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

ASHTAKARMA - Eight types of Karma


- By Manubhai Doshi

6)      Aayu or life span determining Karma

As the name suggests, this Karma determines the life span of any particular being. It is not normally possible for any being to live longer or shorter than the period fixed by this Karma. This is irrespective of divine, human, animal or infernal life. The re are however exceptional cases where persons endowed with special achievements can reduce the life span by bearing the destined consequences in a shorter period. This is known as Udirana.

7)      Naam or physique determining Karma

By the operation of this Karma it is decided what type of body, mind, intellect etc. a living being will have. What we call Gati or state is also decided by this Karma. Divine, human, animal or plant life and infernal life are the four states in which the worldly souls get born from time to time depending upon this Karma.

8)      Gotra or status determining Karma

A living being is born in a particular type of family by the operation of this Karma. One is born in a noble or high status or religiously oriented family by virtue of good Karmas. By indulging in evil Karmas, one has to be born in a low status or not rel igiously oriented family.

B: Sthiti or durations of bondage

Indulgence in defilements is one of the major factors that create bondage of Karma. Duration of a bondage depends upon the intensity of defilement at the time of incurring the bondage. Stronger and intense defilements create bondage of longer duration and weaker defilements result into bondage of short term duration. Thus Sthiti of any bondage is subjective and varies from bondage to bondage. The scriptures however do indicate the maximum and minimum duration of different types of bondage. The Maximum lim its for all types of Karmas are super-astronomical and are therefore expressed in Sagaropams which are almost immeasurable. The lowest of the maximum pertains to life span bondage which is of 23 Sagaropams. All other types of bondage run into trillions of Sagaropams. Minimum limits are laid down in terms of Samaya which is infinitesimal part of a second. The minimum durations of different types of bondage range from 9 such Samayas to 12 Muhurtas which amount to 9 hours and 36 minutes.

C: Anubhava or intensity of bondage

Anubhava relates to the strength of bondage and intensity with which its consequences have to be born when the Karma matures and becomes operative. That stage is known as Vipak and its intensity depends upon the degree of defilements that prevailed at the time of bondage. If the degree of defilement is high, the intensity of resulting bondage is more acute. In Jain terminology, this type of bondage, whether of wholesome or unwholesome Karmas, is known as Nikachit or indelible bondage. It does not recede w ithout extending consequences. Soul incurring that bondage cannot strip it off without bearing the consequences. If, however, the degree of defilements, prevailing at the time of bondage, is low; the resulting bondage is loose. The consequences of such b ondage at the time of Vipak are relatively light. This type of bondage can be erased by penance or by undertaking activity that tends to destroy such weak bondage. This has however to be done before the bondage gets operative.

D: Pradesh or areas subject to bondage

Pradesh is a very infinitesimal area that would be discussed in a later chapter. Soul comprises innumerable such Pradeshas. When a bondage is incurred, it does not necessarily enter all the Pradeshas of the soul. For instance, when a person gets headache, his other limbs do not experience the pain. On the basis of theory of Karma, this phenomenon can be explained by stating that he had indulged in some unwholesome activity that induced Karma particles to enter only those Pradeshas of soul that abide in th e forehead. It is not possible to state which particles of Karmas would be attracted to which parts of soul. They can be attracted to any parts of soul. No part is immune excepting some very subtle Pradeshas which are termed as Ruchak Pradesh.

Theory of Karma is acceptable to all the three Indian philosophies viz. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The above is a short description of Karma theory according to Jain philosophy. It would obviously raise some questions in the minds of readers. We shal l deal with them in a subsequent chapter. In the next chapter we shall deal with the cycle of rebirth which is another aspect of the theory of Karma.