the Jainism, there is a great deal of importance given to the leshya. A leshya
refers to the state of mind, mental attitude. Our activities reflect our
attitude. The following illustration shows how our activities vary with the
states of our attitude.
there were six friends, who were going on a trip. Along the way, they got lost
in a forest. After a while they were hungry and thirsty. They searched for the
food for sometime, and finally found a fruit tree.
they ran to the tree, the first man said, "Let’s cut the tree down and get the
fruit." The second one said, "Don’t cut the whole tree down, cut off a big
branch instead." The third friend said, "Why do we need a big branch? A small
branch has enough fruit." The fourth one said, "We do not need to cut the
branches, let us just climb up and get the bunches of the fruit." The fifth
man said, "Why pick those many fruit and waste them, instead just pick the
fruit that we need to eat." The sixth friend said quietly, "There are plenty
of good fruit on the ground, so let’s just eat them first."
can see that the states of minds of these six friends caused a range of
thoughts that begin with the destruction of the entire tree and ended with the
picking up of the fruits on the ground. The six friends’ minds represent six
types of leshyas.
first friend’s state of mind represents krishna (black) leshya.
second friend’s state of mind represents neel (blue) leshya.
third friend’s state of mind represents kapot (brown) leshya.
fourth friend’s state of mind represents tejo (red) leshya.
fifth friend’s state of mind represents padma (yellow) leshya.
sixth friend’s state of mind represents shukla (white) leshya.
first leshya is the worst and the sixth leshya is the best. The first three
leshyas lead the soul to ruin, and the last three lead the soul to the
spiritual prosperity. We know that our minds run into different states all the
times for the better or for the worst. Therefore, we should strive for the
white leshya, and not the red leshya. The story of King Prasenjit, who lived
during Lord Mahavira’s time, illustrates how fast the surrounding can effect
our mind and in turn our leshyas as well as our spiritual progress.
day, King Shrenik was on his way to pay homage to Lord Mahavira, and he saw a
sage who was meditating and had a bright glow around him. He bowed down to
sage and continued on his way. After reaching Lord Mahavira, King Shrenik
asked the Lord, "Oh Lord, I saw a brilliant sage who was engaged in the
meditation. If he died at that moment, what would be his destiny?"
Lord replied, "He would have been hurled down to the seventh hell-region."
king was much astonished to hear this reply from the Lord. He thought,
would such a sage go to hell? Perhaps the Lord might have misunderstood
He asked the Lord again, "Oh Lord, if his soul leaves this body just now,
where will it go?"
Lord replied, "He will be an angel in the Sarvarthasiddhi, a heavenly region."
king was much surprised at this reply, too. He thought, "The Lord first said
he would attain the seventh hell, and now he says that the sage would be an
angel." The king was perplexed. At that very moment, drums began sounding in
the sky and voices of ‘victory’ were proclaimed. The king asked the Lord,
"What is the cause of these sounds?"
Lord said, "Oh, king, the sage about whom you were inquiring has acquired
omniscience and so the angels are beating the drums and proclaiming the
king was extremely confused by these answers and requested for the
Lord Mahavira explained, "Oh king, right before you approached the sage, two
soldiers leading your procession diverted his mind by their conversation that
his son was betrayed by his entrusted ministers and they were planning to
overthrow his son and even kill him. His meditation was disturbed due to
rising of the affection for his son. He was inflamed with rage, and he lost
his mental equanimity. Therefore, he started mentally to fight against his
ministers. He very violently discharged his weapons one after the other
against his ministers. Soon his weapons were exhausted and his foes were not
destroyed. So, he thought of throwing his steel helmet against them in order
to destroy them. If he would have died at that moment, he would have gone to
the 7th hell. Now as he reached for the steel helmet, he realized
that he was not the King Prasenjit, but that he was a sage. His anger calmed
down immediately. He remembered that he has been initiated into the vow of
equanimity and of non-violence to all living beings mentally, verbally, and
physically. He deeply regretted and repented for the breach of his vow and
indulgence in the acute anger. He further thought that he ought to have
maintained love for all the creatures of the world, ought to have no malice
for the ministers, and no attachment for his son. He severely condemned his
mental act. He despised it and withdrew himself from such a feat of anger and
malice. Oh king, when he thought this way, you asked me the next question and
I replied that he would be born in the Sarvarthasiddhi (heaven) as an angel.
Even thereafter, he continued the purification of his mental reflections and
gradually he reached the stage of ‘Kshapaka’, where he annihilated all of his
ghati karmas, and attained omniscience."
Shrenik’s doubts were resolved and he learned how mental reflections can
fluctuate. He, also learned that not only can physical acts or verbal abuses
have such devastating effects, but so can mental acts. We, too, must learn
from this episode. Let us understand how a person with the different leshyas
behaves and what are the outcome of such leshyas.
The people in this state of mind do not show any compassion or mercy. Everyone
is afraid of them as their anger turns into the violence. They always burn
with jealousy and have ill-will for everyone. They are filled with animosity
and malice, and do not believe in the religion. This state of mind is the
worst and most dangerous. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he will to
Neel (Blue) Leshya:
The people in this state of mind are proud, haughty, and lazy. They are
unreliable and other people avoid their company. They are cheaters, cowards,
and hypocrites. Such people also avoid the religious discourses. If anyone
dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a plant.
Kapot (Brown) Leshya:
The people in this state of mind always remain sad and gloomy. They find
faults in others and are vindictive. They boast about themselves, become
excited over small matters, and lack mental balance. If anyone dies in this
state of mind, he gets reborn as a bird or an animal.
Tejo (Red) Leshya:
People in this state of mind are very careful about their actions and
discriminate between good and evil. They know the difference between what is
right and what is wrong. They are kind, benevolent, religious, and lead a
harmonious life. If anyone dies in this state of mind, may get reborn as a
Padma (Yellow) Leshya:
People in this state of mind are kind and benevolent and forgive everyone,
even their enemies. They observe some austerities and are vigilant in keeping
their vows till their last breath. They remain unaffected by joys and sorrows.
If anyone dies in this leshya, he gets reborn in heaven as a celestial being.
Shukla (White) Leshya:
There are two levels of this leshyas. The People in this state of mind
strictly observe the principles of non-violence, truth, non-stealing,
celibacy, and non-attachment. They are trustworthy, treat every soul as if it
was their own soul, and do not have any ill feelings even for their enemies.
They remain calm even if someone abuses them. If anyone dies in this state of
mind, he gets reborn as a human being or an angel. The people who have
perfected this state of mind where there is no more attachment or hatred and
treat everyone alike. They do not become happy or sad. Their state of mind is
the purest. If anyone dies in this perfected state of mind, he or she will be
liberated from the cycle of birth and death.