FOUNDATION OF MENTAL PEACE
What leshya? What colour? And what the fruit thereof?
Listen with a tranquil mind to awaken the soul within!
Call it etheric body, call it subtle feeling,
Leshya is its name; understand it patiently.
Material environment known by the name of leshya
Is an atomic glow, a unique reflugence
Two forms it has concomitant, material and spiritual;
Matter being a consummation of atoms, and of diligence foremost.
And that which the yogis call the envelope of light,
Is leshya, combination of material atoms,
A conjunction from which feelings originate;
It is this cycle of feeling that activates the aura.
Q. You have given us detailed information about tejoleshya and tejolabdhi. But it is only one kind of leshya. Will you also kindly shed some light on the semantic journey which one must undertake to understand this word in its totality?
Ans. A detailed description of the aura which comes into being on the basis of feeling is available in the system of Jain sadhana. Feeling is called psychical leshya and the aura is called material leshya. It may be called etheric body. A lot of discussion about it is found here and there in spiritual literature, but the elaborate treatment of it by Jain masters is unsurpassable. The doctrine of leshya has a great significance in Jain philosophy. In the bondage of karma and the release therefrom, leshya plays an important role. The kind of vibrations produced by karma sharir, determines the nature of the feelings originating from it. The nature of feelings determines the radiation of the tejas-atoms. And the quality of radiation creates its own kind of environment. And the nature of the environment in turn determines our current of feeling and this current is called leshya.
Q. It is said that the leshya at the moment of death determines the nature of the environment in which a man is reborn after transmigration. Is it correct? What are the factors behind auspicious or inauspicious leshya? What achievement, if any, is possible through leshya?
Ans. It is true that one is born in the same leshya in which one surrenders one's body at death. A strong basis for the above conclusion is the Agam saying:
The way thou diest, the same way thou art born!
As regards the formation of good or bad leshya, this too is indisputable. A man through his efforts can turn an inauspicious leshya into an auspicious one and auspicious leshya into more auspicious and the most auspicious. Various causes have their own importance in life. Good causes or factors are capable of changing an individual's environment, feeling and thought. Similarly bad causes or factors exercise their own influence. Thus, it may be said that whatever good happens in life, happens through good factors or good leshya and wherever impediments present themselves, it happens because of bad factors and inauspicious leshya. Purification of leshya leads to the memory of one's past life, to clairvoyance and the faculty of comprehending mental states; it also leads to the ascetic life.
Q. Apart from Jain philosophy, what other philosophies recognize leshya? In what form do they accept it?
Ans. Whether the word 'leshya', is used by them or not, many philosophers have recognised the influence of colour on a man's life and have accepted its importance in the spiritual tradition. In this connection, Sankhya philosophy and Vedic philosophy are noteworthy. It seems that Patanjali, through the phrases, 'the dark type' and 'the white type' has represented these two kinds of leshya.
Similarly, in the background of the prayers prevalent among the Vedics, too, the doctrine of leshya is at work. According to the Puranic belief, the Vedic system of meditation is tricoloured. In the three prayers held by them, they worship the trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The colour of Brahma is recognised as white, that of Vishnu blue, and that of Mahesh red. According
to the fundamental rules of worship through recitation of Vedic hymns, it is necessary to meditate on colours. The basic colours for meditation have been recognised as white, blue and red.
Q. Is there any utility of colour of leshya from the scientific point of view? Have any experiments been made in this connection in the field of science?
Ans. From the scientific point of view, colours have a spectacular effect on the body and on feelings. Many discoveries have been made by science in this context. According to the researchers in this field, the pink colour is very useful in the maintenance of a happy mood. On the basis of this fact, the colour of wall distemper in school-rooms was changed. Students studying in rooms which had been painted bright red were found to be coarse, indisciplined and easily excitable. On the other hand those studying in rooms painted pink, were courteous, disciplined and peaceful.
Q. If by merely changing the colour of room walls, a change in character comes about, then there should not be any problem whatsoever. Then there is no need for any kind of sadhana or practice for bringing about a transformation of the mind?
Ans. We do not believe that everything can be changed by changing the colour. The colour is only a factor. A factor is something which exercises an influence. If an adverse factor leaves its impact upon the mind, why should not a beneficent one be equally effective? The colour factor and the sadhak's temper, are useful stimuli. The fundamental element is feeling. How intimately connected are feeling and colour becomes apparent from the functioning of one's nerves. How strong and effective is the manifestation would depend upon the factors involved.
One stout youth was exposed to different colours and the results evaluated. He was asked to practise weight lifting in a sky-blue room. The maximum weight he could lift there was 65 kg. The same youth when placed in a room painted red, was able to lift 70-75 kg.
So the colours are only stimuli which are useful in the development of physical power and feeling. It was on this basis that colour-therapy evolved. Its effect has been clearly marked.
Q. Colour is physical, and feeling psychical. It appears from what you have said about the influence of colours, that matter affects our consciousness. How many forms of colour or leshya are there which leave their impact upon consciousness?
Ans. The psychical order of existence is so intimately connected with the physical order of existence that the former cannot remain unaffected by the latter. All the colours found in the world are physical. In the language of Jain philosophy, material environment too is leshya.
Leshya has two forms---material leshya and psychical leshya. Psychical leshya evolves out of matter. It has colour, smell, taste and tactility. The volition or the current of feeling which develops on the basis of these, is psychical leshya (bhava). Physical leshya may be called the aura in the language of yoga. If the atoms of which the aura is made up, are auspicious, the aura is radiant; if these are inauspicious, the aura is dim. The purer the aura, the purer is the current of feeling. In conclusion it may be said that the aura is a factor in the purity or otherwise of the current of feeling, and the current of feeling strengthens the aura.
Q. Is the effect of the aura and the current of feeling limited only to the body or does this also influence the mind? What is the foundation of mental peace?
Ans. Mental peace or joy is deeply connected with the aura and the current of feeling. The brighter, the purer and more radiant the environment, the greater is the peace of mind. As a matter of fact, peace and joy are not essentially connected with material things. The concept of finding peace and joy through material objects is purely a figment of imagination. The real source of joy lies within man---that is, his pure feelings or the atoms which stimulate feeling. With the help of these atoms, it is possible to find unimaginable joy without recourse to material things, and mental peace descends of itself. Without the purity of feeling, all kinds of material objects fall to give one that extraordinary sense of bliss which transcends understanding.
The hermit Nassiruddin sat outside the village. A rich man came to him. He had bags full of lakhs of rupees, and yet he was distressed. He placed all his money before Nassiruddin, and said "I have everything, but I have no peace. I am ready to give you all I have. Will you kindly give me happiness?" Nassiruddin kept silent. Because he knew that neither accumulation nor renunciation of money could bring peace. The fountain of delight sprouts from the purity of the aura and the inner current of feeling, and only this immaterial joy can give a man lasting peace.