1. FUNDAMENTALS PRINCIPLES OF JAINISM
Principles of Jainism
The fundamental principles of Jainism can be briefly stated as follows.
Man's personality is dual
The first fundamental principle of Jainism is that man's personality is
dual, that is, material and spiritual. Jaina philosophy regards that every
mundane soul is bound by subtle particles of matter known as karma from
the very beginning. It considers that just as gold is found in an alloyed
form in the mines, in the same way mundane souls are found in the bondage
of karma, from times immemorial. The impurity of the mundane soul is thus
treated as an existing condition.
Man is not perfect
The second principle that man is not perfect is based on the first
principle. The imperfectness in man is attributed to the existence of
karma embodied with soul. The human soul is in a position to obtain
perfection and in that free and eternal state it is endowed with four
characteristics, viz., ananta-darsana, ananta-jnana, ananta-virya and
ananta-sukha, i.e. infinite perception or faith, infinite knowledge,
infinite power and infinite bliss.
Man is the master of his material nature
Even though man is not perfect, the third principle states that by his
spiritual efforts man can and must control his material nature. It is only
after the entire subjugation of matter that the soul attains perfection,
freedom and happiness. It is emphatically maintained that man will be able
to sail across the ocean of births and achieve perfection through the
control of senses and thought processes.
Man alone is responsible for his future
The last basic principle stresses that is only each individual that can
scientifically separate his own soul from the matter combined with it. The
separation cannot be effected by any other person. This means that man
himself, and he alone, is responsible for all that is good or bad in his
life. He cannot absolve himself from the responsibility of experiencing
the fruits of his actions.
It is pertinent to note that this principle distinguishes Jainism from
other religions, e.g., Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. According to
Jainism no God, nor his prophet or deputy or beloved can interfere with
the destiny of any being, with creation of the universe or with any
happening in the universe. Jainism also stresses that the universe goes on
of its own accord.
In view of this specific attitude towards God, Jainism is accused of being
atheistic. This accusation is based on the fact that Jainism does not
attribute the creation of universe to God. But at the same time it must be
realized that Jainism cannot be labeled as atheistic because of the basic
facts that Jainism firmly believes in Godhood, in an infinity of Gods, in
punya and papa, i.e., merit and demerit, and in various religious
practices, etc. Jainism believes that the emancipated soul is itself God.
It is thus clear that Jainism cannot, in general, be considered as an