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Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy

PREFACE TO THE GERMAN EDITION by Dr. Helmuth von Glasenapp
The contents of first volume of the Karmagranthas.
PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION by Dr. Helmuth von Glasenapp
TRANSLATOR'S NOTE
  INTRODUCTION
  THE KARMAN IN ITSELF
  THE KARMAN IN THEIR RELATION TO THE SOUL AND TO ONE ANOTHER
  THE QUALITIES OF THE SOUL
  STATES OF EXISTENCE AND CLASSES OF BEINGS
  THE CAUSES OF THE KARMAN AND THE MEANS FOR ITS ANNIHILATION
  THE WAY OF SALVATION
  THE 14 GUNASTHANAKAS
  THE STATE OF THE RELEASED

THE WAY OF SALVATION


 

 

The Capability of Salvation

Preliminary Survey of the gunasthanas

The Attainment of samyaktva

The upasama-sreni

The ksapaka-sreni

 

THE CAPABILITY OF SALVATION

Gandhi 76 et seq., Warren 45.

 

The souls, the number of which is infinite, are of a two-fold kind: 1. worldly souls (samsarin) provided with karman-matter, and 2. released souls (mukta, siddha) free from karman. The former are again separated into 2 groups: 1. into souls, in which a spiritual development has not yet begun, and 2. into such, in which it has begun. Each of these 2 latter species comprises two classes of jivas, namely, 1. such as can attain salvation (bhavya) and 2. such as cannot (abhavya).

 

The entire universe is filled with very minute, fine living beings (nigoda), imperceptible to our senses, which pervade everything and which nothing can destroy. The jivas have undifferentiated unbelief (avyaktva mithyatva), they have no tendency either for good or evil; a spiritual development has not yet begun in them. Special circumstances are rousing the nigoda out of its apathy; its unbelief differentiates itself, assumes a certain form (vyakta mithyatva); through it the nigoda awakes from indifference and starts a spiritual development, which, under favorable circumstances, leads finally to salvation.

 

The beginning of development as well as the capability of salvation are solely dependent upon accidental circumstances: "In a whirlpool some bit of stick or paper or other matter may in the surging of the water get to one side and become separated from the rest, be caught by the wind, and dried by the sun; and so some such thing may happen to a nigoda which would awaken just a spark of the latent potential power of development" (Gandhi 77). The same parable is used in order to show that also the bhavyatva is dependent upon chance.

 

The number of abhavyas is small in comparison to that of the bhavyas. Jivas incapable of being released, are existing in all classes of beings; they never reach beyond the mithyatva (and thereby not beyond the 1st gunasthana) and feel themselves quite well in the embodied state, because they do not know anything better. The bhavyas, on the contrary, finally become tired of the wandering in ever new forms of existence, they recognize the truth of the religion of the Jina, practice self-control and asceticism, and in the end, after the lapse of longer or shorter periods of time, attain salvation.

 

PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE GUNASTHANAS.

From the state of complete dependency upon the karman to the state of complete detachment from it, 14 stages, the so-called gunasthanas (states of virtue) can be distinguished. There are stages of development in which the soul gradually delivers itself, firstly from the worst, then from the less bad, and finally, from all kinds of karman, and manifests the innate faculties of knowledge, belief, and conduct in a more and more perfect form. They are named according to their owners, the characteristics of these always being associated with the word "gunasthana". The owners of the different stages are the following:
 

1.   mithyadrsti, the unbeliever.

2.   sasvadana-samyagdrsti, the one who has only a taste of the true belief.

3.   samyag-mithya-drsti (or misra), the one who has a mixed belief.

4.   avirata-samyagdrsti, the one who has true belief but has not yet self-control.

5.   desavirata, the one who has partial self-control.

6.   pramatta-samyata, the one who has complete self-control, sometimes, however brought into wavering through negligence.

7.   apramatta-samyata, the one who has self-control without negligence.

8.   apurva-karana (or nivrti-badara-samparaya), the one who practices the process called apurva-karana, in whom, however, the passions are still occurring in a gross form.

9.   anivrtti-badara-samparaya, the one who practices the process called anivrtti-karana, in whom, however, the passions are still occurring in a gross form.

10.  suksma-samparaya, the one in whom the passions still only occur in a more subtle form.

11.  upasanta-kasaya-vitaraga-chadmastha (or shortly upasantamoha) the one who has suppressed every passions, but who does not yet possess omniscience.

12.  ksina-kasaya-vitaraga-chadmastha (or ksina-moha), the one who has annihilated every passion, but does not yet possess omniscience.

13.  sayogi-kevalin, the omniscient one who still practices an activity (yoga).

14.  ayogi-kevalin, the omniscient without yoga.

 

The gunasthanas are arranged in a logical order, according to the principle of the decreasing sinfulness and the increasing purity. In the 1st gunasthana all 4 causes of bandha are operating: unbelief, lack of self-control, passion and activity; in the 2-5th, only 3: i.e., unbelief is absent; in 6-10th only passion and activity exercise their influence; in the 11-13th only activity. In the last gunasthana a bondage of karman no longer takes place. With the single causes of bondage, the bandha of the karman-species conditional upon them disappear. Likewise also, with every step the number of the karmans which have udaya and satta, decrease. Further details on this subject will be given later.

 

The order of the gunasthanas is logical and not chronological. The succession in which they are to pass is different with each individual, because relapses can throw the jivas down from the arduously attained height and can, wholly or partially annul the development hitherto achieved. This becomes still more comprehensible, if we call to mind the fact, that the remaining on one stage may only last a few minutes, so that in the morning one can be on a high level, sink down from it an noon, and climb up to it again in the evening. But even if we put aside the possibility of a relapse, it is impossible to pass through all 14 gunasthanas successively, because a direct transition from the 1st into the 2nd stage is out of question (Kg. II, 19b) and the 11th stage cannot be passed before the 12th to 14th. The different possibilities of the succession of the gunasthanas are conditional upon the process which lead to the attainment of samyaktva and upon the two ways, by which a methodical reduction of karman can be brought about. Before we turn therefore to a detailed analysis of the gunasthanas, a description of the events in the attainment of the true belief and in the suppression or annihilation of the disturbances of the true belief, is necessary. The samyaktva-labha and the two srenis belong to the most difficult points in Jain metaphysics; all sources at my disposal treat psychic events always in the same dry, stereotyped way, without giving any clues which could facilitate our understanding or still less the feeling of the spiritual conditions which underlie them, As hitherto I have not succeeded in learning anything essential from the texts or from modern Jains which would contribute to the solution of these difficult problems of "occult Jainism"--as Mr. J.H. Jaini, the President of the All-India Jain-Association mentioned them to me--I restrict myself here to a short reproduction of that which the Kgs. offer and leave it to further research to explore these psychological labyrinths.