Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions
  THE NATURE OF KARMA (Karma ka swroop)
  Vairagya Bhavana




Ease of posture (asanas) is also necessary for steadiness of Dhyana, since no one can remain in an uncomfortable position for a long time. The general rule with regard to posture is that one should stand or sit in such a way as to produce the smallest amount of tension in his system, taking care at the same time not to sacrifice the spirit of austerity for the love of bodily ease.


     The following forms of asanas have been especially recommended in the Scripture for the people of this age whose nerves and bones are of an inferior type, as compared with those of the ancients:

(1) Paryanka or padma, the sitting posture-- holding the head, the chest and the neck in a line, with legs crossed, and the gaze steadily fixed on the tip of the nose; and


(2) Kharga, the standing posture with arms held naturally by the sides, but not touching with the body, the feet placed at a distance of about two inches from each other and the mind fixed on the point of the nose. If the rules of proper conduct have been regularly observed, the Muni will acquire the ease of posture with a little practice, and will be able to retain his seat as long as he pleases, without being disturbed, otherwise he will have to undergo the preparatory course before he can hope to subjugate his body sufficiently to have an easy posture.


     The selection of a suitable place for spiritual concentration is also essential for practicing Dhyana, since external disturbance is a source of distraction. The yogi should avoid those places , which are inhabited by cruel heartless, selfish, irreligious or quarrelsome men, also those dedicated to false gods and goddesses, and resort to those associated with the names of holy Tirthankaras and saints. The abode of wild beasts, venomous reptiles, and the like must also be avoided as far as possible, for similar reasons.


     The next thing to be known is Pranayam, which means the controlling of breath, and, through it, of the vital force. Pranayam is very useful for bringing the senses and mind speedily under control, and consists in three steps, Puraka (inhalation), kumbhaka (retention) and rechaka (exhalation). Puraka signifies taking a full breath, kumbhaka holding it in the region of the navel, and rechaka exhaling it slowly and evenly. Straining of every kind to be avoided in practicing ascetic tapas (austerities), and this is so especially with regard to Pranayam which might cause any amount of injury to the system if practiced rashly or without due care and caution.


     It might be pointed out here that the practicing of Pranayam is enjoyed only in the initial stages of asceticism, when it serves as a useful ally for subduing the senses and mind; it is actually forbidden in the advanced stages of mediation on the ground that it then interferes with the fixing of mind on the object of contemplation.


     When sufficient proficiency is acquired in the practicing of Pranayam, the next thing to do is to hold the inhaled breath and the mind in the region of the lotus of the heart (the cardiac plexus). The holding of the mind on a point, called pratyahara, becomes easy with this practice. There are ten places in the body for mental concentration, viz.,

(i) The two eyes,

(ii) The two ears,

(iii) The foremost point of the nose,

(iv) Forehead,

(v) Mouth,

(vi) Naval,

(vii) The upper part of the forehead,

(viii) Heart,

(ix) Palate, and

(x) The place between the two eye- brows.


     Pratyahara accompanied by meditation is called dharna, which really means the establishing of the object of meditation in the mind. This being accomplished, Dhyana becomes steady and may be kept up for any length of time undisturbed. Some kind of meditation, no doubt, is implied in every form of thinking, but the difference between the perfect Dhyana of the Muni and the thought-master of his senses, body and mind, and may remain absorbed in meditation for as long as a time as he pleases, the latter has never anything more than an unsteady, wavering and feeble current of thought at his command. The result is that while the yogi solves the riddle of the universe and ultimately also establishes his soul in its natural, effulgent purity, the layman remains entangled in the meshes of his karmas, however much he might boast of taking a hand in the management of the world.


     The instrument which enables the yogi to remove the Jnana-- and darsana obstructing impurities of matter from his system is the point of his highly concentrated Manas (attention or mind), which derives its energy from an indomitable iron will bent upon the conquest of karmas. The sharp point of this powerful instrument, when applied to the centers of concentration already referred to, begins to pierce the layers of matter which compose the obstructing veil, and in due course of time, the duration of which varies with the energies of will in each individual case, cuts asunder the last knot of karma, flooding the individual consciousness with the divine effulgence of omniscience and raising the conquering Jiva to the supreme and worshipful status of Godhood.


     Such is the physical process of emancipation, which is purely scientific in its nature. As regards the length of time necessary for the realization of the Ideal, that really depends on the intensity of Dhyana, or concentration of mind, so that where the will has acquired the mastery of mind in the fullest possible degree, an antaramahurata (a period of less than 48 minutes) is quite sufficient to destroy the karmic bonds, while in other cases it may take millions and millions of years.


Dhyana, it should be stated, is of four kinds:


     (1) Arta Dhyana which is the cause of pain and arises from dwelling on the loss of an object of desire, the association with an undesirable person or thing, bodily suffering, and envy;

     (2) Raudra Dhyana which implies the absorption of mind in Hinsa and other forms of sin;

     (3) Dharma Dhyana, that is meditation on the teaching of religion; and,

     (4) Sukla Dhyana or the pure contemplation of one's own Atma.


     Of these, the first two forms are obviously evil, but the third leads to great felicity in the future re-birth of the soul (if any), and the last is the direct cause of Moksha, that is freedom from the bondage of karmas and the turmoil's of samsara.


     Dharma Dhyana consists in thinking on the nature, condition and future prospects and possibilities of the soul, the method of Self-realization, the form of final release, the attributes of a Siddha Atma, and the like. The recitation and reading of the holy scripture and Sastras, as well as of the biographies of saints and virtuous laymen, meditation on the different Bhavanas (reflections) and nature of Tattvas-- Jiva, Ajiva and the like-- the worshipping of defied Souls and the reverence of those who have given up the world to lead the life of true asceticism are also forms of the Dharma Dhyana.


     There are the following types of religious meditation (Dharma Dhyana):

     (i) Anga- vichaya, or meditation with the aid of Scripture,

     (ii) Apaya- vichaya, that is dwelling on the means for the destruction of karmas,

     (iii) Vipaka-vichaya which means reflecting on the effect of karmas, and

     (iv) Samsthana-vichaya, or reflection on the nature of the universe and the conditions of life prevailing therein.


     Both the layman and the ascetic derive material aid from religious meditation (Dharma Dhyana), which when intelligently practiced never fails to engender the spirit of true Vairagya (renunciation) of the soul, and prepares in for the practicing of the Sukla, i.e., the highest form of Dhyana.