Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Essence of Jainism

Search for Happiness
Know Thyself
SAMYAKTVA, the basis of Jainism
ASHTAKARMA - Eight types of Karma
  Theory of Karma and Cycle of Rebirth
  Questions and Answers about the Theory of Karma
  Shaddravya, The Six Substances
  NAV TATTVA : Punya and Paap
  NAV TATTVA : Asrava and Bandha
  Samvar and Nirjara
  Other factors conducive to Nirjara
  The Liberation
  Ladder of Elevation
  History of Jain Sects and Scriptures

Other factors conducive to Nirjara


- By Manubhai Doshi

It could have been seen from our discussion so far that termination of any Karma is Nirjara. We have mentioned two types of Nirjara, viz. Akaam Nirjara and Sakaam Nirjara. Operative Karmas fall off or terminate after extending appropriate consequences to the soul. This type of termination is automatic. Soul has not to make any effort for such termination. That is called Akaam Nirjara which means getting to the end of some Karma without any deliberate effort or intention of terminating it. All the worldly souls have been undergoing this type of Nirjara since time without beginning. While bearing the consequences of the operative Karma, soul however, generally indulges in sense of craving or aversion for the given situation. As such, it acquires new Karmas while achieving Nirjara of the operative Karmas. Akaam Nirjara therefore does not help soul in getting rid of the bondage of Karmas. In case of Sakaam Nirjara, soul is desirous of getting freed of Karmas. It therefore stays equanimous and does not indulge in craving or aversion while bearing the consequences of operative Karmas. As such it does not acquire new Karmas while undergoing Sakaam Nirjara. The bondage of Karma is thus getting reduced by that type of Nirjara. Our present discussion is therefore c oncerned with Sakaam Nirjara only.

We have seen in the last chapter that different types of Tapa, if properly performed, can serve as excellent means for achieving Nirjara. In this chapter, we want to discuss other aspects for achieving it. Aside from bondage arising from soul�s embodiment , principal factors responsible for causing bondage of Karma, are wrong perception, lust of sensuous pleasures, defilements and indolence. On the other hand, right perception, restraint, detachment and diligence are the factors that counter those causes a nd are therefore means for achieving Nirjara. Wrong perception arises on account of ignorance of soul about itself. Consciousness, that manifests itself in the form of capability of knowing, is the essential attribute of soul. That attribute does not belo ng to lifeless objects. Our body by itself is lifeless. Its peculiar mechanism is however helpful to the intangible soul for manifesting itself. Soul thus abides in a body that is destined for it by its operative Karmas and that body thereby displays the quality of consciousness as long as soul so abides. We therefore treat that body as alive. As soon as soul departs from it, the body loses the consciousness and is treated as dead. It is then destined to disintegrate and we cremate the body for its quicke r disintegration. Bodies of our most beloved ones are not exception to this.

All of us have witnessed this difference between life and death and know for sure that connection of body with soul does not last for ever. We are however prone to vaguely imagine that death would somehow not overtake us and lead the life as if we are not going to die. There is an interesting anecdote in this connection in Mahabharat. During the period Pandavas were in exile, once Udhishthira got thirsty and asked Nakul to look for water. Nakul spotted a lake a little away. As he approached the water, he heard a voice warning him not to take water before answering some questions. Ignoring the warning, Nakul tried to get water and was instantaneously dead. As he did not return, Udhishthira sent Sahdev after him. He came to the same place. He too tried to g et water ignoring the voice and was dead. Thereafter Arjun and Bhima followed them in succession and met the same fate. Then Udhishthira went there. He was wise enough not to ignore the voice. He therefore expressed his willingness to answer the questions . One important question was �What is the biggest amazement of the world�. Udhishthira replied that death is a certainty for every being. People however behave as if they are not going to die and that type of behavior is the most amazing aspect of the wor ldly life. The invisible deity was pleased with his replies and restored all his brothers to life.

Many of us might have heard or read this story or something similar to that. Hardly any one however cares for this aspect in daily life. There is no intention here to deny association of soul with body as long as one is alive. Soul being an intangible ob ject has to manifest itself through some body. As such it experiences the feeling of happiness and/or unhappiness depending upon the conditioning of that body. No situation however continues for ever. The feelings of happiness or unhappiness are thus ephe meral and therefore unreal. One should stay aware of this ephemeral nature of every situation and of all the connections inclusive of the connection of soul with body. That awareness can help us in performing our duties in this life properly and adequatel y without developing undue attachment for any situation. However our identification with the body and everything else, that we think as belonging to us, happens to be so complete that we can hardly remember that all these connections are ephemeral and we have to leave them one day.

The religious books compare this connection of soul with body to that of milk with water. These are two separate, distinct ingredients having different properties. When mixed together, they look as one single substance and cannot be easily separated. Simi larly soul happens to identify itself with the body through which it manifests and stays oblivious of its own real nature. Soul is conscious, formless, everlasting and blissful; the body by itself is lifeless, concrete, ephemeral and devoid of feelings. T hese two cannot stay connected for ever and can never be totally identified. Any feeling of such identification is therefore false.