Seven Fundamentals


(The present portion is on the basis of Tattvartha Sutra.)

Speaker : All creatures appear to be unhappy in this world and they also make efforts to get rid of the causes of unhappiness. They cannot, however, get rid of these without having right knowledge of the essential seven fundamentals.

Aspirant : What are those essential fundamentals, without whose knowledge and right faith, we cannot get rid of worldly unhappiness ?

Speaker : Our real concern is to remove unhappiness and become happy. All those fundamentals, without correct faith and consciousness whereof, we cannot remove our miseries of this existence are the essential fundamentals. ‘Tattva’ means real nature of a substance. The purport of a substance, as it is, is ‘Tattva’. Such fundamentals are seven as given by Uma Swami in Tattvartha Sutra : soul, non-soul, psychic influx, bondage, stoppage of influx, partial release from bondage and liberation i.e. complete shedding of bondage.

Aspirant : Kindly explain these in brief.

Speaker : Soul is intrinsically an embodiment of knowing activity and perception. Devoid of knowing activity and perception, totally different from soul, are all non-soul entities. Matter and others are all non-soul objects. Different from all non-soul elements, the sentient being is the soul. I am that soul. The rest of the five substances are non-soul objects.

Ordinarily, we have two fundamentals only – soul and the non-soul. Influx and other elements are the combinations of soul and non-soul entities.

Aspirant : If influx etc. are only combinations of soul and non-soul elements, why have they been described separately?

Speaker : Our ultimate goal is complete liberation (Moksha). Therefore, influx etc. have been described as five distinct manifestations. Without having real faith in all these seven elements, one cannot start on the path of liberation. How can we have distinction of the self and the non-self without knowing living and non-living entities? How should one try to attain Godhood without knowing its nature and that it is the most coveted state? Stoppage of influx and partial release from bondage are means to complete liberation. It is, as such, necessary to know them. Absence of influx is partial release from bondage and partial absence of bondage is release from bondage. How can one make attempts for stoppage and partial release from bondage without knowing these ?

Aspirant : We were told in the discourse that the soul is all the time without blemish, distinct from pure and impure manifestations and it is that which is worthy of becoming a refuge for us.

Speaker : It is a matter of having a spiritual vision. From the point of view of all sided consciousness, the soul is constituted of pure and impure manifestations.

Aspirant : What is this spiritual vision ?

Speaker : The permanent all sentient soul element, separate from all non-soul objects and pure and impure influxes and other impure inclinations, as also different from obstructions of influxes or pure and impure inclinations, is the object of our vision. When this vision is before us, impurities and divisions are set aside and all knowing permanent sentient entity is called the soul and it is due to its adherance that stoppage of influxes and partial release from bondage follow.

The delusions, attachments and aversions that attract karmic matter of eight kinds are called psychic influxes and the arrival of the Karmas e.g. that obstructing consciousness, is material influx.

In the same way soul’s settling in non-consciousness, delusion, attachment and aversion, merit and demerit and other impurities is called psychic bondage and the settling of the karmic matter in the soul space, on account of those, is called material bondage.

Aspirant : Why have merits and demerits been included in bondage?

Speaker : Merits and demerits are only parts of bondage. Attachment towards higher entities and inclinations attract merit influxes and bondage, and impure inclinations and actions, aversions and delusions attract demerit influxes and bondage. Both types of attachment, good and bad, i.e. merits and demerits are to be shunned, because they are influx and bondage elements. To stop both auspicious and inauspicious emotions with the help of pure unattached feelings of the soul is called psychic stoppage and the automatic stopping of the inflow of fresh karmic matter is material stoppage. Same way, the partial shedding of impurity from the state of the soul, with the strength of the sentient soul is psychic shedding, and at the same time, the automatic shedding of karmic matter is material shedding.

Aspirant : What about Moksha (complete liberation)?

Speaker : The complete annihilation of the impure state and the emergence of the completely pure and perfect state of the soul is psychic liberation. The complete destruction of the soul is psychic liberation. The complete destruction of the karmic matter is material liberation.

The real method of attaining true happiness is to know the above seven fundamentals and to adhere to our soul element, diverting our vision from all non-soul objects.

Dr. H.C. Bharill