1. The Philosophical Doctrines:
Since Tirthankara Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara in the
uniterrupted succession of Tirthankaras of the Jaina tradition beginning from
the lst Tirthankara Rishabhadeva, he preached the doctrines which were already
propounded by his 23 predecessors. Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara flourished
250 years before Tirthankara Mahavira and during his lifetime Parshvanatha did
propagate the basic doctrines of Jainism to the benefit of mankind. But after
Parshvanath the condi tions of life considerably changed and common people were
found holding various beliefs and observing several practices. which were
completely opposed to the beliefs and practices laid down by Jaina religion.
Hence there was a dire necessity to bring back the common masses to the right
path advocated by the Jaina Tirthankaras. This urgent need was met by 'f
irthankara Mahavira during the sixth century B. C. by emphasising the age-old
principles of Jainism to all categories of persons scattered over
different parts of India. Tirthanhara Mahavira continued his preaching tour for
30 years till he attained Parinirvana. In this mission of propagation of his
doctrines and of conversion of people to the Jaina way of life, 'firthankara
Mahavira was highly successful because people were greatly impressed by his
divine voice, oratorical powers, sublime personality, and sincerity of purpose
and were firmly convinced about the utility of
adopting the Jaina way of life. Thus the doctrines preached by Tirthankara
Mahavira were sentially the doctrines of Jainism.
The basic principle in the philosophical doctrines of 'I'i:rthankara
Mahavira is that 'Sat' i. e. reality is uncreated and ulcoanal and that it is
characterised by `Utpada' i. e. origination or appearance, `Vyaya' i. e.
destruction or disappearance and. alhrrcrrr.ya' i. c. permanence. Further, every
object of reality is found possessed of infinite characters, both with respect
to hat it is and what it is not. It has its `paryayas', i.e. modes and `gunas',
i, e. qualities, through which persists the essential substratum through all the
times. The basic substance with its qualities is something that is permanent,
while the modes or accidental characters appear and disappear: In this way both
change and permanence are facts of experience.' For example, the soul or spirit
is eternal with its inseparable character- of consciousness, but at the same
time it is subjected to accidental characters like pleasure and pain and
super-imposed modes such as body, etc. both of which are changing constantly.
The gold, for instance, with its colour and density is something that is
permanent though it is subjected to different shapes at different times.
philosophical doctrines assert that in this world `dravyas' i. e. the
substances, are real as they are characterized by existence. The substances are
six in number and they can be broadly divided into two major categories , viz.
Viva', i. e. living and `ajiva', i. e. non-living.
(A) The Viva Dravya : The jiva means Atman i. e. soul or spirit. The jiva is
essentially a unit of consciousness and there is an infinity of them. The whole
world is literally filled with them. The souls are substances and as such they
are eternal. Their characteristic mark is intelligence, which can never be
destroyed. The soul is ever all perfect and all power ful. But by ignorance it
identifies itself with matter and hence all its troubles and degradations start.
The souls are of
two kinds, viz. (a) `samsarin', i. e. mundane or :baddha', i.e. those in
bondage, and (b) `siddha', i.e. liberated or `mukta' i.e. those that are free.
Mundane souls are the embodied souls of living beings in the world and are still
subject to the cycle of Birth. On the other hand, the liberated souls are those
who have reached Nirvana or `Mukti' i. e. freedom from being em bodied. It means
that the liberated souls will be embodied no more. Such liberated souls dwell in
the state of perfection at the top of the universe and they have no more to do
with worldly affairs. The liberated souls also accomplish absolute purity and in
their pure condition they possess four attributes
known as `Ananta-Chatushtaya',
Infinite Quaternary, viz.
i.e. infinite perception,
`ananta- a', i. e.
i.e. infinite power and
i.e. infinite bliss.
Thus the most
significant difference between the mundane and the liberated soul consists in
the fact that the former is permeated with subtle matter known as `Karma'; while
the latter is absolutely pure and free from any material alloy.
The mundane souls are of two kinds,-_viz: (l) Sthavara,
i.e.. the immobile or one-sensed souls, that is, having only the sense of
touch; and (2) Trasa, i.e. the mobiles or many-sensed souls, that is,
having bodies with more than one sense organ. The former are associated
with earth, water, fire, wind and plants, and the latter differ among
themselves according to the number of sense-organs.
(B) The Ajiva Drayas : The non-living substances are of five kinds,
(i) Pudgala, i.e. matter,
(ii) Dharma, i.e. medium of motion,
(iii) Adharma. i.e. medium of rest,
(i) Akasha, i.e. space and
(ii) (v) Kala, i.e. time.
Though all these are characterized by existence, the constitution of time
is slightly different : it -has no existence in space, but is made up of
partite units. The matter is the non-living stuff possessed of
sense-qualities with varied functions and forms; the principles of motion
and rest facilitate all movements and static states in this physical
universe; all these substances are accommodated in space; and it is the
principle of time that marks continuity or change.
The doctrines of Jainism emphasise that these six jiva and ajiva dravyas, i.e.
living and non-living substances, are externally existing, uncreated and with no
beginning in time. As substances they are eternal and unchanging, but their
modifications are passing through a flux of changes. Their mutual co-operation
and interaction explain all that we imply by the term `creation'. Hence the
doctrines of Jainism do not admit any intelligent `Creator' who can be credited
with the making of this universe.
doctrines of Jainism not only state that the whole universe can be divided into
jiva and ajivadravyas, i.e. the living and the non-living substances, but also
explain the nature and interaction of these two elements. It is asserted, in
short, that the living and the non-living, by coming into contact with each
other, forge certain energies which bring about birth, death and various
experiences of life; this process could be stopped, and the energies already
forged destroyed, by a course of discipline leading to salvation. A close
analysis of this brief statement shows that it involves the following seven
(i) that there is
something called the living;
(ii) that there is something
called the non-living;
(iii) that the two come into
contact with each other;
(iv) that the contact leads to the
production of some energies;
(v) that the
process of contact could be stopped;
(vi) that the
existing energies could also be exhausted; and
(vii) that the
salvation could be achieved.
propositions are called the seven tattvas or realities in Jaina philosophy.
These tattvas are termed as follows :
(i) Jiva, i.e.
i.e. matter or non-living substance,
i.e. the influx of Karmic matter into the soul,
(iv) Bandha, i.
e. bondage of soul by Karmic matter,
(v) Samvara, i.
e. the stopping of Ashrava,
i.e the gradual removal of Karmic matter, and
i.e. the attainment of perfect freedom.