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





We may now proceed to consider the nature of the causes of the seventh group of karmas, namely, gotra, which determines the circumstances of life. Obviously the status of the soul, whether high or low, depends on the status of the family in which it takes its birth; and the birth in a particular family is the consequence of its being drawn to a particular 'womb'-- the word is here used in its widest sense including the upapada,* (*Upapada is the method of birth of Devas and residents of hells, who are born without conception and attain to adolescence at once.) the Garbha,+ (+Garbha means conception in consequence of sexual congress.) and the sammurachhana* (*Sammurachhana is the form of birth in which the soul directly attracts particles of matter to itself to organize its body. It is found in those low forms of life in the animal and vegetable kingdoms which are not born after the manner of Garbha.) forms-- by the mechanical action of its inherent force, the result of its own actions in a past life.


     The type of action which lead to a low status include pride of birth, lineage, descent, beauty, or leaning, the insulting of others for their low birth, and the like, also want of respect for the Deva (holy Tirthankara), Guru (spiritual teacher) and Sastras (Scripture), and delighting in proclaiming the low status and circumstances of another. The opposite kinds of actions, such as self-abnegation, humility, worship of the true Deva, Guru and Sastras lead to birth in a high family and happy, prosperous surroundings.


     We now come to the eight and the last group of karmas, the Antaraya. Its causes may be briefly said to consist in those actions of the soul which tend to interfere with the full development of the functions and faculties, as well as with the freedom of action of another. The following are fairly typical of this kind of actions: preventing another from making a gift, robbing others of their success in their enterprise, spoiling and marring the enjoyment of another, or depriving him of the opportunity for the full development of his natural powers and functions. The marrying of little children or of young girls to aged men, the misappropriation of charity-funds, neglecting to educate one's children, preventing ones servants and dependents from following the path of true Dharma, and many other similar acts of omission and commission are also causes which engender the Antaraya karma. Virya or the fifth kind of Antaraya is also caused by foods, which augment laziness and foster lethargy of mind, or body, both.


     The above is a fairly complete list of the specific causes of the different kinds of karmas, and although it is possible to carry on the process of analysis still further in the domain of causality, it will serve no useful purpose to analyze these causes still further. It may, however, be pointed out here, that many of the actions described as the causes of the different kinds of karmas might, at first sight, appear to have little or no casual connection with the energies they are described as engendering, but a careful study of the motives from which they proceed and of the accompanying attitude, or condition, of the soul would at once reveal them to be true to their description. For instance, the reader may well ask what is the casual connection between the act of marrying one's children at an early age and the resultant energy of the Antaraya karma, but if he would take into consideration the state of the mind of the parent who acts in this manner, he would soon discover that the latter has no idea of the evil consequences, which result from the uniting of little ones in the bonds of matrimony, and is purely guided by what he considers to be conducive to his own pleasure, Thoughtlessness and selfishness, thus, are the causes which lie at the back of this evil practice, and these, undoubtedly, are the signs of soul's negativity, the chief cause of all kinds of weakness.


Besides this the form of pleasure which one can possibly derive from marrying one's child at an early age, being purely of a sensual type, and consisting, as it does, in the giving of feasts, the performance of notch and the like, clearly points to the fact that the mind is completely taken up with the gratification of senses.


     We thus have soul's negativity coupled with the desire for sense-gratification; and these combined lead to an influx of material particles which easily find a lodgment in, and tend to clog up, certain parts of the Karma sarira upon which depend the organizing and functioning of all bodily organs. Now, since the idea and actual sight of little children playing the role of married people is pregnant with the suggestion of the abeyance of sexual function, the inflow of matter takes place in and clogs the very centers which are concerned in the formation, development and proper functioning of the generative organs. The result is that the Antaraya karma of the third and fourth kinds is generated at once, the consequences of which shall have to be borne by the soul in its present or future life or lives.


     This one illustration practically disposes of all other karma engendering actions whose casual connection with the specific energies they give birth to may seem to be too far- fetched or remote. It should also be distinctly understood that habits play no unimportant part in the operation of the force of karma, since an action repeated a number of times has a tendency to become automatic.


Thus, the operation of the law of karma is governed by the two following rules, namely, (i) every action affects that part of the Karma sarira which corresponds to the physical organ concerned, or involved, in its performance, or in the mental suggestion relating to its performance, and (ii) every repetition leans towards the automatism of habit.


     So far as the first of these two rules is concerned, it is not difficult to perceive that the influx of matter should affect the Karma sarira in a part corresponding to the physical organ involved in the doing of any particular act, because it is the organ principally concerned in the deed, and, deed, and, therefore, the only natural seat of influx.


     As regards the second rule, also, it is clear that habit implies an unconscious intensification of the impulse to act, and means neither more nor less than the tightening of bonds, though in the case of virtuous deeds every repetition has the effect of making the bondage more and more pleasant.


     Those who do not control their passions and evil actions, thus, run the risk of becoming perfect slaves to their sway, and may have to experience consequences which they little dream of in this life.