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




The form of divinity is not that of a dancer nor, of a climber of trees the true Godhood is the perfection of the noblest attributes of the soul the peace, tranquillity, renunciation, self-control, equanimity and the like, and must be contemplated as such. The Parma Atma has nothing to conceal, nor to be ashamed of; He wears neither clothes nor ornaments, nor does He embellish His 'person' otherwise. Shant (full of peace), serene and self-centered, He sits, unmoving and unmoved in the contemplation of his own effulgent glory, indifferent to the praises of the Bhavya and the abuses of the Abhavya. Such is the true object of contemplation which is to be found only in the consecrated pratibimbas (images) of the holy Tirthankaras in a Jaina Temple.


It may also be pointed out here that those who try to attain the purity of Dhyana by dispensing with concentration on the form of the Tirthankara are not likely to achieve any happy results. They are like those who try to reach the top of the ladder without the help of its rungs. It is true that constant meditation on the qualities of the Parma Atma, accompanied with the belief that the same qualities inhere in every Jiva, goes a long way towards making one self- conscious, but it is no less true that the full acceptance of the impress of the form of Parma Atma by the soul-substance, which is necessary to prevent its fickleness and unsteadiness, cannot be secured till the yogi knows what that impress is like and the method of transferring it from his mind to the 'liquid' essence of his soul. The knowledge of the form of the Parma Atma being, th8us, a pre-requisite of Moksha, true Bhakti can not be said to begin unless the mind of the devotee is first filled with the divine image. There can be no such thing as falling in love with a being or thing whose very form one has no idea of.


     In this connection we may also explain the significance of the word nirakara when used in reference to Parma Atma. Obviously everything that exists must have some kind of form, so that the word nirakara, if taken in its literal sense, i.e., as devoid of form (nir = without, and akara = form), cannot possible apply to any existent thing. It is however, applicable to soul or spirit, firstly, because it has no visible form which, may be perceived with the eye, and, secondly because the Jiva involved in the cycle of births and deaths has no permanent form of his own. The Parma Atma, however, differs from the ordinary not emancipated Jiva in so far as the destruction of all kinds of karmas places Him for ever beyond the cycle of re-births fixing His form also, incidentally, once for all and for ever in the manner described in the tenth chapter of The Key of Knowledge. This form is the noblest form of all, being that of perfect MANHOOD, and the stature of the soul-substance, which on the attainment of complete liberation is freed from the liability to expansion and contraction in the manner of an involved Jiva, is slightly less than that of the body from which nirvana is attained. Those who might find it difficult to reconcile this view of the Jaina Siddhanta with the prevailing notions of the Hindus and others who maintain that nirvana signifies an absorption into the deity-- the merging of the drop in the sea-- would find it easier to understand the nature of the form of the Siddha Atma in Moksha if they would only take the trouble to analyze the idea underlying the notion of absorption. It is no use trying to smother the voice of intellect when it proclaims that two or more existing realities, or individuals, can never be pressed into one; and neither reason nor analogy can ever be found to support the thesis of the absolute merger in respect of simple, indivisible entities. The very illustration of the disappearance of the drop in the sea is a sufficient refutation of all such notions; for the sea is an unit only in so far as the word is concerned, not in any other respect, so that the 'individuality' of the drops constituting its volume is neither destroyed nor impaired in the least in the process of their supposed merger. It is, no doubt, impossible for us to pick out any particular drop were invested with the functions of understanding and speech it would undoubtedly respond to a call from a friend on the shore.


     The true idea underlying the analogy, then, is only that of a collection of 'drops' enjoying a common status, which is fully in agreement with the Jaina view, according to which the Siddha Atma in Nirvana enjoy the status of Godhood but retain their individualities separate and distinct from others. Thus, the status is one though there is no limit to the number of individuals acquiring or attaining to it.


     We gain nothing by denying the fact that we must have a clear conception of a thing before we can ever hope to acquire it; and the necessity of being scrupulously precise is even greater in the spiritual realm where the soul's aim and ambition are centered round in ideal which it wishes to realize in its own self. It follows from this that the fullest information rather than a negative description --neti, neti, (not this, not this) -- concerning the great ideal of perfection and joy must be insisted upon, at the very outset, by an earnest seeker after Moksha. Existence, it will be noticed, is not the attribute of anything in nature which is not possessed of a single positive content of knowledge, so that where every conceivable attribute is negatived there remains nothing but non-existence to stare the philosopher in the face. If those who insist upon defining an existing being or thing in this negative manner would only analyze the nature of speech, they would not fail to perceive that the converse of rational beings consists in the expression of ideas clearly conceived by the mind, and that it is impossible to have an idea of a thing which is absolutely devoid of all elements of affirmation and certainty. Hence, it is very clear that those who describe the Godhead in terms of negation have really no idea of the supreme status, which the soul is to attain on obtaining Nirvana.


     The idea of Moksha cannot also be clear to the minds of those who look upon the world as an illusion with a solitary soul as the only reality and the true substratum of life in all forms. For either this all- pervading soul does not stand in need of Moksha or it is to attain it at some future moment of time; but in the former case it is impossible to explain the longing of living beings for a taste of true happiness and in the latter the very possibility of the attainment of perfection and bliss by different individuals is excluded by the hypothesis itself, because where the substratum of individual life is a solitary soul there can be no release except for all living beings at one and the same time. Furthermore, the idea of Moksha for the individuals, cannot, on such a supposition possible mean anything more or less than utter, absolute annihilation of individuality, since the emancipation of the only true soul must be a signal for the exeunt of all others.


     It is thus evident that no true concept of Moksha is possible on such a hypothesis, and since the realization of the great ideal of the soul is not compatible with a vague or inconsistent conception thereof in the mind of the aspiring Jiva, no one who pins his faith on such a doctrine is likely to reach 'the other shore'. And, so far as practicability, the only true test of utility, is concerned, it is evident that no one can be said to have been benefited by the doctrine hitherto, for the one soul is still subject to illusions and there has never been another to be redeemed.