Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions
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
  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
  Process of Change and Nine Tattvas
  Essential Tendency of Jiva
  Papa' and ‘Punya' : Both of Binding Nature
  Asrava (Influx)
  Bandha (Bondage)
  Nirjara (Shedding of Accumulated Karmas)
  Moksa (Final Liberation)
  Enlightened Consciousness
  Self, the starting point
  Will and Eagerness
  Bhavana or Anupreksa (Reflection)
  Twelve Vratas of House-holder
  Dhyana (Meditation)
  Lesya (Disposition)
  Code of Conduct for Monks - Modus Operandi
  Austerities (Tapascarya)
  Appendix - A
  Appendix - B
  Appendix - C
  Appendix - D
  Appendix - E


Justice T.U.Mehta

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.

"Samyag-darsana-jnana-caritrani-moksa-margah", means Right perspective, Right knowledge and Right character constitute the Path of Salvation.

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 progress.

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 �suspended' 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 consequent rebirth.

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 �Samsara' is �Sru' meaning �to 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 �jewels'.

The word �samyag' means �Right, 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 �identification' 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 �Darsana' and the culmination of the process into comprehensive perception is called �Jnana', though the term Samyag-darsana in Jainism, stands for Right faith also but I think Right perception is more appropriate.

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 �Darsana' stage. He begins to �see'. In Samskrta the root �Drs' (Pasya) means �to see'. He now begins to apprehend Reality.

This apprehension, this Darsana, should however be �Samyag', i.e., proper. Nothing which is prejudicial or inhibited can be �Samyag'. 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 �Sraddha'. It is the determination to find out �Tattvartha'. The word �Tattva' means essence. �Artha' means �meaning'. So �Tattvartha' means meaning of the Real Essence, the Truth. So �Samyag Darsana', i.e., proper perception is defined as determination to find out real Truth. Acarya Umasvati, the venerated writer of the classic �Tattvartha-sutra' defines �Samyag Darsana' as "Tattvarthasraddhanam Samyag-darsanam", i.e., Determination to find out the Truth (meaning of the Essence) is �Samyag Darsana'.

Nine Tattvas - What is this �Tattva' 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 �Jiva' and �Ajiva'. The word �Asrava' means influx. If suggests influx of Karmans - good as well as bad. �Bandha' means �bondage' suggesting the bondage of soul by karmas. �Samvara' means stoppage, it suggests the stoppage of influx of karmas, �Nirjara' means shedding, that of accumulated karmas; Moksa means final freedom, salvation.