આજ નો દિવસ : વિક્રમ સંવત   ૨૦૭૪  ( નેમિસૂરિ સંવત  ૬૯ )  માગશર સુદ બીજ સોમવાર   Dt: 20-11-2017



તલવાર કી કિંમત મ્યાન સે નહિ ધાર સે હોતી હૈ, કપડો કી કિંમત રંગ સે નહિ તાર સે હોતી હૈ, કહી ભી દેખો મહત્વ મૂલકા હોતા હૈ છીલકે કા નહિ, આદમી કી કિંમત પૈસે સે નહિ સદાચાર સે હોતી હૈ…

Jain Philosophy

Jiv, Ajiva, Punya, Päp, Äsrava, and Bandha

Jiv, Ajiv, Punya, Päp, Äsrava, Bandha, Samvar, Nirjarä and Moksha are the nine fundamentals or Nav Tattva.

The nine tattvas or principles are the single most important subjects of Jain philosophy. They deal with the theory of karma, which provides the basis for the path of liberation. Without proper knowledge of these tattvas, a person cannot progress spiritually.

The Nine Tattvas (Principles) are as follows:

 

Name

Meaning

1

Jiv

Soul or living being (Consciousness)

2

Ajiv

Non living substances

3

Äsrava

Influx of karma

4

Bandha

Bondage of karma

5

Punya*

Virtue

6

Päp*

Sin

7

Samvar

Stoppage of the influx of karma

8

Nirjarä

Partial exhaustion of the accumulated karma

9

Moksha

Total liberation from karma

*Some scriptures define Punya (virtue) and Päp (sin) not as separate tattvas. They include them in Äsrava and Bandha. In reality Punya and Papa are the result of Äsrava and Bandha. Hence truly there exist only seven tattvas.Samyaktva or Samyag-Darshan (Right Faith) is attained when one fully understands the six universal substances and nine fundamentals.

The philosophy of Nav Tattva is very practical. Omniscients have explained to us the existence of the living beings, and their relationship with Karmas through these nine aspects. One stops the influx of Karmas through Samvar, and eradicates the Karmas through Nirjarä; and by these two processes, Samvar and Nirjarä, one liberates himself from the karmic bondage, and attains the ultimate goal, the liberation (Moksha). One should therefore pursue the path of Samvar and Nirjarä to be successful in discovering the truth about one’s own self.

Jain philosophy views nine fundamentals or Nav Tattva in 3 categories:

ñJneya meaning those to be known

ñHeya meaning those to be avoided

ñUpädeya meaning those to be adopted

Of the nine fundamentals,

ñJiv and Ajivs are Jneya (to be known)

ñÄsrava and Bandha are Heya (to be avoided)

ñSamvar, Nirjarä and Moksha are Upädeya (to be adopted)

ñPäp is Heya and

ñPunya is Upädeya for the beginners and Heya for spiritually advanced person

Punya is a meritorious deed done with a feeling of self-satisfaction and accomplishment (in other words with ego). However if the same deed done without the feeling of accomplishment and attachment (with our ego) is not Punya but the action or deed is considered the true nature of a person (Shuddha Bhäv). Hence Punya activity is considered Upädeya in the beginning stages of spiritual development to progress towards liberation (for laymen). For those who are active aspirants of liberation it is considered Heya, because such aspirants should not have the feeling of accomplishments and attachments to even meritorious deeds. Their activities or deeds are always be meritorious without the feeling of attachments to the activities. No karma can attach to a person if his/her action is done without any attachments or feeling of accomplishments.

Some description of Jiv has been given in the earlier chapter while dealing with Shad-dravya. It should however be clear from the discussion thus far that the knowledge of these fundamentals or of anything else is meant for knowing the Self. This Self is variously known as Jiv, Ätmä, Paramätmä, Chaitanya, Brahma, consciousness, etc., Thus soul being the focal point and ultimate objective of all knowledge, it would be useful to discuss it here at some length.

Jiv (Living Beings)

‘What is this soul after all?’ No one has ever seen it. Therefore atheists (people who do not believe in God), who refuse to believe in anything that cannot be perceived or grasped by senses, deny the existence of the soul. Most scientists contribute to this view. They think that the body is a biochemical composition and is made from a peculiar combination of genes from the parents. As long as the composition is active, it is said to be a living organism; and when the activity comes to an end, it is considered to be dead. But science does not clarify what exactly makes it active and why does the activity come to an end. It is a fact that when a person dies, his heart, kidneys and other limbs may still be active but the body is unable to use them and therefore they cease to function. If however, they are removed from that body in time, they can be transplanted in another body and function effectively in the new body. Does it not mean that there was some sort of invisible energy that was activating different limbs of the body while it was alive? That energy happens to disappear at the time of death and the presence or loss of that energy is the difference between life and death. Spiritual science calls that energy soul.

There exist an infinite number of souls and every living body has a soul. (Sädhäran Vanaspatikäya has infinite number of souls in the one body). The soul is invisible and has no form or shape. It cannot therefore be experienced by the senses. It is an element of its own and cannot be created by any sort of combination or composition and can never be decomposed. It is eternal and lasts forever. From time to time, worldly soul resides in different organisms through, which it manifests itself. This type of transmigration and new embodiment birth after birth has been going on since the time without beginning. Even though a particular body happens to be its temporary residence, soul tends to take it as its permanent abode and gets happy or unhappy depending upon the type of that body and its environment. Forgetful of its true nature, it aspires to get maximum happiness within the framework of its given embodiment and surrounding situations. This attachment results from the delusion of the soul about its true nature. Attachment gives rise to the disposition of craving for the desirable and of aversion for the undesirable. These craving and aversion are the causes of the bondage of Karmas.

Every living being wants to be happy. The deluded sense of being one with the body however causes the soul to feel happy or unhappy depending upon the prevailing situation, as a consequence of its previous Karmas. Our ancient seers have dwelt deeply in search of true happiness. They tried to explore the Self by raising the question, ‘Koham’, which means ‘Who am I’. The appropriate answer that they obtained was ‘Soham’, which means that I am that (soul). They also perceived that the ‘I’ or the true Self is the source of true happiness and the abode of perfect bliss. They realized that lifeless matter does not have the property to make any one happy or unhappy and that happiness is the inherent property of the soul.

We however do not experience lasting happiness, because we do not realize the true properties of the soul. After thoroughly exploring the nature of the soul, the seers have concluded that the principal property of the soul that distinguishes it from lifeless matter is the capability to know or capability of being aware. None of the five lifeless substances possesses that property. The scriptures have described this as:

Upayoga Lakshano Jivah

It means the capability to know is the characteristic of the soul. This attribute is inseparable from consciousness and therefore it is its basic characteristic. As such, the soul should simply stay aware of any given situation without in any way reacting to it because none of the situations really belong to it. This would result in a sense of detachment to any extraneous influence, which will ultimately enable the soul to exist forever in ultimate bliss. It is not surprising that the seers have called this bliss as indescribable.To sum up, the soul is pure consciousness. Infinite awareness and eternal bliss are its principal characteristics. Sanskrit words for eternity, consciousness and bliss are respectively Sat, Chit and Änand. Therefore a perfect soul is variously known asSachchidänanda, Chidänand or Sahajänand. It is intangible, invisible, colorless, odorless, tasteless, formless, and shapeless. It is therefore described by Neti, Neti (Not this, not that). It can however be experienced by dwelling deep within oneself.

Ajiv (Non-living Substances)

The description of Ajiv and its five categories has been discussed earlier. Jiv and the five categories of Ajivs are not in any way dependent on one another. Each of these six substances has potential to undergo changes in its own states. Other substances play the role of being instrumental in effecting the changes. For instance, Dharmästikäya, Adharmästikäya, Äkäsha and Käl play the role of being instrumental in the change of location and time. Worldly soul does not try to identify itself with these four substances. The role of Pudgal on Jiv and of Jiv on Pudgal has been the source of a lot of confusion. Worldly soul does not realize that its embodiment and all its surroundings have resulted from its past Karmas. It tends to identify with all those situations ignoring the fact that they are momentary. This has been the root cause of continued bondage of Karma to the soul and resulting transmigration. The discussion of Nav Tattvas will analyze the state of worldly soul and the factors that prevent or help in attaining liberation. Therefore Pudgaland particularly Karma Pudgal, will be discussed in detail.

Punya and Päp (Good Deeds and Bad Deeds)

Punya is acquired by meritorious or virtuous deeds and Päp is acquired by evil or vicious acts.

As long as the soul is embodied with karma, it indulges in one or the other activity. This activity may be physical or mental or both. It is possible that a person may refrain from physical activity for some time. His mental apparatus however never rests. It functions even when he rests or sleeps. Every activity involves Karma and one has to bear the consequences sooner or later. If one undertakes meritorious activity with the feeling of attachment, he earns Punya or Shubha (wholesome) Karmas; if he indulges in evil activity, he acquires Päp or Ashubha (unwholesome) Karmas. Depending upon the intensity and accumulation of wholesome Karmas, one may be blessed with happy and comfortable situations like, handsome and strong or beautiful and graceful body, good health etc. Unwholesome Karmas on the other hand result in unhappy and miserable situations like ugliness, illness, poverty etc. It is therefore generally accepted that everyone should try to undertake meritorious activities and refrain from evil ones.

Many physical activities may be called either good or bad. Organized societies endeavor to encourage beneficial or virtuous activities and to discourage the wicked or vicious ones. There may also be legal provisions to forbid some of the manifestly wicked activities so as to maintain peace and order within society. Some of the activities however cannot be clearly labeled as good or bad. In the spiritual sense, the intention behind performing them, and the disposition in which an activity is performed, play an important role in deciding whether it would attract wholesome or unwholesome Karmas. Let us examine this aspect with the help of examples.

Doctor and Burglar

A burglar, for instance, comes across a person who he wants to rob. He fatally stabs the person. On the other hand, a patient with tumor in stomach is advised to undergo surgery. He goes to a surgeon who opens his belly with the surgical knife. Unfortunately for the patient, the tumor is in a very advanced stage or there are other complications. Consequently, the patient dies during surgery. In both these cases a person hurts other person with a knife and the other person dies. Does it mean that the burglar and the surgeon would attract the same type of Karma? This is not true. The burglar’s activity is evidently sinful, while that of the surgeon is meritorious.

Two Buddhist Monks

The two Buddhist monks named Suresh muni and Raman muni, who have taken a vow of celibacy including not to touch opposite sex person, were traveling from one place to another. On the way they come across a river that is flooded. On the bank of the river, there was a beautiful young girl intending to go across but she was scared of so much water. Realizing her anxiety, Suresh muni offers his hand and leads her into water. Watching this, Raman muni objected the action of Suresh muni, but Suresh muni ignored his objection and went ahead. The flow of the river got swifter causing the girl to drift. Suresh muni therefore holds her waist and leads her ahead. For Raman muni, this act of Suresh muni was beyond imagination and he severely reproached Suresh muni for his audacity. Suresh muni again ignored his objection. Water gets deeper ahead. The girl did not know how to swim. Suresh muni therefore carried her on his back and swims across the river. This is too much for Raman muni who cursed Suresh muni for gross violation of the vow. Suresh muni did not respond in any way. He leaved the girl on the other bank and quietly proceeded with Raman muni. On the way, Raman muni rebuked him again and again for what he had done and warned him of the dire consequences when they confront Guru Maharaj. Suresh muni maintained his silence while reproaches of his friend continue unabated. After listening for one hour Suresh muni pointed out that he left the girl one-hour back while Raman muni was still holding her in his head.

It is evident that in this example that Suresh muni had no intention other than helping a girl cross the river. While holding her hand or while carrying her on his back, he had no other thoughts. Therefore, he left her as soon as he reached the other bank. He even did not look at her beauty. For him, she was simply a person who was in need of help. He rendered it without any passionate thoughts throughout. Raman muni’s attitude on the other hand was totally different. Though he did not even touch the girl, he was thrilled by the imaginary sensation of close contact of a beautiful girl. In his heart he longed to have the feel of her touch. He did not actually do so simply because it was forbidden. In the spiritual sense he therefore, committed the sin of indulging in undesirable activity while Suresh muni earned the Punya of helping a person in need.

Thus Päp and Punya are to be viewed in relative terms and they depend upon one’s mental attitude in a given situation.

Punyänubandhi Punya

Concepts of Punya and Päp are more or less identical with most religions. The latter concept is however more subtly treated by Indian philosophies. They take into consideration not only the actual act but also the intention behind it. They are unanimous in adoring the meritorious intentions and activities and in condemning the sinful ones. As explained above, one may obtain material happiness and comforts as a result of wholesome Karmas, but then what? Material happiness does come to an end and comfortable situations do not last forever. And then one has to undergo miseries unless one has in the meantime earned other Punya Karmas.This earning of new Punya Karma while enjoying the fruits of earlier ones is known in Jain terminology as Punyänubandhi Punya. In summary, while enjoying the fruits of wholesome Karmas one acquires further wholesome Karmas.

Punyänubandhi Päp

While suffering the consequences of Päp or unwholesome Karmas, one may acquire Punya Karmas is called Punyänubandhi Päp. As a consequence of Päp Karmas, a person does undergo varying degrees of miseries. If however that person realizes that his miseries are the consequence of his previous Karmas, he will bear the miseries calmly and with a sense of detachment and objectivity. He will tolerate pain and misery with equanimity. This attitude will earn him Punyas. This action is known as Punyänubandhi Päp. In Summary, while suffering for unwholesome Karmas one acquires wholesome Karmas.

Summary Punya and Päp Karma

The wholesome as well as unwholesome Karmas cause bondage to which the soul gets chained. If unwholesome Karmas are shackles of iron, wholesome ones are those of gold. Both of them get in the way of the soul’s liberation and eventually even the wholesome Karmas must be avoided to attain liberation. However, wholesome karmas are needed to proceed on to the path of liberation.

One should understand that the wholesome karma (Punya) is a meritorious deed done with a feeling of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. However if the same deed done without the feeling of accomplishment and attachment, then it is not a Punya but the action or deed is considered the true nature of a person. No karma can attach to a person if his/her action is done without any attachments or feeling of accomplishments. This can be done by cultivating a sense of detachment in all situations, favorable as well as unfavorable.

No situation lasts forever and every conceivable situation come to an end sooner or later. Why get infatuated or feel miserable in a situation, which is ephemeral? If a person stays tuned to such a detached attitude and maintains equanimity, he does not attract new Karmas.

His earlier Karmas would steadily drip off as he bears their consequences. In due course he will shake off all Karmas and proceed on the path of liberation. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible for a worldly soul to stay continuously tuned to its true nature for very long. The seers have stated that no one can continuously concentrate on any object more than two Ghadis or 48 minutes. Beyond that time the attention of the aspirant gets diverted. Thus after staying tuned to true nature, attention reverts to other aspects. During periods of such reversals it is better to be involved in wholesome activities rather than indulging in unwholesome ones. Therein lies the preference ofPunya Karmas over Päp Karmas.

Äsrava and Bandha (Inflow of Karmas and Bondage of Karmas)

The next two fundamentals, which are Äsrava and Bandha, are closely related. In a way these two fundamentals are two aspects of the same phenomenon pertaining to bondage of Karma. The term Äsrava is made up of two words, ‘Aa, meaning from all sides and‘Srav’ meaning dripping in. So Äsrava, which is also spelled as Äshrava, means inflow of Karma. Bandha means bondage of incoming Karma with the soul.

As explained earlier, every activity involves Karma. Whether one indulges in activity by mind, words or physical action, he does acquire Karma. Since worldly soul continually stays involved in one or another activity, the resulting Karmas continue to flow towards it. Its involvement with activities, serve as Äsrava or doors through which Karmas enter. Thus Äsrava of Karma continues to occur more or less incessantly. If the soul gets involved in virtuous activities, Äsrava happens to be of wholesome Karmas. If it is involved in unwholesome activities, Äsrava happens to be of unwholesome Karmas. This involvement mainly occurs because of defilements or Kashäyas that exist in soul.

None of such situations really belong to the pure soul. They are not and in no case can become part and parcel of the pure soul. If one understands it correctly, one can remain unaffected by any given situation and stay in equanimity. The term correctly is very pertinent in this context, because the true nature of the soul happens to be pure, enlightened and full of blessed consciousness. In its pure state it is devoid of any defilement or Kashäyas. As such, the soul is supposed to simply observe whatever happens as a result of operative Karmas and stay aware of any given situation without reacting to it in any way. Since time without beginning, worldly soul has stayed deluded about its true nature and has been conditioned to react to any situation with a sense of craving or aversion. If it does not react that way and views all possible situations with equanimity, it does not attract new Karmas and can avoid Äsrava or incoming of Karmas and the resulting Bandha.

Thus Äsrava and Bandha mainly occur on account of ignorance of the soul about its true nature. One may, however, question how any conscious person can be ignorant about one’s self. The ignorance of the soul regarding its true nature happens to be on account of its delusion. Its perception remains deluded, just as a drunken person stays deluded about himself. This wrong perception is known as Mithyätva. On account of this delusion and ignorance, the soul views any given situation as the cause of its own happiness or unhappiness. If the situation is pleasing to the senses, the soul identifies itself with that feeling and craves for continuance of such situations. If it is unpleasing, soul identifies with the resulting unhappiness and tries to avoid it. Thus it continues to react to different situations with the sense of craving or aversion.

These cravings and aversions are the defilements of the soul because they defile its true nature of staying in equanimity. These defilements are expressed in the form of:

ñKrodha (Anger, enmity etc.)

ñMäna (Ego and arrogance)

ñMäyä (Deception)

ñLobha (attachment and greed)

These are known as the four Kashäyas or four passions, which drag the soul downwards. In addition to these, there are No-kashäyas or semi defilements like joy, gloom, affection, disaffection, fear, disgust and certain sensual impulses. On account of these Kashäyasand No-kashäyas, the soul indulges in arrogance, greed, joy, affection, love etc. when it views any given situation as favorable. If it views the situation as unfavorable, it indulges in anger, deception, gloom, disaffection, fear, disgust etc.

Äsrava

Äsrava is the cause, which leads to the influx of good and evil karma and which leads to the bondage of the soul.

Äsrava may be described as attraction in the soul toward sense objects. The following are causes of Äsrava or influx of good and evil karma:

Mithyatva

Ignorance

Avirati

Lack of self restraint

Pramada*

Unawareness or unmindfulness

Kashäya

Passions like anger, conceit, deceit, and lust

Yoga

Activities of mind, speech, and body

*Some Jain literatures mention only four causes of Äsrava. They include Pramäda in the category of Kasäya.

Bandha

The detail of Bandha is described in the chapter – Theory of Karma and Reincarnation

Nav Tattva Part II: Samvar, Nirjarä, and Moksha

(Prevention of Karmas, Eradication of Karmas and Liberation)

Samvar means prevention of the incoming new Karmas

Nirjarä means the partial eradication of acquired Karmas

Moksha means the total eradication of acquired Karmas

All three are to be resorted to and are therefore considered Upädeya. We should continually strive to achieve Samvar and Nirjarä. They are meant to guide us in adopting the right conduct. After all, the purpose of studying religion is to learn the appropriate mode of behavior so as to attain salvation in the end. Samvar and Nirjarä describe the ways one can use to prevent the Karmic bondage and to get rid of Karmas in order to gain liberation. If bondage of Karma is considered a disease that afflicts the soul and Äsravathe door through which the disease enters, Samvar is the prevention of the disease andNirjarä is the cure. Since prevention is better than cure, let us first examine how to prevent the influx of Karmas.

Samvar (Prevention of Karmas)

It has been stated earlier that a living being happens to be in various situations due to its Karmas. One has to accept the given situation with a sense of equanimity. If he views it dispassionately without in any way reacting to it, operative Karmas are exhausted in due course and he does not acquire new Karma. Worldly soul is however conditioned to react to any given situation favorably or unfavorably. If the situation is to his liking, he feels happy over it and craves for its continuation. He usually tends to think that the happy situation is a result of his efforts and takes pride for it. He may also think that people who are unhappy, have to blame themselves for their miseries; because in his opinion they lack or do not put enough effort into improving their condition. As such, his success may lead him to such a level of pride and grandiosity that it would be hard for him to cultivate a sense of compassion for the miseries and unhappiness of others. His arrogance may also make him prone to develop a sense of disgust and contempt for the miserable.

If the situation is not to one’s liking, the person feels unhappy and strives to make it better. There is nothing wrong in striving to improve a given situation. Unfortunately people do not mind resorting to foul means for this purpose. An ordinary person usually tends to think that some extraneous factors or some people have contrived to create the unhappy conditions or they are otherwise instrumental in bringing unhappiness and misery to him. As such, he harbors ill feeling for them and cultivates a sense of jealousy or hostility towards those whom he suspects of being responsible for his misery or unhappiness. Thus, an ordinary person is conditioned to interact to any given situation with a sense of craving or aversion.

Wrong perception, absence of restraint, indolence and passions are the main causes of the influx of Karmas. Craving and aversion lead people to indulge in such defilements from time to time. Of all these, the four Kashäyas of Krodha, Mäna, Maya and Lobha are the principal defiling factors. If the soul avoids them, it can stay in equanimity in all-conceivable situations. It can prevent the influx of new Karmas while facing the consequences of the current operative Karmas. This is similar to closing all openings of our house when dirt and trash happen to

be flung inside due to a tornado. Staying in equanimity may not be as easy as closing the doors. It should not however be too difficult, and it does not mean that one should not make an effort to change a given situation. Making effort is also Karma and if that Karma happens to give instant results, the situation may change. One should avoid the sense of pride and arrogance in favorable circumstances and stop blaming anything or anybody else for unfavorable circumstances. In short, one should have the right perception so as to avoid indulging in Kashäyas in all circumstances. Staying free of Kashäyas is Samvarand it helps prevent the inflow of new Karmas.

The method that stops fresh karma from attaching into the soul is called Samvar. This process is a reverse process of Äsrava. It can be accomplished by constant practice of:

ñRight belief

ñObservance of vows

ñAwareness

ñPassionlessness

ñPeacefulness of vibratory activities

57 Ways of Samvar

Jain literature explains 57 practical ways, a person can stop the influx of karma.

Type of Samvar

Meaning

Total

Samitis

Carefulness

5

Guptis

Preservation

3

Yati Dharma

Religious Virtues

10

Bhävanä

Reflections or Thoughts

12

Parishaha

Subduing of Suffering

22

Chäritra

Conduct

5

 

 

 

Five Samitis (Carefulness): Samitis purify the actions

Iryä Samiti

Proper care in walking

Bhäshä Samiti

Proper care in speaking

Eshanä Samiti

Proper care in begging

Ädäna Nikshepa Samiti

Proper care in taking and keeping

Utsarga Samiti

Proper care in disposing waste

Three Guptis (Preservations): Guptis prohibits sinful activities

Mano Gupti

Proper control over Mind

Vachan Gupti

Proper control over Speech

Käya Gupti

Proper control over Body

Ten Yati Dharma (Religious Virtues):

Kshamä

Forbearance, Forgiveness

Märdava

Modesty, Humility

Ärjava

Straightforwardness, Candor

Shaucha

Contentment

Satya

Truthfulness

Samyam

Self-restraint, Control of Senses

Tapa

Austerity, Penance

Tyäg

Renunciation

Akinchanya

Non-attachment

Brahmacharya

Celibacy, Chastity

Twelve Reflections (Thoughts, Bhävanä, or Anuprekshä):

Anitya Bhävanä

Impermanence of the world

Asharan Bhävanä

No one provides protection

Samsara Bhävanä

No permanent relationships in the universe

Ekatva Bhävanä

Solitude of the soul

Anyatva Bhävanä

Separateness

Asuci Bhävanä

Impurity of the body

Äsrava Bhävanä

Influx of karma

Samvar Bhävanä

Stoppage of influx of karma

Nirjarä Bhävanä

Shedding of karma

Loka Bhävanä

Transitoriness of the universe

Bodhi-durlabha Bhävanä

Unattainability of the right faith, knowledge, and conduct

Dharma Bhävanä

Unattainability of true preceptor, scriptures, and religion

Reflections on Universal Friendship (additional reflections):

Maitri

Amity

Pramod

Appreciation

Karunä

Compassion

Mädhyastha

Equanimity

Twenty-two Parishaha:

A person should remain in the state of equanimity when hardship occurs in the life. There are 22 types of hardships defined in the scripture. Following are some examples:

ñHunger, Thirst, Cold, Heat, Insect bites, Hearing of evil words, Diseases, etc.

Five Chäritra or Conduct:

To remain steady in a state of spiritual purity is called conduct or Chäritra. Chäritra has been divided into the five classes depending upon the spirituality of an individual

Sämäyika Chäritra

To remain in equanimity during our life

Chhedopasthäpana Chäritra

To live a life of an ascetic

Parihäravishuddhi Chäritra

To follow special types of penance as an ascetic

Sukshma-Samparäya Chäritra

To live a life without any kashäy (No anger, greed, ego, deceit) as an ascetic

Yathäkhyäta or Vitaräga Chäritra

Living life of an Arihant

Nirjarä (Partial Eradication of Karmas)

Eradication of previously acquired Karma is Nirjarä. This is similar to cleaning the inside of the house after closing the doors to prevent incoming dust, trash etc. Previously acquired Karmas that become operative get exhausted as they mature. When Karmas get exhausted on their own after giving the end results and no active effort was made to eradicate them, it is known as Akäm Nirjarä. This type of Nirjarä is automatic. Accumulated Karmas, which are not currently operative, continue to stay with the soul in a dormant state due to bondage. Efforts such as penance, austerity etc. can eradicate them before they become operative. This process of eradication by deliberate effort isSakäm Nirjarä.

Jain scriptures lay a considerable emphasis on austerities, i.e. Tapa. In Tattvärtha-sutra,Ächärya Umäsväti states: ‘Tapasä Nirjarä Cha’ It means that Nirjarä can be achieved byTapa or austerities. Jains are therefore encouraged to perform Tapa. Tapa is usually taken as and is equated with fasting. Jains therefore fast longer to achieve Nirjarä. It is generally overlooked that our scriptures have described 6 types of internal and 6 types of external Tapa. Fasting is only one of them. Three stanzas from the Panchächär Sutra, which are very pertinent in this respect, state as follows:

ñInternal and external Tapa laid down by the Seers is of 12 types. When they are observed while staying unperturbed and without any other consideration, it is known as Tapächär or code of austerity.

ñFasting, eating less than needed, curtailing desires, relinquishing tasty foods, bearing physical pain and braving discomfort constitute the six types of externalTapa.

ñRepentance, reverence, rendering service, self-study, meditation and renunciation constitute the six types of internal Tapa.

When we talk of Tapa as a means for Nirjarä, we mean internal Tapa. External Tapa is important as long as it is helpful and is conducive to internal Tapa. In practice we hardly think of internal Tapa and usually feel content by observing fasts or Anashan, the first of the six external austerities. Ashan means eating and Anashan means non-eating or fasting. Thus eating and non-eating are physical phenomena. As long as the body survives, it is going to need food. The body can survive for some time without food. One however tends to get conditioned to eating at regular intervals. In order to inhibit this conditioning, it is useful to fast from time to time. Thus fasting is also very important.

The term ‘Upaväs’ that we generally use for fasting is not synonymous with Anashan. ‘Upa’ means closer and ‘Väs’ means abode. Thus Upaväs really means abiding in proximity with or in tune with the soul. If a person sincerely tries to stay in accordance with the real nature of soul, he cannot indulge in any sense of craving or aversion. As such, he would stay away from all defilements and achieve a very high level of Nirjarä.Thus Upaväs in the true sense of the term amounts to right activity and is one of the important way to eradicate Karmas. We however hardly observe that kind of Upaväs. It is wrong to believe that Upaväs can be observed simply by abstaining from food. When someone observes the penance of Upaväs, he should spend his day in meditation, prayers, and spiritual activities.

As previously mentioned Jain scriptures define twelve ways to perform austerities, which are the principal ways to achieve Nirjarä. These are further categorized six external and six internal austerities.

External austerities

ñAnashan (Not eating for a set period of time)

ñUnodari (Eating less than needed)

ñVrutti-sankshep (Eating within the limits of predetermined restrictions)

ñMaterial - Eat only a certain number of items

ñArea - Eat only within limits of a certain area

ñTime - Eat only at certain time

ñMode - Eat food obtained or made only by certain means

ñRas-tyäg (Eating non-tasty food - example. Äyambil Tap)

ñKäyä-klesha (Penance, tolerating physical pain voluntarily)

ñSanlinatä (Staying in forlorn place and occupying minimum space)

Types of External Austerities (Tapasyäs)

External austerities are practiced various ways depending upon individual capacity. Following is the list of some Tapasyäs.

Navakärashi

One must take food or water forty-eight minutes after sunrise. Even brushing teeth and rinsing the mouth must be done after sunrise.

Porsi

Taking food or water three hours after sunrise.

Sädh-Porsi

Taking food or water four hours and thirty minutes after sunrise.

Purimuddha

Taking food or water six hours after sunrise.

Avadhdh

Taking food or water nine hours after sunrise.

Biyäsan

Taking food twice a day while sitting in one place.

Ekäsan

Taking food only once while sitting in one place.

Äyambil

Taking food only once in one sitting. The food should not have any taste or spices and should be boiled or cooked. Also, one should not use milk, curds, ghee, oil, sweets, sugar or jaggery and green or raw vegetables.

Upaväs

One must not take any food for twenty-four hours starting from sunrise to sunrise the next day.

Tivihär Upaväs

One may drink only boiled water during Upaväs.

Chauvihär Upaväs

One does not even drink water during Upaväs.

Tivihär

After sunset no food or juice shall be taken, but one may take water once before going to bed.

Chauvihär

After sunset no food or water is taken until sunrise the next day.

Chhath

Upaväs for two consecutive days.

Attham

Upaväs for three consecutive days.

Atthai

Upaväs for eight consecutive days.

Mäsakshaman

Consecutive Upaväs for one month.

Navapad Oli

Every year for 9 days starting from the 6/7th day of the bright fortnight until the full moon day in Ashwin and Chaitra months, one does Äyambil. These Äyambils can also be restricted to only one kind of food grain per day.

Varsitap

Alternate day Upaväs for one year

 

In Ekäsan, Biyäsan, Äyambil, or Upaväs one can drink boiled water only and only between sunrise and sunset. It is better if one can do a Chauvihär or Tivihär on the night before starting these austerities. If any of the austerities allow food, one shall not take raw vegetables, anything, which grows underground, or raw grains while performing such austerities.

Internal austerities

Präyashchitta

Repentance or remorse

Vinay

Humility, Respect for others

Veyävachcham

Selfless service to monks, nuns and needy

Swädhyäy

Study of religious scriptures

Dhyäna

Meditation

Käyotsarga

Renunciation of body

 Moksha (Liberation) 

Moksha or liberation is the last of the 9 fundamentals. It is also known as Mukti, salvation or emancipation. Moksha is the liberation of the soul after complete exhaustion or elimination of all karmas. A liberated soul regains totally its original attributes of perfect knowledge, perfect vision, perfect power, and total bliss. It climbs to the top of universe (Lokäkäsh) and remains their forever in its blissful and unconditional existence. It never returns again into the cycles of birth, life, and death. This state of the soul is the liberated or perfect state, and this is called “Nirvana.”

SummaryJainism does not believe in a Creator. All liberated souls are Gods according to Jainism. However, since Tirthankars show us and lead us to the path of liberation, they are considered Gods (before their total liberation from karmas) to whom we pray and revere. Tirthankars have said that nothing can be created out of nothing and the original substances or matter, as science would call it, is indestructible. Every such substance exists of its own, with its own properties and continues to exist in one form or another. Whatever products we come across are merely transformations, not creations. They are produced out of something that existed before. Jainism believes in six original substances of which soul is the only conscious substance. Jainism is concerned with the soul’s well being and happiness. All living beings are embodied souls. Every soul is an independent entity and has been undergoing cycles of birth and death as a result of the bondage of Karma.

For liberation of the soul, Jainism does not look for whim or favor of an Almighty. Its concept of liberation is totally different. Material or situational happiness is not everlasting. True happiness lies within the soul. Whatever happiness we experience in life is due to the existence of the soul within the body. No dead body has ever experienced happiness or any other feeling. It is not the property of the physical body to experience anything. Happiness is the inherent property of the soul. This inherent happiness does not manifest itself on account of physical and mental limitations resulting from the bondage of Karma. Everlasting happiness can manifest itself when soul shakes off all its bondage.For this purpose we study the nature of soul, the bondage of Karmas that obscure and obstruct the manifestation of its inherent properties, and how to shake off the bondage. We saw thatthe soul is a substance on its own. It is eternal. It acquires bondage on account of Äsravaof Karmas that can be prevented by Samvar and eradicated by Nirjarä. This eradication process has two stages. The State of omniscience or Kevaljnän is attained when one totally overcomes delusion and all Ghäti or defiling Karmas are destroyed. After attaining Kevaljnän one may continue to live if he still has to destroy Äyu, Näm, Gotraand Vedaniya Karmas. These four are Aghäti Karmas that are destroyed only upon death. For instance, Lord Mahävir lived for 30 years after attaining Kevaljnän.With the destruction of Aghäti Karmas, the soul attains ultimate liberation. This is the final state which is known as the state of Siddha. Since there is no more Karmic bondage, the soul is forever freed from the cycle of birth and death. It is now a pure a consciousness whose nature of infinite enlightenment and infinite happiness manifests by itself, because there are no longer any factors that obstruct or inhibit its full manifestation. Even a casual reflection of our routine experience would indicate that desire is the cause of all miseries, problems and unhappiness. In the liberated state, where there is no body, there are no requirements, and hence there is an eternal happiness. That state of no desire is the blissful state of liberation.

Until the soul gets rid of all Karma, it has to continually go through the cycle of birth and rebirth. Arihantas are destined to be liberated and Siddhas have achieved salvation. We therefore worship them. In common parlance, they are Jain Gods. They do not bestow liberation or any other favor on worshippers. Liberation is to be gained by one’s own efforts. Listening to the teachings of Arihantas, provide directions for attaining liberation. Devotion to them and to Siddhas simply provides incentive for the aspirants to strive for the attainment of ultimate happiness. They serve as ideals for devotees.

It is natural to question: ‘What is the form and shape of the liberated soul?’ ‘Where does it stay, move, rest or sleep?’ “What does it do?’ Answers are simple. Not being a physical entity, it has no form; it does not move and does not need rest or sleep. Being intangible, its shape is invisible; but the seers have stated that its size and shape would be equal to 2/3rd the size and shape of the one in the last life immediately prior to liberation. Now being free of all bondage, it rises up in space and stops at the top of Lokäkäsh. That part of the space is known in Jain terminology as Siddhashilä, the abode of liberated souls. Beyond that it is Alokäkäsh where there is no Dharmästikäya. So there is no movement beyond that point. Liberated souls continually stay engrossed in their true nature of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite energy, and infinite bliss. That state is permanent.

Now, let us use a simple analogy to illustrate these Tattvas. There lived a family in a farmhouse. They were enjoying a fresh c