Bhadrabahu Vijay

The Process of Spiritual Elevation,

The fourteen Gunasthänaks.

The fourteen Qualitative Stages.

Sadhana and Siddhi

Endeavour and attainment.

Endeavour marks the beginning of the journey of spiritual development. The last and supreme objective of endeavour is spiritual perfection or purification-Mukti- deliverance, Moksha - salvation.

The Sadhakie one who makes the endeavour has to travel step by step; by high, higher and the highest stages in his journey, from endeavour to attainment. Certain actions and reactions occur between effort and attainment of result. Therefore, every dharma, every religion and philosophy has described and prescribed certain stages for the development of the soul. The Sadhak proceeding by those steps or stages reaches his destination and attains the highest peak of Mukti or deliverance.

The Jain philosophy has fixed fourteen stages for the development of the soul; and to indicate by means of those stages, the different levels of spiritual development in Jivas. They have been called Gunasthanaks.

Gunasthanak means the steps or stages of the development of the soul; and character. When the impurities of Karma are discarded, the development of the soul commences. The development of the soul takes place in accordance with the virtues and vices or merits and defects present in it. Räg - attachment, Dwesh - hatred and Moh - infatuation are the three principles that make the soul impure and polluted. The speed of Sadhana or endeavour keeps changing in accordance with the intensity or lightness of these three principles. The low or debased condition of the soul is but the intensity of Räg, Dwesh and Moh. The highest and sublime state of the soul is marked by the complete eradication and disappearance of these three defects. The stages between these two states are called Gunasthanaks


1. Mithyadrishti Gunasthanak

The stage of false-vision or delusion.

Thinking that right, is wrong thinking that truth is untruth. In other words, Mithyathva drishthi is that view of truth which is unnatural. There is no soul in which the eradication of Karma has taken place to some extent or the other. If there is partial purity or clarity in Mithyadrishti it is called Gunästhanak.

Saswadan Samyagdrishti Gunasthanak

The stage of having tasted righteousness.

Saswadan Samyagdrishti Gunasthanak is the name given to the stage of the soul that has once tasted righteousness - the right path but has returned from there for want of faith in Tatvas- principles. This stage is called so because the soul in that stage has once tasted righteousness.

Mishra Gunasthanak

The mixed stage.

The condition of the soul that lives in this state is really strange. It has neither the view of righteousness nor the view of delusion. Its intellect always keeps swinging and vacillating between the two points. It is neither high; nor low; and it keeps moving between the two. states like a pendulum.

Avirat Samyagdrishti Gunasthanak

Uninterested in Sadhana.

By having an absolute faith in the nine tatvas - principles, the Jiva acquires the right vision - but in this stage, man cannot perform such austerities as tapasya, recitation of holy hymns etc, and cannot renounce worldly things; and also cannot make efforts for spiritual attainment. He reflects on the soul but does not attempt to purify it. He will be Avirat i.e., he will not take interest in self-discipline and spiritual endeavours. In respect of these things, he will be uninterested and inactive.

Though he knows and respects dharma, he does not act according to it. Though he knows what is wrong or adharma, he does not give it up. this kind of cowardly state can be seen in many men.

Deshvirati Gunasthanak

Partial practice of Sadhana.

Desh means an aspect. Virat means renunciation. The Jivatma that lives in this condition makes only a partial renunciation. According to his ability, he also performs the twelve vratas or austerities. The soul that lives in this state attains Moksha in three lives minimum and in 15 lives. maximum.

Pramatta Samyati Gunasthanak

The state of a Sadhu who is not always mindful of Sadhana.

Pramad or intoxication is the name given to the mental state of not being careful in one's spiritual efforts. Samyati means Sadhu. The Sadhus who do not carefully conform to the principles and ideals of the life of a Sadhu and who break those rules exist in this Gunasthanak or stage. The Jiva that lives in this state attains Moksha in 3 lives minimum or 15 lives maximum.

Apramatta Samyati Gunasthanak

Absolutely careful regarding a high level of Sadhana.

Those Sadhus are said to be Apramatta Samyati ( level-headed Sadhus) who always keep their eyes fixed on Moksha; who conform to the principles of self-discipline; and who do not entertain any sinful thoughts; and who do not commit any kind of sinful actions. The Jivatma that lives in that estate keeps away from pride, sensual enjoyments. passions, calumniation and gossip, always and in all forms; and lives strictly according to the principle of the life of a Shraman mendicant. The Jivatma that is living in this state achieves Moksha either in this (Janma) life or within the next three lives.


The stage of renunciation.

This stage is also called, Apoorva Karan. In this condition, the Jivatma is completely freed from the gross passions. His soul attains purity and perfection to a vast extent. He controls his attachments, hatred and infatuation to the maximum extent. The Jivtama living in this state attains Moksha either in this life or within the next three lives.


Passionless state.

In this stage, the passions of the Jivatma become completely lean, small and powerless. The soul becomes delivered from passions when it reaches this lofty state. The Jivatma living in this state attains Moksha either in this life or in the next three lives.

Sukshma Samparoy Gunasthanak

The stage with a little avarice remaining.

When the Jlvatma steps into this stage, except avarice all the other passions disappear. Only a little, subtle part of Lobh - avarice remains in this state. The Jivatma living in this stage attains Moksha either in this life or in the next three lives.

Upashant Moh Gunasthanak

Periodically passionless.

The Kashaya or passions of the Jivatma living in this stage become extinguished for a trice. Such a Jivatma attains Moksha either in this life or in three lives.

Kshina Moha Gunasthanak

The stage in which Moha is completely conquered.

The Jivatma that enters this stage gets rid of Moha, infatuation completely and becomes Vitrag (one who has completely conquered and hatred attachments ). Such a Jivatma attains Moksha in this life.

Sayogi Kevali Gunasthanak

The stage of the integrated powers.

In this stage, the soul becomes completely freed from all karmas. It is called Sayogi because mind, voice and body are present. The Jivatma living in this state attains Moksha in this life.

Ayogi Kevali Gunasthanak

Totally free from Karmas.

The Ayogi state is the final step of the soul's progress. In this phase, the original form and quality of the soul shine out. All the remaining Karmas get destroyed. The soul becomes pure and perfect. The soul attains the form of Paramatma having become pure, Perfect and enlightened.

These are the only steps by which the soul can attain absolute perfection. Every soul has to traverse by these steps.


Knowledge obtained from multiple-vision.

Naya and Praman are both knowledge but of two kinds. If knowledge is obtained of an object by means of one dharma or one point of view, that knowledge is called Naya. But the knowledge of an object obtained by means or many dharmas or a multiple-vision is called Praman.

Naya is understanding an object from only one point of view. Praman is to see an object from many points of view and to understand it comprehensively. Praman is that by which the real nature and form of an object can be understood There are four kinds of it-

1. Pratyaksh - Actual observation.

2. Anuman- Estimation.

3 Agam - Scriptures.

4. Upama - Comparison.



Pratyaksh Praman means seeing an object and obtaining a knowledge of it; and determining its form and nature.



Anuman means thinking of an object and to understand it by means of estimation. Hearing the sound and on that basis estimating a man's personality etc.


Knowledge through enquiry

Agam is obtaining the knowledge of an object through what intimate people say about it; and by reading scriptures and sacred books. Agam is the name given to the pure statements and expositions based on tenets; and this knowledge helps us and guides us in our spiritual endeavours. The scriptures contain the reflections and visions of the Paramatma who has realized his soul; and has conquered his attachments. By means of actual observation or estimation, certain truths may not be understood. They have to be understood by means of reading the scriptures


By means of comparison.

Upama is to obtain the knowledge of an object by comparing and contrasting it with other things; and thus determining its nature and form. Comparing it in this manner ''This man is like a Sadhu" or "This garden is like the Nandanvan", etc.