આજ નો દિવસ : વિક્રમ સંવત   ૨૦૭૪  ( નેમિસૂરિ સંવત  ૬૯ )  માગશર સુદ છઠ શુક્રવાર   Dt: 24-11-2017



દોડતા તા ત્યારે લાગતું એવું, આપણા જેવો કોઈ સમર્થ નથી, સહેજ નવરા પડી જોયું ત્યારે, ખબર પડી, જે દોડ્યા તેનો કોઈ અર્થ નથી…

In this chapter we shall discuss answers to some questions that usually come up regarding the theory of Karma.

 

Q.1: Do you mean to say that whatever situation we may be in, it is the result of our previous Karmas and that we can’t do anything about it and we can’t change it anyway?

In any present situation or circumstances, we may feel happy or unhappy. This feeling is due to the result of our past Karma. The happiness is due to past Punya Karma and unhappy feeling is due to past Päp Karma. However our present feeling behind our action constitutes new Karma and that too is going to have its effects in future. Suppose, we are not financially well off. We may undertake a new business activity or find a better paying job. Undertaking any activities with a desire of accomplishment constitutes new Karma. The new undertaking may turn out to be useful in improving our financial condition. In that case we have effectively changed the given situation and the result of the new Karma produces happiness within our self. However we have no knowledge of which Karma would exert its effects and at what time. Some Karmas give an instant effect and some after a long time or even after many births.

 

Q.2: Can you shed some light on destiny (Prärabdha) vs. effort (Purushärtha) in light of the theory of Karma?

Karmas can be divided into three categories.

  • Sanchit or accumulated Karmas:

These Karmas are not currently operative. They are like certificates of deposit. However, we know when our C.D. is going to mature but we never know when Sanchit Karmas are going to mature.

  • Vartamän or present Karmas:

We are currently acquiring these Karmas. They can give effects immediately or later on.

  • Uday or operative Karmas:

The consequences of these Karmas are currently destined for us. They therefore constitute our destiny(Prärabdha).

Operative (Uday) Karmas thus constitute destiny (Prärabdha) and present (Vartamän) Karmas constitute effort (Purushärtha). By effort we are in a position to change our destinyif our present (Vartamän)Karmas are going to be instantly fruitful. We can however never be sure of their instant fruitfulness. That is why our every endeavor does not necessarily succeed. Thus destiny and efforts are not at odds with each other. Rather, they are two sides of the same coin.

 

Q.3: The soul is conscious and Karmas are lifeless. How can lifeless matter modify the property of the soul, which is supposed to be pure, enlightened, and full of bliss?

There is no rule that a lifeless matter cannot influence conscious soul. We experience different types of sensations because we are alive. A dead body does not feel any sensation.

It means that sensations are experienced on account of the existence of soul or consciousness. The sensations are however not felt while a patient is under the influence of anesthetic drugs. If lifeless drugs can thus affect the sensations of a live being, there is no reason to think that lifeless Karma cannot affect the property of the soul. As the bodily sensations revive when they are no longer under the influence of drugs, the soul also can attain self realization when it is no longer subjected to the bondage of Karmas.

 

Q.4: Karmas are lifeless and hence unconscious. How can they be conscious enough to bear specific fruits appropriate to that type of Karma?

Karmas do not have to be conscious of bearing fruits. It is their property that automatically works. If a person consumes poison, the result would be death. For this purpose, poison is not conscious of killing him. It is the inherent property of poison that works. Similarly different types of Karmas have their own respective properties that become effective in their own ways.

 

Q.5: If purity, enlightenment, bliss etc. are the properties of the soul, when did it initially get polluted with Karma?

Worldly soul has been smeared with Karma since time without beginning. It has never been devoid of Karma. Therefore, the question of the soul’s initial bondage with Karma does not arise.

 

Q.6: If the soul has been associated with Karma since the time without beginning, there can never be an end to it. As such the soul can never be devoid of Karma. Then why worry about it?

Though the bondage of Karma is without beginning, it is not the same bondage throughout time. Every Karma has a time limit during which its consequences have to be borne and that Karma sheds off at the end of that time. Meanwhile the soul indulges in new Karma and thereby gets new bondage. If the soul does not indulge in new Karma, it can be devoid of Karma when the consequences of previous Karmas are fully borne and the soul gets disassociated from them. In religious terminology this disassociation is called Nirjarä.

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Punya (Good Deeds)

Why are some people in more desirable situations than the others? Why are some rich while others struggle? Why do some suffer more sickness than others? The answer to such a disparity lies in the understanding of the Punya and the Päp. What are the Punya and the Päp? Punya and Päp are the categories of Karma. Punya karma is earned when our activities are good and comforting to others while a Päp karma is earned when our activities are bad and cause suffering to others. When the Punya karmas mature or give result, they bring happiness and comfort, and when the Päp karmas mature or give results, they bring nothing but suffering and miseries.

Now, it is obvious that what we experience is nothing other than the result of our past actions. Knowing this reminds us that our activities should be wholesome if we want happiness and comfort in life, otherwise we should be ready to suffer unhappiness and discomfort. When talking about activities, people mostly think of physical activities, but we should not forget that verbal expressions, and mental thoughts are also considered activities. For this reason, not only our physical activities have to be pious or wholesome, but our speech and thoughts should also be pure. We should remember that we also accumulate Punya and Päp (karmas) by asking someone else to do something good or bad or by encouraging someone else to do good or bad.

Lord Mahävir’s message is “Live and let live”. Everybody desires to live and enjoy the comforts of life. We should not come in the way of anyone else seeking the same. If we properly understand the implications of this message, it will go a long way in molding our attitude towards other living beings. But, around us we see and hear that many people hunt or fish and they eat meat, chicken, fish, eggs, etc. Some meat-eating people argue that they do not actually kill animals or they say these creatures were created for our food. Therefore, eating meat or other animal foods would not affect them. They do not realize that by eating meat or other animal foods they are directly or indirectly instrumental in killing animals, birds, fish, etc., The more they eat, the more killing there will be. They do not realize that their direct as well as indirect actions bring Päp or Punya. Unfortunately, because most Päps do not show their results immediately, the people do not care about the consequences.

We also hear about riots in, which people plunder, hit, and kill others and set fire to shops, homes, and buildings. By doing so, they put a lot of people through suffering. These people while doing such heinous activities may think that they are getting even; however, they fail to realize that by causing suffering to others they themselves will have to suffer the consequences of their evil acts at some point, in this life, or future lives.

Consequently, our actions should not disturb the comforts of other living beings, hurt or kill them in any way, directly or indirectly. By providing comfort and security to others, we gain Punya. Punya brings happiness during this life or following lives. On the other hand, if we cause suffering or unhappiness to others, we acquire Päp. Päp brings unhappiness in this or future lives. Let us understand from the following story how we accumulate the Punya and the Päp.

Story of Shälibhadra

A long time ago, a poor widow had a young son. She had to work hard to provide for herself and her son. Once, there was a day of a great festival and neighboring families prepared a tasteful pudding of milk and rice called kheer. The neighborhood kids were enjoying the kheer, and seeing this the poor boy went to his mother and asked her to make kheer for him too. He did not realize that his mother did not have enough money to buy the milk, rice, and sugar needed for making kheer. The mother tried to explain the situation, but the boy started crying for kheer.

The mother could not tolerate his crying, so she said, “Don’t cry, my son, I will make kheer for you.” She went to the neighbors and borrowed milk, sugar and rice and made kheer. She served the kheer in an earthen plate, and told him to wait until it had cooled down a little. Then she left to get the water from the well.

While the boy waited for kheer to cool, a monk came to the boy’s home for alms (to get food). The boy was very happy to have this opportunity to offer alms to the monk and invited him come in. While he was serving the kheer, he decided to serve all the kheer to the monk with joy. After the monk left, he ate whatever kheer was stuck to the plate and the pot. He did not regret for his action but instead felt very happy that he could offer the food to the monk. Since he had offered the kheer to the monk willingly, he earned a lot of Punya. As a result of this Punya, in his next life he was born into a very wealthy family with all luxuries. His name was Shälibhadra. Shälibhadra later in life realized what life is all about. He renounced the luxuries of life, and uplifted his soul by becoming a monk of Lord Mahävir.

Story of a Butcher and King Shrenik

There lived a butcher in Magadh City. He enjoyed his job. One day, King Shrenik requested that there would be no more killing in the city. All slaughterhouses and the killing of animals in the city stopped at the request of king but the butcher continued killing the animals. When he was asked why he did not follow King Shrenik’s request, he said he loved his job of killing and could not stop. King Shrenik decided to put him in a dry well so that there would be nothing for him to kill. To everyone’s surprise, the killing did not stop there either. The butcher made animals from wet clay and then pretended to kill them. Since, he enjoyed killing so much, he accumulated Päp (bad karmas) that gave rise to a situation where he has to suffer again in his next life.

From these two stories, we learn that if we want happiness and comfort, we should offer comfort to others. As the saying goes you reap what you sow.

List of Good and Bad Deeds:

The following is a list of some activities that can bring comfort to others and can ultimately provide the same for us. They are:

  • Offering food to the needy (only vegetarian food)

  • Offering clothes to the needy

  • Helping the sick

  • Helping others to acquire knowledge

  • Giving charity (be sure that the money is used for a good cause)

  • Helping parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, monks, and religious teachers

  • Helping animals or organizations that help animals

  • Studying religious scriptures and following its precepts in our daily lives

  • Worshipping Tirthankars like Lord Mahävir.

 

Here is a list of some of the activities that can cause discomfort to others and can ultimately cause discomfort to us. They are:

  • Being cruel or violent to others including humans, animals, birds, bugs, etc.

  • Showing disrespect to parents, teachers or others

  • Speaking harsh words or planning violence

  • Not following the religious principles in the daily life

  • Being angry or greedy

  • Being arrogant

  • Being deceptive.

Someone has rightly said that:

Sow a good thought and reap a good action

Sow a good action and reap a good habit

Sow a good habit and reap a good character

Sow a good character and reap a good destiny.

 

Our life is nothing but full of habits and we are free to cultivate our own good habits.

 

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Päp (Sources of sins)

We are always busy doing something good that may be helping others or being bad and causing trouble to others. When we help someone, not only does it bring comfort to that person, but it also brings us comfort by Punya. But when we cause trouble for others, it causes us to suffer too due to Päp (sins). The kinds of activities that cause others to suffer are called sinful activities and they can range in various levels from simply telling a tale to actual killing. Jain scriptures describe eighteen kinds of such activities, which are considered the sources of the sins that lead to bad deeds or Päp. These Päp cause troubles in our current live as well as future lives. Therefore, we should be careful not to carry out any of the following 18 sinful activities, which are interconnected with one another.

Eighteen Sinful Activities:

 

01

Pränätipät

Violence

02

Mrushäväda

Untruth

03

Adattädäna

Theft

04

Maithuna

Unchaste

05

Parigraha

Possessiveness

06

Krodha

Anger

07

Mäna

Arrogance

08

Mäyä

Deceit

09

Lobha

Greed