when the supporter considers it as good and beneficial in some way. Therefore, it is erroneous to believe that the auspicious activities result in supporting sinful activities.

6. Objection – All living beings are equal. Therefore, violence towards any creature would amount to the same sin and not different. Therefore how far is it justified to kill innumerable or infinite number of innocent creatures to save one living being?


Answer – The belief that killing all living beings is equally sinful, is erroneous. The reason being that in one speck of earth and in one drop of water there are innumerable living beings and in certain vegetables and nigoda there are infinite living beings in as much of it as can be held on the tip of a needle. Like this innumerable air-bodied living beings are being killed in our breathing only; in drinking or using a gulp or a glassful of water, and in eating a little quantity of vegetables innumerable or infinite water-bodied living beings are being killed. If we consider the killing of each of these living beings as equivalent to killing a human being, we are incurring the sin of killing innumerable or infinite number of human beings every moment. This would amount to killing innumerable times more human beings every moment than there are in the world. According to this belief if someone kills all the human beings of the world his sin would be lesser than that incurred in killing innumerable water-bodied living beings in drinking just a gulp of water. The sin incurred in thousands upon thousands of great wars like Mahābhārata will be lesser than that incurred in killing the air-bodied living beings while breathing just once. According to this belief some maniac would not hesitate in killing thousands of human beings because the sin incurred in doing so would be lesser than that incurred in drinking a gulp of water. Such a belief would encourage terrible carnages and would promote anarchy.Therefore, to believe in such erroneous belief is against the canonical dictates, principle of karma theory, constitution, moral principles, reason, commonsense and principles of natural justice. It amounts to making the noble principle of non-violence a laughing stock in the eyes of the common people. This belief is absolutely baseless and a figment of some overactive brain’s imagination. In the ancient age there was sect of elephant eaters called ‘Hastitāpasa’ that went according to this belief and its followers, in order to escape the sin of killing innumerable living beings of the vegetable origin, used to kill an elephant and eat it for a long time. They used to consider themselves as non-violent and those who did not follow this principle as violent.

The reality is that the soul is eternal, immortal and indestructible. Therefore, it cannot be killed or destroyed. What is killed or destroyed are the senses like ears, eyes, nose, etc., and vitalities like body, mind and speech and the abilities to breathe, live etc.,. That is why the Jaina scriptures have used the term deprivation of vitality (Prāṇātipāta) rather than killing for violence and the minor or major vow of non-violence is also in respect of this depriving of vitalities only, which is meaningful and as it should be. As a rule, the stage of development of a living being is indicated by the number of vitalities and consequent power of sensitivity it possesses and the amount of violence in killing a living being is exponentially proportional to its stage of development. The vital power or sensitivity in a two sensed living being like earthworm, etc., is infinite times that of a one sensed living being and they have been considered as infinitely more meritorious as compared to the one sensed beings. Hence killing a two sensed being is infinitely more sinful than killing a one sensed being. This very sense has been conveyed in the Praśnavyākaraṇa sūtra in the aphorism ‘Egaṁ isiṁ haṇamāṇe aṇante jive haṇai’ that is one who kills one sage (a living being at a higher stage of evolution) incurs the sin of killing infinite number of living beings (at a lower stage of evolution). Similarly, the sin of killing a three sensed living being like an ant, etc., is infinite times that of killing a two sensed one; the sin of killing a four sensed living being like a fly or a mosquito, etc., is infinite times that of killing a three sensed one; the sin of killing a five sensed living being like an animal or a bird or a fish, or a human being is infinite times that of killing a four sensed one. Thus, it is a grave error to believe that the sin of killing all types of living beings is equal.

Similarly, the merit earned in protecting or saving or serving a creature of higher order is infinite times that of doing the same thing for a creature of the lower order. Higher the order of life saved, greater would be the merit earned. Thus, to save a five sensed living beings like animals, birds, fishes and humans by giving them food etc., and to serve them is an infinitely meritorious activity. To believe otherwise is absolute falsehood.

What is meant is that killing or tormenting a developed living being is infinitely more sinful as compared to killing or tormenting those with lesser vital powers or sensitivity and to save, protect and serve them is infinitely meritorious and spiritually uplifting.

7. Objection – When one living being kills or torments another, to save the one being killed or tormented would amount to interrupting the pleasure of the killer or tormentor and thus to hurt its feelings, which is violence and sinful.

Answer – A careful reflection on this issue would reveal that violence is not in giving pain or hurt to another creature but in the volitional disposition behind it. This would be clear by an example. A surgeon cuts open the belly of a patient with a knife in order to operate upon it. He may inflict pain on the patient and the patient may even die in the process, but the doctor is neither considered violent and nor a killer for his act. He incurs no sin but only the merit of trying to save a patient. On the other hand a robber may also plunge a knife in the belly of a victim and he may not even die in the process but his act is considered highly violent and sinful. If the victim dies the robber is considered a killer. Here, in these two cases the physical act of plunging the knife in the belly is similar. The difference lies in the volitionaldispositions of the two. The doctor has the intention of saving the patient and the robber has the intention of robbing and killing his victim. Therefore, one earns merit for the same act while the other incurs sin.

8. Objection – When one living being kills another, to save the one being killed would amount to having attachment for the victim and aversion for the attacker. Attachment and aversion are sinful. Therefore, the act of saving some creature is sinful and it is dharma to avoid it.

Answer – It is not necessary to have attachment for the victim to save it and to have aversion for the attacker to prevent it from killing. The saviour does so with a feeling of universal love. The reason being that the feeling of attachment and aversion is present only where there is a selfish interest and a desire to derive sensory or mundane pleasure from someone. Attachment is to have attraction towards someone or something with a view to derive sensory pleasure from him or it and to have the feeling of anger when such a pleasure is interrupted is aversion. Attachment-aversion and passions rise only due to selfish desires for pleasures. There is no attachment-aversion or violence in saving a living being. There would be attachment for the one being saved if a desire to derive pleasure from it exists and there would be aversion for the attacker if there is a feeling or an intention of harming it. If there is no feeling of selfishness in the heart of the saviour and he wishes well by both the attacker and the one being attacked, then there is no attachment or aversion. He intends no ill or harm or hurt to anyone. He wishes to benefit all and he has a feeling of friendship for all.

In reality there is no aversion in the heart of the saviour for the attacker. Had it been so, the saviour would not save him if someone else attacked the attacker and if there was any feeling of attachment for the victim, the saviour would not prevent him from killing or hurting another creature, rather he would encourage it to proceed for its pleasure. But it is not so. The saviour tries to save the attacker also if someone else attacks it and the saviour prevents the victim also from attacking another creature. This can be clearly understood by the example of a mouse, a cat and a dog. When a cat attacks a mouse the saviour saves the mouse; when the dog attacks the cat the saviour saves the cat. Thus, the saviour is guided by the feeling of universal love and not by attachment or aversion for the mouse or the cat or the dog. He wishes well by the victim and also by the attacker and has no intention of harming anyone at all. To prevent someone from the acts of violence, telling lies, stealing, etc., is not harming him but benefiting him also. Therefore the act of saving is universally beneficial and, therefore, non-violence. To consider it as an act of violence is a grave error.

Those who believe that to save someone from being killed or pain by being merciful towards it causes attachment and aversion and is, therefore, sin and not dharma must be asked a simple question as to whether they would consider any help rendered to them when their own life was in danger as good or bad, as sin or dharma. If he thinks it is bad then he should refuse to accept any help and request anyone that comes to help that he should not incur sin by saving him. However, nowhere has such a thing been seen or heard. Everyone considers and accepts the act of saving himself from any danger or pain as good only. From this it is proved that the act of saving any creature from danger or pain is good, to help it in the time of need is good. It is so because the true values are eternal, general, all time, everywhere applicable and public. These can be applied on everyone everywhere and every time. In such acts there is no discrimination of other’s and ours. Where there is such discrimination, there is selfishness and not truth. To consider the help in danger and need to the self as good and to consider the same help to the other as bad is neither logical nor proper, nor truth, nor principled. It is merely erroneous and misleading.

Those who consider the saving of some creature as a sin, it would be sufficient to say that the result of the act of saving a creature is its living. According to their belief this living is the result of a sinful act. Therefore, according to the same principle, their own living should also be the result of some sinful act. What could be more ridiculous? To consider saving a creature from danger, to act to mitigate someone’s pain and misery as sin and abandonable, is against all principles ofhumanity, practicality, wisdom, reason, etc.,. Even to consider such a belief is insulting to the intellect.

9. Objection – In the activities of kindness, compassion, charity, etc., there is a resolve or a craving for certainty (Saṅkalpa) to save and help someone. When the resolution is not fulfilled it results in disappointment and wandering in alternatives or uncertainties (Vikalpa). Certainty (Saṅkalpa) and uncertainty (Vikalpa) are the causes of karmic bondage, which must be abandoned.

Answer – This belief is baseless, because it fails to distinguish between a thought and a resolution or a feeling and a desire. The resolution arises when there is a desire to fulfil some selfish need of the doer. To reflect intelligently on something is a thought. The thoughts can be of two types – 1. Unnatural and 2. Natural.

To intelligently reflect about the mundane pleasures and the means to obtain them and the resulting passions is the example of unnatural thoughts and they result in resolution. When such resolutions are not fulfilled they result in despondently wandering in alternatives. This resolution, and its non-fulfilment, results in despondent meditation (Ārtadhyāna), which is abandonable because it is a cause of karmic bondage.

To intelligently reflect on the means of benefit of the ‘self’ is right knowledge and not a resolution. To undertake auspicious activities of mercy, charity, etc., for the benefit of the ‘self’ is right conduct. Right knowledge and right conduct result in karmic destruction and not in karmic bondage. To consider them as certainty (Saṅklpa) and uncertainty (Vikalpa) is ignorance.

The feelings of friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, etc., and reflecting on the ineternal, shelterlessness, etc., and the conduct in accordance with them are known as restraint and pious reflection, which are means of karmic destruction.

10. Objection – Presently, one of the reasons cited is that infinite times the soul has gone to heavenly destinies like Navagraiveyaka, etc., due to observing restrained conduct and undertaking auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, etc., but is could not reach the ultimate destination of liberation. It is so because as it gave up the sinful activities of violence, lying, stealing, etc.,, it did not give up the meritorious activities of kindness, charity, etc.,. It did not consider the auspicious activities as hindering liberation. It is because of this false belief that it could never go beyond the Navagraiveyaka heavens and was prevented from reaching the ultimate destination of liberation. Not to give up the meritorious acts as hindering liberation is the reason for this lack of supreme attainment.

Answer – According to Jaina precept sin is what causes spiritual downfall, which defiles the spirit and which results in painful experiences. Merit or puṇya is what uplifts the soul, which purifies it and which results in pleasurable experiences and which subsides the pain. To consider the means of uplifting the soul as a hindrance in the attainment of liberation is a gross insult to the Jaina scriptures. According to the Jaina precepts and the principles of karma theory an increase in merit results in the destruction of sinful karma types. As a rule, the soul purifying practices of restraint, renunciation and penance and compassion result in merit or puṇya. If gaining of puṇya be considered as hindering the attainment of liberation, we would have to consider the soul purifying practices of restraint, renunciation and penance and compassion also as deplorable. In order to get rid of merit we will have to abandon the soul purifying practices of restraint, renunciation and penance and compassion whereas in the Jaina scriptures these very practices have been said to be the means of attaining liberation.

Therefore, the belief that merit is a hindrance in the attainment of liberation is against the Jaina canonical dictates and the principles of karma theory. It can only strengthen false belief. According to the doctrine of karma when a spiritual aspirant climbs the destructional ladder and gains omniscience he also bonds the highest intensity of the meritorious karmic subtypes, which remain with him right till the endwithout any reduction in its intensity. The reason being that the practice of soul purifying restraint, renunciation and penance and fully detached disposition only result in gaining more and more merits rather than diminishing them.

The rule in this regard is that the meritorious karma types can be destroyed only through the increase in passions and the fully detached omniscient Lords have no passions left at all. Therefore, the meritorious karma types once earned never diminish. As far as the destruction of their durational bondage is concerned, the durational bonds and periods of existence of meritorious non-destructive karma subtypes are never greater than those of the sinful non-destructive karma subtypes. Therefore, they automatically get destroyed either before or at the same time as the durational bonds and periods of existence of the sinful non-destructive karma subtypes get destroyed. The destruction of the durational bondage itself is the destruction of the relevant karma type or subtype. Thus, for the destruction of the meritorious non-destructive karma subtypes the spiritual aspirant does not have to make any endeavour exertion or effort. Therefore, to consider the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, affection, friendship, etc., as hindrances in the attainment of liberation is against the Jaina canonical dictates and the principles of karma theory.

It is a well-known fact and a canon-acknowledged principle that attachment and aversion in the form of passions are the seeds of sinful karmic bondages. Attachment-aversion and passions are the manifestations of deluding karma. None of the subtypes of the deluding karma is meritorious, all are sinful. The happiness that comes about by visiting the deities and the spiritual masters and preceptors and listening to their discourses is not attachment but a feeling of joy. The love that springs in our hearts on beholding the virtuous is not attachment but affection and friendship.

The melting of our hearts at the sight of the miserable is also not due to attachment but due to the feeling of kindness and to endeavour to mitigate their misery through rendering necessary help and serving them is compassion. Feelings of friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, and affection are natural to the living beings. That is why they have been included among the means of karmic stoppage. They and the auspicious volitions do not result in any fresh karmic bondage and, therefore they weaken the sinful karmic bondages and do not strengthen them. It is not the feelings of friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, and affection and the auspicious activities of mercy, charity, service, etc., that are the causes of karmic bondage but the passions that may accompany these activities are. To consider the feelings of friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, and affection as the causes of karmic bondage is to consider the basic nature of the living beings as a cause of such karmic bondage, which is quite contrary to Jaina canonical dictates and is, therefore, false belief. In sum, we can say that lack of restraint and the sinful activities like violence, lying, stealing, etc., and not the auspicious activities like mercy, charity, etc., cause worldly transmigration.

Earlier we have said that the feelings of friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, and affection are natural to the living beings and are, therefore, dharma. The living nature is infinite and limitless. The charity, gain, etc., of the detached and omniscient Lords have been said to be infinite. This is a metaphorical statement and its practical form depends on body, substance, circumstance, etc.,. and is, therefore, limited. This practical form strengthens the feelings of mercy, kindness, compassion, etc., and weakens the attachment. Therefore activities are the means and not the goal, because the goal is infinite and limitless whereas activity has to be limited.

Considering the means as the goal results in generating the feelings of doership towards them and gives rise to attachment in the form of desire for results whereby the feeling of aversion for anybody that may hinder such activities becomes imminent. This does not allow the spiritual aspirant to transcend the mundane feelings. Therefore, a spiritual aspirant must always be careful that his auspicious activities should not become the cause of attachment and aversion. What wemean is that not the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, etc., but the flaws of attachment and aversion and consequent sinful volitional dispositions hinder the attainment of the ultimate goal of liberation.

11. Objection – ‘No single activity can have two results’. Considering this as a principle, some object to calling the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, friendship, etc., as positive non-violence. They say that the rendering services like giving water to the thirsty, giving food to the hungry, to treat and look after the sick, etc., results in violence towards innumerable water bodied, fire bodied, air bodied, vegetation bodied, etc., creatures. Therefore these activities are violent, sinful, irreligious, unrestrained and cause karmic bondage. As these cannot be violent and non-violent at the same time, they cannot be non-violent at all and cannot result in merit, dharma, restraint and karmic destruction and separation.

Answer – First of all we have to consider as to how true is the principle of the impossibility of two results for a single activity.

Every living being is always engaged in some activity or the other all the time. Therefore he earns karmic bondages all the time. These bondages can be of two types – sinful and meritorious. Every moment of their existence the living beings are earning the new bondages of the sinful kinds such as knowledge obscuring, vision obscuring, deluding, obstructing, etc., types and they are also shedding these bondages through fruition and earning the auspicious bondages of the types neither heavy nor light, creation of energy (Taijasa) and karmic (Kārmaṇa) bodies, senses, etc.,. That is – every activity of the living beings is resulting in the bondages of the auspicious and inauspicious types every moment. At the same time the destruction of the karmic bondages that come to fruition and the bonding of the new ones is also taking place all the time. The pure volition due to reduction in passions result in the destruction of the earlier bonded sinful karma types and reduce their durations while due to the passions that have come to fruition, the new karmic bondages are also earned at the same time. All lay followers are in the stage of spiritual development that is called restraint cum non-restraint or partially restrained virtue stage. Therefore, simultaneously they are partially restrained and partially unrestrained.

Up to the tenth virtue-stage (of spiritual development) even the ordained ascetics also incur sinful karmic bondages of the knowledge obscuring, vision obscuring, etc., and they also kill innumerable living beings of the air bodied, etc., types while breathing, etc.,. According to the principle of single result of single action because they bond sinful karmic bondages up to the tenth virtue stage, they should not be able to earn any meritorious karmic bondages up to that stage. But we know that they are practicing non-violence, restrained conduct and earning merits and also destroying sinful karmic bondages through the practice of their monasticism. Therefore, to believe that there cannot be two results of a single activity is against the canonical teachings and principles of karma theory.

Also, to argue that to give water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, etc., is practicing violence and it cannot be counted as positive non-violence is against the principles of non-absolutism, relative predication and scientific thought. The reason for this is that as heat and coldness are said to be opposite qualities but they are only relative qualities and so violence and non-violence should also be viewed relatively.

Every living being in this world is violent and non-violent at the same time. In it’s breathing, eating, drinking, and moving about, etc., it is involuntarily killing innumerable creatures of various kinds. Therefore, it is being violent all the time. However, it is not killing any creatures deliberately and has the purity of volition, it is non-violent at the same time.

It is the rule that no creature can be fully violent. A deficiency in non-violence is violence. Violence has no independent existence. Therefore, like heat and coldness violence and non-violence are also relative. This is the reason that the bonding of sinful and meritorious karma goes on simultaneously and at the same time involuntaryseparation of karma matter also takes place in respect of those karmas that separate after coming to fruition. Like this, every activity of the attached living being (Chadmastha jīva) results in sinful and meritorious karmic bondage and involuntary separation. Merit is an indication of weak passions and spiritual purity. The spiritual purity in the form of weak passions is dharma. Thus, dharma is also associated with every activity.

Actually, dharma and adharma are also relative and not opposite of each other, like the heat and coldness. Deficiency of dharma is adharma, which has no independent existence. As every activity of any living being is partially violent and partially non-violent, it is religious to the extent that it is non-violent and it is also irreligious to the extent that it is violent. Therefore the belief that where there is violence, non-violence cannot be there is baseless and meaningless. Similarly, the auspicious yoga and inauspicious yoga are also relative and not opposite. In other words sin and merit are also relative. This is the reason why sinful and meritorious karmic bondage and separation can take place, at the same time, due to a single action. Not only this, the karmic ascendance and descendance also take place in all living beings all the time.

What is meant is that merit and sin, dharma and adharma, virtues and vices are all relative. Any reduction in one results in increase in the other and they are present in all living beings to a greater or a lesser extent.

12. Objection – All living beings are equal, so, to kill any living being is equally sinful. Therefore, to kill one creature to help another is a gross sin.

Answer – If we accept this argument we will have to accept that the sin or crime of killing a pupa or an ant or a water-bodied creature is of same gravity. In that case leave aside helping any creature in any other way, we will not be able to give it a drink of water, because in drinking a tumbler full of water means killing innumerable water-bodied creatures and that would be like killing innumerable human beings. As killing a human being is a capital crime deserving of capital punishment or death sentence, killing of pupa or ant should also be punishable with capital punishment. Drinking a tumbler full of water would mean killing innumerable water-bodied creatures, which would be equivalent to killing innumerable human beings and anybody who drank water should be hanged innumerable times. How ridiculous, impractical, unprincipled, inhuman, unjust and cruel this would be?

Another point in this connection that deserves our consideration is that as someone who kills a human being incurs sufficient sin to go to hell, so anyone who drinks water even once should go to hell. The truth of the matter is that the sin incurred in killing or depriving the vitalities of any living being is exponentially proportional to the stage of evolution that it is at. The greater the number of vitalities in a living being, the greater would be his power of sensitivity and greater would be the sin of killing it or depriving it of its vitalities. It is for this reason that the sin of killing a king or a political leader or a Brahmin, or a monk has been taken as greater than killing an ordinary person and the sin of killing an earthworm (a two sensed creature) has been considered as greater than that of killing all the water-bodied creatures in the ocean, because that earthworm is infinite times more meritorious and more sensitive than any one-sensed living being. Therefore the sin of killing the water-bodied creatures in a tumbler full of water is negligible as compared to the merit earned in giving a drink of water to a thirsty human or a thirsty animal. That is why in the ninth section of the Sthānāṅga sūtra giving a drink of water to a thirsty person has been mentioned as a meritorious act and not as a sin. It is the rule that more sensitive a living being, greater is the cruelty in, and greater is the sin of killing or tormenting it.

13. Objection – There is no relationship between the killing of a creature by another and violence. If it weren’t so, then the fully detached omniscient Lords would also have incurred great sin as infinite living beings of the Nigoda class die in their practices of the destructive ladder just before they attain omniscience. However, the detached omniscientLords do not incur the sin of killing these creatures. Therefore, as the inauspicious sinful activities are abandonable for a spiritual aspirant so must be the auspicious meritorious activities of mercy, charity, etc.,.

Answer – To overlook and neglect living virtue of sensitivity that is kindness, compassion, mercy, etc., is negligence, carelessness, heartlessness and cruelty. Any act of cruelty is lack of restraint. When there is an intention of protecting and saving a creature and when the unintentional deprivation of vitalities takes place in spite of doing everything very carefully and with full vigilance, there is no intention of doing so and there is no feeling of doership. Therefore, the vow of not depriving the vitalities of any living being is not compromised. The detached omniscient Lords do not incur the sin of killing infinite number of creatures of the Nigoda kind because they neither have any intention of doing so while undertaking the practice of the destructive ladder nor do they do anything negligently. The dying of the Nogoda creatures is automatic and the omniscient Lords have no role to play in it. The feeling of doership is totally absent in them because of their full detachment. As has been said –

Jayaṁ care jayaṁ ciṭṭhe, jayamāse jayaṁ sae|

Jayaṁ bhuñjanto bhāsanto, pāvakammaṁ na bandhai\

Daśavaikālika sūtra, 4.8.

That is – one who walks, stands, sits, sleeps, eats and speaks carefully incurs no sin.


The reason why the spiritual aspirant who is ever vigilant does not incur any sin is that vigilance implies that there is no neglect on the part of the spiritual aspirant and he has all the intention of protecting and saving and that of causing no hurt or discomfort to any creature what-so-ever. Therefore, the vigilant omniscient Lords do not incur any sin and to cite their example in trying to absolve the violence perpetrated by the negligent ones is gross error. Anyone who neglects and overlooks protecting or saving living beings is negligent and when he kills or hurts any living beings he definitely incurs sin.

To be careless in protecting and saving life is negligence and any deprivation due to such neglect is violence. As has been said –

Pramattayogāt prāṇavyaparopaṇaṁ hiṁsā|

Tattvārtha sūtra, 7.8.

That is – Any depriving of vitalities of any living beings due to negligent activities of the body, mind and speech is violence. Not to apply this aphorism on the negligent and the passionate and not to consider the atrocities perpetrated by them as violence is not according to the right precepts.


Conclusion –

By the answers given to the abovementioned objections it is clear and proven that the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, and the like feelings are not only acceptable from the humanitarian standpoint but they are acceptable from the standpoint of karmic stoppage and separation also. To consider them as causes of karmic bondage and as abandonable is not justified by any logic. They are a help and not hindrance in the attaining of liberation.

| Contents |