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Handbook of Jainism

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Karmas

Jnanavarniya Darsanavarniya Vedaniya Mohaniya
Ayu Nama Gotra Antaraya

Eight classes of energies (karmas) unnatural to the pure soul.

1)JNANAVARNIYA

(Energies in us, the nature of which is to obscure knowledge.)

Knowledge is the very essence of the soul. Consciousness, knowledge, and soul are much about the same thing. Knowledge is a positive state of the living being. The instrumental cause of knowledge is the teacher, language, the thing unknown, or a representation of it. The teacher does not literally impart knowledge; he is simply the instrumental cause or means whereby the person is enabled to develop his own knowledge. The substantial cause of knowledge is the soul, the sense that a thing is the cause of its own qualities. Knowledge cannot be put into a person from the outside; it must be self-developed. And the words of an instructor will not produce knowledge in the pupil unless the pupil is in the right state.

There are five kinds of knowledge, and so there are five kinds of knowledge-obscuring -energies (Jnanavaraniya karma).

  1. Any energy or activity which obscures knowledge by the senses (Matijnana).
  2. Any energy which obscures knowledge got by interpretation of signs (Srutajnana). Words are signs of ideas. Also if a dog sees his master beckon with his hand, the dog interprets the sign and knows that his master wants him to come.
  3. Any energy which obscures psychic knowledge (Avadhijnana). That is, knowledge of material things known by the soul directly without contact with the end-organ of sense (clairvoyance etc.).
  4. Any energy which obscures mind-knowing. that is, knowledge of the ideas and thoughts of others (Manahparyavajnana).
  5. Any energy which obscures unlimited knowledge (omniscience) (Kevalajnana).

The last three kinds of knowledge are acquired directly by the soul without the intervention of the senses and the mind.

These are the energies in the first class. And of the five kinds of knowledge, the first three can be of two kinds, false or true : thus making eight kinds of knowledge.

In gaining knowledge by the senses (Matijnana) the following process is gone through, namely, the sense organ, ear, hand, etc. is brought into contact with the vibrations from the external object, and an excitation in the sense organ is aroused (vyanjanaavagraha). then follows an excitation in the mind (artha-avagraha) and the consciousness comes to be in the state where it asks the question : "What is this?" and the question refers to the object sensed, and not to the excitation in the sense organ. The mind may also pass through this stage when, upon picturing something mentally to itself which was seen in the past, it asks the question: "What was that?" The mind itself does not come in contact with physical objects. The next stage in the process is a consciousness of similarities and differences (iha); a sort of cogitation which goes on in the mind. This stage is followed by reaching a conclusion as to what the object is, or is not (avaya). Then the final stage in the process is that the thing can be remembered (dharana); or that the knowledge gained continues; also the life may be changed in consequence of the new knowledge.

These are the stages passed through in acquiring knowledge by the senses (Matijnana). And any energy in us, which prevents the operation of any part of the process would be an energy of the first class, or knowledge-obscuring.

When these unnatural activities are stopped, then the inherent qualities of the soul become active and actual. Memory, judgment, perception, etc., are the results of the stopping of these unnatural knowledge-obscuring energies. the constitution of man is such that as soon as he removes moral vices, his intellectual processes flow into a pure channel.

2)DARSANAVARNIYA

(energies which render the soul impure.)

In speaking of knowledge, it was understood to be detailed knowledge. Before we know a thing in a detailed way there is the stage where we simply see, hear, or otherwise become conscious of it in a general way without going into its ins and outs. We simply know it as belonging to a class; we may know it as a horse, for instance, without going into any further details as to its individual characteristics. this is the first stage of knowledge; it may be called undefined knowledge or indefinite cognition (darsana). If this stage is not experienced there can be no knowledge of the thing. The second class of the energies in question includes any of our activities which prevent this first stage of knowledge. They would be such states as sleep, trance, etc., in which the senses do not work and the very first stage of knowledge by the senses is prevented. According to the Jain teachings sleep is not absolutely necessary in order to be healthy and happy, otherwise permanent omniscience could not be reached. (See clause 15, Deity, Chapter V).

This class also includes energies which prevent the first stage of psychic knowledge (avadhi.)

3)VEDANIYA

Energies, the nature of which is to cause any activity in us which in its operation causes either pain or pleasure. These are distinguished from feelings of anger, fear, greed, sex passion, etc., because feelings of pain and pleasure as here meant in technical sense are not necessarily so hindering to the progress of the soul that omniscience cannot be attained (Vedaniya agahati karma). If, however, we identify ourselves with either of them we stop, and do not continue in thought about the thing causing them. They are both unnatural to the pure soul, for there is no pain or pleasure in awareness; blissfulness is a natural quality of the pure soul and accompanies consciousness, while in man and animals there may be pain and consciousness of pain at the same time, but the two are different.

4) MOHANIYA

Energies, the nature of which is to infatuate us so that we cannot distinguish between right and wrong belief (Darsana-Mohaniya) and so that we are prevented from acting rightly (Caritra-Mohaniya). Thus there are two chief kinds of these forces first, that which obstructs our faculty of realizing and relishing the truth, and secondly, that which in its operation makes us unable to act rightly, - it is moral uncleanness and non-perception of what is right. Right action as here meant is right action accompanied by the conviction that it is right.

Darsana-Mohaniya:

Mithyatva Mohaniya karma

That degree by reason of which the person does not believe in the truth at all when it is presented to him. By reason of the operation of this force the person is entirely under the rule of delusion; what is false seems true to him, and what is true seems false. One of the objects of philosophy and religion is to wake us up from our delusions. When a man, knowing the truth, speaks untruth, his works do not correspond with his thoughts. But when he is deluded his speech may correspond with his thought and yet be untruth; it is the expression of a delusion. In the Jain Philosophy the measure of truth is held to be knowledge purged of all infatuating elements. When we are deluded we cannot at the time know it; if we knew it, we should not be in a state of delusion, but in a state of knowledge. When we are not deluded we know that we are not; and in order to wake up from a state of delusion into a state in which we know that we are not deluded we have to remove our moral vices, especially intense and lifelong anger, greed, etc. (Mithyatva Mohaniya karma).

Misra Mohaniya karma

The second degree of the energies in us whose nature it is to infatuate us so that we cannot distinguish between right and wrong belief is that degree by reason of which we doubt the truth after we have believed it; we believe for some time and then there is doubt; we are vacillating. When this degree is active we just let the truth pass by without either liking it or disliking it; the state is a sort of indifference; whereas when the first named degree of this kind of energy is active, we positively dislike and reply the truth. (Misra Mohaniya karma).

Samyaktva Mohaniya karma

The third degree is that by reason of which while believing in the truth most of the time, yet at certain times we feel that three is still something more to be known; there is just a little vacillating in the state (Samyaktva Mohaniya karma).

We now come to the kind which in its operation makes us unable to act rightly. It is this kind of force in us that covers up the heart and makes us unkind, unsympathetic, and, when intense, cruel. For certain reasons of convenience in classification and system twenty-five kinds are enumerated in the Jain doctrine. Each one is of an intoxicating nature. They are :

Caritra-Mohaniya

1 to 16. Anger, or rash and injurious action. Pride, causing us to ignore the sanctity of life in inferior beings, or to overlook good qualities in a otherwise inferior. Deceitfulness, where the thought does not correspond with the speech or with the action. Greed, which arises from the identification of ourselves with that which is not ourselves. Of each of these intoxicating energies four degrees of intensity are recognized, the one which would last for the rest of the life being the most intense. Thus out of twenty-five energies we have sixteen which prevent us in greater or lesser degree from acting rightly.

17 to 25. The remaining nine energies are false liking, false disliking due to prejudice, laughing and joking - in this mood we are not in the straight line of the acquisition of truth; sorrow or grief, in which state our actions are injurious to the body, also we may wrongfully blame others; fear prevents right action, the more there is of kind desire to do good to others the less there will be of fear; disgust this stops right thought and right action. Thus we have six of the nine energies; the remaining three are the sex passion as found in males, females, and neuters.

Thus we have twenty-eight forces in us under the influence of which we allow ourselves to be deluded and to act wrongly. They may be compared to a stimulating intoxicating liquor. When we have freed ourselves from their influence we shall always form right beliefs and always act rightly, making no mistakes.

5) AYU

The energies which come under this class are those which prevent our having a continuous life in our own soul as pure substance, they are those by reason of which the duration of any particular life period in a particular material body is determined.

They may be compared to fetters preventing the realization of the spiritual continuous life.

There are four kinds of this class of energies namely:

  1. that kind by reason of which we live a certain length of time in the pleasurable condition known as that of the Devas (angels), with fine subtle bodies;
  2. that kind by reason of which we live a certain length of time in the condition where there is no pleasure at all, but pain all the time, and have subtle material bodies;
  3. that kind by reason of which we live a certain length of time in the human condition;
  4. that kind by reason of which we live a certain length of time as animal, insect, bird, fish, work, tree, etc.

Although the length of the life is determined, it is not a given number of years that is fixed; because the life may be fast or slow. It is rather the "quantity" of life than the number of years. It is like water in a sponge, the quantity is a fixed one, but it can be squeezed out quickly as in cases of death by accident.

6) NAMA

According to the Jain Philosophy we are the makes of our bodies; the height, shape, color, tone of voice, gait, etc., are all fashioned as the result of forces which we ourselves have generated in the past and which are in subtle combination with us. These forces are operating all the time in us and on account of them the limbs, organs, and other parts of the body are formed; but these things are done by us in ignorance. And as these forces are combined with the soul in a subtle way and are not separable by a mere mechanically taking apart, it follows that as long as they are in us our bodies will be with our souls. In this class there are one hundred and three energies; they give us the various factors of our objective personality.

There are five kinds of bodies which an entity can have in combination with his soul; and these five bodies two remain with the departing soul at death, right up to the time of his final entrance into everlasting life where he does not take these two nor any material bodies. The five kinds are :

  1. The ordinary gross physical body that we see and touch.
  2. A subtle material body which cannot ordinarily be seen; it is changeable and may be large and then small, have one shape and then another. The beings in the pleasant or angel state have this kind of body; also those in the state where is no pleasure but pain all the time have it.
  3. A body that can be sent by the person to a Master. Only very advanced beings can assume this body; and the idea is that the soul is with it, is with the physical body also, and in the intermediate space all at the same time.
  4. A body which consumes food and, when highly developed and rendered more subtle, can be protruded from the person and burn up the things or bodies.
  5. A body which is made up of all the energies now being classified under eight kinds (karmas). This is changing every moment. And this (karman) and the "fire" body (taijasa) just above mentioned are the two which stay with the soul at death and only leave it at its final liberation.

Of these five we all have the physical, the "fire" body, and the "karmana" body (the fifth, just mentioned). We may or we may not have the subtle body; while only the very far advanced can have the third kind (aharaka).

None of these bodies is conscious. The awareness, consciousness, or knowledge in the person is quality of the invisible, intangible soul having these five bodies or any of them.

7) GOTRA

The energies which come in this class are those which determine the surroundings, family, etc., into which we are born. There are two sub-divisions of this class, namely, the force which takes us to high family circumstances, and that force which takes us into low circumstances.

8) ANTARAYA

The energies here are those which in their operation prevent or hinder our doing what is desirable to be done when we wish to do it or are willing to do it. In the fourth class of energies the inability to act rightly is owing to moral uncleanness and consequent non-perception of what is right; whereas in this eighth class the right action is seen, but is not done; there is some weakness in us.

There are five sub-divisions of this class, namely :

  1. Any force by reason of which we do not give; although it is the right time and place, and we have the means, still we do not give.
  2. Any force by reason of the operation of which we do not make profit. We are fit persons, and follow the usual methods, and yet we do not gain.
  3. Energy by reason of which we do not enjoy thing which can be enjoyed more than once; picture, furniture, scenery, etc. The things themselves are not faulty, and yet we are miserable although surrounded by pleasant things.
  4. Energy by reason of which we do not enjoy those thing which can be enjoyed only once, like food, or drink.
  5. Energy which acts as a hindrance to the will; we should like to conduct ourselves in a certain way, yet we do not. We know the way is right, yet we do not do it; there is weakness.

Thus we have eight classes of energies in us. All these are unnatural to the pure soul, and obscure some quality of it, and the qualities become actual when these foreign forces are removed.

The first, second, fourth and eighth classes cover up the real spiritual natures, namely :

  1. Omniscience,
  2. generalization to the fullest extent,
  3. permanent right belief and right conduct, and
  4. infinite capacity of activity (not omnipotence; no soul can create another).

And the third, fifth, sixth and seventh classes of energies do not cover up the essential natures. When these latter four classes are removed, then the qualities natural to the soul which come our are

  1. blissfulness,
  2. continuous life, unbroken by death and birth,
  3. life as a pure soul all the time, and
  4. life in circumstances neither high nor low, i.e. equality of status.