Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions
Preface
Publisher's Note
Author’s Note
Mahavira: A Non-Violent Revolutionary
Transfer of Embryo
  Socio-political Conditions
  Vajji's Democracy
  Magadha and Srenika
  Ajatasatru Vajjis
  Princely following of Mahavira
  Social Conditions
  Intellectual Fervour
  Revolutionary push by Mahavira
  Significant Events
  Indra's Offer of Protection
  Five Resolves at Morak Hermitage
  Education Rather than Exposure
  Poisonous Fangs of Canda Kausika
  States of a Digambara
  Association with Gosala
  Candanabala : First Head of Women Disciples
  Final Act of Nirjara
  Attainment of Kaivalya
  First Ganadharas
  Muttanam-Moyaganam
  THE ULTIMATE REALITY
  ONTOLOGY OF ATMAN, THE SELF
  FACT OF THE MATTER
  JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
  ETHICS OF RESPONSIBILITY
  Actions follow the Doer
  Search for Responsibilty and Sramana Line
  Mahavira's Synthesis
  Psychological Approach of Mahavira
  Categories of Karmas
  Duration of Karmic Bondage
  Nature of Bondage
  Mitigation of Bondage
  Fresh Karmas
  Life's activities
  Even good actions bind, if motivated
  Consequences of Karma Theory
  MECHANICS OF CHANGE
  Process of Change and Nine Tattvas
  Essential Tendency of Jiva
  Papa' and ‘Punya' : Both of Binding Nature
  Asrava (Influx)
  Bandha (Bondage)
  Samvara
  Nirjara (Shedding of Accumulated Karmas)
  Moksa (Final Liberation)
  PLURALISTIC REALISM
  THEORY RELATIVITY
  MODUS OPERANDI
  Enlightened Consciousness
  Self, the starting point
  Will and Eagerness
  Upadana-Nimittan
  Bhavana or Anupreksa (Reflection)
  Twelve Vratas of House-holder
  Prayer
  Dhyana (Meditation)
  Lesya (Disposition)
  Code of Conduct for Monks - Modus Operandi
  Austerities (Tapascarya)
  Sanllekhana
  A PATH-WAY OF LIFE
  APPENDICES
  Appendix - A
  Appendix - B
  Appendix - C
  Appendix - D
  Appendix - E
  BIBLIOGRAPHY

ONTOLOGY OF ATMAN, THE SELF

Justice T.U.Mehta

Chandogya Upanisad contains another famous dialogue on the subject between father Aruni and his son Svetaketu. �Aruni' a Brahmin Rsi, learned in Vedas, sent his son Svetaketu at the age of twelve years to learn Vedas. The son returned back to father after the completion of his course at the age of 24 years, conceited and thinking himself very learned. So the learned father inquired of the son -

"Svetaketu, my dear, since now you think yourself very learned and proud, did you also ask for that teaching whereby what has not been heard of, becomes thought of, what has not been understood, becomes understood ?"

"How pray Sir, is that teaching" ? asked the son.

"Just as my dear", the father explained, "by one piece of clay everything made of clay may be known (the modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name, the reality is just �clay'). Just as, my dear, by one copper ornament everything made of copper may be known (modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name, the reality is just �copper'). Just as, my dear, by one nail-scissors, everything made of iron may be known (the modification is merely a verbal distinction, a name; the reality is just �iron'). So, my dear, is that teaching."

"Verily", said the son, "those honoured men did not know this, for, if they had known it, why would they have not told me ? But do you, Sir, tell me."

"So be it, my dear, -bring hither a fig from ther".

"Here it is, Sir".

"Divide it".

"It is divided, Sir".

"What do you see there"?

"These rather fine seeds, Sir" ?

"Of these, please divide one".

"It is divided, Sir".

"What do you see there" ?

"Nothing at all, Sir".

Then he (father) said to him (son) : "Verily, my dear, that finest essence which you do not perceive - verily, my dear; from that finest essence, this great fig tree arises. Believe me, my dear, that which is the finest essence - this whole world has that as its self. That is Reality. That is Atman. That art thou (Tattvamasi) Svetaketu."

"Do you, Sir, cause me to understand even more".

"So be it, my dear", said he, "Place this salt in water. In the morning come to me." Then he did so. Then he said unto him : "that salt you placed in the water last evening, please bring it hither." Then he grasped, but did not find it, as it was completely dissolved.

"Please, take a sip from this end", said he, "How is it" ?

"Salt", said the son.

"Take a sip from that end", said he, "How is it" ?

"Salt", said the son.

"Take a sip from middle, How is it" ?

"Salt".

"Take a sip from that end", said he, �How is it" ?

"Salt".

"Set it aside and then come to me".

He did so, saying, "It is always the same".

 

Then he (father) said to him : "Verily, indeed, my dear, you do not perceive Being here. Verily, indeed it is here. That which is the finest essence - this whole world has that as its self. That is Reality; That is Atman, That art thou (Tattvamasi), Svetaketu."

Truly, the essence of life is spirit, the soul. Body, mind and soul are the three components of human beings. Body works through senses. The impulses which are created in physical senses when they come in touch with external objects are carried to mind. The mind reasons out and stores the feelings created by these impulses and conveys to the soul. The soul thus gets experience of pleasures, pain and utility of the material objects of the external world through physical senses and mind. Function of the physical senses is confined to each individual sense so that one physical sense cannot discharge or remember the function of any other physical sense. Function of mind is to a great external supervisory. It is the internal function which works in the most subtle manner. It reasons and compares and stores, but its motivating force is the self. Mind can work only through sense. But self can work directly. So long as self and its functions are clouded by Karmas, it functions only through mind and senses and is not capable of having direct perception.

The Jaina philosophers have distinguished mind from the self by emphasising that mind is the internal instrument that helps the self in cognizing internal states like pleasure, pain etc. Sri Hemcandra Acarya, a renowned Jaina scholar of 12th century, defines mind as the organ of cognition of all objects of all the senses (Sarvartha grahanam manah). It is the cognition of all the objects of senses, only not of all the objects, that is, the Mind excludes the cognition of these objects which are not the objects of senses. There lies the distinction between the mind and the self because self, in its pure existence, is free from the bondage of Karmas, and can cognize all objects irrespective of the medium of senses. That is direct, i.e., Pratyaksa, cognizance. But cognizance, obtained through senses and mind is indirect, i.e., Paroksa.

The philosophical paradox is that self experiences through mind and body (physical senses), but in the ultimate analysis, the efforts of self is to get free from the obstacles created by the mind and body. So, the obstacles are sought to be removed through obstacles themselves. The paradox is solved if we bear in mind that according to Jaina philosophy, self, i.e., the Jiva is associated with Ajiva since time immemorial and the real nature of every Jiva is to ascend and to become free from the bondage of Ajiva, resulting in self's struggle through experience, gained only through the mind and body. Thus, in this chapter we have seen that,

(1) Existence of soul can be proved by direct perception as well as by metaphysical reasoning.

(2) Soul is distinct from matter, but is in close association with the matter from time immemorial.

(3) Soul is eternal and indestructible.

(4) Association of soul with karmic matter is the cause of birth and rebirth.

(5) Process of birth and rebirth is nothing but the soul's struggle to become free from the bondage of Karma.

(6) Once the soul completely frees, itself from the bondage, it becomes all powerful and omniscient, Siddha, i.e., attains God-hood.

(7) Having attained God-hood it does not take rebirth.

(8) Such a soul is in existence even in an atom and every such soul-even of an atoms, has the potentiality of achieving God-hood and this belief is at the root of the theory of Ahimsa.

Having thus seen the proof of existence and the main characteristics of one of the Universe, we may now proceed to consider the characteristics of the other components, namely, Ajiva.