Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

Dont Despair: Remember Soul
The Second Ganadhara
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The Fourth Ganadhara
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  The Eleventh Ganadhara


Shri Amar Muni

Question: For the strangeness of joys and sorrows, you believe in strange karmas as the cause, but why cannot joys and sorrows, rather than depending upon the cause, be believed as happening naturally like this strange modification in the sky, just as clouds, rainbows, and twilight etc.? Where is the need of believing in karmas to produce those effects?

Answer: The distortions of the sky are regular. The twilight occurs twice, once in the morning, and once in the evening. Clouds appear only in the rainy season. Even the rainbow occurs in the morning or in the evening when the sun-rays are refracted by watery-clouds. Thus these are mostly regular but joys and sorrows do not appear in such a regular manner. They appear to happen in an irregular manner. Therefore, they cannot be said to be happening naturally. Moreover, even the changes (modifications) in the sky take place at regular times and under definite circumstances. From this, it is evident that all these phenomena occur not merely naturally, but occur on account of some causes. In the same manner, joys and sorrows also do not appear naturally but they appear only when the creator-relative karmas are ripened.

Question: All right. Then can we believe that the distortions of karmas in the soul are also natural and causeless?

Answer: There can be no effect without a cause. Even nature (svabhava) also is a necessary cause, but it must also be necessarily accompanied with the cause like time, endeavours, and instrumental means etc.

Question: Many strange changes (modifications) occur in the sky haphazardly without any cause. In the same manner, let the changes like sorrows and joys also occur in the body haphazardly, without cause. In other words, let the body itself be the cause for joys and sorrows. What is the need to bring karmas in between here?

Answer: The body is no doubt accepted as the cause, but note down this much that even the bulk of karmas is a kind of body called the "karman body". If you do not believe in this, how can the soul, after leaving the present body, and proceeding further to take birth in the next life, without creative (causative) karmas assume a visible and particular solid body? How can even that body be created of a particular type without the particular sort of the karman-body? In other words, it should not happen so. If this is so, in other words there is no karman body to follow the soul after this life, the death here would bring an end to the soul's worldly relation and the soul would attain moksa (salvation). Another difficulty is this, if the soul without the body, relieved completely from this body has to experience samsar, then even for the souls that have attained moksa the same thing would apply and they would have to experience samsar and so consequently none will have trust in moksa.

Question: How can there be a connection between karmas possessing a form and the formless soul?


1. Dharmastikaya (the medium of motion) and the adharmastikaya (the medium of rest) though formless do come in connection with pudgals (inanimate substances) that possess a form. only then i.e., they having connection can be helpful in motion and rest, without such a connection, how can this happen?

2. This is our experience. The visible solid body also has been connected to the soul. Otherwise, how could there be any difference between a living body and a dead body?

In the same manner, the karmas, that have a form can come in contact with the soul. The soul in the samsar is not absolutely formless, but it is partly formless, because the soul, in past time during the infinite flow of karmas was in contact with karmas, like milk in contact with water; hence it is partly possessing form also. So, since it was bound (connected) with karmas of previous lives, now new karmas, which have form can be connected with such a soul which, being mixed with karmas, is partially possessing a form. That is why the soul which has been completely void of karmas and has attained moksa and now being absolutely formless cannot come at all in contact with karmas.

Question: Just as by the sandal wood paste or the stroke of a sword there is no beneficent or harmful effect on formless akash (sky or space), similarly, how can good or evil karmas possessing form can have any good or evil effect on the formless soul?


1. The illustration is dissimilar, because those things have no effect on the sky (space) whereas there is effect on the soul by karmas having relationship with it.

2. By good or bad food etc. the effect, like benefit or harm on the soul, is evident.

3. The intellect though being formless is affected in the form of benefit or harm by the herb nourishing intellect or by intoxicating drinks. Similarly, on the soul, karmas can produce their effects like benefit or harm.


Why is it that karmas are the creator of the body etc.? Why is it that the pure soul (Brahma) or God (Iswar) is not their creator?


1. Just as the potter and the blacksmith can't create a pot etc., without tools, similarly, how can the pure soul or Iswar create anything without proper tools? When the child is conceived in the womb there are no tools except karmas. Karmas are the only tools. Therefore, the creation of the body is carried out by the soul. If you say there are tools in the form of the union of the egg and the sperm, even that also can't take place without karmas, as the cause and creator; otherwise a body should be created of a pure and liberated soul.

2. Without karmas, the pure soul or Iswar can't be the creator, because it lacks the potentiality of action, movement. It is formless, bodyless, and it is either pervasive everywhere just like Akas or pervasive like an atom.

Question: Can Iswar by his all pervasive body be the creator? Can he not?

Answer :If you believe in this theory that 'to create anything even "Iswar" (God) requires a body', then the question arises, our body is also an effect, a creation. Now say what kind of body does 'Iswar' possess to create such an all- pervasive body? If you say that this body is created naturally without the cause, then why should he not create the bodies of jivas etc., also in the same manner? If you say "yes, he does create it thus", then there arises the contradiction among the creations of varied effects only from the raw material without varied instrumental causes like karmas. Moreover the question is, what is the purpose of God behind such creations? If you say that 'he goes on creating such effects without any purpose', then can he not be called insane? Even if you believe for the time-being that he creates sometimes things thus without purpose, then this difficulty arises that then he should create all jivas alike, but why create jivas possessing strangeness and differences? You may say that he creates jivas because of compassions, then he must create all the creatures good and happy. Instead of that, why does he create some creatures evil and unhappy? If you say that he creates the creatures according to karmas of jivas then the 'karma' thing is proved. Even then if you are bent upon believing in a creator-God you shall have to explain as also accept the following: The first is you shall have to accept God responsibile for the futile or controversial self-deceiving actions performed by ignorant and foolish men. You shall have to believe God's involvement in the actions like murder wickedness, and the like executed by scoundrals. In this case where remains intelligence, gentlemanliness and benevolence in God? If God does not possess the capacity to prevent the crimes and faults of jivas, how can you style God as 'possessing all the capacities?' Moreover the question also arises that if he has no capacity to prevent crimes, then how can he possess the capacity to impart punishment? If you say that punishment is imparted by karmas of jiva himself, then this final conclusion is arrived at, that not God but karmas and jiva accompanied with karmas are proved as the creator.

Consequently the original question remains unsolved, "What about the Vedic statement 'purush ev idam gnim sarvam' (Idian writing pg 68 angie). In other words, "The soul alone is wholly and solely responsible for all creations, all which exists, all which is past, all which is to happen or which is governing the eternal, which increases by diet, which is shivering, which is standstill like mountains, which is at distance (like Meru), which is in proximity, which is in the middle, which is intermingled with all animate and inanimate substances and which is absolutely separate from all. This all is only the 'Purush' (soul).

From this Vedic statement the existence of only the soul is established, but not of karmas. In the same manner from the Vedic statement (Indian writing pg 68 angie) `Vijnan Ghan eva' also the aggregate of only Vijnan is established but not of karma.

But this is not a true interpretation because these Vedic statements are not meant to narrate the actual fact and figures but are meant only to appreciate the importance of the soul.

The question arises what is then the aim of such appreciation of the soul?

The answer is: The aim of such statement is to make one abandon the pride of higher Brahmini caste or higher ksatriya caste and to create contemplation (bhavna) of oneness with all. For example 'this man and I are one and the same in respect of the soul. Then what is the meaning of the pride of being of higher caste?

As regards the scriptures a discretion must be resorted to in the interpretation of sentences as to what type a particular sentence is. In normal circumstances some sentences are meant to inspire--to instigate power of good activity; or some sentences are for making fun of people, whereas some indicate the actual condition of the thing, even though the wording might be the same. We say to a student who is in despair, "you are vigilant and clever" and thereby convey that "you endeavour and will be successful". To a dull untalented student but one who pretends to be clever, we say "Brother, you are vigilant and clever". We say this to make fun of him. But when we say "you are vigilant and clever" to an intelligent and industrious student, we mean that he would easily pass the examination.

In this manner, we find three kinds of statements in the Vedas:

(1). Vidhivakya (commands),

(2). Artha-vad (praising or censuring),

(3) Anuvad (explanation).

1. Vidhivad (Commands): These statements command people to carry out certain duties and avoid certain other actions. For example, (Indian writing pag 69 angie): "He who desires heavenly life (birth) must carry out the Agnihotra yajna."

Do not commit violence.

  1. Arthavad (Praise): This kind of statement contains praise or censure. For instance,


All aspirations can be fulfilled by means of one complete bestowal (Poornahuti). This is a praise of poornahuti, but this is not a command to do something. Because if it were so, people would carry out only Poornahuti and stop there only. Why should they carry out the Agnihotra etc. because thus they are proved useless. But by praising the poornahuti, the text suggets that people must carry out atleast this austerity and that it should be done well.

An unconflicting interpretation of the Vedic statement. In this manner (Indian writing pg 69 angie): " That means 'Agnishtoma sacrifice is your first duty', and here the text censures those who do not carry out that duty. The text suggests that people will have to be liable for going to hell if they carry out such sacrifice as the Ashwamedha and other likewise yajnas etc. without first carrying out the ritual called Agnishtoma. It is suggested so that people should take care of this point.

3. Anuvad (Explanation): Here is an example. (Indian writing pag 70 angie); `Twelve months make a year." It is a statement of mere placing truth about a certain fact. Now in the running matter, (Indian writing pg70 angie). This statement as explained earlier glorifies Purusa as all-pervasive; but it is not a statement to negate the existence of karmas or the nature of karmas; otherwise the Vedic statements which expound the existence of karmas (Indian writing pg 70 angie) would be wrong. Here are some examples:

An auspicious karma brings a good luck. A sinful karma brings bad luck etc.. In this manner, as already stated without reference to the karma and by referring only to the purusa the truth about a thing cannot match with a fact.

This explanation given by Bhagavan Mahavir convinced Agnibhuti Gautam and brought about a spiritual awakening in him; and he with his five hundred disciples renounced worldly relationships and accepted Sadhu Diksa at the feet of the Bhagavan. Agnibhuti Gautam got rid of his wrong knowledge and attained the right knowledge.