Jaina thinkers have one hundred and forty-eight
sub-varieties of karmas, but main categories are only eight. They are-
1.Jnanavarana, 2.Darsanavarana, 3.Vedaniya, 4.Mohaniya, 5.Ayus, 6. Nama,
7.Gotra and 8. Antaraya. the word ï¿½avarana' means a ï¿½screen'. We have
already discussed what is ï¿½Jnana' and what is ï¿½Darsana'. So first two
karmas are of the type which respectively screen from us true knowledge
and true perception.
(1) Jnanavarana : We have seen that knowledge is
of five types, namely, Mati, Sruta, Avadhi, Manah-paryaya and Kevala.
Hence the Karmas which screen knowledge are also of five varieties,
depending upon which type of knowledge is screened. When we see different
varieties of intellectual developments in human beings and other
creations, the difference can be explained by the type of
knowledge-Screening karmas. When these karmas are fully destroyed the soul
(2) Darsanavarana : These are the karmas which
screen the physical as well as mental perceptions, and do not allow the
self to have right perspectives of things and thoughts. They are of nine
varieties. They obscure visual and non-visual apprehensions and induce
five kinds of sleep.
(3) Vedaniya : The word ï¿½Vedana' means feeling.
This Karma therefore generates the feelings of pleasure and pain which are
called Sata-vedaniya and Asata-vedaniya Karmas.
(4) Mohaniya : ï¿½Moha' means attachment. This is
the most dangerous, out of all the eight karmas because ï¿½Moha'
(attachment) is the root cause of all Kasayas (passions) which are, in the
main, four in number. They are as follows-1. Krodha, 2.Mana, 3.Maya and 4.
Lobha, meaning thus : 1. Anger, 2. Pride. 3. Deceit and 4. Greed. Mohaniya
Karmas are of twenty-eight kinds, but they are broadly classified into
two, namely ï¿½Darsana mohaniya', i.e., those that obscure right vision, and
ï¿½Caritra-mohaniya', i.e., those which obscure right conduct. The former is
further sub-divided into three and the later into twenty-five.
If Mohaniya karmas are destroyed fully, the self
becomes free from all ï¿½Kasayas', i.e., passions and hence it is said
ï¿½Kasaya-mukti kila muktireva' means ï¿½Verily, freedom from passions is the
There is a very beautiful and instructive story in the
life of Gautam, the principal disciple of Mahavira, to show how this
Mohaniya Karma obstructs the final enlightenment. We have noticed how Sri
Indrabhuti Gautam came in contact with Mahavira and how he eventually
became his principal disciple. According to scriptures, all principal
sermons of the master were addressed to Gautam and there was a sort of
great teacher-disciple (Guru-sisya) bond between the two. After a number
of years when the master got Nirvana (died), Gautama was not physically
present by his side. So when he heard the news about the death of the
master, he felt greatly bereaved and greatly lamented the personal loss
caused to him. He found that many of the house-holders who were the lay
followers of the master could achieve ï¿½Kevala-jnana' (final knowledge) but
he could not achieve it even though he was the principal disciple to whom
the lord preferred to disclose every truth. Now that the master had
passed, away, how would he be able to achieve that which he could not
achieve when he was alive, thought Gautam. This grief set him to thinking,
and while this process of grief-stricken thinking was going on, he
suddenly realized that the master was so often emphasising that attachment
(moha) was the root cause of all other Kasavas (passions), and the
attachment even for the soul like Mahavira was no better than the
attachment for any other worldly object so far as its binding character is
concerned. As the story has it, the moment Gautam realized that attachment
to the physical existence and form of the master was working as a screen
to the final knowledge (Kavala-jnana), he could remove that screen and saw
the enlightenment, the final knowledge. The story illustrates the
brilliant exposition of the working of ï¿½Darsanavaraniya' karma resulting
from attachment (Moha).
It is proper to bear in mind that attachment is not
ï¿½love'. Pure love has no attachments. The root verb of the word ï¿½Moha' is
ï¿½Muh' (to fascinate). So the noun ï¿½Moha' means ï¿½fascination' while the
Samskrta equivalent of the word love is (Prema). Thus the connotations of
the words ï¿½Moha' and ï¿½Prema' are entirely different. ï¿½Prema' (love) has no
strings and no infatuation. ï¿½Moha' has both. If infatuation or attachment
for a master like Mahavira prevents the progress of soul, what to talk of
our infatuations for our worldly relations and material possessions.
Ayus - The word ï¿½Ayusya' means duration of life.
This Karma determines the period of longevity of every life. One has to
live the duration of that period is over. They are divided into four.
Nama - The word ï¿½Nama' means name or
designation. This Karma determines the type of body and physical qualities
which a Jiva possesses in a particular life. Physical personality and
qualities are determined by these karmas. They are of one hundred and
Gotra - This Karma determines the type of the
family in which the self is born. One's birth in a particular family of
humans or other creations is determined by the Gotra-karmas which he has
acquired. These Gotra-karmas are of two types, namely, favourable and
Antaraya - The word means obstructions. In life
we find some persons getting unexpected obstructions of various types
which cannot have any rational explanation from the known facts and
circumstances. A laymen would call them accidental. They are, however, not
decidental, but are the result of past karmas wherein the self has been
responsible for causing similar obstructions. This Karma is of five types.
This, in short, is the description of eight main
karmas. Out of them first four are of striking or obstructive nature and
are termed ï¿½Ghati' (means striking) because they come in the way of soul's
progress in the spiritual in the spiritual journey. So long as they exist,
salvation is away. The rest are not so dangerous and if the first four are
destroyed, the rest cling to the self only till life time.
This detailed classification of different types of
Karmas explains the diversities and complexities, incongruities and
inequities of life in general. It conveys a lesson of responsibility that
each one of us is put in a particular situation-good or bad as a result of
our own past or present action-both mental and physical, that the things
done by us can also be undone by us and that our future is in our own
hands. It is said ï¿½Kadana Kammana Na Mokkha Atthi' means ï¿½There is no
salvation without enjoying the fruits of action'. It is therefore futile
to blame others for our ills. If one realizes this apparently simple fact,
how peaceful the life on our earth would be.