Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods

THE PATHWAY TO PERFECTION

 

 

The ontological status of the individual soul in the moksa is different in the two religions. The Virasaiva aims at union with the Absolute (aikya), while for the Jaina each soul retains its individuality in the highest stage. This has perhaps given the Jainas the need to emphasize the methods of the astangayoga as a discipline and a method.

 

We can say that the end of human life, according to Indian philosophers, except perhaps the Carvakas, is liberation from the bonds of empirical existence. Moksa, as the ideal, is difficult to attain. Few have attained it; and the attainment of such a trans empirical end had to be adjusted according to the needs of individuals in the light of the prevailing social structure. Therefore, to compare one type of Yoga as against the other without understanding the background would be a grievous error. We have to look at this problem in the full perspective of life. Moreover, it is difficult to understand the comparative significance of Yoga unless one lives it.[51]

 

IV. The soul has the inherent capacity for self realization. But self-realization is a long process. In the course of its eternal wanderings in various forms of existence, the soul at some time gets an indistinct vision and feels an impulse to realise it. The soul has to go through the various stages of spiritual development. These stages are called gunasthana, and they are linked up with stages of subsidence and destruction of the Karmic veil. These are fourteen stages of spiritual development. The first stage is characterised by the presence of mithyadrsti, perversity of attitude. Here we accept wrong belief and are under the false impression that what we believe is right. This is caused by the operation of mithyatva-karman. However, we are right.  Still, due to perversity of attitude we do not relish the truthjust as a man suffering from fever has no taste for sugarcane.[52]

 

The next stage is called sasvadana-samyagdrsti. It is a halting and transitory stage in which one may get the vision of truth but is likely to fall back on falsehood due to the excitement of passions. In the third stage, of samyagmithyadrsti we have a mixed attitude of right and wrong belief. There is neither a desire to have true beliefs nor a desire to remain in ignorance. It is like mixing curds and treacle.[53]  This also is a transitional stage.  Next comes the stage o� right attitude, samyagdrsti.  One gets a glimpse of the truth. Yet one has not the spiritual strength to strive for the attainment of it. In this stage we have attained knowledge, but we lack moral effort as we have not yet developed self-control. From the next stage onwards there is gradual expression of self-control. We may compare these four stages to the state of the persons in Plato's parable of the cave'. The prisoners in the cave would see their own shadows and the shadows of other men and animals. And they would mistake the shadows for realities. This is the stage of mithyatva. If one were to be released, the glare of the light would distress him; and he would persist in maintaining the superior truth of the shadows. This is the stage of sasvddana. But once he gets accustomed to the change, he will be able to see things, and gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heavens. And once he gets the clear vision, he will realize the folly of his fellow prisoners and pity them.[54]

 

Desavirata-samyagdrsti is the next higher stage of spiritual development, in which we get partial efforts for self control in addition to the possession of the knowledge of truth. There is a partial destruction of Karmic matter which produces passions.[55] Full practice of virtues would not be possible, because there is the possibility of the influence of passions.

 

In the next stage, the moral effort takes a more definite shape, although it is not always successful. A person has a more or less steady glimpse of the truth; and he tries to develop self-control and the obstacles to the practice of virtues are overcome in the sixth stage. But even here, the moral life and the spiritual struggle are not fully successful, because their full expression is vitiated by moral and spiritual inertia. This inertia is called pramada. And pramada is overcome in the seventh stage of apramattasamyata.  Efforts to reach moral excellence take definite shape. The operation of Karma preventing perfect conduct is very feeble; and minor passions called kasayas are also subdued. We can now practice the five great vows and the twenty-four virtues. The process of adhah pravrtti karana, by which the soul on a lower level can rise higher, begins to operate in this stage.]56]

 

The eighth stage is called apurvakarana It leads to greater and more definite self-control. The self attains special purification,  and is capable of reducing the intensity and duration of Karma.  The Gommatasara gives a detailed description of the process of apurvakarana operating in this stage. In this stage, one is affected

 

only by the mild affective states. It is possible to develop stoic attitude. In the stage of development called anivrtibadara samparaya. it is possible to overcome even the milder emotional disturbances with greater confidence and ease.  We have, here established ourselves as moral and spiritual individuals, although sometimes slight emotional afflictions are possible. In the tenth stage of suksmasamparaya, only greed disturbs us and that too slightly. Except for this disturbance, one is passionless and calm. This subtle greed can be interpreted as the subconscious attachment to the body even in souls which have achieved great spiritual advancement.[57] But one is free from even the slightest passions in  the eleventh Gunasthana, of upasantamoha.  Still the affections are not altogether eliminated. They are only suppressed through the pressure of moral effort. We are mostly free from the baneful influence of the Karma, except the deluding Karma (mohaniya karman). This state is called chadmastha. It is also called vitaraga, as one is able to remain calm and undisturbed through the suppression of Karma. In the next stage, of upasantamoha,  there is annihilation of Karma and not mere suppression. And when all the passions and the four types of Ghati-karma are destroyed one reaches the thirteenth stage of spiritual development, called sayogakevali. One is free from the bondage of Karma, yet is not free from-activity and bodily existence as the ayuhkarma is still to be exhausted. In this stage, we find omniscient beings like Tirthamkaras, Ganadharas and the Samanya Kevalins. They attain enlightenment, but still live in this world preaching the truth that they have seen. This state can be compared to the state of Jivanmukta. The Vedantasara describes this state as that of the enlightened and liberated man who is yet alive in this physical world.  Though he may appear to be active in this world yet he is inactive, like the man who assists a magician in a magic show yet knows that all that is shown is illusory.[58]  Zimmer ,compares the attitude of the Kevalins in this stage to the function of a lamp lighting the phenomenal expersonality solely for the maintenance of the body, not for the pursuit of any gratification of sense or any goal." [59]

 

The final stage of self realization is the stage of absolute perfection. All empirical adjuncts, like the bodily functions, are removed. The soul enters the third stage of sukla-dhyana. This state lasts only for the period of time required to pronounce five short syllables.60] At the end of this period the soul attains perfect and disembodied liberation. It is described as the state of Parabrahma or Niranjana. It is not possible to give, as Radhakrishnansays, a positive description of the liberated soul.[61]. It is a state of freedom from action and desire, a state of utter and absolute quiescence. Zimmer shows that, in this state, the individuality the masks, the formal personal features are distilled away like drops of rain that descend from the clear sky, tasteless and emasculate.[62]