Theory of Transmigration : Search for Happiness ,
Theory of Cause and Effects, Three Steps to freedom, Samyag Darsana,
Samyag Jnana, Five Categories of Jnana (Mati, Sruta, Avadhi, Manah-paryaya,
Kevala), Samyag Caritra, Ladder of Spiritual Development.
Right perspective, Right knowledge and Right character constitute the Path
Spiritual evolution is a conscious process. If the
purity of consciousness is impaired or destroyed, and if self is immortal,
what is the process by which the self can attain its true state ? As seen
above, from time immemorial, the self is in association with capacity to
be omnipotent and omniscient. No soul can afford to remain immortally
immoral. One of the main attributes of soul is to progress. This tendency
to progress is evident even in the stages of regression because each
regression imparts experience and education to the soul in its journey of
Theory of Transmigration : Search for Happiness
The question is how this is possible ? The answer lies
in the theory of Metempsychosis, the theory of transmigration, the cycle
of births and rebirths. The basis of this theory is the eternity and
immortality of soul. As already observed, Jaina seers firmly believe that
the two main components of the Universe-soul (Jiva) and non-soul (Ajiva)
are eternal. They change forms but never die. Water changes form and
becomes ice or vapour but the basic elements remain the same. This belief
is now confirmed, science proving that matter is never destroyed. So when
the body dies, the soul remains. But remains where ? Does it remain in
suspense ? It cannot remain in mere suspension. Its association with
Karmic particles-Pudgala (Ajiva) would not allow it to remain ï¿½suspended'
in eternity. Desires and intensity to fulfil them, are the unavoidable
attributes of the soul, in union with Pudgalas. Look at our human
existence and observe the attitude of our soul and the methods adopted by
it as well as the objective sought by it. There is no soul in this
universe which does not seek happiness as its main objective. Examine the
nature of struggle for life in which all the souls, right from immobile
having only one sense (Ekendriya) upto the human beings, the final
expression of life's evolution, are involved, and you will find that
happiness, by whatever means, is the goal in life. It is to achieve this
happiness that the man, sometimes runs after wealth or power, after
literature of culture, after social service or politics and sometimes
after philosophy or religion. All desires and all activities-good and bad,
derive their inspiration from the instinctive impulse to be happy. Man
marries, remarries or remains a bachelor, begets children or adopts them,
rears them up and invests lifetime toil to make them happy, strives,
sacrifices his own pleasures and also does not mind making others unhappy
and all this a final goal to be happy himself. But he often, almost
invariably finds that the real happiness is always eluding him. Finding
and activity unable to give him the happiness he wanted, or that it gave
only momentary happiness and began subsequently to bore him, man resorts
to another activity. However the same experience is repeated and the
process goes on. His whole life is exhausted and he is confronted by the
inevitable Death. He realises in retrospect that most of his desires
remain unfulfilled and his search for happiness was really a search in
wilderness, as illusive as the appearance of water in a hot desert.
This is the case with every human being. The question
here arises whether the soul which longed for one or the other thing
throughout its life and failed to achieve its final objective of a lasting
happiness, would remain in suspended animation for eternity ? If
consciousness is the principal attribute of soul, would the consciousness
of unfulfilled desires, not impel it to seek further activity to get the
said fulfillment ?
Theory of Cause and Effect
Moreover, what about the theory of cause and effect ?
In the scheme of universe whatever happens, yields to the law of cause and
effect. Every event, every happening is the result of some cause. There is
nothing accidental. If we fail to comprehend the cause of a particular
event, that is, only due to limitation of our knowledge. If this is the
case, they must be consequences or effect of the various actions taken by
us in our lifetime. Some results (effects) we see in our lifetime, but not
all. Our good and bad deeds and even our good and bad thoughts, are bound
to have their good and bad effects. Whatever we have sown, we have to
reap. This is known as the theory of Karma (action). By the law of nature,
every action has reaction. How this law applies to our life ? We see
numerous instances wherein a wrong doer does not get any bad result during
his life time while an honest man, leading throughout the life of
uprightness, benevolence and love, gets nothing in reward in his life
time. Results of the respective deeds in both the cases are not obtained
in this life. But nature's law of cause and effect never remains
suspended. If so there would have been a chaos. As Jaina seers do not
believe is some Supreme Being, known as God, who kept detailed accounts of
each individual life, regarding his good and bad deeds and then settling
the score at some unknown date by resurrecting them from their death
abodes. Theory of punishment and reward from some outside agency being
thus ruled out, we have to get some satisfactory explanation elsewhere.
This explanation comes from the theory of transmigration.
Again, we find a number of discrepancies between the
temperament, character, physical fitness, financial and social progress
among the members of the same family, brought up by the same parents in
the same social and fiscal environments. Many a times these discrepancies
are congenital. What is the explanation except that of the Karma and
Thus the theory of transmigration is the only rational
explanation of almost all apparent mysteries of this universe. Progress
and dynamism are significant characteristics of nature. Worldly existence
is known in Samskrta as Samsara. the root of this word ï¿½Samsara' is ï¿½Sru'
meaning ï¿½to move'. A thing, constantly moving is Samsara. One of the chief
characteristics of self (Atman) is its upward movement. Self constantly
gets experience through its association with matter. The course of this
experience through its association with matter. The course of this
experience expands one life to the other. As it progress through one
experience after the other, it comes to know the futility of desiring
happiness from worldly objects. This course of birth and rebirth is
nothing but a quest for happiness. A stage comes when the self feels,
after sufficient experience, that he is running after will-o'-the-wisp and
that the real happiness lies elsewhere. Perhaps such a realization becomes
a turning point in his journey. He then searches for the Reality and
realizes that all his efforts of seeking happiness through worldly objects
were senseless and born out of sheer ignorance. And thus convinced his
efforts are directed towards spiritual upliftment. His tastes and outlook
towards the life are totally changed. First he has some faint idea about
the reality. This increases his interest to know more about it. He goes on
gathering knowledge. With his knowledge his conviction also grows, and as
conviction grows, action gradually follows. He then begins to ascend the
ladder. The upward march on the steps of ladder is tenacious and hard.
There are ups and downs in march but all the downfalls bring more
experience, more knowledge and lead to more effort. And finally the stage
comes when the self is able to make himself totally free from the shackles
of karmic bondage and attains full freedom and consequential bliss. Jaina
seers have explained this whole process in a very beautiful and analytical
manner with reference to the psychic mechanism of human mind.
Three Steps to Freedom
This journey to freedom has three stages of Darsana,
Jnana and Caritra, i.e., Perception, knowledge and action. If all the
three are right or correct, i.e., Samyak, the self is surely on the path
to freedom (Tattvartha-sutra by Umasvati). These three - Right perception.
Right knowledge and Right action are known as three jewels (Ratna-trayee)
in the Jaina scriptures. Without these three, there is no way to
salvation. Let us therefore shortly consider the working of these three
The word ï¿½samyag' means ï¿½Right, proper or correct'.
While discussing the necessity and importance of these three jewels, the
Jaina seers have exhibited a very rare insight of human psychology and its
working. However, it would be beyond the scope of our thesis to make a
detailed reference to this discussion because main purpose of our thesis
is to have some workable knowledge of some basic principles.
(1) Samyag Darsana - Two psychological stages of
the evolution of knowledge are apprehension and perception. Before knowing
a particular thing including a doctrine, one first gets its apprehension.
After apprehension gets mental or physical sensation and then comprehends
the thing in further details. Thereafter a final stage comes when that
particular things is fully perceived. Thus the stages of gathering
knowledge may be categorised like this - 1)Apprehension, 2)Sensation,
3)Comprehension and 4)Perception. As Shri S.Gopalan puts it :
"These philosophers thus maintain that the first stage
in the complex process of perception is apprehension in which there is
mere awareness which is the immediate result of the sense-object contact.
In the second stage of sensation there is some cognition of specific
characteristics of the object. In the third stage, the perception stage
(comprehension stage) there is also the ï¿½identification' of the object,
for example, as belonging to a particular class."
This psychological analysis is as much true in the case
of a metaphysical doctrine as about a physical phenomenon. The process of
apprehension is called ï¿½Darsana' and the culmination of the process into
comprehensive perception is called ï¿½Jnana', though the term Samyag-darsana
in Jainism, stands for Right faith also but I think Right perception is
Thus a soul tired of enjoying material objects of life
and capable to see the futility of pursuing them, turns introvert and
looks elsewhere to seek real and permanent happiness - enduring happiness.
At that stage either by his own introspection or by coming into some
saintly company he gets a glimpse of Truth. He begins to realize that
there is some path worth exploring. His inclination to find out the path
is the beginning of the ï¿½Darsana' stage. He begins to ï¿½see'. In Samskrta
the root ï¿½Drs' (Pasya) means ï¿½to see'. He now begins to apprehend Reality.
This apprehension, this Darsana, should however be ï¿½Samyag',
i.e., proper. Nothing which is prejudicial or inhibited can be ï¿½Samyag'.
One cannot proceed further from the stage of apprehension if one proceeds
with a vacillating mind. The stage of apprehension can carry us further
only if we have confidence that the usual worldly path, we followed for
ages, has proved futile and therefore we have to find out a new path with
open mind and firm determination. This is called ï¿½Sraddha'. It is the
determination to find out ï¿½Tattvartha'. The word ï¿½Tattva' means essence.
ï¿½Artha' means ï¿½meaning'. So ï¿½Tattvartha' means meaning of the Real
Essence, the Truth. So ï¿½Samyag Darsana', i.e., proper perception is
defined as determination to find out real Truth. Acarya Umasvati, the
venerated writer of the classic ï¿½Tattvartha-sutra' defines ï¿½Samyag Darsana'
as "Tattvarthasraddhanam Samyag-darsanam", i.e., Determination to find out
the Truth (meaning of the Essence) is ï¿½Samyag Darsana'.
Nine Tattvas - What is this ï¿½Tattva' the essence
? The essence of the whole existence is the pursuit of steps of freedom.
But what are these steps ? To understand these steps is to understand the
meaning of essence. Therefore, the Jaina seers have termed these steps as
Tattvas. According to them there are Nine Tattvas, namely - Jiva, Ajiva,
Papa, Punya, Asrava, Bandha, Samvara, Nirjara and Moksa. We have already
discussed about ï¿½Jiva' and ï¿½Ajiva'. The word ï¿½Asrava' means influx. If
suggests influx of Karmans - good as well as bad. ï¿½Bandha' means ï¿½bondage'
suggesting the bondage of soul by karmas. ï¿½Samvara' means stoppage, it
suggests the stoppage of influx of karmas, ï¿½Nirjara' means shedding, that
of accumulated karmas; Moksa means final freedom, salvation.