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A Treatise On Jainism
                                                            By - Shri Jayatilal S. Sanghvi

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THE THEORY OF KARMA (LAW OF CAUSATION)

Everyone in this world desires happiness and dislikes misery, but we find that one is a millionaire while another is a pauper; one is healthy while another is diseased; one is white while another is black; one is handsome while another is ugly; one is stout while another is lean; one is intelligent while another is an idiot; one is a master while another is a slave. Similarly, we find the high and the low, the mutilated and the lame, the blind and the deaf, and many such oddities. What is the reason for all these conditions? People would say that it is due to individual luck. What is that luck? Who made it? Who governs it? How can you be free from all the above oddities and truly be happy? The Jain religion shows us the correct path to follow and we shall see in the following pages how to do it.

As said above there are many oddities in this world. It will have to be admitted that behind all of this some powerful force is at work. This force is called "karma". We are unable to perceive karma by our naked eyes, yet we are able to know it from its actions.

The thrones of mighty monarchs are gone, the proud and the haughty have been humiliated in a moment and reduced to ashes. What is the principal cause of all this? It is karma. Even amongst the twins born of the same mother we find one an idiot and another intelligent, one rich and another poor, one black and another white. What is all of this due to? They could not have done any deeds while they were in their mother's womb. Why then should such oddities exist? We have then to infer that these disparities must be the result of their deeds in their past births though they are born together at one time.

In Jain philosophy the word karma has quite a different and unique significance. The starting principle of Jainism is that there is an eternal union between soul and matter. This union though without a beginning is not without an end. Once the union is entirely broken, when the soul is free from the slightest vestige of contact with matter, nothing can bind it again. It is liberated.

The activity of soul which invites and enables matter of an exceptionally subtle form to flow into it, as also the matter which actually does flow into the soul, is technically called Karma. The thought activity is called Bhava-Karma, and the actual matter flowing into the soul and binding it is called Dravya Karma. It is a substance. It is in itself inert matter, lifeless like a pebble, but in combination with jiva (life) its potency is immense, beyond calculation and measure. It then keeps the jiva itself bound and fettered. A prisoner, dancing constantly at karma's every beck and gesture. At each step, the momentum for a new movement is gained. At each embrace of matter, the delighted deluded soul throbs and vibrates for a fresh embrace. Matter is ever ready to attack the soul and to flow into it with its billion insinuations, to keep alive the vigorous bondage of the living by the nonliving. It is so very fine and subtle, that it cannot be perceived, recognized, discerned by any the most highly developed sensory organ, or by the most perfected microscope. It eludes all efforts of the chemist and the physicist to calculate, measure, graph, photograph, use, harness, or control it. It is millions of times finer and subtler than the waves of sound, light, or electricity, or the electrons and protons conceived by man. Yet this matter is ever and anon surrounding us on all sides, and permeating through and through every particle of our body and soul. There is no space where it is not. It is perceivable, appreciable, and knowable by the omniscients. Its workings, metamorphoses, make-ups, and changes are explained by Acharyas, who have heard the voice of the omniscient, and who have transmitted the knowledge thus directly acquired from the omniscient to others through the past millenniums, by mouth and in writings. Karma is the original cause, the first the ultimate, which keeps the universe going. All phenomena, all changes, all manifestations are due to karmic effects. Jain saints, the masters of wisdom, have analyzed the workings of karma in the most minutest details in the Jain Shastras. Karmic matter never remains in an isolated condition. As soon as it takes form, it combines with the physical or fluid body, which stimulates it into activity. The stimulation into activity is called asrava or inflow, and when it combines is called bandha or bondage.

The karmic molecules produce their effect after a certain period. This duration is called abadhakala or quiescence.

The action or effect is called udaya or operation.

The period for which it continues to operate is called sthiti, and this varies with the mildness or intensity of passions.

The natural siddance, falling or shedding off, of karmic molecules in due course during the period of duration is called nirjara or shedding. This can also be effected earlier, and the operation and duration period can be shortened, by austerities. The duration and effect or fruition of karmas can be increased or decreased. A person is the maker and master of his destiny. He can make himself happy or miserable, he can rise above circumstances, and can make a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell. A karma bound in one life may produce its effect in the same life, in the next, or in a life thereafter.

Just as gold is mixed with mud in the mines, the soul is covered with karmas from the infinite past. Just as gold is purified by means of acids and other processes, the soul is purified and freed from karmas by the process of mercy, charity, penance, self control, etc. The soul then attains salvation.

The living souls (jivatmas) are infinitely infinite. Each has a distinct entity. If these were parts and parcels of one soul we would have found every one happy or miserable at the happiness or misery of any one of them. However, what we see is entirely different. If one eats sweets he alone enjoys sweetness. At the death of one, all do not die. From this we have to conclude that though similar in nature the soul of each individual has a distinct existence. The soul which gets absolved from karma becomes a Parmatma. Such a soul is not affected by karmas again and is not born again. There are no births and deaths for such a soul. It becomes Siddhatma.

The soul gets covered with karmas mainly due to attachment (raag) and hatred (dwesha). The fruits of karmas i.e, actions would be good or bad according to the nature of actions (good or bad) done. One who has self control and can resist from acquiring karmas i.e. One who has no attachment or hatred is called Jina and the religion which teaches us to become a Jina is known as Jainism. Those who follow this religion are Jains. To follow the Path of Liberation it is not necessary to be born a Jain. However one should lead a life which is in accord with Jainism and conforms to the type and measure of faith, knowledge, and conduct leading to the goal. If that be so the soul may be sure that he or she is a liberal being and on a path to truth and freedom from the miseries and limitations of embodied existence.

One would ask how many types of karmas exist? How do they bind the soul? How are their fruits are realized, and how they wear away or get destroyed? All of this is shown in detailed in the Jain Shastras. Karma can be divided into eight main classes. They have 148 sub-classes.

The main classes are: 

(1) Jnanavarniya: Knowledge obscuring karma; it is matter which obscures the soul's attribute of knowledge (5 subclasses). 

(2) Darshanavarniya: Conation obscuring karma; it is matter which obscures the soul's attribute of conation, perception (9 sub-classes). 

(3) Vedniya: Feeling karma; it is karma which mundane souls (embodied souls) come in contact with agreeable or disagreeable objects, which in their turn cause the feelings of pleasure or pain in the soul, according to their various degrees of attachment and aversion therein (2 sub-classes). 

(4) Mohaniya: Deluding karma; it is karma which obscures the attributes of right belief, and right conduct of the soul (28 sub-classes). 

(5) Ayushya: Age karma; this keeps one in bondage of four forms of existence i.e. hellish, sub-human, human, and celestial. It causes and determines the sojourn of a soul into a particular body (4 sub-classes). (

6) Nama: Body making karma; this gives the soul a distinguishing form of existence, determines its classes. It causes condition of existence, formation of different kinds of bodies, and the change from one to another condition of existence (93 sub-classes). 

(7) Gotra: Family determining karma; this imparts a high or low status in life i.e. by which a soul is to take birth in a high or a low family (2 sub-classes). 

(8) Antaraya: Obstructive karma; this creates hindrance in the ways of the soul's giving of gifts or achieving of things, in its abilities and in its use and enjoyment. It obscures the infinite power of the soul (5 sub-classes). 

Numbers 1, 2, 4 and 8 are called Ghatiya Karmas. Numbers 3, 5, 6 and 7 are called Aghatiya Karmas. 

Ghatiya karmas are called so because they destroy the manifestation of the real and essential attributes of the soul. The manifestation of these attributes in mundane souls varies inversely of the proportionate decrease of the forces of these four destructive karmas.

The Aghatiya karmas are called so because they do not obscure the real attributes of the soul, but affect only the external environments of the soul and pertains to body.

As said above there are mainly eight kinds of classes (Prakrites) of karmic matter and these eight classes have 148 sub-classes. The subclasses are: 

(1) Jnanavarniya - knowledge obscuring karma (5). 1. Mati jnan - obscures sensory knowledge 2. Shruta jnan - obscures scriptural knowledge 3. Avadhi jnan - obscures visual knowledge 4. Manahparyaya jnan - obscures mental knowledge 5. Keval jnan - obscures perfect knowledge 

(2) Darshnavarniya - conation obscuring karma (9). 6. Chakshu darshan - obscures ocular conation 7. Achakshu darshan - obscures nonocular conation 8. Avadhi darshan - obscures visual conation 9. Keval darshan - obscures perfect conation 10. Nidra darshan - obscures sleep conation 11. Nidra-Nidra darshan - obscures deep sleep conation 12. Prachala darshan - obscures drowsiness conation 13. Prachala-Prachala - obscures heavy drowsiness conation darshan 14. Styasagriddhi darshan - obscures somnambulism conation 

(3) Vedaniya - feeling karma (2). 15. Sata - Pleasure 16. Asata - Pain 

(4) Mohaniya - deluding karma (A) Darshana Mohaniya - deludes right belief (3) 17. Mithyatva - wrong belief 18. Samyag mithyatva - right-wrong belief 19. Samyaktva Prakriti - right belief clouded by slight wrong belief (B) Charitra Mohaniya - deludes right conduct (25) Kashaya - Passions (16)

Anantanubandhi - right beleif preventing passions (4) 20. Krodha - anger 21. Mana - pride 22. Maya - deceit 23. Lobha - greed 

Apratyakhyana varaniya - partial vow preventing passions (4) 24. Anger 25. Pride 26. Deceit 27. Greed 

Pratyakhyana varaniya - total vow preventing passions (4) 28. Anger 29. Pride 30. Deceit 31. Greed 

Samjvalana - prevents perfect conduct This is the slightest degree of passion and coexists with self restraint of a higher order. It relates to the four passions (4). 32. Anger 33. Pride 34. Deceit 35. Greed 

Akashaya - quasi passions, slight or minor passions (9). 36. Hasya - laughter 37. Rati - indulgence 38. Arati - ennui; dissatisfaction 39. Shoka - sorrow 40. Bhaya - fear 41. Jugupsa - disgust; aversion; hiding one's own, and publishing other people's shortcomings 42. Striveda - feminine inclination 43. Purusveda - masculine inclination 44. Napumsakaveda - common Sex 

(5) Ayu - age karma (4) 45. Narakayu - hellish age 46. Tiryanchayu - sub-human age 47. Manushyayu - human age 48. Devayu - celestial age 

(6) Nama - body making karma (93) 

Gati - condition of existence (4) 49. Narak - hellish 50. Tiryanch - sub-human 51. Manushya - human 52. Deva - celestial 

Jati - genus of beings (5) 53. Ekendriya - one-sensed 54. Dvindriya - two-sensed 55. Tendriya - three-sensed 56. Chaundriya - four-sensed 57. Panchendriya - five-sensed 

Sharira - bodies (5) 58. Audarika - The physical body of all men and animals. 59. Vaikrjyika - The fluid body of hellish and celestial beings which they can change at will. 60. Aharaka - Assimilative, the spiritual man like emanation from the head of a saint in doubt, in the sixth spiritual stage. 61. Taijasa - Electric body of mundane souls which always accompanies the Karmana. 62. Karmana - Karmic body found in all mundane souls. 

Angopanga - major and minor limbs (3) 63. Audarika - physical 64. Vaikriyika - fluid 65. Aharaka - assimilative 66. Nirman - proper formation of limbs in relation to their situation (sthana) and dimensions (pramana) 

Bandhana - molecular bondage (5) 67. Audarika - physical 68. Vaikriyika - fluid 69. Aharaka - assimilative 70. Taijasa - electric 71. Karmana - karmic 

Samghat - molecular interfusion (5) 72. Audarika - physical 73. Vaikriyika - fluid 74. Aharaka - assimilative 75. Taijasa - electric 76. Karmana - karmic Samsthan - figure of the body (6) 77. Samachaturasra - Symmetrical; perfect symmetry all around. 78. Nyagrodha - Banyan like; short in lower but large parimandala in upper extremities like a banyan tree 79. Svati - Tapering; like a snake-hole, broad in lower but narrow in the upper extremities, reverse of the last. 80. Kubjaka - Hunchback 81. Vamana - Dwarf 82. Hundaka - Unsymmetrical; disproportionate, deformed 

Samhanana - bones, muscle etc. (6) 83. Vajra rishabha aracha - adamantine, nerves, joints samhanana and bones 84. Vajra narcha samhanana - adamantine joints and bones 85. Naracha samhanana - unbreakable joints and bones 86. Ardha naracha - semi-unbreakable joints and samhanana bones 87. Kilita samhanana - riveted bones 88. Asamprapta sripatika - loosely jointed bones samhanana 

Sparsha - touch (8) 89. Kathora - hard 90. Komala - soft 91. Guru - heavy 92. Laghu - light 93. Ruksha - rough 94. Snigdha - smooth 95. Shita - cold 96. Ushna - hot 

Rasa - tastes (5) 97. Tikta - pungent 98. Katuka - bitter 99. Kashaya - astringent (saline) 100. Amla - acid 101. Madhura - sweet 

Gandha - smell (2) 102. Sugandha - sweet-smelling; fragrant 103. Durgandha - evil-smelling; malodorous 

Varna - color (5) 104. Krishna - black 105. Nila - blue 106. Rakta - red 107. Pita - yellow 108. Shukla - white 

Anupurvi - Migratory form; the power of retaining the form of the last incarnation during transmigration, i.e. in the passage from one to another condition of existence. 109. Naraka Anupurvi - hellish migratory form 110. Tiryanch Anupurvi - sub-human migratory form 111. Manushya Anupurvi - human migratory form 112. Deva Anupurvi - celestial migratory form 

113. Agurulaghu - neither too heavy to move, nor too light to have stability 114. Upaghata - having a self destructive limb or organ, as a stag's horns 115. Paraghata - destructive; possessing a limb or organ fatal to others, such as a lion's claws 116. Atapa - hot light; radiant heat; possesses a brilliant body, which is hot to others but not to the possessor, as the gross radiant earth bodied beings in the sun 117. Udyota - cold light, phosphorescence 118. Uchchhvasa - respiration 

Vihayogati - movement; capacity of moving in space (2) 119. Shubha - graceful 120. Ashubha - awkward 121. Pratyeka - individual body; a body enjoyable by one Sharira soul only 122. Sadharana - common body; possessed and enjoyable by many souls, e.g. a potato 123. Trasa - mobile, with bodies having 2, 3, 4, and 5 senses 124. Sthavara - immobile, with bodies having one sense only, i.e. the sense of touch 125. Subhaga - amiable personality even though not beautiful 126. Durbhaga - unrepossessing even though beautiful 127. Susvara - sweet voiced; musical 128. Duhsvara - harsh voiced; noisy 129. Shubha - beautiful (body) 130. Ashubha - ugly (body) 131. Sukshma - fine (body) uncuttable and all pervasive 132. Badara - gross (body) 133. Paryapti - capable of developing the body fully 134. Aparyapti - incapable of developing the body fully 135. Sthira - steady (circulation of blood, bile, etc.) 136. Asthira - unsteady (circulation of blood, etc.) 137. Adeva - impressive appearance such as may affect others 138. Anadeya - nonimpressive, dull appearance 139. Yashah Kirti - bringing good name even if one does not do good actions 140. Ayashah Kirti - notoriety; bringing bad name, even if one does good actions 141. Tirthankara - a Tirthankara's career with all its grandeur when he preaches and completes his ministry (7) Gotra - family determining karma (2) 142. Uchcha Gotra - high family 143. Nicha Gotra - low family 

(8) Antaraya - obstructive karma (5) 144. Dana Antaraya - charity obstructive 145. Labha Antaraya - gain obstructive 146. Bhoga Antaraya - obstruction of enjoyment, of consumable things 147. Upabhoga Antaraya - obstruction of re-enjoyment of nonconsumable things 148. Virya Antaraya - obstruction of power of exercise of one's capacities. 

Some Acharyas treat the 93 subclasses of the body, making karma differently and the total of subclasses of all karmas is taken as 97, 107, 148, 158, or 168. Mainly in all Jain books the total of 148 is considered for all purposes.

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