Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

The doubt regarding the existence of the soul

Dont Despair: Remember Soul
The Second Ganadhara
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  The Eleventh Ganadhara


Shri Amar Muni


Does the jiva take the same form in the next birth as it had in this birth? This was the doubt of the fifth Brahmin named Sudharma.

Bhagavan Mahavir Swami said to him "You learnt from the Vedic statement that 'puruso vai purusatva masasnute pasavah pasutvam,(indian writing gadapg 103) It means

"human beings take birth as human beings in their next life, and animals as animals". You also learnt from this Vedic statement, (indian writing pg103 angie). It means the one whose body is burnt along with excrement is born as a jackal. Thus we learn that human beings also can take birth as jackals. therefore, you have entertained this doubt.

The Arguments relating to a Similiar Dissimilar next Birth:

1) In supporting the view that the jiva takes birth in the next life in the same kind as it is in this life, it is argued "Wheat grows from wheat, maize from maize, mango from mango. Thus the effect is created in accordance with the cause". But this kind of belief is not logically sensible, because an arrow can be made out of a horn: and if it is sown after being smeared with particular oil, grass also grows therefrom. In the shastra called 'Yoni Praabhrit' it is said that from the combination of many diverse substances snakes lions, gold, pearls can be created. In practical life we find that scorpions take birth from scorpions, as well as from cowdung.

2) The theory is that the effect is created only in accordance with the seed. Now according to this principle also jiva can take a different kind of birth in the next life. It happens in this manner; In samsar, the seed of the next life is karma, and these karmas, are created in strange forms due to the strangeness of the causes such as Mithyatva (false faith) and 'avirati' (lack of refrainment) etc. Then the sprouts of next life that arise from these strange karmas also remain different in 'Gati' (human existence, beastly existence etc.,); Jati' (from 'one-sense' life to 'five- sense' life), strength, wealth, appearance etc., what wonder is there in this? By inference; the worldly births of the Jiva are varied in the form of inhabitants in hell, beasts, etc. Because this is the effect of strange karmas. The different effects of karmas is like the worldly differences that arise from agriculture or trade etc., as occupations. The implication is that in the world, the birth is not accidental; but is the fruit of previous karmas. The rule is therefore as is the karma; so is the kind of birth. Karmas of the similar kind produce the similar kind of birth; and dissimilar ones produce dissimilar kind of birth.

3) The ripening of karmas is strange because it is in the form of modification of pudgals i.e. (effect in the form of inanimate substances). For this, similar illustration is of the cloud etc., and opposite illustration is of the sky. For the creation of clouds strange causes happen hence there is strangeness in clouds. Whereas for the sky there are no strange causes, hence there is no strangeness in the sky. As regards karma special strangeness happens on account of many sorts of Avarans (veils). If the cause is strange, the effect must be strange. This is quite logical.

4) You say 'the next birth is created always of the same type as of the present; but this is not proper, because for the next birth, only this birth is not the seed, but the seed is, this birth with all its auspicious and inauspicious actions and activities. Man performs in this life strange activities and these are not futile. We must therefore, have to believe that a strange kind of birth appears, as their fruit.

5) Question: In actions relating to such things as cultivating fields etc. the fruit is visible and direct, but the actions like violence and knowledge ceremony are performed only according to one's choice and mental tastes and hence they are fruitless. It means that they do not attribute anything to the next life. How can there be a different kind of life in the next birth?

Answer: If action like violence and knowledge are fruitless: i) There is the difficulty of 'Kritanash' and 'Akrutagam' namely there is the danger of a noble action that has been done here going fruitless and the danger of good or bad fruits being obtained here even though one has not done anything good or bad in the previous life.

ii) Even the next birth will not be possible because in this world the cause of birth is karma, and you do not believe in karmas being produced from the activities of life, studying scriptures non-violence etc. Now when there is no next birth at all, where is the question of a rebirth of the same kind as of this life? Yet if there is the next birth, then it is 'Krit-Agam' namely the coming of the fruit of the previous actions done. In this manner birth from birth continues endlessly, the soul will never be emancipated from it, and moksa will never be attained, because according to your theory the previous birth only is the cause for the next birth.

In short, you do not attach any importance to the actions of present life as the other causes. You believe only in the previous birth as the cause, and that results in infinite births.

6) Question: From clay, its equivalent effect in the form of a pot appears in clay's own nature. In the same manner from this life by its own nature why cannot the same kind of life emerge in the next birth?

Answer: The pot over and above the nature of clay depends also upon the doer, implements etc. In the same manner here the next birth depends upon karmas. If the next birth appears by its own nature but not by karmas then the body of the next life would be of unfixed form like clouds. How could it be of particular form?

7) If you say "By its own nature the present life generates the similar next birth", then the question arises what do you mean by the 'own nature of the thing'?

(a) It is the thing itself;

(b)or causelessness or;

(c)the quality of the things.

1. If you mean by 'the thing itself the present birth, then that is destroyed even before the next birth. So how can it be a cause for the next life as its nature? If you deem this thing as the cause can it be a cause for itself?

2. If you 'by own nature of the thing' mean causelesness, then this difficulty arises. The next birth due to causelessness becomes of the same kind as this. Now if only causelessness is effective for creating the next birth, these questions arise:


Questions on causedness:

(a) Why is it that the next birth should be of the same kind? But not dissimilar?

(b)Why should not there be an end to the samsar i.e. the cycle of births and deaths!

(c) Why should there be a particular shape?

(d) And the birth should be always real or always unreal, but why real only for a particular time?

3. If you mean by `own nature of the thing' (vastu dharma') then this point comes up 'the present birth' by its Vastu dharma makes the next birth of the same kind'. If so the question is what dharma of this life becomes cause for the next life? Does this dharma possess a form or is it formless? You cannot say 'formless', because the effect of a formless thing cannot be form-possessing thing like body, sorrows, joys etc. If you mean by 'own nature of the thing', form- possessing substance, then how can this principle be made that 'it should create always similar dharma?' So we can say that this life gives rise to only a similar next birth.

4.The actual situation is this. The next birth is a modification of the soul. Such varied modifications happen not only in the case of soul, but in the three worlds, everything remains as it is with many modifications unchanged, and gets changed with many newly created modifications. These modifications being "inseparable" from the substance we can say a substance goes on being created in the form of successive modifications leaving previous modifications. Now the question arises where is the rule that those newly created modifications must be only similar and not dissimilar to the previous ones'? When there is no such rule, then why should you insist upon the same kind of next birth? Even in this life just as many similar modifications like existence, soulhood etc. remain as they are, in the same way many dissimilar modifications like childhood, youth etc., happen as different; there also, why do you not insist upon similar modifications namely those of the same kind?

Question: We speak of similarity only pertaining to manhood and animalhood etc.

Answer: You should bear in mind that the creation of modifications is dependent on the cause. Similar causes generate similar modifications, and dissimilar causes generate dissimilar modifications. In the running matter the causative karmas are strange also, therefore the modifications like the next life etc., created by these strange karmas will be dissimilar also. Otherwise why only for manhood? One who is poor here (in this life) will be poor in the next life, a rich man will be rich, a sick man will be sick, and one of low birth will be one of low birth only. But you cannot say "Oh it is definitely so" because in such happenings the austerities like tapasya, penance, charity and meditation etc., would be fruitless. Even in the present life a sick man can become healthy; a poor man can become a rich man. If dissimilar can happen in this birth, why should not be the next birth dissimilar also?

5. If the next birth is of the same kind, the Vedic statement like (indian writing pg107 angie) ""Shrigalo Vai Esh.. " "Agnihotram Swarge-Kamah" etc. will be proved meaningless! So (indian writing pg 107 angie)... its meaning is this: one who is by nature good, polite, kind can again take similar birth as a man by earning here again, the karma of the life-span of manhood for the next life, through these qualities.

Sudharma also became fully free from his doubts by this explanation of Bhagavan Mahavir paramatma and became a disciple of the Bhagavan with his 500 pupils.