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THE PATH OF ARHAT

Justice T.U.Mehta

JOURNEY TO FREEDOM

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 rebirths. 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 instinctive 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 happiness 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 impel it to seek further activity to get the said fulfillment ?

 

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 transmigration 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 perception 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 - enduring happiness. 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., proper. Nothing which is prejudicial 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 essence. 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 supplementary 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 ultimate 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 classified knowledge into two categories, i.e., Indirect and Direct. Of the above five varieties, 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 serpent, and we reason out that it cannot be serpent. 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 within 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 spiritual 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 insistence 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 begins 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 shed 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 psychic 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 Iha 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 consummation - a bodiless, 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, despairs 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 vigilance 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 thoughtful 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 achieved 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.