THEORY OF KARMA
As a student, you have seen that some
students do very well in class even when they donít study, while others
struggle to maintain their good grades in spite of studying very hard. In
the same way, you might have heard that for some people the money come
easily, while others cannot even find a job. You might have also heard
that some people stay sick all the time, while others never get sick. You
might have heard someone lives over hundred years, while someone dies as a
young child. Everybody is looking for an answer to these strange
disparity. Some may say it is the Godís will, others may say it is his
luck, and so on. The Jainism says every thing happens due to the result of
our past doings. You reap what you saw and no God or someone else can make
this happen or change.
We and only we are the reason for our
suffering or happiness. This can be explained by the theory of Karma.
Therefore, it is very important that we understand this process very
clearly. It also explains what karmas are, why and what role karmas play
in our life (with soul), and how do we accumulate different kinds of
karmas as well as how we get rid of them.
If you sit back and think, then you will
realize that you are doing something all the time. Sometimes you might be
talking or listening if you are not doing anything physically or you might
be thinking. So you are always busy doing something. This is our nature.
These activities may involve harm to others or help to others. We do not
realize that everything we do brings karmas to our souls. When these
karmas are mature that is when they are ready to depart form the soul that
process results into happiness or suffering in our lives. This is how the
karmas are responsible for our happiness or suffering.
Karmas are the derivatives of the karman particles. The Karman particles
are made up of the non-living matter (pudgals). They are scattered and
floating all over the universe (Lok). They are very very fine particles
and we are neither able to see them with our eyes or with the regular
microscope. A cluster of such innumerable karman particles is called a
karman vargana. The karman varganas is one of the eight kinds of pudgal
varganas. The karman vargana has the most subtle particles. When the soul
acts with a passion like aversion or attachment; or anger, greed, ego, or
deceitfulness, it attracts these karman varganas to itself. When these
karman varganas get attached to the soul, they are called karmas. Karmas
are classified into eight categories depending upon their nature. The
karmas can be good (punya) or bad (Pap). The good karmas are the result of
good or pious activities while the bad karmas are the result of bad or
PROCESS OF THE BONDAGE (BANDH) OF THE
Once again as said earlier, whenever, we
think, talk or do something, karman varganas are attracted to our soul,
and get attached to it and these karman varganas are then called the
karmas. This process is also called the bondage of karmas to the soul.
When our activities are unintentional or without any passions, these
karmas are called the Dravya Karmas. On the other side, when our
activities are intentional or with passions, like anger, ego, greed and
deceit these karmas are called the Bhava Karmas. The passions work as the
gluing factors, and that is why the bhava karmas stay for a longer time
with the soul while dravya karmas fall off almost immediately and easily
from the soul.
Our activities are:
We further do these activities in three
We do the activities ourselves,
We ask someone else to do for us, or
We encourage someone else to carry on
Thus, in different combinations, we do
our activities in nine different ways that cause bondage of the karmas to
the soul. At the time of the bondage of karmas to the soul, the following
four characteristics are determined about the karmas. They are:
What Kind of (Nature) Karmas will these be?
How many Karma particles (Quantity)
How long (Duration) will these karmas
stay with soul?
How strong (Intensity) will be the
bondage of these karmas?
The nature and the quantity of the
bondage of the karmas depend on the vigor of activities while the duration
and the intensity of the bondage of the karmas depend on the intensity of
the desires behind those activities.
I) NATURE OF THE BONDAGE OF THE KARMAS
Depending upon the nature of the
results of the karmas, they are grouped into eight types. They are:
Obstructive (Antaršy) Karma
Deluding (Mohniya) Karma
Feeling-Producing (Vedniya) Karma
Body-Determining (Nam) Karma
Status-Determining (Gotra) Karma
Age-Determining (Ayushya) Karma
These eight karmas are also grouped
into two categories,
Destructive (Ghati) Karmas
Non-destructive (Aghati) Karmas
Ghati means destruction. Those karmas
that destroy the true nature of the Soul are called destructive or ghati
karmas. Those karmas that do not destroy the true nature of the soul,
but only affect the body in which the soul resides are called
non-destructive or Aghati karmas. The first four types of karmas from
above list are destructive (ghati) karmas, and last four are
non-destructive (aghati) karmas.
II) THE QUANTITY OF THE BONDAGE OF THE
If the physical vigor of our activities
is weak, then we accumulate smaller number of karman particles, but if the
physical vigor is stronger, then we accumulate larger number of karman
particles on our soul.
III) DURATION OF THE BONDAGE OF THE
Duration of the karmic particles on the
soul is decided by how intense are our desires at the time of our
activities. If the desire for the activity is mild, then the duration of
the bondage will be for a short time, but on the other side if the desire
is stronger, then the duration of the bondage will be for a long time. The
minimum time could be a fraction of a second and a maximum time could be
thousands or even millions of years.
IV) INTENSITY OF THE BONDAGE OF THE
The intensity of karmas depends upon how
intense our passions are at the time of our activities. The lesser the
intensity of our passions, the less strong is the resulting bondage; the
greater the intensity the more stronger the resulting bondage.
The intensity of the bondage of the
karmas to the soul is described in four different levels.
Loose Bondage: This would be like a
loose knot in the shoe string which can easily be untied. Same way, the
Karmas which are attached loose to the soul could be easily untied (shed
off) by simple thing like repentance.
Tight Bondage: This would be a tight
knot which needs some efforts to untie it. Same way, the Karmas which
are attached tight to the soul could be untied (Shed off) with some
efforts like the atonement.
Tighter Bondage: This would be a
tighter knot which needs too much efforts to untie it. Same way, the
Karmas which are attached tighter to the soul could be untied (Shed off)
with special efforts like the austerities.
Tightest Bondage: This would be a knot
which could not be untied no matter how hard you work at it. Same way,
the Karmas which are attached so tight to the soul would not shed off by
any kind of efforts but we would have to bear their results to shed off.
There are the few terms, which we should
know, are related to the bondage and the manifestation of the karmas.
Bandh means when the bondage of the
karmas to the soul happen.
Uday means when the karmas mature at
their own set time and manifest their results. (As the karmas mature and
give the results they fall off the soul.)
Udirana means when the karmas are
brought to the maturity prior to their set time of maturity with the
active efforts like penance, active sufferings, etc.
Satta means when the karmas are bonded
with the soul in the dormant form and are yet to mature.
Abadhakal means the duration of the
bondage of the karmas to the soul. It starts from the time of their
bondage to the soul until their maturity.
Many of us do nothing special but just
wait for accumulated karmas to mature (to produce their results) and fall
off thinking that they canít do anything about them. But by understanding
udirna, we should realize that we can do something to our accumulated
karmas. We donít have to wait for them to fall off themselves if we want
to accelerate our progress. Because, we can get rid off accumulated karmas
ahead of their due time by special efforts. This means we have a control
on our own destiny (to liberate) and it is us not God or someone else who
decides when that will happen. Now it may be more clearer why many people
follow austerities or take up monkshood or nunhood.