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

MEN AND GODS

 

 

5. In this age of scientific development, we are giving exclusive emphasis on the material ends of life. Artha and Kama have become important. Exclusive importance on one of the other of the human values is likely to lead to a partial development of human personality. We may either go the way of mechanising the human or divinising the man. Western civilization has advanced in scientific development through the democracy of intellect. Life in lndia has gone the way of overspiritualising the human and we lost foot on earth. It is true that the ideal of life is Moksa but it is also true that few of us can attain it in this life. We have, therefore to reorientate our moral concepts so as to lead us to perfection through the progressive realization of the ideal of emancipation in the context of human life and limitations.

 

We have seen the Jainas have given gradations of moral practice for the realisation of the end of perfection. There are two levels of ethical codes i) one for the layman (sravak dharma) and ii) the other for the spiritually advanced who have given up the attachment of Samsara. It is the muni-dhurmaThe moral practice for them is more rigorous than for the comnmon man. It would be  worth analysing these gradations of moral life in the context of the moral structure of present day society.

 

I think it would be possible to work out a synthesis of the way of all flesh and spirit and find out a proper place for man in this universe. We can only say that with the advancement of science and technology for the sake of man, in our struggle to find out man we have lost him.

 

6. And to find out man we have to reassert the ideal of spiritual perfection without in any way disparaging the aims of empirical life. This is the Anekanta attitude. All have aimed at Moksa, but few have attained it. Yet it is imperative on the part of us, humans, to know the real nature of the highest perfection as presented in the ideal of Moksa.

 

III. MOKSA AS AN IDEAL 1. The idea of release of the soul from the wheel of Samsara was common in Indian philosophy except with the Carvaka. Philosophy was not merely an academic pursuit but it had a practical aim of the attainment of Moksa. The ancient Indians did not stop at the discovery of truth but strove to realize it in their own experiences. They followed up tattvajnana by strenuous efforts to attain Moksa or llberation.[19]

 

But the conception of Moksa was not in the spirit of the Vedic Aryans, as they were profoundly interested in the happiness in this life. The Rgveda Samhita largely presents the invocations of the Gods for the promotion of happiness in this life. Awareness of emancipation as such is not present in the earliest recorded expressions in the Vedas. Moksa as a release from the wheel of Samsara and its positive aspect as oneness with the Highest, was becoming gradually clear in the Upanisadas. In the Chhandogya Upanisad, it is still not clear. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad describes the release as freedom from death day or night of waxing and waning, of the moon.[20] In the later Upanisads like the Maitrayani we find new ideas jolting against old ones.[21]

 

It is therefore possible to say that the conception of moksa or release from the bonds of empirical life is primarily pre Aryan. It was prevalent in India before the Aryans settled here. Indian philosophy is the synthesis of two currents of thought the Aryan and the pre Aryan. The Jaina and the Buddhist thoughts were original and preAryan. They were assimilated in the subsequent Hindu philosophy through the Upanisads. The Dravidian contribution to the development of Indian philosophy was no less important. The influence of forest life, the emergence of female gods and the conception of Avatara were largely due to the Dravidian influence.[22] And so was the conception of Moksa brought from the pre-Aryan thought and developed in the Upanisads and subsequent philosophy.

 

Jaina religion is very ancient and preAryan. It prevailed even before Parsva and Vardhamana, the last two T1rthakaras.  The Yajurveda mentions Rsabha, Ajita and Aristanemi as Tirthakaras.  Jainism reflects the cosmology and anthropology of a much older pre-Aryan upper class of North-Eastern India-[23]Jacobi has traced Jainism to early primitive current of metaphysical speculation.

 

2. For a Jaina, the highest ideal is Moksa, freedom from the wheel of amsara It is to be attained through, through right intuition, right knowledge and right conduct.[25]

 

Due to the activity, the soul gets entangled in the wheel of Samsara. This process of entanglement is beginningless but has an end.  The soul gets entangled in the Samsara and embodied through the operation of karma. It gets various forms due to the materially caused conditions ( upadhi ), and is involved in the cycle of birth and death.

 

But the Jainas believe in the inherent capacity of the soul for selfrealization. The deliverance of the soul from this wheel of Samsara is possible by voluntary efforts on the part of the individuals. The veil of Karma has to be removed. This is possible when the individual soul makes efforts to stop the influx of karma by samvara and remove the accumulated Karma by Nirjara. When all the obstacles are removed the soul becomes pure and perfect and free from the wheel Samsara. Being free, with its upward motion, it attains liberation or Moksa.

 

However, the journey of the soul to freedom is long and arduous, because the removal of Karma involves a long moral and spiritual discipline. The journey has to be through fourteen stages of self realization called Guntsthana. The soul has gradually to remove the five conditions of bondage mithyatva ( perversity), avirati,(lack of control), pramada (spiritual inertia) kasaya (passion) and triyoga (three fold activity of body, speech and mind). In the highest stage of spiritual realization, the soul reaches the stage of perfection and omniscience. This is the consummation of the struggle.

 

Radhakrishnansays that it is not possible to give a positive description of the liberated soul. The state of perfection is passively described as freedom from action and desires, a stage of utter and absolute quiescence.[26] It is a state of unaffected peace since energy of past Karma is extinguished. In this state, the soul is 'itself' and no other. It is the perfect liberation. Zimmer says that, after its pilgrimage of innumberable existence in the various inferior stratifications, The life monad rises to the cranial zone of the microscopic being, purged of the weight of the subtle Karmic particles that formerly held it down. Nothing can happen to it any more, for it has put aside the traits of ignorance, those heavy veils of individuality that are the precipitating causes of biographical events.  ' In the higher stage of perfection, the individuality, the masks, the formal personal features are distilled away.'Sterilized of colouring, flavour and weight the sublime crystals now are absolutely pure-like the drops of rain that descend from a clear sky tasteless and emasculate.[27]

 

This state is the Siddha state. The liberated soul has no empirical adjuncts. It is neither long nor small, nor black nor blue, nor bitter nor pungent. lt is without body and without rebirth He perceives and he knows all. There is no analogy to describe the condition of the liberated soul. It is difficult to give a positive description of the freed soul. It is the state in which there is freedom from action and desire, a state of rest a passionless inaffable peace. However in terms of positive description, we are told that the liberated state has infinite consciousness, pure understanding, absolute freedom and eternal bliss.[28]' It lives in this state of eternity. This freed soul has beginning but no end, while the soul in the Samsara has no beginning but an end of that state in its freedom. From the noumenal point of view the freed soul is the absolutely unconditioned.[29] It is beyond the causality.[31]

 

It is difficult to give a clear and graphic description of the liberated soul as language is an inadequate instrument for such description. Attempts have, therefore, been made in various ways to present a picture of the state of Moksa in different systems in Indian philosophy. The Buddhist have been inclined to give a negative description as the extinction of every trace of individuality. It is a state of nothingness. But some Buddhists have repudiated the negative conception of the liberated state, Nirvana.  The Madhyamikas consider this stage as inexpressible.  Nirvana is not an end ( bhava ) or abhava ( noness ). It is abandonment of all such  considerations of the real. The Madhyamika conception of Nirvana comes very close to the Advaita notion of mukti as Brahmanbhava.  Nirvana is the transcendent life of the spirit.[32] But Moksa,  according to the Advaita, is the absolutely unconditioned and is characterised by infinite bliss.  But for Madhyamika, Nirvana is inexpressible and cannot be identified with the Good or Bliss.  According to the Naiyayikas, Moksa is a state of  pure existence to which a liberated soul attains and is compared to a dreamless sleep.  The critic feels that the Moksa of the Naiyayikas is a word without meaning. Sleep without dream is a state of torpor, and we may as well say that a stone is enjoying supreme felicity in a sound sleep without disturbing dreams.[33]' For the Samkhya, salvation is phenomenal as bondage does not belong to the Purusa. When Purusa is free from the defilement of prakrti, it passes beyond the bondage of the Gunas and shines forth in its pure intelligence. There is no bliss nor happiness in the state of Mukti as all feeling belongs to Prakrti. Jaimini and Sabara did not face the problem of ultimate release.  For Prabhakara, Moksa is a state in which there is absolute cessation of all dreams. It is a simple natural form of the soul.  Kumarila states that it is a state of Atman in itself free from all pain. Some refer it as a bliss of atman. For Samkara Moksa is  a state of direct realization of something which existed from eternity. When the limitations are removed the soul is liberated.  It is the state of absolute peace and eternal bliss.  When Avidya vanishes, the true soul stands self-revealed, free from the impurities, as the star shines in a cloudless night.[34] The nature of the liberated soul is a state of oneness with Brahman.  Moksa[35] is described negatively, as the state of freedom where there is neither day nor night, where the stream of time has stopped and where the sun and the stars are no longer seen.[36]

 

The state of perfection of Moksa need not be attained only after shedding off this bodily existence. It is possible to attain such a state in this life only. The conception of Jivanmukta has, therefore, played an important part in the ancient thought. Samsara admits the possibility kramamukti ( gradual liberation ). He says that the meditation of `OM' leads one to the Brahmaloka where one gradually attains perfect knowledge.[37] He also admits the possibility of perfection and freedom from pain even in this life. As the potter's wheel continues for a time to revolve even after the vessel has been completed, so also life continues even after liberation for some time. In this stage the perfect being does not acquire new Karma. The Buddhists have also made a distinction between upaidhtsesanirvana and anupadhisesanirvana. The former comes nearer to the conception of Jivanmukti. Similarly the distinction corresponds to nirvana and parinirvana. In the state of upadhisesa-nirvana, there is the total cessation of ignorance and of passions, though the body and the mind continue to function but without passions.[38] This state corresponds to the Jivan mukti of Samkhya and the Vedanta. The Buddha after his enlightenment is a representative example. The Mahayanists added one more type of Nirvana in apratisthita nirvana, the state of Bodhisattva who does not accept the final release although he is entitled for it. He decides to serve humanity out of compassion.

 

According to the Jainas in the thirteenth stage of Gunasthana called  sayuza-kevali all the passions and the four types of Ghati Karma are destroyed, one is free from the bondage of mithyatva, pramada and passions. However, it is not free from yoga and empirical activity and is still not free from embodied existence, as the four types of nonobscuring Karmas, like vedaniya which produces feelings, ayu which determines the span of life, nama determining the physical structure and the gotra responsible for one's status in life are still operating.  One is not free from bodily existence, because the ayu karma is still to be exhausted.  But there is no influx of karma. In this stage we find omniscient beings like the Tirthakaras, the Ganadharas and the Samanya kevalins.  They attain the enlightenment, but still live in this world preaching the truth that they have seen. This stage may be compared to the Jivanmukti described by the Sankhya and Vedanta systems of thought. It is like the upadhisesa-nirvana o� the Buddhists. It may also be likened to the apratisthita nirvan of the Mahayanists. Such a perfect being, may appear to be active in this world :in many ways, yet, at root, he is inactive.  He is like a man assisting a magician in a magical show, knowing that all that is shown is merely an illusion of the senses. He is unaffected by all that happen .[39] When Gautama the Buddha attained enlightenment, he wanted his enlightenment not to be known to others. But Brahma inspired the Buddha to be the teacher of mankind.  This is the stage of sayoga kevalin or jivan mukta. So did the Tirthakaras, Ganadharas and Samanya-kevalins preach the sublime knowledge to the people of this worldZimmer compares this attitude of the Kevalins to the function of a lamp.  Just as the lamp lights the room and still remains unconcerned with the what is going on in the room, so the self enacts the role of ' lighting the phenomenal exersonality solely for the maintenance of the body, not for pursuit of any good, any gratification of the sense nor any kindly goal.[40]