- It is a fundamental fact,
accepted and experienced by all, that all the living beings in this world
are unhappy and everybody wants to get rid of this unhappiness. They also
make attempts to do so, but since they do not know the correct path to the
state of perfect happiness, all their attempts are in vain. The basic
question, thus is, what is the real path to liberation ?
What is the path of
liberation? Before this question is answered, it is desirable to solve the
question what liberation is. Liberation means complete freedom from grief
and pain. All unhappiness is full of restlessness. Liberation, therefore,
must be without any restlessness. There is no complete happiness, i.e.,
liberation, as long as there is even a little of restlessness.
Describing the path of
liberation, Acharya Amritcharldra writes - "The unity of right faith,
right knowledge and right conduct is the path to liberation. All beings
should try to follow this path."
It is, thus, clear that
the unity of the three i,e., right faith which means true belief, right
knowledge which means true understanding and right conduct is real path to
liberation. The question now arises what are right faith, right knowledge
and right conduct.
Really speaking all the
three are modifications of the soul, i.e., they are its pure
modifications. Discarding non-self substances, to lean towards one's soul
and to regard it as one's nature is right faith, to have real knowledge of
the soul and other substances is right knowledge and to merge oneself with
one's sentient soul is right conduct.
Explaining it further,
Acharya Amritchandra writes :-
Correct belief of soul
substance and other elements without any contradictory faith is right
faith. One should try to achieve it always, since it is the nature of the
First of all, we should
try to develop right faith, because path to liberation does not begin
without achieving this.
Of all the three, first
of all we should try to achieve right faith with all our strength, since
in the presence of this attribute, both consciousness and conduct become
Without right faith, all
knowledge is ignorance and all merits including abstinence and rules of
conduct are unreal conduct.
- How is right
faith achieved ?
- First of all, with the
help of the study of the essential seven elements, one should
develop a sense of distinction between our own soul and all non-soul
substances, and thus realising the self, lean towards our ever-pure soul,
to attain realisation of the self, is the way to attain right faith.
- And right
- The correct knowledge
of purposeful, multifaced elements without doubt, perversity and
indecisiveness is right knowledge. One should always try to achieve right
- What are doubt,
perversity and indecisiveness?
- Comprehending an object in
two ways contrary other is doubt e.g., Is attachment towards spiritual
beings merit or religion? or Is it silver or shell?
Comprehending an object
contrary to the intrinsic nature of that substance is perversity e.g. to
regard merit as religion or to regard shell as silver.
Comprehending an object
without certainty and taste, e.g., "What is this ?" or "It is
something"-is called indecisiveness. 'Soul must be something", or to say
"something is there, on touching some soft substance in the way."
- Please tell me
something about right conduct also.
- Pure absorption of the
soul without any sinful activity or feelings, free from all passions of
merits and demerits and indifferent with the worldly attachments, is right
conduct. Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct are also called
the three Gems and their unity leads one to liberation.
- Do we attain complete
liberation and not heavenly existence by following these three Gems ?
- Heavenly existence is
worldly. That which is the path of liberation cannot also be a path to
worldly existence. The traveller on the path of liberation comes across
undesirable merit and consequent heavenly existence due to merit bondage,
as a matter of course. Following three Gems is the way to complete
liberation, not a path of worldly existence.
- Why do, then, monks
following the three Gems go to the heavens ?
Three Gems are the cause of liberation
only, but the partial attachment that is present in the lives of the monks
is the cause of their bondage. Monks go to the heavens due to their guilts
- Do you call merit
inclinations guilts ?
- It is not I, but
Amritchandracharya who calls them so. "If the three Gems do not result in
bondage how do divisions of merit karmas including heavenly life associate
with the soul." In answer to this he writes :-The religion of the three
Gems is instrument to liberation only, not to heavenly lives. It is the
fault of merit operative consciousness that results in heavenly lives for
- Those monks followed
the path of three Gems, how did they suffer from the bondage of the karmas
- The soul is without bondage
to the extent it follows the path of the three Gems. Bondage present is
only to the extent of passions like attachment and others. The Acharya
"The soul having right
faith has no bondage to that extent. Whatever passions like attachment
etc. are there, lead to the bondage to that extent. The soul having right
knowledge has no bondage to that extent. Whatever passions like attachment
etc. are there, lead to bondage to that extent. The soul having right
conduct has no bondage to that extent. Whatever passions like attachment
etc. are there, lead to bondage to that extent.
If we, therefore, want
to annihilate bondage i.e., to destroy unhappiness, we should follow the
path of the three Gems. That is the only way to get rid of worldly
turmoils and to obtain the supreme spiritual state of liberation.
Dr. H.C. Bharill