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




It must be obvious to all thinking minds that every slight contact of matter with spirit does not necessarily imply their fusion, so that all the particles of matter which come in contact with the soul do not necessarily combine with it to cause its bondage. Hence, the Jaina Siddhanta divides bondage into two classes, samprayika and iryapatha. Of these, the former signifies the fusion of spirit and matter, and the latter only a momentary contact between them.


The absorption of matter by the soul result in the formation of a compound- personality in which the natural attributes of spirit become suppressed to a greater or less extent, according to the nature and quantity of the particles absorbed. Just as hydrogen and oxygen are deprived of their natural freedom during the period of their fusion in the form of water, so is a soul debarred from the full exercise of its natural attributes while in union with matter; and just as the separation of hydrogen and oxygen from one another results in restoring to them their natural properties in the fullest degree of manifestation, so does the removal of matter from the constitution of the soul establish it in its natural perfection as a pure spirit. It follows from this that the union of spirit and matter does not imply a complete annihilation of their natural properties in the fullest degree of manifestation, so does the removal of matter from the constitution of the soul establish it in its natural perfection as a pure spirit. It follows from this that the union of spirit and matter does not imply a complete annihilation of their natural properties, but only a suspension of their functions, in varying degree, according to the quality and quantity of the material absorbed. Thus, the effect of the fusion of spirit and matter is manifested in the form of a compound- personality which partakes of the nature of both, without actually destroying either. Hence, the Jiva involved in the cycle of births and deaths manifests something of the nature of both, pure spirit and matter, the quality of omniscience appearing in the form of knowledge dependent on the activity of senses and mind, that of right belief in the form of wrong and absurd notions, of infinite power in the guise of bodily prowess, and of infinite happiness, as sensations of pleasure and pain through the senses. On the other hand, attraction and repulsion, which are the properties of matter, assume the form of attachment and hatred, giving rise to al kinds of emotions and passions, greed, anger and the like. Another effect of the unhappy union between spirit and matter is the liability to death from which pure spirit is perfectly immune, but which, together with its companion, birth, is a constant source of dread to an un-evolved, that is to say, an un- emancipated soul. The fusion of spirit and matter also exposes the soul to danger from another quarter from which it enjoys complete immunity as pure spirit. This additional source of trouble consists in the inflow of fresh matter in consequence of the operation of the forces of magnetism, chemical affinity and the like, residing in the material already in union with the soul. As gaseous matter is not liable to combine with the element of earth in its natural purity, but becomes defiled by it when existing in the condition of water, so, owing to the influence of the material already in combination with it, does the soul become liable to be forced into union with certain types of matter which cannot assail it directly.


     We thus observe that the union of soul and matter is simply fraught with evil for the Jiva, whose condition scarcely differs from that of a man thrown into prison and thereby deprived of his freedom of action. The Karma Shareer is a sort of self-adjusting prison for the soul and constantly accompanies it through all its incarnations, or births. Subject to modification at the end of each form of life, it is again and again attracted into a new womb, organizing, mechanically, the outer encasement of gross matter by the energies inherent within its own form.


Thus the conditioning of the physical body, and of the circumstances depending on that body- descent, family, status, wealth and the like- is the result of the mechanical operation of the force of karma stored up in the Karma Shareer.

     This karmic force is dealt with by the Jaina Siddhanta under the following eight heads:


     (1) Jnana varaniya, or the knowledge -obstructing group;

     (2) Darsana varaniya, or the class of forces which interfere with perception;

     (3) Vedaniya, i.e., the class of prakriti (energies) which determine and regulate the
          experiencing of pleasure and pain;

     (4) Mohaniya, that is to say, the forces which produce delusion;

     (5) Ayu, or the prakriti which determine the duration of the association of the soul with
          the body of gross matter;

     (6) Nama, or the forces which organize the body and its limbs;

     (7) Gotra, or the energies which determine the family, surroundings, position and the
           like, of individuals; and

     (8) Antaraya, or the group of forces which interfere with our doing what we should like to


     As flesh, blood, muscles, bones, marrow and the like are formed from the same food, so are the different kinds of karmic energies engendered from the particles of matter absorbed by the soul through Asrava.


     Of these eight kinds of karmas, the first, second, fourth and eight are called Ghatia (lit. that which destroys), because they obstruct the natural qualities of spirit, and the remaining four Aghatia (a = not + Ghatia) because of their not interfering with those attributes. The formers are, moreover, regarded as inimical to the Jiva, because they are the most difficult to be destroyed, while the latter can be burnt up speedily.


     We now proceed to describe the number and nature of energies comprised in each of these eight groups of Karmas.


I. The Jnana varaniya class comprises five energies, namely;


(i) That which obscures knowledge derived through the senses (Mati Jnana); (1)


(ii) That which interferes with knowledge based on the interpretation of signs

     (Sruta Jnana); (2)


(iii) That which obstructs clairvoyance (Avadhi Jnana); (3)


(iv) That which debars one from telepathic knowledge (mana Paryaya Jnana); (4) and


(v) That which prevents omniscience (Kevala Jnana) from manifesting itself. (5)