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THE PATH OF ARHAT

Justice T.U.Mehta

Samvara

The answer is provided by the next two ‘Tattvas' namely, ‘Samvara' and ‘Nirjara'. ‘Samvara' means prevention of Asrava', that is, stoppage of inflow of karmas and ‘Nirjara' means destruction of accumulated karmas. Thus, while ‘Samvara' prevents fresh inflow of karmas, ‘Nirjara' destroys the accumulated karmas. When both the processes are complete what follows is Moksa, i.e., liberation. Let us see how this process happens.

Experience-based thinking process - Samvara is the beginning of the process of change in reverse direction of bondage. As the ultimate tendency of every ‘Jiva'. whether of a human such as fungus, bacterias and virus is to ascend. In the course of his seemingly endless struggle, during endless cycle of births and deaths, the self sometimes progresses and sometimes falls back spiritually. By each step forward or backward it experiences, tastes the good and bad fruits of life and ultimately, may be after millions of years, a time comes when it realizes the futility of worldly existence, becomes awakened and tries to find out why and how all previous existence have not been able to bring out permanent peace and solace, always sought for. Initially it all appears to be a vain search-a search for nothing. At this stage one may be induced to adopt the attitude of Carvakas and may begin to think that the talk of permanent happiness is a mere hallucination. There is nothing beyond this human existence which must be exploited and enjoyed to the full. It may also be induced to take up the line of ‘Niyaticadi' thinkers (determinists) like Gosala, that it is all destined and no human effort can save us from this destiny, hence take it easy and enjoy all the material pleasures which are offered by life. However, the process does not stop there. The intrinsic character of every ‘Jiva' being consciousness, it is endowed with constant thinking process and experiences of pleasure and pain. These experiences, gained from the enjoyment of the material objects and the attitude of limiting the soul's journey only to the present existence, are bound to lead to many imponderables, incongruencies and inequities. When this is properly realized, the consciousness does not remain stagnant and its thinking process begins to reconsider the stand hitherto adopted. A stage comes when the self feels, that all this humdrum of life, all this bewildering complexity of existence, all this up and down, stress and strain, pleasure and pain, cannot be without purpose. If that is so, what is the purpose, it asks itself. Some intellectually and spiritually advanced souls tried to understand the universe, its components and its scheme as well as it concluded that there are only two main components of the whole of this universe, namely Jiva (living) and Ajiva (non-living) and also that the both have distinct characteristic of Jiva is consciousness and that whatever blurs this characteristic is foreign to it.

Understanding of Jiva, sine qua non of all understanding - All Jaina philosophers have repeatedly emphasised that proper understanding of the quality of Jiva and Ajiva is the sine qua non of all understanding. Once this understanding starts, the process of Samvara starts because once the real character of Jiva reveals that whatever is Ajiva is foreign to Jiva and definitely obscures the characteristics of Jiva, efforts to prevent the karmic flow also start. If Pudgala is foreign to Jiva, Jiva must try to dissociate itself from Paudgalic influence if it desires to gain its own virtues. This process of thinking also leads the self to the realization of unity of the universe, understanding of the working and mechanism of universal scheme and inherent potentiality of every Jiva to achieve the highest. From this springs the idea of equality of all souls and the doctrine of Ahimsa in deed as well as in thought. This also leads to the doctrine of karma, birth, death and rebirth, shedding of karmas, methodology by which they can be shed away and the final liberation, i.e., end of birth and rebirth. Thus the entire structures of doctrines of Jaina philosophy is brought to light if once the dichotomy of Jiva and Ajiva is understood in proper light. This is called Samyag Darsana (proper perspective) which is followed by Samyag-Jnana (proper knowledge) - both of which are bound to be followed by Samyag-caritra (proper conduct). Once the self adopts proper conduct fresh inflow of karmas begin to decrease and the realize that Paudgalic forces generated by kasayas like anger, pride, deceit and greed as well as avarice and attachment must be contained. This realization is called ‘Bhava-samvara' and when this ‘Bhava-samvara' is actualized and put into action, the relevant inflow of karma stops. This is called ‘Dravya-samvara.'

The seers have preached the method by which ‘Dravya-samvara' can be actualized. These are : 1. Vrata-penances, 2.Samiti-carefulness, 3. Gupti-restraint, 4.Dharma-observance, 5. Anupreksa-reflection, 6.Parisahajaya-victory over difficulties and 7. Caritra-conduct. Each one of this is further explained in details. We shall revert to that discussion later on.

Aim of ‘Samvara' is to block all the outlets of Asrava. This is illustrated by allegory of a pond of water getting water inflow from different drains. To make the pond completely, dry, only throwing out the collected water is not sufficient, blocking all the outlets through which water flows in, is essential. Similarly the self can purify itself by shedding all accumulated karmas and by blocking all the outlets through which fresh karmas are flowing. This latter process is the process of ‘Samvara', ‘Sam' means proper and ‘Vr' means to prevent, to surround. When this process is over, the fresh karmas are not generated and even if generated they are of very weak character. At this stage the question arises as to what should be done to the already accumulated karmas. This leads us to the next process called ‘Nirjara'.