We feel immense pleasure in bringing out the present title, 'The Path of Arhat : A Religious Democracy' authored by Justice T. U. Mehta, as 63rd volume of Pujya Sohanalal Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha.

There are a number of books in English on different branches of Jainism, as well as on specific topics of its different branches. Most of the works are either theses or scholarly works, discussing the subject with its minute details. So far as the works, meant to give a proper understanding of Jaina Philosophy and Ethics, as a whole, in the light of Jaina Spirituality and Jaina view of life are concerned, we have few. Though there have been some efforts on the part of Western Scholars, to write introductory books on Jainism, yet they could not do justice with it, due to two factors; their biased outlooks towards Jainism as well as their lack of proper understanding of Jaina tradition. Hence a need for publication of a book for common men particularly Jainas‑‑living and brought up on foreign soils and for foreign nationals by one who is fully aware of Jaina tradition and religion, was being felt since long. Fortunately Honorable Justice T. U. Mehta has made a fruitful effort in this direction. He himself has remarked in his note " long cherished idea of writing something on Jainism for all my grand children, who are reared and brought up in America'.

We hope that his book, will fulfill the demand of the common English knowing person, who are interested in knowing Jainism comprehensively in brief time. This work attempts to explain and examine Jainism and its relevance in modern age, Justice Mehta has presented Jainism very authentically and lucidly.

We hope readers will find it interesting and will appreciate the effort of Justice Mehta. If this work arouses the interest of readers in knowing more about Jainism, we shall consider our effort worthwhile.

We are very grateful to Justice Mehta for giving this work to us for publication and also for making generous donation to meet out major part of the expenses of its publication.

We should thank Prof. Sagarmal Jaina Director, Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha and Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Research Officer, who edited this work and saw it through the press.

The proof‑reading of this work has been done by Dr. Ashok and Mr. S.K. Upadhyaya, Naya Sansar Press, so my thanks are due to them also, again to the latter for fine printing.


12‑2‑93.                                     B. N. Jain

Nuchem Plastics Ltd.                 Secretary

20/6 Mathura Road,                   Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka

Faridabad.                                 Parsvanatha Sodhapitha


Author’s Note

It was during the months of August to November, 1990 when my wife and myself were enjoying the company of our children and grand children in America on the completion of our 50th wedding anniversary, that my long‑cherished idea of writing something on Jainism for all my grand children, who are reared and brought up in America, took a concrete shape. During our short stay in America we found some thirst for knowledge about Jainism in the Jainas who have settled there. This gave further impetus to me to explain some basic principles of Jainism in simple English.

It is rather hard to understand and still harder to practice the ethical principles based on subtle philosophy and metaphysics of Jainism by one brought up in the materialistic atmosphere of the west. Even in India where the basic doctrines of the theories of souls, Karma, Re‑birth, Ahimsa and Aparigraha come naturally to one born and brought up in Indian atmosphere, Jainism is much misunderstood by some Jainas themselves. The lay‑belief is that Jainism consists only in not killing insects and other living creatures, in avoiding meat‑eating and in performing hard religious penance; but Jainism is much more than this.

One  reason for such superficial lay‑belief is that even some ardent followers of Jainism do not take the trouble of understanding some very subtle ontological and metaphysical doctrines of Jaina philosophy. From whatever little knowledge of Jaina doctrines I have, I am convinced that what is known as Jainism is nothing but an openness which leads  us, step by step, with the help of logic and reasoning, towards the highest level of spiritual enlightenment where the individual soul enters into the realm of pure knowledge, and the State of complete bliss. 'Jainism' is not an 'ism', It is a systematized line of thinking which, being perfectly rational, does not demand any allegiance to any individual or god. Nay, it puts emphasis on your own efforts and plainly tells you that even the Tirthankaras (the path‑makers) like Mahävira cannot help you beyond pointing out the 'path' to be followed, because they themselves have obtained salvation by that path. They only show the path, but efforts must be your own; there is no favor in finding the gates of Heaven. To repeat what the great saint philosopher Samantabhadra has said: “Na pujayarthastvai vitarage, na nindaya natha vivanta vaire" means “Oh lord, you are the Vitaraga and vivantavaira ‑‑ one who has shed all attachments and aversion and hence your worship or your criticism is totally irrelevant because your worship does not please you, nor your criticism displeases you." This is the crux of Jaina philosophy. The laity would surely find it hard to follow because an ordinary man likes to be lead, to be rewarded for his merits and to be punished for his faults by some super power, may be of totally unknown destination. He  finds himself lonely and forlone if he is left to his own efforts. He, therefore, easily takes to ceremonies and rituals which give him psychological satisfaction of having done something to please the ultimate power that be. For laity, therefore, the path of devotions (Bhakti) is more appropriate.

Jainism is principally the path of knowledge (Jnana) reinforced by devotion (Darsana) and action (Caritra). It is not for everyone to take up the path of knowledge because one has to cover that path alone by one's own efforts without expecting any favor from any other source. For many people, therefore, the path of devotion (Bhakti) is more appropriate. But devotion is fruitful only where there is complete self‑surrender to the Divine. Both the paths, if properly pursued, are equally efficacious. But the trouble is that we do not pursue any of these paths fully. To pursue either of them fully we have got to understand  their underlying philosophy. Writing of this thesis is a humble attempt in that direction.

I do not know how far I have succeeded in explaining the profound doctrines of Jainism in English, which, in the hands of a lesser person like myself, becomes a poor medium for conveying rich ideas expressed in Prakrta canons. I will consider my purpose well served if this thesis invokes some interest to know more about Jainism from more competent persons.

The first two chapters of the thesis contain historical background, the second chapter having special reference to the life of Lord Mahävira. The remaining chapters bear titles which do not immediately convey the idea of the contents. However, a detailed synopsis of the contents of every chapter is given in the beginning covering every topic which is discussed in each chapter.

The last chapter is intended to show how the doctrines of Jainism can be put to use with advantage in day to day life and how they are  more relevant in modern age.

There is an  appendix with a map showing political divisions of the country during the times of Mahävira. The appendix further contains short notes on contemporary schools of thought such as Ajivika doctrine of Gosala, Sankhya doctrine of Kapila and the doctrines of contemporary early Buddhism. This is done to enable the reader to have some comparative data of contemporary schools of thought.

I take this opportunity to express my thanks to Padma‑bhusana Pt. Dalasukhabhai Malavania and Prof. Sagarmal Jaina, the two learned luminaries of Sramana tradition, for encouraging me to publish this thesis. I feel grateful to Authorities of Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha, Varanasi, specially its Secretary Shri Bhupendra Nath Jaina, Faridabad, for undertaking the publication of this thesis, Dr. Jain rendered very valuable help in editing the same. Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Research Officer, has worked hard in editing the work and finding out the original sources of my quotations, so he also deserves my heartiest thanks and blessings.

I am also thankful to my friend Mr. Justice M. P. Thakkar Retired. Judge of the Supreme Court of India, as also to my wife Yasomati in encouraging me to write this thesis. But for the active assistance rendered by my wife, I would not have been able to complete single‑handed many features of this work in the midst of my busy professional schedule.

3, Dada Rokadnath Society

( Near Narayana Nagar Bus Terminus )

Paladi, Ahmedabad ‑ 380007.




Life's Riddles and their Solution

What is the riddle of this Universe ? What is the role which a human being, the most developed and the most intelligent manifestation of the universe is expected to play in the world. Whence has it all proceeded and whither is it tending ? What is my role, my duty, my goal in this vast bewildering and breath‑taking drama, going on around me ? Or, is it all has no purpose, no aim and no scheme. Or, is this all created, guided and controlled by some super power, beyond human comprehension ? If that is so, what is the nature of this power ? Where to find it ? Does that power work with a design ? If so, what is it ? Who created that power and why ? Can we comprehend that power ? If so, how ? If not, why ? Can we ask that power the explanation, if any, of various apparent incongruities, inequities and imbalances, noticed by us in our limited understanding of the scheme of nature, as it unfolds in our daily routine ?

I am born an innocent child, fresh from the womb of my mother. I entered the world of darkness in the womb of an unknown lady, apparently without any assurance of my safety and nourishment. Why I selected a mother who was capable of taking my tender care with ability to sustain my growth, and why such selection was not made by many other less fortunate souls whose mothers were not able to get nourishment even for themselves ? Or, was there no selection at all ? Was it all a mere accident ?

I grew up healthy, strong and of a fully balanced disposition. However, my brother, brought up in the same atmosphere and circumstances displayed totally contradictory qualities of head, heart and happiness why ? Could it be without reason ? If there is a reason, what is it ?

I entered the world, married, reared up children, encountered and fought many a life's battle, suffered pain, misery and sickness, overcame many hurdles, experienced success and failures, adopted various means to push through the dark, murky, misty and materialistic atmosphere of this worldly existence. But then suddenly a time is bound to come when I  will have to say good‑bye to it all‑ and all of it will be obliterated in the hands of time. All in vain. All without purpose, If so, why ? These and other questions of this type have always troubled the mind of the man.

To understand the secret which may answer these questions, to know how the whole mechanism of the Universe works, to apprehend the cosmic spell, and to break through the outward layers of the tangible and visible forces of cosmos, a pursuit of intelligent, intangible and emotional stratification of psyche is needed. That is the final goal of human life and that is the pursuit of an Indian philosophical school called Jainism.

It is necessary to study these questions as well as answers provided to them in the context of some basic principles, ontological concepts and metaphysical deductions of Jaina philosophy, purely analytical in character and logical in its approach, though not properly understood in the West.

Most of the basic principles, on which the whole edifice of Jaina Philosophy is constructed, are now corroborated by modern science and psychological analysis. Here is an attempt to find how this is true. Modern science has revealed that every substance is made of atoms and every atom, when split and analyzed, reveals the energetic interplay of electrons, protons and neutrons in its nucleus. It is this energy which can supply motion and can work wonders.

Jainism recognizes this fact while analyzing the Universe and maintains that the whole Universe can be broadly divided into two categories, viz., Jiva and Ajiva, meaning motivating consciousness and unconscious matter thus pervading everything noticed in this Universe. On the basis of this finding, about two thousand five hundred years ago, not with the help of any laboratory testings but by sheer analytical logic, the Jaina seers saw the life force not only in plants and vegetables but also in so called inanimate matter such as earth, water and air.

They went even further in their analysis and sub‑categorized the above two categories, examined their characteristics and the role which they play in shaping different life currents and tried to answer almost every question posed above in a manner, not only rational but logical also.

They concluded that Jiva (spirit) and Ajiva (matter) are eternal, un-created, unending and perpetual. There is a constant interplay between the two, resulting in bewildering cosmic manifestations in material, psychic and emotional spheres around us. This led them to the theories of transmigration and rebirth. Changes, but not the total annihilation of the spirit and the matter, is the basic postulate of Jaina philosophy, and it is the same thing which science teaches us when it says that matter is indestructible.

Theory of ‘Karma' came as a natural deduction from the theory of causation, just as science recognizes the fact that every effect is the result of some cause.

Thus the Jainism considers the whole universe as a great cosmic mechanism with its own self‑propelling force, un-created and uncontrolled by any super‑imposed outside force. Its  unitary character can be properly identified only by recognizing and giving proper place to each of its parts. This leads a  logical mind to the theory of total Non‑violence‑Ahimsa. For if you believe the universe to be a unitary whole, a self‑propelling mechanism, wherein every part of that smallest to the biggest, has to play its role, you cannot do anything to destroy even a nut or bolt of that machine, without damaging it, as well as your own self. To know this mechanism, to understand and to explain its working is the task of a philosopher, but to live according to its rules, to play one's own role as a part of that mechanism so that the machine can work properly, is the task of a religious person. This is the philosophy and this is the religion. This philosophy and this religion cannot be carried out successfully without accepting the doctrine of total non‑violence, i.e., non‑violence in thought, speech and action. A weak person can not practice such non‑violence for the simple reason that the concept of total non‑violence is not a negative one. It is not just doing nothing. True non‑violence is not the product of merely an intellectual understanding. It is rather, a product of head and heart both. One cannot be non‑violent unless one understands the real nature of irritating causes. But to understand the real nature of causes and events, surrounding us, two things are very necessarily required, namely, (1) love and (2) capacity to appreciate the totality of comprehensive aspects of these causes and events. As a  matter of fact, both these requirements are inter‑dependent, because without the love, capacity to have total comprehension is not developed and without the capacity to have total comprehension, the elements of love is not developed.

This has led the Jaina thinkers to put emphasis on the development of a  broader outlook and open mindedness to understand the things as they are. Cultivation of mind was found to be the key to the Halls of Heaven. But they realized that mind cannot be cultivated and disciplined by force. The basic treatment of human mind should be through reason and logic, because the existence of reason and logic is the only feature which distinguishes human beings from the rest of the animal world.

To develop this reason and logic, the Jaina thinkers provided the theory of Syadvada, the theory of relativity, the greatest contribution made by Jainism in the thinking process of mankind but unfortunately, little known to the occidentals. This theory propounds that every judgment is relatively true, because its truth value depends in relation to other objects known and unknown, circumstances, mode of expression and reception and many other facts. After a period of the two thousand five hundred years, this theory has been recognized and proved  by another great man ‑‑ Einstein along with other propounders of Quantum theory, on the plane of Physics.

How to comprehend the Reality ? Can any outside agency be of help to you ?  No, says the Jaina tradition; your salvation is in your own hands. You are your own master, the shaper of your own destiny. If your pleasures and pains are the result of your own action ‑‑ Karma ‑‑ the way of salvation is also in your own hands because what you have made can be unmade only by you. This is a serious departure from the fatalistic approach of Ajivika philosophers of 6th century B.C. led by Gosala, who was once a disciple of Mahävira.

Theory of Karma teachers us how to attain freedom from the real bondage of all likes, dislikes and desires. It teaches us not to meekly surrender to human weaknesses, described as our real enemies. It says to a person, just as your savior is not outside you, your enemies are also not outside you. You have to seek them within. Once you do this, once you identify them within you, it is not very difficult to kill them. Jaina teachers have suggested a method by which they can be killed and annihilated. One who has succeeded in such annihilation is called Arihanta. ‘Ari' in Samskrta means enemy and the root ‘han' means ‘to kill'. The expression Arihanta means one who has totally annihilated his internal enemies. Such an Arihanta is free from bondage and become Siddha, one who has achieved final salvation final salvation ‑‑ the real freedom. Many in this universe have achieved these positions of Arihantas and Siddhas and many will achieve the same in future. Since they have achieved that really ought to be achieved, they are entitled to our respect and homage. We, therefore, bow to them. There are learned sages, the path‑seekers who show us the path. They are called Acaryas; we bow to them. There are  those who preach and interpret these gospels of Truth. They are called Upadhyayas; we bow down to them. There are those who still are seriously striving to achieve the above goal. They are called sädhus (saints) we bow down to them also. Thus the Jainas bow down to all those who have attained, to those who are on the path of attainment and to those who are path‑seekers. They bow down to them irrespective of their religious labels, because whatever be their outer label, if they have achieved of are on the path to achieve total salvation, they are entitled to our respect and homage. We pay homage to them not because we want any favor to be bestowed but because they are the source of inspiration to us for our own action.






Claims of Eternity, Pre‑Aryan roots , Vedic and Sramana traditions , Process of Synthesis , Our Indebtedness to Sramanic Culture , Sri Rsabha Deva , Sri Neminatha , Sri Parsvanatha .

"There is truth in the Jaina idea that their religion goes back to a remote antiquity, the antiquity in question being that of the pre‑Aryan, so called Dravidian illuminated by the discovery of a series of great late stone‑age cities in Indus valley, dating from third and perhaps even fourth millennium B. C."


Claims of Eternity

Naturally the followers of every religious faith proclaim their religion as having its source in antiquity and Jainas are no exception to this. The traditions and the legendary accounts prove the existence of Jainism as eternal. Jainism is revealed again and again in every cyclic period of the universe by innumerable Tirthankaras. The Jainas divide the whole span of  time into two equally spanned cycles, namely, Utsarpini and Avasarpini. During Utsarpini, there is a gradual ascendancy in moral and physical state of the universe, while during Avasarpini, the case is just reverse, i.e. the gradual descent of moral and physical state of universe. Each of these two is subdivided into six aras each extending over crores of years. This time‑cycle goes on endlessly and Tirthankaras (Seers) are born at regular intervals. They preach, practice and expound the eternal principles of Jainism.


Pre‑Aryan Roots

But this claim of eternity would appear to be very extravagant if we consider the fact that in our planet, the earliest man of Early Paleolithic culture lived in India some 200,000 years ago, the period when man led the life of a savage. However, now, almost all the scholars agree that Jainism has Pre‑Aryan roots  in the cultural history of India. As Dr. A. N. Upadhye remarked ‑‑ "The origins of Jainism go back to pre‑historic times. They are to be sought in the fertile valley of Ganga, where there throve in the past, even before the advent of Aryans with their priestly religion, a society of recluses who laid much stress on individual exertion, on practice of a code of morality and devotion to austerities, as means of attaining religious Summum Bonum".

In the same vein Joseph Campbell, commented "Sankhya and Yoga represented a later psychological sophistication of principles preserved in Jainism. They together are theory and practice of a single philosophy."

Other scholars such as Prof. Buhler, H. Jacobi, J.G.R. Forlong, Dr. Hornell, Pt. Sukhalalji, Prof. Vidyalankara, Acarya Tulasi, Prof. G. C. Pandey and others believe that Jainism is one of the earliest known religious systems prevailing in India amongst the non‑Aryan races which belonged to Indus valley civilization.


Vedic and Sramana Traditions

This religious system, Jainism represented the Sramanic tradition, one of the two currents prevalent in Indian culture, the other being Vedic tradition. Sramanic tradition inherited the same principles which were subsequently systematized and expounded by Tirthankaras such as Rsabha, Parsva, Mahavira etc. These Sramanas believed in soul's potentiality to achieve God‑hood, through its own exertions, the theory of transmigration and Karma and the existence of Jiva in all sentient things. The word ‘Srama' means labor. They were called Sramanas because of the labor, they were taking in observing strict austerities, by dwelling in forests and renouncing the worldly affairs. Aryans were a nomadic race and as such were not trained in the sophisticated philosophical thinking of the fully settled and prosperous people of Indus valley culture whom they invaded and conquered. As Pt. Sukhalalji points out, the attitude towards life of the people who are settled and prosperous, and of those who are leading a nomadic existence would be basically different. The attitude of the former would be more introvert, while that of the latter would be more extrovert. This really happened in case of Aryans who came to India. They were in search of a happy and peaceful life wherein they could enjoy the materialistic objects to the full. Rgveda reflects this attitude when its Rsis pray to different Gods of Nature for fulfilment of their earthly desires and the destruction of their enemies. However, after the Aryans began to settle in the fertile lands of Indo‑Gangetic plains they also began to think deeply, and gradually imbibed the philosophical idea of the indigenous culture. This fact has been commendably presented in the following words of Pt. Sukhalal Sanghavi ‑‑ "The Sramana line of thinking, which had influenced the original residents of India, was of serious and introvert nature. In ‘Kesi‑sukta' of Rgveda (10.36) we find a strange pen picture of Munis having locks of hair on head, dirty and ochre‑robbed, flying in air, drinking poison, delicious by ‘Mauneya' and ‘Devesita'. This sukta thus indicates the distinct class of Munis who were practicing Yoga either alone or in groups living in the places away from populations. On account of severe penance undertaken by them they were called Sramanas. They had no attachment to their bodies and took utmost care to see that no life was destroyed. The lives if these Munis were in accordance with the teachings of Rsabhdeva, the first Tirthankar of Jainas. The roots of Sankhya philosophy of Kapil Muni is in this non‑Aryan tradition.

There were two ethnic groups of ‘Vratva' and ‘Vrsala' which were following this non‑Aryan traditions. There were five sub-races of Vratya group, one of which was known as Arhanta. Vratyas were also the worshippers of Linga. Atharva‑veda contains a prayer of ‘Eka‑vratya' (15th Kanda) who was a Vratya‑God. ‘Linga worship is indicative of Saiva religion. The Aryans subsequently recognized Siva as one of their gods, but previous to that Siva or Rudra was not originally an Aryan god.

In both the ethnic groups of Vratya and Vrsala non‑violence and austerities were greatly respected. Non‑violence, austerities and sacrifice are the result of a peaceful and steady social structure. The development of these virtues in the people, who have to move from place to place in struggle of life, is not possible and therefore, the cultural development of Aryans was based on active and adventurous social life. For these reasons non‑Aryan culture became introvert and Aryan culture became extrovert. Both these cultures developed in their own way, but after the Aryans settled in this land, both the cultures influenced each other for thousands of years as a result of which a new synthesis grew up which we now identify as Indian culture."

Speaking of Buddha and Mahavira Pt. Sukhalalji remarked that both of them are likely to be the Ksatriyas of Vrsala group and that Buddha was also known as ‘Vrsalaka'. The selection of the words ‘Muni' and ‘Arhat' in Kesi‑sukta of Rgveda, is also suggestive of Sramana tradition because these words are prevalent in all the branches of Sramana school namely Jainas, Buddhists, Ajivakas and Sankhya of Kapil Muni.

The Sramana outlook towards life, being introvert in nature was knows as Nivrtti Dharma, while that of Vedic Aryans being extrovert in nature was known as ‘Pravrtti Dharma'. This basic difference of approach marked the advent of different theories in the field of philosophy. One sought to achieve the absolute by withdrawing from the worldly affairs, undergoing the process of ‘Pratikramana' (Returning back‑to soul). The other sought to achieve the same by undergoing the process of expansion which would envelop the whole universe by its theory of Advaita. Both these processes went on together for thousand of years influencing each other with the result that the absorbing power of the Aryan mind made it possible to evolve a synthesis wherein both became complimentary to each other and both became two aspects of the same composite culture. Even the great Sankara, endowed with penetrating insight, acknowledged and proclaimed in his introduction to Gita‑Bhasya that both these processes were ‘Vedokto', i.e., prescribed by Vedas. He said "Dvividho hi vedokto dharmah pravrtti laksno Nivrtti laksanosca", meaning Vedas have prescribed two streams of religion one is action oriented and the other is retirement oriented.


Process of Synthesis

Evidently, with the emergence of Upanisada era (about 800 B.C. and after) the process of synthesis of non‑Aryan Sramana and Aryan Vedic cultures started. The social, economic and political interaction between Aryan settlers and  their more advanced non‑Aryan brothers, enriched their knowledge of the former. They began to interpret their Vedas in the light of this enhanced knowledge. At this stage, a recapitulation of periodic division of early Indian history would be of some interest to understand the long process of integration of the non‑Aryan and Aryan cultures, Roughly, the period corresponding to 3500 B.C. to 1500 B.C. is considered to be the period of Indus valley civilization of non‑Aryan races in India. This coincides with the Sumerian and Akkad civilizations of Middle east, prospered in about 2300 B.C. (They were also river valley civilizations) and Minoan civilization of Crete. Thus the period corresponding over two thousand years can be carved out for River valley civilization which spread over northern and western parts of India extending up to Saurastra in Gujrat. It is a story which is five to six thousand years ago.

Aryan invasions of India dated approximately before 1500 B.C., i.e., about three to four thousand years ago from today, practically coincided with the Hellenic invasions of Greece. They seem to have brought some portions of Rgveda and other Vedas with them From 1500 B.C. to 800 B.C. ‑‑ a period of about 700 years may be termed as Vedic and subsequent Brahmana period. Brahmans elaborate the rules and details for the employment of the Mantras or hymns at various sacrificial rituals. As a result of which the priestly class, with sole and exclusive right of performing rituals gained much social prominence and virtually dominated the society. During this period the Aryans had completely settled and had fully vanquished the non‑Aryan races. These were being absorbed in their social structure principally as ‘dasyus'  absorbed in their social structure principally as ‘dasyus' (labor class) and were treated as second class citizens. However, the Aryans had tremendous capacity to absorb and to assimilate all new things of life.  They not only adopted many cultural and philosophical thinking of their non‑Aryan brothers, but also enriched the same by their own original thoughts. They realized that beyond this mundane existence as well as after life, there is something distinct. For attaining that something the propitiation of gods by sacrifices and offerings of livings beings is not the way. When acquainted with the non‑Aryan theories of austerities, non‑violence, Karma and soul, they realized that something, the aim of their pursuit could be apprehended by working on these theories. This becomes quite evident when in Chandogya Upanisada Rsi Aruni explains to his son the newly found secret of the real nature of the self, not taught to him during the course of the long term of his education in existing Vedas (Ref. to the dialogue between Aruni and his son Svetaketu in Chapter on "Ontology of Atman" in this book). Naciketa of Kathopanisad goes to Yama (God to Death) to learn the science of Atman (soul) by asking the question "When a man dies, does he still exist or not ? " Thus there was a fervent intellectual agitation in the post‑Brahmanic period when the Rsis of Upanisadas began to challenge the usefulness of sacrificial rituals and began to apply their mind objectively to the teachings of Sramana traditions of ancient India. This trend had started long  before Upanisadic period but it gained momentum only during that period. Twenty‑third Tirthankara of Jainas, Parsvanatha, recognized now as a historical person, flourished during 872 to 772 B.C., the time when the Upanisadas were getting on full swing. Like his successor Mahavira, Parsva also had a great organizing capacity. He organized the Sramanic order and propounded ‘Caturyama' of your principles namely Non‑violence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya), Non‑stealing (Asteya) and Restrictions on possession (Aparigraha). His Sramana teachings had great influence on contemporary thinking. And with the advent of Mahavira (526 B.C.) the time became ripe for the final and decisive assault on priestly Brahmanic culture of rituals and violent sacrifices. Both Mahavira and his contemporary Buddha (563 B.C.) led a  relentless crusade against the social and cultural evils prevalent at the time. This crusade went on with such a vigor till 8th century A.D. that, but for the advent of the great Sankara, who assimilated Sramana ideas of Buddhism with his brilliant exposition of Vedanta. Vedic culture would have been practically eclipsed throughout India. Now the Sramanic ideas of non‑violence, karma and soul have become so much identified with the Vedic culture that there is absolutely no difference between the attitude of a Jaina and a Hindu towards life's problems, individual or social. These attitudes are so identical that unless one tells you that he is a Jaina by religion you cannot make out from his behavior that he is a non‑Hindu by faith.


Our indebtedness to Sramanic Culture

At this point of time, after such a huge long gap it is impossible to measure the degree of indebtedness of the composite‑culture, to Sramanic culture of the indigenous races of India, which we inherit today and are so much proud of. The  theory of Karma is basic to the theory of transmigration, Ahimsa, universal love, and the ultimate salvation of the soul. Because of this theory, we keep our personal behavior and social conduct on the right path. Existence of soul, the theory of Karma, the soul's journey through the cycle of birth and rebirth and its salvation as its final goal are the basic fundamental postulates of all the three Indian philosophies ‑‑ Hindu, Jaina and Buddha. And if we consider that all these basic idea have been adopted principally from those progressive and cultured people of Indus valley civilization, we conquered and captured as ‘dasyus' we do become overwhelmed by a mixed sense of shame for us and gratitude for them. The following observation of Sri A. L. Basham, in his ‘Post script' attached to the article of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan on Hinduism, are the most relevant. This observation shows the intensity of the impact which Sramana traditions have made to shape the composite culture of which we as a Indians can be legitimately proud. The following are his words :

"The most important religious heritage of India from her ancient past is the doctrine of transmigration (Samsara)."

"The evidence for the origin of this doctrine is very faint. It may have been borrowed from the non‑Brahmin and originally non‑Aryan elements in the Ganga valley, and may have gained currency only against considerable resistance from conservative elements. The names of Yajnavalkya, Uddalaka, Arugi and Gautama are connected with it in the traditions. How this secret doctrine spread and became universally accepted is quite unknown. We can only suggest that it was disseminated by wandering ascetics, outside the fraternities of sacrificial priests."

"A definite doctrine of transmigration appears for the first time in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisada (vi.2, repeated with some amplification in Chandogya Upanisada, 3‑10). The teaching here enunciated, which has certain primitive features such as do not occur in the developed doctrine of Samsara, is ascribed to the Ksatriya, Jaivali Pravahana, a chief of the tribe of Pancalas, who taught it to the Brahmin Aruni Gautama, also known as Uddalaka Aruni, apparently one of the most vigorous thinkers of the period (perhaps c.700 B.C.). Another passage in Brhadaranyak (III.2) tells how the great sage Yajnavalkya secretly taught to a questioner as a new and secret theory, the doctrine of karma, that the good and evil deeds of a man automatically influence his state of future lives."

"Transmigration must have encouraged the doctrine of Ahimsa, for the doctrine linked all living things together in a single complex system‑as all possessing souls."

"As a source of consolation, it (Doctrine of Karma) has done much to mould the Indian character and to shape the Indian way of life."

These observations are sufficient to show the intensity of the impact which Sramana traditions have made to shape the composite culture of which we as Indians can be legitimately proud.


Rsabhadeva, the first Tirthankara

Among, the twenty four Tirthankaras, the place of pride occupied by Rsabhadeva, the first Tirthankara, in history was un-parallel. Even Lord Mahavira, failed to possess that. Lord Mahavira had inherited what Lord Rsabhadeva established. Rsabhadeva was, the pioneer of spirituality as well as of Sramana tradition, was temporal teacher who organized the contemporary society by establishing the institution of marriage, evolving the Brahmi script, teaching the art of agriculture, building of the mounds and the disposal of the dead bodies by cremation. He is also looked upon as a great pioneer in the history of human progress. At the time of Rsabha the contemporary human society was primitive and totally disorganized. It was Rsabha who taught his people to live in accordance with the modern standards of family life. It is said that the art of rearing children, establishment of social norms and  group life, building of townships were among the useful social necessities which were taught by him. He built the first town, named ‘vinita', now known as ‘Ayodhya'.

He belonged to the lksvaku family of Ayodhya. His father was Nabhi Raja and mother Marudevi. He married two wives named Sumangala and Sunanda. Among his hundred sons, the eldest was Bharata, after his name our country is known as ‘Bharata'. His another illustrious son was Bahubali. He had two daughters Brahmi and Sundari.

It is believed that Brahmi script was taught by him to his daughter Brahmi, whose name the script is bearing. Those days real brothers and sisters were treated as ‘Yugals' (couples who can have physical relationship). This system had much in common with ancient Egypt where kings married their own sisters. Rsabha's daughter Brahmi had renounced the world and had become a nun. Sundari, another daughter, was very beautiful and learned. Bharata, the eldest son, wanted to marry Sundari but Sundari did not want to marry at all and took to severe austerities to contain her overflowing beauty. Bahubali, another son of Rsabha was a warrior of tremendous strength. Bharata, his elder brother, was entitled to the  throne. After Bharata became the ruleer on retirement of Rsabha, Bahubali could not tolerate his suzerainty and so there was a duel between the two brothers. Bahubali was stronger. As he raised his iron first to kill Bharata, he realized what he was up to. He at once curbed his emotions and directed his fist to himself, annihilated his own ego, renounced the world and became a recluse. Bharata established  a big  empire, became a Cakravartin, and once, when he was dressing in his glass room he found that one of his fingers was looking odd for want of usual rings. This small incident started in his mind a chain of introspective thinking and he also relinquished his kingly power and became a recluse. Other 98 sons of Rsabha also became recluses.

Rsabhadeva himself had renounced the worldly affairs after rendering yeoman service to the society, undertook severe austerities for twelve months, established ‘Sangha' of monks, nuns and householders and taught them the first principles of Sramana traditions.

Such is the story of, perhaps, the first royal family of India‑‑ a beginning, ingrained with the idea that ultimate goal of human life is not be sought in the material gains of the world but in their renunciation and the conquest of baser instincts of human existence.

Rsabha is as much venerable amongst the people wedded to Vedic traditions as amongst the people of Sramanic traditions. He is the only Jaina Tirthankara, included among Hindu Avataras (Divine descent). Srimadbhagavat refers to him with great respect and reverence and mentions that our country was named ‘Bharatavarsa' after his son Bharata, his successor, to the throne, who became a Cakravarti.

Rgveda, Yajurveda and Visnu and Bhagavata Puranas refer to Rsabhadeva with high esteem. They describe him as Parama Guru (Great venerated Guru‑Master) ‘One who has taken birth to teach the path of Kaivalya (Pure Knowledge)'. ‘Maha‑muni' (a great saint), ‘one who possessed devotion, knowledge and non‑attachment'.

The above references exalting Rsabhadeva in Vedas and Puranas of Hindus make us to believe that he belonged to the Aryan stock and adopted Sramana practices for spiritual progress. However, it is an uphill task to ascertain his date. Traditional Jaina sources contend that he lived millions of years before in pre‑historic times. His father Nabhi Raja is  considered, even by Hindu scriptures as the last of Manus (‘Manu' was not the name of any particular person but it was the name given to a designation of one who led the society). If this means that Rsabhadeva ruled Ayodhya (vinita) after the advent of Aryans in India, the period of his reign can hardly be fixed 5000 years ago from today. Since he belonged to Iksvaku dynasty of Rulers of Ayodhya to which many illustrious rulers including Dasaratha and his son Rama, the venerated hero of Ramayana belonged, it is reasonable to conclude that this great master, the first Tirthankara of the Jainas, must have flourished 5 to 6 thousand years ago, and became the principal exponent of Sramana tradition. In  addition to Rsabhadeva we have historical references of 22nd Tirthankara Neminatha, a cousin of Sri Krsna, Sri Parsvanatha, 23rd Tirthankara and Sri Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara only.


Sri Neminatha

The 22nd Tirthankara was born in the illustrious ‘Yadu' family of Sri Krsna of Mahabharata. His father Samudra‑vijaya was the elder brother of Vasudeva, the father of Sri Krsna thus being Sri Krsna’s nearest cousin. He was also known as Aristanemi and is referred to as such in Rgveda (2. 33. 10) and again in its 6th Adhyaya (Chapter).

Yadavas were a brave, virile and prosperous race of Ksatriyas of Northern India. Jarasandha, the ruler of Magadha was a very powerful monarch, feeling envious of the progress of Yadavas. He was therefore harassing Yadavas by various means. Sri Krsna, realizing that Jarasandha would not allow Yadavas to live in peace, took all the Yadavas with him and migrated to modern Saurastra and established at Dvarika on the sea‑shore of Arabian ocean (Modern Dvarika is not the same as established by Sri Krsna. Dvarika established by him was near the place called ‘Madhupur' on the South‑western coast of Saurastra near Veraval).

Neminatha seems to have been brought up at Dvarika. His marriage was arranged by Sri Krsna with Rajimati, the sister of king ‘Kamsa' (killed by Srikrsna for his cruelties) and the daughter of King ‘Ugrasena' (imprisoned by son Kamsa). While going along with his marriage party for wedding Neminatha heard the cries of animals and on inquiry was deeply moved to find that hundreds of animals, were huddled and tied mercilessly in an enclosure in order to prepare his marriage feast. This saddened his heart and a serious introspection started within him, which led him to renounce the world then and there. He asked his charioteer to turn back. He left the wedding, became a recluse and went to nearby mount ‘Revata' (modern ‘Girnar', near the town of Junagadha in South Saurastra), to perform austerities, and finally obtained Kaivalya.

His would be bride Rajimati, inspired by Neminatha's action also renounced the world, became a nun and went to  mount ‘Revata' for religious penance. Neminatha's real brother ‘Rathanemi', had also renounced the world and had taken ‘Samnyasa' and was living at mount ‘Revata'. Once during heavy down pour, in order to get a safe place Rathanemi entered a cave in that mount. There he found Rajimati with wet clothes stuck to her beautiful and proportionate physical fame. Attracted by the bewitching beauty of Rajimati, he made some overtures to her. nun Rajimati responded by reminding him his role of a spiritual seeker and admonished him not to fall from the heights, he was striving to reach. She brought him to his senses. This inspiring incident has become the subject matter of one of the finest pieces of poetry in Jaina literature.

Chandogya Upanisada records that Srikrsna took his  education of Ahimsa from a sage called ‘Ghor Angirasa'. Sri Dharmananda Kausambi, a learned Buddhist Scholar opined that sage Ghor Angirasa, was none other than Sri Neminatha. Other scholars refute this fact. Whatever it may be, it is true that Neminatha known as Aristanemi was highly respected not only by Srikrsna and his Yadu family but also by all the members of contemporary society and is the  one who is bowed to, first along with other holy names before any auspicious ceremony begins. In fact, one belief is that Sri Balarama, the half-brother of Srikrsna, considered to be the most invincible warrior of his times, and, who was the teacher of Duryodhana, the Kaurava chief, and Bhima, the powerful Pandava. Balarama was the only warrior of note, not to join Mahabharata war on the principle that there is no war which can be legitimately called ‘Dharma‑yuddha' (Holy war). The story goes that Balaram was under the influence of the Sramana tradition followed by Neminatha. Thus in short, these are a few facts known about the 22nd Tirthankara of the Jainas.


Sri Parsvanatha

The historicity of the 23rd Tirthankara Parsvanatha is now a well established fact, acceptable to almost all the scholars. The immediate predecessor of Sri Mahavira, was born in 872 B. C. or according to some, in the 8th century B. C., some 350 years before Sri Mahavira. Most of the stotras (prayers) of the Jainas are addressed to him. Mahavira's parents and the whole family belonged to Parsva traditions. Once Mahavira was believed by some western thinkers as the founder of Jainism but now it is universally recognized that Sri Mahavira, unlike Sri Buddha, was not the founder of any new religion. He was only a follower, who rejuvenated the whole thinking of the contemporary society by giving enlightened interpretations to the principles, already propounded by Sri Parsva.

Sri Parsva was born to king Asvasena of Kasi (modern Benaras) and mother Vamadevi. Like Rsabha he also belonged to Iksvaku race of Ksatriyas. He was married to Prabhavati, the daughter of Prasenjit, the king of Kusasthala.

Those were the days when severe religious penance were undertaken by monks. Many of these penance were of acrobatic type and could hardly be endured by laity. Moreover, thought Sramana tradition of Ahimsa persisted among the monks who were practicing austerities in forests the ordinary man of the world was not effectively touched by these principles. Parsva systematized these principles, gave them practical shape and put before the public for their practice in day to day life. In other words, he established a code of conduct to be followed by those having renounced the world and also by the house‑holders. He emphasized that the penance, aimed at tormenting physical senses without any inner development, carried no meaning. Therefore, he prescribed four ways of conduct known as Caturyama, comprising Ahimsa (non‑violence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non‑stealing) and Aparigraha (restriction of possessions). These four principles together with the additional fifth Brahmacarya, the innovation of Mahavira, have formed the five basic principles of Jainism. Though these four principles were well known to Sramana line of thinking it was Parsva who put them systematically before the public to be taken as a routine code of conduct. From his very youth Parsva was a fervent advocate of these principles, even before he renounced the world and took to religious penance. While in princehood he came across a powerful  Brahmin Tapas called Kamatha who performed religious penance by lightening fire all round him. For this purpose many trees were cut and logs of wood were burnt. Parsva realized that this practice killed living creatures taking shelter in the trees and logs of wood. Once on seeing a big serpent being alive, he saved it and incurred the wrath of Kamatha. For this he had to pay heavily because, as the story goes, Kamatha, the ascetic, subsequently tormented Parsva, when the latter was performing austerities after renouncing the world. After living in splendor and happiness as a house‑holder for thirty years, Parsva became an ascetic, took to meditation and at the end of 84 days of intense austerities, he attained perfect knowledge of a ‘Kevali'. He lived for about one hundred years during which he formed Jaina Sangh (organization) consisting of four components, i.e., Monks, nuns, male and female house‑holders. Sangha was again divided into ‘Ganas' groups and Ganadharas where the group‑heads. The whole Jaina organization functioned in a systematic framework. As Sri Dharmananda Kausamb, records ‑‑"Janmejaya succeeded Pariksita. He performed a Mahayajna in ‘Kuru Desa, and unfurled the flag of Vedic religion. At that time Parsva was laying the foundation of a new culture at Kasi."

"Parsvanatha's philosophy was practical. He preached that violence, untruth, theft and greed should be abandoned. This four‑fold rule of conduct was his religion which he propagated throughout India. To give an organized shape to the doctrine of Ahimsa in such ancient times was a mile‑stone in the history of India.

"Parsva coordinated the doctrine of Ahimsa with the doctrines of Truth, non‑stealing and non‑possession. Till then the doctrine of non‑violence was confined to the conduct of ascetics, living in forests. Parsva brought that doctrine to practical life and by a proper coordination of the Ahimsa doctrine with other three doctrines, he gave it a social norm to be practiced in life."

Parsva organized a ‘Sangh' for the propagation of his principles. It is found from Buddha literature that out of all religious organizations the organization of Jaina monks and nuns was the biggest.

These observations of a renowned Buddhist fully reveal the character and importance of this great man. Elsewhere in this thesis we have noted how Mahavira reconsidered the efficacy of Parsva's Caturyama doctrine and found it necessary to add one more rule of conduct namely. Brahmacarya (Chapter of ‘Pancaseel') and hence it is not necessary to repeat the same at this stage. Uttaradhyayana sutra, one of the principal scriptures of Jainas, refers to a dialogue between Sri Kesi Muni, one of the principal saints, following Parsva tradition, and Gautama, the principal saints, following Parsva tradition, and Gautama, the principal disciple of Mahavira, about the necessity of incorporating the fifth principle of Brahmacarya to the Caturyama doctrine. Kesi Muni was convinced by Gautama of Mahavira's stand.

It is thus clear that after Rsabha, the first Tirthankara, the historical figure of Parsva, the 23rd Tirthankara, provides us the first systematic attempt to organize the Jaina Sangha and to prescribe a code of conduct for ascetics as well as for house‑holders based on the fundamentals of Sramana traditions.

More than 250 years thereafter, it was for another great personality, Vardhamana Mahavira, to give a reorientation to these concepts with a revolutionary zeal.



Transfer of Embryo , Socio‑political conditions, Vajji's democracy, Magadha and Srenika (Bimbisara), Ajatasatru & Vajji's, Princely following of Mahavira, Social Conditions, Intellectual Fervour, Revolutionary push by Mahavira, Significant Events, India's Offer of Protection, Five Resolves at Morak Hermitage, Education rather than exposure, Poisonous fangs of Canda Kausika, State of a Digambara, Association with Gosala, Candana Bala : First Head of Women Disciples, Final Act of Nirjara, Attainment of Kaivalya ,First Ganadharas, Muttanam Moyganam


Prof. K. C. Jaina observed, "For Mahavira distinctions of caste, creed or sex did not matter. According to him, salvation is the birth‑right of everyone, and it is assured if one follows the prescribed rule of conduct. His doctrine of Karma made the individual conscious of his responsibility for all actions. It also awakened the consciousness that salvation was not a gift or favour but an attainment within the reach of human beings".

The world has witnessed many revolutions ‑ political, social and economic but rarely there was a revolution, utterly silent and totally non‑violent. The great revolutionaries like Mahavira, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Zarathustra and Lao‑tse, heralded silent, peaceful and non‑violent revolutions in their contemporary societies.

In the long history of mankind, the period, corresponding to 6th ‑ 7th century B. C. is marked by great intellectual cum spiritual fervour throughout the world. It was during this period that the world witnessed the emergence of early Greek philosophers such as Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras, Empidocles and Heraclitus in the West and thinkers like Zarathrustra, Lao‑tse, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha in the East.


Transfer of Embryo

This great soul of Mahavira was born in sixth century B. C. Some scholars accept 526 B. C. as the year of his birth while to some it was 599 B. C. Born in Kasyapa Gotra of Jnatr clan of Ksatriyas, he was also known as ‘Nataputta'. His father was Siddhartha and mother was Trisala, the sister of Vaisala king Cetaka. His parents were the followers of  23rd Tirthankara Parsva. ‘Svetambaras' (one of the dominant Jaina sects) believed that Mahavira was first conceived in the womb of one Devananada, a Brahmin lady. The embryo was later transferred to the womb of ‘Trisala' as the gods thought that Tirthankaras were not born in Brahmin families. ‘Digambaras' (another dominant Jaina sect) do not subscribe to this story of transfer to embryo. The story as to what the ‘gods' thought about the eligibility of a Brahmin family to give birth to a Tirthankara is undoubtedly jingoistic and not warranted by the basic principles of Jainism, and mission of equality which the lord himself carried during his life time. But the possibility of the transfer of foetus by some surgical operation cannot be ruled out. It may be noted in this connection that Bhagavati‑sutra, the 5th anga of Jaina scripture containing a vivid picture of the life and work of Mahavira contains a story that after Mahavira became famous as an impressive preacher and masses were flocking to have his ‘Darshan’, a Brahmin couple named Devananda and Rsabhadatta came to see him. On seeing Mahavira, Devananda was overwhelmed by motherly  emotions for him and milk began to flow from her breasts. When Gautama, the chief disciple, saw this and asked the master the reason for this state of Devananda, the master replied that this was because Devananda was his real mother. However, ‘Bhagavati‑sutra' does not contain the story about the change of embryo. It is therefore reasonable to infer that Mahavira might have been adopted by the Ksatriya family of Siddhartha and Tri‑sala, This controversy about the birth is not of any importance. What is of real importance, is the life and work of this great soul.


Socio‑political Conditions

Before narrating some significant incidents of his life, it would be proper to make a brief reference to the social, economic and political conditions prevailing in India at the time of his birth because in the ultimate analysis, it is these socio‑economic forces which give birth to the revolutions of the type which leaders like Mahaviras and Buddha sponsored.

The most significant aspect of the political history of India, right from the times of Mahavira (6 century B.C.) upto the present day, is that India has rarely been politically united. The periods witnessing political unity have been extremely short in the face of prolonged history of thousands of  years. The second remarkable aspect of political history of India is that when politically united under one rule, our country prospered and earned a respectable place in world community. The third and the most important aspects of our history is that even though our political leaders failed us, mostly in achieving political unity, we retained our national unity mainly because of our cultural unity which our people have developed through ages by their inherent sagacity and wisdom. This cultural unity is expressed through our way of life, our spirit of tolerance and accommodation and our capacity of endurance and patience which we have been able to  exhibit commonly irrespective of our castes, creed or religion. The main contributing factor to these virtues is the power of assimilation possessed by the Aryan race, settled in the country. Aryans learnt in plenty from the more civilized, original settlers of this land but they also made their own original contribution to enhance the ideas which they learnt. When Mohammedans came to India, they, unlike the previous invaders, came with their own religion and culture, with the result that they could not be assimilated in the existing Indian culture. On the contrary, they tried to impose their own by forcible conversions and political, social and economic repression. But by the passage of time even Islam was influenced by Upanisadic thoughts giving birth to Indian Sufism which attracted both Hindu and Muslim masses. Today an average Muslim's social and ethical attitude is not fundamentally different from that of an average Hindu or Jaina or Christian. One can find a difference only in degrees. But an Indian Muslim or an Indian Christian is more an Indian than his co‑religionist elsewhere. Thus our culture, developed by the people of our nation through ages, has saved our national unity, inspite of our political leaders' failure and inspite of the partition of our country on the eve of our political independence.

The roots of above analysis are found in the socio‑political environment, prevailing during the time of Mahavira. Those were the times when there was no paramount power to control the whole or even a great bulk of the country. There were small states and republics having monarchical as well as non‑monarchical forms of government each trying to dominate the other. Political leadership in both the forms of government had failed to unite the country as a one whole. Even in the regions not having monarchy, the political structure was mainly oligarchical in character, power vested in the hands of the elite. Socially, on account of the belief that gods can be pleased to make our life comfortable only by sacrifices, a priestly class with great vested interests grew up and the growth of Brahmanical scriptures, prescribing intricate and highly specialized rules for sacrifices, made the services of the priestly class inevitable even for the ruling princes and political leaders. However, the thinkers like Parsva, Kapila, Uddalaka Aruni, Yajnavalkya and many other Rsis of later Upanisadas had started making dents on stronghold of  sacrificial priests and princes. These great thinkers had already started a thinking process which was given a revolutionary push by Mahavira and Buddha and which eventually proved to be a cementing force of cultural unity inspite of the internecine quarrels between the political leaders of the day. A cursory look at the political situation in the time of Mahavira will show this.


Vajji's Democracy

Vedic, Jaina and Buddhist texts reveal that there were mainly sixteen political entities called ‘Mahajanapadas' in India. Most of these sixteen entities are shown in the political map given in (Appendix A). As already noted above, these entities were either monarchical or non‑monarchical. The latter had evolved a system of representation by election but the lay people were not associated with that process. Election was mostly of the representatives of aristocratic Ksatriya clans. However, more systematic and more or less modern methods were adopted by Vajjis, who were composed by powerful Licchavis, Videhas and Mallas. Their territory extended from South of Nepal to the North of Ganges. They had adopted a voting system, an organised Federal council, took all decisions by debates, set up a strong administrative system, evolved a judicial administration, safe‑guarding efficiently liberty of citizens and proved a great butwark against the neighbouring powerful monarchies of Magadha and Kosala. King Cetaka, the head of Lichhavi republic, was a powerful and influential head of the Vajji confederation. Mahavira's mother Trisala was his sister. His daughter Cellana was the wife of Magadha King Bimbisara known in Jaina literature as ‘Srenika'. Vaisali was the capital of Vajji Confederation. Mahavira's blood relationship with the Licchavis was of great help to him in influencing other powerful rulers of neighbouring states of Magadha, Kosala and Anga. His upbringing in the greatly democratic atmosphere of the Vajji's must have been helpful in inculcating in him the idea of equality and fraternity, which made him popular with the masses. Mahavira's birth place was ‘Kundagrama' a suburb of Vaisali, the Vajji capital.


Magadha and Srenika

Other kingdoms of prominence were those of Magadha and Kosala. King Bimbisara (Srenika) of Magadha and his wife Cellana were very ardent devotes of Mahavira. Bimbisara had built a very powerful empire and developed friendly relationship with almost every powerful king of India of his time. His first wife was the sister of Prasenajit, a powerful king of Kosala. Anga Desa was conquered by him. King Canda Pradyota of Avanti was very ambitious. He attacked Rajagrha, the then capital of Magadha, but the attack was foiled by Bimbisara's very clever son Abhayakumar, also an ardent devotee of Sri Mahavira. Thereafter, the Avanti king and the king of Gandhara became very good friends of Bimbisara. Bimbisara is so much respected by the Jainas that he is given the status of a Tirthankara in the next time cycle.


Ajatasatru Vajjis

However, Bimbisara was imprisoned by his ambitious son Kunika Ajatasatru and is said to have committed suicide by  taking poison. Ajatasatru ascended to the throne of Magadha and expanded his territory by conquests. He was a very staunch follower of Mahavira though even Buddhists claim his devotion to Buddha. Ajatasatru schemed a plan to break the unity and strength of Vajjis and became successful after the long efforts of sixteen years. Ajatasatru waged war with King Prasenajit of Kosala but was defeated. He quarrelled with the strong confederacy of Vajjis led by Cetaka for reasons which are differently given by Buddhists and Jainas. However  it was not easy to break the solidarity of the Licchavis and other members of confederacy. Ajatasatru, therefore resorted to dubious method of first sowing the seeds of discord among different classes of the confederacy through one of his ministers who settled amongst the Vajjis and became successful in destroying the social unity of the people. In this connection, the Buddhist scripture Mahaparinibbana‑sutta records a very interesting dialogue between Lord Buddha and his principal pupil Ananda ‑‑ a dialogue which is very instructive and relevant to the present conditions of our country. It is said that Ajatasatru wanted to know the opinion of Lord Buddha through his pupil Ananda as to the advisability of invading the Vajjis. The  Master is said to have replied that it was not possible to vanquish the Vajjis so long as they stuck of the following seven principles viz. :

(1) They continued to hold public assemblies frequently.

(2) They continued to discuss their affairs freely and tried to arrive at unanimity in their resolutions and execution of their affairs.

(3) They continue to act in accordance with their time‑tested ancient institutions and enact nothing which is not yet established.

(4) They continue to honour the advice of their elders.

(5) They honor their womanhood.

(6) They continue the traditional worship of their shrines.

(7) They protect and defend the respectful persons who  came to reside with them.

Obviously, this was the prescription for unity because unity of a nation is its strength. Ajatashatru seems to have taken a clue from this and prepared for a preliminary grounding by a carefully planned espionage, which sowed seeds of disunity amongst the Vajjis, who were finally defeated and destroyed by Magadha. Lord Mahavira never approved of this aggressive attitude of Ajatasatru and remonstrated him by telling him that he earned his place in Hell by invading the Vajjis.


Princely following of Mahavira

Apart from Magadha, King Prasenajit of Kosala, King Udayana of Sindhu Sauvira (Lower Indus valley), Princes of Yadu family of Sirasena (region round Mathura), Pancala King Sanjaya of Kampilya and many other small princes of different regions of India became Mahavira's disciples and entered his order. Discipleship of many of these princes is claimed even by the Buddhists. It appears that in those days the impact of Jainism  and Buddhism was so great and personalities of the great men of both the orders ‑‑Mahavira and  Buddha were so imposing that both were respected and honoured by most of the ruling princes of India. The fact that both Jainism and Buddhism led the revolt against sacrificial rituals and priestly hegemony must have also blurred the philosophical distinction between their thinking in the eyes of the laity.

All available materials show that most of the non‑monarchical states of that period, except the Vajjis, were not properly managed by their oligarchical systems. The terms ‘Gana' and ‘Sangha' were used for these states and their leaders were known as ‘Rajas'. They kept on fighting amongst themselves and rendered the administration insecure for people. People therefore wanted stability under the suzerainty of a strong ruler. Therefore, non‑monarchical states were eventually destroyed.


Social Conditions

Social conditions in the time of Mahavira were more ripe for the change. India has alwasy been a stinkingly casteridden society, which, in those days was dominated by a priestly order, which was socially and economically interested in tightening its hold on the social and political structure through the monopoly of its knowledge of sacrificial rituals. Birth, and not the profession or merits, was the criterion to decide the caste complexion. Knowledge of scriptures was not open to Sudras, the lower castes. Untouchables were social out‑castes and their condition was full of miseries. Even their sight was considered inauspicious. Inequality was the rule of the day. Women, who had equal status with men in earlier centuries, were treated more or less as personal property of their husbands. To have more than one wife was considered prestigious by the rich. There were special and more favourable laws for Brahmins. The system of slavery had taken roots. Human slaves were sold, purchased and gifted. Defeated king's family and subjects were taken in booty as slaves. Princes were fighting amongst themselves for trivial causes and mostly for expansion of their territories even though some of them were related to each other by blood. Human happiness in this and the other world was dependent on the favours of gods who could be pleased only be sacrificial rituals. Various types of animals and sometimes even humanbeings were sacrificed to please gods. These sacrificial rituals were to be performed only in the prescribed manner and through particular class of Brahmins who had specialized in the subject. These Brahmins were gifted with land and cows for the sacrificial services rendered by them. This class was thus interested in perpetuating these rituals. Samskrta was the language of the elite. Scriptures were written and preached in Samskrta, which was not spoken or understood by common man. Sudras were not allowed to learn or speak Samskrta.


Intellectual Fever

This is indeed a gloomy pen‑picture of the society. There was, however, a silver lining because the intellectual revolt had already started by the Upanisadic Rsis, who had begun to interprete Vedas with a philosophical gloss. People had started challenging the corrupte modes. There were intellectual debates and the thinkers had started evolving different theories to explain the universal scheme. Forests were full of recluses, who remaining detached from society, performed severe religious penances which many a times verged on acrobatics, Schools of Carvakas and Ajivakas were challenging the very idea of Godhood and after‑life. Thinkers like Parsva, Aruni, Yajnavalkya, Kapila, Janaka, Badarayana and many others of Upanisadic schools, who had preceeded Mahavira and Buddha had already initiated a new type of thinking amongst the intellectuals and what was needed was to carry this process to the masses by those who could work for the masses, could speak their language, could bring them to the  status of equality and could make them free from the social and economocal grip of the aristocracy and priestly order.


Revolutionary push by Mahavira

This needs was supplied by Mahavira and subsequently by Buddha. Mahavira did not establish any new order. He merely carried out the work of previous Tirthankaras, the last of whom was Parsva. The Sramana tradition, not subscribing to the Vedic words as last words, was itself divided into many schools of thought as we have already, noted. Mahavira's task was to evolve a complete synthesis of those different schools and to put the whole line of thinking into a sound and organised basis. This he did by the theory of Nayavada and Syadvada, which gave its due place to every line of thinking. When a proper time came, and after he himself got the realization of the truth, he moved from place to place and like a whirlwind, took every body who counted in the society under his powerful influence, which was solidified by organizing the Jaina Sangha into four sections of monks, nuns, male and female householders, by appointing different heads of each and sending emissaries of faith to different parts of the country. He himself was a powerful speaker. He spoke to people in parables and in their own language breaking the monopoly of the knowledge of Samskrta. People appreciated this very much. They were made to participate in religious discourses. In his age, Mahavira was the first to give a fatal blow to the notions of Brahmanical superiority and caste distinctions based on birth as he declared :

Uttaradhyayana‑Sutra, 25/33.

"One is a Brahmin by action, a Ksatriya by action, a Vaisya by action and a Sudra also by action."

He interpreted Vedas and showed that real sacrifice is the sacrifice of one's baser instincts and not the sacrifice of innocent creatures. He declared that each soul is its own master, and it is not in hands of any god to make you really happy in this life or in the next. Your real enemy, he said, is not outside you and you are the author of your own happiness and misery.

Ibid, 20/37.

"Soul is the author of its own miseries and happiness; Soul is its own friend and foe as the maker of good and bad deeds."

This infused self confidence and the spirit of liberty as well as equality in the common man, taught by Brahmanical cleargy to rely only on the favours of an unpredicatable divinity.

To the powerful kings, out to conquer their political enemies, he admonished :

Uttaradhyayana‑sutra, 9/35, 34.

"Oh man, (if you have to fight) fight with your own self, what is the use of fighting with an outside foe? Conquer yourself by your own self. That is the supreme victory more difficult than thousand and thousands of victories in the battle fields."

Emphasising the real nature of religion, he said that real religion is not to try to please gods by sacrificial rituals and violence. Real religion is :

Dasavaikalika‑sutra, I/I.

"Ahimsa (non‑violence), Restraint (of mind, speech  and action) and Austerities (religious penances)  constitute real religion which brings benedictions and freedom. Even Gods bow down to them who practice this religion."

He did not preach any sectarian doctrines and did not  insist on following only a particular path. Nor did he claim to be the sole messenger of the Divine because his theory was that  Divinity is inherent in every soul. To a questioner, who wanted to know how one should behave so as  not to commit any sin his answer was totally direct and of universal utility. He was asked :

Dasvaikalika‑sutra, 4/7.

"How shall we move, stand, sit, sleep, speak and eat so that we may not be bound by sinful actions. "He replied :

Ibid, 4/8.

"Move, stand, sit, sleep, speak and eat with all discrimination, You shall not be bound by sinful actions." Discrination means awareness in whatever we do is the corner stone of an intelligent existence.

And he came out with the message of friendship as well as fraternity for all and enmity for none when he exhorted his disciples to repeat these words constantly in their minds :


"I offer my apologies to all the sentient beings of the universe and shed all ill feelings for them. I declare my friendship for them all. I have enmity towards none."

He gave equal status to women and established the order of nuns under the leadership of Candana, a princess of the king of Campa, on whose defeat in a battle, she was taken as a slave and sold to a wealthy man named Dhanna. In the fourpoint discipline of Parsva, celebacy had not a separate place as it was treated as included in ‘Aparigraha', restraint in possession of number of wives. A woman was impliedly treated as an object of possession Mahavira, added the concept of Brahmacharya for all men, women, monks and nuns, thus giving a dignified place and equality of treatment to both the sexes.

It is believed that the emphasis of Mahavira and Buddha on ‘Samnyasa' was responsible for the addition of fourth Asrama, namely ‘Samnyasarama' as the last stage in a man's life. Whatever it may be, the fact remains that the impact of the rational and logical thinking of Mahavira and then of Buddha was so great that the Indian culture took altogether a new turn from 6th century B.C. onwards. It is not that the principles of Ahimsa, Truth, Asteya, Aparigraha and Brahmacarya were unkonwn to the Aryan society. As already noted above, Sramana line of thinking existed side by side with Vedic line from time immemorial and the great Rsis of Upanisadas had already initiated philosophical interpretation of Vedas much before Mahavira. However, on account of priestly stronghold and language monopoly of scriptures the ideas of Ahimsa, etc., had not reached the masses. This was achieved by Mahavira and Buddha, both of whom condemned cast superiority and inequality. The great Jaina saint of Mahavira's time Sri Harikesi was a Candala (untouchable of untouchables). He was very highly respected by the whole society. He furnishes a shining example of the way in which the down‑trodden section of the contemporary society was elevated to its rightful position as a result of Mahavira's preaching.


Significant Events

At this distance of time, having been brought up in the society where the principles of Ahimsa, Truth and Brahmacarya are taken for granted as the necessary constituents of a cultured life in India, we would not be in a position to appreciate the tremendous task which lay ahead of Mahavira in the orthodox rigidity of his times. We have no historical record of the working of his mind when he must have faced with different and difficult problems of the society, he lived in. Whatever fragments of his life and work are available, are from different sutras‑Kalpasutra being prominent. However, as is usual with ardent devotees, much of it seems to have been glossed with mysteries and exaggerations. It is nonetheless possible to know how this great soul was able to revolutionise the current thinking and had his impact not only on human beings but also on other creatures, whom he considered equal partners in the Universal scheme. We shall therefore consider some important events of his life as mentioned in scriptures. It is interesting to note that though contemporary Buddhist scriptures make good deal of reference to Mahavira and his philosophy, the Hindu scriptures are totally silent about him or his work to the extent that but for the existence of the Jainas and Jaina as well as Buddhist literature, the world would have no record to show that such a great soul ever existed and moved in human form in India whose culture owes so much to him. This was the reason why initially some western scholars, genuinely though wrongly believed that Jainism is a branch of Buddhism which is better known internationally. It was H. Jacobi, a German scholar‑philosopher who initiated research in Jainism and knew more about the historicity of Jainism than the Jainas themselves.

We have already noted some facts relating to the birth of Mahavira. His Birth place was ‘Kundapura' a suburb of Vaisali situated at the modern village ‘Besadha Patti' , 27 miles from Patna in Mujaffarpur District of Bihar. His real name was ‘Vardhamana' meaning ‘growing'. He was given this name because his birth heralded the prosperity and peace in his family and the country began to grow. The epithet ‘Mahavira' was given by people to him after seeing the severest austerities practiced by him for long twelve years. He  was very handsome, tall and strong and had begun to show his talents and strength from his boyhood. We shall not detain ourselves in the narration of the events of his boyhood. According to Svetambara school he was married to Yasoda, the daughter of king Samaravira of Saketa and had a daughter by this marriage named Priyadarsana, married to Jamali. Both of them entered the Jaina monastic order but Jamali having some theoretical differences (noted elsewhere in this book) established his own order separately along with his wife who subsequently returned back to the fold of Mahavira.

We have elsewhere in this book noted how Mahavira renounced the world and became a recluse.


Indra's Offer of Protection

As a wandering recluse, he arrived at ‘Kumara Grama' and in its outskirts he was sitting in silent meditation, one shepherd asked him to look after his cattle as he wanted to go elsewhere for a while. Mahavira being in meditation did not respond, but the sheperd went away taking his silence as his consent. When he returned, he did not find his cattle there and on enquiry, could not get any response from the meditating saint. The shepherd then roamed about in search of his cattle but in vain. On returning he found his cattle, near the place where Mahavira was meditating. He thought that the man in meditation must be pretending to be a saint and must have stolen his cattle. His suspicion grew stronger as he did not get any response from Mahavira. The shepherd, therefore, was angry and began to beat Mahavira mercilessly with a rope. Mahavira, however, did not utter a word. This infuriated the simple shepherd more. Finally, someone (according to scriptures it was Indra, the King of gods) who could identify Mahavira, intervened and revealed to the shepherd the real identity of his victim. Shepherd realized his mistake and made amends. But the story goes on to say that at this stage ‘Indra' told Mahavira that he was ready to arrange for his protection in future from such events so that he could carry out his austerities peacefully. Whether Indra made this proposal or someone else made it, is not material. What matters is Mahavira's reply. He politely rejected Indra's offer and told him that Salvation can be obtained by ones own efforts and not through the help of others (i.e. ‘lift your soul by your own self' as Gita puts it) and that every one, however, exalted he may be, has to suffer the results of his Karmans. It is only through such sufferance that one can shed his accumulated karmas. This process is known as Nirjara.

Thereafter, Mahavira had to undergo troubles and tortures of various types at places from various sources, but had silently suffered the same without seeking any help from others. The incident illustrates a genuine Jaina approach towards the problems of life.


Five Resolves at Morak Hermitage

From the above place, Mahavira went to ‘Morak Sannivesa' where there was a hermitage conducted by one who knew him. He was invited to pass four months ( Caturmasa ) of rainy season at the hermitage. He agreed and used to live at a thatched hut of grass where he was meditating. Once, some cows came and began to eat away the grass of all such hutments of the hermitage. All the inmates of the hermitage, except Mahavira, ran to drive away the cows and saved the hermitage from further damage. Mahavira, however, remained engrossed in his meditation. Such incident were repeated two or three times more when Mahavira adopted the same attitude. Others resented this as a callous and careless attitude and complained to the head of the hermitage who called Mahavira and tauntingly asked him what kind of Ksatriya (Ruling class) he was that he could not protect his own hut being damaged. Mahavira did not utter anything but immediately left the hermitage making the following five resolves for future :

"Henceforth, I will not stay at any place so as to cause discomfort to others, will pass as much time as possible in meditation, will observe silence, will receive food in palms to eat it, and will not do any service to householders." This was his first major lesson of life of a wandering recluse.


Education Rather than Exposure

When he again visited ‘Morak Sannivesa' he found there one astrologer named ‘Acchandaka'. He was earning his livelyhood by cheating ignorant masses by performing some magical feats. Mahavira knew his tricks and decided to expose him. Mahavira did possess better power to impress people with the result that people began to desert the magician, who then went to Mahavira and told him that his presence in the village would destroy his bread and he would be rendered homeless and his family would starve. While on the other hand, a recluse like Mahavira, could go anywhere. He prayed to have pity on him and his family and shift to some other place. Mahavira realised his mistake of showing unnecessary public spirit (which today is exhibited by many busybodies) and decided not to exhibit his spititual power in such a manner in future. Education rather than exposure is the foundation of Mahavira's teaching, and it is here that our Marxist friends would perhaps differ.


Poisonous Fangs of Canda Kausika

A hermitage at Kanakkhal near the township of Vacala was managed by a Rsi called Kausika. Some boys repeatedly damaged the fruit trees and flowers of the garden of this hermitage which angered the Rsi very much. Once when the boys were seen damaging the fruit trees. Rsi Kausika chased them to punish, but stumbled over something, fell in a nearby well and died on the spot. Story says that as he died when  he was full of anger he was born at that very place as a deadly poisonous serpent whose breath as well as sight emitted poison which would kill all living things on which they were thrown. The result was that people ceased to frequent that place and the hermitage was converted into a deserted mess of wild shrubs and trees.

Once Mahavira during his wanderings, was going towards ‘Vacala' and was found passing by the way which was going to the abode of the above referred poisonous serpent who was known by the name of ‘Canda Kausika' (angry Kausika). People warned Mahavira not go by that way and to take another alternative way to avoid an encounter with the serpent. After hearing the story about the serpent, Mahavira decided to pass by the same way to the astonishment and dismay of others who persuaded him to take the other way.

On seeing a daring human being coming towards him, Canda Kausika became furious at his audacity and emitted deadly poison from his breath and sight. When this had no effect on the peace and equanimity of Mahavira, the serpent became more furious and rushed to him to inject him vemon through his poisonous fangs on one of the toes of his barelegs. When the serpent tasted the blood, coming out of the injured toe, he found its taste somewhat different than usual (mythology says that it was sweet milk and not human blood which flowed from the toe). Mahavira was all compassion and love for the violent creature and hence it was but natural that his compassion which ran through his blood had a different effect on the violence of the unfortunate creature. Mahavira had developed a short of communion with all objects of the universe and it was for this reason that he could see life even in the earthly objects such as earth, air and water. He, therefore, could easily communicate with the disturbed soul of Canda Kausika ‑‑ "Be aware, Canda Kausika, be aware of what you were and what you are", he said. Under the influence of graceful divinity and compassion of the Yogi like Mahavira, Canda Kausika was reminded of his past life and realized to what depth he had fallen. He repented and adopted a non‑violent peaceful attitude which resulted in people taking revenge to kill him. His spirit was however purified and he is said to have trans‑migrated to much higher level of life.


States of a Digambara

During all his wanderings, Mahavira was moving nude (Digambara ‑‑ clothes beings the four directions). The story  how he remained nude is interesting. After he became a recluse and went to forest, one poor Brahmin approached him, and as Mahavira had given away all his wealth to the poor before renouncing the world, the Brahmin begged of him something as he could not receive any donation from him previously. Mahavira told him that he possessed nothing except a garment which he had put on, and that he could give a portion of it if he so wanted. The Brahmin knew that it was a valuable piece of cloth and willingly accepted half of it and went away satisfied. His tailor, however, told him that the cloth was so valuable that if he could get the other half, he would stich both the pieces into a whole which would fetch a price which was likely to remove his poverty. The Brahmin thereupon again went to the forest in the chase of the Lord. While Mahavira was proceeding further, at one place his half garment got entagled in a thorny shrub making Mahavira's body totally nude. Mahavira looked back at the entangled cloth but did not turn back to take it and silently passed on further in his meditative mood. Brahmin who was following him took away the entangled cloth but thence forward Mahavira did not cover his body and moved on everywhere in his Digambara state. His absolute detachment did not admit of any of the earthly considerations to which ordinary humans like us are adapt.


Association with Gosala

Mahavira's association with Gosala is of historical significance as Gosala was the acknowledged leader of Ajivika philosophy and had a great following both during and after the life of Mahavira. He started as a pupil and ended as a frustrated rival of Mahavira. We have already referred to him elsewhere in this book and will shortly refer to some incidents, which lead him to a firm belief of his ‘Niyativada', the theory of pre‑desination. He came in contact of Mahavira at Nalanda and was attracted by the latter's immense capacity to perform severe penances. He offered his pupilship repeatedly to Mahavira but the latter did not respond. He, however, voluntarily began to move with Mahavira and introduced himself as his pupil to everyone. Mahavira did not object to it also. It is said that he was very impetuous, rash and indiscreet, and many a times put himself and Mahavira in awkward situations. Once at Nalanda he inquired from Mahavira what type of alms he would get on that day. Mahavira said he would get some rotten food to eat. He  tried his best to get good food by moving from place to place but got what was exactly predicted. At some other time while moving from one place to another he saw some persons in the forest cooking ‘Khira' (sweet made of milk and rice) in an earthen pot. On inquiry Mahavira told him that ‘Khira' would not be available for eating. And it exactly happend like that as the pot in which it was being cooked broke down though many efforts were made to save it. Third incident was when a plant of sesamum was noticed and Gosala inquired from Mahavira whether that plant would survive the next weather. When Mahavira replied in the affirmative, Gosala uprooted it and threw it away aside. Next weather, on their return journey, Gosala saw that the uprooted plant had grown at the place where it was thrown away. All thesse incidents, and especially the last one, confirmed Gosala's belief in Niyati, i.e.,pre‑destination. These incidents lead him to believe that human efforts are of no avail and we cannot change our destiny. Mahavira was a firm believer in the theory of Karma. According to him if persuant to the theory of cause and effect one has to bear the fruits of his karma, one can also have an impact of his present karmans on the fruits of past karmas, the results of which can be mitigated, if not totally obliterated. Moreover, present karmas are in one's own hands and so future which is the fruit of present karmas can surely be moulded by us by proper efforts. Mahavira was, therefore, opposed to Gosala's ideas of Niyati which took away soul's volition to choose its own path of salvation. After the incident of sesamum plant, Gosala parted the company of Mahavira, established his own school of Niyati, declared himself a Tirthankara. He had a large following which lasted till number of years even a after his death. But at present we have not got any literature to reveal the principles of his philosophy except the tendentious references in Jaina and Bauddha scriptures. Mahavira himself considered him as the last authority on Ajivika philosophy by which his Niyativada was known. According to Mahavira, Gosala's soul has attained higher level of life because at the end he repented for his behaviour.

Mahavira's association with Gosala is an unhappy episode in his life. It was an association of long six years when Gosala also had undergone many austerities, trials and tribulations along with Mahavira. Once when Gosala saw an ascetic performing severe penances and putting lices on his body to feed them. Gosala repeatedly mocked and cut jokes at him which infuriated the ascetic who cursed and threw his ‘Tejo‑lesya' (magic fire) at him. This would have reduced Gosala to ashes but for the counter action of Mahavira, who threw his cooling power to extinguish the said fire. This intervention of Mahavira saved the life of Gosala, but the latter himself mastered the power of throwing ‘Tejolesya' on his adversary.

There is no historical record to show what was the root cause of the final quarrel between these two great men. However, the available material shows that many of the prominent followers of Gosala were influenced by Mahavira's philosophy and were deserting the Ajivika faith of Gosala. ‘Sad‑dalaputta' was a very rich and influential disciple of Gosala. He came in contact with Mahavira and was convinced that the theory of determinism does not explain fully the events of the phenomenal world and that man's own efforts do play a great part in the moulding of life events. He was converted to Mahavira's line of thinking. When Gosala knew this, he tried to reconvert ‘Saddalaputta' but in vain. Gosala also tried to convert Ananda, a well known disciple of Mahavira but failed. These incidents show that Gosala was not happy with the increasing popularity of Mahavira's doctrines. As a matter of fact, he was proclaiming himself to be the last of the Tirthankaras. When Mahavira came to know this, he revealed the past life of Gosala and his associations with him, and when Gosala found that he would stand completely exposed, he went to Mahavira and picked up an unprovoked quarrel with the latter. Mahavira knew what was going to happen. He had, therefore, warned his disciple to keep perfect silence even if they felt offended by Gosala. However, two of them could not restrain at the violent behaviour of Gosala and met with death as Gosala threw his ‘Tejolesya' at them. When Gosala noticed that Mahavira was not provoked nor was he found threatened he threw his ‘Tejolesya' at Mahavira with a view to kill him. But the fire power released by him could not kill Mahavira and returned back to him, penetrated his own body and brought Gosala into a state of delirium. He began to drink spirit and danced, and cooled the intense heat generated in his body by applying potters mud all over his body, and eventually died. But before his death, he is said to have repented for his action and proclaimed to his disciples that he was wrong and was not fit to be called a Tirthankara.

This incident took place after Mahavira had attained ‘Kaivalya' (perfect and pure knowledge). This, therefore, explains why he did not release his own cooling power to save his two disciples and himself from the efforts of Gosala's ‘Tejolesya' as he died previously to save Gosala himself from the wrash of an ascetic. A ‘Kevalin', i.e., the soul who has attained ‘Kaivalya' is never overtaken by emotions as he has attained the steadfastness of an objective ‘seer' and ‘observer' (Jnata and Drasta).

Though Mahavira was not killed by Gosala's Tejolesya he was indeed affected in his health for a out six months and was ultimatley cured by some medicine prepared by a devotee. He lived for more than sixteen years after the death of Gosala. Ajivika faith lasted for numbers of years even after the death of Gosala. Jainism is greatly influenced by Ajivika thinking. In fact the theory of determinism has its own place in Nayavada, but it is not taken as the final word in shaping the destiny of every Jiva. It is only a factor which contributes to that destiny.


Candanabala : First Head of Women Disciples

In the eleventh year of his austerities an incident occurred in the life of Mahavira which has become the subject matter of great pathos and poetry in Jaina literature. As already noticed, the incident is connected with the life of Candanabala who was the princess of a king of Campa. After defeat of  King of Campa in a battle, the princess was taken as a slave and finally purchased by a wealthy merchant called Dhanna, who mercifully treated her as his daughter. The merchant's wife, however, suspected the intentions of her husband. So when the merchant had gone to Kausambi, Candanabala was put in fetters, her head was shaved, and was starved for three days, at the end of which she was given roasted black grams to eat. In the meantime Mahavira, who was undergoing very difficult penances, was moving from house to house to accept some alms to eat to break his fasts of more than five months, but was returning back from all houses without accepting anything. People were anxious to offer anything, he wanted to break his fasts but he did not utter a single word and returned back after seeing the situation and the food offerred to him. This attitude of the saint was very perplexing to the citizens of Kausambi because, by that time his reputation as a great ascetic had spread far and wide and it was considered a great honour for one whose offer of food was accepted by him.

Mahavira's method of performing penances was very peculiar. He often used to resolve to take only a particular type of food if offered to him under particular circumstances by a particular person. Others were knowing nothing about such resolves with the result that the conditions under which the offer was to be accepted were not satisfied and his fasts remained unbroken for a number of days. In fact, during the course of 12 years of his penances he is said to have taken food only on 349 days. Idea was that if nature wanted him to remain alive, it was bound to satisfy his resolutions. Now when Mahavira was in Kausambi in the eleventh year of his penances, he had resolved to accept the offer of roasted black grams from an unmarried princess in captivity with the shaven head and locked in fetters and also with tears in her eyes. It was obviously difficult to satisfy all these conditions at a time. For five months and twenty‑five days, the master wandered from one house to the other in Kausambi and silently returned and went without food, his conditions unfulfilled.

Candanabala knew this story of master's wandering and after her own fasts for three days when she got roasted black grams to eat, her first thought was to offer these grams to the master if he was kind enough to accept the same. When she saw the master approaching her on his usual visit to take alms, her joy knew no bounds as she offered the rare Morsels of food which she got after three days. When the master approached her, he found that all the conditions of his resolve, but one, were fulfilled. The one condition which remained unfulfilled was the absence of tears in the eyes of his donor. When he noticed this, he began to retreat without uttering a word. This shocked the enthusiastic devotee whose enthusiasm and joy eveporated. Deeply dejected, she began to cry and tears rolled her check. A back glance at her, convinced the master that all his resolves were fully satisfied. he returned back and accepted the alms of roasted grams from her and broke his famous fast. This Candanabala then renounced the world. She was freed by her master and she was made the first head of the order of Jaina nuns.

This story of untained devotion has inspired the imagination of many poets who have vividly described the masters fortitude and a selfless surrender of a devotee.


Final Act of Nirjara

Twelfth year of the master's penances records an incident which shows that even a great soul like that of Mahavira had to bear the fruits of his Karmas (actions). While depicting the life of Mahavira the Jaina scriptures do not begin with the birth of last as Vardhamana. They begin with several lives which his soul had to live before the last birth. This stands to reason because Jaina philosophers, like all Indian philosophers, do not subscribe to the view that the history of soul's journey begins with the present life only. According to them, present life is but a step in the long journey which extends from one life to the other till one gets salvation.

In one of his lives as a king fond of music, he had ordered one of his attendants to stop the music after he went to sleep. The attendant howeve, liked to hear the music and so did not stop the same as directed. When the king that his order was flouted, he ordered to punish the attendant by pouring boiling lead in his ears. Mahavira's soul had to pay for this cruelty in the twelfth year of his ascetic life when he visited ‘Chammanigama'. There it happened that while he was in meditation, a cowherd inquired from him the where abouts of his bullocks, grazing in the vicinity. He, however, did not get any reply from the meditating Yogi. Anraged by this act Yogi of the cowherd punished the master by inserting pointed nails in his ears. The pain of this punishment was so severe that a doctor, at the town Apapa where the master had gone on a visit, believed from his face to be suffering from some painful disease. Later on the doctor knowing the real cause of the pain, took out the nails when, as the story runs, even Mahavira gave a shriek of pain. By observing voluntarily, very severe penances for a long period of twelve years, Mahavira had practically completed the process of Nirjara (shedding of accummulated karmas). However, the karma of putting boiling lead in the ears of a helpless attendant for a minor breach was of the type, which could not be shed by voluntary penances (known as Sakama Nirjara). Fruits of that karma were bound to be enjoyed and Mahavira's soul was no exception to this rule. The theory of karma as understood by Jaina thinkers classify the Karmas of different categories. One category is of the karmas, the result of which can not be avoided by Sakama Nirjara even by practicing penances. Such results have to be suffered with equanimity, patience and fortitude so that while suffering the same new karmas are not earned.

Mahavira's soul had now become free from the burden of past karmas. He had already ceased to earn fresh karmas as the process of ‘Samvara' was already over when he took to the life of an ascetic at the age of 30 years.

Attainment of Kaivalya

His soul took the final jump in the thirteenth year of his life as an ascetic when he was 42 years of age. It was on the 10th day of the brighter half of the month of Vaisakha during Uttaraphalguni Naksatra when he was in deep meditation on the bank of river Rjubalika outside the town of Jrmbhika (believed to be near Pavapuri in Bihar). He now attained complete enlightenment and became an ‘Arhat', a Kevalin who can objectivley comprehend all objects and events of the universe, one who is himself pure knowledge, having no desire, one who is all compassion for everything, and one who holds his body, mind and name only to serve the universe selflessly by teaching the path of salvation to others.

From this point onwards, he preached his gospel of Ahimsa for thirty years by moving on foot from East to West of India,  by organizing the Sangha and sending his missonaries to various places.

His style of preaching was unique. He never insisted that his disciples and those who came to him to seek solace to behave only in a particular manner. After giving his own explanation he used to say "Oh dear one of Gods (Devanupriya) now act according to your pleasure (Jahasukham)."

He was outspoken, but did not utter anything unless it was absolutely necessary. So long as he was alive he saw to it that a strict discipline was maintained in his order of monks and nuns. Meghakumara was one of the sons of king Bimbisara (Srenika). He entered the order of Monks taking Samnyasa from Mahavira. Being the junior most in the order of monks he had to sleep at a place, very uncomfortable and all passersby were occasionally stumbling against him. Being a prince reared up in royal comforts, he felt humiliated and made a grievance. But the master, who was a strict disciplinarian, admonished him and made him conscious of his duties.


First Ganadharas

The first religious conference called ‘Samavasarana' at which the master gave his first sermon was held on the bank of river Ujjuvaliya (Rjubalika). This discourse remained unfruitful in the sense that nobody came forth to take Samnyasa. However, the second discourse at Pava was most succesful. As we shall notice hereafter Indrabhuti Gautam had a debate with the master on the existence of ‘self'. As he was satistied he became the firest disciple of note. His hundred of pupils also became Mahavira's  disciples. Story of Indrabhuti's conversion went round with the result that ten other Brahmins learned in Vedas came to the master and had discourses with him on various subjects, now forming core of Jainism. They all became his disciples. These eleven are called Ganadharas as they were appointed as the first heads of different groups of monks. Mahavira survived all of then except the first Ganadhara Indrabhuti Gautam and the fifth one Sudharma. It is significant that all these first principal disciples were Brahmins of great repute and learning which shows that the silent ideological revolution had already started in the intelligentsia of the time.



Muttanam‑moyaganam means ‘One who becomes free and makes others free' ‑‑ such is the description of the souls like the great Mahavira. After thirty long years of wanderings for the spread of the gospel of non‑violence and peace, the master spent his last ‘Caturmasa' (four months of say for rainy season) at Pavapuri. It is in this way that his initial second discourse was fruitful and he started his march of victory. Three months of his four monthly stay were over and the end of the dark half of the month of kartika was coming near. The master saw that it was the time for his soul to leave the last of its earthly connections. At that time (according to kalpasutra) eighteen confederate kings of Kasa and Kosala, nine Licchavis, and nine Mallas and many others had gathered for his Darsana. Before his (Nirvana) the master gave his last discourse showing how sinful life ends in a series of painful events, and how the life devoted to virtues like non‑violence and truth ends in peace, tranquility and happiness. Ganadhara Sudharma who survived the master has recorded this discourse in the scripture called ‘Uttaradhyayana‑sutra'.

The master was conscious of the attachment which Indra‑bhuti Gautam, his principle disciple, had for him. He wanted Gautam to shed away this attachment, an obstacle to his attainment of Kaivalya. He therefore, sent Gautam away on a mission so that he may not witness his end.

After finishing his last discourse the master went into final meditation called ‘Sukla Dhyana' and gave up his mortal frame after midnight of the last day of the dark half of the month of kartika. The assemblage of kings and others, gathered there declared: "Since the light of intelligence is gone, let there be an illumination of the material matter." Thence for wards it became the day of illumination‑the day called Dipavali‑to commemorate the illumination of knowledge made in the psyche of contemporary Indian society. The grateful nation still commemorates this day as the day of illumination, the Dipavali day when every hut and palace in every corner of India is illuminated with lights. It is this light of non‑violence and truth which inspired, the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi who carried the torch of illumination ever to the murky field of politics.




"It is only when we transcend the limits of ordinary biological man that we can come in contact with pure personality which Upanisadas call Atman or the self. This pure self is one in all and is identical with the highest reality of the Universe. It is pure spirituality and pure experience (Jnana) and as such, the absolute concrete Truth. Self is the ultimate reality and experiences are extraneous to it."

Jainism sees the whole universe as a great cosmic mechanism ‘with its own self propelling force', and we being a part of that mechanism, our ‘religion' consists of conducting ourselves in harmony with that mechanism is and how it works.

This brings to us many questions of metaphysical importance, viz., who created this universe and who sustains it ? Are our destinies governed by some outside force or is there any other set of rules which govern our fate ?

The man, in his pursuit to seek answers to these questions seems to have evolved the concept of God. Some believe that ‘God' has created this universe and sustains it. It is further believed that the man is punished for his sins‑the original of which commenced with Adam and, Eve tasting the forbidden fruit. They do not believe in the theory of trans‑migration of soul but contend that a day of reckoning will come when everyone will be alive from his grave to receive God's judgement for his good and bad deeds in this life. This is the occidental idea of an everlasting individual personality as conceived by Greeks and passed on to Christianity. the redemption of every individual according to the view lies in offering sincere repentance and prayers to be relieved of sins.

Some philosophers are more sophisticated in their explanation about the existence of the Divine. There are two principal schools of thought ‑‑One is ontological and the other is cosmological. As will be seen hereafter, both these schools come to the conclusion that the scheme of the universe is finally sustained and controlled by some outside divine force, the ultimate cause and hence the ultimate truth.

The Jaina approach is totally different. It has no place for God as the creator or sustainer of this universe. In Jainism there is no outside force, regulating prizes and punishment. A soul, liberated completely from the bondage of karmas, is all‑knowing, all‑powerful, omniscient and possesses all the attributes of what we understand by the expression ‘God'. Pleasure and pains of life are the result of ones own actions called ‘Karmas’ and as result of these Karmas every soul takes rebirth and proceeds further in its journey towards liberation. In Jainism, as in other Indian religious systems, individual personality has always been regarded as a transitory mask as the whole Jaina philosophy is based on the existence of the duality of Jiva and Ajiva, Spirit and Matter. The spirit survives even after the matter appears to decay and dies. This leads Jainas to the theory of re‑incarnation and rebirth in accordance with he Karmas (actions) of the past births. Even your good actions bind you if they are done with a motive to gain rewards. Law of Karma is inexonerable but one can destroy his Karmas to be free from their bondage by one's own efforts. There is no outside element, to drag you out of this bondage. The great seers and prophets can guide you and point out to you the path of redemption but ultimatley it is for you to find out the path suitable to you and to start walking on that path by conviction, courage and fortitude.

This approach of Jainism has earned for itself a comment that is atheistic.

Is Jainism atheistic ? Before answering this question, it would be necessary to know what is ‘atheistic'. If theism consists only in the belief in a personal or impersonal God as creator and sustainer of this universe, then certainly Jainism is atheistic as it does not believe that this universe is created and shaped by some personal or impersonal entity called God. Nor do the Jainas believe that rendition of justice for the good or bad deeds of human beings is at the mercy of some capricious will or whim of the Divine.

Approach of Jaina philosophers to this question is purely rational. While they flatly reject the notion of a supremely authoritative God, it does not reject God‑head itself. It studies the component elements of the whole Universe, scrutinises the true nature and character of each, analyses their effect on the evolution of life, tries to find out the ultimate goal of the progression, and by a very subtle and logical process of metaphysics, shows the way to achieve God‑hood. It has innate faith in the capacity of the spirit, the creative force called ‘Atman' to achieve God‑hood and makes no distinction between the potentially of the creative force inherent in a blade of grass and the one inherent in humanly frame of Mahavira, the last and the most distinguished Tirthankara (Prophet) of our times, to achieve the final God hood. It emphasises that the achievement of God‑hood does not depend upon the favours of any agency outside your own self, and each soul (Atman) can achieve the same by his own understanding and efforts. What is required is the will to exert.

‘Encyclopadia of Religion and Ethics' makes distinction between naive atheism and philosophical atheism. If this distinction is accepted, one can say that Jainism believes in philosophical atheism. This is obviously different from gross materialism. The difference consists in the Jaina conviction, and outcome of a serious philosophical speculation, and not a naive refusal to believe what cannot be visualized. Heinrich Zimmer rightly observes that Jainism is not atheistic but is trans‑theistic.

Indian tradition uses the word ‘Nastika', i.e., non‑believer or atheistic three senses, viz. (1) Disbelief in the theory of karman and the life beyond, (2) Disbelief in God and (3) Disbelief in the ultimate authority of Vedas. It is the second and third sense in which some Hindu thinkers have labelled Jainism as atheistic. Strictly speaking, it would be only in the third sense that Jainas may be called atheistic because Jainas do not believe in the finality of Vedas. Mahavira’s dialogue with his first disciples called ‘Ganadharas' shows that the teacher has not totally disclaimed the Vedas, but has tried to explain some of their aspects by putting his own interpretation. So far as the second sense is concerned, it is the Carvaka school which would fall within its category because the carvakas do not believe either in the theory of karma or rebirth. There is the total denial of all that cannot be apprehended by senses.

It is pertinent to note that in the Indian system of philosophical thoughts, Jaina thinkers were not the only ones who denied the existence of a supreme God. Nyaya and Vaisesika systems were originally atheistic and became theistic only after their fusion. Sankhya also denied the existence of God and hence it is referred to as ‘Nirisvara', i.e., Godless. Thus the rejection of the idea of a supreme authority outside ones own‑self as shaping the destiny of the whole universe is rejected by some of the most important schools of philosophers in the process of evolution of Indian metaphysics.

Then the question which naturally arises is how do the Jainas explain the origin and governance of Universe ? What is the ‘Raison detre' of this existence ? Jaina system maintains that the universe is without beginning or an end. It broadly classifies the universe into two categories, viz. (1) Jiva (soul) and (2) Ajiva (non‑soul). Jiva is the creative spirit, the motivating force, the consciousness which pervades even in the things which are apparently immobile and inanimate. Ajiva is the matter non‑sentient, non‑motivating and non‑conscious.  This elements of Ajiva is the world which is in existence outside the ‘I' element. Every living being has the consciousness of ‘I'. This ‘I' exists inspite of the fundamental changes in the shape and character of its body. This body undergoes many changes from birth to childhood, then to youth and to old age and finally to death but ‘I' consciousness remains the same. That consciousness is that of ‘Jiva'. The rest is ‘Ajiva'. If we analyse all the objects of this universe, we shall come across these two broad classifications of ‘Jiva' and ‘Ajiva'.

According to Jaina philosophers both these elements of the universe are eternal and ever existent. They are not created by any one and they operate by their own force, action and interaction. This interaction between these two every existing and eternal elements of universe supplies motivating force, consciousness and push of Jiva to Ajiva. The result is the large and amazing varieties and activities of objects in the universe.

Obviously, this line of reasoning rules out the necessity of a creator or a sustainer of the universe, because according to in the universe is an imcomprehensible automation and the work of a philosopher is only to find out and understand the secrets of this automation. Religion, according to Jainism does not consist of any ritual but is only an attempt to adjust yourself properly in the mechanism of this automation. As S.Radhakrishnan puts it, "the Jaina view is that the whole universe of being, of mental and material factors has existed from all eternity, undergoing an infinite number of revolutions produced by the powers of nature without the intervention of any external deity."

The concept of the absolute matter, creater and sustainer of the Universe is born out of human experience that everything tangible and intangible is the result of causation and creativity and therefore there must be some ultimate cause or a creator from whom everything else has resulted. This line of reasoning has led the human mind to various type of philosophical speculations and approaches. It may not be illogical or irrational to think that there must be some coordinating force which is transcending the material world and  human understanding. But Belief in this transcendental co‑ordinating energy has led mataphysics to the discovery of an all powerful and all embracing Divine soul. All the objects of universe are subject to its ordinance and will. It is ultimate and real cause of all things tangible and intangible experienced in life. Thinkers have adopted two well‑known approaches ontological and cosmological. Ontology is metaphysics concerned with essence of things or being in the abstract. Cosmological approach accepts the law of causality or the principal of ‘Sufficient reason'. To ontological approach God is real as there is some force beyond our minds and ideas. He is "That than which nothing greater can be conceived" (St.Anselm). The starting point for cosmological approach is not God but are wordly objects, it states that every existing thing or feature, we encounter in the universe must have a cause or reason. There must be something else which has brought it into existence. This ‘something else' is itself an effect or result of some prior cause. If, say the cosmologists, you go on tracing this link of effect and its cause, you must ultimately conclude that there is one final reality, the root cause of all effects, and it has sufficient reason within itself. This approach historically goes back to Aristotle's argument that there must be an ‘unmoved cause' of motion.

Jaina thinkers hold both these views to be true only partially. To Jainas, the conclusions drawn by these two views leave much to be desired from logical point of view. Having once accepted the existence of some force beyond our mind and ideas, it is of no use to claim further that this force can be realised through the cultivation and development of spiritual potentiality inherent in ourself.

‘Thou art that' (Tattavamasi) is as much the call of the Jainas as that of the Upanisadas. Western ontologists have failed to recognise this. With regard to cosmological approach, the Jainas fully adhere the theory of causation, being most vocal advocates of the theory of Karman. They would, however, disagree with the cosmologists that root cause of all effects is external to our own self. Jainism maintains you are your own cause and your own effect and it is by your own effort and exertion that you can reap results, good or bad. If there is an ultimate cause, it is within you and not outside you. You are, therefore, your own master, your own God. You are not survile or subservient to any outside agency. Finality is your own potential. As Brhadaranyaka Upanisad puts it :

"Whoever worships God as other than the self, thinking. He is one and I am another, knows not." Bhagavadgita also recognises this truth wherein Lord says ‑‑ "Isvarah sarva bhutanam hrddeserjuna tisthati." Oh Arjuna, God dwells in the heart of every being. Aristotle utterred a great truth, ‘To be happy means to be self sufficient'. Salvation, according to Jain seers, is not a gift of capricious gods, but is to be won by earnest seeking and self discipline. Man, according to them is the sole and absolute master of his fate; but so long as his vision is clouded by ignorance, resulting in attachments, envy and arrogance, he is not able to see the path of freedom. If he is found fettered by chains, these chains are of his own forging, and by proper efforts, only he can rend them asunder.

The  Indian philosophical system of ‘Nyaya' is very much akin to the thinking of Western ontological philosophers on this point. Jaina reply to Nyaya philosophers is tha if God, as an outside and over powering force, is taken as the creator and sustainer of the universe on the analogy of the effects having intelligent human causes, then even God, like human beings must be presumed to be imperfect having all human desires of creation, fun and frolic. Moreover, many questions such as the creator of God and reason for the creation of universe by God and why God should take trouble of dispensing justice, etc, remained unanswered.

Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist of our age rightly observes with reference to the idea of existence of an omnipotent, just and omnibeneficient personal God as under :

"... ... if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty being ? In giving out punishment and rewards. He would to a certain extent be passing judgement on Himself. How can this be continued with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him ?"

Jainas have, attempted to examine the root of the whole universal existence and have concluded that each individual soul is responsible for his own fate and that everything in the universe is eternal. Science also tells us that the matter is indestructible. It may change form but essence remains the same. That is exactly what Jainas say‑‑‑

Soul, according to Jainas, is clouded by karmic action of matter on account of its association with the matter from time immemorial. But by proper efforts it can become free from the bondage of karma and achieve its prestine purity by becoming itself all knowing and all powerful, sans aspirations and sans desire. It is then all bliss, peace and joy (Sat Cit Ananda). It is its own creation and it is the ultimate Reality.




Categories of Jiva , Quality of ‘Self', Avataravada ruled out , Proof of Existence .

"Access to truth demands the passage beyond the compass of ordered thought, and by the same token, the teaching of transcendent Truth can not be by logic, for what ‘transcendent' means is the transcending (among other things) of the bounding and basic logical laws of human mind." H. Zimmer.

Truely, the ultimate reality, the final Truth is always beyond the reach of logic and reasoning. Reason and logic are the products of mind and the human mind, however advanced it may be, has its own limitations‑‑Yard‑stick which is limited, cannot measure up the unlimited. This has been repeatedly emphasised by Indian thinkers and it is only for that reason that they have always emphasised that to have the taste of the transcendental Truth ‘Life' and not the ‘logic' is the means of achievement. The great masters of the history of Indian philosophical thought, though have widely divergent views in their formulations of the essence of the ultimate Truth, but none‑the‑less, they are unanimous in proclaiming that the ultimate Truth is beyond description (Nama) and beyond any form (Rupa). That is why, theyn preferred a negative course of describing it as ‘Not this, Not this' (Neti‑Neti).

Therefore, our attempt to show the existence of the self, the Atman, by a metaphysical process, is bound to remain imperfect. This metaphysical process would, however, serve its purpose if it is able to kindle a desire to know further, to think further and then to perceive further. Comprehension, rather than conclusion, should be our aim.

The Atman, known in Jaina terminology as ‘Jiva', is the corner‑stone of Jaina philosophy. If self is excluded from the philosophical structure erected by the Jainas, the whole edifice of that structure will collapse. It is, therefore, essential to consider first what is this ‘Self' and by what process of reasoning we can comprehend its existence.

The Jainas broadly divide the whole universe, including all its animate objects, into two categories, viz. Jiva and Ajiva, i.e. Soul and matter. This Soul or ‘spirit' is variously known as Soul, ‘Atman', ‘Purusa' or ‘Jiva'. The connotation of the word is the same, namely the element (Dravya) known as ‘Jiva' in its pure form, is all consciousners and knowledge, sentient and possessing limitless motivating force. This force is apparent in all living beings including the plant life, but it is dormant even in inanimate thing such as earth, water, air and fire.

All the elements, not covered by this category of ‘Jiva', are ‘Ajiva'. For the present, we shall neither discus the sub‑categories of Jiva and Ajiva; nor the qualities and attributes of Ajiva, rather we shall concentrate on the metaphysics of Jiva.

Physical science has by now disclosed that every matter in this universe is composed of atoms. Democritus, an early Greek philosopher (460 to 370 B. C.) was a brilliant mechanic and inventor and also had profound knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. He taught that world consisted of innumerable and infinitesimal atoms. He used the term atom or ‘atoms' (the Greek word meaning indivisible) and held that these atoms moved in the universe in a whirlwind fashion and formed composite substances like fire, water, air and earth.

Several centuries before Democritus, Indian philosophers and especially the Jain and the Sankhya philosophers, not only came to the same conclusion but went further by stating that all things of the universe including the atoms can be divided into two categories, namely, spirit and matter. Physics now tells us that all objects are made up of atoms and, if each of these atoms is split, it will be found composed of electrons, protons and neutrons, which can supply such a forceful energy that all‑destructive and forceful bombs can be constructed therefrom. It is this energy, this power which is identified by Jainas as real spirit. Hindus identify it as ‘Sakti'. This spirit, this motivating force, is known in Jaina terminilogy as ‘Jiva'. Terminologies may differ but the essence is the same. In terms of Psychology this motivating force is pure consciousness, pure knowledge (Kevala Jnana) unhindered and unobstructed  by any ‘kasaya', i.e., passions such as pride, prejudices, predictions, anger, avarice and malice. It is true to emphasise that it is this energy, this spirit, this motivating force, which enables humans to perform all their small and big adventures in life and animal as well as plant life to grow into this bewildering multiplicity of existence. Even otherwise, various mental experiences of man point to something which is experiential, some constant entity which gives meaning and significance for changing modes. This is the soul or the self. From whence this energy came ? Jaina answer is that it is eternal and is also indestructible. It has no beginning and will have no end. Moksa‑‑Salvation, according to Indian thinking in general and that of Jaina in particular is not an end of the spirit. It is the state of total liberation from the bondage of matter ‑‑ Ajiva. Science also believes that matter is indestructible. It may change forms, but the essence, the substratum, is not destroyed. This change of form or circumstances is known in Jainism as ‘Paryaya'. The principle is illustrated  by taking the case of an earthen pot. Earth can be shaped in form of a pot or of any other vessel, just as gold can be shaped in any ornamental form. However, whatever, be tha form or shape, the substratum, namely the earth and the gold, remains the same. Similarly Jiva may assume the form of a plant or an animal or a human being, it remains the Jiva of equal potentiality, though at a different stage of development. Thus, the Jaina philosophers do admit that the Jivas is born, it ‘appears' that he is born for the first time. Similarly when one dies it ‘appears' that the Jiva has come to an end. Both these attributes of birth and death are known as Utpada and Vyaya. But so far as the soul is concerned they are mere appearances, mere modifications known as Paryaya because the real characteristics of soul are beginninglessness, that is, Anadi and endlessness, that is, Ananta. Its permanence ‑ Dhravya is experienced even when it undergoes modifications ‑ Paryayas. For instance, every human being undergoes the states of childhood, youth and old age involving serious modifications of body, mind and intellect. However, it is the experience of everyone that pure ego ‘I' remains the same. It was this ‘I' which was made the subject‑matter of inquisition by the greatest saint of our modern times Sri Raman Maharsi, who admonished us to go on constantly asking ourselves the question ‑‑ ‘Who am I'. This ‘I' is the Soul, the Spirit,  the Jiva.

Such souls are infinite in number and retain their individuality. Each one has to chalk out its own path of liberation and utilise its inherent potentiality to be fully liberated.

The above approach is obviously different from the one adopted by Advaita Vedantists led by the great Sankara, according to whom there is only one Supreme Reality, the Brahman and the entire visible cosmos is Maya, i.e. an illusion, super‑imposed on unilluminated human mind by Avidya, i.e., ignorance. In other words, Sankara does not recognise the duality of Jiva and Ajiva, and according  to him, whatever is Ajiva, the matter is unreal. To a Jaina Philosopher Ajiva is as much real as Jiva. Jiva (the soul) has come into contact with Ajiva from time immemorial, and it is only the reality of Ajiva that results in soul's journey from one birth to the other and its struggle for the ultimate freedom from the bondage of Ajiva.


Categories of Jiva

Consistent with the above approach, the Jainas have seen two man categories of Jiva, namely (1) ‘Siddhas', liberated soul and (2) ‘Samsarins', worldly, not liberated. The latter are further classified as ‘Tras' (mobile), ‘Sthavara' (immobile) and ‘Nigoda', i.e., dormant and lost souls with a common body and respiration, representing the lowest stage of existence. ‘Tras' (mobile) are at a higher level and are classified in accordance with the sense‑organs posessed by them, viz.

(1) Those with two senses of touch and taste.

(2) Those having three senses of touch, taste and sight.

(3) Those having four senses of touch, taste, sight and smell.

(4) Those having five senses of touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing. The ‘Sthavara' (Immobile) have only tactual sensation. They are in the bodies of earth, water, fire, air and vegatables. Jaina seers have gone much deeper into this question and have given detailed enumeration of the number of Jivas in different categories of immobile life.

Such a minute and detailed study of living beings has a great significance as it reveals not only a metaphysical insight but also a highly ethical object of putting emphasis on the inherent potentiality of every type of life to achieve the highest. It thereby shows that every type of life is entitled to protection. One cannot do better than quoting Prof.Zimmer who has lauded this aspect in the following words :

"The systematization of the forms of life in Jainism is anything but primitive. It is quaint and archaic indeed, yet pedantic and extremely subtle and represents a fundamentally scientific conception of the world. In fact one is owed by the glimpse that it gives of the long history of human thought‑‑ a view much longer and more imposing than one that is cherished by our western humanists and academic historians with their little story about Greeks and Renaissance.

Twenty‑fourth Tirthankara Mahavira was roughly a contemporary of Thales and Anaxagoras, the earliest of the standard line of Greek philosophers, and yet the subtle, complex‑thorough‑going analysis and the classification of the features of nature which Mahavira's teaching took for granted and upon which it played, was already centuries (perhaps even millenium) old (Prof. Zimmer is of the view that the Sramana School, to which Mahavira belonged, existed in India much prior to the advent of Aryans). It was a systematization that had long done away with the hosts of powerful gods and the wizard‑magic of the still earlier priestly tradition ‑ which itself had been as far above the really primitive level of human culture as are the arts of agriculture, herding and dairying above those of hunting and fishing, roof and berry gathering. " The world was already old, very wise, and very learned, when the speculations of the Greeks produced the texts that are studied in our universities as the first chapte of philosophy."

Speaking of the all‑comprehensive universally of the idea of a cosmic man in Jainism, Prof. Zimmer says : "In Jainism, the whole Universe, including its infra-human stratifications, is comprised in the Divine anthropomorphic organism‑beasts and plants, devoid of man's higher faculties of love, wisdom and spirituality, and also inorganic matter and the mute elements. This accords with the universal scope of India, doctrines of perfection, transformation and redemption. Not only human beings but all existences are included. Though steeped in darkness, the beasts and even atoms are looking for salvation, for they are the members of all‑comprehending brother‑hood of life‑monads. Their destiny is to ascend, at last, beyond the bondages of Karmas."


Quality of Self

According to the Jaina seers the essential quality of Jiva (Soul) is pure consciousness ‑ consciousness which does not die even in deep sleep in which the soul does not participate in any of the worldly affairs and remains unaffected by all the pleasures and pains of the world going around him. What is it which remembers the pleasant and unpleasant experiences undergone during sleep ? It is the self, the soul, the ‘I' consciousness. This ‘I' consciousness remains steady throughout life. ‘I', the knower, is pure ago distinguished from empirical ego, being clouded by Karmic forces, begins to think that worldly actions are done by ‘me'. According to William James, the American Psychologist, the empirical self consists of "entire collection of consciousness, the psychic faculties and dispositions taken concretely." Distinguishing pure self from the empirical one, he says, "It is the thinker which thinks. This is permanent, what the philosophers call soul or the transcendental ego." Thus, when it is said that the soul is pure consciousness, what is revealed is the untainted principal characteristic of soul which, in Jaina terminology, is known as ‘Niscaya Naya'. However, when it is said that the soul is enjoying its Karmas, and therefore, subjected to mundane existence, what is revealed is its empirical character known as ‘Vyavahara Naya' in Jaina terminology. ‘Naya' means view‑point, ‘Niscaya' means ideological and ‘Vyavahara' means practice. In Jainism the qualities of the self, are expressed in terms of ‘Niscaya'.

Acarya Kunda‑kunda, a leading Jaina saint and scholar, has described the qualities of soul in his famous work ‘Samaya‑sara' ‑"The soul is the Lord (Prabhu), the ‘doer' (Kartta), the Enjoyer (Bhokta) and limited to ‘a body' (Dehamatra) still incorporeal, and ordinarily with Karma. As the potter considers "himself the maker and enjoyer of the clay‑pot, so from the practical point of view (Vyavahara‑naya) the mundane soul is said to be the doer of things and enjoyer of sense‑objects."

Umasvati, another great saint‑scholar, in his well known work ‘Tattvartha‑sutra' says that, "consciousness manifests fully in perfect comprehension and apprehension (Jnana and Darsana) but the potentiality of every Jiva is not confined to these alone, because it extends also to perfect bliss and infinite power."

Thus the state of pure consciousness in which the soul remains totally untouched and unaffected by the events of the universe is the state of final liberation called ‘Moksa'. Such a soul is known as ‘Siddha'. He is unaffected by good or bad events because he is all knowing. His knowledge comprehends all possible events and happenings ‑past, present and future. In our little human experience we find that we are not gravely affected emotionally or otherwise, by any event or circumstance, if we already know that the said event is going to take place. Moreover, we also experience that the events for which we have no attachment or desire, do not affects us. The soul having attained the state of ‘Siddhahood', becomes ‘all‑knowing' and ‘desireless' and would, therefore, obviously remain unaffected by good or bad happenings of the universe. Thus, the pure consciousness of a liberated soul must be the consciousness of a ‘Knower' (Jnata) and a ‘Seer' (Drasta).


Avataravada Ruled our

"Dagdhe bije yatha'tyantam, pradurbhavati nankurah. ‘Karmabije tatha dagdhe na rohati bhavankurah", meaning "Just as a burnt seed cannot sprout, the soul whose seeds of Karmas are totally burnt, cannot reborn again."

Such a soul, bereft of desire, would not think of again taking birth on earth to relieve its pains as thought by some Hindu thinkers. The theory of ‘Avatara', that is, the descent of the Divine on earth in human form has no place in Jainism. To the Jaina, their Tirthankaras (Path‑makers, known otherwise as Prophets) including Mahavira, were not Avataras or Divine. They were, indeed great souls having successfully liberated themselves by their own efforts. They have shared their knowledge with the humanity out of sheer love for it. After attainment of the salvation, they have no emotional attachment to the world, the real cause of the ‘Rebirth'. As Chandogya Upanisad puts it : ‘Na sa punaravartate, Na sapunaravartate' that ‘He does not return back, he does not return back'. A grain, that has already sprouted does not sprout again. Perfect non‑activity, in thought, speech and deed, is possible only when one has become ‘dead' to every concern of life; dead to pleasure and pains, dead to the power and pelf, dead to all so‑called intellectual pursuits including social and political reforms. Lao‑tse, the great Chinese saint and philosopher, asked us to remain ‘dead' to all events of life, to adopt an attitude of objective observance and to allow the nature to take its own course, for, according to him, even those trying to meddle with social and political affairs with perfectly altruistic motives of correcting the world, are unnecessarily pocking their nose in the unfolding of the universal course. Thus the real ‘Siddha' is one who has literally died to time. Such a ‘Siddha' has no reason to take ‘Avatara' to ameliorate the worldly woes.


Proof of Existence

If these are the attributes and characteristic of a soul, it is indeed very pertinent to ask what are the proofs of its existence. Bhagavati‑sutra refers to Mahavira as prescribing four means of true knowledge, namely‑ ‘Pratyaka' (Direct perception), ‘Anumana' (Inference), ‘Upamana' (Analogy) and ‘Agama' (Scriptures). All these four means are utilised, hereafter in proof of soul's existence.

According to the modern science, every atom of every object possesses electrons, protons and neutrons, which constitute the source of energy. We have seen that this energy is the spirit because it is the motivating force. In a living object this very energy constitutes its ‘Soul'. Thus no further proof about soul's existence is needed. But this discovery of science was not available to early seers like Mahavira, who therefore came to the conclusion about soul's existence by a process of metapysical reasoning.

Acarya Jinabhadra, a very learned and respected scholar saint, flourished in 5th century A.D. has written the classic named Visesavasyaka‑bhasya. It contains the dialogue, between Lord Mahavira and eleven leading Vedic Scholars on different aspects of self and other philosophical theories, which are basic to Jainism. Indrabhuti Gautam, who subsequently become the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira, was a great Vedic Scholar, seeing many persons flocking to listen the first sermon of the Lord, he went to see him along with his own disciples. There the Lord himself disclosed to Indrabhuti, the nature of philosophical doubts regarding the existence ot otherwise of ‘soul' which afficted him. ‘Oh, Indrabhti' ! Mahavira said, "I know that you have doubts about the existence of Jiva (soul). You believe that the existence of Jiva (soul) cannot be proved by any method, as it cannot be directly perceived by any sense‑organs. You further argue within yourself that even atoms cannot be seen by naked eyes, but they could be perceived as collectivities. But this cannot be said about the soul. You contend that if one wants to prove the existence of the soul by the process of inference, even that cannot solve the problem because every inference is based on some tangible experience. You say that even scriptural authority is of no use as even they are not uniform in accepting the existence of soul, and even otherwise, scriptural knowledge is nothing but inferential knowledge. According to you even the process of analogy is useless because there is no tangible thing, analogous to soul. Thus it is not possible to prove soul's existence through any of the means of Valid knowledge. So the only conclusion is that the soul does not exist."

Having thus formulated the opposite point of view, the Lord proceeded to resolve the doubts as under :

"Oh Gautam, your doubts about the soul's existence are out of place, and your contention that soul cannot be perceived by senses is also not correct because it can be perceived very directly."

"Sir, how that is so ?" asked Gautam.

"Gautam, just consider what is ‘Soul'. It is nothing but pure consciousness or knowledge ‘Vijnanarupa'. If this consciousness exists, soul exists. This consciousness exists in you because, otherwise, there can not be any doubt in your mind about the existence of souls.  Hence the very fact of the existence of doubt is the proof of consciousness. Unconscious has no doubts. Thus, there is direct proof of consciousness and hence of soul. If it can thus be directly perceived, it does not require any further proof."

Gautam however, required further proof. He therefore asked : "May be that the  ‘Soul' can be directly perceived as you say, but still further proof is required, because there are some philosophers known as Sunyvadi, not recognising the real existence of even the things which could be perceived by senses and insist upon their proof by other logical methods."

Lord Mahavira said : "We often say ‘I did' or ‘I am doing'  or ‘I shall do'. In all these statements of past, present and future, the subjects is ‘I' even though the action was over, or is being done in the present or is yet to be done in future. This suggests the continuity of ‘I' consciousness throughout past, present and future. The ‘ego consciousness' (Ahamrupa Jnana), thus expressed by reference to a constant ‘I' is a further proof of the existence of soul because that ‘I' is the ‘soul' or the ‘self', is not destroyed by the past, exists in the present and projects existence in future also. This ego consciousness is not the subject matter of any inference, nor does it require any scriptural authority. Even those, ignorant of scriptures, experience this ego cosnsciousness. So this is direct perception and hence direct proof of soul's existence."

"Moreover, Oh Gautam ! there cannot be any ‘knowledge' of the object having no existence at all. So if the ‘soul' does not exist, who has the consciousness or knowledge of ‘I', when one says ‘I did', etc. If you say ‘I doubt' who is it who is it who doubts ? Every doubt presupposes a doubter. That doubter, that ‘I', is your ownself, your soul. ‘Ego consciousness' has soul as its object because the question is whose ‘consciousness' ? Answer is consciousness of ‘I' which is the object of this consciousness."

Gautam : "Sir, this ‘ego consciousness' would not be rendered objectless if instead of believing that ‘soul' or ‘self' is its object, we take our body as its object. When I say ‘I am black' or ‘I am thin;, the ego consciousness ‘I' is used with reference to our body. So, what is objectionable if we take ‘I' as referring to our body and not to our ‘self'."

Mahavira : "If efo consciousnes expressed by the use of ‘I' has a reference to our body as its object, then even our dead body could be having that ego consciousness and could be referred to as ‘I'. But that is not so. It follows, therefore, that the object of ego consciousness is not the body.It cannot be said that the ‘doubter' of your body.

Moreover, consider what is a ‘doubt'. Every ‘doubt' is an attribute (Guna) of some object which is its substratum. Every substratum is known by its attributes because attributes and their substratum are mutually reciprocal so that the existence of one can be known by the existence of the other. Therefore, even though the substratum cannot be perceived by our senses its existence can be mentally perceived through our knowledge of its attriubutes. A doubt can never be an attribute of your body because doubt is alwasy an attribute of consciousness and the body has no consciousness of its own."

"Further, just consider who possesses the power of memory, who remembers the past and the present and who has a comprehension about future. This attribute of memory is not the attribute of body. It is the attribute of ‘I' consciousness. So when you are doubting the very existence of ‘I' you are doubting your ownself, because, the moment you doubt your ownself, you do not exist. But you do exist because you are doubting. So, the doubter of your doubts is your ‘self', your ‘soul'. Soul exists because ‘I' exists and ‘I' exists because ‘doubt' exists."

"Again, it is many a times seen that the attributes such as memory, perception, sensation, etc., are absent even when body is present and in a living condition. This proves that these attributes are not of body.'

"It is found that body gets consciousness only in association with soul and without soul, it is dead as wood. Hence consciousness is ‘soul'."

The dialogue which proceeded further left Indrabhuti Gautam fully convinced about the existence of soul and he became the principal disciple of Mahavira.

Chandogya Upanisad contains another famous dialogue on the subject between father Aruni and his son Svetaketu. ‘Aruni' a Brahmin Rsi, learned in Vedas, sent his son Svetaketu at the age of twelve years to learn Vedas. The son returned back to father after the completion of his course at the age of 24 years, conceited and thinking himself very learned. So the learned father inquired of the son ‑‑

"Svetaketu, my dear, since now you think yourself very learned and proud, did you also ask for that teaching whereby what has not been heard of, becomes thought of, what has not been understood, becomes understood ?"

‘How pray Sir, is that teaching' ? asked the son.

‘Just as my dear', the father explained, "by one piece of clay everything made of clay may be known (the modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name, the reality is just ‘clay'). Just as, my dear, by one copper ornament everything made of copper may be known (modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name, the reality is just ‘copper'). Just as, my dear, by one nail‑scissors, everything made of iron may be known (the modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name; the reality is just ‘iron'). So, my dear, is that teaching."

‘Verily', said the son, "those honoured men did not know this, for, if they had known it, why would they have not told me ? But do you, Sir, tell me."

‘So be it, my dear, ‑‑bring hither a fig from there'.

‘Here it is, Sir'.

‘Divide it'.

‘It is divided, Sir'.

‘What do you see there'?

‘These rather fine seeds, Sir' ?

‘Of these, please divide one'.

‘It is divided, Sir'.

‘What do you see there' ?

‘Nothing at all, Sir'.

Then he (father) said to him (son) : "Verily, my dear, that finest essence which you do not perceive ‑ verily, my dear; from that finest essence, this great fig tree arises. Believe me, my dear, that which is the finest essence ‑ this whole world has that as its self. That is Reality. That is Atman. That art thou (Tattvamasi) Svetaketu."

‘Do you, Sir, cause me to understand even more'.

‘So be it, my dear', said he, "Place this salt in water. In the morning come to me." Then he did so. Then he said unto him : "that salt you placed in the water last everning, please bring it hither." Then he grasped, but did not find it, as it was completely dissolved.

‘Please, take a sip from this end', said he, ‘How is it' ?

‘Salt', said the son.

‘Take a sip from that end', said he, ‘How is it' ?

‘Salt', said the son.

‘Take a sip from middle, How is it ?


‘Take a sip from that end', said he, ‘How is it' ?


‘Set it aside and then come to me'.

He did so, saying, ‘It is always the same'.


Then he (father) said to him : "Verily, indeed, my dear, you do not preceive Being here. Verily, indeed it is here. That which is the finest essence ‑ this whole world has that as its self. That is Reality; That is Atman, That art thou (Tattvamasi), Svetaketu."

Truly, the essence of life is spirit, the soul. Body, mind and soul are the three components of human beings. Body works through senses. The impulses which are created in physical senses when they come in touch with external objects are carried to mind. The mind reasons out and stores the feelings created by these impulses and conveys to the soul. The soul thus gets experience of pleasures, pain and utility of the material objects of the external world through physical senses and mind. Function of the physical senses is confined to each individual sense so that one physical sense cannot discharge or remember the function of any other physical sense. Function of mind is, to a great external supervisory. It is the internal function which works in the most subtle manner. It reasons and compares and stores, but its motivating force is the self. Mind can work only through sense. But self can work directly. So long as self and its functions are clouded by Karmas, it functions only through mind and senses and is not capable of having direct perception.

The Jaina philosophers have distinguished mind from the self by emphasising that mind is the internal instrument that helps the self in cognizing internal states like pleasure, pain etc. Sri Hemcandra Acarya, a renowned Jaina scholar of 12th century, defines mind as the organ of cognition of all objects of all the senses (Sarvartha grahanam manah). It is the cognition of all the objects of senses, only not of all the objects, that is, the Mind excludes the cognition of these objects which are not the objects of senses. There lies the distinction between the mind and the self because self, in its pure existence, is free from the bondage of Karmas, and can cognize all objects irrespective of the medium of senses. That is direct, i.e., Pratyaksa, cognizance. But cognizance, obtained through senses and mind is indirect, i.e., Paroksa.

The philosophical paradox is that self experiences through mind and body (physical senses), but in the ultimate analysis, the efforts of self is to get free from the obstacles created by the mind and body. So, the obstacles are sought to be removed through obstacles themselves. The paradox is solved if we bear in mind that according to Jaina philosophy, self, i.e., the Jiva is associated with Ajiva since time immemorial and the real nature of every Jiva is to ascend and to become free from the bondage of Ajiva, resulting in self's struggle through experience, gained only through the mind and body. Thus, in this chapter we have seen that,

(1) Existence of soul can be proved by direct perception as well as by metaphysical reasoning.

(2) Soul is distinct from matter, but is in close association with the matter from time immemorial.

(3) Soul is eternal and indestructible.

(4) Association  of soul with karmic matter is the cause of birth and rebirth.

(5) Process of birth and rebirth is nothing but the soul's struggle to become free from the bondage of Karma.

(6) Once the soul completely frees, itself from the bondage, it becomes all powerful and omniscient, Siddha, i.e., attains God‑hood.

(7) Having attained God‑hood it does not take rebirth.

(8) Such a soul is in existence even in an atom and every such soul‑even of an atoms, has the potentiality of achieving God‑hood and this belief is at the root of the theory of Ahimsa.

Having thus seen the proof of existence and the main characteristics of one of the  Universe, we may now proceed to consider the characteristics of the other components, namely, Ajiva.




Categories of Ajiva ( Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma, Akasa, Kala )

"Jiva and Ajiva together constitute universe. If they are separate, nothing more is needed. If united, as usually is the case, the stoppage, the gradual and then ultimate destruction of the union is the only possible course of considering them."

Really the bondage is nothing but the union of Jiva and Ajiva. This union is from the time immemorial, hence there is endless effort on the part of every Jiva to break this union to achieve real freedom. That is why, the study of the nature and character of Ajiva is essential.

Lay meaning of Ajiva is the thing not moving. But in Jaina metaphysics this term does not cannote that sense because, here, some specific Jivas also are immobile ‑ those found in earth and other immoveable matters.


Categories of Ajiva

In short, Ajivas are those who are not Jivas. The categorization of Ajivas would give us proper understanding of the expression. There are five categories of Ajiva, namely ‑ 1, Fudgala, 2. Dharma, 3. Adharma, 4. Akasa and 5. Kala. The Jainas have bestowed upon these terms the special meanings, distinct from those ordinarily attached to them in day to day language. These are called Sad‑dravyas. Their interplay with Jiva constitutes and explains all the movements of the universe. A brief desription of the five types of Ajivas are as follows ‑

(1) Pudgala  ‑‑ The most important of all the five Ajivas is Pudgala. Etymology of this expression clarifies its meaning. The term ‘Pud' connotes the process of combination and the term ‘gal' signifies dissociation. So the expression ‘Pudgala' means one in the constant process of combination and dissociation. In other words, Pudgala is that which undergoes constant outward change in form.

The Pudgalas are substances both tangible as well as intangible. They can, however, be perceived by senses. The Jaina philosophers have divided that the ‘Pudgala' dravyas upto the stage where further division is not possible. This is called ‘Anu', meaning atom. Pudgalas are of variegated types with innumerable atoms. Different atoms of different types of Pudgalas combine, dissolve and again combine in different and variegated forms. This process of combination gives rise to different and variegated molecules, referred to as ‘Skandha'. Thus, innumerable varieties of ‘Skandhas' with different varying qualities are found in the universe. Sri, Pujyapada Devanadi's classic ‘Sarvartha‑siddhi' says that, some ‘Skandhas' are visible and some invisible. There are six forms of recognised ‘Skandhas'. Of these extremely subtle and beyond sense‑perception are the ‘Skandhas' formed by particles of Karma. When the self (Jiva) enjoys sensual objects, it gets smeared with these Karma particles and this results in further journey of birth and rebirth of the self.

In short ‘Pudgala' may be defined as ‘that which can be experinced by sense‑organs'.

According to Jaina view, the existence of Pudgala is real. It is distinct and separate from self. If has no beginning and no end. It is indestructible, though it is constantly changing in form. From time immemorial it is associated with self and gives its own colour to the self. Self works through it so long as it enjoys the sensations conveyed by it. But the effort of the aspiring self is to dissociate itself from the company of Pudgala and thus to gain its real luster and form.

This Jaina realism is quite distinct from the Sankara Vedanta considering Pudgala as ‘Maya', and illusion. The root ‘Ma' in Samskrta means ‘to form' and it is believed that the  word ‘Magic' is derived from this root. So ‘Maya' means a formation which is not real. Sankhya philosophers think greatly in lines with Jainas. According to them, the universe is made of two elements‑‑‘Purusa', the Atman and ‘Prakrti', the matter. According to Sankhyas, however, Purusa, the Atman, remains ‘Kutastha', i.e., at the summit, isolated, and does not participate in any way in human pains, passions and feelings, though it ‘appears' to be involved in life because of apparent association with conditioning attributes of ‘Prakrti' (matter) which manifests itself in three aspects (Gunas), namely Satva, Rajas and Tamas (good, active and dark).

(2) Dharma  ‑ Here the word Dharma is not used in its popular sense that is religion. Dharma here means the principle of motion. It is a necessary condition and medium of motion. Conscious objects and other matters have their own motion but the medium through which they gain their motion is called Dharma. For example fish has its own motion but that motion is possible only through the medium of water. This medium which makes the motion possible, is Dharma. It is said that the nature of every object is its Dharma ‘Dhammo Vatthu Sahavo'. Word ‘Sahavo' means ‘Svabhava', i.e., one's own nature. Every object express itself and moves in the universe and progresses through the medium of its own nature. This medium itself is unconscious and is therefore Ajiva. In application of this theory to Atman (soul), it is important to note that so long as the soul moves through the medium of its ‘own nature'(Sva‑bhava) it is moving in Dharma. ‘Sva‑bhava of soul is its own consciousness. But when the soul is smeared by Kasayas, i.e., passions such as  attachment, hatred, greed, etc. It moves in PAra‑bhava, i.e., in the field which is alien to it and hence, it is not moving in Dharma.

(3) Adharma : If Dharma signifies the principle of motion, Adharma in Jainism signifies the principle of non‑motion, i.e., rest. It is alos unconscious and so does not interfere with the motion of an object. It is just like earth which enables the moving object to take rest and stop the motion.

These concepts of Dharma and Adharma constitute the systematic dynamism of Universe, as without them, there would be chaos. If things of the Universe are moving according to their nature smoothly, the universe would function smoothly but not otherwise.

(4) Akasa (Space) ‑ It is eternal and uncreated. Without space Dharma and Adharma cannot exist and pudgalas as well as Jivas cannot move. Space is also unconsious and is inseparable constituent of universe.

It is divided into two parts‑ Lokakasa and Alokakasa. ‘Lokakasa' means space for the functioning of six Dravyas and ‘Alokakasa' means space beyond Lokakasa, where nothing exists.

All these Dravyas except Kala namely Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma and Akasa move and form their own collections, called ‘Astikaya' meaning collectives in space.

(5) Kala (Time) ‑ It does not require any space and has, therefore, no Asti‑kaya. It is beginning‑less, unconscious and helpful in measuring the changes in Pudgalas. Just as space is infinite, time is eternal and an unavoidable component of universe. It is in coordination of time, space and motion that Jiva (self) function in the universe in union with Pudgalas. It is Jivas's motivation which make Pudgalas active and the activity created thereby is manifested through space and time. This is how the universe functions.

This analytical concept of universe is peculiar only to the Jainas. It gives us a comprehensive idea of the whole mechanism of the functioning of universe and helps us in further understanding the life and its riddles.

Here, it would not be out of place if we revert back to some of the queries, posed in the beginning of the first chapter. "Whence has it all proceeded and whether is it tending ?" "Is it all without purpose, without aim and without a scheme ? Or, is all this created, guided and controlled by some super power, beyond human comprehension ?" These are the consequential questions, which may be replied, on the basis of discussion contained in the foregoing chapters, in the following manner :

(1) This Universe, is uncreated, is existant from eternity and will exist till eternity, having no beginning, no end.

(2) It is controlled and guided by its own force and not by any outside super power. Its motivating force is generated by one of its own principal elements, namely, spirit or soul.

(3) It is tending nowhere, but it supplies proper medium for its elements to function.

(4) The real ‘purpose', of all the strains and struggles and all the phenomenal happenings in the universe is to enable different Jivas (souls) to achieve final liberation through their own endeover and obtain Godhood (State of Siddha).

 (5) There is a recognizable and systematized scheme under which this universe is functioning, the main key being the theory of Karma and transmigration. It is not a super imposed scheme of any outside force. We may now proceed to consider how the main ‘purpose', that is, emancipation referred to in item no. 4 above, is fulfilled and what is the modus operandi thereof.



Theory of Transmigration : Search for Happiness , Theory of Cause and Effects , Three Steps to freedom, Samyag Darsana, Samyag Jnana, Five Categories of Jnana (Mati, Sruta, Avadhi, Manah‑paryaya, Kevala), Samyag Caritra, Ladder of Spiritual Development.

"Samyag‑darsana‑jnana‑caritrani‑moksa‑margah", means Right perspective, Right knowledge and Right character constitute the Path of Salvation.

Spiritual evolution is a conscious process. If the purity of consciousness is impaired or destroyed, and if self is immortal, what is the process by which the self can attain its true state ? As seen above, from time immemorial, the self is in association with capacity to be omnipotent and omniscient. No soul can afford to remain immortally immoral. One of the main attributes of soul is to progress. This tendency to progress is evident even in the stages of regression because each regression imparts experience and education to the soul in its journey of progress.


Theory of Transmigration : Search for Happiness

The question is how this is possible ? The answer lies in the theory of Metempsychosis, the theory of transmigration, the cycle of births and rebirts. The basis of this theory is the eternity and immortality of soul. As already observed, Jaina seers firmly believe that the two main components of the Universe‑soul (Jiva) and non‑soul (Ajiva) are eternal. They change forms but never die. Water changes form and becomes ice or vapour but the basic elements remain the same. This belief is now confirmed, science proving that matter is never destroyed. So when the body dies, the soul remains. But remains where ? Does it remain in suspense ? It cannot remain in mere suspension. Its association with Karmic particles‑Pudgala (Ajiva) would not allow it to remain ‘suspended' in eternity. Desires and intensity to fulfil them, are the unavoidable attributes of the soul, in union with Pudgalas. Look at our human existence and observe the attitude of our soul and the methods adopted by it as well as the objective sought by it. There is no soul in this universe which does not seek happiness as its main objective. Examine the nature of struggle for life in which all the souls, right from immobile having only one sense (Ekendriya) upto the human beings, the final expression of life's evolution, are involved, and you will find that happiness, by whatever means, is the goal in life. It is to achieve this happiness that the man, sometimes runs after wealth or power, after literature of culture, after social service or politics and sometimes after philosophy or religion. All desires and all activities‑good and bad, derive their inspiration from the instictive impulse to be happy. Man marries, remarries or remains a bachelor, begets children or adopts them, rears them up and invests lifetime toil to make them happy, strives, sacrifices his own pleasures and also does not mind making others unhappy and all this a final goal to be happy himself. But he often, almost invariably finds that the real happinness is always eluding him. Finding and activity unable to give him the happiness he wanted, or that it gave only momentary happiness and began subsequently to bore him, man resorts to another activity. However the same experience is repeated and the process goes on. His whole life is exhausted and he is confronted by the inevitable Death. He realises in retrospect that most of his desires remain unfulfilled and his search for happiness was really a search in wilderness, as illusive as the appearance of water in a hot desert.

This is the case with every human being. The question here arises whether the soul which longed for one or the other thing throughout its life and failed to achieve its final objective of a lasting happiness, would remain in suspended animation for eternity ? If consciousness is the principal attribute of soul, would the consciousness of unfulfilled desires, not impell it to seek further activity to get the said fulfilment ?


Theory of Cause and Effect

Moreover, what about the theory of cause and effect ? In the scheme of universe whatever happens, yields to the law of cause and effect. Every event, every happening is the result of some cause. There is nothing accidental. If we fail to comprehend the cause of a particular event, that is, only due to limitation of our knowledge. If this is the case, they must be consequences or effect of the various actions taken by us in our lifetime. Some results (effects) we see in our lifetime, but not all. Our good and bad deeds and even our good and bad thoughts, are bound to have their good and bad effects. Whatever we have sown, we have to reap. This is known as the theory of Karma (action). By the law of nature, every action has reaction. How this law applies to our life ? We see numerous instances wherein a wrong doer does not get any bad result during his life time while an honest man, leading throughout the life of uprightness, benevolence and love, gets nothing in reward in his life time. Results of the respective deeds in both the cases are not obtained in this life. But nature's law of cause and effect never remains suspended. If so there would have been a chaos. As Jaina seers do not believe is some Supreme Being, known as God, who kept detailed accounts of each individual life, regarding his good and bad deeds and then settling the score at some unknown date by resurrecting them from their death abodes. Theory of punishment and reward from some outside agency being thus ruled out, we have to get some satisfactory explanation elsewhere. This explanation comes from the theory of transmigration.

Again, we find a number of discrepancies between the temperament, character, physical fitness, financial and social progress among the members of the same family, brought up by the same parents in the same social and fiscal environments. Many a times these discrepancies are congenital. What is the explanation except that of the Karma and consequent rebirth.

Thus the theory of trasmigration is the only rational explanation of almost all apparent mysteries of this universe. Progress and dynamism are significant characteristics of nature. Worldly existence is known in Samskrta as Samsara. the root of this word ‘Samsara' is ‘Sru' meaning ‘to move'. A thing, constantly moving is Samsara. One of the chief characteristics of self (Atman) is its upward movement. Self constantly gets experience through its association with matter. The course of this experience through its association with matter. The course of this experience expands one life to the other. As it progress through one experience after the other, it comes to know the futility of desiring happiness from worldly objects. This course of birth and rebirth is nothing but a quest for happiness. A stage comes when the self feels, after sufficient experience, that he is running after will‑o'‑the‑wisp and that the real happiness lies elsewhere. Perhaps such a realization becomes a turning point in his journey. He then searches for the Reality and realizes that all his efforts of seeking happiness through worldly objects were senseless and born out of sheer ignorance. And thus convinced his efforts are directed towards spiritual upliftment. His tastes and outlook towards the life are totally changed. First he has some faint idea about the reality. This increases his interest to know more about it. He  goes on gathering knowledge. With his knowledge his conviction also grows, and as conviction grows, action gradually follows. He then begins to ascend the ladder. The upward march on the steps of ladder is tenacious and hard. There are ups and downs in march but all the downfalls bring more experience, more knowledge and lead to more effort. And finally the stage comes when the self is able to make himself totally free from the shackles of karmic bondage and attains full freedom and consequential Bliss. Jaina seers have explained this whole process in a very beautiful and analytical manner with reference to the psychic mechanism of human mind.


Three Steps to Freedom

This journey to freedom has three stages of Darsana, Jnana and Caritra, i.e., Perception, knowledge and action. If all the three are right or correct, i.e., Samyak, the self is surely on the path to freedom (Tattvartha‑sutra by Umasvati). These three‑Right perception. Right knowledge and Right action are known as three jewels (Ratna‑trayee) in the Jaina scriptures. Without these three, there is no way to salvation. Let us therefore shortly consider the working of these three ‘jewels'.

The word ‘samyag' means ‘Right, proper or correct'. While discussing the necessity and importance of these three jewels, the Jaina seers have exhibited a very rare insight of human psychology and its working. However, it would be beyond the scope of our thesis to make a detailed reference to this discussion because main purpose of our thesis is to have some workable knowledge of some basic principles.

(1) Samyag Darsana ‑ Two psychological stages of the evolution of knowledge are apprehension and perception. Before knowing a particular thing including a doctrine, one first gets its apprehension. After apprehension gets mental or physical sensation and then comprehends the thing in further details. Thereafter a final stage comes when that particular things is fully perceived. Thus the stages of gathering knowledge may be categorised like this ‑ 1.Apprehension, 2.Sensation, 3.Comprehension and 4.Perception. As Shri S.Gopalan puts it :

"These philosophers thus maintain that the first stage in the complex process of preception is apprehension in which there is mere awareness which is the immediate result of the sense‑object contact. In the second stage of sensation there is some cognition of specific characteristics of the object. In the third stage, the perception stage (comprehension stage) there is also the ‘identification' of the object, for example, as belonging to a particular class."

This psychological analysis is as much true in the case of a metaphysical doctrine as about a physical phenomenon. The process of apprehension is called ‘Darsana' and the culmination of the process into comprehensive perception is called ‘Jnana', though the term Samyag‑darsana in Jainism, stands for Right faith also but I think Right perception is more appropriate.

Thus a soul tired of enjoying material objects of life and capable to see the futility of pursuing them, turns introvert and looks elsewhere to seek real and permanent happiness‑happiness, enduring.  At that stage either by his own introspection or by coming into some saintly company he gets a glimpse of Truth. He begins to realize that there is some path worth exploring. His inclination to find out the path is the beginning of the ‘Darsana' stage. He begins to ‘see'. In Samskrta the root ‘Drs' (Pasya)_ means ‘to see'. He now begins to apprehend Reality.

This apprehension, this Darsana, should however be ‘Samyag', i.e., peoper. Nothing which is prejudical or inhibited can be ‘Samyag'. One cannot proceed further from the stage of apprehension if one proceeds with a vacillating mind. The stage of apprehension can carry us further only if we have confidence that the usual worldly path, we followed for ages, has proved futile and therefore we have to find out a new path with open mind and firm determination. This is called ‘Sraddha'. It is the determination to find out ‘Tattvartha'. The word ‘Tattva' means essence. ‘Artha' means ‘meaning'. So ‘Tattvartha' means meaning of the Real Essence, the Truth. So ‘Samyag Darsana', i.e., proper perception is defined as determination to find out real Truth. Acarya Umasvati, the venerated writer of the classic ‘Tattvartha‑sutra' defines ‘Samyag Darsana' as "Tattvarthasraddhanam Samyag‑darsanam", i.e., Determination to find out the Truth (meaning of the Essence) is ‘Samyag Darsana'.

Nine Tattvas  ‑ What is this ‘Tattva' the essence ? The essence of the whole existence is the pursuit of steps of freedom. But what are these steps ? To understand these steps is to understand the meaning of essesnce. Therefore, the Jaina seers have termed these steps as Tattvas. According to them there are Nine Tattvas, namely ‑ Jiva, Ajiva, Papa, Punya, Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara and Moksa. We have already discussed about ‘Jiva' and ‘Ajiva'. The word ‘Asrava' means influx. If suggests influx of Karmans ‑ good as well as bad. ‘Bandha' means ‘bondage' suggesting the bondage of soul by karmas. ‘Samvara' means stoppage, it suggests the stoppage of influx of karmas, ‘Nirjara' means shedding, that of accumulated karmas; Moksa means final freedom, salvation.

The significance of these nine tattvas, which comprehend the whole process of bondage and freedom of the soul and hence these also constitute the foundation and metaphysical structure of Jaina Philosophy, will be dealt in later chapters. Thus, if one proceeds with the belief in these Tattvas, his Darsana is Samyag or Right.

(2) Samyag Jnana ‑ With this ‘Samyag Darsana' one proceeds further, through scriptures tries to know more about these Tattvas, their role in life and way to proceed onwards on the path to salvation. This is the stage of acquiring proper knowledge.

There has been a good deal of debate on the question whether ‘Darsana' precedes knowledge or vice a versa. In my humble view, this debate is fruitless and merely academic because both are interdependent. Without Darsana there would be no Jnana, the greater the acquisition of Jnana, the greater is the Darsana. An analogy of a blind and a  lame‑man, caught in a forest‑fire, and who wanted to get at a safe place is quite apt. If both cooperated and the blind agreed to carry the lame and the lame agreed to show the path, both of them could carry themselves safely out of fire. Want of proper Darsana amounts to blindness and want of proper Jnana amounts to lameness. Darsana desires to get oust of the fire of this worldly existence but cannot do so, so long as Jnana, lame, without proper Darsana, does not co‑operate and is ready to show the details of the path. It is thus clear that proper Darsana and proper Jnana are supplimentary to each other.

Regarding Jnana the Jaina philosophers have their own peculiar approach. To them, since the knower (Jnata) is the ‘self', the Jnana acquired by self is always ‘direct'. The word used is ‘Pratyaksa'(direct), i.e., without any medium. In ordinary sense, by ‘direct', knowledge we mean, the knowledge acquired  directly through senses or through our mind and reasoning. But to Jaina philosophers, this knowledge, acquired through our senses and mind is indirect. Because the main characteristic of Atman (soul) being pure and illuminating consciousness, its direct knowledge means ‘knowing' the things without any medium whatever. This ‘illuminating consciousness'of the soul is called ‘Sva‑para‑prakasa', i.e., illuminating itself (Sva) as well as all other objects (Para). This is why senses and mind are treated, in the ultimati analysis, as obstacles to the realization of ‘Kevala‑jnana'. Omniscience is the purest form of knowledge. Therefore, the goal of every process of Yoga is to transcend the limitations of mind and body both. The basic difference between oriental and occidental thinkers is that while the orientals have gone deeper than the mind in the process of exploring the self(soul), the occidentals have mostly stopped at the mind process.


Five Categories of Jnana

Jainas have categorised Jnana (knowledge) into five categories ‑ Matisrutavadhi‑manah‑paryaya‑kevalin Jnanam, i.e., Mati (Sensory), Sruta (Scriptural), Avadhi (Clairvoyance), Manah‑paryaya (Telepathy) and Kevala (Omniscience).  We shall now discuss each of them in short and show how the soul proceeds to attain the last and the highest category of knowledge, i.e., Kevala‑jnana (Omniscience).

Jaina scholars have treated this subject very minutely but here I have given only broad aspects of the basic principles of the Jaina Epistemology. First, Jainas have clssifid knowledge into two categories, i.e., Indirect and Direct. Of the above five varities, first two (Mati and Sruta) are Indirect (Paroksa) kind of knowledge as these are attained through the activity of Senses and Mind (Manas). The remaining three (Avadhi, Manah‑paryaya and Kevala) varities  of knowledge are instances of direct knowledge. These three are considered direct perception because they are acquired by the self independently of the Senses and Mind, as Umasvati has put it‑Adye‑paroksam Pratyaksamanyat.

(a) Mati‑jnana (Sensory knowledge) ‑ It is the knowledge obtained through senses and mind (Tadindriyanindriya Nimittam). Thus what we see by eyes, hear by ears, taste by tongue as also what we remember, infer and all knowledge acquire through logic and reasoning fall within the classification of Mati. Jaina scholars have gone much deeper in discussing psychological analysis to show the process of acquiring Mati‑jnana. There are four stages of Mati‑jnana‑‑Avagrahehavayadharana, i.e., Avagraha (Sensation), Iha (Speculation), Avaya (Judgement) and Dharana (Retention). Avagraha means contact‑awareness, e.g., if we touch something in darkness, we become aware of the fact that we have touched something, though we do not know what that thing is. However that touch sets us thinking as to what it is. We try to know whether we have touched a rope or a serpant, and we reason out that it cannot be serpant. This stage is called Iha (Speculation). Then we proceed further, make further inquiry and finally conclude that it is nothing else but a rope. This is called Avaya (Judgement). The conclusion, thus arrived at, is retained rather permanently in memory. This is Dharana (retention). All these stages of perception apply as much to the knowledge of a metaphysical doctrine as to a physical object such as a rope.

Prof.Gopalan opines that Jainas conception of four stages of sensory perception bears similarity with the analysis given by modern psychologists in this regard. To quote his words‑"It may be pointed out that the four stages of perception analysed by the Jaina philosophers are comparable to the analysis given by modern psychologists. The psychological insight of the Jaina‑philosophers is extremely significant of their carefully and deeply analysing concepts relating to human mind."

(b) Sruta‑jnana  (Srciptural Knowledge) ‑ This knowledge is derived from the scriptures and the persons learned in scriptures. Samskrta word ‘Sru' means ‘to hear'. Sruta means ‘heard'. Earlier Indian tradition was to hear and remember the scriptural doctrines, recorded at a subsequent stage. The preachings and sermons of Tirthankaras (Jaina Prophets)  were subsequently recorded by their direct and immediate disciples who came in their personal contact. These writings are called ‘Angas'. So the knowledge contained in these ‘Angas' is called Anga‑pravista‑sruta meaning recorded in Angas. But the subsequent writings by those who followed, are known as Anga‑bahya‑sruta meaning recorded outside the Angas. These are the two main classifications of Sruta. There are many sub‑classifications, which we shall not touch.

Sruta is essentially the product of Mati, for the obvious reason that application of mind, logic and reasoning are essential for acquiring Sruta. As Umasvati puts it, "Srutam Matipurvam" means Sruta is the product of Mati. Since Mati is the product of sense awareness, it mostly relates to present objects but Sruta can comprehend past, present and future, and is mainly the product of mind "Srutamanindriyasya". Sruta is obviously more mature and determinative. Mati is subjective to the person who acquires it while Sruta has many cognizers. These are the main distinctive features of both these categories of ‘indirect knowledge'.

The other three categories of knowledge are direct. Soul can perceive them without the help of mind or sense‑organs. The soul acquires these knowledge on the Karmic coverings, clouding its faculty of knowledge, being removed. These coverings are called Jnanavaranya Karmas, i.e., the karmas clouding the faculty of knowledge. We shall discuss it in the chapter on Karmas. Here the point to be noted is that when karmas, which cloud soul's faculty of knowledge, are removed it beings to exhibit gradually the rest of the three categories of direct knowledge.

(c) Avadhi‑jnana ‑ It enables the ‘self' to know all tangible objects wihin a limited compass of space even though these objects are concealed from eye sight. Avadhi means limit. This knowledge does not go beyond a limited space.

(d) Manah‑paryaya Jnana  is the knowledge by which the ‘self' can read the mind of others.

(e) Kevala Jnana  is boundless and unlimited. It is perfect in all respects (Paripurna), complete (Samagra), unique (Asadharapa), absolute (Nirapeksa), pure (Visuddha), all comprehensive (Sarva‑bhava‑jnapaka). Its object is this and the other world (Lokaloka Visaya) and with cognizance of infinite variations and modes of objects (Ananta Paryaya) ‑ (Sarvadravya Paryayesu Kevalasya). Thus this is the stage of omniscience having no limitations of time and space. Such a soul is generally identified as ‘Sarvajna' but the Jainas have preferred the terminology of ‘Kevala‑jnana' to convey the same meaning namely, knower of everything. The question is whether the expression ‘Kevala‑jnani' is used to suggest the knowledge of past, present and future, irrespective of sparial and temporal distance or to suggest a philosophical insight, capable of seeing through not only the ideological and theoretical position but also all the different variations and modes which an object or a proposition is expected to undergo under different situations and circumstances. Pt.Sukhalalji, a great modern Jaina Scholar is of the opinion that the expression ‘Kevala‑jnana' is used in the later sense and not in the former sense. According to him the expression conveys philosophical insight which misses no aspect while assessing a thing or a thought. He emphasies that the famous proposition of Acaranga‑sutra, "Je Egain Janai Se Savvam Janai", meaning "one who knows one (Atman), knows everything" goes to show that  one who properly knows the real nature of the soul, automatically knows all its different manifestations, variations and modes and it is in this sense that the quality of omniscience is attributes to a ‘Kevala‑jnani'. This modern interpretation may not be acceptable to old thinkers. However, the fact remains that the insistance that Darsana and Jnana both must by ‘Samyag' i.e., proper, points to the perfection which is not hindered by any prejudice or predilection. This seems to be more in line with the thinking of Sukhalalji.

It is emphasised that this categorization of knowledge is not imaginary. We do come across the people who possess Avadhi and Manah‑paryaya‑jnana. It shows that every soul has the potentiality of achieving the highest omniscience provided in is able to totally annihilate its Karmas. It prompts  and encourages every soul to undergo ethical discipline if it wants to achieve the highest type of knowledge.

We have seen how during the journey to freedom the soul passes through the cycle of births and rebirths and is thus getting experience of worldly objects and enriches itself with the knowledge of Reality.

(3) Samyag Caritra ‑ However, this knowledge cannot reach its perfection unless it is followed by action, because thought without action is disease. Knowledge can become real and Samyag only when it is ‘experienced'. A bare academic knowledge is, according to the thinking of all shades of Indian philosophers, mere information. One ‘knows' fully only when one experiences the thing which is to be known. Mere academic knowledge is philosophy, but when that knowledge is converted into actual action it becomes religion in practice. Western philosophers like Nietzche and Schopenhauer were mere philosophers. They did not and could not live what they preached. General tendency of the Western philosophers is to divorce philosophy from religion. In India such an approach is absolutely rejected. To an Indian mind no philosophy is worth anything unless it is lived in actual life. Here lies the importance of the distinction between Pratyaksa (direct) and Paroksa (indirect) knowledge discussed above. Philosophy which is not practiced in life, is not directly perceived and experienced by the self and hence it remains confined to mind. It belongs to the category of Mati or Sruta and has no status better than a mere ‘information'.

It is for this reason that the third jewel Caritra assumes importance. If this Caritra, i.e., the action in life, building of ones character as per Darsana and Jnana, is Samyag, i.e.,proper, one is surely on the path of Moksa‑liberation. To achieve this, Mahavira has prescribed five ethical principles, namely‑Ahimsa (Non‑violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non‑stealing), Brahmacarya (Celibacy) and Aparigraha (Non‑possession). What is the comprehensiveness of these principles and what is the technique to observe them would be the subject matter of a  different discussion. If would, however, be sufficient to note here that unless  the first two jewels are followed by the third, our journey to freedom would always remain incomplete.


Ladder of Spiritual Development

As seen above, spiritual perfection comes after great effort, and this effort is not of a life‑span. It is an effort of birth and re‑birth also, during which the self tries to climb the ladder of spirituality. Jaina thinkers have analysed the different stages through which the self passes in its climb on this ladder during different lives. There are all fourteen stages through which the self passes before achieving the highest goal. These stages are mere indications to show how the self progresses. They enable us to know at what spiritual stage we are standing in this life. We shall shortly consider these fourteen stages which are known as Guna‑sthana. ‘Guna' means meritorious order and ‘Sthana' means stage.

Stage 1 is known as Mithya‑Drsti. ‘Mithya' means unreal, false, and ‘Drsti' means vision. This is a stage of spiritual blindness. The whole outlook of life is false and unreal. The ‘Darsana' i.e., the perspective of the soul at this stage suffers from great ignorance on account of the Karmic veil known as ‘Darsanavaraniya'.

Stage 2 is known as Sasadana Samyag Drsti. While ascending the ladder of life, the soul sometimes reaches great heights, but on account of some weakness asserting, it slips down on the ladder, and the fall brings it to this stage. It has tasted the fruits of higher stages once, and so does not remain more at this stage and again begins to ascend.

Stage 3 : Misra‑ It means mixture. It is the stage where the self experience a mixed feeling of proper and unreal (Samyag and Mithya) attitude towards life. The self at this stage is oscillating between the two extremes. It remains agitated and is unable to settle down.

Stage 4 : Avirati Samyag Drsti‑‘Virati' means cessation (rest). It suggests rest from the enjoyment of material things of life. The prefix ‘A' suggests the negative and hence ‘Avirati' means want of the stoppage of the material enjoyment. However, at this stage the oscillating mind becomes steady and beings to entertain right thoughts. It gets correct or proper ‘Darsana' and hence it is called ‘Samyag Drsti'. But on account of ‘Avirati', enjoyment of sensual objects goes on, even though the self knows what is the correct path.

 Stage 5 : Desavirati Samyag Drsti‑‘Desa' means partial. When the soul progresses from the 4th stage it begins to conquer sensual desires. But this conquest is partial.

Stage 6 : Pramatta‑Samyag ‑ At this stage there is still further progress in as much as ‘Desa Virati', i.e., partial cessation from sensuality, becomes complete cessation. There is, however, some spiritual inertia (Pramtta). Eternal vigilance is the price for liberty is as much true for spiritual freedom as for political one. Mahavira emphatically admonished his chief disciple : "Gautam, do not remain inert even for a moment." At this stage even thought the self is living the life of a recluse this vigilance is not running from moment to moment and hence this spiritual inertia on his part remains an obstruction.

Stage 7 : Apramatta‑Samyat ‑ now the inertia has gone. The self is now ready for a jump and prepares to enter further stages of ‘Ksapaka‑sreni' which means the series (Sreni) of the stages wherein karmic influence is being shedded partially and then wholly.

Stage 8 : Apurvakarana ‑ Apurva means the thing which was not before (Purva means ‘past'). At this stage the soul experiences a potency which was never experienced before. It acquires a psychical force which would now enable it to shed its karmic veil. This shedding of karmic veil assumes two courses. One course is known as ‘Upasama' and other course is known as ‘Ksaya', Upasama means pacification and Ksaya means annihilation. When the Karmic bodies such as anger, attachment, avarice, hatred and violence are made to lie dormant, what happens is ‘Upasama'. But when they are totally destroyed, it is called ‘Ksaya'. If the self takes the course of pacification (Upasama) there is always a lurking danger of the karmic bodies coming to the surface and asserting themselves. If this happens, the self which has achieved sufficient heights again slips down the ladder and goes to the lower stages from where it begins the journey afresh. It is just like suspended impurities in water settling down at the bottom of the vessel. Water does appear clear so long as impurities remain settled. But the moment some disturbance is caused these impurities come up to the surface and the clarity of water is destroyed. Exactly this happens to the soul when it takes the course of pacification (Upasama). But if a great and determined soul like that of Mahavira takes up the  course of total annihilation of karmic bondage, it jumps to the last two steps and obtains complete freedom of Siddhahood.

Stage 9 : Anivrtti Samparaya and Stage 10 : Suksama Samparaya‑Samparaya means ‘Kasaya' (passions). ‘Anivrtti' means not totally annihilated. ‘Suksma' means subtle. During these stages the soul adopts either the course of ‘Upasama' (passification) or of ‘Kasaya' (annihilation). If the former course is adopted it comes to the next stage No. 11 and if the latter course is adopted it comes to the stage No. 12.

Stage 11 : Upasanta Moha ‑ This stage is the final one where the self adopts the course of passification. However, ‘Moha' (attachment) which is considered as the most dangerous of all the karmic bondages remains ‘Upasanta', i.e., passified. Being Upasanta, it is not totally destroyed. So it may come up to the surface and cause a slip. Then there is a fall to the lower rungs of the ladder. Many a times, it is the second stage of Sasadana.

Stage 12 : Ksina Moha, means total destruction of lla attachment. This, now, is practically the end of the journey. all the Karmas are destroyed. Next two stages come as a  matter of course.

Stage 13 : Sayogi Kevali‑After being free from karmic bondage the soul attains Kevala‑jnana. It sees everything and knows everything. ‘Kevala' means pure, unalloyed. ‘Sayogi' means having connection (‘Yuj' means ‘to join'). The soul has connection with the body as it is still in human form, but all other connection, all other attachment has gone away. This is the condition of real ‘Vitaraga', one whose all sorts of attachments (Ragas) have disappeared (Vita means disappearance).

Stage 14 : Ayogi Kevali‑ Now the body connection is also gone. This happens when the Sayogi Kevali of the previous stage ‘dies'. The last formal tie was of body. That tie is dissolved by ‘death'. The soul now gets the stage of final consumation ‑ a bodyless, existence of pure consciousness and bliss‑the stage of Siddhahood, the stage from where one never returns to earthly existence when all the problems of birth death and rebirth come to an end.

This is a short story of journey of freedom. The journey is not only long and arduous but is also full of pains, pleasures, hopes, dispairs and conflicts. Broadly speaking, in the first four stages the soul is struggling against wrong belief which is overcome in the fifth stage where righteous conduct begins. In the sixth stage he is till liable to lapses and negligence, as the required vigilence is not from moment to moment. When the self enters the seventh stage, it is ready to shed its accumulated karmas. From 8th stage onwards he proceeds with powerful force but so long as the Mohaniya Karma (i.e., Karma arising from attachments) is not totally destroyed there is likely‑hood of a fall. But the fall is only temporary and practically the whole journey is over when the soul reaches 12th and 13th stages. Thus the entire spiritual career comes to an end, and it is the end of all pains and pleasures of life. Buddha based his whole philosophical structure on the premise that life is painful. Mahavira also believed that life is painful and the effort of every soul is to be finally free from this pain and to obtain permanent bliss.

A question arises in the mind of every thoughful person, when he nears the end of this physical existence, whether the life which he lived was worth living, what was the purpose of life, what has he acieved in life and whether, taken as a whole, it was satisfying, pleasureful or painful. Answers may be of varying types but nobody will be able to say that he has been able to get permanent joy and happiness from the things of the world. On the final analysis, it would appear that so long as we are not able to approach the problems of life in a detached and objective manner we are not able to get joy and happiness from any activity however, altruistic, benevolent or high‑minded it may be. Attachment, whether it is for physical objects, individuals or even idea or ideals, always results in dejection. If this be the final lesson of life, the only solution which can be offered to life's problems is to try to achieve a condition of detachment, a condition of a Vitaraga, one whose all attachments are gone. Vitaraga is an expression of great significance. It is peculiar to Jaina epistemology as in other philosophical thinking, they have used the word Vairagya or Viraga. Viraga is the opposite of Raga (attachment) and being an opposite, it carries and idea of aversion. so the expression Viraga is, many a times, understood as ‘dislike', which is nothing but a negative form of attachment. But the expression Vitaraga merely refers to a condition where all attachments are gone. There is no ‘like' and no ‘dislike'.

If the life is painful, it is no use cultivating dislike for it. The correct attitude is the attitude of Vitaraga. Mahavira showed the way of achieving the state of a Vitaraga.

Greeks perhaps knew the stings of life as intimately. when the Greek Midas asked silenus, ‘what fate is best for man'. Silenus answered : "Pitiful race of a day, children of accidents and sorrow, why do you force me to say what were better left unheard ? The ‘best' of it all is unobtainable‑not to born, to be nothing. The second best is to die early."

Silenus's attitude was rather cynical. Mahavira would not agree, however, with his statement that we are all children of ‘accidents' and ‘sorrow'. Mahavira never believed in accidents as according to him everything which happens in this universe has a cause and the results which we are reaping are generated by the causes supplied by us. If we are children of ‘sorrow', the sorrow is also of our making. Mahavira would also not agree with Silenus that the ‘best' is ‘unobtainable' though he may agree that the ‘best' is ‘not to be born' or ‘to be nothing'. Journey to freedom is a journey ‘to be nothing' which means ‘to be everything', though desiring nothing and doing nothing. It is therefore a journey to achieve the stage of a Vitaraga, who does not require ‘to be born' again.




Actions follow the doer, Search for Responsibility and Sramana line, Mahavira's Synthesis, Theories of Yadrcchavada (Freewill), Gosala's Niyativada (Determinism), Other Theories (Kalavada : Time theory, Svabhavavada : Theories of Intrinsic Nature, and Isvaravada : Theory of Ruling Force), Mahavira's Approach (Synthesis resulting from Syadvada), Psychological approach of Mahavira (Emphasis on Bhava, Intention, Dr.Jung's deeper level of sub‑conscious is Mahavira;s theory of Bhava‑karma, Mahavira's rejection of Jamali's theory of ‘Kade‑Kade', Cosmic law of causation and Karmic body), Categories of Karmas (Gautam's dilemma), Duration of Karmic Bondage ,Nature of Bondage, Mitigation of Bondage, Fresh Karmas, Life's activities (Actions without attachment), Good actions bind if motivated, Consequences of Karma Theory 1.


"If the world is will, it must be a world of suffering. And first, because, Will itself indicates want, and its grasp is always greater than its reach, for every wish that is satisfied, there remain ten that are denied. Desire is infinite, fulfilment is limited. It is like the alms thrown to a beggar, that keeps him alive today in order that his misery may be prolonged tomorrow...As long as our consciousness is filled by our will, so long as we are fears, so long as we are given upto the throngs of desires, with their constant hopes and fears, so long as we are subject to willing, we can never have lasting happiness or peace. The realised desire develops a new desire, and so on, endlessly."



Actions follow the Doer

Great minds think alike, and the depth of thought almost always digs out the same truth. The conclusions to which the great German philosopher Schopenhauer came to, were reached thousands of years ago by Indian philosophers too. ‘Desires', according to them was the root cause of every karmic activity of a human being. They went deeper into the question and found out the root cause of all human problems which have afficted the man‑kind ever since its birth. Consciousness being the intrinsic attribute of the self, and the self being in association with Karmic matter called ‘Pudgala' since time immemorial, the dynamism of the self, the spirit, is always guided and prompted by desires. The more the self desires, the more it remains busy with the activities which bind it more and more, and the cycle of birth, death and rebirth goes on endlessly till the self realises the futility of remaining permanently involved in the bondage of karmic fetters. It is this realisation which brings the turning point in the self's career in spiritual journey. It is at this point of time that the self is beginning to realize its ethical responsibility to itself. ‘Kattarameva Anujai Kamma', meaning ‘actions (Karmas) follow the doer', said the Jaina philosophers. This developes and fixes the ethics of responsibilty for the self to strive by its own efforts  to get itself free from the karmic bondage.


Search for Responsibilty and Sramana Line

Man's search for fixing the responsibility for experiences like pleasures, pains, enjoyment, suffering, incongruences and incompatibilities, inequities and injustics sufferred by human beings and other species of existence in this universe has never reached such sophisticated depths as found in Jaina philosophy. Easiest explanation available to man was God‑either personal or impersonal. Early Aryans was a race possessing great intellectual potentially and dynamism. Even they in their Veda could not go beyond propitiating different Gods supposed to master different forces of nature to win their favour and to protect them against violence of nature and enemies. This propitiation naturally invited plenty of rituals in form of animal and sometimes even human sacrifies. All rituals give birth to a priestly class and theoretic specialisation. A priestly class of Brahmin's sprang up, and as has happened elsewhere in the world, this class acquired a good hold and influence even on the political forces with the result that the whole social and economic structure of the country came to be under the sway of politico‑religious domination. Priestly class gradually began to lose faith, and there was a sort of intellectual revolt. ‘Brahmanas'‑a literature prescribing in great details the ceremonies for different types of ‘Yajnas' to propitiate gods, came to be replaced by ‘Upanisadas' giving rational interpretations to Vedas and the science of sacrifices (Yajnas). Sramana line of thoughts, which was pre‑Aryan and pre‑Vedic, must have had a great deal of influence on the thinking of the Rsis of the time and they seem to have borrowed new ideas of the ‘Real Essence' and called it a ‘secret knowledge', as already seen in the famous dialogue between Svetaketu and his father Rsi Aruni in Chandogya Upanisad. However, as will be presently seen, even amongst Sramana thinkers who did not believe in God as the creator and sustainer of the universe, and who did not subsribe to the finality of Vedas, different and divergent theories explaining the universal order persisted, even at the time of Mahavira. Hence, some more rational and more convincing explanation about the universal scheme was required. Mahavira was not the founder of what is now known as ‘Jainism'. He was a follower of a great Sramanic tradition which is said to have been handed over to him by his twenty‑three predecessors called ‘Tirthankaras' (makers of Tirtha‑ place of pilgrimage). Greatness of Mahavira, however, lies in bringing about a beautiful synthesis and giving a rational and logical orientation to the prevailing Sramanic thoughts.

It was Rousseau who said that the man is born free, but is everywhere bound in chains. Mahavira, however, says that the man is born in chains but he can be free, if he so wishes. Freedom is his birthright. When Mahavira says this, he talks of real freedom, not a mere political one. But achievement of freedom is a conscious attempt, and no attempt is conscious unless one has the liberty to choose between good and bad, liberty to exert, liberty to destroy the obstacles, found in the path to reach the goal.


Mahavira's Synthesis

In Mahavira's time there were philosophers who denied man's liberty to shape his destiny and believed in absolute determinism under different theories. It was Mahavira's task to achieve a proper synthesis of all these theories, and, at the same time, to emphasis the soul's capacity to change its future. Mahavira's emphasis on soul's capacity to change its future was a natural consequence of his belief that pure consciousness is the integral attribute of the soul, because a thing which is conscious can never remain dormant‑ Dynamism and consciousness always go together. Mahavira's theory of karma is the theory of dynamism. To understand how he secured the dynamism during the process of synthesis of different prevailing theories, it would first be necessary to have a bird's eye view of these theories.

Those philosophers, who believed that a human being is totally free to select his own path of good or evil, are known as ‘Yadrcchavadi'. In the west they are known as the exponents of ‘free‑will'. But those who held a contrary belief and asserted that man is not free to choose his path because everything is pre‑destined, were known as ‘Niyativadi', i.e.,determinists. Both the philosophers were found to be taking extreme stands. In real life, we often find that some persons who have chosen their own path toil for the whole life, but are faced with unexpected obstacles and never succeed, while others with very little effort achieve success which they otherwise do not deserve on merits. When we see such instances, we feel that the theory of free‑will lacks something which remains unexplained. However, the theory of ‘Niyativada' which means the theory of determinism totally rules out man's own efforts as according to this theory the man is made absolutely a victim of some unknown reason which seals his fate.

Gosala's Niyativada ‑ In Mahavira's early years of penances Gosala who was subsequently known as a great and authoritative exponent of ‘Niyativada' (determinism) moved as a self‑proclaimed disciple of Mahavira as he was greatly attracted by Mahavira's penances. Though Mahavira never accepted by Mahavira's penances. Though Mahavira never accepted him as his disciple, he moved with Mahavira wherever he went and also practiced severe penances. During this period, he remained a great admirer of Mahavira, but created sometimes very awkward situations. During his period of penances the attitude of Mahavira was merely to suffer in silence without any protest and to move and do, whatever he though would be proper for him. So when Gosala constantly followed him everything, he did not object. This was his attitude not only with Gosala but with everyone with whom he had an opportunity to meet. He never preached during this period because he believed that one should not preach before one actualizes in his own life the principles which he exhorts others to follow. Gosala kept company of Mahavira for about six years. During the last period of his stay with Mahavira he seems to have developed some thinking about his later theory of ‘Niyativada'. He began to doubt Mahavira's theory of Karma and finally came to the conclusion that man's efforts to change his destiny are futile as everything is predestined. According to him soul's journey to salvation would take its own course and time, just as a ball of string would take its own course and time to unroll upto its end. So far as man's exertions are concerned he believed that even they are predestined. He believed in the cycle of births and rebirths and contended that this cycle is bound to go on to its destined course which cannot be changed by human efforts. As a result, all the penances were found by him useless. He therefore parted company with Mahavira, proclaimed himself a Tirthankara (prophet) and could gather a large following. It seems that thenceforth, he took to the life of pleasure and ease. His followers were known as Ajivikas whose influence sustained for many years even after his death.

Other Theories ‑ But Gosala was not the only person who rejected the theory of karma. There were some philosophers who believed in ‘Kalavada'. ‘Kala' means time. They believed that every event fructifies only when its time comes and so human endeavour is fruitless. They gave many examples one of which was that of a fruit‑bearing tree which can give fruit only when its time comes. There were others who believed in ‘Svabhavavada' who contended that everything progresses and develops according to its own nature (‘Sva' means own and ‘Bhava' means nature) and that this explains all variations round in this universe. No one, according to them, can change this basic nature of the objects of this universe. There were still others who believed in ‘Isvaravada' , i.e., belief in some outside force called God who is the final arbitrator of soul's destiny. All  these theories, more or less, ruled out the belief that man's destiny largely in his own hands.

Mahavira's approach ‑Mahavira's attitude towards all problems‑physical or metphysical‑has remained that of ‘Svadvada' which exhorts us to look at a question from every angle, and not to reject any proposition summarily and wholly because every truth is relative and every proposition is likely to be true from a paricular angle and in particular circumstances. He, therefore, tried to synthesise all prevailing thoughts and advanced his own theory of cause and effect by assimilating the partial truth contained in each theory. Broadly stating, he said that though it is true that each event occurs as its own time and according to its own nature, it would be a mistake to rule out a change which can be brought about by one's own will and exertions. While doing so, he did not accept the contention of ‘Yadrcchavadins' that one can act of his own free‑will and chalk out his path. His theory of karma (cause and effect) recognised that some of the karmas, which you have earned in your past lives, do bring their fruits in this life which cannot be avoided and which you have got to suffer, but even here, you can mitigate the rigour of the result by your own efforts. However, according to him once you recognise that you are reaping the fruits of your own actions, your future is always in your own hands. If your present is partly or wholly the result of your past, there should be no difficulty in believing that your future is also partly or wholly the result of your present. Thus Mahavira evolved a systematized syenthesis of the theories of ‘free‑will', ‘determinism', ‘Kalavada' and ‘Svabhavavada', and rationalised the theory of Karma.


Psychological Approach of Mahavira

By ‘action' Mahavira did not mean only those things which are physically and ostensibly done, but included even secret thoughts and tendencies entertained by you, for it is your  secret thoughts and tendencies which make up your subconscions and which are mainly responsible for the actual actions which you ultimatley take. Like modern psychologists, Mahavira believed that our sub‑conscious is not something separate and apart from us. He, therfore, called it Bhava‑karma and emphasised that outer manifestations of human actions are only  the gross results of these Bhava‑karmas which are lying in our sub‑conscious‑deep below the level of our thinking mind. Dr.Karl Jung, the great Swiss pioneer of the age of psychology, has called this the "personal unconscious where the individual stores rejected memories and emotional material." According to this great psychologist, this murkey region stands between us and the deeper level of sub‑conscious acting as sort of dictator in both directions. It contains, according to Dr.Jung, not only our heritage of instincts and patterns from entire race but the ability to act  on suggestions made to it. In the words of the great Dr.Jung "man has only to realize that he is shut up inside his mind, and cannot step beyond it, even in insanity, and that the appearance of his world or his gods very much depends upon his own mental condition."

Dr.Jung's observations very much sound like the theory of Karma propounded by Mahavira two thousand and five hundred years ago, because like Dr. Jung, Lord Mahavira also thought that self is ‘shut up inside his mind and cannot step beyond it', if it does not make positive efforts to break open the closed doors behind which it is ‘shut up'. What Dr. Jung calls ‘deeper level of sub‑conscious acting as a sort of dictator', Mahavira calls more simply, the Bhava‑karmas, i.e., the thoughts and tendencies, entertained and encouraged by you before or without giving them shape by outer actions. The recognition of this great stream of sub‑conscious which is an essential part of our personality, but of which we are mostly unaware, has given Jaina thinking about the theory of Karma, a psychological and scientific gloss which is almost modern.

Here, it would be interesting to note the great theoretical controversy which took place between Mahavira and one of his principal disciples Jamali, who was his son‑in‑law in his worldly relationship. Since Mahavira always emphasised. Bhava, i.e., intention or motive as the prime mover of an ostensible action, he evolved the principle known as ‘Kade‑Mane Kade' which is a Prakrt expression meaning that an action which is started, but which is yet not finished, is as good as already done. This principle does not recognize any distinction between the action which, though started, has not yet fructified, and the action which is completed and which has borne fruits. The basis of this principle is the above referred theory of Bhava‑karma.

Jamali, a very learned disciple of Mahavira could not agree to this principle, and pleaded the counter principle of ‘Kade Kade' meaning an action can be termed as action only when it is complete. In other words, according to Jamali an incomplete action is no action at all.

A modern psychologist would obviously disagree with Jamali. The venerable author of Srimadbhagavadgita seems to be in agreement with Mahavira when he pronounces :

‘Nehabhikramana' sosti pratyavayo na vidyate' meaning ‘The action just started (in Karma‑yoga) is never destroyed, nor is it obstructed.' Then in the next line he says : ‘Sva‑Ipamapyasya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat' meaning ‘Even a little performance of Dharma ‑ duty (Karma‑yoga) saves one from great calamity'.

Thus Mahavira's all inclusive definition of Karma (action) which emphasised the inner working of mind as the prime mover of all outward human manifestations, was of great importance in those days of ceremonial sacrifices which gave importance to only the outward rituals at the cost of moral and mental deterioration caused by violence on mute animals.

This theory of Karma brings in a causal law to explain various phenomena not only in human life but also in all lives found in the whole universe. All lives in the universe, mobile (Tras) as well as immobile (Sthavara), form as one well‑knit family governed by the same cosmic law of causation.

Mahavira went further and propounded that since all Jivas (living things) are the parts of the same cosmic machine called universe, no one can isolate himself from the rest of life and violence by mind, speech or body (Manasa, Vaca or Karmana) is violence to one's own self, and every good or bad action done to others gathers Karmic forces which bind yourself and pollutes the purity of your own soul.

According to the teachings of Mahavira, therefore, the activities of mind, speech and body, lead to constant influx of karmic matter which forms a sort of karma‑sarira (a karmic body) for the soul which moves through ‘Samsara' to experience the fruits of these karmas. It is said that the Karmic matter percolates and clings to the soul as does the heat to a red hot iron ball. Thus every soul is responsible for its own karma. It has either to suffer and enjoy these fruits or to shed these karmas by positive efforts, if it wants to avoid their fruits. How to do this, is the subject matter of a different discussion. However, the Jaina belief that this can be done, has led them to categorise and analyse the nature of different types of karmas, the nature of the intensity with which they bind the soul, the time when they fructify, the manner in which they fructify and the method by which these karmas may be destroyed or their effects modified.


Categories of Karmas

Jaina thinkers have one hundred and forty‑eight sub‑varities 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 ‘avarana' means a ‘screen'. We have already discussed what is ‘Jnana' and what is ‘Darsana'. 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 achieves ‘Kevala‑jnana'.

(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 ‘Vedana' means feeling. This Karma therefore generates the feelings of pleasure and pain which are called Sata‑vedaniya and Asata‑vedaniya Karmas.

(4) Mohaniya : ‘Moha' means attachment. This is the most dangerous, out of all the eight karmas because ‘Moha' (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 ‘Darsana mohaniya', i.e., those that obscure right vision, and ‘Caritra‑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 ‘Kasayas', i.e., passions and hence it is said ‘Kasaya‑mukti kila muktireva' means ‘Verily, freedom from passions is the real freedom'.

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 lameneted the personal loss caused to him. He  found that many of the house‑holders who were the lay followers of the master could achieve ‘Kevala‑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‑striken 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 ‘Darsanavaraniya' karma resulting from attachment (Moha).

It is proper to bear in mind that attachment is not ‘love'. Pure love has no attachments. The  root verb of the word ‘Moha' is ‘Muh' (to fascinate). So the noun ‘Moha' means ‘fascination' while the Samskrta equivalent of the word love is (Prema). Thus the connotations of the words ‘Moha' and ‘Prema' are entirely different. ‘Prema' (love) has no strings and no infatuation. ‘Moha' 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 ‘Ayusya' 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 ‘Nama' 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 three types.

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 unfavourable surroundings.

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 ‘Ghati' (means striking) because they come in the way of soul's progres 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 ‘Kadana Kammana Na Mokkha Atthi' means ‘There 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.


Duration of Karmic Bondage

For what length of time the self is fetterred  by this Karmic bondage ? It is believed that the time duration of a karmic bondage is automatically determined at the time when that bondage is ‘earned' and its length entirely depends upon the nature and character of the karma done by us. However, the fruits of our karmas would not necessarily come out for enjoyment soon or during this very life. One may have to be confronted with these fruits even in next life or lives. If the fruits of good karmas predominate during a particular life the fruits of bad ones may not come to surface soon, and vice versa.


Nature of Bondage

Similarly the intensity of a karmic bondage also depends upon the nature and character of the Karmas. If a karma is done with great intensity, in other words if ‘Bhava‑karma prompting an action is strong, the bondage, good or bad, would be equally intense and strong. A man can use his knife to commit murder as also to perform a surgical operation to cure a living creature, and accidently causes death. Both may be responsible to cause death but while one wanted to kill, the other wanted to save. Thus the ‘Bhava' or intention of both was entirely different and hence the bondage would also be different.


Mitigation of Bondage

When the intensity of a bondage is extremely strong, it has to be sufferred as it cannot be mitigated. Such karmas are called ‘Nikacit'. However, other karmas and their effect can be mitigated by countering them by penances, equanimity and good conduct. This aspect will be discussed in further details when we consider the ‘Tattva' called ‘Nirjara' (shedding) process of being free from karmic bondage.


Fresh Karmas

Self, in its dynamic march through worldly lives is constantly earning and shedding karmas. It earns further karmic bondages even while suffering the fruits of the past karmas, if it does not suffer the said fruits with equanimity and objectivity. A person who passes through some calamity‑mental or physical grumbles against his fate or loses temper and commits acts of indiscretion and violence with a view to avoid the uncomfortable circumstances in which he is placed. Another  man who is passing through a period of prosperity or is invested with some power over his fellow men or lower creatures, and while enjoying this prosperity and power, he commits acts of indiscretion and violence. Both these persons are reaping the fruits of their past or present karmas, but while doing so, they are creating fresh and further bondages by their acts of indiscretion and violence. Even acceptance of fruits of good and bad karmas with over joy or sadness disturbs the mental equilibrium and results in fresh bondage of karmas.

Therefore, the ideal way to face the fruits of ones karmas is to face them calmly, objectively and peacefully with full equanimity of mind. If you are oppressed with pains, treat the occasion with equanimity and understanding, thinking within yourself that it is a good opportunity to shed your karmas which have been of your own creation out of some ignorance. If you are passing through a period of pleasure, thank the scheme of Universe which has not failed to reward your good actions of the past, and  be prepared to do further good without any strings of desires attached to it. One should constantly remember that pleasure and pain are the inseparable constituent of life and the true art of living consists in learning to bear both with equanimity and understanding. If this is done, no fresh karmic bondages are evolved while reaping the fruits of our past karmas.


Life's activities

If self, in its journies through different lives, cannot remain without some activity, and if our activities are prone to generate various types of karmas, what should one be advised to do : can he stop his activities ? If he cannot, how can he escape the earning of fresh karmas, because every activity in this Samsara would bring in fresh karmic bondages, and one can hardly expect to be totally free from the cycle of births and deaths.

The legitimacy of these questions is beyond doubt. Key to the solution is, however, found in the enquiry as to what is that which attracts the karmic Pudgalas ? We have already noticed that our deeds are prompted by our intentions known as ‘Bhavas', and that the duration and the intensity of our karmas depend mainly upon the intensity of the feelings, ‘Bhavas', with which they are done. It follows that if we do a particular act objectively, honestly, and without being subjectively involved in the fruits there of, our Bhavas (feelings) in doing the same the neutralized and the bondage of such karmas, if any, becomes superficial. Life is action and so action is unavoidable so long as life persists. But action without attachment is as good as ‘no‑action' ‑ a situation which is known as ‘Akarma' in ‘Gita'. ‘Sthitaprajna' of Gita is the ideal of human beings in action. None of the Indian systems of philosophical thoughts has shunned the duties which one owes to his family, his society or his nation or to the humanity at large. What is shunned is doing the same with expectations. Almost all the Tirthankaras (Prophets) of Jainas hailed from the warrior class called Ksartiyas. Many of them were Cakravartins (emperors) who had fought bitter wars. But when they retired they could achieve their goal of total liberation. They could not have achieved this had they not remained detached while rulings as Cakravartins, as also while fighting wars. King Janaka, the father of Sita supplies the brilliant example of how one can even rule a kingdom without attachment. Action without attachment is, therefore, not unknown to Indian culture. Hence the Jainism, like other Indian philosophical systems, does not insist that renunciation of the worldly affairs is a sine quanon of liberation from Karmic bondage.


Even good actions bind, if motivated

While talking of karmic bondages, ir must be noted that Jainism does not approve of even so called good actions resulting in ‘Punya' meaning righteousness or virtues, if they are done with a motive to earn something in return either in this life or in the next, because the good actions taken with such motives result in the bondages of ‘Punya'. Law of causation would surely give you proper reward for your good actions, but this will not result in total liberation which is the final goal of spiritual ascendency. Such actions therefore result in the bondage of golden chains and it matters not if the chains which bind you are made of gold or of iron. Such actions are therefore described as Punyanubandhi Papa meaning sin having a gloss of righteousness. There are certain undesirable actions which a man is compelled to take to protect some virtues. For example, a molester of a helpless victim is required to be killed to save the victim. Such an action results in Papanubandhi Punya meaning, virtue having the gloss of sin. These are different types of bondages which follow their own course of duration and intensity depending upon various factors including the factor of attachment of detachment.


Consequences of Karma Theory

This, in short, is the bare outline of Jaina theory of Karmas. Following are the direct logical consequences which flow from this theory.

(1) Once you believe that universal phenomenon are governed by the law of causation, you rule out the existence of any outside agency to govern our fate.

(2) The theory is based on the premise that Karmic forces which set the law of causation into motion are eternal and their motivating force called Jiva is also, eternal and there is no need to import the idea of a creator, sustainer and a destroyer.

(3) Theory of Karma rules out the propitiation of gods for seeking their favour to save yourselves from calamities.

(4) On the contrary, the theory insists on self reliance and asks us to develop our own moral character and increase our spiritual power to save ourselves from evil effects of our own past Karmas.

(5) You have to own your ethical responsibility for the good and bad things and it is possible to discharge this responsibility with equanimity and understanding.




Experience based thinking process , Understanding of Jiva, the sine qua non of all understanding  Nirjara, Moksa (final liberation). Process of Change and Nine Tattvas, Essential Tendency of Every Jiva, Papa and Punya : Both of Binding Nature, Asrava (influx), Bandha (bondage) , Samvara


Life, even as the ordinary humdrum series of daily events, is something essentially ungraspable and indefinable; never for a moment does it remain the same. We can never make it stand‑still for analysis and definition.

The harder, we try to catch hold of the moment, to seize a pleasant sensation, or to define something in a way which will be satisfactory for all time, the more illusive it becomes. It has been said that to define is to kill, and if the wind were to stop for a second for us to catch hold of it, it would cease to be wind. The same is true of life.      --- Zen, Liu‑Chi


Process of Change and Nine Tattvas

This is the Zen‑Buddhist approach, appropriately emphasising the flittering nature of the things of this universe. The Jaina thinkers may have no objection to this proposition. But they go further and maintain that a man has the potential to understand the nature of the change in life as well as capable of bringing some order in the change. This understanding of the change led them to evolve nine fundamental elements, explaining the whole process of bondage and liberation of the soul. These Nine principles are fundamental to the understanding of Jaina philosophy, hence called Nine ‘tattvas' meaning ‘Essence'. The word ‘tattva' is explained in Samskrta as (Tasva bhavah tattvam) meaning ‘the essence of a thing is Tattva'. What is the essence of all this change, represented by the process of Karmic bondage and freedom of the self ? What is the mechanism by which this process works, why it works and how it can be regulated to take the self to the desired end, i.e., the final liberation ? These are the questions, the Jaina seers have tried to answer by pointing out the mechanism of these nine tattvas.

They have pointed out that every soul, in its journey to freedom has to reckon with seven elements, namely, Papa‑vicious deeds known as sins, Punya‑virtuis deeds, Asrava ‑influx of karmic particles caused by vicious or virtuous deeds, Bandha‑bondage due to the said influx, Sanvara‑prevention of influx of karmas, Nirjara‑annihilation of accumulated karmas and Moksa‑final liberation. Jiva the self, tied with Ajiva from time immemorial, struggles to liberate itself from the union with Ajiva, and in that process, it has to encounter with the above seven elements. These seven elements, along with the two elements of Jiva and Ajiva constitute nine elements in all, the understanding of which gives us the total picture are called (Nava‑tattva), and the understanding of these Nine‑tattvas, covers the whole field of Jaina metaphysics and the ehtics.

It is pertinent to note that, unlike most of the Western thinkers, the Indian Philosophers have never tried to dissociate metaphysica from ehtics, as according to them real knowledge is personal experience which does not come without living your philosophy in actual life. It is for this reason that the Jaina philosophers have joined the metaphysical concepts of Jiva and Ajiva with the rest of the seven concepts which are ethical in their contents.


Essential Tendency of Jiva

We have already noticed that Jiva and Ajiva constitute the whole universe; we have also taken note of five categories of Ajiva, namely, Pudgala, Dharma, Adharma, Akasa and Kala. It is the union of Jiva with karmic forces of Pudgala which causes the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is the cardinal belief of Jainism that the essential tendency of every Jiva is to go up and progress. It is like a hollwed gourd which when put under deep water has a tendency to go up and float over the water surface if it is not smeared by weighty earth. When the self is heavily smeared by various karmic matters it is not able to go up and remains sub‑merged in the waters of Sansara (worldly life); but as and when it gets lighter by the discharge of karmic bondages which surround it, it gradually goes up and when totally free from these bondages, it floats over the surface waters of this universe. The nature of the soul is of darting upwards.


 ‘Papa' and ‘Punya' : Both of Binding Nature

Let us discuss how ‘the self' progresses in its upward journey towards ultimate end. What is to be achieved is the divorce of the self from non‑self called Pudgala which means to create the detached outlook towards worldly objects. In our worldly existence we engages our self in various types of activities and it necessarily comes in contact with more and more karmic forces, which are essentially of two types, namely those which are of vicious character and those which are of virtuous character called Papa and Punya respectively. Papa‑vicious acts, resulting in sins, are caused mainly by mohaniya karmas, that is, by aversion, delusion and passions. Due to these self remains indulged in the activities which are purely selfish and materialistic. Anger, avarice, violence, indulgence in sex and apathy towards trials and tribulations of others generate the karmic forces of Papa and put the ‘self' in further bondages.

On the contrary, good and virtuous acts such as sympathy for others, willingness to help the poor and weak, right conduct, social awareness generated by pious attachment result in the karmic forces called Punya. These virtuous deeds bring in their train the feeling of pleasure, good and comfortable life and other favourable circumstances.

Both these types of karmic forces bind the self and work as shackles on the real freedom. The simple reason being that bad as well as good deeds necessarily imply a pre‑disposition to do them and are prompted by motives, i.e., aversion or attachment (Dvesa or Raga). The ultimate aim of the self, that is, to get liberated from all kinds of shackles‑good or bad‑ and to ultimately this vicious cycle of birth or death is hindered even by good deeds, binding the soul in golden chains of pleasure and comforts.

However, it must not be mistaken that Jainism equates good deeds with bad ones. It does recognise that good deeds are conducive to social order and these deeds also enable the self, put in pleasant and comfortable situation, to progress further. Hence, good deeds resulting in ‘Punya' are always more desirable than bad deeds resulting in Papa. But when Jainas point out that even good deeds result in bondage, their emphasis is on the metaphysical aspect of the good deeds. Therefore it is necessary to know the real character of the karmic forces generated by good deeds purely from philosophical point of views keeping aside social point of view. Punya karmas result in giving the self many worldly pleasures and comforts but not the bliss of salvation. The salvation is not possible if element of attachment (Moha) is left in them. And it is remarkable that most of the so called good deeds, performed for ‘social good', are the every aspirant for spiritual perfection is expected to do all his deeds‑apparently good or bad‑without attachment and should behave like a ‘Sthita' means ‘Steady' and ‘Prajna' means understanding. Thus, ‘Sthitaprajna' , a person with steady mind and understanding, acts without motives, in a natural way, just as the sun shines and gives light. To shine and to give light is natural and motiveless for the sun. The sun‑light  is helpful for good as well as bad actions, but the sun is not, in the least, concerned with that. Such unconcerned, motivless and natural actions in life do not bind the self even if they result in good or bad ends.


Asrava (Influx)

It means influx of karmic matter into the self, resulting from good or bad actions. The root of the word Asrava is ‘Sru' meaning ‘to ooze, or to tricle'. When karmic forces flow to the self, it is called the process of Asrava‑influx. When the self activates in Samsara and indulges in deeds, good or bad, there is an inflow of karmic matters towards the self and these are received by it.

How this happens ? Soul is dynamic in character and always conscious enough to receive the impulses or sensations, caused by worldly objects when it is still in union with Ajiva. This results in vibratory of the soul which generates a sort of magnetic force. This magnetic force attracts the karmic matter through the agency of body, mind and speech. This is how the flow starts. This flow is Asrava.

Asrava is of two types, namely, Bhava‑asrava (psychical) and Dravya‑asrava (physical). Bhava is internal impulse resulting from psychic disposition. In other words, modification of consciousness by which karma gets into the soul is  known as psychical influx. This leads to actual action which results in Dravya Asrava. We can say that karmic matter itself which enters the soul is called physical influx. In the words of Dr.Mohan Lal Mehta ‘psychical influx is nothing but the mental, bodily or vocal activity, whereas physical influx is a peculiar type of matter. Bhava is always more important as without it Dravya cannot come into existence, and the influx of persons with passions extends transmigration and that of persons free from passions prevents or shortens it.


Bandha (Bondage)

This is next stage, when the inflowing karmas actually stick to and permeate the self, just as water permeats milk. When this happens the self gets perfectly polluted and is bound to reap the fruits of the karmas which pollute it. These karmas are of eight types which we have already discussed in the foregoing chapter.

Since the karmic flow which results in Bandha‑Bondage has to be suffered, it is necessary to consider the time duration and intensity of the bondage. While considering this aspect, the Jainas have classified these Bandhas into four types, namely, 1.Prakrti‑bandha (Nature of the Bondage), 2.Sthiti‑bandha (Duration of the bondage), 3. Anubhaga‑bandha (Intensity of the bondage), 4. Pradesa‑bandha (Space‑dimensions of the bondage). The first suggests the quality or nature such as Jnanavaraniya or Darsanavaraniya, etc. The second one determines the time‑duration for which the fruits of karmas are to be enjoyed. The third, showing the intensity of the result, depends upon  the intensity of the passions with which the karma is performed. In other words intensity of the result is reflected by the intensity of the cause. The fourth occupies different space dimensions of the self in accordance with the temperamental disposition of the self in accordance with the temperamental disposition of each individual and binds each individual soul in different manners. All these four types of bondages are determined at the very time when the deeds are done or intention to do them is entertained.

What are the causes of Bandha ? According to Umasvati, they are five in number, i.e., wrong belief, non‑restraint, passions, unawareness and activity. Among these five passions (kasayas) and activity (yoga) are more important. Kasayas are, as already noticed, anger, pride, deceit and greed. Yoga, in Jainism means the activity of body, speech and mind. Among the remaining causes Mithyatva means false attitude. Avirati means non‑cessation from enjoyment of sensual objects and Pramada means want of consant awaremess. If these are the causes of Bandha, their opposite elements would be the causes of its absence.

Thus the four Tattvas namely Papa, Asrava and Bandha show how the self gets bound and polluted by karmic forces. Since life is constantly going on with good or bad activities, the karmic bondage is also a continuous process. The self also earns further karmas even while experiencing the fruits of previous karmas. If this is so, it appears that the self would never be free from karmic bondages and all efforts to achieve freedom would be invain. Then what is the wayout ?



The answer is provided by the next two ‘Tattvas' namely, ‘Samvara' and ‘Nirjara'. ‘Samvara' means prevention of Asrava', that is, stoppage of inflow of karmas and ‘Nirjara' means destruction of accumulated karmas. Thus, while ‘Samvara' prevents fresh inflow of karmas, ‘Nirjara' destroys the accumulated karmas. When both the processes are complete what follows is Moksa, i.e., liberation. Let us see how this process happens.

Experience‑based thinking process ‑ Samvara is the beginning of the process of change in reverse direction of bondage. As the ultimate tendency of every ‘Jiva'. whether of a human such as fungus, bacterias and virus is to ascend. In the course of his seemingly endlees struggle, during endless cycle of birhts and deaths, the self sometimes progresses and sometimes falls back spiritually. By each step forward or backward it experiences, tastes the good and bad fruits of life and ultimately, may be after millions of years, a time comes when it realizes the futility of worldly existence, becomes awakened and tries to find out why and how all previous existence have not been able to bring out permanent peace and solace, always sought for. Initially it all appears to be a vain search‑a search for nothing. At this stage one may be induced to adopt the attitude of Carvakas and may begin to think that the talk of permanent happiness is a mere hallucination. There is nothing beyond this human existence which must be exploited and enjoyed to the full. It may also be induced to take up the line of ‘Niyaticadi' thinkers (determinists) like Gosala, that it is all destined and no human effort can save us from this destiny, hence take it easy and enjoy all the material pleasures which are offered by life. However, the process does not stop there. The intrinsic character of every ‘Jiva' being consciousness, it is endowed with constant thinking process and experiences of pleasure and pain. These experiences, gained from the enjoyment of the material objects and the attitude of limiting the soul's journey only to the present existence, are bound to lead to many imponderables, incongruencies and inequities. When this is properly realized, the consciousness does not remain stagnant and its thinking process begins to reconsider the stand hitherto adopted. A stage comes when the self feels, that all this humdrum of life, all this bewildering complexity of existence, all this up and down, stress and strain, pleasure and pain, cannot be without purpose. If that is so, what is the purpose, it asks itself. Some intellectually and spiritually advanced souls tried to understand the universe, its components and its scheme as well as it concluded that there are only two main components of the whole of this universe, namely Jiva (living) and Ajiva (non‑living) and also that the both have distinct characteristic of Jiva is consciousness and that whatever blurs this characteristic is foreign to it.

Understanding of Jiva, sine qua non of all understanding ‑ All Jaina philosophers have repeatedly emphasised that proper understanding of the quality of Jiva and Ajiva is the sine qua non of all understanding. Once this understanding starts, the process of Samvara starts because once the real character of Jiva reveals that whatever is Ajiva is foreign to Jiva and definitely obscures the characteristics of Jiva, efforts to prevent the karmic flow also start. If Pudgala is foreign to Jiva, Jiva must try to dissociate itself from Paudgalic influence if it desires to gain its own virtues. This process of thinking also leads the self to the realization of unity of the universe, understanding of the working and mechanism of universal scheme and inherent potentiality of every Jiva to achieve the highest. From this springs the idea of equality of all souls and the doctrine of Ahimsa in deed as well as in thought. This also leads to the doctrine of karma, birth, death and rebirth, shedding of karmas, methodology by which they can be shed away and the final liberation, i.e., end of birth and rebirth. Thus the entire structures of doctrines of Jaina philosophy is brought to light if once the dichotomy of Jiva and Ajiva is understood in proper light. This is called Samyag Darsana (proper perspective) which is followed by Samyag‑Jnana (proper knowledge) ‑ both of which are bound to be followed by Samyag‑caritra (proper conduct). Once the self adopts proper conduct fresh inflow of karmas begin to decrease and the realize that Paudgalic forces generated by kasayas like anger, pride, deceit and greed as well as avarice and attachment must be contained. This realization is called ‘Bhava‑samvara' and when this ‘Bhava‑samvara' is actualized and put into action, the relevant inflow of karma stops. This is called ‘Dravya‑samvara.'

The seers have preached the method by which ‘Dravya‑samvara' can be actualized. These are : 1. Vrata‑penances, 2.Samiti‑carefulness, 3. Gupti‑restraint, 4.Dharma‑observance, 5. Anupreksa‑reflection, 6.Parisahajaya‑victory over difficulties and 7. Caritra‑conduct. Each one of this is further explained in details. We shall revert to that discussion later on.

Aim of ‘Samvara' is to block all the outlets of Asrava. This is illustrated by allegory of a pond of water getting water inflow from different drains. To make the pond completely, dry, only throwing out the collected water is not sufficient, blocking all the outlets through which water flows in, is essential. Similarly the self can purify itself by shedding all accumulated karmas and by blocking all the outlets through which fresh karmas are flowing. This latter process is the process of ‘Samvara', ‘Sam' means proper and ‘Vr' means to prevent, to surround. When this process is over, the fresh karmas are not generated and even if generated they are of very weak character. At this stage the question arises as to what should be done to the already accumulated karmas. This leads us to the next process called ‘Nirjara'.


Nirjara (Shedding of Accumulated Karmas)

Function of Samvara is to stop the fresh inflow of karma but the function of Nirjara is to dry up the reservoir of the past karmas. This process can be achieved in two ways, namely‑ (1) by allowing the past karmas to fructify in due course of time and tasting their fruits‑good or bad ‑‑with equanimity and (2) by shedding past karmas through observing suitable penances before their actual fructification. The first method is known as ‘Akama‑nirjara' while the second as ‘Sakama‑nirjara'. In the first method the karmas are exhausted themselves on their fructification. There are two main drawbacks of this method, namely ‑ (a) we do not know when the past karmas would fructify and it may also be possible that they may not fructify during the present life, (b) If the fruits of the past karmas are not received with equanimity and objectivity and if the self is affected and  agitated by good or bad fruits respectively, it earns further karmas. Thus while exhausting past karmas the self earns some fresh karmas. It is for these inherent defects of ‘Akama‑nirjara' method, i.e., the passive method of shedding the karmas that the seers have recommended the second method of ‘Sakama‑nirjara', i.e., active method of shedding the karmas. This is the method of shedding of karmas by positive efforts. It is like ripening a fruit by artificial means, instead of allowing it to ripe in natural course. The positive efforts are through penances, called ‘Tapas'. These penances are of two types, namely ‑ (a) Abhyantara Tapa meaning Internal or ‘Inward penances', (b) Bahya Tapa meaning External or ‘Outward penances'. ‘Inward penances' are classified as ‑ 1. Prayascitta (atonement of sinful acts), 2. Vinaya (reverence or politeness), 3. Vaiyavrtya (service to saints and elders), 4. Svadhyaya (scriptural study), 5. Vyutsarga (abandonment of passions etc.), 6. Dhyana (meditation). The whole range of ‘internal penances' is mental and  psychological towards life and its problems. This transformation is styled as ‘Penances' which shows that in Jaina terminology the expression ‘penances' is not confined to physical and sensual restrains only. At every stage of philosophical reasoning the Jainism has emphasised the prime importance of ‘Bhava', i.e., inner working of mind, for the simple reason that the gross always follows the subtle and no action is actualized without it being previously entertained in the inner mental plane. Therefore the significance of Jaina emphasis on "inward penances lies in the fact that it clearly proves that Jainism does not advocate only sensual repression and physical tormentation as is generally misconceived by these, ignorant of the basic approach of the Jaina seers. These ‘inward penances' are known as ‘Bhava‑nirjara'.

External penances known as Bahya‑tapa are meant to rest‑rain and discipline the sensual cravings. These are of six subtypes, namely (1) Anasana ‑ fasting, (2) Avamaudarya ‑ reduced diet, (3) Vrttiparisankhyana ‑ delimiting the varieties of food, (4) Rasa‑parityaga ‑ giving up stimulating diet, (5) Viviktayyasana ‑ lonely habitation, (6) Kayaklesa ‑ Mortification of the body. However, these outward restraints are of no use if they are not accompanied by inner restraints and understanding. Unless these outer restraints and penances are able to maintain equanimity of mind and spirit, they would result in mere tormentation of one's body which is strictly prohibited. A fast with mind lingering in kitchen, is not Nirjara. Contrarily it results in accumulation of fresh karmas. Similarly fasts and other such penances undertaken with a view  to gain material benifits or worldly pleasures and to earn name and prestige in the contemporary society would result in ‘Asrava'. It is thus evident that those who celebrate their penances by advertisements, processions and feasts are merely making a morkery of this subtle principle of Nirjara.

The processes of Samvara and Nirjara are not exclusive and hence both can be and should be taken up simultaneously. They are mostly overlapping because both postulate a prior change in mental attitude and approach towards life and its problems. Therefore, the classifications described above are only for the purpose of understanding the details of their working.

As regards ‘Gunasthanas' the ascendency of the soul by different steps (already discussed in Chapter Sixth) Samvara and Nirjara cover all the fourteen steps of Gunasthanas, before achieving the absolute Bliss, i.e.,Siddhahood.


Moksa (Final Liberation)

It is the state of total liberation, from the shackles of karma, as well as from the cycle of births and deaths. It is the state of ‘Nirvana' or deliverance. It is the state of perfection, omniscience and pure knowledge, known as ‘Siddhahood'. It is difficult to describe it even by analogy as there is nothing in this universe which is similar to it.

To use the words  of the great philosopher Dr.S.Radhakrishana : "The state of perfection is passively described as freedom from action and desire, a state of utter and absolute quiescence, a rest that knows no change or ending, a passionless and ineffable peace. The energy of past karma is extinguished and the spirit, though still existent, has no chance of re‑embodiment."

This state is said to be the state of complete, absolute and unconditioned Bliss‑ a real state of Sat‑Cit‑Ananda.

When the soul reaches this stage it becomes Isvara (God), who was always potentially present within you. According to Jaina philosophy, ‘Pariksna sakala karmah Isvarah' meaning ‘God is he whose all karmas have been annihilated'. Thus each one of us can attain God‑hood if we are able to shed our karmas. Jainism says that God‑hood is not be searched in distant heavens. It is within your own self. In one of the Upanisadas it is said, ‘Tad dure, tad antike', means ‘It appears to be far, but it is the nearest'.




Paryayarthika Naya (Aspect of Modification or change) and Dravyarthika Naya (Aspect of substratum) , Seven classes of Nayas , Utility of Naya theory .


"The distinctive feature of an unintelligent man is the hastiness and absoluteness of his opinions. The scientist is slow to believe and never speaks without modification always ready to concede that it may be wrong."


Bertand Russel

The greatest contribution which the Jainas have made to the world of thought is by their theories of Nayavada and Syadvada. The word ‘Syad' in Samskrta means ‘perhaps' but in Jainism it is used to show the relativity of a judgement and the word ‘Nyaya' means ‘Standpoint'. Truth or reality is always complex and has many aspects. If one is impressed by one of the aspects of a complex reality and begins to identify the reality only by that aspect he is bound to make a wrong judgement about the reality. Therefore, the Jaina seers exhort us to look at the complexities of life and knowledge, from every standpoint and from positive as well as negative aspects. They recognise that the apprehension of an ordinary human being is partial an hence valid only from a particular point of view which cannot give a correct or even a nearly correct comprehension of the whole. The complex reality has not only infinite number of qualities but also infinite number of relations. Again, it may be looked at differently by different persons and under their different circumstances. It assumes different forms and appearances for which due allowance ought to be made. All this makes it difficult to form a correct judgement about it unless a systematic and logical method is found to identify it. This method is called Nayavada. As Dr.S.Radhakrishnan observes ‑‑

"The doctrine of Nayas of Standpoint is a peculiar feature of Jaina logic. A Naya is a standpoint from which we make a statement about a thing ‑ What is true from one standpoint may not be true from another. Particular aspects are never adequate to the whole reality. The relative solutions are abstractions under which reality may be regarded, but do not give us a full and sufficient account of it. Jainism makes basic and fundamental principle that truth is relative to our standpoint."

Thus ‘Naya' can be defined as a particular view point‑a view point which gives only a partial idea about an object or view which cannot over rule the existence of another or even a contrary view about the same object. If an object or theory is judged only from one standpoint, the judgement is one sided and it is termed as ‘Ekanta'. ‘Eka' means ‘one' and ‘Anta' means ‘end', thus Ekanta means one‑sidedness. The Jainas therefore ask us to judge from all aspects which is called ‘Anekanta'. This is the basic principle of Jaina philosophy. Every fundamental principle of Jaina philosophy is based on Anekanta. Throughout, its approach Anekanta has been to accept the different aspects or even contradictory aspects of the reality and to evolve a synthesis between the contradictory philosophical theories. For instance, some of the Vedantic teachers have said that every visible form has an unchangeable substance. From a lump of clay many forms can be made but clay‑substance remains the same. So, only that substance which remains unchanged and permanent is real, the forms are unreal as they are ever changing. From this point of view, only ‘Brahma', which pervades the universe, is true and the rest which is tangible is unreal and untrue called ‘Maya'. On the contrary, the Buddhists contend that everything in the universe is constantly changing and the change is so rapid that the apparent continuity gives the appearence of some unchanging entity, which is not there. It is, according to Buddhist belief, just like a flowing river which gives the appearance of continuity but every drop of water which flows is different. What we perceive in clay is only a particular quality but even qualities are changing and hence there is nothing permanent which can be received besides changing qualities of an object. Thus according to Buddhists even Atman (soul) is not permanent.

A Jaina seer would say, both are correct from the standpoint from which they look at the problem, but both make their statements which do not conform to the principle of Anekanta and hence do not give a correct judgement of the reality. Jainas say that changes are as real as the original substance. A jug made of a clay substance cannot be used as anything except as a jug and since the use is real, the form of a jug which clay has assumed, cannot be unreal. If the clay substance assumes some other form of an earthen vessel meant for cooking, that vessel cannot be used as a jug even though clay substance remains the same. If this is so, how can we say that the form which the substance assumes at a particular time is unreal and only the substance is real. The substance of clay appears to be the only real thing to those who concentrate on substance and ignores the form. It is not correct to say that because there is a change in the form, the changing form is unreal. If it is real even for a moment, its reality must be accepted and recognised, if a comprehensive view of the whole reality is to be taken. If one wants a jug he would not ask you to bring a lump of clay because what he wants is a jug and not clay. Thus according to Jainism the Vedantist view is Ekanta and does not give a complete idea of the reality.

Similarly even the Buddhist veiw does not give the comprehensive idea because it concentrates its attention only on change and ignores the fact, that behind every change there is a constant substance, which remains the same. Analogy of rivers is fallacious because though it may be true that the apparent flow is made of different drops, water substance remains the same. Moreover, it would not be correct to say that the intrinsic quality substances are changing though their outward form may not be changing. For instance water may change the form and become ice or vapour but its intrinsic elements namely H2O remain the same. Thus the Jainas would contened that the Buddhists ignore to take into account that substance which is permanent.


Paryayarthika and Dravyarthika Naya

According to the Jainas, in order to have a complete and comprehensive judgement of reality one has to take into account the main substance which has the element to permanence and goes under the changes in various forms. In this process of change the previous form dies away and new form comes into existence. The birth of the new form is called Utpada, the death of the old form is called Vyaya and the substance which remains constant during this process of birth and death is called Dhrauvya. When one is able to comprehend all these three, one can arrive at a proper judgement about the thing in question. When the self takes the form of a human being you can know it as a ‘man' or a ‘woman'. When it takes a form of the vegatable, you can describe it as ‘grass'. All these descriptions are true from the standpoint of the forms which the self has assumed. So, when we recognise a thing from the point of view of the modification or change, it is called ‘Paryayarthika Naya'. Paryaya means modification, change. But when we recognise that thing from the point of view of substance. The former consider changing aspect of reality while the later considers its permanent aspect. A correct and comprehensive perception of a thing is possible when its permanent substance (Dravya) is taken into account along with its existing mode (Paryaya). As Acarya Siddhasena puts it : "Anekantatmakam Vastu Gocarah", i.e., we can understand a thing properly by perceiving its various aspects.


Seven Classes of Nayas

Jaina philosophers have given broad classifications of different aspects (Nayas) through which we can perceive a thing. They are : 1. Naigama Naya (Generic and Specific view or teleological view), 2. Sangraha Naya (class‑view), 3. Vyavahara Naya (Empirical view), 4. Rjusutra Naya (Momentary view), 5. Sabda Naya (Verbalistic view), 6. Samabhirudha Naya (Etymological view) and 7. Evambhuta Naya (Specialised view). There are hundreds of sub‑classifications of these seven Nayas but without touching them we shall presently discuss the bare outlines of these seven Nayas. But before doing so, it may be noted that first three Nayas are with reference to the identification of the main substance called ‘Dravya' and hence are known as ‘Dravyarthika Nayas' while the rest four refer to the standpoints which identify the modes of the main substance and hence are known as ‘Paryayarthika Nayas'. We take up first ‘Dravyarthika Nayas'.

(i) Naigama Naya : Etymological meaning of the word ‘Naigam' is the ‘end product' or ‘result'. Tattvartha‑sara' gives an illustration of a person who carries water, rice and fuel and who, when asked what he was doing, says he is cooking. This reply is given in view of the result which he intends to achieve though at the exact time when the question is put to him he is not actually cooking. His reply is not correct from the point of view of Naigama Naya, though technically it is not exactly correct, because he is not actually cooking at the time when he replies. The general purpose, for which we work controls the total series of our activities. If some one passes his judgement on basis of that general purpose, he asserts Naigama Naya, i.e., the teleological view‑point.

Another sense in which thise Naya is used is generic‑cum‑specific. A thing has both generic and specific qualities but when we comprehend that thing without making distinction between these two is called as Naigama view point. Shri S. N. Dausgupta explains this as under :

"This looking at things from loose commonsense view in which we do not consider them from the point of view of their most general characteristic as ‘being' or as any of their specific characteristics, but simply as they appear at the first sight, is technically called Naigama standpoint. This empirical view probably proceeds on the assumption that a thing possesses the most general as well as the most special qualities, and hence we may lay stress on any one of these at any time and ignore the other ones. This is the point of view from which, according to the Jainas, the Nyaya and Vaisesika schools interpret experience."

According to Jaina view the approach of emphasizing only general or special qualities of reality and not both is fallacious as it fails to give a comprehensive idea of a thing. The fallacy is called as ‘Naigamabhasa'.

(2) Sangraha Naya  : We get this Naya (view point) when we put main emphasis on some general class characteristics of a particular thing ignoring altogether the specific characteristics of that class. Such a view is only partially correct but does not give the idea of the whole, for it ignores the specific characteristics of that thing. Jainas cite Vedanta as suffering from this fallacy, when it extracts only one class characteristic saying that every thing is ‘Sat' or existence and whatsoever saying is ‘Sat' is Brahman and rest is Maya, i.e., ‘Asat'. Particulars of Reality, according to Jainas are as real as its main substance and sole emphasis on any one of them leads to a fallacious approach which is called Sangrahabhasa.

(3) Vyavahara Naya  : If we look a thing from this standpoint, we try to judge it from its specific properties ignoring the generic qualities which are mainly responsible for giving birth to the specific qualities. This amounts to the assertion of empirical at the cost of universal and gives importance to practical experience in life. It is the materialistic view as entertained by Carvakas. The fallacy is called Vyavaharabhasa.

(4) Rjusutra Naya  : It is still narrower than Vyavahara in its outlook, because it not only emphasizes all the specific qualities but only those specific qualities which appear in a thing at a particular moment, ignoring their existent specific qualities of the past and future. The approach of the Buddhists is of this type. To ignore the specific qualities of past and future and to emphasize on only continuing characterstics of Reality is the fallacy involved here.

(5) Sabda Naya  : The Verbalistic approach is called as Sabda naya. It accepts that all synonyms connote the same object. Their meaning is changed only when we use them in different gender, case a context. All languages have synonyms suggesting the same thing. For instance the same person is indicated by the synonyms, yet they do indicate different qualities of the same person, because the word ‘Indira' connotes the ‘prosperity of the person, the word ‘Sakra' connotes the powerful personality and the word ‘Purandara' connotes the destroyer of fortresses. But if these words are used to establish complete identity between them, the distinct qualities which are indicated by them are obliterated and this results in the fallacy called ‘Sabdanayabhasa'.

(6) Samabhirudha Naya  : It is different from Sabda Naya, because it concentrates on the etymological distinction between the synonyms. If carried to the fallacious extent this standpoint may destroy the original identity pointed by synonyms.

(7) Evambhuta Naya  : This Naya recognises only that word which indicates the actual action presently attributed to the individual. For instance Indra can be described as ‘Purandara' only when he is acting as the destroyer of fortresses. In other words, among sysnonym words only that word should be selected which has a co‑relation with the action referred to.

Partial truth of Individual Naya  : As already noted the purpose of pointing out to this detailed classification of nayas is to show how differently the same object can be viewed by different individuals. However, these different aspects are only partially true and since they are only partially true, they are not capable of being wholly true. They, however, cannot be rejected as wholly untrue also. These different aspects can be illustrated by the reactions of some blind persons who were asked to go to an elephant and give its description after touching and feeling it. One who touched its legs described it as like a pillar, one who touched the tail, described it like a rope and so on. Each one was right from his own standpoint because he could experience only a particular limb of the elephant and not the whole elephant. Each one of them was however, wrong because his descriprion did not conform to the reality which the elephant possessed. This reality could be comprehended only by one who could see the whole.

The Jainas, therefore, hold that the Carvakas, Nyaya‑Vaisesikas, Vedantins, Sankhyas and Buddhists apprehend reality partially neglecting other aspects of its and consider their own view‑points as absolutely true and thus commit different types of fallacies pointed above.


Utility of Naya Theory

The utility of the theory of Nayas lies in its analytical approach and the consequential approach of a rational unification of the manifold revealed by this analysis. The task of this rational unfication is done by the theory of Syadvada. As. Pt. Dalasukha Malavania, an esteemed Jaina Scholar puts it, "Acarya Siddhasena has said that there are as many view points (Nayas) as there are statements. Enlarging this pronouncement of the Acarya, Jinabhadra makes it clear that all philosophies taken collectively constitute Jainism. Contradiction seems to be existing in the mutually exclusive statements so long as they are not harmonized and integrated with each other."

The analysis of Naya shows that every judgement is relative to that particular aspect from which it is seen or known. This is also called Sapeksavada which  means relativity of our particular knowledge or judgement to a particular standpoint. Since human judgements are always from particular standpoints, they are all relative and hence not  absolutely true or absolutely false. Their outright acceptance as a sole truth or rejection as totally false would not be correct. This led the Jaina seers to their famous doctrine of ‘Syadvada', which means the doctrine of relativity.




Why relativity ? (Ksetra : place, Kala : time Akara : shape and Bhava : concept, Contribute to our judgement, Hence all knowledge is relative) , Importance of a negative (The word ‘Syat' not used to express doubt but is used to indicate many‑fold aspects, Sankara's comments and reply of scholars) , Is the ‘Self' permanent or transitory (Paryaya, the changing mode and Dravya, the unchanging substance, All things are within their own limitations, but ‘are not' beyond their limitations) , The doctrine of duality , Importance of Anekanta , How the doctrine clarifies ‘Self' and ‘Ahimsa' , Aneknata and Animsa (Real revolution is enlargement of man's power of understanding) , Einstein's Theory (What Einstein did on the plane of physics, Mahavira did in the field of thoughts and metaphsics) , Theory of Seven predications .


"Of ten things that annoy us, nine would not be able to do so, if we understood them thoroughly in their own causes, and therefore know their necessity and true nature."

"... ... to see things purely as objects of understanding is to rise to freedom."


Indeed, proper understanding of conflicting factors in individual or social life is more than a mere oiling of universal mechanism. How to get such an understanding ? Nayavada reveals a technique to arrive at such an understanding. It teaches us that truth reveals to us only partially if viewed from a particular aspect. Even if one finds that a proposition is quite contrary to the conviction he had for whole life, hence the cause of great irritation to him, once he applies the principles of Nayavada his irritation begins to subside. The simple reason being that he begins to realize the real cause for that contrary proposition.


Why Relativity

When we judge an object, we take into account not only its intrinsic‑substance, i.e., Dravya, but also the place (Ksetra) where it is found, the time (Kala) when it is found, and the shape (Akara) as well as the concept (Bhava) in which it is found.

Moreover, subjective attitude and past recollections towards the same of similar objects play a decisive role in judgement. At the same time prejudices and predilections, social upbringing, environmental necessaities and politico‑social taboos also play a very decisive role, in a judgement about an idea.

Infact every object and every idea has infinite charactersitcs and is required to be judged from varieties of standpoints. What should be our reaction towards a thing if we are convinced that everything in this universe has infinite characteristics and that limited knowledge a human being is not capable of apprehending all these characteristics. Certainly, if our approach is objective and unbiased, we would not rush to take an absolute view of that thing or though, keeping in mind the limitations of our knowledge. Our judgement based on limited data is likely to be wrong. We  would, however, not be actual perception. So in our prudence, we would say that the judgement, formed about actually perceived things is ‘likely' to be true. While saying so we would not rule out the possibility that it may turn out to be untrue if looked at from any other perspective. This is the approach of Syadvada which implies that each and every knowledge is relative. What we know by the analytical process of Nayavada, we express by the synthesis of Syadvada. As already noticed, the etymological meaning of the word ‘Syad' is ‘Perhaps'. But it is used to suggest a relative truth. The theory of Syadvada is based on the premise that every proposition is only relatively true. It all depends upon the particular aspect from which we appreciate that proposition. Since all propositions are related to many circumstances, our assertions about them depend entirely upon the particular circumstances through which we are viewing  them. Since our view has a limited aperture, we cannot see everything, and hence it is appropriate to avoid our absolute assertion.

For instance, when we say that a particulat thing weighs 5 lbs, our statement about the weight is related to the magnetic force exerted on that thing by our planet, the earth. The same thing may not weigh anything if removed out of this magnetic field or may weigh differently in a different planet. The same can be said about our statements relating to time and space and about every human experience. It is the matter of our daily experience that the same object which gives pleasure to us under certain circumstances, becomes boring under different circumstances. Scientific truths, are, therefore, relative in the sense that they do not give complete and exhaustive knowledge of the objects under study and contain elements that may be changed with further advance in knowledge. Nonetheless, relative truth is undoubtedly useful as it is a stepping stone to the ultimate truth.


Importance of a Negative

Again, it is important to bear in mind that when we make a positive assertion about a thing, there is an implied negative which, if not taken properly into account, may create confusion in understanding that thing. For instance, a man is a father to his sons but not to his own father, or to many other persons. He has different relations with different persons in the society. So when his parenhood is referred to, it is true only in relation to his children but untrue in his relations with his wife or friends. Both these positive and negative aspects are necessary for the correct identification of the relationship with other persons. Syadvada states the positive aspect by saying ‘Syad Asti', i.e., ‘it is true from a particular aspect'; it states the negative aspect by saying ‘Syad Nasti', i.e., ‘it is not true, if viewed from some other aspect.' In order to identify an object correctly both positive and negative aspects are necessary to show what that object is and what it is not. The Jaina logic also admits a third kind of judgement, that of indescribability called ‘Avaktavya'. It is at this stage important to note that the word ‘Syad' is not used to express ‘doubt' but is used to avoid a absolute assertion in view of the fact that our knowledge about the manifold aspects of a thing is limited. Acarya Hemacandra equates Syadvada with Anekantavada (non‑absolutism). "The word ‘Syat' is an adverb, it conveys the relativity of a statement, which is based on the manyfold nature of reality, i.e., Anekanta." The expression ‘Anekanta' is made of two words, ‘Aneka' means manyfold and ‘Anta' means Aspect. For everything has many aspects, so any absolute judgement about it is not the correct approach. Syadvada is nothing but the relative liguistic expression. As Dasgupta explains :

"This (Syad asti) will indicate that the affirmation is only relative, made somehow, from point of view and under some reservations and not in any sense absolute. There is no judgement which is absolutely true, and no judgement which is absolutely false. All judgements are true in some sense and false in another."

We observe that the process of creation, maintenance and destruction is constantly going on around us in this universe. On the study of this process the Jaina seers concluded by applying the doctrine of Syadvada that every object is permanent as well as transitory. To a layman, such a statement would a tonce appear to be contradictory as a thing cannot be permanent and at the same time transitory. In fact such a criticism is levelled against Jainism by great Vedantists like Sankara and Ramanuja. The criticism is, however, based on the incorrect presumption that these apparently contradictory statements are made with reference to the same aspect and in the same sense and time. Since reality is one and permanent as well as multi‑fold and ever changing, when the Jainas refer to the attribute of permanence, they are aspecting the substratum which remains constant, and when they refer to the attribute of transitoriness, they are aspecting the changing modes of the substratum. They contend that if you want to have a proper judgement about a thing, you have to bear in mind the nature of substratum as well as of its changing modes. In other words you have to bear in mind that the object which you perceive has the quality of permanence so far as its substratum is concerned and that of transitoriness so far as its changing modes are concerned. If one understands in this sense there is no contradiction. As Dr.S.Radhakrishnan puts it :

"Attributes which are contradictory, in the abstract co‑exist in life and experience. The tree is moving in (the sense) that its branches are moving, and it is not moving since it is fixed to a place in the ground. It is necessary for us to know a thing clearly and distinctly, in its self‑existence as well as in its relations to other objects."

Prof. Ananda Sankara Dhruva, a venerated Gujarati Scholar and a top literary critic has also criticised Sankara's comments on Syadvada as under :

"The doctrine on Syadvada seeks to achieve the synthesis of different theories (of philosophy). Sankaracarya's criticism of Syadvada has no relevance to its central theme. It is certain that a thing cannot be properly understood so long as it is not examined from various aspects. The doctrine of Syadvada is useful for this reason. Some people call this doctrine of Mahavira as the doctrine of ‘doubt'. But I do not agree with them. Syadvada is not a doctrine of doubt because it teaches us the comprehensive art to judge a thing properly."

Prof.A.N.Upadhye says :"This doctrine of seven‑fold predication is often misunderstood and misrepresneted by idealists who have not been able to appreciate the metaphysical basis and intellectual approach. It reminds one, of the realist‑relativists of the west, such as Whitehead and others. The Jaina logician is neither a sceptic nor a agnostic; but he is a realist working with sound common sense. He does not want to ignore the relative or conditional character of the judgement arising out of the very nature of the object of knowledge."


Is Self Permanent or Transitory ?

In the field of metaphysics, there has been serious controversy about the real nature of ‘Self'. While Vedantists believe that everything which is found in this universe is ‘Brahma',the super self, which is permanent, and the material things which are found have no reality as they are transitory in nature, the Buddhists would say that everything in this universe including the super‑self is transitory and constantly changing. These are the two extreme views as they concentrate only on particular aspects to the exclusion of other aspects. The Jainas say that both are relatively correct from the view point through which they see the thing, but both are incorrect in as much as they fail to take the comprehensive view of all the aspects involved. The Jainas would call to aid their doctrine of Syadvada, i.e., Anekantavada and would say that from the point of view of substance, self is permanent, but from the point of view of modifications, it is transitory. Since substance and its modes should be taken as an integrated whole in order to comrehend it properly, both the attributes of permanence and transitoriness should be taken into account. Both to the Vedantists as well as to the Buddhists the Jaina seer would say ‘Syad asti', i.e., "From one aspect you are right" and applying his ‘Anekanta‑naya', i.e., looking at the problem from different angles, would come to the above conclusion. Thus the doctrine of relativity, which is the practical application of the theory of multifold aspects (Naya‑vada), is nothing but the doctrine of metaphysical synthesis. This doctrine has a great value in our day to day individual and social life. But before we touch that aspect, let us take an usual illustration which clarifies the doctrine fully.

Suppose there is a pot made of earth. The earth by which it is made, could be used even for making other types of earthen vessels. Now if the pot which is before us is broken and some vessel is made out of the earth of the broken pot, the new vessel so made would not be known as a pot because for all practical purposes the pot is destroyed and no more exists. This proves that the pot was merely a shape given to earth and, independently of earth, it had no existence. This also proves that pot's existence consisted of earth coupled with a particular shape. Now let us consider which of the two‑earth and shape‑can claim to have an attribute of permanence ? The obvious answer is ‘earth' because shape is transitory and ‘earth' was there before the pot came into existence and continues to be there even after the pot is destroyed. In fact what was destroyed was the shape. The Jaina philosophers call the changing modes as ‘Paryaya' and the unchanging substance as ‘Dravya'. Therefore, it can be said that from the ‘Dravya' aspect, i.e.,from the aspect of ‘earth' the pot is permanent but from the aspect of shape, it is transitory. So long as it continues in the shape of a pot both the aspects have to be kept in mind, if its proper cognizance is to be taken.

Whatever is said above about a pot applies on all the fours, i.e.,time, space, etc. to living being.


Doctrine of Duality

The Jaina doctrine of duality of self and matter (Pudgala) also arises out of the application of ‘Anekanta' and ‘Syadvada' because the self which is unchanging and permanent cannot be the same as Pudgala which is ever changing and transitory. Advaita Vedantists such as the great Sankara look only from one aspect of permanence and ignore the aspect of change by dubbing it as Maya, i.e.,illusion. It should not be forgotten that every object in this universe has its own limitations as to form, size, shape, taste, smell and other qualities. These limitations determine their identities. These objects ‘are' there in the limitations which they possess but ‘are not' there beyond limitations. Thus they both ‘are' and ‘are not'. They are thus both ‘Sat' and ‘Asat' and not merely ‘Sat' as claimed by the Vedantists nor they are merely ‘Asat' as claimed by Buddhists and ‘Sunyavadins'.


Importance of Anekanta

The importance of this comprehensive synthesis of ‘Syadvada' and ‘Anekanta‑naya' in day to day life is immense in as much as these doctrines supply a rational unification and synthesis of the manifold and rejects the assertions of bare absolutes.

Mr.Stephen Hay, an American Scholar‑historian, in his article, "Jaina influences on Gandhi's Early Thought" refers to Mahatma Gandhi's views about the Jaina theory of Anekanta as under :

It has been my experience, wrote Gandhi in 1926, "that I am always true (correct) from my point of view, and often wrong from the point of view of my critics. I know that we are both (myself and my critics) right from our respective points of view."

He further quotes Gandhiji's saying as under :

"I very much like this doctrine of the manyness of reality. It is this doctrine that has tought me to judge a Mussulman from his standpoint and a Christian from his...From the platform of the Jainas, I prove the non‑creative aspect of God, and from that of Ramanuja the creative aspect. As a matter of fact we are all thinking of the unthinkable describing the Indescriable, seeking to know the unkown, and that is why our speech falters, is inadequate and been often contradictory."

Hostory of all conflicts and confrontations in the world is the history of intolerance born out of ignorance. Difficulty with the man is his egocentric existence. If only the man becomes conscious of his own limitations, Anekanta or Syadvada tries to make the man conscious of his limitation by pointing to his narrow vision and limited knowledge of the manifold aspects of things, and asks him not be hasty in forming absolute judgements before examining various other aspects‑both positive and negative. Obviously, much of the bloodshed, and much of tribulations of mankind would have been saved if the man had shown the wisdom of understanding the contrary view points.


How the Doctrine Clarifies ‘Self'

The docrine of Syadvada also clarifies the metaphysical doctrine of ‘Self' and the envisaged by the Jainas. The proposition ‘Syad asti' is positive in character and points out to the positive attributes of the thing in question. These are individual attributes which belong to and inhere in the thing in question. Therefore, when the proposition ‘Syad asti' is applied to ‘Self', it conveys that ‘Self' is justified in its existence only from the point of view of its own individual attributes, modes, space and time. But when the other proposition of the doctrine namely ‘Syad‑nasti' is applied to it, it means the ‘Self' does not possess the attributes, modes, etc. Which do not belong to it. It is just like a pot which can be identified as a ‘pot' only if it carries the attributes of a ‘pot' but it cannot be identified as a pot if it carries the attributes which are foreign to it. So the negative identification of ‘Syat nasti' when applied to ‘Self' would mean that if the self tries to adopt the attributes of Pudgala which are foreign to it, it is not the ‘self'. In other words, Syadvada teaches us that ‘Self' can be identified positively as ‘Syad asti' only if it is viewed from its own attributes, and negatively as ‘Syad nasti' to show that it is not Pudgala, etc., if it is viewed from the attributes, foreign to it.

 Thus the doctrine of Syadvada gives clarity to the real character of the ‘Self' and by the same process of reasoning, the real character of ‘Pudgala', i.e., non‑sentient things.


Anekanta and Ahimsa

More important aspect of Syadvada is, however, the subtlety with which it introduces the practice of Ahimsa (non‑violence) even in the realm of thought. The moment one begins to consider the angle from which a contrary view‑point is put forward, one begins to develop tolerance, which is the basic requirement of the practice of ‘Ahimsa'. Origin of all bloody war fought on the surface of this earth can be traced to the war of ideas and beliefs. Syadvada puts a healing touch at the root of human psyche and tries to stop the war of beliefs which lead to the war of nerves and then to the war of bloodshed. It makes all absolutes in the field of thought quite irrelevant and naive, imparts maturity to the thought process and supplies flexibility and originality to human mind. If the man‑kind will properly understand and adopt this doctrine of Syadvada it will realize that real revolution was not the French or the Russian; the real revolution was the one which taught the man to develop his power of understanding from all possible aspects.


Einstein's Theory

What Mahavira found by the process of intuition and reasoning. Einstein proved in his physical theory of Space and Time  in the year 1905 A.D. Development of Optics and Electrodynamics led to the rejection of the concept of absolute time, absolute simultaneity and absolute space. If time and space are relative to other factors, everything that happens in time and space would naturally be relative to other factors. Therefore Einstein was convinced that there is causal interdependence of all processes in nature. As a result, the revelations made by him and other theories of Quantum Mechanics, the field of relativity was enlarged so as to take into consideration the fact that Reality is much dependent upon the subjective reaction of the individual who observes the event.

Jaina theory of relativity in the field of thoughts and metaphysics thus gets sufficient support from these scientific revelations in the field of physics. Theocrates world over have tried to emphasize that the truth revealed to them is absolute, eternal and immutable. Theory of relativity as embodied in Syadvada or Anekantvada is happily an exception to this. Lenin unknowingly endorsed this theory when he said :"Human thoughts by its nature is capable of giving,  and does give, absolute truth, which is compounded of sum total of relative truths. Each step in the development of science adds new grains of absolute truth, but the limits of the truth of each scientific proposition are relative, now expanding, now shrinking with the growth of knowledge." If only Lenin knew how to apply this principle in the evolution of social and economic theories propounded by Marx, the fate of socialism would have been quite different today.


Theory of Seven Predications (Sapta‑bhanga)

To clarify the above approach of ascertaining the truth by the process of Syadvada (Anekanta) the Jaina philosophers have evolved a formula of seven predications which are known as Saptabhanga. ‘Sapta' means ‘seven' and ‘Bhanga' means ‘mode'. These seven modes of ascertaining the truth are able to be exact in exploring all possiblities and aspects. For any proposition, there are three main modes of assessment, namely, (1) A positive assertion, (2) A negative assertion, (3) Not describable. The first is called ‘Avaktavya'. However, for greater clarity four more permutations of these three are added as under : ‘Asti‑nasti', ‘Asti‑avaktavya', ‘Nasti‑avaktavya' and ‘Asti‑nasti‑avaktavya'. The word ‘Syat' is prefixed to each of these seven predications to prevent the proposition from being absolute.

All these seven predications are explained with reference to an earthen pot; But we may try to understand with reference to an ethical proposition that ‘It is sin to commit violence'. With regard to this proposition, the seven predications noted above can be made as under :

(i)    It is sin to commit violence with an intention to commit the same (Asti).

(ii)   It is not a sin to commit violence on an aggressor who molests an innocent and helpless woman (Nasti).

(iii)  It is sin to commit violence in breach of moral and social laws, but it is not sin if violence is required to be committed in performance of moral or social duties (Asti‑nasti).

(iv)  It is not possible to say whether violence is sin or virtue without knowing the circumstances under which it is required to be committed (Avaktavya).

(v)   Violence is indeed sinful under certain circumstances, but no positive statement of this type can be made for all times and under all circumstances (Nasti‑avaktavya).

(vii) Violence is sinful, but there are circumstances where it is not so. Infact no statement in affirmation or negation can be made for all time and all circumstances (Asti‑nasti‑avaktavya).

All these seven modes can be expressed with regard to every proposition. The Jaina philosophers have applied them with reference to self, its eternality, non‑eternality, identity and character. In fact this approach of Anekanta permeates almost every doctrine which is basic to Jaina philosophy. S.Gopalan quotes Eliot in this connection, as saying :

"The essence of the doctrine (of Syadvada), so far as one can disentangle it from scholastic terminology, seems just, for it amounts to this, that as to matters of experience it is impossible to formulate the whole and the complete truth, and as to matters which transcend experience, language is inadequate."

At no time in the history of mankind, this principle of Syadvada (Anekanta) was more necessary than in the present.



Neutrality without desire (Acarya Kunda‑kunda Vitaraga, and expression peculiar to Jainism, Freedom without forasking worldly life, Mahavira's example, Two broad prepositions of ‘Pancastikaya' of Sri Kunda‑kunda , Self determining Jiva , Five principles (Ahimsa : Non‑violence, Satya : Truth, Asteya : Non‑stealing, Brahmacarya : Chastity and  Aparigraha :Limiting possessions continuing consciousness from one life to the other, and  equality of potentiality to achieve liberation are at the root of Ahimsa) , Ancient Sramana traditions , Distinction between Vedic and Jaina approach (Pt.Sukhalalaji's analysis, Principles of ‘Nivrtti' : retirement and ‘Pravrtti' : activity) , Ahimsa : the weapon of the strong , Role of Intention , Buddhist approach , Anekanta, the  product of Ahimsa , Ahimsa at the root of all Silas , Mahavira's contribution (Importance of Brahmacarya which is much more than mere celibacy‑Aparigraha, Restrictions in possession, We live in illusions, where Marx failed, uncontrolled appetite to possess, the root cause of all trouble) .

Enlightened consciousness (Methodology to practicse Pancasila) , ‘Self', the starting point , Well and eagerness , Anuvrata‑Mahavrata , Objective observation , Upadana, Nimitta (Material and Efficient cause) , Twelve Bhavanas or Anupreksa (Anitya, Asarava, Ekatva, Anyatva, Nivrtti : Samsara, Asarana, Samvara, Nirjara, Asuci, Dharma, Loka, Bodhi) , Twelve Vratas of House‑holder (Five minor vows, Three supplementary vows, Four educative vows) , Prayer (their place in Jainism, Navakara Mantra) , Dhyana (Artta, Raudra, Dharma and Shukla dhyana)


"Belief in real existence of Tattvas is right Faith; Knowledge of real nature without doubt or error is right Knowledge;. An attitude of neutrality without desire or aversion towards the objects of the external world is right conduct."


Acarya Kunda‑kunda

We have seen in Chapter Six that journey to freedom is constituted of three steps known as Ratna‑trayi, i.e.,right faith(darsana), right knowledge (jnana) and right conduct (caritra). Right faith comes from the full conviction in the existence and function of Nine Tattvas, already discussed in Chapter Eight. Right knowledge has been discussed in Chapter Six. In the present chapter we shall discuss the Jaina concept of Right conduct and how to practice the same.


Neutrality without desire

Acarya Kunda‑kunda maintains that right conduct is attined by cultivating an attitude of ‘neutrality without desire or aversion' towards the objects of the world. The term ‘without desire or aversion' is significant as both completely and truely represent the Jaina concept of the State of Vitaraga. As we have already noticed, the expression Vitaraga is peculiarly  a Jaina terminilogy. ‘Vita' means ‘gone away' and ‘Raga' means attachment. Aversion is contrary to the ‘attachment' and the same can be expressed by the word ‘Vairagya or Viraga.' But since ‘Raga' and ‘Viraga' are the two sides of the same coin both representing positive feelings of love and hatred, the Jainas have wisely coined the word ‘Vitaraga' conveying an attitude of neutrality or objectivity towards the worldly objects. It is neither attachment nor hatred for the objects of the world. The seers preach that there is nothing vicious in the objects themselves which can be used for good as well as for bad purposes. For instance, wealth or power both can be used for good as well as for bad purposes. If the enjoyment of these thing generate the evils of pride and avarice in us the fault lies not in them but in our attitude towards them. If our attitude us changed for the better the same things which were used for bad purposes could be used for better purposes. So, the fault does not lie in the weapon but in the person who uses it. If this is so, it is no use hating the objects of the external world. One must only remove one's attachment. Let one's ‘Raga' be contained, be ‘neutral' to and ‘without desire' for the objects of the world, and you will have Right conduct.

Thus we can sum up that it is not always necessary to run away from the world and to take Samnyasa to gain freedom. The attitude of detachment can be cultivated even while taking part in the worldly affairs. It may be said that the cultivation of detachment in the worldly life is more difficult than  in the life of a monk who has entered a monastic order. But Jainism does not consider the monkhood as a starting point for our journey to freedom. There are a number of examples of house‑holders, both male and female, of obtaining ‘Mukti', i.e., liberation without renouncing the worldly life. There is an interesting and instructive episode in the life of Mahavira himself. Mahavira wanted to renounce the world even while his mother was alive. There is a tradition among the Jainas, as among other faiths in India, that one should not enter the monastic order and renounce the world without the permission of the elders of the family. So Mahavira asked for the permission of his mother Trisala for renouncing the world. The mother, like all other mothers, was greatly pained at the idea. She asked him not to repeat such request till she was alive. Mahavira silently obeyed. After sometime, the mother died. Thereafter Mahavira sought the permission of his elder brother Nandivardhana, as father had died long before mother's demise. Nandivardhana also resented the idea and asked him not to cause him more pain by loss, as the loss of mother was already unbearable. Again Mahavira obeyed silently. However, he had already developed an attitude of ‘desireless neutrality' towards all objects of the world because for developing such an attitude he did not think it necessary to wait for the renunciation of the world. He wanted to renounce the world for practicing austerities and thereby for obtaining the pure knowledge in search of Truth. He must not have thought this possible in the worldly life of a prince. He, however, considered it his duty to obey his elder brother. He did not repeat his request for renunciation again; but his total indifference to the worldly affairs was so striking, and his ‘desireless neutrality' was so impressive that Nandivardhana, his elder brother, and other members of the family felt that they should not be obstacles in the path of this great soul. So they themselves took initiative and permitted Mahavira to go his own way as desired by him. It was thereafter that Mahavira renounced all worldly possessons including the clothes put on by him. Obviously, all that revolution did not come to him only after Nandivardhana permitted him to renounce. In fact, the process of Bhava‑samvara and Bhava‑nirjara must have already started much before he requested the mother to permit him to go.

Most of the Jaina Tirthankaras (Prophets) were ruling princes and many were emperors, considered ‘Cakravartins'. They had to wage wars and administer their empires. But they were able to renounce all power and pelf with ease and could attain the highest position of Tirthankaras. Such a turn in their lives would not have come all of a sudden. Certainly, they must have develped ‘neurality without desire' even while they took full interest in their worldly lives.


Self determining Jiva

But the moot question is how to develop this ‘neturality without desire' ? Jaina philosophers have prescribed an elaborate code of conduct for house‑holders as well as for the monks for this purpose. Before we illustrate this code of conduct, it would be proper to take into account two broad principles suggested by Acarya Kunda‑kunda in his ‘Pancastikaya'. They are :

(1) "That jiva, which through desire for outer things, experience pleasurable of painful states, loses its hold on self and gets bewildered and led by outer things. He becomes determined by the other."

(2) "That Jiva, which being free from relations to others and from alien thoughts its own intrinsic nature of perception and understanding perceive and knows its own eternal nature to be such, is said to have a conduct that is absolutely self‑determined."

The first proposition contains a negative aspect and points out the root cause of ‘being determined by the other', i.e., in other words, losing freedom and getting dominated by outside forces. The second proposition contains a positive aspect by showing the basic process of achieving self‑determination. The first teaches us non‑attachment to worldly objects while the second exhorts us to be introspective to know who we are, what is our true  nature and what is alien to our own self.

Any code of conduct would be superfluous for one who can properly understand and follow these two broad principles,  because the five principles of right conduct known as ‘Pancasila' come easily and naturally to such persons.


The Five Principles

These five principles are : 1.Ahimsa (Non‑violence), 2.Satya (Truth), 3. Asteya (Non‑stealing), 4. Brahmacarya (Chastity) and 5. Aparigraha (Limiting or restricting one's possession).

If a person faithfully and honestly follows these five by mind, speech and action, he completely closes all the outlets for our inflow of the Karmas (the process of Samvara) and also simultaneously begins to shed his accumlated karmas (the process of Nirjara).

Before discussing the working method of observing these five principles, few words on the exact connotation of each of these five principles is necessary.

(1) Ahimsa ‑ All life is sacred. It is the doctrine of non‑violence, i.e., abstention from injury to any living being by mind, speech or action. As observed by Prof. A.N.Upadhye, "Jainism is perhaps the only religion which has explained the doctrine of Ahimsa in a systematic manner, because all other values were elaborated on this basis." Jainas do not limit the operation of this doctrine to human beings only, the doctrine applies with equal force even to the smallest living beings, so far as it is possible. Their assumption obviously flows from the Jaina metaphysical theory that all Jivas, irrespective of their status are potentially equal. So far as the potentiality is concerned, the Jainas would not make any distinction between the Jiva of Mahavira and the Jiva contained in a blade of grass. If the former has attained and advanced stage in the evolution of spiritual growth, the latter has also a similar potentially and may, in future, be able to achieve the heights of Mahavira. Even the Jiva of Mahavira had to pass through many ups and downs in spiritual journey of births and rebirths before achieving the status of a Tirthankara. Thus the doctrine of Ahimsa is nothing but the doctrine of equality and fraternity amongst all the Jivas  (sentient beings) of the universe. In other words, it is the positive doctrine of love and friendship for all. All the Jainas would say :

"Mitti Me Savva Bhuyesu, Vera Majjham Na Kenai" means I have friendship for all, enmity for none. Even if we look at the problem purely from logical angle, the question is what right we have to cause injury, for our pleasure, even to the most insignificant Jiva. The moment we are convinced that each Jiva has a continuing consciousness through all the different lives and that each of these Jivas is entitled to progress in its own way. It is no logic to say that we have no obligation to safe‑guard the life and identity of all the Jivas of the universe, because if any such reasoning prevails, none of us would have any justification to complain against the domination of the strong over the weak. In other words, ours would be the universe where our own existence would be precarious. Any such social order as amongst the human beings would not be tolerated by us. If that is so, all the living beings of the universe should be governed by the same rule by which human beings would like to be governed.

Prof.S.Gopalan cites Eliot on this subject as under :

"Eliot exhibits a clear understanding of Jaina view of non‑violence when the writes :.......’the beautiful precept of Ahimsa or not injuring living things is not, as Europeans imagine, founded on the fear of eating ones grand parents but rather on the humane and enlightening feeling that all life is one and that men who devour beasts are not much above the level of beasts who devour one another."

Dr.Radhakrishnan writing on Hinduism rightly observes :

"All life is sacred, whether of animals or of fellow men. We shudder at cannibalism and condemn the savage who wishes to indulge in this habit of our ancestors, though the slaughtering of animals and birds for human consumption continues to be regarded as right. ... The true man is he in whom the mere pleasure of killing is killed.   .The true man is he in whom the mere pleasure of killing is killed. So long as it is there, man has no claim to call himself civilized."

The German philosopher Schopenhauer has put it more emphatically in the coming words.

"Whoever is able to say this to himself, with regard to everything with whom he comes in contact ‑-- whoever is clear‑eyed and clear‑souled enough to see --‑ that we are all the members of one organism, all of us are little currents in an ocean of will ‑-- he is certain of all virtues and blessedness, and in on direct road to salvation" (emphasis supplied).

The Jaina doctrine of mechanism of the universal scheme clearly shows that according to it we are all --‑ all including every type of sentient being --‑ are the members of one organisation. Therefore, Mahavira said : "It is you whom you want to kill. Therefore, do not injure any one, do not destroy any one."

However, the doctrine of Ahimsa is not construed as total prohibition to injure or kill even when circumstances demand such injury or killing because Jainism was preached to the persons who had to live in the society and to counter various types of conflicts. As already noticed the Tirthankaras themselves were hailing from the warrior class of Ksatriyas.


Ancient Sramana Tradition

Emphasis on the doctrine of Ahimsa is mainly on violence which is not called for. During the life of Mahavira and Buddha the doctrine had a special significance on account of rampant practice of animal sacrifice for Yajnas arranged for propitiating gods. Animals were killed not merely for sacrifices but also for feasts on social occasions. The protest against animal killing was not new at the time of Mahavira. The story about Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara, known in Vedic literature as Aristanemi, and a cousin of Lord Krsna belonging to Yadu family, says that on his way to bride's place he saw hundreds of animals tied for marriage feast. He abandoned the marriage ceremony and became a recluse. Mahavira was 24th Tirthankara born hundreds of years thereafter. Aristanemi (Neminatha) belonged to Sramana tradition which is believed to be pre‑Aryan.

Padmabhusana Pt. Dalasukhabhai Malavania has speculated, in his articles about the origin of the Doctrine of Non‑violence as follows :

"In his ‘Man and the Universe', Prof. W. Norman Brown rightly concludes that "The ideas ‘Ahimsa' and ‘Unity of all life' did not have their origin in Vedic Aryan thought, but entered it from outside. The environment in which those ideas were at home was that of Jainism and Buddhism. In them Ahimsa was a dominant and original, not supplemental feature."

These observations may not be taken to mean that idea of Ahimsa originated with Jainas and Buddhists. Both Jainas and Buddhists belong to old Sramana tradition and they are likely to have inherited the idea from that tradition. Thus, though the doctrine of Ahimsa was not newly founded by Mahavira, it was highly systematized and put on a very high pedestal by Mahavira in his rigorous campaign against wanton killing of animals in sacrifices arranged to propitiate gods. Mahavira gave this doctrine a very subtle interpretation and made it a way of life for the whole Indian society. The impact was so great that the average Hindu considers the abstience from meat‑eating as more virtuous and even those Hindus who are not strictly vegetarian avoid meat‑eating on the days of religious functions. Today Ahimsa is as much the doctrine of faith for Hindus as for Jainas.


Distinction between Vedic and Jaina Approach

Pt.Sukhalalji, a noted and respected Jaina scholar, draws the distinction between Vedic (Hindu) tradition and Jaina tradition with reference to the doctrine of Ahimsa in the following words :

"Ahimsa is the basic doctrine of Jainism. In the Jaina tradition, only that person who has practiced Ahimsa fully and has taken that doctrine to its highest pinnacle is worshipped, while in Vedic tradition that is not so. In that tradition, the person who completely responds to public interest, who follows the accepted social code for the purpose of enforcing the same and who protects the good and destroys an evil at any cost, is worshipped as ‘Avatara' (divine in human form). This distinction between the basic approach of both the tradition is very significant. While the former tolerates and faces the worst evil and injustice with generosity but with full spiritual penances, the later resorts to an altogether different method thinking, that, however, desirable the method of the former may be in individual cases, the same cannot be successful when applied to the questions involving public interest at large."

"Fact of the matter is that both these traditions are the two facets of an integrated old Aryan culture."

"The doctrine of Ahimsa has the same place in Vedic traditions as in Jaina tradition. However, the difference between the two is that the Vedic tradition treats this doctrine as a means of perfect spiritual upliftment of an individual and hence limits its use for the purpose of individuals only. But so far as its utility for public or social purposes is concerned, it considers violence as necessary in times of peril faced by the society. It is for this reason that we find even in the Vedic literature of Upanisada and Yoga‑Darsana which are otherwise great supporters of the Doctrine of Ahimsa, the exhortations like ‘Sathe Sathyam Samacaret' (Tit for Tat) and other instructions as to how social life should be conducted."

"On the other hand in any society --‑ big or small complete observation of the doctrine of non‑violence is not possible and, therefore, even in the Jaina literature we come across violent battles, having been fought even by monks, who have renounced the world, under special circumstances."

"In spite of all this, the basic difference between the Jaina approach and Vedic approach on this question has always persisted. And it is this, that the Jaina tradition believes that every type of violence whether at individual level or at social level, is the sign of spiritual weakness and hence whenever violence is required to be used, it is a matter of atonement. On the other hand,  though the Vedic tradition is in agreement with the Jaina tradition so far as the observation of Ahimsa at individual level concerned, it is clear in proclaiming that whenever social or public issues are concerned, it is wrong to believe violence is always a sign of spiritual weakness. On the contrary, in special circumstances in public life violence is not only necessary but is also a sign of strength and hence no question of atonement arises."

Though, as will be presently seen, Jainism is not against the use of violence if it becomes inevitable, the analysis of Pt.Sukhalalji is logically perfect because, as we shall have an occasion to discuss elsewhere, the Jaina philosophy, being on the line of ‘Sramana' traditions, is based on the principle of ‘Nivrtti', i.e., ‘retirement', while the Vedic philosophy is based on the principle of ‘Pravrtti', i.e., ‘activity'. One aiming at total retirement from worldly affairs would necessarily have an individual approach while the one who aims at activity would necessarily have a social approach. Both the approaches are necessary in life so long as one lives in the society, but a stage comes in the life of everyone when he has to retire fully from all worldly activities social as well as individual, in which event, his approach would be only individual. That individual approach being purely spiritual, does not conflict with social or public interests --‑ contrarily it supplements social interests. Even Vedic tradition is conscious about this as is clear from its conceptions of ‘Grhastha‑srama' (Stage of a house‑holder) and final ‘Samnyastha‑srama' (Stage of total renunciation) in the life of a man. Thus basically, the apparent distinction which is pointed out by Pt. Sukhlalji, fades into insignificance.


Weapon of the Strong

Mahatma Gandhi carried out the unique experiment with this doctrine of Ahimsa when he exhorted the Indian nation to resist the British imperialism by a non‑violent struggle. It is true that his experiment of applying Ahimsa to the field of politics and mass movement was not carried further by his political successors; but for that the efficacy of the doctrine was not so responsible as the weakness and lack of will in his successors. As Gandhiji often repeated, Ahimsa is the weapon of the strong and not that of the weak. Psychologically speaking, violence and anger are merely different forms of cowardice. A brave person is rarely angry and is never resorting to violence unless it, is unavoidable. Even Jainism allows violence in inevitable cases and condemns weakness and submission to injustice, which to it, is another form of ‘Himsa' (violence). As a matter of fact the Anekantic approach of Jainism would prevent a true Jaina from being dogmatic about absoluteness of any of the Jaina doctrines, including the doctrine of Ahimsa.

All sorts of wars are abhored by Jainas because to them all conflicts in individual and social life are the result of mental aberrations. They emphasize, therefore, on conquering these aberrations, caused by Kasayas such as attachment, ange, avarice, anvy, hatred, etc. In other words, our enemies are within us, and it is no use seeking them outside use. One who conquers real enemies, within him is the real conqueror. The word ‘Jaina' is derived from the root ‘Ji‑Jay' to conquer. Jaina prophets and those having attained the last stage of perfection are called ‘Jina' and ‘Arihanta'. The word ‘Jina' means the conqueror and the word ‘Arihanta' means one who has killed enemies (‘Ari' means ‘enemy' and the root ‘Han' means ‘to kill'). The ‘enemies' referred to here are not those outside us, as is generally misunderstood by us. They are our internal enemies mentioned above, i.e., passions. The conquest, suggested by the word ‘Jina' is the conquest of these internal enemies (The expression ‘Arihanta' is also pronounced differently as ‘Arhat' which means ‘Respectable). According to the Jaina seers, once you conquer these internal enemies you will find no enemy outside and there would be no sense in shedding blood and commiting violence. It should be noted that during the time of Mahavira, and subsequent to it, Jainism got good deal of patronage from great kings such as king of Bimbisara and his son Ajatasatru of Magadha (present Bihar). After his death, Candragupta Maurya, the founder of the big Maurya empire, Emperor Samprati, the grandson of Emperor Asoka, Emperor Kharvela of Kalinga (present Orissa) and then in 12th century King Kumarapala of Gujarat are some of the big empire builders who were staunch followers of Jainism. In discharge of their duties as kings, they had to maintain efficient armies and weaponry. They themselves were fierce warriors and yet they have been recognised as good Jainas because Jainism does not debar persons from resorting to violence if the same becomes inevitable and is done in discharge of duties.

In this connection it is interesting to take note of a story about king Ajatasatru, a very powerful emperor of Magadha of his time. Ajatasatru attacked the neighbouring kingdom of ‘Vaisali'. It was an unprovoked attack, Ajatasatru was such an ardent follower of Mahavira  that, as the story runs, he used to take food only after obtaining the news of the well‑being of the Master. The Master, however, did not approve of his unprovoked attack on ‘Vaisali'. When Ajatasatru inquired from the master as to what would be the fruit of his action (of waging war against Vaisali), Mahavira told him that he would be born in Hell in the next birth for his cruelty (vide Aupapatika Sutra). Two Jaina scriptures ‘Prasnavya‑karana' and ‘Bhagavati‑sutra' contain many sermons against wars, and it is claimed that the kings who had accepted Jaina faith were ordained to limit their war preparation only to the extent to which it was necessary for defence.

Even for laities, i.e., ‘Sravakas' there are relaxed rules for the observance of Ahimsa, keeping in view the fact that one who has to move and work in the worldly affairs cannot adhere to the principles strictly and with absolute rigidity; but the exceptions are evolved only under the impelling circumstances.


Role of Intention

The underlying principle for every action is the intention called ‘Bhava'. Real involvement in any action comes from within. If we become subjectively involved and perform an act with intense attachement, the karmic bondage resulting from such action would be very strong. But if we perform an action simply because we have to do it, and we do it with absolute non‑attachment and objectivity, the karmic bondage, if any, is indeed very weak. In other words, the karmic bondage solely depends on our ‘Bhava Karma'. Padmabhsana Pt. D.Malvania quotes ‘Visesavasyaka Bhasya' of Jinabhadra as under :

"One should not fear that because earth, etc., are crowded with souls, there would be ‘himsa (injury) at every step whether one wills it or not...It is the intention that ultimately matters. From the real point of view, a man does not become a killer only because he has killed, or because the world is crowded with souls, or remain innocent only because he has not killed physically or because souls are sparce. Even if a person does not actually kill, he becomes a killer if he has the intention to kill... ... ...It is the intention which is the deciding factor, not the external act which is inconclusive."

This is the basic principle which runs throughout the Jaina prescription of ethics.


Buddhist Approach

Buddha also preached the doctrine of Ahimsa on the same line. However, some Buddhists ‑-- especially exponents of Hinayana school maintain that even though one is eating meat he observes Ahimsa if he buys meat from others and not kill creatures himself. This is nothing but the perversity of the Ahimsa principle because if you do not purchase meat of killed creatures, who will be interested to kill for sale ? Buddha himself would never have approved of this type of hypocracy.


Anekanta‑product of Ahimsa

By his theory of Anekanta and Syadvada Mahavira carried the doctrine of Ahimsa even in the realm of thought. As we have already noticed, the theory of Anekanta is based on the search of truth from different points of view. This search leads to understanding and toleration of different conflicting views. When this happens prejudices subsides and tendency to accommodate increases. The theory of Anekanta is, therefore, unique experiment of Ahimsa at the root. Among all philosophies and religions Jainism has unique distinction of touching the very roots and fundamentals of the problems of ‘Himsa' (Violence) of thought.


Ahimsa at the root of all Silas

The remaining four principles of Truth, non‑stealing, chastity (celebacy) and restraing in possession are nothing but the extention of the first principle of Ahimsa, because breach of each of them basically involves ‘Bhava Himsa' ‑ violence in motive or intention.

Basic principle of Jain ethics is that a man is bound to feel himself entangled and unhappy so long as he seeks happiness outside himself. When he thinks that outside objects such as wealth, material possessions and power can make him happy, he hankers after them and in the process of obtaining them at any cost he becomes a victim of various passions such as anger, pride deceit and greed. When he becomes a victim of these passions, he is tempted to resort to lies, theft and many other consequential vices. The psychological process, which goes on in his mind and which ultimately enters his sub‑conscious, has the effect of killing the purity and sublimity of his own spirit. His ‘self', his Atman, gets polluted by the entry (Asrava) of different karmas. This ‘Killing' of the purity and the sublimity of his own spriti is, what is known as ‘Bhava‑himsa'. Thus at the root of the other four principles of right conduct namely truth, non‑stealing, chastity (celibacy) and restraint in possession of material things, is the all pervading principle of Ahimsa.

The shortest way to acquire these virtues as shown by Mahavira's exhortation :

"Purisa ! tumameva tuman mittam kim bahiya mittamicchasi ?" means ‘Oh man, thou art thy own friend, why are you seeking outward friendship'.

If this admonition is properly understood and followed, the impact of all the Kasayas (passions) begins to decrease and one automatically begins to live in accordance with the five principles of Non‑violence, truth, non‑stealing, chastity (celibacy) and restraint in the possession of material things. The different kasayas (passions) torment us because we identify ourselves with the situations created by the outside agencies. It is this identification which impells us to submit to the situation created by outside agencies. But once we realize that the outside agency is not myself and that I am not going to submit to the situations created by these agencies, nearly fifty per cent of our agonies subside. Remaining fifty per cent can be eliminated by cultivating the positive virtues embodied in these five principles.

We have already dealt with the first principle of Ahimsa. We may now take up for our consideration the rest.

(2) Satya (Truth) ‑ Just as non‑violence requires courage, truth also equally requires courage. Violence and lie are the consequences of cowardice. They create disorder not only in the make up of an individual but also in constitution of the society.

However, the Anekantic approach of Jainism has coarved out some exceptions. They are :

(i)   If truth‑speaking leads to evil consequences one may better remain silent or may say that he knows nothing (Tusino uvehejja janam va no Janam ti vaejja).

(ii)  There are circumstances when revealation of certain facts would not be in the interest of public or of some individuals. At that time either one should keep mum or should say in such a way that the interests of other should not be hurt.

(iii) There is no harm in breaking a vow of speaking truth which leads to violence or other undersirable evils.

(3) Asteya (Non‑stealing) ‑ Taking something which belongs to others is theft. Thus all types of evil practices in trade, commerce and professions are covered by theft. One should remain satisfied by whatever he earns by his own honest labour. An attempt to squeeze others and exploit the weak is an attempt to commit theft.

(4) Brahmacarya (Chastity, Celibacy) ‑ It is not limited to mere abstention from sex. The word Carya means day to day conduct. The word Brahma means self. Hence the word Brahmacarya suggests the state of self indulgence or pure‑knowledgeship. The English word ‘celibacy' is therefore, not competent in comprehending the real meaning of Brahmacarya. However, if the word celibacy is understood in a widersense, the concept of Brahmacarya can be substantially brought out. Jainism, as well as all Indian religions, emphasize that some ethical principle must be followed not merely in action, but also in mind and speech, that is, Manasa, Vaca, Karmana. To observe celibacy in word and spirit one should have control over his mind and in his food, clothing and the whole life‑style, because, a life of luxury is totally unsuited for celibacy. A wavering mind and a mind which falls prey to worldly temptations is never capable of remaining firm in sex life. Out of all material enjoyments, sex enjoyment is most vitally connected with psychology and emotions. Sex discipline is therefore vitally connected with psychic and emotional disciplines. Therefore, if we are successful in disciplining our psychic and emotional currents in day to day life, we would actually be moving towards our own self and that would be the real Brahmacarya.

To a western mind the concept of Brahmacarya is limited only to the abstention from actual sex. By and large, the western philosophers have not appreciated the Indian concept of Brahmacarya. Though some western religions do give importance to celinacy, they have not gone deep into the question why celibacy is important for spiritual development and what are its parameters. Indian seers have gone very deep into these questions and have come to the conclusion that for achieving spiritual heights a complete observance of the code of Brahmacarya is quite essential.


Mahavira's Contribution

Unlike Buddha, Mahavira was not the founder of Jainism but only an ardent follower of pre‑vedic Sramana tradition. Its penultimate prophet was Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainas. Parsvanatha's tradition was known as Caturyaman, i.e., tradition of four‑fold vows. These four‑fold vows were Non‑violence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya), Non‑stealing (Asteya) and Non‑possession (Aparigraha). Thus the Parsva tradition did not give a separate and distinct place to Brahmacarya (Celibacy) in his scheme of four‑fold vows. Because it was thought that one can not enjoy sex‑life without having possession he observes celibacy. Secondly at that time women was considered as a property and so the vow of non‑possession includes the vow of celibacy. The etymological meaning of the word ‘Parigraha' is ‘acceptance' and there are instances in the Samskrta literature to show that the word ‘Parigraha' is used for a wife, e.g., the great poet Kalidasa has used this word in his famous epic Raghuvamsa as under :

"Katvam Subhe ! Kasya parigraho va" ? means ‘Oh good lady, who are you ? Whose wife are you?’ So in Parsa tradition, the principle of ‘Aparigraha' or non‑possession also includes celibacy and hence Brahmacarya was not given a separate and distinct place in the code of conduct. But laxity in sex life and extra‑marital relationship could not be controlled by this bare principle of ‘Aparigraha'.

Obviously this would not have also worked with saintly order of monks. Hence, Mahavira had to introduce the concept of Brahmacarya, as a distinct code of conduct to be followed by monks as well as the house‑holders called ‘Sravakas'. For house‑holders, however, this concept of strict celibacy was modified and what was prescribed was not only a strict monogamy, but also a restrained sexual life.

It appears that after 23rd Tirthankara Parsva, Mahavira systematically organised the Jaina society into four distinct classes of Sramanas (male monks), Sramanis (female monks or nuns), Sravakas (male house‑holders) and Sravikas (female house‑holders). Unlike Buddha, he did not hesitate to give a distinct place to female in the saintly order. He, however, laid down a very strict code of conduct for male and female monks and Brahmacarya occupied a prominent place in his scheme of code. It is considered a must for spiritual practices as well as for physical fitness. Relaxations are contemplated in favour of house‑holders for obvious reasons.

(5) Aparigraha (Restrictions in possession) ‑ Those who try to possess, are, in fact, themselves possessed. We do become slaves of our possessions. But we like that slavery because we are accustomed to it. However, we forget that all objects of the world are constantly changing. They are changing in form and in qualities and they are also changing hands, their possessors. This is the reality of life. So the idea of possession is in fact illusory. But we like to remain in illusion and that is why when our possessions change hands, we become sad. We desire not only to regain the lost possessions, but also to gain control over alternative things of the world. This process, i.e., the process of living in illusions goes on constantly and causes grief and tomentations. The most noticeable fact about those ignorant people, obsessed with greed for possession, whether of material things or of some cherished ideas and ideologies, is their desire that the things and ideas which they possess shall remains as they are. This process i.e.,the process fo living in illusion goes on constantly and causes grief and tormentations. The most noticeable fact about those ignorant people, obsessed with  greed for possession, whether of material things or of some cherished ideas and ideologies, is their desire that the things and ideas which they possess shall remain as they are. This is the most unreal delusion ‑ the root cause of all unhappiness. If one hankers after worldly things, it is a sure succession of uncontrolled desires. Uncontrolled desires result in uncontrolled activities in the material plane. But desires have no end. German philosopher Schopenhauer has rightly pointed out that for every wish that is satisfied there remain ten that are denied, that desire is infinite and the fulfilment is limited and that so long as we are given to the throngs of desires with their constant hopes and fears we can never have true and lasting happiness and peace. Lord Buddha, therefore, rightly emphasized the necessity to curtail our desires. The principle of Aparigraha teaches us to restrict our possessions to the minumum. This can be done only if we discipline our wants. Even earning more than what is necessary offends the principle of Aparigraha. Good Jainas take a vow to fix their possession of material things including wealth.

Economy of Indian society was, till recently, dominated by this principle of Aparigraha. However, the more we have come under the influence of Western materialism, more superficial our attitude towards the life has become. Past history of India is replete with examples to show that a multi‑millionaire would himself lead the life of a poor man and would be prepared would himself lead the life of a poor man and would be prepared to donate the whole of his wealth for a public cause. There was no marked difference between the life style and standard of the persons belonging to different financial stratas of the society. A rich man did not desire more luxury simply because he could afford to spend. Now the standards have changed, outlook towards life and life‑style is also changed. Earn more and spend more; increase your standard of living, simple thinking and higher living ‑ a contrast to what English poet Wordsworth said ‑ are the mottoes of modern life. The result is licentiousness, absence of moral discipline, unnecessary and unfruitful spending, want of equilibrium in the prices of consumer goods, diversion of essential raw materials for the production of luxury goods, exploitation of labour and consumers, unequal distribution of wealth produced by the society and  the resultant unrest and class war.

The principle of ‘Aparigraha' was never more relevant than today. It is highly unfortunate that even the socialist ideology ley by thinkers like Marx and others, who revolted against social injustices, resulting from economic imbalances, failed to go to the root of the problem, and could not go beyond the materialistic conceptions of history and economics. They forgot to take into account that a human being is the unit of the society and hence no social structure can be effectively improved without improving its units.

Indian seers have always kept this aspect in mind. They have always emphasized the advancement of the individual character of each man because they knew that a society can progress only to the extent to which its individual components improve. What they taught by ‘Aparigraha' was not a mere religion, it was sociology in its truest sense. To create class conflict and then to fight the said class conflict was, to them, an absurd process. They devised a method which would prevent the generation of any conflict in the society.

Today the world economy is in shamble. So called communist economy, as practiced in Soviet Russia and other East‑european countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America is on the brink of disaster. North America which feels proud of its Capitalist System is under a great strain and its people are not capable of tolerating even the slightest jolt to their comforts. Citizens there begin their careers as house‑holders by incurring debts which in many cases do not end till life time, and this is because they find it impossible to live without modern gadgets and cannot control their increasing desires. One catastrophy like a world war is sufficient to shatter their proud citadel of capitalist concomitance.

The root cause of all this, as pointed out by Indian seers, is uncontrolled appetite to possess and to enjoy more and more material objects of life. Want of inherent restraint from within, want of realization of life's realities, want of the knowledge that real enjoyment of life is not in material pursuits, are responsible for our present unrest and sense of insecurity. The problem can never be solved by mere economic reforms. All economic theories have to be worked out amongst the human beings, who are in need of psychological, emotional and sentimental treatment. Economists and political theorists are great ignoramuses in such treatment.

The solution of ‘Aparigraha' was perhaps not known to Marx and even if it was known to him he would have, in all probability, laughed and scoffed at it. One should, however, not be surprised if Marx would change his ideas and agree with the Indian seers if he is given a chance to get up from his grave today ‑ much before the day of Kayamata ‑ and see the results of his pure dialectical materialism.

Amongst the modern political leaders of the world, Mahatma Gandhi may be credited to have practiced whatever he preached to others.

He himself had no ‘Parigraha' and taught the Indians as well as the whole world that limitation of desires and restraint of possessions, simple living and high thinking, are the only realistic way to live a happy, contended and peaceful life --‑ a life without conflicts and constraints. But ironically and unfortunately his teachings were not given even a polite and courteous nod of affirmation by his own followers during his own life time and the economy of India --‑ the land where the lessons of ‘Aparigraha' have been taught through thousands of years  ‑-- has willingly sided and slipped to western economy and materialistic pursuits.

 ‘Aparigraha' is more relevant today than it was in the times of Mahavira two thousand and five hundred years ago.

We shall next consider the modus operandi to implement this Pancasila.



Sukla) , Lesya (Six types‑Krsna, Nila, Kapota, Pita or Tejo, Padma and Sukla) , Code of conduct for monks (Control of mind and body, Guptis and Samitis) , Tapascarya : Austerities (Santhara, Samllekhana, All process of Nirjara, Basic requirement of Bhava, i.e.,emotional awareness to renounce not to show physical or mental exercises, Abhyantara Tapa and its six categories, Bahya Tapa and its categories, Mahavira always insisted on inner development to bring life to hard penance) , Samllekhana .



"Insight into Reality is earned by intellectual and moral discipline for which there are three stages : 1) A tradition which we have to learn (Sravana), 2) An intellectual training through which we have to pass (Manana), and 3) An ethical discipline which we have to undergo (Nididhyasana)".



Enlightened Consciousness

Religion for an Indian, is experience or attitude of mind‑principles tested in life. It is not an idea, a bare intellectual exercise or a mere logical conviction. It is rather an enlightened consciousness, a power, a spiritual force which can be felt not only by the peson who possesses the same but also by all those who come in his contact. It is, as Dr.S.Radhakrishnan puts it :‑"Intuition of Reality (Brahmanubhava), Insight into Truth (Brahma Darsana), Contact with the Supreme (Brahma Samsatkara) and Direct apprehension of Reality (Brahma Saksatkara).

All religious systems of India have emphasized that language and logic are incapable to reveal to use the real dimensions of the Reality, apprehended only by experiencing it. For this reason all the Indian systems have considered philosophy and the actual lining of their philosophical principles as the integral and inseparable parts of the ultimate knowledge. They have, therefore, provided humanity not only with metaphysical theories but also with a mechnism to operate them and have exhorted people to test these theories in practical life.

Jaina seers, in conformity with their Indian tradition, have pointed out the methodology by resorting to which the five principles discussed in the foregoing chapter can be put into practice.


Self, the starting point

They point out that the essential and basic requirement of spiritual development is the full conviction about the nature of the ‘self' and the efficacy of the role of Nine Tattvas in the spiritual journey. This conviction is the starting point in the journey. This spiritual journey is possible only after one is convinced that material objects of the world are alien to the ‘self', that the real nature of the ‘self' is all Bliss and all joy, also that this bliss and joy are not available to him because the luminosity of the ‘self' is clouded by the material karmas due to the attachment towards worldly objects, foreign to it, it would natually set on finding out the means for dispelling clouds of these material karmas. In fact, every one of us inherits the capacity to despel the clouds. i.e., alien materials covering the soul. What is required is the will and the eagerness to realise the real nature of self.


Will and Eagerness

The basic question is that the basic postulates of every spiritual development, i.e., will and eagerness to realise the real nature of self cannot be developed through any mechanical formula. They emanate from within only by experience which in turn is gained mainly by thinking process. Capacity to think and to distinguish,  is the only feature which distinguishes a human being from the rest of the animal world. It follows, therefore, that the more we develop our thinking process the more we are utilising our existence as a human being. If an intelligent survey of human behaviour is carried out it will be noticed that most of us do not bestow proper thought and study our day to day experiences in life. We take many things for granted and do not bother to analyse the factores leading to a particular happening in our life or in the lives of those around us. So, to develop the habit of objective observation of everything that happens to us as well as around us is the first essential. This habit of objective observation will naturally introduce in our thinking process the principle of Nayavada (doctrine of multiple aspects) and our power of tolerance and understanding will go on increasing.

Thinking process has its own dynamism. By its very nature it can never remain stagnant. Therefore if a human being, allows the thinking process to go on, is bound to reach a stage of approaching reality. At that stage he realizes the real cause of his pains and pleasures, and once he realizes he tries to adjust himself to the situation. He is now ready and willing to experiment. Every experiment in the spiritual field brings unique and interesting results, giving further impetus to make progress. This surely results in ‘will and eagerness', referred to above as ‘basic postulates of spiritual progress'.

Anuvrata‑Mahavrata  ‑ To those who are able to develop will and eagerness to go further in the spiritual journey, the Jaina seers have provided a sort of modus by the operation of which a positive achievement can be made. This modus covers the whole range of actual living. Distinction is, however, made between the life of a monk who has renounced the world, and the life of a house‑holder who has to discharge all worldly duties and at the same time, wants to be free from the shackles of karmas. However, since the destination of both the monk as well as the house‑holder is the same, the basic practice, they are prescribed to follow is the same. The difference is only in the degree, considering that one has renounced the worldly affairs while the other has to encounter all sorts of worldly conflicts. The milder form of practice prescribed for a house‑holder is called ‘Anuvrata' and highest and strictest standard is prescribed for the monks having renounced the world and aspiring to attain emancipation. This is called ‘Mahavrata'. Before discussing the details of these practices, it would be quite necessary to understand the process by which a proper mental and emotional attitude can be prepared for performing these practices in true spirit.

Objective observation ‑ It is easier to observe objectively the phenomena which are impersonal to us than to bring objectivity to the personal phenomena which come only by cultivating a habit. The cultivation of this habit remains not so difficult if on every occasion of pleasure and pain we seek within ourselves their causes and try to go deeper in our enquiry as to their propriety and their impact on our character building. We are bound to experience that once this process of objective observation becomes habitual, the impact of emotional upsurges of pleasures and pains on our psyche becomes blunted. So the first requirement is the habit of objective observation of all the personal and impersonal occurances in life.

Upadana‑Nimitta (Material and Efficient Cause)

The next requirement is the understanding that every phenomenon in life is governed by the doctrine of cause and effect and nothing which happens in this universe is accidental or miraculous. Once this understanding is ingrained, our attention would naturally be focussed on finding out the cause. Care should be taken to see that we go to the root cause instead of an immediate cause, which superficially strikes us, is mostly the effect of some other cause. For instance if some one has disturbed us by inflicting an insult, we at once conclude that the cause of our disturbance was that someone else. But if we think deeper and go to the root of the real cause of our disturbance, we will find that we are hypersensitive or that we were some how responsible for inciting the other one to insult us to that the other one who insulted us did not mean to insult us.

The Jaina philosophers have emphasized that whatever is the immediate cause, disturbing our soul, is foreign  to us and merely provides an occasion or a situation. In Jaina philosophy it is a ‘Nimitta', a pretext, with the help of which the ‘self', which is the real cause, ‘Upadana' moves, and experiences the results. If the ‘self' tries to remain unmoved, i.e., tries to remain unaffected by the situation, the object which is foreign to it and which is a ‘Nimit' cannot produce any result.

To illustrate how our life actions in our spiritual journey take final shape, our attention is drawn to the process by which a potter gives a final shape to an earthen pot. In an earthen pot, the limp of clay is ‘Upadana', the potter is the doer (Karta) and the instruments are ‘Nimitta'. The lump of clay has to pass through different shapes before it assumes the final shape of a pot. Applying this analogy to the shaping of spiritual life, our ‘self' or ‘Atman' is both the Karta and Upadana because it combines in itself the qualities of a motivating force and the substratum which undergoes changes and the external objects are ‘Nimittas'. If the ‘Self', while coming into contact with worldly objects, allows itself to be influenced by them, it assumes the character of these objects and shape itself accordingly. If it allows itself to be influenced by anger, it looks angry; if by greed, it looks greedy; if by proud, it looks proudy. But if it allows itself to be influenced by the thoughts and writings of spiritual leaders, it looks spiritualised, noble and benedictory. Thus the upward progress of the soul depends much upon the quality of the ‘Nimitta' which is permitted to influence it. Just as a lump of clay takes different shapes before attaining the final shape of a pot, the self also takes different shapes before attaining the ultimate stage of ‘Nirvana'. It is a common place truth that one is always influenced by the company he keeps. "Ilika bhramarijata dhyayanti bhramari yatha", means ‘just as a new born insect becomes a bee by contemplating on the bee itself'. That is why all the saints of different schools in India have put special emphasis on Satsanga, i.e., the company of saintly persons; studying and contemplating on the path shown by the great seers, constantly repeating the names and attributes of the great souls who have moved on earth, contemplating the virtues which have made them great, discussing and analysing the great doctrines handed over to us by them through selfless love for humanity. These are the surest ways to be influenced by good and beneficial ‘Nimittas'.Thus we should prefer the ‘Nimittas' which permanently remind us of the divine power of our spirit, which fill our daily life routine with the idea of total liberation and which make us repentant of all our moral lapses. It follows that we should avoid those ‘Nimittas' which becomes responsible for contrary effect. This process obviously requires a lively awareness from moment to moment. Any lapse in such an awareness is known in Jaina technicality as ‘Pramada', the literary meaning of which is negligence.


Bhavana or Anupreksa (Reflection)

To achieve this end the seers have prescribed some formula, the most important of which is the prescription of constantly keeping in view twelve Bhavanas as under :

(1) Anitya Bhavana  ‑ ‘Bhavana' means ‘conception', ‘Anitya' means ‘transitory'. All material things of the universe are transitory in nature. It is an ever changing world. Nothing is still and permanent here. What gives us pain is not the changing modes but our insistence to see that the things of our liking remain permanent. Unthinking man never reconciles himself to the fact of change and this is the root of human misery because no one who belongs to this universe, and is a part of it, can free himself from the laws by which he universe is governed. It is really tragic to stay behind. We experience every moment that all objects of pleasure, wealth, the power and everything around us undergoes changes. The moment we are born, we begin to die. Change is the rule. The only exception is our spirit (Cetana). But we tend to forget the spirit which is permanent and cling to the thing which is transitory, and if in the process we become unhappy we blame others. Obviously the pangs of our pain would be greatly relieved if we constantly remember, that change is the rule and clinging to changing modes is pure ignorance.

(2) Asaruna Bhavana  ‑ ‘Sarana' means refuse. Asarana means want of refuse or helplessness. It should be constantly borne in mind that we have to find out our own course in life. Pure religion ought to be alone accepted as a help in life. Seers and scriptures can only guide us. We have to tread on the path by our own efforts, discrimination and wisdom. When we are, overtaken by pain, physical or mental, no one can save us from its pangs. We are the makers of our own future and our pleasures and pains are of our own making. We have to learn to bear them with equanimity and without depending on others.

(3, 4)  Ekatva‑Anyatva Bhavana  ‑ Ekatva means aloneness or Soleness and Anyatva means separateness. We enter the world alone and we leave it also alone. Each one of us has to suffer the fruits of our individual karmas. Our cooperation in worldly affairs, love and affection for others should not be allowed to be degenerated into attachment because no amount of attachment either for our family or friends can save us from pangs of life. Consciousness that I am alone, and alone have I to chart my course of life. As also that my family, my friends and my belongings are not mine, does not breed selfishness, but bugging, to all these things, does bring selfishness because such bugging is the result of gross attachment which is the worst vice in human nature. In fact both these Bhavanas of Ekatva and Anyatva are not only complimentary to each other but are also the logical consequence of the Asarana Bhavana referred to above. What these two Bhavanas prescribe, is to suggest that you have to bear the fruits of your own karmas ‑ others cannot relieve you of them. Similarly you cannot relieve others of  the fruits of their karmas. If we cultivate such an objectivity of outlook we would be better equipped to serve ourselves and others around us.

(5) Nivrtti Bodha or Samsara Bhavana ‑ Nivrtti means retirement. This Bhavana asks us to remember that this self is wandering in this Samsara from one life to another, time immemorial. In words of the Great Sankara "Punarapi maranam punarapi jananam, Punarapi janani jathare Sayanam. This endless wandering from one life to the other must have some purpose. Can there be an end to it ? Surely it cannot be the scheme of Nature that this Atman should go on end lessly to experience pleasures and pains, hopes and despairs during life after life without any purpose. And if there is any purpose I must find it out. It is found that I have not gained anything by repeating this endless cycle of birth and rebirth, life and death and all the ups and downs, tensions and turmoils of aimlessly moving in this samsara. What can I do to avoid it ? A mind of a Sadhaka constantly occupied with this type of perception finally leads him to a state of Nirgrantha (Granthi) where every knot of bondage is dissolved.

(6,7,8) Asrava‑Samvara‑Nirjara Bhavana  ‑ The concepts of Asrava, Samvara and Nirjara have been discussed in earlier chapters. These Bhavanas are to remind us how the inflow of karmas ‑-- good as well as bad ‑ result in bondage and how by the process of Samvara and Nirjara the inflow of new karmas can be stopped and the accumulated karmas can be destroyed.

(9) Asuci Bhavana ‑ Every man is most deeply attached to his body. In fact all pleasures and pains are of our body. Our attachment to our family and our worldly possessions is in the ultimate analysis the attachment to our body. But what is this body ? When the self withdraws from the body what is its condition ? Even when the self does not withdraw what this body consists of ? How various diseases arise in our body ? Why it gradually decays ? If we give deeper thought to all these questions we find two important aspects of our body:

(a) Without the existence of the spirit (soul) within it, it is nothing but a conglomeration of dirt and diseases.

(b) Even with the existence of spirit within, it is constantly under the process of decay and deterioration.

To keep these aspects of the body constantly in mind is called Asuci Bhavana. The constant reminder of these aspects blunt our attachment to our body and keep us alive to the fact that self is something distinct and different from body, and the body can be best utilised not for enjoying the transitory objects of the world but for liberating the self from the shackles of karmas. This Bhavana is called ‘Asuci' as it points out to the impure aspects of the body. This is required to be done to mitigate our attachment to the body and not for cultivating hatred towards it, as misunderstood by some. All the roads of Sadhana ‑ roads of self‑realization ‑ are requires to be traversed through body and it is this body which is the best vehicle to take us to the final destination. It is therefore, quite necessary to take its proper care and to keep it properly nourished, healthy and efficient. What is discounted here is indulgence in material objects of life to satisfy the indisciplined cravings of the body, so that it remains a fit and efficient vehicle to carry us safely in our spiritual journey.

(10) Dharma Bhavana  ‑ A constant reminder that ten virtues, viz., Samyama (Self‑control), Suntra (Truthfulness), Sauca (Purity), Brahma (Chastity), Akincanata (Absence of greed), Tapas (Penances), Ksanti (Forbearnce), Mardava (softness), Rjuta (sincerity) and Mukti (Emancipation are quite necessary to uphold the world order (Dharma).

(11, 12) LOka‑bhavana and Bodhi‑bhavana  ‑ Both these Bhavanas are meant to remind us the nature of this universe and its functioning  through the interplay of Jiva and Ajiva.

A constant reminder of these twelve Bhavanas mitigates our pangs of pains and expands our understanding of the life's problems, and even in uncomfortable situations of life does not appear burdensome.


Twelve Vratas of House‑holder

(A) Five minor vows ‑ We have noticed above that for a house‑holders a liberalised code of conduct called ‘Anuvrata' is prescribed. Anuvratas (Minor vows) are five in number ‑‑

(I)  Minor vow of non‑violence, i.e., abstinence from the killing and misbehaving of mobile living beings.

(ii)  Minor vow of truthfulness, i.e., abstinence from saying a lie to fulfil one's vested interest.

(iii) Non‑stealing.

(iv) Limiting one's sexual activities to one's own wife or to remain satisfied  by one's own wife.

(v) Limiting one's own possessions.

(B) Three supplementary vows ‑ However in order to keep a house‑holder constantly on the track some supplementary vows are also prescribed. These are known as ‘Gunavratas', which are three in number ‑

(i) Digvrata ‑‑ ‘Dig' means direction and ‘Vrata' means a vow. Thus Digvrata is a vow to carry out one's activity only within a restricted area.

(ii) Bhogopabhogaparimana ‑ ‘Bhoga‑Upabhoga' means sensual enjoyment of material things. This vow prescribed limitations regarding the enjoyment of material objects and these restrictions may also be with regard to the time and place when and where they may be enjoyed. Both the above vows are intended to limit the worldly activities and the extent of the worldly enjoyments, if the total and absolute restriction is not possible.

(iii) Anarthadanda‑viramana ‑ This vow is meant to prevent one from indulgence in such acts which are not necessary. A house‑holder has to undertake various types of activities. He cannot afford to put a stop to all activities, but using proper direction he can desist from certain acts such as :

(a) Inflicting bodily injuries or killing others ( Apadhyana ).

(b) Advising others to act in such a manner which results in sinful acts (Papopadesa).

(c) Giving weapons which would result in violence (Himsopakari Dana).

(d) Engaging oneself in useless and morally degrading activities such as gambling, reading sex‑literature, seeing low‑taste dramas and indulging in talks which are morally degrading.

(C) Four educative vows  ‑ These are four in number. These vows are meant to give periodic education in right conduct and to keep perpetual vigilance over one's activities. They are of four types :

(i) Samayika ‑ This is the most important daily activity to discipline mind and body, to review and reassess day's activity and to offer prayerful respect to the souls who have achieved liberation as well as to those who are on the path to liberation. Both in the morning, before daily activities are undertaken, and in the evening, before going to bed, one has to sit in meditation with the spirit of forbearance, friendliness and fraternity for all, irrespective of their cast, creed or complexion. One practices equanimity of mind and tries to shed all different types of Kasayas such as anger, pride, deceit and  greed. Virtues of great masters who have achieved liberation are extolled and prayers are offered for developing one's capacity to absorb these virtues in actual life.

This vow of Samayika is so important that Bimbisara, the king of Magadha, who was an ardent follower of lord Mahavira, was told by the Lord that if a particular house‑holder could give to him only a fraction of the fruit of his daily practice of equanimity (Samayika), his path of liberation would become easiest. The King, like most of the persons possessed of power and riches, thought that it would be easy for him to manage that particular house‑holder who was an ordinary layman, living in poverty. The king offered money and other things to purchase a small fraction of the merits achieved by him from Samayika. The house‑holder simply smiled at the ignorance of king's arrogance and would have appropriately replied in Biblical terms, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Mathew)

(ii) Desavakasika ‑ This vow is to be taken for further lessening the sphere of Digvrata and Bhogopabhoga‑parimana‑vrata for a day.

(iii) Prosadha ‑ During this vrata the Sadha accepts all restrictions of a Monk by retirnig for a day or two or for more time in the common prayer hall and passes most of his time in meditation and religious study.

(iv) Atithi‑Samvibhaga ‑ Giving gifts and donations to needy persons including Sadhus (saints).



Since Jainism firmly believes in the doctrine of karma and puts sole reliance on the development of spiritual force by one's own personal efforts, and further exhorts its followers to develop Asarana‑bhavana (none can refuge or save us), the question, which naturally arises, is, what is the place of prayers in Jainism ? Prayers are offered to God or to the Divine force which is supposed to control the whole universe. But if the Jainas do not believe in God or in the existence of any outside Divinity controlling our fate, any idea of prayer would be irrelevant to them. The question is very legitimate. It is true that strictly according to the Jaina doctrines the prayer in the sense of asking favour of Divine dispensation has no place in Jaina doctrines for two main reasons, namely, (1) The soul which has been emancipated and which then becomes Omniscient has no desire left and has no motivation for the good or the bad of the universe. Its character is purely that of a knower and a seer. If it could be pleased by prayers, it could also be displeased by something else; If it could bestow favours, it could also bestow frowns. To attribute such human frailties to a liberated soul is to deny its liberation.

(2) Secondly, once we accept the doctrine of karma, all results must be sought in that doctrine and therefore unless the prayers are adjusted in the karma doctrine, they remain totally non‑productive.

However, it would be totally wrong to say that prayers, if understood properly, have no place in Jaina philosophy. Jainas do not understand prayers as a means of seeking favours from a superior force. True Jaina prayers are nothing but the appreciation and adoration of the virtues possessed by the liberated souls and the expression of ardent desire to achieve these virtues in one's own actual life. It is for this reason that Jaina scriptures have actually enumerated the virtues of different categories of souls such as Arihanta, Siddha, Acarya and Sadhu.

It is basic to the Jaina belief that the Tirthankaras (prophets) and their teachings are only to point out to us the way to get liberation. But how to get liberation and how to put these teachings into practice is entirely left to us. We achieve only to the extent to which we exert. However, the path shown by those who have achieved must be studied with ulmost to respect and sincerity, because it is the path which the seers have actually taken in their lives and have obtained the results. We should therefore be entirely thankful to these great seers for providing to us such guidance. One expresses such thankfulness out of sheer gratitude, extolls and enumerates their virtues and wishes that such virtues may also develop in one's own life. Jainas further believe that by constantly being reminded of the virtues which made them great, our mind gets oriented to these virtues and being constantly in mental company witth the great, we too tend to be influenced by their greatness by developing the virtues which they possessed. This, in Jaina philosophy, is the true process of prayers and it is in this manner that one also getss the fruits of his prayers.

It is a psychological truth that human mind gets oriented to the thoughts which it entertains constantly. Oriented and conditioned mind always impells the physical senses of the body to follow the pursuits of its liking. Therefore, being convinced of the teaching of the great seers, if we totally surrender ourselves to these teachings and constantly bear in mind the efficacy of these teachings and try to put them in practice, it is the best prayer we can offer and if such type of prayer yields some results, we would surely be justified in saying that the results which were so yielded were due to the ‘favour' of the great masters who showed the path to us. For indeed the masters have shown favour to us, as to the whole humanity, in pointing out to the right way to obtain salvation.

Illustrative of this line of thinking is the prayer offered by the great Acarya Samantabhadra in the following words :


Na pujayarthastvayi vitarage,

Na nindaya natha vivanta vaire,

Tathapi te punya gunasmrtirnah,

Punatu ceto duritam janebhyah.

meaning, ‘Oh lord, you are really a Vitaraga (one who has shedded all passions ) and so you are not pleased by prayers nor you displeased by adverse criticism, because you have destroyed all types of adversory feelings. All the same, the remembrance of your merits purifies one's mind from all the sins'.

A prayer of this type is the best karma (action) one can resort to, and according to the doctrine of Karma we must get the fruits of our actions.

It is interesting to note that the most outstanding of the Jaina prayers is contained in  what is known as ‘Navakara Mantra' which contains nothing sectarian or personal to any individual and asks for nothing in return. It does nothing more than offering sincere veneration to those souls which are already liberated and which are on the path of liberation. These souls may belong to any sect or religious belief but so long as they are on the path of liberation or, are, infact, liberated, one who is a true Jaina bows down to them. This enchantation is as under :


Namo Arihantanam ‑‑ I bow down to all ‘Arihantas'.

Namo Siddhanam ‑‑ I bow down to all ‘Siddhas'.

Namo Ayariyanam ‑‑ I bow down to all ‘Acaryas'.

Namo Uvajjhayanam ‑‑ I bow down to ‘Upadhyayas'.

Namo Loe Savvasahunam ‑‑ I bow down to all the ‘Sadhus'.


‘Arihantas ' are those blessed souls who have successfully shed away in this life all the karmas which blur the potency of the soul; ‘Siddhas' are those souls who have achieved the final emancipation and have attained a bodyless state of pure bliss; ‘Acaryas' are those merciful souls who teach us the path of salvation and ‘Sadhus' are those saints who are themselves on the path of salvation and are striving for liberation.

These five are called ‘Panca‑paramesthi' ‑ five types of great souls ‑ those who have been liberated and those who are on the path of liberation. A Jaina bows down to them all, not necessarily because thye have followed or are following a particular type of religion but because they have already attained what was worth attaining or because they are striving to attain what is worth attaining. As Acarya Hemcandra puts it :

"Bhava bijankura‑janana ragadyah ksayamupagata yasya, Brahma va Visnurva Haro Jino va namastasmai." meaning, "I bow down to him whose all passions such as attachment and malice, which sow the seeds of birth and rebirth, have been destroyed. It matters not whether he is Brahma, Visnu, Sankara or Jina."

The Jainas have built big and beautiful temples and are adoring, imposing and serene marble idols of Tirthankaras. Idol‑worship has its own rights and Jainas seem to have adopted the same at a subsequent stage because Jaina scriptures have not recorded that Lord Mahavira at any time worshipped an Idol. In fact the whole emphasis of Jaina doctrines is on the Atman which has no form. However, if the majority of Jainas have resorted to the worship of the idols of Tirthankaras, it would not go against the basic principles of Jainism if the said worship is carried out on the lines discussed above.

It would, however, undoubtedly follow that adoring the idols by jewelry and other ornaments and taking out processions of idols, etc. have no philosophical background or justification ‑ except perhaps expressing devotion. Attribution of ornamental glitter to one who is a Vitaraga is a gross negation of all that for which Jainism stans, and amounts to crude perversion of basic doctrines of Jainism.

Thus, prayers and Bhakri are differently understood by the Jainas but they do occupy a prominent place in Jaina thinking.


Dhyana (Meditation)

Dhyana and Lesya occupy very prominent place in Jaina thinking. The Jaina approach to Dhyana is purely psychological. It is understood by Jainas in its very comprehensive sense, namely, the engagement of the mind in a particular thought. Human mind never remains empty even for a moment. It remains constantly engaged, thinking of good or bad things  whether necessary or not, and whether they are of our immediate concern or not. The Jaina thinkers have taken account of this fact, and have analysed the condition of human mind into four categories, namely ‑‑ 1. Artta Dhyana, 2. Raudra Dhyana, 3. Dharma Dhyana and 4. Sukla Dhyana. The first two are inauspicious and the latter two are auspicious. These four categories cover all the conditions of mind. The first two, being the cause the cause of the worldly transmigration, are evil‑dhyana while Dharma and Sukla lead to liberation and are noble‑dhyana.

(1) Artta Dhyana  ‑ ‘Artta' means pain. When our painful experiences catch hold of our mental condition we are undergoing the state of Artta Dhyana. There are four broad classifications of this type of Dhyana as follows ‑‑

(i)  Anista‑samyoga, i.e., when we are put in the circumstances which we do not consider good for us.

(ii) Ista‑viyoga, i.e., when we are deprived of good and congenial circumstances.

(iii) Roga‑cinta, i.e., when we are worried of physical disease or pain.

(iv) Nidana, i.e. when we worry to attain an objective which is difficult to obtain.

In all these four conditions we remain worried and feel unhappy and our mind remains engaged with the painful ideas about the prevailing circumstances.

(2) Raudra Dhyana  ‑ ‘Raudra' means cruel, harsh. When the mind is either full of anger, hatred, malice and violence or is scheming evil designs, we are passing through Raudra Dhyana. When we are in this condition we enjoy the activities which are immoral. All mental activities to grab power and wealth, sexual enjoyment and anti‑social acts fall within this classification.

(i) The first type of Raudra dhyana called ‘himsanandi', means taking delight in killing, crushing or destroying the living beings either by self or through other. It includes skil in violent actions.

(ii) Mrsanandi Raudra dhyana includes falsehood, composing deceptive literature for one's own pleasure, collecting wealth by deceit and deceiving the simple‑minded.

(iii) Cauryanandi Raudra dhyana includes not only the act of theft but also preaching dexterity in theft.

(iv) Visayanandi Raudra dhyana includes desire to take possession of all good things of the world and thinking of fighting ferociously for attainment of the objects of enjoyment.

Both the above referred dhyanas are spiritually degrading the self. Most of us remain permanently engaged in these two Dhyanas with the result that we are not able to make any progress spiritually. Next two Dhyanas are of the superior variety and help us to progress further in our journey to freedom.

(3) Dharma Dhyana ‑ The word ‘Dharma' is used in Jaina terminology in a sense wider than ‘religion'. What is ‘Dharma' ? Answer is ‘Vatthu Sahavo Dhammo ', i.e., the intrinsic nature of a thing is its ‘Dharma'. So long as a thing remains within the limits of its intrinsic nature, and does not transgress these limts, it remains within its own ‘Dharma'. Life's problems arise when we transgress these limits and encroach upon the foreign fields. Working on these principles, it the ‘Jiva', i.e., the self, forgetting its own intrinsic nature, tries to encroach upon the field of ‘Ajiva', it invites trouble. But if it concentrates its attention on its own self, tries to analyse its nature and focusses its activities on its upliftment, it enters into the field of ‘Dharma Dhyana'. Thus if we fix our attention and activities in studying the views expressed by enlightened souls, and try to find out how far we can put these views in actual practice, it would be a type of Dharma Dhyana which is called ‘Ajnana‑vacaya'. When we contemplate how the true character of the self is clouded by its contact with kasayas such as anger, pride, etc., and how the self can be made free from this contact, we are in ‘Apayavicaya' Dharma dhyana. When we think how the accumlated karmas can be shed, we are in the Dharma‑dhyana which is called, ‘Vipaka‑vicaya'. When we contemplate about the nature of this universe (Loka) and its functioning, it is called ‘Loka‑samsthana‑vicaya' Dharma Dhyana.

Dharma Dhyana takes our mind away from Artta and Raudra which are degrading the spirit and which result only in earning further karmas which bind the spirit. Dharma‑dhyana not only takes us to the field of metaphysics and logic, but also constitutes the best type of Satsanga as it engages our mind in closet company with the great seers who have realized the Truth.

Sukla Dhyana  ‑ ‘Sukla' means ‘white or pure'. This is the highest type of meditation where in the karmic bondages are made free and the soul remains totally engrossed in itself only. Seers say that it is not possible to give complete idea of this type of meditation as the bliss which one experiences by it is beyond description. However they have classified this typee of meditation into four categories ‑ (i) Prthakatva‑vitarka‑savicara, (ii) Ekatva‑vitarka‑vicara, (iii) Suksma‑kriya‑pratipatti, (iv) Samucchinna‑kriya‑nivrtti or Vyuparata‑kriya‑nivrtti. These are different stages of advancement in meditation. In the first one the mind contemplates the different modes of the self and the forces of Pudgala and analyses them. Since the mind is moving from one idea to the other, it is called ‘Prthakatva' and ‘Vitarka'. This process goes on but during the process this movement in the thinking the concentration is only on finding out the true character of the self, and therefore the whole process tends to make the mind steady.

After it becomes steady it concentrates only on one object namely the self. This is the second stage of ‘Ekatva‑vitarka'. When the mind becomes thus steady, complete peace and bliss preveails becuase at that stage all the bondages of kasayas get destroyed and there is nothing which would disturb its steadiness and peace. The mind, remaining peaceful and steady in this manner, reaches the stage of ‘Kevala‑jnana' pure knowledge.

In the third stage there is only a nominal though subtle connection with body and when even that is broken the final stage of the state of a ‘Siddha' comes which is a bodyless existence of the soul possessing all knowledge and all bliss.

This is how the great masters have described the process of meditation. An ordinary human being is roaming between first three categories of meditation. It is considered that the last one is very difficult of being achieved and it involves the entire process of spiritual progress which wehave already described while discussing various ‘Guna‑sthanas'.

What is the type of bliss which one achieves in Sukla dhyana ? We cannot describe the same, but Acarya Hemacandra, a great master in Yoga, says as under in his famous work ‘Yoga‑sastra'


Moksostu mastu yadi va paramanandastu vedayte sa khalu.

Yasminnikhila sukhani pratibhasante na kincidiva.

"Whether salvation is there or not, the absolute Bliss which is experienced (in Sukla‑dhyana) cannot be surpasses in the least by all pleasurable thing of the universe."


Lesya (Disposition)

The word ‘Lesya' can be explained as an aura around a human personality reflecting the innermost disposition which one undergoes at a relevant time as well as disposition itself. It is the mental disposition or feeling which influences the soul and gives facial and physical expressions. The whole human personally is shaped by the type of mental dispositions and inclinations which one undergoes and which are reflected principally on the face. This reflection of different types of dispositions or emotional states is a matter of common knowledge of almost everyone of us. When one gets very angry, or when one is engrossed in mournful state or when one gets emotionally thrilled by joy, the aura and the very look of his face changes and we can read his current mental state only from the features of his face. The predominance of a particular feeling or disposition ‑‑ good or bad ‑‑ shapes the whole human personality as well as his surrounding atmosphere and that is why we get a sense of peace and joy when we are in company of a good saint. So, in order to know the spiritual advancement of a particular person, the knowledge of the Lesya or dispositions emanating from his personality is a good guide. Almost all Yoga‑systems including Patanjala and Bauddha systems have recognised this theory of Lesyas. Lesyas are of six types according to their colour. They are ‑‑ Krsna (Black), Neela (Blue), Kapota (Ash), ‘Pita' or ‘Tejolesya (Orange‑colour or like the colour of a rising sun), Padma (Golden‑yellow) and Sukla (White or pure ). First three are called bad disposition as they result from the bad intension or inclination and last three are called as good dispositions (Lesyas) as they result from good intension or inclination. The worst Lesya is the black one and is suggestive of intensive emotions of different Kasayas. The second is of a lesser degree and the third is of still lesser degree. These degrees are of ascending order in last three Lesyas. The highest and the best type is Sukla which is achieved by those who are in the state of Sukla Dhyana (last stage of meditation).

The scriptures have explained the working of Lesyas in human life by giving the following illustration :

There were six friends who wanted to eat the fruits of a fruit tree. They went to the tree and saw that many unripe and ripe fruits were available ‑ among ripe fruits many were hanging on the tree while many had fallen on the ground. All the six friends possessed six different types of the dispositions. The person who was possessed of Krisna Lesya (black disposition) proposed that the best way to enjoy the fruits was to pull down the whole tree and pluck all the ripe fruits. The other one who possessed ‘Neela Lesya' (Blue disposition) said that instead of destroying the whole tree, it would be better to cut off the main branches which possessed the fruits. The third one who possessed ‘Kapota Lesya' (Ash disposition) said it would be a waste to cut off the smaller branches which held the fruits. The fourth who possessed ‘Tejolesya' said even that would result in waste and so the better way to cut off only the bunches of hanging fruits and to take away ripe ones from these bunches. The fifth one who had ‘Padma Lesya' said, "brother, even by that method you would be wasting away the unripe fruits and hence the best way was to pluck only the ripe fruits from the tree. It, he said, would not matter if thereby they would be getting lesser number of ripe fruits. The last one who possessed ‘Sukla Lesya' said, "Brothers, I do not agree with any of you, because I find that there are enough ripe fruits already fallen on the ground why not collect them and satisfy your hunger. Thereby we save ourselves from causing any unnecessary harm to this useful tree.”

All the six friends wanted to eat the fruits but the approach of each in achieving the object was different. We notice such different approaches in life to different problems and cause many avoidable social disturbances in achieving our objects. It is obvious from the above illustration that the person who is possessed of good Lesya has greater patience, higher reasoning faculty and due regard to the necessity of avoiding unnecessary injury to others. The most evident illustration of the working of these Lesyas is the ‘Gulf war'. It is obvious that this war is being fought for getting control over the oil bearing area of Kuwait. Iraqui rules became impatient and become ready to ‘pull down' the fruit tree and captured the whole of Kuwait by an over night armed action. Those who were interested in Kuwaiti oil moved with a little moderation in the beginning by moving the UNO and imposing sanctions. They however lost patience and began to threaten war. Others who had higher type of Lesya advised still more moderation by considering alternatives to war. Ultimately the main contending parties could not restrain themselves and plunged the whole world into a nasty war and untold miseries to many innocent persons. These mad men of war are now in ‘Raudra‑dhyana' and exhibiting ‘Krsna‑lesya'. If we keep a constant watch over the Dhyanas and the Lesyas through which we are passing in our day to day life, we acquire a type of objectivity and consciousness which would save not only ourselves but the whole society from many problems. Thus the philosophical doctrines of Jainism, as of other religious systems, have a great social content and provide an effective answer to those socially oriented thinkers who believe that all attempts at spiritual upliftment are individualised and hence bereft of a social outlook. The basic drawback of this type of thinking is that it forgets to take into account the fundamental fact that each individual is the unit of the society and any attempt at social improvement without improving the componant units, is a labour which is bound to fail. History possesses much evidence to prove this. The failures of the French and Russian revolutions, which were the creations of social thinking, are the best illustrations which prove this point.


Code of Conduct for Monks

The whole moral code for a Jaina monk should be viewed from a particular angle. As monk has decided to devote himself absolutely spiritualism. The house‑holders are allowed to observe the five cardinal principles of Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya and Aparigraha with concessions but the monks expected to observe them very strictly.

They are also expected to have complete control over their mind and body. This is done by cultivating control over mind, called ‘Manogupti' speech, called ‘Vaggupti' and action called ‘Kayagupti'. The guptis protect the monk from Sin. The Atman receives a shelter in these guptis against the mundance circle of birth and death. As Pujyapada has put it "Yatah samsarakaranadatmano gopanam bhavati". Manogupti means freedom from thought of passions, delusions, attachment, aversion and such other impure thoughts. Vaggupti means avoidance of talk's about women politics, theft, food, etc., and refraining from telling a lie. Kayagupti means renunciation of such violent actions as piercing, beating, contracting, expanding, etc. They are also expected to accept five types of ‘Samitis' (limitations). The word Samiti coming from the root (to go) with Sam prefix, means vigilance in behaviour, namely, Irya, to take care in walking so as not to hurt anybody; Bhasa, to take care in speaking so as not hurt anyone; ‘Esana', to take care in accepting alms so as to receive the same in accordance with the rules prescribed for monastic order; ‘Adana‑niksepana' and ‘Utsarga' or Pratisthapana, both require care in taking and giving as well as in throwing away bodily refuse. The central idea of all these different types of limitations and restrictions is Ahimsa. One should not think, speak or do anything which even most remotely would involve the element of violence. The standards prescribed for monks are so much strict and rigid that to suit the modern age many adjustments are required to be made. For instance, as a rule, the Monks have to go on foot wherever they want to go. They therefore cannot use a vehicle. They also cannot use a microphone. If these limitations are rigidly followed, bulk of the society would be deprived of their contact and preaching. However, it should be remembered that these limitations are prescribed keeping in mind only one principle namely, each one of us is expected to concentrate upon his own individual emancipation and if we can, successfully do it social emancipation is bound to follow.


Austerities (Tapascarya)

Jainas are famous for their austerities. Every year during the holy‑days of ‘Paryusana' the monks and nuns as well as the house‑holders perform very hard and strict austerities of various types. Many persons go in fast for months. Some take the vow of alternate fasts throughout a year. Even children and teenagers perform fasts, ranging from a day to a week, and in some cases, which are rare nowadays, some persons end their life by voluntarily renouncing every thing including food and water and going into deep spiritual contemplation called ‘Santhara' or ‘Samllekhana'. Lord Mahavira himself carried out severest austerities of various types for long twelve years and earned the title of Mahavira meaning, a great warrior.  His long period of severe austerities also earned him the title of a ‘Dirga Tapasvi' (one who has carried out hard austerities). At the successful end of an austerity which is undertaken, some Jainas are found to celebrate it with pomp. They give publicity to the austerities undertaken during Paryusana holy‑days and publicly honour the persons undertaking these austerities. When the Jainas give so much importance to these austerities, it is necessary to treat this subject in proper perspective.

We have already noted that the performance of penances is the process of Nirjara when accumulated karmas are shed away by conscious efforts. One thing which is very important to note, and which is not properly understood by lay persons, is that neither Lord Mahavira nor any of the seers who followed him and interpreted his doctrines, has taken the doctrine of Tapascarya as a bare physical exercise and a matter of demonstration and publicity to the exercise world. It is therefore a gross insult of Jainism to give publicity and celebrate the occasions of such penances.

The fundamental principle behind the idea of penances and austerities is the ‘Bhava', the emotional awareness, to renounce. Unless such a ‘Bhava' is there all penances and austerities are mere physical exercise having no more value than the crude exhibition of bodily power to withstand the pangs of hunger or thirst. Even though the inner aspect of penances is duly emphasized in Jainism, yet the importance of external penances is also not underrated. External austerity involves physical endurance and renunciation of something perceptible, whereas the internal austerity involves control of mind.

The penances are classified under two heads : external and internal. To put more emphasis on Bhava, the Tirthankaras have repeatedly said that Abhyantara Tapa is better than Bahya. The external austerity being something physical can be pursued even by a man who is not possessed of right attitude.

Abhyantara means the thing which emanates from within. Bahya means ‘outward'. Acarya Hemacandra says in his ‘Yoga‑sastra' ‑ "Nirjara‑karane bahyat srestham Abhyantaram tapah", meaning, "for the purpose of Nirjara Abhyantara Tapa is better than Bahya. The great Acarya said this because one should first improve the inner tendencies of mind and practice those austerities which grow from within one's self. Outward manifestations, unaccompanied by mental and emotional growth, amount to mere hypocracy and cheating.

Abhyantara Tapa ‑ the width and ambit of the meanings of Abhyantara and Bahya Tapa would be clear from their categories which are described as under:

There are six categories of Abhayantara Tapa, namely, (i) Prayascitta ‑ Atonement for the breach of a vow resulting from carelessness or negligence, (ii) Vinaya ‑ Respect for the virtues such as Jnana, Darsana and Caritra, (iii) Vaiyavrtya ‑ Rendering of personal and impersonal sevice to those who deserve, (iv) Svadhyaya ‑ Study to acquire true knowledge (v) Vyutsarga ‑ Discarding ego and the sense of possession and (vi) Dhyana ‑ Meditation to increase the power of concentration by making the mind, steady.

The above six categories of Abhyantara Tapa are cultivated by the mind which is inclined to learn, and to practice, the mind which has respect for the virtues and the mind which is ego‑free. This condition of mind comes from the inner development only. The widest ramification of the meaning attributed to the austerities contemplated by Jainism becomes evident from the fact that even study of literature to get real knowledge and rendering of personal and material service to the deserving are treated as ‘Tapa'.

Bahya Tapa ‑Categories of Bahya Tapa also show its wide meaning. They are six, namely :

(i)   ‘Anasana or Upavasa', i.e., fasting. ‘Asana' means taking food. Prefix ‘An' suggests a negative. The word ‘Upavasa' has a means a wider meaning than a mere fasting. The prefix ‘Upa' means near and ‘Vasa' means residence. Nearness suggested by the prefix ‘Upa' is nearness to the self. So the wider meaning of the word ‘Upavasa' is to remain near to your own self, to be within your own self. Not only food but all objects which are foreign to the self are to be discarded when one is performing ‘Upavasa'.

(ii)   Unodari, i.e., Eating less than one's fill. Here perfix ‘Upa' is suggestive of a ‘want'. The word ‘Udara' means stomach. ‘Unodara' means a stomach which is not full. Normally the full quantity of food for ascetic is thirty‑two morsels in the case of a monk and twenty‑eight in the case of a nun. Any reduction in this quantity constitutes Unodari tapa. So even the one who remains a little hungry is supposed to perform an austerity.

(iii)  Vrtti‑sanksepa or Vrtti‑parisankhyana ‑ This type of penances is perceived for the  limitations of our desire for enjoyment of different objects. Technically it means to limit the quantity of food and drink. A monk takes the vow that he will remain satisfied with the quantity of food or drink which he receives once or twice and will not try to get more. Psychologically there is no end to human desires. The ancient Greeks had a saying : "When Gods want to punish us, they grant us our desires." Lord Buddha, however, put it more pointedly, "We punish ourselves, just as we reward ourselves, by fruits of our desires." The more we desire the more we try to collect. Even if we can do comfortably well by having four suits we demp our wardrobe with twenty and the same is true about all our possessions and enjoyment of different types. This surely results in waste which, apart from being harmful to our morals, is harmful to the society also. Hence putting some sort of limitation to our desire for food and drink is necessary even if we can financially afford to do so.

(iv)  Rasa‑parityaga, ‑ i.e., Restrictions on taste for drinks and food. Rasa‑parityaga is connected with food. The Monk should renounce one or more of the six objects of taste, viz., milk, curd, ghee, oil, sugar and salt and also one or more of the following types of tastes : acrid, bitter, astringent, sour and sweet. The purpose of this tapa is emasculation of the senses subduing sleep and unobstructed pursuance of study.

(v) Vivikta‑sayyasana ‑ Samlinata  ‑ Staying at a place of solitude which would be congenial to mediation. It should not be frequented by women, eunuch, she‑animals and depraved house‑holders. It helps in celibacy, self‑study and meditation.

(vi) Kaya‑klesa ‑ Training the body to tolerate with patience and equanimity, difficult and hard situations in life. In fact it means inflicting some pain on the body by adopting certain postures or by exposing it to the vagaries of weather just like remaining in hot sun in summer season.

To practice properly all the categories  of Abhyantara and Bahya Tapa essentially requires an attitude of mind. The rigorous and hard practices of tormenting the body and physical senses is not so necessary. Even the easier practice of not filling the stomach fully at the time of eating is a category of Bahya Tapa, if it is done to discipline the mental cravings. Lord Mahavira himself practiced such hard penances as a modern man would think it impossible to practice. Even so, he did not approve of the hard practiced by Tamali Tapas and Purana Tapas. It was not because he thought that he was only person Tapas. It was not because he thought that he was only person entitled to undergo such hard penances. The reason for his disapproval was that he firmly belived that no penance, however hard, has any value unless it is accompanied by the evolution from within. Practice of hard penances amounting to the crushing the body and physical senses was prevalent in the days of Mahavira. Even Lord Buddha started his spiritual journey by resorting to hard penances which reduced his body to a mere skeleton. Buddha, however, left them finding that they were not conducive to peace of mind. Buddha probably did not know the trick which his senior contemporary Mahavira did. It was Mahavira who brought real life to hard penances by insisting on the inner development. He looked at the penances as merely instruments to enable one to introspect on the self. One should get so much engrossed in the self that he forgets all that is non‑self including the body and its wants. It was for this reason that hard penances came naturally to Mahavira. His physical frame never decayed as a result of his penances. It is said that his physical prowess and personality were outstanding throughout his life. This could be possible because he was living only in the spirit, and could train his body to yield to his spirit. Every breath of his existence was in rhythm with the whole universe and undergoing hard penances he had a blind faith that if his physical existence was needed in the universe it would be sustained inspite of these penances.

As Pt. Sukhalalji puts it: "Bhagavana (Mahavira) was known as a ‘Dirgha' not only because of his ‘Bahya Tapa' but also because he utilised his penances to develop his inner spiritual evolution."

Thus without Abhyantara Tapa, Bahya Tapa has no value and the Bahya Tapa is valuable only in so far as it is helpful in developing the spiritual evolution of the inner self.



This means a planned scheme of fasting and mortification. This is the process of austerity and penance undertaken to complete the process of Nirjara (drying up of accumulated karmas). A time comes in the life of everyone when the physical organs fail to perform their functions and the body becomes incapable of rendering any service either to the self or to the society. The physical existence itself becomes burdensome to all. This is the time to take leave of this world. A true Jaina realizes this and determines to put an end to such kind of purposeless existence. He, therefore, enters into a deep meditation at a suitable place, renounces all food and drink and puts an end to life. Some ignoramuses confuse this with suicide. But suicide is the cry of frustration and despair, while this process of Sanllekhana is the highest form if austerity which can be undertaken only by the great souls like Vinobaji.

Thus Jainism recognises mildest to the hardest forms of religious austerities as Tapa, provided they are inspired from within and are in turn helpful to develop the spiritual advancement from within.




Jainism is a way of life , Root question , Importance of Bheda‑Jnana , Practical steps , Nicrtti in the midst of Pravrtti , All pervasive doctrine of Ahimsa , Importance of celibacy , Relevance to modern times .


The principles stated in the foregoing chapters are the bare outlines of The Path‑way of Life which was preached by Arhats and now known as Jainism. It is wrong to call Jainism a religion. It is rather a way of thinking which shows a path of life, a life without tension, a life of positive thinking and attitude, a life of understanding, a life which is not a living death.


Root Question

The question at the root of all questions is : whether we are living a life of realities, a life full of consciousness and intelligent awareness, or, we are aimlessly dragged on in this existence, always open to the push and pull of the outside forces having no will of our own and hankering after one object to another in search of ever‑eluding happiness ? Whether we are the persons without personality, men without manliness, knowing nothing about our ownself, though pretending to know much about all that is not our own self ? In our conceit, and in our ignorance, we may put aside these pertnent questions as mere philosophical flourishes, but if we have patience to delve deep into our day to day problems, and if we genuinely try to understand their root causes, we are bound to notice that inspite of our worldly success in gathering power and pelf, we seriously lack something which leaves in the deeper recesses of our sub‑conscience, a streak of unhappiness and dissatisfaction‑ What is the cause of all these sufferings and discontentments. We have always tried to find  out their cause from outside us. We are always ready to blame others ‑ some outside forces to explain our pleasures and pains ‑ Jainism says this is our ignorance. It goes to the root of the problem and this is our ignorance. It goes to the root of the problem and points out to us that we are our own friend and foe, and all the things, good as well as bad, which we get in life, are of our own making. It admonishes us :


Appa katta vikatta ya, duhanna ya suhana ya.

Appa mittamamittam ca, dupatthiya supatthio.


"It is your own self which is the doer as well as enjoyer of your pleasures and pains. Your friend and foe is also your own self, engaged in good and bad activities respectively."


Importance of Bheda‑jnana

The concept of Bheda‑jnana involves the firm belief in the existence of soul and non‑soul as the constituents of the world. A little analysis and logical approach to the constitution of the Universe can easily convince us about the existence and efficacy of the both. The Jaina approach towards the constitution of world is altogether scientific and logical. There is nothing religious or sectarian in the proposition that there are two basic constituents of this phenomenal world ‑ Jiva and Ajiva, that is, the things which are sentient and non‑sentient. If this conviction is heeded by discerning human mind, there would be little difficulty in concluding that our true self is purely a knower, the permanent conscious element which knows and motivates all our activities in life, and that the rest is only an object of our knowledge and thus foregin to us. If this is so, should I not concentrate on that which is permanent, that which is my own self ? For, to devote our attention to th things which are foreign to ‘Self' is to seek satisfaction from the objects which do not belong to us. This is bound to result in despair, dejection and tension. Jaina seers, therefore, emphasize tha the realisation of the distinction between self and non‑self is the first essential condition for a blissful life. This however does not mean that as house‑holders we should shun all the activities of material life. In fact, all the Tirthankaras and leadings Jaina‑sravakas (house‑holders) were successfully engrossed in activities of life, but the key of their attainment of spiritual bliss was their awareness that real happiness resides in own self and can never be obtained through the enjoyment of worldly activities and their results do not ‘touch' us, and if they do not touch us, all our doubts, dejections and despairs vanish and one begins to get the taste of real happiness and bliss. Without such an awareness or conviction one easily identifies himself with worldly objects of enjoyment which are foreign to the self and trasnitory in their nature. The fickle character of these objects when identified with our self does bring in its traina all the tensions and turmoils which affect us in our to day existence.

So the first and foremost postulate of a happy and blissful life is the discriminatiopn of self and non‑self, and the conviction that the self's indulgence in non‑self is bound to result in suffering due to the transitoriness of worldly objects as well as pleasures and pains created by them. Such a realisation and conviction would greatly reduce our usual tensions and would enable us to face the realities of life with calm and fortitude, never experienced before. We would then be no more pulled and pushed by outside factors, because the exigencies generated by these force are not able to touch our ‘self'. We, and not the outside forces, become masters of our own ‘self'.


Practical Steps

To give a practical shape to the above realised a discrimination and conviction, the Jaina masters have prescribed some practical and worable methods to train our psyche. They have asked us to bear constantly in our mind the twelve Bhavanas, i.e., reflection of Anityatva, Asaranatva, etc., as described in the chapter on ‘Modus Operandi'. All these twelve Bhavanas, i.e., reflections are the logical conclusions derived from the behavioural pattern of the human mind in it interaction with material objects of the universe. Just try any of these reflections or Bhavanas consciously, constantly and honestly for one month and you will find a world of difference in your attitude towards life and its problems.

Jaina insistence on austerities, daily repentance and meditations (discussed in the chapter on Modus Operandi) greatly helps in shaping our personality to a life of peace, tranquility and contentment which are in so much demand in modern life.


Nivrtti in the midst of Pravrtti

As we have already noted, the fundamental and basic postulate of the Sramapa tradition, to which Jainism belongs, is ‘Nivrtti' (retirement). What  is this ‘Nivrtti' ? Does it mean cessation of all activities ? Certainly not. Jainism recognises that so long as the soul is attached to Karmic forces such as body, mind and various types of passions (Kasayas) physical activities are bound to remain. If, however, we go to the root of all these worldly activities, we find that at the root, is the psychie element of ‘attachment'. Our attachment to our family, to our society, our nation, our mental pre‑possessions, that is, ideologiesm our attachment to worldly objects such as wealth, power, position, urge for the domination over others ‑ all this is at the root of our activities and lend colour as well as dynamism to them. In other words, motivation is ‘attachment', known as ‘Bhava Karma' in Jaina terminology (vide chapter on ‘Ethics of Responsibilty'). It is this attachment, the cause of Karmic forces which binds the soul. It follows that if this attachment is destroyed or, at least, mitigated while doing a  particular worldly activity, the binding force of the Karmic bondage is either nullified or lessened. How this is achieved is shown while discussing the process of fourteen ‘Gunasthanas' and the theory of ‘Ksapaka Sreni' in Chapter in ‘Journey to Freedom'. This is the path of ‘Nirvtti', not meaning cessation of human activities, but destruction or taming of the element of ‘attachment'. This is the  key of the spiritual success of all Tirthankaras and Sravakas who either ruled the earth or indulged in various types of household and worldly activities and this was also the  key to the spiritual heights reached by great souls like Sri Rama, Sri Krsna and King Janaka who were engaged in worldly activities all through their lives. Thus ‘Nivrtti' in the midst of ‘Pravrtti' is found to be the key to the spiritual progress.

Then the question is how this is possible ? The argument would be that Tirthankaras and the personalities like Rama, Krsna or Janaka were divine, and as some say, they were ‘Avataras' and hence could adopt the attitude of ‘Nivrtti' in the midst of ‘Pravrtti'. It would, however, be difficult, on would argue, for lay persons like us to develop such an attitude of non‑attachment while performing our worldly activities.

Jaina thinkers say that any such argument suffers from two basic misconceptions about the theory of Divine descent and the ultimate power and capacity of each soul to achieve the highest. We have seen in the foregoing chapters how and why the Jaina doctrine summarily and positively rejects the theory of Divine descent. According to it all Tirthankaras and other great souls like Sri Rama, Krsna and Janaka were human beings and achieved god‑hood by their own exertions spread through many lives. The concept of attributing good‑hood through Divine descent is greatly harmful to spiritual development of every soul because that does not inspire a layman to develop his own latent capacity to achieve god‑hood. From this misconception of ‘Divine Descent', the second misconception about the capacity of every soul to achieve the highest is generated and prevents the soul from making further progress. The Jaina thinkers, therefore, repeatedly emphasize, the idea that each soul has the potentiality to develop god‑hood which Mahavira and others obtained. What is necessary is to realize  that God‑hood is not the monolpoly of a few chosen individuals and it can be achieved by proper faith, knowledge and action called ‘Samyag Darsana', Samyag Jnana and Samyag Caritra'  (vide Chapter ‘Journey to Freedom'). Once a soul realizes and is convinced that out of the duality of Jiva and Ajiva, it is Jiva which is eternal, permanent and worth pursuing, it starts treading the path of ‘Samyag Darsana' (Right perspective). This, if sincerely followed, generates in it a desire to go deep into all the live problems of life, and it enters into the field of ‘Samyag Jnana' (Right knowledge), and the development of this second stage, if properly directed, is bound to take him to the third stage of ‘Samyag Caritra’ (Right conduct). These ‘Ratna-trayi’ (three jewels) of Darsana. Jnana and Caritra, is the starting point of spiritual journey which, with proper efforts leads the soul to ascend the ladder of ‘Guna‑sthanas'.


All‑pervasive doctrine of Ahimsa

The doctrine of Ahimsa to be practiced in mind, speech and action is yet another factor of practical utility in soothening, softening and haqrmonising the international, national and individual relationship. The Jaina thinkers have touched the new heights of philosophical refinement by introducing the doctrine of Ahimsa even in the process of thinking. Their evolution of the theories of Naya and Syadvada, is an attempt to recognise even the partial truth, wherever evident, so that reality can be comprehended in its fullest possible extent. Adoption of this method of establishing truth positively leads to the development of toleration of every view‑point however contrary in may be to the current and traditional view. If the theories of Naya and Syadvada are extended to every sphere of human activity, individual and social life on this planet would be revolutionised completely. Softness and love are the qualities of heart which are developed by the practice of Ahimsa (non‑violence). All hatred and crulty automatcally stop once these qualities are developed and applied.

The doctrine of Ahimsa is the natural corollary of the Jaina view which regards universe as one integrated cosmic mechanism wherein the continuing consciousness of even a microscopic atom has a recognised role to play. Vegitarianism of Jainas is thus a rational recognition of the universal scheme of life and its developement.


Importance of Celibacy

It seems that it was Mahavira who first developed the concept of celibacy in the ethical life of spiritual seekers in India. Caturyama of Parsva, the 23rd Tirthankara, was found by him quite deficient, which included celibacy within the concept of Aparigraha (limitation of possession), and the Vedic Rsis had not extended their concept of Brahmacarya (movement in Brahma, the cosmic soul) to comprehend even celibacy, as all of them were married persons and even their concept of Visnu, the universal Lord, was not devoid of a consort. It is of course true that celibacy was not unknown to the spiritual seekers in India before the advent of Mahavira, but its place in spiritual development of the soul was systematically recognised for the first time by Mahavira. Ethical justification of celibacy does not lie only in saving millions of Spermatozoa, as some Jainas, in their simplicity, believe, but it lies in restraining excessive emotional outburst, having a violent passion to possess which results invariably in attachments and aversions of various types, as also in total waste of energy which can be utilised for achieving great spiritual heights. The Jaina insistence on celibacy, therefore, helps one to develop his personality and manliness.


Relevance to Modern Times

Thus the Jaina doctrines are the doctrines, helpful to any one in living a vibrant and purposeful life, conducive to the development of social, ethical and national as well international harmony. As they are based on scientific analysis of universal components and human psychology, their appeal is universal and confined only to logic and reasoning, containing nothing sectarian. It is a process of thinking and a way of life which are as much relevant today as they were two thousand five hundred years ago in times of Mahavira.




Political Map in times of Mahavira



Thinkers outside India in times of Mahavira

Jaina ideas are confined, in modern times, to India. But that does not seem to be the position in the past. As we have already noted, 6th Century B.C. was the period of great intellectual ferver in Greece and contries did not remain entirely isolated. Even before the dawn of history the Indus valley culture of India was closely connected with the contemporary cultrues in Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. The commercial links between the mouths of Indus and Persian Gulf was continuing even in times of Mahavira. As early as 975 B.C. Phoenicians provided link between Mediterranean and Indian cultures.

In about 510 B.C. Darius is said to have sent a Greek mercinary named Seylax to the mouth of Indus.

Herdutus (484 B.C.) who flourished round about the time of Mahavira gives some details about the two races of India ‑ one dark aboriginals and the other fair looking Aryans. He also makes a reference to a religious sect in India which ate nothing which had life and lived on grains. This is a likely reference to Jainas.

In 580 B.C. Pythagoras was born. He seems to have been deeply influenced by Jaina doctrines of Lord Parsva. H.G.Rawlinson notes in his Essay on Early contacts between India and Europe as under :

"The most starting of the theories of Pythagoras was that of the transmigration of the soul from body to body.... Almost all the theories religious, philosophical and mathematical, though by the Pythagoreans, were known in India in 6th cent. B.C. and the Pythagoreans, like Jainas and Buddhists, refrained from the destruction of life and eating meat, and regarded, certain vegetables, such as beans, as baboo."

He further records in the same essay :

"The theory of metepsychosis plays almost as great a part in Greek as in Indian religious thought. Both Pythegoras and Empedocles claimed to possess power of recollecting their past births. Metempsychosis is referred to in the many passages in Pindat and with the contemporary doctrine of Karma, it is the key‑stone of the philosophy of Plato. The soul is ever travelling through a ‘Cycle of necessity'.

About the Greek philosopher Empedocles, he records:

"Empedocles, besides believing in transmigration, held a number of tenets which are curiously like those of Kapila, the author of Sankhya‑system. Empedocles, looks on matter as consisting of four elements, earth, water, air and fire acted upon by the motive forces of love and hate."

During this time China witnessed the ideological impact of two great personalities of the world, namely Lao‑tse and confusius (born 551 B.C.).

Lao‑tse's teaching was very much similar to that of Mahavira ‘The wisest thing in life', he says, " never to get one self involved in anything."

His philosophy was, "All things in nature do their work quietly. They become nothing and they possess nothing. They fulfil their purpose and they crave nothing. All things accomplish their ends; then we see them recede again. When they have reached their prime they return to their source. This withdrawal is peace and fulfilment of destiny. This ebb and flow is an eternal law. To know that law is wisdom."

This, indeed, sounds very much like the sayings of Buddha.



Ajivika Philosophy


The Ajivika cult was established by Gosala ‑ Mahavira's once pupil but subsequent rival. Gosala had many followers in the times of Mahavira and Buddha and even subsequently for hundreds of years. It vanished in the north but sustained for many more years in the south.

It has however totally vanished from the surface of the earth as a distinct cult though its principles do survive in modified form. We have not got any direct evidence about its principles and whatever material we get, is obtained from what the rival religious systems of Jainism and Buddhism have said about it. Though these materials, being the materials supplied by rivals, may be taken to be tendentious and prejudicial, there cannot be any doubt about the fundamental and basic concepts of the Ajivika cult.

Mr.A.L. Basham has rendered a very great service in compiling all available materials regarding this cult in his book "History and Doctrines of Ajivika" (a vanished Indian religion). This book was published by Motilal Benarasidas, Varanasi.

Dr.Zimmer, the well kwown Indologist, explains the etymological meaning of the word ‘Ajivika' as meaning "As long as the life monad has not completed the normal course of evolution." The word ‘Jiva' means life monad. The prefix ‘A' signifies ‘as long as'. Reading the whole, ‘Ajiva' means ‘so long as the life monad lasts.' Reading the whole, ‘Ajiva' means ‘so long as the life monad lasts'. This interpretation of Dr. Zimmer fits in with ‘Gosala's doctrine of absolute determinism called ‘Niyati', because according to him, every life has to go through a fixed number of inevitable births before getting final realization. This natural biological advance is predetermined and cannot be accelerated by means of efforts like practicing cannot be accelerated  by means of efforts like practicing virtues and asceticism or undertaking penances, nor can this be retarded by developing vices. Thus, according to this theory, there is no place in our lives for human efforts. The theory of Karma is thus rendered irrelevant. According to this theory, after the series of 84 thousand existence every ‘Jiva' gets release which comes by itself just as everything else happens by itself.

In his above referred book Mr.Basham, the learned author, treats the Buddhist scripture ‘Samanna‑phala‑sutra' as the basic source which throws light on the Ajivika doctrine of ‘Niyati' as preached by Gosala, as under :

"There is neither cause nor basis for sins of living beings; they become sinful without cause or basis. Neither is there cause or basis for the purity of living beings. They become pure without cause or basis. human action, no strength, no courage, no human endurance or human power (which can affect one's destiny in this life). All beings, all that have breath, all that are born, all that have life, are without power, strength or virtue, but are developed by destiny, chance and nature, and experience joy and sorrow in six classes (of existence).

There is no question of bringing unripe karma to fruition, nor of exhausting karma already ripened, by virtuous conduct, by vows, by penance or by chastity.... Just as a ball of thread will, when thrown, unwind to its full length, so "fool and wise alike will take their course and make an end of sorrow."

The above is an acknowledged summary of the Ajivika doctrine. This doctrine makes serious departure from the Jaina doctrines on the following points :

(1) There is no place of human efforts in shaping ones destiny because everything is pre‑determined.

(2) As a corollary, the theory of karma on which the whole structure of Jainism is based becomes irrelevant.

(3) Each Jiva is an involuntary victim of his own destiny and hence should not care for developing vitues or avoiding vices. If there is social disorder resulting from this attitude, it should be taken as predetermined and even if there is human effort to develop virtues and avoid vices, that also should be taken as pre‑determined.

(4) Principles of Samvara (stopping the inflow of karmas) and Nirjara (shedding of accumalted karmas) are useless as both the processes are pre‑determined.

(5) Fundamental human feelings and emotions are useless as every Jiva has to suffer its own course and nobody can be helpful in changing that course.

(6) All knowledge and inquisitiveness are useless as the whole universe is bound to progress or regress in accordance with its predestined course.

(7) Best way to get happiness is to enjoy, to eat, to drink, to dance and to make yourself merry without taking any problem of life seriously.

Any such doctrine was bound to fail, as it has, in fact, failed very miserably. Lord Buddha compared this doctrine to a hempen garment (Anguttara Nikaya). Both the Jainas and the Buddhists have vehemently protested against the mechanistic inflexibility of this doctrine. Obviously the doctrine demands human resignation to a previously determined course without any compensation and affords no answer as to who determined the course and why ? The answer that the whole scheme is slef evolving is no answer or solace to a seeking soul who is in search of peace. The doctrine of Karma has destroyed the concept of an omniscient and all determining God, but has given a subtitute for God by evolving the theory of cause and effect coupled with the authorship of the self for all karmas. The Ajivika doctrine also destroys the concept of God without giving any rational substitute.

Moreover, it is an acknowledge position that Ajivikas were believing in severe penances. But no explanation is found to explain for what purpose they were undertaking penances if human efforts and karmas were irrelevant. In fact, Mahavira himself posed such questions to Saddalaputta, a very prominent potter and a rich disciple of Gosala. Mr.Basham records this incident as under :

"Mahavira asks (Saddalaputta) whether the pots were made by dint of exertion or not, to which the Ajivika replies that it is made without exertion. Mahavira then asks what Saddalaputta would do, if one of his workmen stole or broke his pots, or made overtures to his wife. To this the potter indignantly replies that he would beat and strike the culprit or even kill him. But such actions, Mahavira retorts, would be quite inconsistent with the doctrine of Niyati and of no exertion. If all the things are unalterably fixed and there is no exertion. no man can steal or break the pots and the potter cannot revile or strike or kill the culprit. Yet such things do happen in every day life, and so the claim that there is no exertion and that all thins are determined is false."

The only reply which Saddalaputta could have given was that even his reaction of reviling the culprit was governed by Niyati. If this was the reply (which is practically the same as suggested by Shri Basham) it would follow that if every little things in life is governed by Niyati and if you do not know what is in store of Niyati why should you bother about Niyati at all ? You may better go on exerting in the best possible manner or reap the real results. This would be the reality and if one has to choose between the reality of life and an abstract doctrine of Niyati the contents of which are unknown, one should better choose the former.

However, the Jainas, who are ready to take into account all the different aspects of a theory by application of their doctrine of Nayavada, have given a partial recognition of the idea of Niyati in their theory of karma and also by recognising the fact that certain natural phenomena do occur only at a determined time. So far as our past karmas are concerned the fruits thereof have to be borne by us. But here also the Jaina thinkers have devised a way out by their doctrine of Nirjara. It says that you can shed your accumulated past karmas by voluntarily undertaking penances, which is known as ‘Sakama Nirjara'. This, the Master did by undertaking serve austerities for twelve years. However, the theory does recognize the existence of some karmas the effect of which cannot be wiped out even by severe penances. The fruits of such karmas have to be borne. This is a partial recognition of Niyati. But once we recognise the potency of human exertions, it is entirely in our own hands. We can always resort to the process of ‘Samvara' and prevent the new flow of karmas, and improve  our future. In other words our future ‘Niyati' is in our own hands.

There are of course certain natural phenomena which occur only when their time is ripe but here also science has proved that there is some scope of changing their pattern as well as the time of happening.

 In short, the Niyati principle as propounded by the Ajivikas could not have proved socially or individually useful and carried to its logical conclusions, it was nothing but a new version of the theory propounded by Carvaka.




Sankhya System


Sankhya is considered to be the earliest Indian attempt at systematic philosophy. It does not believe in the existence of any entity, such as God, as the creator of universe as also its sustainer. Since its metaphysics has many points in common with the Sramana‑tradition it is generally recognised as advocating the Sramana‑tradition of Indian philosophy.

It has two principal schools ‑‑ One atheistic and the other theistic. The Atheistic school is associated with the name of its supposed founder ‘Kapila' (over 6th century B.C.) while the Theistic school which has brought the concept of God, is associated with the name of great Patanjali (middle of 2nd century B.C.) The latter accepts the metaphysical analysis of the former but introduces the doctrine of Godhood and the practice of Yoga as a process to realize ‘Kaivalya' and final liberation. Both the systems are now clubbed together and known as Sankhya‑Yoga. While the philosophical framework of Sankhya is greatly similar to Jaina metaphsics, the discipline of Yoga is largely accepted by all philosophical schools in India including Jainism.


Sage Kapila

Richard Garbe, the foreign scholar who has specialised in the Sankhya system, observes that Sankhya is the most significant system of philosophy that India has produced (vide his ‘Sankhya‑pravacana‑bhsaya', p.XIV). Sage Kapila who is the original thinker of this system flourished much before Mahavira or Buddha. His reference is found in Svetasvatara Upanisad. Even Gita lauds Kapila as the foremost among the ‘Siddhas', i.e., those who are totally liberated by referring to him as, ‘Siddhanam Kapilo Munih'.

That he belonged to Sramana‑tradition is also clear by a reference to him in ‘Baudhyana Dharma Sutra' which says that Kapila was an Asura, Prahlada's son, who instituted the life of renunciation or Samnyasa. He is said to have converted a Brahmin named Asuri to renounce the traditional cult of sacrifices to become and ascetic. It is believed that Asuri was his first disciple. Jaina tradition says, without any support of historical data, that Kapila was one of the pupils of the grandson of the first Tirthankara Rsabha.

Prof. Zimmer, the well known German Indologist notes about Sankhya‑Yoga as under :

"The two ideologies are of different origins. Sankhya and Yoga being related to the mechanical system of Jainas which can be traced back in a partly historical and party legendry way, through long series of Tirthankaras, to a remote, aboriginal non‑Vedic antiquity. The fundamental ideas of Sankhya and Yoga must be therefore immenesly old and yet they do not appear in any orthodox Indian texts until comparatively late‑specifically in the younger stratifications of Upanisadas, and Bhagavad‑gita where they are already blended and harmonized with the fundamental ideas of Vedic philosophy."

Thus, it can be safely concluded that Kapila the founder of Sankhya stands beyond the traditional assembly of Vedic saints and belonged to Sramana‑tradition of Indian thought. It is believed that the village ‘Kapilavastu', where the Lord Buddha  was born, bears its name due to its association with this sage of Sankhya.


Basic Conceptions


The main and basic coceptions of Sankhya-Yoga system can be stated as under:

(1) This universe is founded on the dichotomy of ‘Purusa', a purely conscious and sentient principle, and ‘Prakrti' a lifeless matter possessing an inherent power of evolution.

(2) The extra‑ordinary physical and psychical phenomenal varieties found in the universe is the result of vibratory motion and interplay of the three ‘Gunas', i.e., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, which are the three constituents of ‘Prakrti', though the fundamental and original nature of this ‘Prakrti' is to establish complete equilibrium of these three ‘Gunas'.

(3) ‘Purusa' and ‘Prakrti' are both without beginning or end and both are ever lasting.

(4) ‘Purusa' is all pervading, infinite, without activity and changeless. All the phenomenal changes are due to the interplay of the three Gunas of ‘Prakrti'. Though Prakrti, undergoes changes for the enjoyment of ‘Purusa', the ‘Purusa' remains uninvolved. It is ‘Kutastha' which literally means ‘at the top or summit'.

(5) By association with the changing aspects of ‘Prakrti', the ‘Purusa', which is immanent in every individual, thinks that he is involved in the changes. This thinking is its bondage. This is the result of ‘Avidya', i.e., ignorance, which results  in endless round of transmigration.

(6) This ‘Avidya' is due to the turbulant and distracted condition of mind. But when this ignorance is removed by the training of mind by the process of Yoga, the ‘Purusa' becomes absolutely isolated and attains ‘Kaivalya'.

(7) Spontaneous activity of the mind can be stilled and put to rest by :

(a) Right notions derived from accurate valid knowledge (Pramana).

(b) Elimination of erroneous notions derived from misapprehensions (Viparyaya).

(c) Elimination of Fantacies (Vikalpa).

(d) Suppression of Sleep (Nidra).

(e) Suppression of Memory (Smrti).

If these five things are achieved, mental activities of emotional character disapper and mind becomes still.

(8) When mind becomes still and gains equilibrium, ‘Purusa' realizes its real nature and status just like a king's son who being unknown about the origin of his birth was believing himself to be a poor begger, immediately gained self confidence the moment it was revealed that he was the son of a kinf and entitled to rule.


Ontology of Sankhya

We may shortly consider how Sankhya metaphysics works. Prakrti, the basis of unified universe ‑ The first postulate of Sankhya philosophy is that all objects and experiences of the phenomenal world possess an element of continuity. No part of universe can  exist independently of the other with the result that there is unbroken continuity from the lowest inorganic form to the highest organic form. This element of continuity can be inferred from certain common characteristics such as capacity to cause pleasure and pain, hopes and dispairs and such other effects from the enjoyment of the material objects of this universe. If all worldly objects are capable of producing these common effects, it would be easy to trace a common cause because every effect is the result of a prior cause. Cause if an unspecialized state of a specialized effect and inheres in every effect. The ‘causal reality' which we can trace from various specialized effects having common characteristics as stated above, is nothing but ‘Prakrti', which is the common cause of all effects. It is this ‘Prakrti' which eventually manifests in the phenomenal world. The reality of ‘Prakrti' can thus be established only by ‘Anumana', i.e., inference and that is why it is considered invisible and inexpressible, i.e., ‘Avyaktam'.

Two States of Prakrti  ‑ The Prakrti which is thus the original cause of all the activities of this universe has two states, namely ‑ 1. Quiescent, i.e., dormant state which is the state of equilibrium called ‘Samya' and 2. Emergent state which is the state of instability, called ‘Vaisamya'. This is the state of clash as well as co‑operation.


Cause of these States

Prakrti is constituted of three Gunas namely, ‘Sattva, Rajas and Tamas'. These are the three inherent constituents which make up ‘Prakrti'. ‘Prakrti' is described as ‘ a string of three strands'. These three strands are these three ‘Gunas'. These ‘Gunas' are continually changing but so long as there is equilibrium, this change does not produce any objective result. The state of this equilibrium is the first and original state of ‘Prakrti'.

However, if there is a disturbance in the equilbrium which is knwon as ‘Gunaksobha', the objective results are obtained as per preponderance of a particular Guna. None of the ‘Gunas' loses its power when one of them is predominant. As put by Tattva‑kaumudi (13‑16) ‑ "All change relates to the position, order, grouping, mixing, separation of the eternally existing essentials which are always integrating and disintegrating."

Like ‘Pakrti' even its constituents, i.e., the Gunas can be inferred from their effects. They work like power which helps in the development of ‘Prakrti'.


Meaning of ‘Gunas'

Sattva Guna ‑ The word ‘Sattva' has its etymological root in the word ‘Sat' which means ‘to be'. So ‘Sattva' means that which exists. In the secondary sense it means perfection which produces happiness. In the state of equilbrium ‘Sat' predominates. Rajas Guna ‑ This Guna is the source of activity, feverish enjoyment and restless effort which eventually produces pain. When it predominates, equilbrium is disturbed and activity starts.

Tamas Guna  ‑ This Guna, brings in the state of darkness caused by ignorance and sloth which produces apathy and unawareness.

Prakrti in every individual expresses physical and mental changes in accordance with the preponderance of one of the three Gunas. But since other Gunas are never obliterated, they can be activited to achieve the desired change in the prevalents situation.



We have seen that ‘Prakrti' is the common and root cause of every evolution. In its pure form it is general, but by the process of evolution it becomes individualized. What is this process ?

Buddhi‑ We have seen that the interplay of Gunas is the starting point of evolution. The first and also the fundamental product of this evolution is the formation of ‘Mahat' or ‘Buddhi' (intellect). It is called ‘Mahat' (meaning great) because it is the mother of further evolution of ‘Ahankara', i.e., egoity or self‑sense which becomes the basis of individuation.

Like all products of ‘Prakrti' even the ‘Ahankara' has the same three Gunas. Its Sattvika aspect, in its ‘Vaikarika' state evolves mind or ‘Manas', five organs of perception and five of action. From its Tamasika aspect it evolves five ‘Tanmatras' such as sound, touch, colour, taste and smell which in their turn evolve into Akasa (ether), Vayu (wind), Tejas(fire), Apa (water) and Prthvi (earth), which are known as ‘Panca‑mahabhuta'.

This process of evolution shows that the first evolute Buddhi is of the most generalized character and it has everything as its possible object. But when other Gunas show more prominence, the second evolute of egoity is generated. Thus Prakrti descends from general to individual having its individual mind and sense‑organs. Further development of every individual thereafter depends upon the development of a particular Guna. Pleasures and pains which ego experiences thus depend upon the development of Gunas.


‘Purusa' and proof of its existence.

But the question is, where is the place of ‘Purusa' in all this evolution of ‘Prakrti' and what role it plays. Other question is what is what the proof of its existence.

All organic things have life in them, which is known as ‘soul'. It is pure consciousness. According to Sankhya, the evolution of Prakrti is the self evolution caused by the interplay of its three Gunas, though Prakrti has no consciousness of its own. But onething must be noted that this evolution can not take place without the presence of Purusa.

Sankhya philosophers attribute this consciousness to ‘Purusa' which is known as ‘Atman' or ‘Jiva' in other systems. According to Sankhya, the existence of this ‘Purusa' can be established as under :

(1) This aggregate of physical objects evolved by Prakrti must exist for the sake of something else just as a bed which is the assemblage of different parts is meant for the use of some one else to sleep.

(2) If three Gunas exist in all objects of Prakrti, there must be an observer who can evaluate the Gunas.

(3) If Gunas have their interplay there must be some coordinator of this play.

(4) Human life has a longing for liberation from pains of existence and so there must be some conscious principle which longs for liberation.

It is apparent that these arguments are teleogical in as much as they seek to establish the doctrine of final cause by trying to show that developments are due to the purpose or design that is sought to be fulfilled by them.


Bondage and Liberation

‘Purusa' as the ‘self' is a pure soul quite different from body which is an evolute of ‘Prakrti'. As the real character of ‘Purusa' is consciousness, it helps to bring the products of evolutionary chain into self‑consciusness. It illuminates the whole sphere of thought and feeling. ‘Purusa' is self‑luminous by nature. It is therefore called ‘Sadaprakasa Svarupa'.Prakrti and its products are not self‑manifested but depend for their manifestation on the light of Purusa. Pleasure and pain which we experience really belong to Buddhi. ‘Purusa' is unrelated to Prakrti. It is a mere witness, a passive spectore. All this is consistent with the Sankhya view that ‘Purusa' is ‘Kutastha'.

Then the problem is how this mere witness and a passive spectator which the Purusa is, comes to be bounded by karmas. This is a  paradoxical situation the solution of which, as offered by Sankhya, has not satisfied many philosophers.

Shri S.Radhakrishnan explains this problem as under :

"Vijnanabhiksu says that ‘Purusa' with Ahankara is the ‘Jiva', and not ‘Purusa' in itself. While the pure self remains beyond Buddhi, the reflection of Purusa in Buddhi appears as the ego, the cogniser of all our states, pleasures and pains included. We have the notion of self in Buddhi when we do not know that the self is beyond Buddhi and different from it in character and knowledge." The learned author further writes:

"Activity belongs to the Buddhi, one of the products of Prakrti, nevertheless, on account of its union with Purusa, the indifferent Purusa appears as an actor. Actual agency belongs to ‘Antah‑karana' or the inner organ, which is lighted up by Purusa. The unconscious ‘Antah‑karana' cannot by itself be an agent, but is invested with consciousness....Prakrti acts and Purusa enjoys the fruit of action. Happiness and misery belong to the modes of Prakrti and Purusa is said to be experiencing them through its ignorance... ...Purusa passively observing the working of Prakrti, forgets its true nature, and is deluded into belief that it thinks, feels and acts. It identifies itself with a particular finit form of existence, animal body, and  is thus shut out from the true life...When Prakrti acts, the Purusa experiences the fruits, since the activity of Prakrti is intended for the experience of Purusa. Strictly speaking, even this experiencing is due to ‘Abhimana' (sense of self‑hood), born of ‘Aviveka' (non‑discrimination). When the truth, is known, there is neither pleasure nor pain neither agency nor enjoyment.

It is clear from these observations which are based on different texts on Sankhya, that the ‘Kutastha' Purusa which is all knowledge and consciousness, forgets its own nature and is deluded into the belief that it is he who thinks, feels and acts. Purusa thus becomes bound due to its ignorance and once it is removed it attain its true and original character. However it is not clear why a ‘Kutastha' Purusa who is all knowledge and consciousness becomes deluded and ignorant and thus becomes bound by karmas.

Prof.Satkari Mookerjee of Calcutta University makes a more pertinent point in his article on ‘Sankhya‑Yoga', when he observes as under on the question of bondage and emacipation :

"The bondage of the self is reflected by its identification with the Buddhi and the egoity. And this identification is due to the reflection of the pure spirit in the Buddhi and the consequent tailure on the part of the spirit to distinguish itself from the former. This non‑discrimination results in the identification of the two which further and further leads to the identification of the pure self with the successive series of evolutes.. ..The emancipation is achieved by the discriminative knowledge that the self is entirely different from and unaffected by the not‑self.. ..For this, a long course of ethical discipline is necessary. The first essential condition is the abandonement of attachment to the attractive things of the world ‑ honour, wealth, position an power. The practice of Yogic discipline is recommended for this purpose. It enables the spirit to however its sense of freedom."

These observations come very much near the Jaina belief that though the real nature of ‘Jiva' (Atman) is pure knowledge and indifference it does not remain ‘Kutastha' (indifferent) and is found to be in association with ‘Ajiva' (‘Prakrti' in terms of Sankhya). is bound by karmic Pudgalas from time immermorial, and attains its own ‘Svarupa' by the process of ‘Samvara' and ‘Nirjara'.

It should be noted here that even according to Sankhya‑Yoga there are five types of impairments or hindrances called ‘Klesa' which restrict the manifestation of one's true nature. Patanjali's Yoga shows a technique to get rid of these impairments, which are as under ‑‑

Avidya ‑ Nescience or ignorance

Asmita ‑ Ego‑centric attitude

Raga   ‑ Attachment

Dvesa  ‑ Hatred

Abhinivesa ‑ Clinging to life.

The only thing which is required to be done, according to Sankhya‑Yoga, is the removal of these impairments.

This comes very near to the Jaina belief that Jiva is clouded by different karmas and if we are able to remove them by the process of ‘Samvara' and ‘Nirjara', Jiva gets its original prestine purity which is ‘Kaivalya'.

The above summary of the Sankhya philosophy reveals fundamental points in common with the Jaina philosophic thinking. These common points can be shortly stated as under :

(1) The whole universe can be mainly classified into self (Jiva : Purusa) and non‑self (Ajiva : Prakrti).

(2) Characteristics of ‘Jiva' of Jainism and the ‘Purusa' of Sankhya are exactly the same and most of the characteristics of ‘Ajiva' and ‘Prakrti' are also the same. Sankhya's ‘Gunas' which result in Prakrti evolution are the ‘Karmas' of Jainism.

(3) The theory of cause and effect is practically the same in the thinking of both.

(4) Belief in the plurality of Souls is also the same in both.

(5) Both reject the idea of some supreme power outside one self as creative, regulatory and deciding our destiny.

(6) Unlike the ‘Advaitins' both treat Prakrti or Ajiva as real and not a mere production of Maya.

(7) We have already noted how the Yoga‑system comes very near to Jaina system when it talks about the removal of impairments which do not allow the Purusa to gain its original self.

The only difference between Sankhya and the Jaina thinking is about the part played by Atman in his play with Prakrti (Ajiva of the Jainas). While the Jainas believe that Jiva and Ajiva are combined from time immemorial and the Jiva is ‘Karta' (Doer) as well as ‘Bhokta' (Enjoyer) of the karmas and their fruits, the Sankhya believes that Purusa is ‘Kutastha' and remains totally unaffected by the play of Prakrti. However, being in company of the various evolutes of Prakrti, it begins to identify itself with them out of sheer ignorance. If this is so, one would find little or no difference between the two systems even on the question of the part played by Jiva of Jainas and Purusa of Sankhya in their relationship with Ajiva or Prakrti.

Jainas almost recognise the ‘Kutastha' nature of Jiva when they say that the intrinsic nature of Jiva is pure consciousness (Jnata : knowership) and (Drasta : seership) and applying their system of Nayavada, they say that from the view point of ‘Niscaya' (Real point of view) the Jivas character remains untouched by the karmas which cloud Jiva's lumunosity just as the clouds in the sky conceal the luminosity of the sun. However from the practical stand point ‘Vyavahara', the Jiva is ‘Karta' (Doer) as well as ‘Bhokta' (Enjoyer).

It seems that both the systems want to convey the same principle by different methods.





Buddhism belongs to the Sramana‑tadition of Indian thought as distinguished from Vedic tradition. Like Jainism it has taken birth at that time which was surcharged with the ferver of spiritual renaissance. When Buddha was born, the foundations of Vedic rituals were already shaken by some of the great Rsis of Upanisadas, and of late, by his contemporary Mahavira. Emphasis was given on self exertion by undergoing strict spiritual discipline and rigorous austerities. During the early days of his spiritual expermentation, Buddha also took to severe austerities and determined to seek truth through austerities when he said to himself, "Ihasane susyatu me sariram" (Let me body be dried up in this seat but I will not get up till I get enlightenment).

However, unlike Mahavira, severe austerities did not help Buddha. He relented and adopted a middle course and found solace. He tried almost every path, which was prevalent in his times, in search of truth, but failed. Finally he chalked out his own path which was absolutely rational and logical. He refused to go into the fogs of misty metaphysics and directly touched ethics and psychology of human affairs. Like Mahavira he also propounded a religion which was independent on an inward change of heart. His persistent refusal to delve into the mysteries of life, made his approach more direct and explicit both to the common men and the intellectuals of his times and earned him greater following in India and abroad. However, this very factor proved responsible for introducing varied and very often contradictory interpretations of what he said and preached, with the result that the Buddhism, which we see today, seems to have practically nothing in common with what the Master is supposed to have originally taught. In the second century after Buddha not less than eighteen schools of Buddhistic doctrines can be traced. We shall therefore confine our attention only to leading basic principles of early Buddhism.


Sufferings of Life

The starting point of Buddhist philosophy is the suffering in life. In fact Buddha's spiritual journey started, when he saw that human life is full of sufferingg at every stage. He, as a prince, was rolling in luxury and was guardedly kept away from experiencing the misteries of human sufferings. But when once he was out on the roads of his own ‘Kapilavastu' he saw an old man bowed down by age, a sick man scorched by fever, and a corpse carried and followed by mouring relatives, a serious conflict started in his mind which awakened his consciousness. As he found that there was suffering at every stage of life and if that was so, there must be some way out of it. Then he also saw an ascetic, a medicant, who had renounced the world, and who appeared to have attained an equanimity which was rarely to be found amongst those, who engrossed in the sensual objects of life. There he found a possible answer to the inner turmoil which was going within. Realizing the emptiness of things of senses, he renounced the world, stealthily leaving his sleeping wife and little child in bed. Thus the sight of human suffering was the starting point of his spiritual explorations and the same became the starting point of his philosophical expositions.


Four Arya‑Satyas

He came to the conclusion that there are four basic truths of life. They are ‑‑

(1) There is suffering ‑ ‘Duhkha'.

(2) Every suffering has a cause ‑ ‘Duhkha‑Samudaya'.

(3) It is possible to overcome this suffering ‑ ‘Duhkha Nirodha'.

(4) There is a way to overcome sufferings ‑ Duhkha‑Nirodha‑Marga.

He said, unless we fully comprehend these four basic realities which he called ‘Arya‑satya', there is no way to achieve peace or happiness in life.

 He, thus, directly touched the pulse of this sick universe. Unlike Mahavira, he did not attempt to explain the mysteries of universal phenomena, namely, who created the universe, what are the basic elements constituing the universe, is there any divine force which controls our lives and all happenings arround us, what happens when we die etc. He flatly refused to answer there questions saying that they are ‘Avyakrta', that is, those which serve no purpose in asking or answering. To a  questioner of such questions his reply was straight. He asked his questional that if somebody thrust a poisoned arrow in his chest, would he wait first to ascertain who smeared the arrow with poison and what kind of poison it was, or would he like at once to be treated by some effective medicine by a good doctor ? The answer provided by the Master by such a direct counter question was indeed very effective. First concern of every sick man is to get relieved of his sickness. If we find that the life is full of sufferings, our first concern should be to acknowledge that fact and to try to find our proper means to remove these sufferings. Buddha believed that salvation of soul which results in the end of all sufferings does not depend upon the minute distinctions of metaphysics and refinement of reason.

Even Mahavira proclaimed that this Samsara is full of sufferings (Aho dukkho hu samsaro). But he preferred to go deep into the matter and explained the cause of sufferings in context of the universal scheme. He, therefore, analysed the constituents of the universe, ascertained their character as well as functioning and tried to reveal the whole process which shapes the universal phenomena. This necessarily takes one to the field of metaphysics, where mere reason and logic may not prove sufficient to explain all the happenings. Buddha knew this, and he also knew that it was not of much practical use to involve one's energies in such trans‑logical discussion. He therefore simply brushed aside all such questions by resorting to the formula of ‘Anyakrta' which did not either affirm or contradict various metaphysical theories prevalent in his times.

First Arya‑satya  ‑ With reference to the first fundamental truth that there is constantly some sort of suffering in life, he pointed out that birth is painful, decay is painful, disease is painful and death is also painful. Union with unpleasant is painful. Union with unpleasant is painful and equally painful is the separation from te pleasant. Any craving that is not satisfied, that too is painful because cravings, desires, disease, decay and death are the inevitable constituents of life.

Some thinkers have charged this attitude as unduly pessimistic by saying that it has a tendency to blacken what is dark and to darken what is grey. This, however, is not the proper appreciation of what the Master has meant. If a doctor points out to our disease and suggests a remedy we do not dub him as pessimistic. Disease can be removed and life can be made enjoyable, if you have a proper diagnosis and right remedies. Mahavira also put equal emphasis on the sufferings of existence. But both Mahavira and Buddha showed the way to avoid sufferings and to obtain absolute bliss which brings undiluted happiness and joy. As Dr.S.Radhakrishnan puts it : "Buddha does not preach the mere worthlessness of life or resignation to an inevitable doom. His, is not the doctrine of a finer quality, an ‘Arhat' state.


Second Arya‑satya ‑ The second fundamental truth is that our sufferings are not without reason; there is a cause which generates our suffering. Our intellectual awareness demands that we should try to find out these causes. The problem cannot be over simplified by saying that our sufferings are the punishments inflicted on us by some superior power which rules the destiny of the whole universe. Like Mahavira Buddha also did not believe in a super power ruling the destiny of the universe and Mahavira and Buddha both believed in the theory of Karma as shaped by ethical earnestness and personal efforts. In answer to a question seeking reason for the inequalities found in life everywhere, the master replied ‑

"Every living being has Karma as its master, its inheritance, its congenial cause, its kinsman, its refuge. It is karma that differentiates all beings into low and high states."            --- ( Milinda, 65)

Like Mahavira, Buddha also believed that it is the annihilation of all karmas‑good as well as bad ‑ which leads one to the state of Arhatship and Nirvana, and that after attaining Nirvana, which literally means extinction, one is not born again.

What is the main cause of suffering ? ‘Desires' is the answer of the Master. Our desires ‑ desires for the things which are constantly vanishing, desires which are born out of our ignorance about the transient character of the things desired, constitute the root cause of all our sufferings.

To understand the process by which the causes of our sufferings operate, Buddhism has propounded the theory of ‘conditioned origination or dependent origination' which is known as the doctrine of ‘Pratitya‑samutpada' according to which each preceding link (Nidana) is responsible for ushering in the next one. These links (Nidanas) are twelve. The first link is Avidya, i.e., ignorance. Conditioned by this ignorance, arise karma formations (Samskara). They in turn give rise to consciousness (Vijnana); Vijnana gives rise to name and form (Nama‑Rupa) which in turn gives rise to six sense‑organs (Sadayatana). Then arises contact (Sparsa), then feeling (Vedana), then thirst (Trsna), then attachment (Upadana), then becoming (Bhava), then birth (Jati) and then decay and death (Jara‑Marana). This way the whole process of Samsara goes on.

Thus the root cause is Avidya ‑ ignorance out of which false desire springs.

According to Buddhism everything in this universe is impermanent and transitory. Buddhism believes in the existence of soul and also in rebirth. But according to it even the soul is not permanent. Here it differs from Jainism. It explains the theory of rebirth and transmigration by asserting that the process of cause and effect is so constant that it only ‘appears' that there is continuity. Fact of the matter, the Buddhists assert, is that the life is nothing but a series of manifestations of becomings and extinctions. It is a stream running from moment to moment just like a flow of a river, the water of which is never the same or like a burning flame which appears to be the same and unchanged but which is another every moment.

Third Arya‑satya  ‑ The third Arya‑satya is that it is possible to overcome the suffering (Nirodha). Here also the process of ‘conditioned origination or dependent origination' is invoked. The process is that conditioned by the suffering of decay and death (Jara‑Marana), there arises Faith (Sraddha) then Delight (Pramoda), then Joy (Priti), then Serenity (Prasrabdhi), then Bliss (Sukha), then State of trans (Samadhi), then Vision to see things are (Yathabhuti‑jnana‑darsana), then Non‑attachment (Nirveda), then Detachment (Viraga), then knowledge of destruction of inflow of karmas (Asrava‑Kasaya‑Jnana). This is the process of Nirodha.

Fourth Arya‑satya : Astanga‑marga  ‑ The fourth Arya‑satya is that there is a way to liberation from sufferings. This way is eight‑fold, namely ‑

(1) Right view which is similar to Samyag‑darsana of Jainas, (2) Right resolve, (3) Right speech, (4) Right action, (5) Right livelyhood, (6) Right effort, (7) Right mindfulness and (8) Right state of trans.

This is called Noble Eight‑fold Path known as ‘Astanga‑marga'.


Doctrine of Conditional Origination

Some Buddhist scholars claim that the doctrine of conditional origination is not the doctrine of causation which implies an element of continuity. The doctrine of simply means that ‘B' in its origination conditioned by ‘or' dependent on ‘A'. In other words, ‘B' is originated rather on the extinction of ‘A' but being conditioned by the existence of ‘A'. The Buddhist logic is that if ‘A' and ‘B' are taken as identical, that leads us to eternalism (Sasvatavada). But Buddhism is based on the theory of transitoriness and so would not admit of any principle of eternalism. On the other hand, if ‘A' and ‘B' are taken as totally different identities, that takes us to nihilism (Ucchedavada) which is also an extreme view. So Buddhism discards both the extremes and accepts the middle course by evolving the doctrine of ‘conditioned origination or dependent origination'. Thus denying the eternity of soul (Jiva), the Buddhists justify the theory of karma and rebirth explaining that when the soul is reborn it attains the status of ‘B' but is conditioned by the karmas earned by the previous link ‘A'.

In my humble view this whole exercise of ‘conditioned origination' involves a strained logic to save the theory of transitoriness of the soul. Element of permanence, which is attributed to the soul by all systems of metaphysical thoughts in India, is capable of explaining various universal phenomena exhibiting a sort of continuity amidst the complexity of enormous changes. Buddhism indirectly accepts this position when it asserts that ‘B' is originated being ‘conditioned' by ‘A'. Why ‘B' should be ‘conditioned' by ‘A' if these is nothing common between the two ? Things having nothing in common which would either attract or repel the other, can never get ‘conditioned' by each other. And if there is some ‘common' element in two things which has the conditioning influence over to each other, that conditioning influence supplies the element of permanence. Such an element of permanence is called ‘Jiva' by the Jainas and ‘Brahma' by the Vedantins.

Jaina philosophers, have should the problem by their theory of Nayavada. They say that purely from theoretical standpoint the ‘Jiva' is permanent. It was never die. This is called ‘Niscaya naya' (Real view‑point). However, from the practical point of view when ‘Jiva' in association with ‘Karmas' takes ‘birth' and then ‘appears' to die with the body of its ‘birth', it ‘appears' to be transitory. So when we say that soul is transitory, what we assert is a practical or empirical standpoint which is known as ‘Vyavahara naya'.

Buddhist theory of transitoriness of soul has led it to the doctrine of ‘Nirvana' which literally means ‘extinction'. The root ‘Va' means to blow; prefix ‘Nir' means ‘out' or ‘off'. So, literally ‘Nirvana' means ‘blowing out'. Logically, therefore, Nirvana means end of worldly existence.

Jainas do not believe that Jiva cease to exist on attainment of Siddhahood. Since karmas are destroyed, Siddhahood, according to Jainas, is the bodiless existence of soul. This is the state of formless Brahma (Nirakara‑Brahma) of the Vedantist.

It, therefore, appears that in their search of Madhyama‑Marga (Middle course) the Buddhists have carried their doctrine of transitoriness (Ksanikavada) to the extreme by applying it even to the existence of soul. This gives an impression of Anatmavada (denial of the existence of soul).

Jaina approach on this aspect appears to be more logical and scientific. Dr. S. Radhakrishna interestingly observes, in this connection, as under :

"It is impossible to think Buddha recognized nothing permanent in this rush of the world, no resting place in the



universal turmoil where man's troubled heart can find peace. However, much Buddha tried to refuse to reply the question of ultimate reality which lay beyond the categories of the phenomenal world, he did not seem to have any doubt about it. There is an unborn, unoriginated, an unmade, an uncompounded; were there not. Oh medicants, there would be no escape from the world of the born, the originated, the made and the compounded." (Udana, VIII.3)



Buddhism passed through three great phases of its developments, known as Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

The word ‘Yana' means vehicle, ‘Hinayana' means ‘Little vehicle'. It was so  called by the ‘Mahayanists' because it preches salvation of oneself, the individual soul only. It insists upon the necessity of monastic life. According to it ones personality is illusory. It emphasizes non‑selfhood (Nairatmyata) of existence.



Literally it means ‘great vehicle' which is so called because it teaches the salvation of all. thus, it is more social in outlook. It is predominantly devotional and metaphysical in its character. Vajrayana



It means ‘diamond vehicle' or the ‘adamantine way' so called because like the irresistable vajra it annihilates all obstacles to the Nirvana by highly esoteric Yogic exercises and development of spiritual power.


Some common characteristics of Jaina and Buddhist ideology

We have already pointed out the agreement and disagreements between these two Sramanic ideologies. Following are the main common characteristics between the two ‑‑

(1)   Both are ascetic in nature. Both believe in ‘Nivrtti‑dharma' as distinguished from ‘Pravrtti‑dharma' of the Vedas. Hence both believe in asceticism or Path of renunciation.

(2)   Self reliance ‑ Both believe that liberation of self from bondage is in its own hands.

(3)   Denial of any super‑power as the final arbitrator of our destiny.

(4)   There are infinite souls each striving for its own liberation.

(5)   Non‑souls cannot be called Maya. They are as real as souls.

(6)   Both believe that Vedas are not of divine origin and cannot be taken as final and absolute authority.

(7)   Outright rejection of caste distinction by both. It is Karma and not birth which can decide a social class to which one belongs. All souls have equal potentiality to be liberated.

(8)   Non‑recognition of four Asramas in life by Buddhists and partly even by Jainas who put great emphasis on total renunciation and austerities.

(9)   Rejection of Avatarvada by both.

(10) Tirthankaras and Buddhas were born as human and attained total liberation by their own efforts.

(11) The words of Tirthankaras and Buddhas provide proper guidance but  to gain liberation one has to exert himself, without any favours from above.

(12) Shedding of karmas by avoiding desires and attachment is the only path of salvation.

(13) Rituals and ceremonies are of no help in case the inner development is wanting.

(14) Non‑violence (Ahimsa) in every field of life is the guiding principle.




[ A ] Authorwise

Amar, Muni   : Jainatva ki Jhanki, Sanmati Grantharatnamala No. 12, Sanmati Jnanapitha, Seventh Edition, Agra ‑ 2, 1987.

Basham, A.L. : Post‑script, attached to the article on Hinduism in Cultural History of India, Oxford University Press.

Basham, A.L.  : A Cultural History of India, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Buhler, G.   : Indian Sect of the Jainas, Edited by Burgess, Jas, Luzac & Co., 46, Great Russell Street, 1903.

Dasgupta, S.N.: History of Indian Philosophy, Vol.I, Cambridge University Press, London, Second Edition (Reprint), 1932.

Einstein Albert : Ideas and Opinions, Bonanza Books, No.9.

Garbe, R.( Ed.) : Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, T. & T. Clark, 38 George Street, New York, 1920.

Gopalan, A.S. : Outlines of Jainism, Willey Eastern (P) Limited, New Delhi, First Edition, 1973.

Hume, Robert Earnest : Thirteen Principal Upanisads (Trans.), Oxford, 1921.

Jacobi, H. : Introduction to Kalpa‑sutra.

Jacobi, H. : Mahavira and His Predecessors.

Jaina, K C.: Lord Mahavira and His Times, Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi, First Edition, 1974.

James, William : Principles of Psychology, Vol.I, Macmillan & Co., London, 1918.

Kausambi, Dharmananda : Bharatiya Sanskrti aur Ahimsa.

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 ‑ : Ganadharavada, Gujarat Vidya Sabha, Ahmedabad, First Edition, 1952.

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Sanghavi, Pt.Sukhalala : Darsana Ane Cintana (Gujarati), Pt. Sukhalalji Sammana Samiti, Gujarat Vidya Sabha, Bhadra, Ahmedabad ‑ 1, First Edition, 1957.

     ‑ : Essays on Jainism.

     ‑ : Jainadharmo Prana (Gujarati), Gujarata Grantharatnakar Karyalaya, Gandhi Marga, Ahmedabad, First Edition, 1962.

     ‑ : Mahavira ki Aitihasika Prsthabhumi (Gujarati),

Radhakrishnan, S. : Indian Philosophy, Vol. I, George Allen & Uniwin, London, First Edition (Revised), 1929.

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[ B ] Textwise

Acaranga‑sutra, Anga‑sutrani I : Vacana Pramukha, Acarya Tulasi, Editor Yuvacarya Mahaprajna, Jaina Vishvabharati, Ladnun, First Edition, 1974.

Avasyaka‑sutra : Editor Madhukar Muni, Jinagama Granthamala, No.24 Agama Prakashan Samiti, Byavar, First Edition, 1985.

Bhagavati (Vyakhyaprajnapti) in Anga‑sutrani II : Editor Yuvacarya Mahaprajna, Jaina Vishvabharati, Ladnum, First Edition, 1974.

Chandogya Upanisad : Edited by Max Muller, F. (S. B. E.) Vol. 1, Motilal Banarasidas, Delhi, Reprint Edition, 1981.

Dasavaikalika‑sutra : Editor Madhukar Muni, Jinagama Granthamala, No. 23, Agama Prakashan Samiti, Byavara, First Edition, 1985.

Karttikeyanupreksa : Svamikumara, Editor Dr. A.N.Upadhye, Smd. Rajchandra Ashrama, Agosa via Anand (Gujarat), First Edition, 1960.

Nyayavatara : Siddhasena, Translated by Vijayamurti Sastracarya, Paramashruta Prabhavaka Mandal, Jauhari Bazar‑Bombay, First Edition, 1950.

Pancastikaya‑sara : Kunda‑kunda, Edited by A.Chakravarti (Sacred Books of the Jainas, No. 3), Central Jaina Publishing House, Arrah, First Edition, 1920.

Pramana‑mimamsa : Hemacandra. Edited by Pt.Sukhalal Sanghvi, Saraswati Pustak Bhandar, Ahmedabad, Reprint Second Edition, 1989.

Samaya‑sara : Kunda‑kunda, Bharatiya Jnanapitha, Durgakund Road, Varanasi, First Edition, 1950.

Sarvartha‑siddhi : Pujapada Devanandi, Edited by Pt. Phoolachandra Siddhantashastri, Bharatiya Jnanapitha, Durgakund Road, Varanasi, 1955.

Siddhahemasabdanusasanam : Acarya Hemacandra, Bherulal Kamhaiyalal Religious Trust, Chandanbala Appartment, Ridge Road, Valakeshwara, Bombay, Second Edition, 1985.

Srimadbhagavadgita Bhasya : Transalted by Dr.A.G. Krishnawarrior, Shri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, First Edition, 1983.

Srimadbhagavat (Two Volumes) : Gita Press, Gorakhpur, Third Edition, 1956.

Tattvartha‑sutra : Umasvati, P.V. Research Insitute, Varanasi, Reprint Second Edition.

Trsastisalakapurusacaritrani : Canto 10, Hemacandra, Jaina Dharma Prasaraka Sabha, Bhavanagar, First Edition, 1908.

Uttaradhyayana‑sutra : Editor Madhukara Muni, Jinagama Granthamala No. 19, Agama Prakashan Samiti, Byavara, First Edition, 1984.