Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

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




The activity of the fiery body is not specially counted, because the latter is always connected with the karman-body.


The activity is least in the lowest animated beings (the suksmani-godas); it augments with the always ascending organization.


The multiplicity of activity grows also with the class of beings: the developed suksma-nigoda has only audarika-kaya-yoga, whilst in the thinking being with 5 senses all 15 yogas can occur. In order to hinder the bandha of bad karman, the activity of the body, speech and thinking organ must be regulated. If through continual self-control (samyama) the state of holiness is finally reached and through extinction of the antaraya-karmans the absolute virya has been attained, then at first the grosser, and later on the finer activity of body, speech and manas is excluded. The holy man has then become an ayogi-kevalin, and possesses henceforth, into all eternity, the infinite virya, bound to no organ, completely withdrawn from the influence of matter.



Kg. I 92b, 95a, 101b et seq., 112b, 155b; Ps. 27; Lp. III. 284 et seq., XXXVI, 54 JS. II 196 et seq.


According to the moral value of their activity-and corresponding also to the kind of karman which they bind-the jivas can be divided into 6 categories. The first is characterized by the possession of the greatest sinfulness, whilst each following one improves, and the last is finally standing in the state of the highest attainable purity. The appertainment to one of these 6 classes shows itself in the soul externally: the soul which is free by nature from all distinctions perceptible by the senses, receives color, smell, taste and touch; in short, it becomes a defined type, which distinguishes it from other souls-although in a manner not recognizable by our senses. This type of soul is called lesya.


The different lesyas are distinguished according to the colors which they give to the souls, as follows:

1)   krsna black,

2)   nila dark,

3)   kapota gray,

4)   tejas fiery-red.

5)   padma lotus-pink.

6)   sukla white.


The nature of the lesyas is explained by two parables:

Six men see a Jambu-tree, full of ripe fruit. They want to eat the fruit but the climbing-up is perilous to life. They reflect therefore as to how they can obtain possession of the jambus. The first proposes to hew down the tree from the root. The 2nd advises merely to cut down the boughs, the 3rd recommends to cut off only the branches, the 4th to cut off only the bunches. The 5th wants only gather and eat the fruit fallen to the ground. Here the first has a black, the 2nd a dark, the 3rd a gray, the 4th a fiery, the 5th a lotus-pink, the 6th a white lesya.


The second parable tells of 6 robbers who want to surprise a village. The 1st robber wants to kill all beings, quadrupeds and bipeds ; the 2nd only human beings; the 3rd only men; the 4th only those armed; the 5th only those who fight. The 6th advises to take away only the treasures, but not to murder anybody. The explanation of this parable is similar to that of the last.


The possessors of the lesyas are described (Kg. I, 93) in the following manner:

The hostile, pitiless, cruel, barbarous, impious man, who has a bad tongue and who takes pleasure in torturing other beings, has a black lesya.


The fraudulent, corruptible, inconstant, hypocritical, voluptuous man has a dark lesya.


The thoughtless one, who in all his actions does not weigh the evil and the wrathful, has a gray one.


The prudent man who stops the influx of new karman, the liberal honorable one, who has a friendly mind towards religion, has a fiery lesya.


The compassionate, bountiful, steady, intelligent one has a lotus-pink lesya.


The pious man who performs good deeds, is passionless and impartial, has a white lesya.


The above-mentioned emotions are only the fundamental tendencies of the soul; in every lesya there are different degrees of intensity to be distinguished. We must therefore not be astonished, if we see later, that the worst lesyas are still occurring in very high states of psychical development, when partial or complete self-discipline have already been attained. The lesyas characterize only the general tendency of a soul, without the described passions necessarily being exhibited in such a pronounced manner.


Finally, it is still worth mentioning that a being at its birth has in the beginning the lesya which it possessed at its death in the preceding existence ("jallese marai tallese uvavajjai" Kg. I, 117b); later on, the lesya can change.


The holy men have no more yoga, and the Siddhas have no lesya.


BELIEF (darsana).

Kg. I, 112b et seq., P. 27; Lp. III, 596 et seq.; Tattv. I, 2 et seq.

True belief is the unshakable conviction of the absolute truth of the doctrines of the Jain religion. The samyag-darsana is an essential quality of the jiva. In consequence of the assimilation of mohaniya-karman, true belief has completely disappeared; if the karman is hindered in its efficiency in smaller or greater measure, true belief appears in a smaller or greater dimension; if the karman is completely annihilated, the absolute true belief manifests itself in its completeness.


From complete unbelief to complete true belief 6 kinds of belief are possible:

1)   mithyatva, the non-belief in the doctrine of Mahavira and the belief in false doctrines. There are 5 species of it (Kg. I, 149 a ; Gandhi 54):

I.   abhigrahika, produced by believing a certain false doctrine to be true.

II.  anabhigrahika, produced without acceptance of a certain false doctrine, by apathy and indifference.

III. abhinivesika produced by obstinate predilection for something which is estimated to be false.

IV.  samsayika produced by doubt.

V.   anabhoga "caused by deficient judgment", i.e. by the incapability of accepting the truth.


VI.  sasvadana-samyaktva "a taste of the true belief". This is a feeling of the true belief, lasting only for a few moments, which soon gives place to unbelief. The name is explained in the following manner:

2)   A man who does not know that he has eaten milk-rice tastes it distinctly in the moment he returns it by vomiting. Thus also a man whose confused mind is directed towards unbelief, feels a momentary taste of the true belief when he spits it out.


3)   samyagmithyatva "mixed belief" undifferentiated acceptance of true and false. This kind of belief is also called misra.


4)   ksayopasamika or vedaka samyaktva "lower right belief". This is produced by the poisonless mithyatva-pudgalas being left (nirvalita-madana-kodravarupam mithyatvam eva samyaktvam).


5)   aupasamika samyaktva, true belief produced by the suppression of the karman which caused disturbance of belief.


6)   ksayika samyaktva, true belief produced by absolute annihilation of the karman which causes disturbance of belief.


CONDUCT (caritra).

Kg. I, 107a et seq; Jacobi ad Tattv. IX 18; JS. II 157; W. Schubring ad Kalpasutra VI 14.


If the jiva is free the influence of the caritra-mohaniya-karmans, he possesses completely pure conduct. The anantanubandhin and apratyakhyanavarana-kasayas however, hinder it completely, and make every self-discipline (samyama or virati) altogether impossible; so long as they operate, the jiva is in the state of avirati. The deficient self-discipline refers to the objects of the 5 senses and of the manas and to the injuring of the 4 species of elementary beings, of plants and of beings with movable bodies, (and) is therefore 0f 12 species.


If the two worst kinds of passions are eliminated, the jiva possesses partial self-discipline (desavirati). This manifests itself chiefly in the evidence of killing movable beings. (See Gandhi p. 116).


If also the pratyakhyanavarana-kasayas have been made ineffective, complete self-discipline (sarva-virati), i.e. right conduct, is produced, 5 degrees of caritra are distinguished:

1)   samayika, the conduct in the primary stage of self-control.

2)   chedopasthapana, the conduct of the monk in the beginning of his spiritual career.

3)   pariharavisuddhi, the conduct produced by special austerities.

4)   suksmansamparaya, the conduct in which the passions are manifesting themselves at the utmost in a subtle form.

5)   yathakhyata, the absolutely perfect conduct which is produced when all passions have been made effective.