Para-Psychology and Jainism

A Perspective in Jaina Philosophy and Religion

Para-Psychology and Jainism

Prof. Ramjee Singh


Jainism is an important ideological phenomenon in the religious history of mankind. It is a well known non-Brahmanical religio-philosophical system which represents a missionary spirit of an evangelist culture with an important heterodoxical departure from the accepted Vedic traditions of India. The entire edifice of Jainism rests on one principle `Life is dear to all.’ This attitude of respect for life is called non-violence (Ahimsa) or positive love. That is Jesus. That is Gandhi. Love is the basis of life and religion This is manifested in the `work of relieving misery’ and `securing welfare’ of man. In other words, personality is the ultimate truth. Therefore the entire emphasis of Jainism is upon the worth and dignity of man and an `alloyed holiness’ of his personality which alone can `raise mankind to the supreme status of Godhead’. Any form of subjection is a standing negation of the worth of personality and antithetical to the spirit of self-realization. So the spirit of Jainism is a foe to all kinds of force and fanaticism-either in word, deed and thought. Any form of absolutism or imperialism in thought is repugnant to the spirit of Jainism. Yasovijaya, a great Jaina logician (18th Century A.D.) describing the Jaina view says that the Jainas have a sympathetic attitude towards all other religions just like a mother who loves all her children alike. Another early Jaina philosopher Siddhasena Divakara (5th Century A.D.) goes to the length of affirming that all heretical views combined constitute the doctrine of Jainism. Anandaghana (18th Century A.D.), another Jaina thinker in his extra synthetic mood, describes the six systems of Indian Philosophy as different forms and figures of the same Sweet Mother Divine. It seems that “Jainism has attempted a reapproachment between these warring systems by a breadth of vision which goes by the name of Syadvada or Anekantavada.” Anekantavada or the Doctrine of Manifoldness of Truth means that truth is relative to our standpoints. The nature of reality is very complex. It has innumerable characteristics and attributes. But there is limit to human knowledge. Reality is given to us in several partial views. To assert one is not necessarily denying the other. No one can claim the ownership of the whole truth. Total monopoly in the realm of truth and knowledge is only possible for an Omniscient. This is the typical Jaina non-absolutistic attitude which forms the metaphysical foundation of the principle of Non-violence in thought. All the confusion of thought which is prevailing in the world is the outcome of inexhaustive research and the acceptance of a part for the whole. Almost all our disputes only betray the pig-headedness of the blindmen, who spoke differently about the same elephant. Thus we see that truth is not exclusive to anyone. Huxley also asks us to persuade people that every Idol however noble it may seem is ultimately a Moloch that devours its worshippers. In other words, it is fatal to treat the relative and the homemade as though it were the Absolute. “All dogmatism owes it genesis to this partiality of outlook and fondness for a line of thinking to which a person has accustomed himself.” Madame Blavatsky also says “when one party or another thinks himself the sole possessor of absolute truth, it becomes only natural that he should think his neighbors absolutely in the clutches of Error or Devil.” Hence the Jainas are very correct in providing a theoretical basis for their practical belief in non-violence, since theory and practice are interlinked. Anekantavada or the Doctrine of Manifoldness of Truth is thus the extension of Ahimsa (non-violence) in the realm of thought.

Religion and Para-psychology

Religion is perhaps “man’s first attempt to make clear to himself its own position in the universe.” But despite thousand years of effort and about a hundred years of systematic psychological research, this question remains conspicuously obscure and unsolved. Our mind is still a mystery and who knows it will not remain so if we go on beating the same pathways of research within the old frontiers of mind. However, the type of religion which is compatible with modern philosophy is one “which is detached from the world and unresponsive to intelligence. Hence an irrationalist religion can fit their philosophical requirements.” In Indian thought, the word `religion’ has been given additional connotation than the Latin word (Re-legere). It is called `Dharma’. This Dharma as Annie Besant defines “is the inner nature that has reached is each man a certain stage of development and unfolding.” However, every religion is a “process which has two sides, an inner ad an outer : from one point of view it is a state of belief and feeling, an inward spiritual disposition, from another point of view it is an expression of this subjective disposition in appropriate acts.” Judged from this standard, the inner side of Jaina religion consists in spiritual realization through the practice of non-violence (Ahimsa) in word, deed and thought since Ahimsa is the essence of Jainism. Nevertheless, Jainism combines epistemological relativism (Syadvada and Anekantavada) metaphysical dualism of mind and matter, numerical pluralism of nine fundamental elements and sociological self-transcendence by observing different vows of non-violence, truth etc. In its synthetic spirit, it shares the realism of the Vedas, idealism of the Upanisadas, worship-cult of the Purunas, colourfulness of the Epics, the spirit of logical analysis of the Naiyayikas (Indian Logicians), metaphysical dualism of the atomism of the Vaisesika, Samkhyas, mysticism of the Yogins, some sort of monistic trend of the Advaita Vedanta, the spirit of revolt of the Indian Materialist (Lokayats) and the sense of compassion of the Buddha. As a religion, it has a great historicity. According to Rhys Davids, Hopkins, Olderberg, Bendole, Monier Williams, W.W.Hunter, Harnsworth, Wheeler, Charpentier, Madmuller, Bhandarkar, Jayaswal, Tilak, Jainism is older than Buddhism. According to Jyoti Prasad Jaina, It is `the oldest living religion’. To others, like Hoernle, Jacobi, S.Chetty etc., it is the primitive faith of mankind.

Before we discuss the relation between para-psychology and religion, let us have a word about para-psychology itself. What is it ? Is it a `recrudescence of superstition’ or an organized attempt at deceiving the masses with the superstitious non-sense in the interest of the bourgeois reactionaries. Supporters may argue that such big names such as Sidgwick, Myers, Prime Ministers Gerald Balfour and Gladstone, Wallace, Thomson, Rayleigh, Ledge, Curie, Bergson, W.James, Tennyson, Ruskin, Crookes etc., are associated with it. But then a clever critic might retort, “Sir William Crookes was a great physicist but it does not preclude the possibility of his having been hoodwinked in the matter of psychic matter.” Is it then a “tendency to the third order of knowledge largely a search for an aesthetic satisfaction” or a sheer `mystification’. To the natural scientists, it is `a convenient asylum ignorantic’. Let us close this chapter by recalling Goethe’s remark to Eckermann, “If anyone advances anything new. People resists with all their might.” Supporting this psychological explanation for the opposition of para-psychology, Tyrrel says that “there is undoubtedly an instinct which urges us to reject the unusual and the inexplicable whatever the evidence in its favor may be.” However, Virchow offers another explanation for such opposition : “Facts are inconvenient and the facts are all the more inconvenient because the strike at the root of things.” Evidences are so correct that a person like William James was forced to confess : “In fact, were I asked to point to a Scientific Journal where hard-headedness and never-sleeping suspicion of sources of error might be seen in their full-bloom, I think I should have to fall back on the Proceedings of Society of Psychical Research.” It is needless to repudiate the charges of those who believe that through the researches in para-psychology, the “public has been misled, funds expanded, energies of young-men wasted.” Instead “the assertions of eminent investigators among them scientists if world-wide renown are too numerous and too decided.” So far its achievement is concerned, it is simply wonderful. Schopenhauer once said, “The phenomena under consideration are incomparably the most important among all the facts presented to us by the whole experience.” “No scientific movement ever set on foot has, in the same length of time, contributed so much towards the advancement of knowledge as psychical research.” Rt. Hon.W.E.Gladstone said : “It is the most important work which is being done in the world. By far the most important.” Sir Henry Bergson addressing the 28th session of Society of Psychical Research said, “This new science will soon make up the time lost.” Prof. Charles Richet feels that though the claims may seem to be “Absurd, but not matter, it is true.” But after all, we wonder as to why such hyperbolic statements are being made ? Is this the real study of man ? Man is man because of his mind. And our mind is still a mystery. True “psychology has explored a vast field, from academic deserts to Greenland of five human material, but there still exists a Gobi Desert, virtually unexplored and unchartered, concerning which the books say nothing.” And the official aim and purpose of Psychical Research Society is to “examine without prejudice or prepossession and in a scientific spirit those faculty of man, real or supposed, which appear to be unexplicable on any generally recognized hypothesis.” Let us conclude with L.K.Anspacher : “To believe that everything has been discovered is as profound an error as to mistake the horizon for the limits of the world.”

Directly, para-psychology has to significance for religion. Para-psychology is para-psychology. It is not a religion but a branch of science whose business is to inquire into the nature of human personality. Indirectly, “the main significance of psychical research for religion lies in its promise to reveal a much wider background of thought than that provided by correct scientific philosophy.” Science has been exploring almost entirely the external world but our “psyche is a field yet to be explored.” “Manas maketh man as distinguished from both god and brute.” Man is mystery, a miracle according to Carlyle. And mind of man is mystery par excellence. “In seeing what is, the mind is rendered transparent, it is divested of its will, it reflects without gathering dust.” It is the man and his mind that is the cause of bondage and liberation, pain and pleasure – says wisdom of India. And “infact the study of human personality and the extense of human faculty form the main object of psychical research” Jung rightly says that the “place of deity seems to be taken by the wholeness of man.” However, Barrett says that “psychical research, though it may strengthen the foundations cannot take the place of religion, using in its widest sense that much abused word. For after all, it deals with the external, thought it be an unseen world. The psychic order is not the spiritual order.” However, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle holds that “the ultimate result will be union of science with religion.” Tischner also thinks that “the influence of psychical research extends further to the philosophy of religion and to ethics,” because both these branches deal with the inner aspect of man. However to L.R.G.Crandon, “psychical research has as much to do with religion as golf.” But he accepts that “it is going to be one of the most important factor in changing not religion but religious concepts and beliefs.” Tyrrell in his `Science and Psychic Phenomenon’ has admitted that psychical research lies at the meeting point of three departments of human thought – Science, Philosophy and Religion.” So we can conclude that “It will unite science and religion, more than any other activity of mankind has so far done.” In a recent symposium held at Cuttuck under the auspices of Indian Institute of para-psychology, Dr.A.C.Das, the president, observed that para-psychology is just “developing as a new branch of psychology.” Mr.M.N.Mukherjee in his paper “Materialism and Para-psychology” has gone so far to equate para-psychology with all other psychical science. Richard V.De Smet another symposiast held that it is `a scientific description’. Prof. B.N.Banerjee quotes H.J.Eysenck (Sense and Non-sense in Psychology) thinks that para-psychological phenomena have been proved. However, Prof.G.S.Nair, holds that though “Para-psychology came upon the trail of science, but its genuine home is man’s interest towards religion.” In a recent Symposium on `Para-psychology and Yoga’ (21st and 22nd December, 62) organized under the auspices of the Lucknow University, the President Acharya Jugal Kishore observed that “as civilization advances further into nuclear age and education becomes a more complex phenomenon, the most natural science to take the place of psychology will be para-psychology.”

Jainism And Para-psychology

(a) Soul Psychology and Karma Phenomenology

The Jainas believe in the Doctrine of Soul which forms the basis of Higher Psychology popularly termed as para-psychology or Meta-psychology. The idea of psychology as the `Science of Soul’ seems old. “There was a time, when it lost its mind, now it seems to have lost its consciousness even.” But so far and no further. Even eminent psychologist of today find themselves helpless to do away with the hypothesis of soul. Jung’s book “Modern Man in Search of Soul” (London 1934) is amply illustrative of this fact. The reality of the self is obvious to the introspectionists. James regards the admittance of soul to be the line of `least logical resistance’. His pupil Calkins comes out strongly for a `Psychology of Selves’ – not as metaphysical concept but an ever present fact of immediate experience. Stern, Dilthey, Allport, Spranger etc., have been endeavoring to build up a `Science of Personality’. Alexis Carrel, the Nobel prize winner scientist demands that attention should be focused on the `soul of man’. The `Racial Unconscious’ of Jung, the `Group Mind’ of Mc-Dougall, the `Comprehensive Consciousness’ of Myers have all something of a soul-psychology in them.

This Soul-psychology of the Jainas is not concerned with merely the measurement of sensation or the effect of emotions on the outer physical body within the spatio-temporal order. On the other hand, the soul has the inherent capacity to know all things, which follow from the Doctrine of Four-fold infinities of the soul. Every soul innately possesses infinite apprehension, infinite comprehension, infinite power and infinite bliss. Consciousness is the most essential characteristic of the souls. However, this perfect state of soul is possible only after the total destruction of the respective Karmic obstructions. This Karma is the basis of Jaina Psychology. Karma phenomenology is the root concept of Indian speculation which has reached its acme in Jaina ideology. Just as there is the Law of Causation in Science, Doctrine of Psychic Determinism in Freudian Psychology, so there is Doctrine of Karma in the field of moral life. It means, as a man sows, so he reaps. Every act must have its consequence and if the consequences have not been fully worked out in our life time, they demand a rebirth which in turn implies the idea of metaphychosis and the immortality of soul. To them, it is impossible to explain the diversity of universe especially the inequalities among men in worldly position and privileges without the hypothesis of Karma.

The Jaina accounts of soul and Karma are interlinked together. They believe in the Doctrine of soul as the possessor of Material Karma. The soul is innately pure and inherently perfect by something foreign called Karma, which has been defined as an aggregate of particles of very fine matter imperceptible to our sense. Just as shining sun is often obscured by either a patch of cloud or mist or a veil of dust, so the pure and perfect soul is clouded by the mist of some or other types of Karma. The Doctrine of soul as the Possessor of Karma involves three questions : Firstly, how can we say that (imperceptible multitude of atoms) exist ? Secondly, how Karma has a physical form ? Thirdly, if Karma is material, how is it connected with the immaterial self ? Let us take one by one.

Karma phenomenology is the keystone supporting edifice of Jainism. Just as a sprout, which is an effect has a seed which is the cause, so our happiness and misery which are effects, must have cause – which is nothing but Karma. The objection that happiness is derived either from a garland, sandal paste, a woman etc., which are all objects of sight, is irrelevant since persons having same means for enjoying happiness do not get the same type of happiness.

To the second question, why Karma has a physical form, it is said that because of our experience of pleasure, pain etc., since there can be no such experiences in association with that which is formless, just in connection with other. Then Karma has a physical shape because it undergoes change in a way different from souls, which is inferred form the change of its effects like body. Now the last question is – how could the material Karma be connected with the immaterial soul ? It is said that it can be in the way consciousness is affected by a drink of intoxicant etc. Then the empirical soul is not absolutely formless. Jainas believe in the Doctrine of Extended Consciousness. The soul is equal in extent to its own body, for its attributes are found only in the body. Now Karma is material and soul is also extended, hence it can be affected by the material Karma. However, the Jainas regard that the soul and Karma stand to each other in a relation of beginningless conjunction, like the association of the dross with the gold. But just as the dross is removed by the action of an alkaline substance, so the removal of beginningless Karmic veil as possible by the practice of the prescribed course of religious meditations etc. This higher psychology of the Jainas has been worked out in greater details. The material particles constituting the Karma can be viewed from their nature and number depending upon the activities of body, mind and speech, and duration and intensity depending upon passions (Passions are four : greed, pride, deceit, anger).

Discussing the nature of Karma, the Jainas point our eight fundamental types each divided into a number of subtypes. Of the eight, four are Obscuring (comprehension-obscuring, apprehension-obscuring, deluding power-obscuring) and the remaining are non-obscuring (age, physique, status and feeling determining Karmas). Each type of Karma is determined by the nature of Karmic atoms. The detailed study of the various types and subtypes of these Karmas only reveal that the Jainas have a deep faith in the universal chain of causation, leaving no room for chance. Chance is nothing but law unknown. So we find that even our names and forms are determined by our past Karmas.

The number of the Karmic matter depends upon the activity of the soul. The maximum and minimum activities fall respectively to the feeling producing and age-determining Karmas according to the Jainas. The whole universe is full of Karmic matter having a constant influx into the soul.

Then the Jainas have a calculus of their own for measuring the duration of each Karma. The maximum and minimum length of duration of the four obstructive karmas is 30 kotakoti-sagaropams, 10 kotakoti = crore multiplied by crore palyopams = a Sagaropama), i.e., a measure.

Lastly, the intensity of the Karma depends upon the strength and weakness of our passions. The more sinful or virtuous a man is, the duration of his sinful or virtuous Karma is longer and the position thereof is stronger.

The conception of soul and Karma is thus the basis of higher psychology in Jainism. The soul is innately pure and inherently perfect but because of Karmic veils, there is obscuration and hence imperfection.

(b) Cognition : Sensory and Extra Sensory

Therefore, if the soul is free from the Karmic influences, it is omniscient and in this state the soul becomes liberated. But the worldly and empirical souls are infected with Karmic matter, hence its power of cognizing everything in all condition is veiled by the Karmic-clouds. “But as although the light of the sun may be veiled by cloud, some light, however, breaks through the clouds, so there also a fraction of the faculty of cognition is preserved to the soul, for if it were to loose this, it is no longer the soul.” Consciousness is the most essential and defining characteristics of the soul. Cognition is an important aspect of this consciousness which is divided into Indeterminate (apprehension) and Determinate cognition (comprehension) with their numerous divisions and sub-divisions. Thus we find that Jaina psychology follows from its `epistemology of experience’ with soul as its basis. Indeterminate cognition is detail less knowledge or the primitive stage of general awareness with simple existence as its content and without any other reference. It is of four types : Visual apprehension, nonvisual apprehension, apprehensive clairvoyance and apprehensive omniscience. Determinate cognition is divided into 8 categories : nonverbal comprehension, verbal comprehension, clairvoyance, Telepathy, omniscience and three wrong types of non-verbal, verbal comprehension and wrong clairvoyance. Three types of relations are envisaged between Apprehension (Indeterminate) and comprehension (Determinate) : of non-simultaneity, of succession, and of simultaneity. Broadly, comprehension has been divided into sensory (also called indirect) and Extra-sensory (also called Direct) perception. The reason that the sensory knowledge is called Indirect is because the soul gets the glimpses of reality through the media of sense-organs and not directly. This view gets some support by an analysis of the psychological process involved inference, a question raised of late by the psychophysiologists.

Then we come to Extra-sensory perception : clairvoyance, Telepathy and Omniscience. “Empirical or sensory perception is conditional by the senses and mind as is limited”, but Extra-sensory perception transcends the general laws of space, time and other conditions of normal perception. “Opinion in the West is yet divided on the question whether paranormal powers are biologically primitive and present in the organism or they are outgrown and replaced, or they are the latest acquisitions.” Except the materialist Carvakas and the scripturalist Mimamsakas, all systems of Indian Philosophy believe in Extra-sensory perception. Extra-sensory perception is a form of Direct perception. It may sound odd. But this follows from the very conception of the Jainas that the basis of all knowledge is self. And “if the soul has the capacity to know, it must know independently of any external condition. It is as independent as existence. It is like a lamp which illuminates itself. It is not a spatial or temporal relation but a capacity. Space and time are no doubt principles of physical limitations which disappear with the stoppage of Karmic influx into the soul and their shedding. “The (full) manifestation of the innate nature of a conscious self, emerging on the total cessation of all obstructive veils, is called” that (intuition) transcendent and pure.” This transcended and pure knowledge is of two kids – Absolute (Sakala) and Relative (Vikala). When there is complete cessation of all possible veils, it is Absolute (Sakala) but when there is qualitative or quantitative difference in the subsidence and annihilation of these veils, there occurs two varieties of knowledge : Clairvoyance (Avadhi) and Telepathy (Manah-paryaya).

(c) Avadhi Jnana or Clairvoyance

Etymologically, Avadhi (Clairvoyance) means `limit’ and perhaps it is therefore defined as “that which is limited to objects having shape and form.” Negatively speaking, formless things like soul, space, time. motion and rest are beyond the preview of Clairvoyance. We know that the soul is capable of perceiving everything in all its modes. However it is only possible when he has completely destroyed the influences of Karmas. But if he has destroyed it only partially, he acquires the power of direct perception of things limited to forms and shape, though they are too distant or minute or obscure. We know that the inherent capacity of soul of perceiving all things is limited or obstructed by knowledge-obscuring Karmas. Avadhi transcends the barriers of time and space in proportion to the difference of destruction-cum-subsidence of Karmic veils. The highest type of Clairvoyance will cognise all objects having form irrespective of past, present and future or near and far and the lowest type can perceive any object having very small fraction (Angula) and can penetrate only a small part of time (Avalika) and only a part (Atom) of all the modes. When a person has partially destroyed the influences of Karmas, he acquires the power of direct knowledge of thing (having forms) but are too distant or minute or obscure to be observed by the ordinary senses and mind. Clairvoyance differs in degrees according to four categories of space, time, matter and modes. Here the Jainas conceive of a Doctrine of Gradation according to which clairvoyant perception differs in degrees. For, example, in point of space, the Clairvoyant perception extends from infinitesimal part of space (Angula = the smallest fraction of space) to the inhabited Universe (Loka = the biggest, fraction of space). Similarly from the point of view of time, it extends from avalika (the smallest fraction of time less than a second) to the countless number of cycles of time including past and future. The infinitesimal indivisible ultimate unit of time is called time-point (Samaya) and that of space is called space-point (Pradesas). They are beyond ordinary human comprehension and hence can be perceived only be the Omniscient. The indivisible unit of matter is atom and the indivisible unit of mode is one mode of an infinite number with regard to Time, Space, Matter and Modes – Time-point being the most extensive and Modes being the least extensive. Knowledge of all the modes is beyond ordinary knowledge which is possible only to an Omniscient.

Broadly Clairvoyance has been divided into congenital (Bhava-Pratyaya) and Non-congenital (Guna Pratyaya). The former is the birthright of denizens of heaven and hell and the latter is acquired through merit by men and lower animals. This has been further subdivided into six kinds. There is another classification of Clairvoyance into three kinds such as Clairvoyance of space (Desavadhi) corresponding to non-cogenital form, ultimate and universal Clairvoyance (Paramavadhi and Sarvavadhi) which are possessed by the saints and the Arhats only. The former is liable to destruction but not the latter two. Avasyaka Niryukti provides us a more detailed study of Clairvoyance subject from fourteen standpoints of view. So sum up, if we are endowed with the highest type of Avadhi or Clairvoyance, we can perceive all the things having form.

(d) Manah-Paryaya or Telepathy

Literally Manah-Paryaya means `mental state’, though technically it means `entering into other’s mind’. As Clairvoyance (Avadhi) is the direct knowledge of things even at a distance of space and time, so Telepathy (Manah-Paryaya) is the direct knowledge of the thoughts of others. This should not sound something absurd in view of Jaina theory of soul as the possessor of infinite knowledge. If we can remove the obstacles like hatred, jealousy etc., that stand in the way of knowing other minds, we can have direct and unfailing excess to the present and past thoughts of others. However, here besides the Jaina Doctrine of soul, we are also concerned with Jaina Doctrine of Mind which is based on the principle of varganas (group of atoms). The different atomic groups constitute the different bodies in the respective order of gradation-Physical, Fluid, Assimilative, Luminous and Karmic bodies, speech, respiration, mind, Karma Bodies etc.

A state of thought is a mode of mental-stuff. To perceive these mental modes is called telepathy. Mind is both physical and psychical according to the nature of atomic constituents. According to the Jaina doctrine of Karma, mind is a kind of material substance made of Karmic atoms. Hence the psychical mind is the double principle of attainment and activity of cognition.

Scholars are divided as to the fact weather telepathy should be conceived as perceiving the states and modes of mind alone as held by Jinabhadra, Hemcandra, etc. or it perceives also the external objects as held by Pujyapada Devanandi, following the Avasyaka Niryukti. To the former school in telepathy, we are directly associated with the states of mind engaged in thinking, denying the possibility of direct perception of external objects themselves and due to its association with the mental stuff, the object itself, is called mind. Hence external objects are also perceived by Telepathy. Anyway, the distinction between ordinary immediate knowledge, i.e., internal and external perception (Mati-Jnana) and telepathy must be maintained because the mind is only inactive in Telepathy and is due to the potency of destruction-cum-subsidence Karma.

Telepathy has been recognized of two varieties. Simple Direct knowledge of simple mental things, viz., of what a man is thinking now (Rju-mati) and Complex Direct knowledge of complex mental things viz., of what a man is thinking now along with what he has thought of in the past and will think in the future (Vipulmati). Naturally, the latter is purer and more lasting, more vivid though less wider in scope and therefore superior in the spiritual ladder.

(e) Telepathy and Clairvoyance

Both these kinds of direct and immediate knowledge are the resultant of destruction-cum-subsidence of karmic veils. In both of them, we intuit the states of material substance that constitute the mind. Like Clairvoyance, telepathic knowledge also differs in spatial extension and temporal penetration. However, they differ according to their purity, scope, subject and object. Intuition of mental states is more lucid and purer than in the states of Clairvoyance. So far as scope is concerned, in telepathic knowledge we can know only an infinitesimal part of the object of Clairvoyance -Simple-Telepathic knowledge knows an infinitesimal degree of the attributes of an atom, whereas in complex telepathic knowledge, one gets an infinitesimal part of simple mental knowledge. We have already seen that Clairvoyant knowledge is the birth-right of denizens of heaven and hell but telepathic knowledge is acquired due to merit, hence confined to the sphere of human beings only. The former is possible for living beings, in all the possible status of existence, viz., hellish sub-human, mankind, celestial beings, and liberated beings, whereas telepathic knowledge is possible only for human beings with exalted conduct, occupying anyone of the stages of spiritual perfection (Gunasthana) ranging between the 6th to the 12th stages. With regard to the object of Telepathic knowledge, it extends to the infinitesimal part of the subtlest form of mental atoms (Mano-varganas). In Clairvoyance, we intuit other forms of atoms limited to the material object and that again not covering all their modes. But a closer study will reveal that the line of demarcation between the two is not very clear. I do not say that they do not differ. they differ only in degrees. Qualitatively, they are the same. Hence a famous Jaina logician Siddhasena Divakara does not recognize any distinction between Clairvoyance and telepathy, and extends the scope of telepathy to the sub-human organisms. Anyway, for a specialized study, I think, the distinction will continue.

(f) Clairvoyance, Telepathy and Modern Psychical Research

“Legends and reports of apparent telepathy or clairvoyance must be as old as man”, said A.S.Parkes in his opening remarks in a CIBA foundation symposium on `Extra-sensory-perception’. During the last three decades, resolute efforts have been made to apply the different problems of extra-sensory-perception under laboratory conditions where millions o tests have been carried in the same way as those used in other ordinary branches of research, which may be said to establish the fact beyond the possibility of controversy and is regarded as an `actual and demonstrable occurrence’. Myers’ two volumes on `Human Personality’ are the Magnum opus and something of a Bible in the tradition of Psychical Research which have also been included in the examination for fellowship in mental and Moral Philosophy in Trinty College, Dublin. Not only this, centers of Research in para-psychology have been established in the Department of Biophysics at the University of Pittsburgh, a chair of para-psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, a chair of para-psychology at the University of Utrecht besides large scale experiments at Duke University.

Literally, Clairvoyance means `clear seeing’ and telepathy means `far-feeling’. Telesthesia is an alternative word for Clairvoyance. Tischner agrees with Myers that telepathy is “the communication of impressions of any’ kind from one mind to another independently of the recognized channels of sense.” “Wireless telepathy and the X-rays suggest themselves very strongly as analogous to telepathy and Clairvoyance.” Philosophers like Hegel, Schelling, Fichte, Von Hartmann spoke of telepathy and Clairvoyance as `accepted facts’. Distinguished physicists like Sir William Barrett, psychologists like William James, Heymans, Rhine, Pratt, Murphy, Price, Ryzl, Zorab, Thouless, Nandor Fodor etc., are the pioneers in the experiment of psychical research. Prof. Charles Richet, after years of devoted research in this field says that “Cryptesthesia, telekinsis, ectoplasm and premonition seem to be founded on granite; that is to say, on hundreds of exact observations and hundreds of vigorous experiments.” Alexis Carrell holds that, “Clairvoyance and telepathy are a primary datum of scientific observation.” To McDougal “the ancient belief in Clairvoyance seems also in a fair way established.” Even such critical investigators as Lehmann, Dessoir and Baerwald admit today the existence of telepathy. Prof.H.H.Price sees no way of denying them. Telepathy forms a very ancient problem. Herodotous tell of a king named Gesus who consulted the Delphic messenger. Classical and medical literature abounds in cases of the influence of one mind upon another. Swedenborg was renowned in this respect. Mesmer and his followers claimed its actual demonstrations. R.Warcollier’s La telepathic contains much valuable material about para-psychology. “Rhine has estimated that about fifty percent people have, or can develop the faculties required for experiments in Clairvoyance and telepathy.” “Rhine also gives some suggestions to those who may care to repeat those experiments.” Recently in the Statesman (Calcutta, 19th January 1963), we have read a news about transmission of thought waves between London and Moscow. This is Science. But let us conclude poetically.

“If the dull substance of my flesh was thought.

Injurious distance would not stop the way”.


“As star to star vibrates light, may soul to soul.

Strike thro’ a finer element of her own.”

(g) Omniscience or Kevala-Jnana

Omniscience is recognized as an attribute of God but thanks to the Jainas who make it possible also for the ordinary human beings. This might have been partially motivated by the fact that since they do not believe in an Omnipotent or Omniscient God. They have brought in this conception of human Omniscience, just to compensate that loss. Anyway, Omniscience or Kevala-Jnana has been recognized as a kind of direct and `extra-ordinary sensory perception’. (This phrase `extra-ordinary sensory perception’ instead `Extra-sensory perception’, we owe to Dr.W.L.M.Perry which has been also supported as referred above). They think unfortunate one, in that it begs the question as to the nature of the phenomenon under discussion, and has a slightly super-natural and mystical connotation. However, to Dr.Rhine, the old expression `extra-sensory perception’ is a singularly unfortunate one, in that it begs the question as to the nature of the phenomenon under discussion, and has a slightly super-nature and mystical connotation. However, to Dr.Rhine, the old expression `extra-sensory-perception’ is `preferable which means by it a perception is a mode that is just not highest type of immediate and direct extra-sensory perception which is the perfection of the cognitive faculty of self when shines in its full splendor after the total destruction of the deluding, knowledge-obscuring, faith-obscuring and obstructing Karmas. So a person possessing omniscience can perceive all the substance with all their modes. This is regarded as the state of final liberation when the soul is free from all Karmic-matter to the non-existence of the cause of bondage and to the shedding of all Karmas, and it can perceive “all the substances in all their modifications at all the places and in all the times.” Nothing remains unknown to the Omniscient.” The Jainas try to prove Omniscience though all the recognized sources of knowledge in Indian Philosophy after meeting the onslaught from the side of the Mimamsakas who are the worst critics of the theory of human Omniscience in view of their unfailing faith in the validity of the scriptures. Briefly our phenomenal knowledge suggests the noumenal as a necessity of thought. Then this manifold and complex objectivity implies the need of some extraordinary perception. Psychologically, differences in intelligence etc., in human beings presupposes the possibility of Omniscience somewhere and in somebody. The Jaina logicians claim that since there is no contradictory proof against this, hence it can be accepted as a convenient and plausible hypothesis. Knowledge like measure and quality has got degree, hence knowledge is bound to reach its final consummation which is nothing but Omniscience, Akalanka, a famous Jaina Logician, tries to prove the existence of Omniscience on the basis of truth found in the astronomical sphere, which predicts correctly the position of future eclipses of the Sun and the Moon. Lastly, the concept of Omniscience follow as a logical corollary from the Jaina theory of soul as inherently pure and infinitely perfect. True, there is the Karmic veil but as the sun shines in its full splendor after the removal of the mists, fog or cloud, so the self knows everything where the knowledge obscuring Karmas are completely liquidated. From partial knowledge, we can infer about the complete or total knowledge, just as we infer about the whole of mountain by perceiving only a part of it. This is how Virasena Swami reasons. Samantabhadra, an early Jaina Logician has tried to prove the existence of Omniscience though the reasoning based on the capability of being known through inference. Dharmabhusana explaining this says that perception does not mean `actual perception’ but also `object of knowledge’. Shri Sukhalalji Sanghavi, perhaps the most erudite living Jaina Scholars, says that the origin of all the above varieties of proofs for the existence of Omniscience can be traced back to the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, especially the Sutra which deals with Omniscience. Let us conclude with the author of Apta-pariksa : “When Omniscience is proved by all the six traditional sources of knowledge, it is established beyond all doubt.” The concept of Omniscience is perfectly consistent with the Jaina concept of soul as the possessor of infinite knowledge which is veild due to various reasons as stated elsewhere in this paper.

Karma and Rebirth

If the culmination of knowledge lies in Omniscience, the final consummation of spiritual life consists in the attainment of emancipation or better self-realization. It may be possible that owing to various limitations, the final salvation may not be possible during the present life time and hence we require a number of births for its realization. This is the metaphysics of rebirth. Rebirth is the inseparable twin of Karma. But if rebirth is a fact, the idea of pre-birth also cannot be rejected. As every event must have a cause so every cause must have its effects. This is the Law of Karma, the Ultimate Law of the Universe with adjusts effect to cause on the physical, moral and spiritual planes of being. This is the Law of the Conservation of Moral Energy or the Moral Law of Equilibrium operating in an undeviating and unerring manner like the Master Law going on uncessantly and ceaselessly. Karma is rebirth latent and rebirth is Karma manifest like indivisible unity of cause and effect. There are broadly speaking two schools of those who believe in the Law of Karma. The Negativists despise all forms of Karma good or bad since they cause bondage. To the Positivists like the Mimamsakas and others, we should practice good Karmas to get good results.

The Karma phenomenology of the Jainas rests on the assumptions that every act must have its consequences which if not fully worked out in our life time, demand a future life for their fruition. This leads us to the idea of metempsychosis. The apparent diversities and inequalities among men demand an explanation which can be satisfied by the Law of Karma. But the Jaina meaning of Karma is different from the ordinary meaning. Karma here does not mean `work and deed’ but an “aggregate of particles of very fine matter which are not perceptible by the senses.” This is the Doctrine of the Material Nature of Karman which is singular to Jainism. With other, Karman is formless. The Jainas regard Karma as the crystallized effect of the past activities of energies. But they argue that “in things on which they work, the energies must have to be metamorphosed into forms or centers of forces.” Like begets like. The cause is like the effect. “The effect (i.e.,Body) is physical hence the cause (i.e.Karma) has indeed a physical form.” But unless Karma is associated with the soul, it cannot produce any effect because Karma is only the instrumental cause and it is the soul which is the essential cause of all experiences. Hence the Jainas believe in the Doctrine of soul as the Possessor of Material Karma. But why and how the conscious soul should be associated with the unconscious soul should be associated the unconscious matter ? It is owing to the Karma, which is a substantive force or matter in a subtle form, which fills all cosmic space. “The soul by its commerce with the outer world becomes literally penetrated with the particles of subtle-matter.” Moreover the mundane soul is not absolutely formless, because the Jainas believe in the Doctrine of Extended consciousness like the Doctrine of Matter (Pudgala) in Buddhism and the Upanisads, and so to some extent in Plato and Alexander. While in Samkhya-Yoga, Vedanta, Nyaya-Vaisesika and the Buddhists kept consciousness quite aloof from the matter, the Jainas could easily conceive of the inter-influencing between the soul and the Karmic-matter, hence the relation between the soul and Karma becomes very easy. The Karmic matter mixes with the soul as milk mixes with the water or fire with iron. Thus the formless Karma is affected by the corporal Karma as consciousness affected by drink and medicine. This is the relation of concrete identity between the soul and the Karma.

Without the Karma phenomenology, the diversity of the variegated nature and the apparent inequalities among human beings and their capacities remain unexplained. Moreover, Karma, explains the problem of the original Sin, Good and Evil. Heredity and many unexplained problems of science, say in ethnology and astronomy. The proper understanding of the Law of Karma destroys the causes of envy and jealousy and ill-will, impatience and even fear of death. This attitude enables the Jainas to reject many other theories such as Temporalism (according to which the root cause of diversity is Time which is the highest God, all-pervasive and all-powerful). Naturalism proclaiming the Omnipotence of Nature discarding all human endeavors. Determinism as preached by Purana Kasyapa and Makkhali Gosala leading to the doctrine of non-action, Fortuitism or Accidentalism like the Greek thinker, such as Plato, Aristole, the Stoics, Epicureans etc. Agnosticism and Scepticism born out of Materialism of Ajita Kesa Kambalin, Sanjaya, Velleti Nathaputta and lastly Illusionism of the Advaita Vedanta. Karma is the basis of Jaina Psychology and the keystone supporting edifice of the Jaina ethics and metaphysics. Needless to say that the metaphysics of transmigration presupposes the metaphysics of Metempsychosis and Karma which are acknowledged as facts and axioms in the Indian thought. Karma is viewed from four points of view – its nature, duration, intensity and scope. According to their nature, Karmas are of eight fundamental varieties such as, Knowledge obscuring karma, Intuition obscuring karma, Feeling obscuring karma, Belief obscuring karma, Age determining karma, Status and Power determining karma. There are numerous divisions and sub-divisions of these varieties also.

The Doctrine of Karma and rebirth seems to be an important missing link in modern psychology. In Indian Philosophy, this dogma is an article of faith. In Vedanta, this Karma is used as Maya (Cosmic illusion), Avidya (Ignorance) or Prakrti (Material world), in Mimamsa it is called Apurva (without a beginning), in Buddhist though it is Vasana (clinging), in Samkhya-Yoga it is Asaya (Past actions), in Nyaya-Vaisesika systems it is used as Dharmadharma, Adrsta (stock of merit and demerit) and Samskara (impressions of the past), in other Hindu literature (Luck), Punya and Papa (Virtue and Sin). The Jainas by introducing this concept of Karma want to remove the defects in the Vedic conception of somewhat deistic God who interferes in the creation of universe without any purpose which leads to the suppression of individual freedom and effort. This also helps them to successfully refute Buddhist Doctrine of Momentariness and the Carvaka conception of Materialism.

Jaina Yoga

Jainism like other systems of Indian Philosophy aims not only at intellectual explanation of truth but also at its realization. This involves the idea of the Path of spiritual realization known variously such as Yoga (merging of the finite with the infinite), Dhyana (Meditation), Samadhi (Concentration). To Patanjali, the author of the Yog-Sutra, Yoga means the `Cessation of the states of mind’. The Jaina term for Yoga is Caritra (conduct). To them bondage is due to the inflow of Karmic matter that is due to the actions of body, mind and speech. Hence the process of emancipation will naturally start with the stoppage of this inflow and liquidation of the already accumulated Karma-particles associated with. But all these require a practical discipline of all round restraint of thought, speech and mind (Gupti), five-fold, regulations (Samiti) of five main vital functions, observances of ten-fold moral virtues (Dharma), contemplation of the twelve-fold objects (Anupreksa), Victory over 22 kinds of troubles (Parisahjaya), and observances of five-fold conducts Caritra. Besides, practice of six-fold external and internal austerities with their numerous subdivision are essential. This long list of the rules and regulations of conduct and their transgressions indicate that if physical austerity is an index of self-realization, moral life is a sine qua non for its achievement.

With this idea in view, the Jainas conceive of fourteen gradual stages of spiritual development (Gunasthana). A detailed study will show a logical order according to the principle of Gradual Evolution of soul from Decreasing sinfulness to the Increasing Purity leading to the final unveiling of the soul. “As one goes ascending in the stages of self-realization and the practice of Yoga, one gradually develops the perspective of truth.” This I must confess is a very careful probe into the unhidden powers of the inner world. This Doctrine of Gunasthana or Spiritual Development and Yoga are interconnected since the idea of stages of spiritual development involves the idea of the means of liberation. Yoga is the process eradication of the exterior and the interior to realize the transcendental self by cutting the knot for self-realization. But self-realization requires self-concentration or Dhyana for our mind is always restless. Like the two divisions of Yoga according to Patanjali, the Jainas also divide into five stages such as Practice of Spiritual life (Adhyatma), Repeated Practice (Bhavana), Equanimity (Samata), Final Annihilation of Residual Karmas (Vrtti Sanksaya) and Concentration (Dhyana). Thus concentration is the immediate cause of liberation and hence so much emphasis is laid down by the Jainas upon this concept of Yoga.

The Doctrine of Lesyas or Colorations of the Embodied Souls

The association of the soul with Karma is beginningless. The soul when associated with Karma forms the Subtle Body (Karma Sarira) comparable to subtle bodies of Samkhya subtle Karmic matte in the soul throws a reflex producing certain colorations concern only the embodied souls which are connected with the matter. The passions determine the nature of the colorations since the infinite power and energy of the soul is circumscribed by the power obscuring Karma being defiled by the passions. The delimited energy as determined by coloration is Yoga or activity.

The color-index of the embodied souls is two-fold; material (Dravya Lesya) and mental (Bhava Lesya). Material colourations refer to the body or organism, which are produced by Karma-articles or by binding Karma or by mental activities. Mental colorations (Bhava Lesya) refers to the psychic conditions which result from the feelings and mental activities. Popularly six types of color-indexes have been suggested to fit in with all the moral and immoral kinds of beings such as wickedness and cruelty is represented by black (Krsna) anger and envy by blue (Nila), dishonesty and meanness by gray (Kapota), discipline by pink (Padma), subduing of Passions by Yellow (Pita) and meditation of virtue and truth by white colorations (Sveta). Similarly, the denizens of hell, the celestial beings and the human beings are different bodily colorations such as black, white etc.

In short, the doctrine of colorations is the tripe index of body, mind and heart. So the aura or radiation spreading round the gods and prophets like Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira, Zoraster etc., presenting a halo has got positive meanings. Just as every neurosis has got a psychosis, so every material color suggests a physico-psycho-moral attribute. It is held that these colorations are perceptible only through extrasensory perception. A concrete instance has been quoted by Dr.T.G.Kalghatgi of Dharwar university where a Tibetan Lama named Manglabjong Rama could see owing to the Yogic discipline he had undergone, the luster of the aura of an individual. He once saw blue of light emanating from a Chinese delegation which had gone to see the Dalai Lama (the Tibetan high priest who had taken refuge in India after communist on-slaughts upon them). He then appealed to the Dalai Lama not to accept the sweetened words of the members of the delegation, as they were full of fraud. J.Charpentur’s Lesya-Theory of Jainas and Ajivakas (Frestskrift, 1910) may be consulted.

Corresponding to this Jaina Doctrine of colorations, we have similar references elsewhere also. In Mahabharata, there is a description about six types of colorations of souls. In Patanjali Yoga-Sutra, mental states have been classified into four kinds according to this coloration principle which is said to have been suggested having a Jaina influences. On the basis of an account in Digha-Nikaya, Leumann and Sukhalal Sanghavi both have found resemblances of six colorations with Makkhali Gosala’s six-fold divisions of human beings. In Buddhism, Karma is classified into the same four colors as in Yoga-Sutra. The theosophical view of the transcendental color in the individual may also have some resemblance to the Jaina Doctrine of colorations.


Inspite of well-recognized centers of Psychical Research in the universities of Pittsburgh, Utrecht, Duke etc., and the societies of Psychical Research in London and New York with big names associated with them, para-psychology in the West has just emerged from the stage of heresy. This is precisely because the western scholars have approached this problem purely from the traditional experimental-laboratory standpoint, and hence so little achievement inspite of such a tremendous effort. Para-psychology demands a new methodology and a new understanding. Para-psychological experiences such as that of clairvoyance, telepathy, omniscience are not common to all and universal and hence it requires a man-to-man research depending mostly upon the individual experiences gained either by them or by ourselves practicing those methods. I am constrained to believe that one who is absolutely uninitiated in those disciplines even to a comfortable extent, it is difficult for him either to brand it either as magic or cent scientific. In India, para-psychological phenomena have been investigated from the side of religion and their practices in everyday life. So it is not so much a matter of principle but an actual fact of life.

The Jainas have got a systematic discipline for the achievement of those types of extra-sensory perception as stated in the paper. What is required is to demonstrate to the West its validity. Now two methods may be employed. Firstly, every ardent research worker should see for himself what it is and one worker should compare his notes with the other. The second method will be to collect the reports of Psi-phenomenon from those who are already adept in this field and again compare their individual reports. The contribution of Jainism towards the conception of human omniscience is very significant and it needs special investigation.