First Steps To Jainism


Various aspects of Bondage of Karma with the soul
(The Doctrine of Karma Part -2C)

Status determining (Gotra) Karma Bondage.

This Karma determines whether the living being will be born in a restrained and respected family or otherwise and it is therefore, compared with a potter. It is divided into two categories viz., (a) High (Uccha) status Karma and (b) Low (Neech) Status Karma, which are further divided into eight sub-categories each.

1. High Status (Uccha gotra) Karma involves a high and respectful status in respect of (i) family; (ii) community (iii) learning (iv) power (v) profit (vi) penance (vii) looks and (viii) luxury and these eight form its sub-divisions. This karma results from non-exhibition of and non-exultaion in one's qualities, knowledge, wealth and other attainments and admiring such attributes of others.

2. The Low Status (Neech gotra) Karma results in the opposite equipment and attainments like low and irrespectable family, connections etc. and is earned by exhibition and exultation in one's knowledge, wealth etc. and deprecating such qualities in others.


Obstructing (Antraya) Karma Bondage -

This Karma obstructs the adoption of desirable course or attainment of one's objectives or equipment’s and is of five sub-divisions. It is compared to a "Storekeeper" who does not permit issue from the store, The five sub-categories are -

1. Obstructing Charity (Dana Antraya) - due to which one is not able to give things to deserving people.

2. Obstructing Profit (Labha Antraya) - due to which one is not able to profit or earn inspite of efforts.

3. Obstructing enjoyment (Bhoga Antraya) - due to which one may not be able to enjoy things like food, drinks etc.

4. Obstructing repeated enjoyment (Upbhoga Antraya) - due to which one is not able to enjoy things which are repeatedly or continuously enjoyed like house, clothes, cars etc.

5. Obstructing powers (Veerya Astraya) - due to which one is not able to exploit and profit fully by one's prowess or power or attainments.

This Karma Bondage arises due to similar activities by the beings like obstructing others' food, water etc. depriving others of their due profit and raising obstacles in the path of others' progress.

This brings to end the discussions of Nature Bondage of Karma (Prikriti Bandh) with the soul. Along with the Nature Bondage the Duration (Stithi), Intensity (Anubhag/Ras) and Quantam (Pradesh) bondage is also determined at the time of influx and bondage of Karma with the soul. Now these three can also be examined.


Duration Karma Bondage (Stithi Bandh) -

The time or duration for which the particular Karma bondage will bear fruits or give result is determined along with the nature of such Karma bondage when it occurs. This also is dependant upon the intensity of the activities of the being (Yoga) and of passions-Kashayas-the latter being more important. This duration may be millions and millions years and even a fraction of a second for which period the particular Karma remains active, live and in operation giving result. This is known as Duration or Stithi bondage. The maxima and minima of this duration varies for different Karma the maximum duration is that of Deluding (Mohaneeya) Karma which is seventy Kota-Koti Sagaropam. Between the maxima and minima the duration is fixed by different being by their own acts of omission and commission. The duration (Stithi) Bondage is however not sacrosanct and in some cases the time of operation of some Karmas can be reduced or increased by one's efforts as explained later.


Quantum Karma Bondage (Pradesh Bandh) -

The quantity of Karma Bodies that is attracted and attached to the soul by Yoga (Activity) and Kashaya (Passions) is called the Quantum or Pradesh bondage. In this process Yoga or Activity plays more important role as it attracts Karma Bodies into the soul, and therefore the Quantum Bondage of Karma varies with the activities of the beings through mind, speech and body coupled with the passions.


Intensity Karma Bondage (Anubhag or Ras Bandh) -

The power or the strength of the Karma according to which its fruits or results will vary is known as the Intensity (Anubhag) Karma Bondage. All Karma attracted into the soul do not have equal force or power because their power varies with the intensity of Kashaya (Passions) in the acts due to which they are bound. If the anger or greed with which an act is committed is of high intensity the Karma accruing will also give results of high intensity involving extreme pain or discomfort. However, if the passions are mild, the Karma bondage will also be of low intensity and result also be of minor discomfort. It must have become obvious that this category of bondage depends primary on passions or Kashyas.

Before concluding the discussion of four types of Karma bondage it may be mentioned that it is difficult to divide the causes as well as the four types of bondage resulting from them into watertight compartments. Just as the causes like false fiath/vision (Mithyatva), negligence (Pramad), Indicipline (Avirati), Passion (Kashaya) and Yoga (Influx) are generally present at all times in varying degrees in the different activities of beings, similarly, the Karma bondage resulting therefrom involve all the four types and their species of bondage in varying degrees, which can be exactly gauged by only the perfect beings. The divisions and sub-divisions of the types of bondage and their causes discussed above are only broad indications for guidance only. Again, there is nothing sacrosanct or permanent about the Karma bondage which must ultimately end in separation (Nirjara) of the Karma from the soul which leads to liberation or Moksha, except in the case of some beings called Abhavies. Between the two stages of Bondage (Bandh) and separation (Nirjara) of Karma with the soul there are various stages which are described below to show the changes and developments that can occur in the bondage of Karma by voluntary and involuntary efforts. The importance of this discussion lies in the fact that it highlights the supremacy of the soul over the Karma or voluntary effort (Purshart) over destiny in as much as it shows that by such effort the destined results of Karma bondage can be altered, or modified to a certain extent. They are:

1. Intensification (Udavartana)

2. Dilution (Apvartna),

3. Stay (Satta)

4. Operation (Uday)

5. Premature operation (Udirna)

6. Interchange (Sankramana)

7. Dormancy (Upshama)

8. Flexibility (Nidhat)

9. Inflexibility (Nikachana).

These are briefly dealt with in the under-mentioned paras.

1. Intensification or Udvartana - means further increase in the Duration (Stithi) or Intensity (Anubhag) of Karma bondage due to one's action.

2. Dilution or Apvartana involves reducing the duration or intensity bondage as opposed to item (i) above. These both relate to the two types of Bondage only and as a result of these the duration of operation of Karmas may be prolonged or shortened as well made more severe or mild due to Udvartana and Apvartana respectively.

3. Stay or Satta means existence of Karma bondage with the soul before coming into fruition or operation. It is the idle state of Karma bodies.

4. Operation or Udaya is the bearing of fruits by the Karma due to all other conditions also being ripe. It is during the operation that the Karma have their good or bad effects on the beings and then leave the soul. It may be involuntary or by deliberate efforts when it is called Udirana (Premature-operation) discussed below at item. (v) It has been prescribed that when Karma come into operation bringing pleasure or pain, one should observe complete equanimity (samata). This will make the Karma shed their attachment with the soul without further acquisition of Karma. If one loses his equanimity and indulges in further passions this will lead to consequent bondage ad-inifinitum.

5. Udirana or Premature Operation means bringing the Karma bondage into operation or fruition by deliberate efforts (like penance). In this process the Karma that could have borne fruits later can be ripened early to give results in advance like ripening of fruits by artificial means. It may not apply to all cases of and types of Karma bondage.

6. Inter-change or Sankarman involves the change of one type of Karma bondage into another type. Ordinarily the Karma bondage adheres to its own Nature, Duration and Intensity etc. and gives results according to its category e.g. Knowledge Obscuring Karma will obscure knowledge only (according to the appropriate nature, duration and intensity). However, it is possible to change one sub-category of Karma into another by proper efforts e.g. Sensory Knowledge-Obscuring Karma (Mati Gyanavarnia) may be changed into Study Knowledge Obscuring Karma (Sruta-Gyanavarnia). There are, however, exceptions e.g. Faith Deluding (Darshan Mohaneeya) Karma cannot be inter-changed with Conduct Deluding (Charitra Mohaneeya) Karma and the sub-types of Life Span (Aayu) Karma cannot be interchanged etc. Such interchange is also possible in respect of duration (Stithi) and intensity (Anubhag) Karma bondage which can be increased or decreased as stated earlier (under intensification (Udvartana) and dilution (apvartana).

7. Dormacy or Upshama - When the Karma (bondage) is made not to give results but are made dormant it is considered a state of Upshama of that Karma. This is like fire covered by ashes. As soon as dormancy is over the Karma start giving results like fire whence ashes have been removed.

8. Flexibility or Niddhat is the state or Karma when its powers can be partially altered by efforts like penance. This is, however, possible subject to extreme conditions and limitation.

9. Inflexibility-Nikachana is such Karma bondage the result of which is inescapable and effects of which cannot be altered by the best of efforts like penance. Such Karma will release the soul only giving results upon operation (Udaya).

There can be more such stages in the relationship of soul with the Karma and between Karma internse. Even some of those described above are overlapping. However, it should be clear that though at times the Karma bondage has a strangle-hold and upper hand on the soul, by adequate efforts the soul can be supreme and can alter and dilute the effects of Karma-nay even completely get rid of them. This shows the importance of human efforts or Purusharth vis a vis destiny. The discussion now comes to the concluding portion i.e. the separation (Nirjara) of the Karma from the soul and its complete liberation or Moksh or Mukti.