Jainworld
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 DOCTRINE OF KARMA IN JAINA PHILOSOPHY

 

 

Karma according to the Jainas, is material nature. It is matter in a subtle form and it is a substantive force. It is constituted of finer particles of matter. The kind of matter fit to manifest Karma fills the universe. It has the special property of developing the effects of merit and demerit. By its activity due to the contact with the physical world, the soul becomes penetlated with the particles of Karmic body (karma sarlra) which is constantly attached to the soul till it succeeds to be free from it. 'No where has the physical nature of Karma been asserted with such stress as in Jainism. [21] A moral fact produces a psycho-physical quality, a real and not merely a symbolic mark, affecting the soul in its physical nature. This point of view has been worried in detail in the form of mathematical calculations, in the karmagrantha.

 

The Jaina tradition distinguishes two aspects: i) the physical aspect (dravya-karman) and ii) the psychic aspect (bhava-karman).  The physical aspect comprises the particles of Karma (karma pudgala) accruing into the soul and polluting it. The psychic aspect is primarily the mental states and events arising out of the activity of mind, body and speech. They are like the mental traces of the actions, as we experience the mnemic traces long after the Conscious states experienced vanish. The physical and the psychic Karma are mutually related to each other as cause and effect.[22] The distinction between the physical and the psychic aspects of Karma is psychologically significant, as it presents the interaction of the bodily and the mental due to the incessant activity of the soul.

 

This bondage of the soul to karman is of four types, according to nature (prakrti), duration (sthiti), intensity (anubhaga or-rasa) and quantity (pradesa).[23]

 

Karma can be distinguished into eight types: 1) Jnanavaraniya, that which obscures right knowledge; 2)darsanavaraniya, that which obscures right intuition; 3) vedaniya, arousing effective states like feelings and emotions; 4) mohaniya, that which deludes right faith; 5) ayuskarman, determining the age of the

individual; 6) nama karman, which produces various circum stances collectively making up an individual existence like the body and other special qualities of individuality; 7) gotra-karman,.  which determines the family. social standing, etc.  of the individual; and 8) antaraya-karman which obstructs the inborn energy of the soul and prevents the doing of good actions.

 

Each kind of Karma has its limits in time within which it must exhaust itself. The accumulated Karma brings a transcendental-hue or hallo to the soul which is called lesya. There are six lesyas. These lesyas have predominantly a moral resultant.

 

Karma is substantive force. It has the property of developing the effects of merit and demerit. The Karmic particles build up a special body which is called karma-sarira which does not leave the soul till its emancipation. Karma has its psychic effects also. Bhava-karma is immediate to the Jivas, while Dravya-karman belongs to the body. Five classes of Karmic conditions are mentioned On account of the rise (udaya), suppression (upasama), ;annihilation (ksaya), suppression and annihilation (ksayopasasna) and psychological effect (part,nama), the soul has five conditions of thought and existence.[24] In the usual course of things, Karma takes effect and produces results. The soul is said to be in aupasamika state. Karma may be prevented from its operation for sometime. In this state it is still present, like fire covered by ashes. The soul is in the aupasamika state. When Karma is annihilated, it is in a ksayika state.  The fourth state is the mixed state. The last, unconditioned, state leads to moksa.

 

The aim is to seek freedom from the miseries of this life, to seek deliverance. But the path to Moksa is long and endless. We have to free ourselves from the Karma that has already been accumulated and to see that no more Karma is added.  The soul gets bound by the constant flow of Karma.  This is called bundha.  Mental states, like passion,  attachment and aversion, which prepare the ground for the binding of the soul by Karma are called psychic bondage (bhava-bandha); and the actual binding by the particles of  Karma is called dravya-bandha.  When passions overcome us the particles get glued to our souls and bind them just as a heated iron ball when immersed in water, absorbs water. But the first step to the realization of the self is to see that all channels :through which Karma has been flowing have been stopped so that no additional Karma can accumulate.  This is samvara. There are two kinds of Samvara: bhava-samvara which is concerned with mental life, and dravya-samvara which refers to the removal  of  Karmic particles. This is possible by self-control and freedom from attachment. The practice of vows (vrata), carefulness (samiti) self-control (gupti) observance of ten kinds of dharma, reflection (anupreksa) and removing the various obstacles like hunger and thirst and passion will stop the inflow of Karma and protect us from the Impurities of fresh Karma. Here, right conduct (caritra)  is helpful.

 

The next important task is to remove the Karma that has already accumulated. The destruction of Karma is called nirjara. Nirjara is of two types: bhava-nirjara and dravya nirjaraThe Karma may exhaust itself in its natural course when the fruits of karma are completely exhausted. This is called savlpaka or akama nirjara when no efforts would be required on one's part. The remaining Karma has to be removed by mean of penance. This is avipaka-nirjara. The soul is like a mirror which looks dim when the dust of Karma is deposited on its surface. When the Karma is removed by Nirjara the soul shines in its pure and transcendent form. It then attains the goal of Moksa. The Ghati Karmas are first removed. Still, the Aghati Karmas, like ayus, nama, gotra and vedanzya have to disappear. Last of all is the final ayogi state of kevala.

 

The influx of Karma affects the soul and brings bondage.  The soul's activity (yoga) is due to its inherent energy (virya).  The infinite energy of the soul gets imperfect expression by which Karma accumulates and affects the soul; and this imperfect expression of energy is responsible for the various processes of the Karmic matter.

 

Karmic matter undergoes various processes due to the different types o� activity. The Pancasamgraha describes eight processes of expression of energy karma in its limited form. These processes lead to corresponding Karmic processes. The soul activates  Karmic matter at every moment of its worldly existence and assimilates it with different types of karma which express themselves in due course  in due course and bring the disabilities and defilement of the soul.

 

The influx of Karma (asrava) into the soul and the consequent bondage involve certain processes like i) transformation (samkra-mana) of one type of Karma into that of another, ii) endurance of Karma for a certain time (satta), iii) endurance without producing the effect (abadha) and iv) coming into effect (udaya). This  transformation is a process by which the soul transforms the nature, duration, intensity and extensity of Karma into those of another.[25]  This transformation is generally restricted to the change of one sub type of Karma to another subtype of the same kind. For instance, in the Vedanya Karma. soul can transform the Karma producing pain (asata vedaniya) into that producing pleasure(satavedaniya). In the Jnanavarniya Karma it can transform caksu-darsana into acaksu-darsana. A person having right intuition (samyag-darsana) can either transform the karma leading to perversity (mithyatva) to that leading to partially right and wrong intuition (samyagmithyatva).[26] But we are told any Karma cannot be transformed into any other.  One cannot transform karma obscuring intuitive experience (darsana moha) with the Karma obstructing conduct (caritra-moha) into that of any Karma (determining life duration).  This explanation is scientifically plausible and logically acceptable We find that electrical energy can be transformed into heat or light energy. Transformation of one Karma into another requires energy and this energy is determined by the degree of the purity of the soul. A person having perversity of attitude (mythyatva) cannot convert, cannot change the mithyatva karman into the mixed or samyakva because the person with wrong belief is not pure and not capable of such transformation. Conversely, a person with right belief (samyaktva) cannot easily transform the Karma to any of the pure forms.

 

Transformation of Karma may also affect increase (udvartana), decrease (apavartana), duration (sthiti) and intensity of the function (aunbhaga) o� Karma.[27] The Jainas have worked out a scientific and detailed analysis of these processes with a view to explaining the process of the operation of Karma.

 

Karma may be made to express its effect prematurely. By this process the souls attract back the Karmic particles which are to fructify later. Karma is made to realize its effect prematurely.  Through gradual subsidence and destruction of Karma, the soul reaches the state of perfection where in all the Karmas are removed and no additional Karma accumulates.  The inherent energy of the soul gets perfect expression. It is possible that one who is free from energy obstructing Karma may still continue to act in this world. The enlighted one is perfect. He may continue to work for the welfare of all creatures. But his is a purely detacbed activity and therefore free from any contamination leading to the colouration of the soul (lesya).

 

III. The analysis of Karma and the involvement of Jiva in the wheel of Samsara due to the impact of Karma on it raises a more fundamental question as to how the soul which is immaterial and simple is affected by the material Karma. Some seem to think that such a contact between contradictory entities is logically difficult to accept. But souls are imperfect because the particles of Karma which are foreign to the nature of the soul enter into the soul and cause great changes in it. The Karmic matter produces in the soul certain conditions even as a medical pill given to an individual produces manifold physical and psychic effects.[28] In the state of bondage the soul is infected with a kind of susceptibility to come into contact with matter. This susceptibility finds expression in the affective states. Through the Yoga (kaya-van-manh-karma yogah the soul puts into notion the material substrata of its activityand fine particles of matter are drawn to unite themselves to become Karma, and enter into union with the Jiva. This mixing up is

 

ore intimate than milk and water than between fire and iron ball.[29] The matter once entered into the soul separates itself into a greater number of particles, karma-prakrti, with varying effects.  Their number and character are determined by the conduct of Jiva.  If the activity is good, Jiva assimilates good Karma; if it is bad, there is bondage of Karma.

 

The soul's embodiment in the wheel of Samsara is an empirical fact; and beginningless nature of this bondage is also a fact a presupposition as some would like to say. The problem as to how the immaterial soul gets mixed with Karma and is involved in the empirical life has been considered from different points of view. Schools of philosophy have analysed it on the basis of their metaphysical views. For the Buddhist, soul is namarupa, psycho-physical in nature. Nescience (avidya) is the seed of worldly existence; and nescience is formless like consciousness, for, according to the Buddhists the formless can alone affect the formless. The material rupa cannot affect the formless nama. But the Jaina-contends that emancipation would not be possible, as the seed for the emancipation would then be within consciousness itself. The Yogacara school avoids the difficulty by making the physical world unreal. But the Jina is a realist and he asserts the reality of the material world. He says that it would be consistent to believe that the material would affect the mental, as consciousness would be affected by intoxicating, drugs.

 

The Nyaya-Vaisesika believes that conditions of bondage belong to the soul, and the unseen potency expressing in merit and demerit belongs to the soul Passions like anger and greed condition the bondage of the soul. But the Jaina points out that as passions according to them are qualities of the soul, conditioning its bondage, they must be rooted in something material, for conditions of the passions must be distinct from the qualities of the soul.[30] There is no bondage without the interaction between spirit and matter; and there is no interaction without bondage. According to Jaina, the worldly existence is possible in the relation of identity-cum-difference between the spiritual and the material. The Nyaya Vaiesika regards merit and demerit as arising out of the activity of the body and mind, though it does accept any form of identity between spirit and matter. The Jaina does not understand the situation. The Samkhya-Yoga presents a duality between purusa and prakrti. The conscious principle is involved in the evil of the world, though it does not belong to it. The Purusa is not real affected by the changes in the world. The spiritual is ever kept aloof from the material, and conditions of worldly existence is a state of bondage and as such presupposes a fall of the principle of consciousness. For the Vedantin the world is only empirically true, and karma belongs to the empirical existence and as such an illusion.