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Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods

THE PATHWAY TO PERFECTION

 

 

 In the Sukladhyana the range of the objects of concentration is narrowed to the concentration of the -atom.  just as poison spread over the body is first collected at a point by a mantra and then removed by a more powerful Mantra.[34] For this type of concentration one must have good physique and must be at least in the seventh stage of Gunasthana.  Four types of Sukladhyana have been mentioned.  In the first two types mind concentrates on the  minutest entity like the atom.  'Then it gets pure and perfect enlightenment, the last two stages lead to final emancipation. The self becomes motionless as a rock and is free from any activity of mind, body and speech, as in the state of highest Samadhi.[35]In the practice of Dhyana first stage is concentration on the image of Tlrthakara. This is the concrete symbol for concentration. After achieving steadfastness in this concentration, one should practice concentration on the abstract qualities of a Tirthakara. The practice of Yoga is clearly connected with the various stages of spiritual realization.  Dhyana in its primary stage, is in the seventh Gunasthana. Steadfastness and concentration gradually develop till one reaches the twelfth stage of Gunasthana. In this stage, the transcendental self is possible to be realized.

 

The analysis of Dhyana so far given has a psychological and moral significance. Body and mind have to work together. Physical strength is the precondition of mental concentration. The Jainas have not been negative in this respect. The body is not merely meant to be cast away as something unholy. Self mortification is not an end in itself,  but is only to be understood as a means to an end for the attainment of perfection. Moral life has also to be emphasised as an important means to the attainment of the highest ideal of perfection. The problem has been looked at from different points of view. In this sense, the spirit of Anekanta pervades the analysis of the psychological conditions of perfection as expressed in Dhyana.

 

Having studied the practice of Yoga as the pathway to perfection in the light of the eightfold principles of Patanjali's Yogawe may add a comparative note on Jaina Yoga and Sivayoga as presented by the Virasaiva philosophers. The object of this study is to present a synoptic picture of the pathway to perfection and to see how the spirit of Anekanta pervades the application of this principle.

 

As civilization advances, there is a gradual change in the manifestation of thought and action. In the early stages of civilization, life was simple and confined itself to interaction between fewer individuals. The environment was smaller, the material facilities were comparatively meagre. Self expression could be narrowed to the withdrawal of the mind from external. Yoga was an instrument to attain peace of mind. But as we advance  in external developments, life became complex, and men were rooted and absorbed in the overt activities of life.  It was difficult for most men to practice physical and mental discipline on a scale possible in the early stages of civilisation, when problems were few and life was simple.  New ways to self-realisation had to be adopted, conforming to the social structure and suited to the individual living, in complex societies.  This gave prominence to the devotional method  (bhakti-yoga) as a means to the realisation of the self. Revival of bhakti-marga as a means of purification and love, may be for absorption in the highest, is an important step in the development of the self. Bhaktiyoga is implied in the Sivayoga which the Virasaiva saints preached.  The second principle of Sivayoga is Sakti. Some have suggested that Yoga must have its origin in i) Hiranyagarbha and ii) Rudra.  The former has a predominantly cognitive orientation and the latter is permeated with cognition and will.  Hiranyagarbha Yoga is presented in the Patanjala Yoga and the Rudrayoga is shown in the Saivagamas. Where the first ends, the second begins.[36]

 

The ultimate end of a Virasaiva is liberation from the bonds of the life. Positively it is union with the Highest, which may be described as aikya. The realization of this end lies in self-surrender and mergence of the self in God. It is Sivatva. The end to be attained is not merely to discard nor to transcend, the life of existence, but to divinise the human and to spiritualize the material.[37] The way to realise this end is through the spiritualization of the human and devotion to the Highest. It is achieved through a special form of Yoga called Sivayoga.

 

Yoga may be identified with Sadhana. According to different traditions of thought different forms have been recognised. Virasaiva philosophers recognise different forms of Yoga and their efficacy in their own way. But Sivayoga has distinct features which make it suitable for the way of selfrealization followed on the basis of self-surrender (sarana and devotion (bhakti) coupled with the necessary energy of self realisation (sakti). It emphasizes a synthesis of discipline and devotion. The Kaivalyakalpavallari of Sarpabhusana Sivayogi is a poetic presentation of the four types of Yoga, showing their inherent defects.[38]

 

Hathayoga may enable one to control the bodily and mental functions and make it possible for one to get paranormal powers.  It does not lead us to the path of spiritual progress. In his advice -to Goraksa, Allama prabhu exhorts him to give up the acrobatics of physical and mental exercises  which may stupefy human beings but will not lead to the path of spiritual progress. Men practicing Hathayoga cannot be convinced of their folly, as a blind man cannot see his image in the mirror.[39]

 

The same can be said of those practising Mantrayoga. Those who practice Mantrayoga through the incantations of hymns, like Om, Om namah sivaya, etc., practice suitable Asanas and at specific times of the day. But it will lead to mechanical development of certain  types of mental habit and not to the final spiritual progress.[40] In the Layayoga one practices concentration of mind on an image of a God or any object of concentration by the physiological processes.  ida, pingala and nadi.[41] This is a lower form of concentration which is analogous to the Arta-dhyana of the Jainas.  But such a type of Yoga and concentration is not useful for developing one's way to self-realization. It is not possible to reach Moksa by this method[42] Allama Prabhu exhorts the hermits in the forests not to be fascinated by such practices of self-mortification.[43]

 

PatanJali's Yoga has been considered as Rajayoga. In this self-realization is to be attained, not by the objective use of the mind, but by the suppression of the activities of mind. All mental states and events have to be held up so as to remove the impediments in the way of this end. The eightfold path enunciated by the Patanjali's Yoga gives the methods of attaining this highest end of Samadhi, almost developing the steps into a science of mental control. Still, in the Patanjali's Yoga, as also among the Jainas, though physical health is not the end of human life, it is still one of the essential conditions. It is to be treated as only a means to an end. Even surrender to a spiritual power like God is to be considered as a useful step for concentration, and not an end in itself. The idea of God is a useful hypothesis for Patanjali.[45]

 

Sivayoga is different from the four types of Yoga so far described, although it contains the essential elements of Rajayoga as a method. The cardinal principles of Sivayoga are:

 

(i) Belief in the existence of the Supreme Being, God, and the ultimate end of the human life as union with the Highest (Linganga-aikya) .

 

ii) Devotion and self-surrender to the Highest as a principal  way to this end bhakti, and we may mention sarana interpreted as self-surrender.

 

iii) Sakti (or psychic and spiritual energy) leading the devotee to the final goal. Sivayoga, as we mentioned earlier, is a synthesis of the devotional and the conative aspects of human efforts to self-realization.

 

iv) Astangayoga of Patanjali is also made use of to the extent necessary. The final end is the aikya sthala. It is to be realised by the devotee. Physical and mental discipline has to be practiced to the extent necessary to reach this goal.

 

The first principle of Sivayoga is belief in the existence of God, and the ultimate end is to be united (aikya) with God. In the Patanjali's Yoga, the ultimate end is to free the self ( purusa) from the bonds of prakrti (matter).  The idea of God v as not an integral part of the Samkhya, and consequently of the Yoga philosophy.  Devotion and self-surrender to God is an integral element of Sivayoga. But self-surrender need not involve self-sacrifice to the deity even at the cost of selfeffacement. The earlier forms of self surrender did sometimes involve sacrifice of one's body, of one's child, etc. The story of Bedar Kannappa shows that such forms of self-surrender were present in the early devotional literature. Siva-yoga does not admit of such expressions. Allama Prrbhu shows the way to Goggayya by pointing out that prasada is the right way and ahuti is the wrong way.[45] This attitude emphasizes that non-violence is the fundamental principle of the Virasaivas also. In self-surrender there is selfeffacement and the elimination of the ego-sense. 'This is evident in the hummility Basavesvara shows to Allama Prabhu.[46]

 

In Sivayoga the power of will for spiritual progress (samkalpa sakti) is an important element for the realisation of the highest end.  In this, the physical and the mental are not negated, but transmuted and transcended. The bodily and the mental are purified and divinised through the power of the cit sakti. The force of samkalpa sakti is expressed through piyusa-granthi the pineal gland. The fuller expression of potential powers in the pineal gland will lead the individual to the acquisition of omniscience and spiritual force leading to the state of union with the Absolute.[47] The integral Yoga of Shree AUROBINDO also emphasizes the primacy of samkalpa sakti in the programme of self-realisation. In Sivayoga, as also in integral Yoga, the bodily and the mental are not denied. To this end, we have to use the methods of Astanga of Patanjali for self-purification. It is not necessary to go through the impossible process of the eight stages of Raja-yoga in all their rigidity. That would distract us from the main path, reaching union with God.  What is needed is a simple process of Yoga which is possible for even the common men, women and children. This type of Sadhana is possible through Istalingapuja-karma and the concentration through trataka. [48]

 

In the Sivayoga-darpana we get a description of the characteristics of Sivayoga. Five forms of Sivayoga have been mentioned: 1) sivajnana, 2) sivadhyana, 3) sivapuja, 4) sivavrata and 5) sivacara. The attainment of Sivayoga is possible through the practice of samyaknadanusamdhana which consists in right worship and concentration. There are five forms of nada. The symbol of Om is significant. Yoga through sambhavi mudra is a significant step in Sivayoga.  In the eye is the infinite energy of the sun, the moon and the fire. The detailed description of the practice of Sivayoga as given in this book would be beyond the scope of this work.

 

However, it is stated that the importance of Sivayoga can be known by Siva only and not by others. This process of Yoga would lead us to the supreme experience.[49] Therefore it is also called Sivanubhava Yoga.

 

In this sense, we can also say that there is some agreement between Sivayoga and the Yoga preached by Patanjali in that the fundamental stages are accepted in both. But we may say that Sivayoga has democratised Patanjali's Yoga in the sense that it has given men the possibility of reaching the goal. It has emphasized the importance of Anubhava as a mystical element in the culmination of this process of Yoga. [50]1

 

The analysis so far made shows that the Jaina Yoga and the Siva Yoga aim at perfection. To be free from the empirical and the contingent and to reach perfection are the negative and the positive elements in the final goal of self-realization.

 

 But the Jaina way is individualitic and rigoristic. The bodily and the mental are empirical adjuncts to be eliminated if possible and also to be used in the process of reaching the highest, as one uses a ferry boat to cross the river and does not carry the boat along with him after reaching the other side, out of gratitude for the boat.  Therefore, it is apter to say that the Jainas do not discard the body and aim at its crucifixion only. For them, as for others, the body and bodily health are as necessary for Yoga as discarding of the mental activity is necessary (cittavrtti-nirodha).

 

For a Virasaiva the final end is unity with the Absolute. Belief in God and surrender to God are cardinal principles in Sivayoga-The Jainas do not believe in a supreme deity, like God. There is no place for divine grace either. We have to depend on our own efforts, as every soul is divine.