The instincts play a significant role in our life. They affect our conduct as well as the behavior. They have been illustrated in Jain canons from the karmic philosophical point of view. One of the modern disciplines of science is psychology of behavior which emphasizes the original instinct in the form of natural tendencies and modes of living, and emotions, feelings. It colloborates the karmic explanations.

What is an instinct?

First of all, we should understand the concept of an instinct. There are two meanings. One is an emotion which is called an original instinct in the psychological term and the other is consciousness. Whatever we do, it is influenced by the impelling force of these special types of emotions. In the other words instict (Samjna) means particular type of tendency of consciousness in which conscious and subconscious minds are combined together. They are called emotions. Internal and external causes activate the emotions to arise. The material cause for them is karmas. Simultaneously external environment also affects their production.

Thanang Sutra, one of the Agamas, describes ten types of instincts. The first eight are emotional or sentimental instincts whereas last two are concerned with a special type of thought process.

  1. Instinct of appetite Ahara samjna

  2. Instinct of fear Bhaya samjna

  3. Instinct of copulation Maithun samjna

  4. Instinct of possession Parigraha samjna

  5. Instinct of anger Krodha samjna

  6. Instinct of Pride Mana samjna

  7. Instinct of deceit Maya samjna

  8. Instinct of greed Lobha samjna

  9. Instinct of imitation Ogha samjna

  10. Instinct of worldly desires Loka samjna

The conduct and behavior are the outcome of deluding karma (Mohaniya Karma). Due to the influence of instinct man changes his habits and nature. Therefore the above stated classification may be clearly understood in the light of karmas philosophy and psychological divisions.

Outcome of deluding karmas

  1. Original emotions

  2. Fear Fear

  3. Anger Anger

  4. Disgust (jugupsa) Hatred

  5. Feminine inclination (striveda) Sexuality

  6. Masculine inclination (purusveda) Sexuality

  7. Common inclination (napunskaveda) Sexuality

  8. Pride superiority complex

  9. Greed ownership

  10. Indulgence (Rati) attachment

  11. Dissatisfaction (Arati) sorrow

The similar division is given by the well-known psychologist Mac Dowell in psychological terms as under:

  1. Original tendencies Original emotions

  2. Tendency of escapism Fear

  3. Tendency of struggle Anger

  4. Tendency of curiosity eagerness

  5. Tendency of search of food Appetite

  6. Tendency of paternity Affection

  7. Tendency of disgust Hatred

  8. Tendency of community feeling Community feeling

  9. Tendency of copulation sex

  10. Tendency of prejudice superiority

  11. Tendency of inferiority complex Inferiority

  12. Tendency of Earning Ownership

  13. Tendency of Creation Creativity

  14. Tendency of begging pity

  15. Tendency of humor pleasure

The above given divisions can be concised in three categories. They are:

  1. In the first group: Instinct of appetite, fear, copulation and possession. These exist in every creature of the world. An instinct of appetite is found in all. On account of this a creature feels hunger and searches for it. Really a big part of our life is motivated by it. A number of behaviors of a living being are activated by fear. The feeling of getting hurt creates fear. All creatures have the instinct of copulation. The instinct of possessiveness exists in human beings as well as in animals. They collect their requirements and want to get more and more things due to this.

  2. The second group of instincts: Anger, pride, deceit and greed. This group of instincts also exists in all living beings, but in man they are well developed and expressed.

  3. The third group of instincts: Imitation and worldly desires. All living beings imitate at looking at others and also have desires.

The first group of instincts is precursor of activating these instincts. For example when a person gets hungry and if it is not satisfies he becomes angry. To earn money people use deceptive methods. Once you start earning greed sets in which may become the cause of violences, corruptions, etc. In this way it can be said that the former group of instincts activate the later or both are correlated with each other.

Origin of instincts:

Now the question arises what is responsible of outpouring of instincts? In this respect we illustrate internal and external causes.

Instinct of Appetite

  1. Internal: due to the rising of feeling and deluding karmas.

  2. External: due to emptiness of stomach, seeing food, thinking about food constantly and smelling the flavor

Instinct of fear

  1. Internal: deluding karmas

  2. External: Inferiority complex, visualizing fearful events, continuous thinking about fear.

Instinct of copulation

  1. Internal: deluding karmas

  2. External: Strengthening of muscles and organs of the body, listening or reading the copulation connected material and constant thinking about it.

Instinct of possession:

  1. Internal: deluding karmas

  2. External: To have possession already, to listen or think about possession.

In this way instincts of anger, pride etc., are also outpoured by deluding karmas and activated by external situations.

Impressions of instincts:

They are not only connected with our feelings but with physical and mental functioning structure also. They influence the external as well as internal functioning of the body. They also affect mental states and feelings. We can understand them as:

External changes:

  1. Facial expressions

  2. Vocal expressions

  3. Physical posture and gesture

Internal changes:

  1. States of the mind

  2. Feelings of the consciousness

  3. Psychological responses

  4. Nervous system

  5. Secretion of glands

  6. Chemistry of blood

  7. The scientific approach:

For a long time it was believed that the brain was the source of energy and the seat of impulses of man. Significant progresses in Endocrinology (branch of science dealing with the endocrine system) in the recent years has established that the passions and expressions affect the endocrine system.

The Endocrine system is the basis of the habit formation in a person. The habits manifest themselves in the Nervous system and that becomes behavioral pattern. Thus manifestation and behavior are the function of the nervous system, but the birthplace – the production centre of the instincts is the endocrine system. The endocrine glands control through chemical regulators called hormones. The hormones regulate the body functions. These chemical messengers exert profound influence on the mental states, emotions and behavioral patterns of an individual. They are the primary movers which generate the powerful forces, all the instincts and urges, passions and emotions in the man. These, in turn, generate feelings and result into action that satisfy the needs of love, hate, fear etc. Therefore it may be that endocrine system is the basis of the instincts from the gross point of view but actually the karmas are responsible for the production of the instincts.

How the instincts can be changed?

Now the most important task before us is how these instincts and urges, impulses and feelings can be pacified? In this context we can be benefit by the regular practice of meditation. There are various methods available in this field. One of them is to visualize the bright white color at the centre of enlightenment that is in the middle part of the forehead. If a person practices this meditation constantly, he or she can control his or her anger and increase his or her power of tolerance to a great extent. The another significant process of meditation is watching the deep breathing, which helps to pacify the intensity of the instincts. Therefore, regular practice such meditations develops balanced and an integrated personality by decreasing the intensity of instincts.