Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life
INTRODUCTION
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 OR GODS
 

GENERAL INDEX


Chapter-3 : THE JAINA THEORY OF THE SOUL

 

          The problem of the soul has been a perennial problem in religion and speculative philosophy. Primate man had made a distinction between body and soul. The burial of the death with their belongings and even the mummification of the Egyptians are based o such a distinction between body and spirit. The philosophical concept of the soul has developed from such primitive distinctions.

          Anthropological evidence shows that the notion of soul and spirit was first formed by primitive man as an explanation of certain features of his experience like dream and sleep. For him soul is an ethereal image of the body. It is ethereal, tenuous or filmy; ad it possesses the power of flashing quickly from one place to another. Yet it was not conceived as purely immaterial. In Plato we find the emphatic primacy of the psyche or soul I the dialogues from the Apology onwards to the Lows.

In the Homeric thought psyche appears as a shadowy double of the body. But Socrates and plato recognised the soul as man�s real self. Socrates said that we should aim at the perfection of our souls. Plato shows that of all the things that man has, next to the gods, his soul is the most diva and most truly his own. Body in fact is the shadow of the soul. Jowett says that Plato was concerned with emphasiing the priority of soul to the body, towards the end of his ife, as he gave importance to the idea of good in the Repulic and of beauty in the symposium. Plato said that the soul is immortal because its very idea ad essence is the self-moved and self-moving, that which is the fountain and the beginning of motion to all that moves besodes.

          Plato reversed the primitive conception of the soul as a shadowy double of the body and identified the true as the soul, but he pressers and accentuates the origin animistic dualism. Approaching the question with the scientific spirit, Aristotle started with the living organism and defined the psyche as the principle of life. He distinguished the different levels of psychical functions, from the vegetative to the ration.  The soul is the actualitstion of the potentiality of life, and therefore defined as the �entelechy�, as the fulfillment of the body�. The idea of the soul is intrinsically independent of the body implies the conception of its substantiality. Conceiving the soul as a simple and indestructible substance its immortaitlty. So did plato emphasize the simple ad unitary nature of the soul.

In modern psychology, the idea of the soul is no longer important. In its place has come notion self or �the centers of interest�. The word soul is ambiguous. Sometimes it stands for MD, sometimes for self and sometimes for both. The English world points to an entity as the cause or vehicle of physical or psychical activities of the individual person. The soul is a spiritual substance. In Indian though the word atman has undergone various changes. It is little used in the vedas. It primarily meant breath. In the Upaisads another word, praa, is used for breath, ad atma stands for the innermost part of ma man was atmmavat.  For the Upanisadic seers, the soul was a propositio for a experiences. Indian philosophies, with the exception of Mayavada of samkara and Ksanikavada of Buddihists, fundamentally agree about the nature of the soul as a permanent, eternal and imperishable substance. But the primitive Aryans believed that the essence of ma is continued after death in a shadowy existence in some subtle bodily form. This is not the soul of the later philosophers. Jacobi cas it psyche.  This is the development of the primitive notion of life agter death lingering in some form. It is found eve today in the practice of sraddha. The psyche is frequently spoken of as purusa of the size of the thumb ( agustha-matra). At the time of death it departs from the body. In the oldest Upanisads the psyche is described as costituted by the praas, psycho-phyciscal factors. Still, these factors were not regarded as principles of personality.

II.      The idea of the soul has occupied an important position in Jaina philosophy. Jainism aims at the liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death. The saving of the soul is the Christia ideal. In the Apology, plato makes socrates say that his mission was to get men to care for their souls and to make them as good as they can be.

          Jainism is dualistic. There is a dichotomous decision of categories. All things are divided into living and non-living, souls and non-souls. In the first verse of the Dracyasamgraha, we read,� the ancient amonf: the great Jainas have described the dracyas as jiva and ajiva Jiva is a category, and jiva personalised becomes atman. Jainism believes in the plurality of souls. Souls are substances distinct from matter. Souls influence one another. But they are quite distance from one another and not connected in any higher unity. They may be called spiritual monads. Jainism emphasizes the diversity of souls. Amongst the Muslim theologians, Nazam and his Scholl maintained that the soul is a spiritual substance.

          Janism considers the soul from two points of view: the noumental (niscaya naya) and the phenomenal (vyavahar) Dravyanuyougatarkana of Bhoja describes the distinction as motioned in the viseasvasyakabhasya by saying that the niscaya narrated the real things and the vyavahara narrates things in a populate way. In the samayasara, kaundakundacaraya points out that the practical standpoint I essential for the exposition of the inner reality of thigs, as a non- Arya is never capable of understanding without the non-Arya tongue.6