Sunday, May 29, 2011


There are eight main types of Karma which are categorized into the ‘Destructive’ and ‘Non-Destructive’; each divided into four types. The destructive karmas (ghātiyā karmas) directly affect the soul powers by impeding its perception, knowledge and energy, and also bring about delusion. These harming karmas are: Darshnavarniya (perception obscuring karma), Gyanavarniya (knowledge obscuring karma), Antarāya (obstacles creating karma) and Mohanīya (deluding karma). The non-destructive category (aghātiyā karmas) is responsible for the re-born soul's physical and mental circumstances, longevity, spiritual potential and experience of pleasant and unpleasant sensations. These non-destructive karmas are: Nama (body determining karma), Ayu (life span determining karma), Gotra (status determining karma) and Vedanīya (feeling producing karma) respectively. Different types of karmas thus affect the soul in different ways as per their nature. Each of these types has various sub-types.
Tattvārthasūtra generally speaks of 148 sub-types of karmas in all. These are: 5 of Gyanavarniya, 9 of Darshnavarniya, 2 of Vedanīya, 28 of Mohanīya 4 of Ayu, 93 of Nāma, 2 of Gotra, and 5 of Antarāya.


Destructive Karmas directly affect the attributes of the soul. These are…

1.        Knowledge Obscuring Karma (Gyanavarniya Karma) - These Karmas obscures the knowledge attribute of the soul.
2.        Perception Obscuring Karma (Darshnavarniya Karma) - These karmas diminish the powers of Perception of a soul.
3.        Deluding Karma (Mohanīya Karma) - These karmas are an instrumental cause of destruction the soul's right belief and right conduct. Of all karmas, deluding karma is the most difficult to overcome. Once this is eradicated, liberation is ensured within a few lifetimes.
4.        Obstructing Karma (Antarāya Karma) - The fruition of these karmas creates obstructions to giving donations, obtaining gains, and enjoying things.

When Destructive Karmas are totally destroyed, the soul attains Omniscience (Keval Gyaan). Thus, in the same lifetime the soul attains liberation as soon the aghātiyā karmas are exhausted in the due course.

1. KNOWLEDGE OBSCURING KARMA (GYANAVARNIYA KARMA): The knowledge-obscuring karma are of five types:

1.        Empirical-cognition knowledge obscuring (Mati Gyanavarniya Karma) - which causes the obscuration of the knowledge, transmitted through the senses.
2.        Articulate knowledge - scripture knowledge obscuring (Sruta Gyanavarniya Karma) - which produces the obscuration of knowledge acquired by interpreting signs (i.e. words, writings, gestures).
3.        Clairvoyance knowledge obscuring (Avadhi Gyanavarniya Karma) - which hinders transcendental knowledge of material things.
4.        Telepathy knowledge obscuring (Manahaparyaya Gyanavarniya Karma) - which hinders transcendental knowledge of the thoughts of others.
5.        Omniscient knowledge obscuring (Keval Gyanavarniya Karma) - which obscures the omniscience inherent in the Jiva (Soul) by natural disposition.

Of these, the last mentioned karma hinders Omniscience altogether; the four others do not result in complete destruction of the corresponding faculties of knowledge, but often produce only greater or less disturbances.

2. PERCEPTION OBSCURING KARMA (DARSHNAVARNIYA KARMA): The perception-obscuring karma are of four types:

Sight perception obscuring Karma (Chakshu Darshnavarniya Karma) - which produces the obscuration of the Darshan conditional upon the eye. 
Non-sight perception obscuring Karma (Achakshu Darshnavarniya Karma) - which causes the obscuration of the undifferentiated cognition, conditional upon the other senses and the organ of thinking.
Remote Perception obscuring Karma (Avadhi Darshnavarniya Karma) - which causes the obscuration of the transcendental undifferentiated cognition of material things.
Perfect perception obscuring Karma (Keval Darshnavarniya Karma) - which hinders the absolute undifferentiated cognition (the counterpart of the omniscience).

The last mentioned karma hinders completely; the three others produce under certain circumstances only a disturbance of the respective cognition faculties.

In addition to these four Darshnavarniya karmas there are five others which produce physio-psychological conditions in which the sense organs are not active, and which, therefore, exclude all possibility of perception. These are the five Nidra karmas, (sleep karmas), namely:

Nidra Karma- which produces a light, pleasant slumber, out of which the sleeper is already aroused by the clicking of finger nails.
Nidra Nidra Karma- which produces a deep slumber, out of which the sleeper can only be awakened by being shaken violently.
Prachala Karma- which sitting or standing upright.
Prachala Prachala karma- which produces an exceedingly intensive sleep, that overcomes a person while walking.
Styänarddhi Darshnavarniya Karma which causes somnambulism, acting an unconscious state.

3. MOHANIYA KARMA: Mohaniya is derived from Moha which means attachment. Mohaniya karma (deluding karma) is the most dangerous, out of all the eight karmas because `moha' (attachment) is the root cause of all Kasayas (passions). It is also most difficult karma to destroy. If mohaniya karma is destroyed fully, the self becomes free from all Kasayas and liberation is assured. Two main categories of Mohaniya karma are—

Faith Deluding Karma (Darshan mohaniya) and
Conduct Deluding Karma (Charitra mohaniya karma).

With their subtypes there are 28 sub-types of mohaniya karma.

1.       Faith Deluding Karma (Darshan mohaniya): The Darshan mohaniya-karma causes a disturbance of the knowledge of the religious truth inherent in the Jiva (Soul) by natural disposition. These are further divided into three types according as to whether the disturbance is an absolute or a partial one:

·         False Faith Deluding Karma (Mithyatva Mohaniya Karma): This causes complete unbelief or heterodoxy. If it realizes itself, the Jiva (Soul) does not believe in the truths as proclaimed by Mahavira; he believes false prophets to be saints and enjoins false doctrines.   
·         Mixed Deluding Karma (Mishra Mohaniya): This produces a mixed belief, i.e., if it operates the soul waves to and for betwixt true and false; it is indifferent to the religion of the Jina and has no predilection for, nor hatred against it.  
·         Right Faith Deluding Karma (Samyaktva Mohaniya): This induces the correct belief. This Samyaktva is, however, not the correct faith in its completeness, but only in a preliminary degree; it is a so called Mithyatva, from which the Mithyatva quality has been abstracted a Mithyatva free from poison.   

2.       Conduct Deluding Karma (Charitra Mohaniya):  The Charitra mohaniya-karma disturbs the right conduct possessed innately by the Jiva; it hinders the soul from acting according to the religious prescriptions. The disturbance of the conduct is produced through the sixteen passions (kashaya), the six emotions with are categorized as non-passions (nokashaya) and the three sexes.

The four main passions are Anger, Deceitfulness, Pride and Greed. The Karma are literally bound on account of the stickiness of the soul due to existence of various passions or mental dispositions. Each of these is separated into 4 sub divisions, according to the intensity of their manifestation. The first one is “anantanubandhin” (of life long duration) which completely hinders belief and conduct. The second one is “apratyakhyanavarana” (hindering and non-renunciation) It makes impossible every renunciation, but allows the existence of true belief and lasts for one year. The third one of still milder intensity is “pratyakhyanavarana” (hindering with renunciation). It hinders the beginning of complete self discipline, but does not prevent the existence of true belief and partial self discipline (desavirati). Its effect lasts for 4 months. The last one is samjvalana (flaming up). It allows complete self discipline, yet works against the attainment of complete right conduct (yathakhyata caritra). It lasts a fortnight.

The nokashayas or six non-passions are: Hasya (laughing, joking or making fun of), Rati (prejudicial liking or impartiality), Arati (improper conduct) Shoka (sorrow), Bhaya (fear), and Jugupsa (disgust). All these six emotions are caritra Mohaniyas, because the soul which is subjected to them is hindered through them in the practice of right conduct.

The vedas or the sex passion hinders the Jiva (Soul) from obeying the laws and from practicing self discipline. It is of threefold variety, according to the three species of sexes:

·         Purusa veda (the male sex and corresponding sex passion) - Through this, in the man the desire for union with a female is produced. Also man has at first an exceedingly strong desire, which disappears as soon as his lust is satisfied.
·         Stri veda (the female sex and corresponding sex passion) – Through this, in a woman the desire for union with a man is excited. Also the desire in the woman is weak so long as she is untouched, but grows into immensity through the enjoyment of intercourse.
·         Napumsaka veda (the third sex and corresponding sex passion) – Effects the third sex belong all those beings who have no sexual organs. The sexual desire is with them exceedingly strong because it is directed towards men and women. It is to be compared to the burning of a town, which lasts long and finds no satisfaction.

4. ANTARAYA KARMA: This type of Karma obstructs the soul’s ability to acquire infinite energy. Even though many of us desire to donate, we cannot do so. A rich person can afford any dinner of his or her choice but cannot necessarily enjoy it if he or she has diabetes. You might have had the experience in which everything was set 100% right to complete the project but for some reason you could not even start the project. Situations of this nature occur because of the influence of this Karma. This Karma also causes obstruction in the worship of Jina and in the performance of the spiritual activities. Consequently, Obstructing Karma is responsible for all the obstacles we face in our lives.

This Karma obstructs the adoption of a desirable course or attainment of one’s objectives or equipments and is of five subdivisions. It is compared to a "Storekeeper” who does not permit issue from the store.

·         Obstructing Charity (Dana Antaraya Karma) - hinders dispensing alms. When it operates a person who knows the merit in giving and who has something to give away, is not capable to give it, although there is someone worthy of the gift.
·         Obstructing Profit (Labha Antaraya Karma) - hinders receiving. When it operates, a person is not capable of receiving a present, although a friendly giver and a suitable present are present.
·         Obstructing Enjoyment (Bhoga Antaraya Karma) - hinders the enjoyment of something which can only be taken once (such as eating drinking).
·         Obstructing Repeated Enjoyment (Upabhoga Antaraya Karma) - hinders the enjoyment of something which can be repeatedly used (such as a dwelling, clothing, and women).
·         Obstructing Power (Virya Antaraya Karma) - hinders the will power. When it operates, even a strong, full grown man is incapable of bending a blade of grass.

Obstructing Karma is accumulated due to the obstruction of the worship of the Jinas (Tirthankars) and other spiritual activities, obstructing others from doing penance, service, practicing devotion or giving charity, not giving the charity, causing loss to others, and obstructing others’ food, water etc. Some of the effects of Obstructing Karma include the inability to perform penance, laziness, and weakness. Even if one has the desire to travel on the right path, on account of excessive Obstructing Karma, one would not be able to do so.

Obstructing Karma can be shed off by giving charity, sharing knowledge, helping monks and nuns, encouraging others to give charity, and encouraging and helping others to do penance and service and by showing benevolence. When we get rid of Obstructing Karma completely, we attain infinite power (Anant-shakti). The soul will have no disability or weakness.


These do not affect the soul directly; rather, they have an effect on the body that houses the soul. These are:

Lifespan Determining Karma (Ayu Karma) - These karmas determine the subsequent states of existence and lifespan therein after death. The soul gets locked either into animal (tiryancha), infernal (nāraki), human (manuṣya), or celestial (deva) bodies for its next birth.
Body Determining Karma (Nam Karma) - these karmas determine the type of body occupied by the soul.
Status Determining Karma (Gotra Karma) - The fruition of these karmas gives one high status or low status in society.
Feeling Producing Karma (Vedaniya Karma) - These karmas become an instrumental cause of the interruption of the soul's uninterrupted happiness. As a result of this, the soul remains agitated.

           As soon as the Non-Destructive Karma gets exhausted the Soul attains    Liberation (Moksha).  

1. LIFESPAN DETERMINING KARMA (AYU KARMA) – The Lifespan Determining Karma confers on a being a certain quantum of life in one of the four states of existence. Therefore there are four types of Ayu Karmas; Dev Ayu (The Celestial Lifespan), Manushya Ayu (The Human Lifespan), Tiryancha Ayu (The Animal Lifespan) and Naraka Ayu (The Infernal Lifespan). The Ayu-karma bestows a certain quantity of life, but not a definite number of years of life. For, as with a sponge, the quantity of water that it absorbs is determined, but not the time it takes to leave it, so also the quantum of life is determined, but not the time occupied in its consumption. The word Ayu would, therefore, be approximately interpreted by "quantity of life" or "quantity of vitality"). The Ayu (Lifespan) of the new existence is always bound during the life immediately preceding it, especially in the 3rd, 9th, or 27th part or within the last 48 minutes of life.
           Engaging in violent activities and taking the lives of others result in one acquiring Hellish or Animal age determining Karma. Human or celestial Age determining Karma is acquired by living honest righteous life, low passions and rendering selfless service to others. Showing compassion towards everybody can shed off age determining Karma. Once all of the age determining Karma has been shed off completely, the soul attains immortality (Akshaya-sthiti). In this state, the soul is never reborn.

2. BODY DETERMINING KARMA (NAM KARMA) – The Body Determining Karma causes the individual diversities of the Jivas (Souls). It is divided into 93 sub-types, which are mostly quoted in a definitely fixed succession in 4 groups (Pinda prakrtis, Pratyeka prakrtis, Trasadasaka, Sthavara dasaka). They are the following:

Four states of existence:
·         Dev Gati Nam Karma - bestows the celestial state of existence
·         Manushya Gati Nam Karma - bestows the human state of existence
·         Tiryanch Gati Nam Karma - bestows the animal state of existence, and
·         Naraka Gati Nam Karma - which bestows the infernal state of existence

     Five Classes of Beings:
·         Ekendriya jati nama karma causes birth as a being with one sense
·         Dvindriya jati nama karma causes birth as a being with two senses.
·         Trindriya jati nama karma causes birth as a being with three senses.
·         Caturindriya jati nama karma causes birth as being with four senses
·         Pancendriya jati nama karma causes birth as a being with five senses.

     Five Types of Bodies:
·         Audarika sarira nama karma gives a gross physical body peculiar to animals and men.
·         aikriya sarira nama karma gives the transformational body which consists of fine matter that changes in form and dimension. This body exists by nature in gods, infernal beings and certain animals; men can attain it through higher perfection.
·         Aharaka sarira nama karma gives the translocation body. This body consists of good and pure substance and is without active and passive resistance. It is created for a short time by anapramatta samyata ascetic (ascetic with some carelessness), in order to seek for information concerning intricate dogmatic questions from an arhat who is in another part of the world, while his own physical body remains in its original place.
·         Taijasa sarira nama karma gives the fiery body. This body consists of fire pudgalas and serves for the digestion of swallowed food. It can also be used by ascetics to burn other beings or things.
·         Karmana sarira nama karma gives the karman body which is possessed by all worldly souls. This body is the receptacle for karman matter. It changes every moment, because new karman is continually assimilated by the soul and the already existing one consumed. Accompanied by it, the jiva at death leaves his other bodies and betakes himself to the place of his new birth, where the karman body then forms the basis of the newly produced other bodies. This body is destroyed only when all the karma are destroyed.

Of these 5 bodies each succeeding one is finer than the one preceding it, but contains more material points than it; it is therefore denser. Every worldly soul (that is, soul not yet liberated) is always connected with a fiery and a karman body, but can, in addition, still possess one or two other bodies. At any given point of time four bodies can co-exist with a soul. For example, humans normally have three bodies simultaneously—audarika sarira (normal visible gross physical body), taijasa sarira (fiery body), and karmana sarira (karmic body). Some higher spiritual ascetics may possessvaikriya sarira (transformational body).

·         Corresponding to these five bodies there are thirteen more karmas to make the bodies operative. There are three types of angopanga nama karma for body parts—audarika angopanga nama-karma, vaikriya angopanga nama-karma and aharaka angopanga nama-karma. Fiery and the karman body are subtle and have no body parts. Each body requires specific binding to operate that is enabled by its respective karma. Hence there are five types of bandhana or bindings for these body parts—audarika bandana nama-karma, vaikriya bandana nama-karma, aharaka bandana nama-karma, taijasa bandana nama-karma and karmana bandana nama karma which procures the binding of physical, transformational, translocational, fiery and karmic body respectively. At the same time, combination of molecules (samghatanas) is required for binding of bodies, which are—audarika samghatana nama-karma, vaikriya samghatana nama-karma adharaka samghatana nama-karma, taijasa samghatana nama-karma, and karmana samghatana nama-karma.

●     Six Karmas related to joints:

1.     Vajra rsabha naraca samhanana nama-karma gives an excellent joining. The two bones are hooked into one another, through the joining, a nail (vajra) is hammered and the whole joint is surrounded by a bandage.
2.     Rsabha naraca samhanana nama-karma gives a joining not so firm as the preceding one, because the nail is missing.
3.     Naraca samhanan nama-karma gives a joining which is still weaker, because the bandage is missing.
4.     Ardha naraca samhanana nama-karma gives a joining which is on one side like the preceding one, while on the other the bones are simply pressed together and nailed.
5.     Kilika samhanana nama-karma gives a weak joining, by which the bones are merely pressed together and nailed.
6.     Sevarta (chedaprstha) samhanana nama-karma gives quite a weak joining, by which the ends of the bones only touch one another. The humans in this era as per Jain cosmology have this type of joint structure.

The samhananas play a great role in Jain doctrine. Only the first four make a meditation possible and only the best structure, the 1st joining of the joints, permits the highest kind of concentration which precedes salvation.

 ● The six samsthana nama-karmas related to body symmetry are:

1.     Samacaturasra samsthana nama-karma, which causes the entire body to be symmetrically built.
2.     Nyagrodhaparimandala samsthana nama-karma, which causes the upper part of the body to be symmetrical, but not the lower.
3.     Sadi samsthana nama-karma, which makes the body below the navel symmetrical and above it unsymmetrical.
4.     Kubja samsthana nama-karma makes the body hunchbacked, i.e. hands, feet, head and neck symmetrical, breast and belly unsymmetrical.
5.     Vamana samsthana nama-karma dwarf like, i.e. breast and belly symmetrical, hands, feet etc. unsymmetrical.
6.     Hunda samsthana nama-karma makes the entire body unsymmetrical.

The conception of symmetry is explained in the following way: One imagines a man sitting in the paryanka posture, i.e. crossing the legs and placing the hands over the navel. If one imagines that the two knees are joined by a line, and from the right shoulder to the left knee, and from the left shoulder to the right knee, and from the forehead to the hands, a straight line is drawn, one gets four lines. If these are equal to one another, symmetry is apparent; if they are not so, one of the other 5 samsthanas results. Gods have only the first symmetry, infernal beings and Jivas (Souls) who have been produced through coagulation only the 6th figure; in the case of animals and men (also of Kevalis) all six samsthanas are to be found.

● The following karmas provide different types colors to the bodies:

1.     krsna varna nama-karma (black), 2. nila varna nama-karma (dark, blue green, like an emerald), 3. lohita varna nama-karma (colour which is red, like vermillion), 4. haridra varna nama-karma (yellow, like turmeric) and 5. sita varna nama ( white, like a shell). Other colors, such as brown etc., are produced by mixing. Black and green are considered as being pleasant, the others as unpleasant colors.

● The following karmas provide different types of odors to the bodies: 1. surabhi      gandha nama-karma produces pleasant odors (e.g., that of camphor) and 2. durabhi gandha nama-karma produces unpleasant odors (e.g., that of garlic).

● The following karmas provide different abilities of tastes to the bodies:  1. tikta rasa nama-karma gives a bitter taste (like that of the nimba fruit), 2. kasaya rasa nama-karma gives an astringent taste (like that of bibhitaka), 3. amla rasa nama-karma gives a sour taste (like that of tamarind) and 4. madhura rasa nama-karma gives a sweet taste (like that of sugar). The salt taste is produced by a combination of the sweet taste with another. Bitter and biting tastes are considered unpleasant, the others pleasant.

Eight karmas related to different type of touches are:

·         Guru sparsa nama-karma which causes a thing to be heavy, like an iron ball.
·         Laghu sparsa nama-karma which causes a thing to be light, like particles in a sunbeam.
·         Mrdu sparsa nama-karma causes a thing to be smooth, like a tinisa tendril.
·         Khara sparsa nama-karma which causes a thing to be rough, like stone.
·         Sita sparsa nama-karma causes a thing to be cold, like snow.
·         Usna sparsa nama-karma causes a thing to be warm, like fire.
·         Snigdha sparsa nama-karma causes a thing to be adhesive, like oil.
·         Ruksa sparsa nama-karma cases a thing to be dry like ashes.

Heavy, hard, dry, cold are considered to be unpleasant touches, the others pleasant.

The anupurvi nama-karma causes that the Jiva, when one existence is finished, goes from the place of death in the proper direction to the place of his new birth. According to the 4 states of existence (celestial, human, animal, infernal) there are 4 anupurvi karmas, namely: 1. dev (Celestial) anupurvi nama karma, 2. manusya (Human) anupurvi nama karma, 3. tiryanch (Animal) anupurvi nama karma, and 4. naraka (Hellish) anupurvi nama karma.

Karma that bestows different gaits to souls are: prasasta vihayogati nama-karma which causes a being to move in a pleasant manner, as e.g. oxen, elephants and geese do and aprasasta vihayogati nama-karma which causes an ugly manner of motion, as, e.g. one finds with camels and asses.

Following are the eight karmas related to eight pratyeka prakrtis:

1.      Paraghata nama karma– It gives superiority over others. It endows the capability of injuring or vanquishing others; on the other hand, it prevents one from being injured or overcome by others.
2.      Ucchvasa nama karma – It bestows the capability of breathing.
3.      Atapa nama karma – It causes the body of a being not in itself hot to emit a warm splendour.
4.      Uddyota nama karma– It causes the transformation body of the gods and ascetics, as well as moon, stars, precious stones, herbs and shining insects to emit a cold lustre.
5.      Agurulaghu nama karma– It makes a being neither heavy nor light, i.e., causes it to possess neither absolute weight nor absolute lack of it.
6.      Tirthankara nama karma– It procures the position of a ford-maker of the Jain religion.
7.      Nirmana nama karma – It causes the formation of the body, i.e., it causes the members of a being to be in their right place.
8.      Upaghata nama karma – It causes self annihilation. It produces that the parts of the body of a being (e.g. the uvula in the throat) cause its death.

The ten karmas related to trasa prakrtis (positive karmas) are:

1.     Trasa nama karma, which gives a voluntarily movable body.
2.     Badara nama karma, which gives a gross body
3.     Paryapta nama karma, which causes the complete development of the organs (karana) and capacities (labdhi) of nourishment, of the body, of the senses, of breathing, of speech, and of thought.
4.     Pratyeka nama karma, which causes the being to possess an individual body.
5.     Sthira nama karma, which causes the teeth, bones, etc., to be firm.
6.     Subha nama karma, which causes the parts of the body above the navel to be beautiful.
7.     Subhaga nama karma, which causes some one to whom is not under an obligation to be sympathetic to one.
8.     Susvara nama karma, which bestows a voice which is melodious.
9.     Adeya nama karma, which causes that some one is suggestive, so that his speech meets with approbation and belief.
10. Yasahkirti nama karma, which grants honour and glory.

       ● The ten karmas related to sthavara prakrtis (opposite of trasa prakrtis) are:

1.     Sthavara nama karma, which, causes a body (of plants and elementary beings) that cannot be moved voluntarily.
2.     Suksma nama karma gives (to elementary beings) a subtle body, imperceptible to our senses.
3.     Aparyapta nama karma causes that the organs or faculties of a being do not attain full development, but remain undeveloped.
4.     Sadharana nama karma gives (to plants etc.) a body in common with others of their species.
5.     Asthira nama karma causes that ears, brows, tongue, etc. are flexible.
6.     Asubha nama karma causes at all parts of the body, below the navel are considered to be ugly, so that somebody who is touched by the foot feels this to be unpleasaant.
7.     Durbhaga nama karma makes the jiva unsympathetic.
8.     Duhsvara nama karma makes the voice ill sounding.
9.     Anadeya nama karma makes the jiva unsuggestive.
10. Ayasahkirti nama karma causes dishonor and shame.


     This Karma determines whether the living being will be born in a restrained and respected family or otherwise. (It is divided into two categories viz., (a) High (Uchcha) status Karma and (b) Low (Neech) Status Karma, which are further divided into eight subcategories each. Some scholars states that this karma is not simply with mundane aspects of birth environment, but rather with whether that environment is more or less conducive to the pursuit of the spiritual life.

·         High Status (Uchcha Gotra) Karma
·         Low Status (Neech Gotra) Karma

High Status (Uchcha Gotra) Karma: It involves a high and respectful status in respect to (I) family; (ii) community (iii) learning (iv) power (v) profit (vi) penance (vii) looks and (viii) luxury. These eight form its subdivisions. This Karma results from non-exhibition of and non-exultation in one’s qualities, knowledge, wealth and other attainments and admiring such attributes of others.

Low Status (Neech Gotra) Karma: It results in the opposite equipment and attainments like low and not respectable family, connections etc, and are earned by exhibition and exultation in one’s knowledge and wealth etc. and deprecating such qualities in others. Lower status determining Karma causes us to be low and not respected in society. Higher status determining karma causes us to be high and well respected in society. Disrespecting people, being egoistic, proud, indulging in self aggrandizement and making fun of others acquire low status determining karma. Higher status determining karma is acquired by having devotion and faith in the Jain congregation, not looking down upon anyone, being free from pride, respecting and honoring all, and treating everyone with love. Being respectful towards those who have status and also towards those who do not have status can shed status determining karma. Once our status determining karma is shed completely, our soul becomes stable, not too heavy, not too light (aghuru-laghu).


The vedaniya karma or feeling producing karmas are of two types:

·         Pleasure Producing Karma (Shata Vedniya Karma) - The Karma related to pleasure or happiness are called Pleasure Producing (Shätä Vedaniya) Karma
·         Pain Producing Karma (Ashata Vedniya Karma) – The karma related to displeasure, unhappiness or pain, are called Pain Producing (Ashata Vedniya) Karma

         As such no external object or event makes one happy or unhappy, as it has no inherent pleasantness or unpleasantness, but serves simply as a prop which reinforces whatever feeling is being karmically produced at that moment. So it is appropriate to say that it is feeling pertaining karma.

As a corollary to the feeling of pleasure or pain, this Karma provides all means and equipment leading to pleasure or pain. This is compared with a sharp knife or dagger covered with honey, which is sweet to taste but can also, cut or harm the tongue.

Pain Pertaining (Ashätä Vedaniya) Karma is acquired by causing pain to others, harassing others, killing others, causing others to worry, and by making others miserable. Pleasure Pertaining (Shätä Vedaniya) Karma is acquired by being compassionate towards all living beings, not causing pain to anybody, making others happy, helping others, giving others protection and peace, and sharing with and comforting others.

Offering comfort, kindness, help, protection, and peace to others can shed Feeling Pertaining (Vedaniya) Karma. It may be clarified again that this Karma concerns worldly pleasure (or pain) only and not the ultimate infinite happiness and bliss of the soul which comes from complete destruction of all Karma (including this Karma) on attainment of liberation or Moksha.

"There is nothing mightier in the world than karma;

karma tramples down all powers, as an elephant a clump of lotuses."

-Bhagwati Aradhna

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


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Introduction: Who is responsible for the events that occur in the world? Hegel said it is history. Marx said it is “the system.” Various views have been propounded to explain the occurrence of events. These theories put forward mutually conflicting answers to the question of who or what causes events in this universe to transpire. An event does not take place because of one reason. There are always more than one factors involved. Per Jain philosophy, a situation develops or an event happens because of five reasons operating simultaneously.

Some schools of thought believe that whatever happens is God’s wish. They think that

• God has created the universe
• God manages the universe
• God decides who gets what

This type of belief contrasts with that of the Jains, who believe that the six basic substances of the universe are eternal and they are:

• Soul (Jivästikäya)
• Material atoms (Pudgalästikäya)
• Medium of motion (Dharmästikäya)
• Medium of rest (Adharmästikäya)
• Space (Äkäshästikäya)
• Time (Käl)

They are indestructible and cannot be created. Nobody manages the universe. Everything in the universe takes place in accordance with the laws of nature. Every individual feels the appropriate repercussions of his/her actions in accordance with his/her own Karma.

Samaväya (Casual Factors)
Samaväya is the name of the group of five causes that are associated with every situation or event. It gives the connection between action and causes. Without a cause, no action can take place. These five causes have a deep connection with everything that takes place in the universe. These all are responsible for all events (positive or negative) in the universe. The five Samaväya (group of factors functioning simultaneously) are:

• Käl (Time)
• Svabhäv (Nature of a Substance)
• Niyati (Fate)
• Nimitta and Prärabdha (External Circumstances, and/or Karma)
• Purushärtha (Self Effort or Free Will)

Some people give focus only to one of these causes and ignore the others. The theory of Anekäntaväda, the Jain philosophy of multiplicity of viewpoints, rejects this way of viewing matters from a single angle. The Jain philosophy views and reveals the importance of each Samaväya from the Anekäntaväda and considers these five Samaväya as the causes for any action or reaction. Without these five, nothing can take place.

Käl (Time)
Time gives sequence to whatever happens in the universe. The Karma that are bound to the soul due to activities may not immediately manifest their fruits as soon as they are bound. The fruits of Karma appear at a specific time depending on the nature of the Karma itself.

Karma have to depend on time to present their fruits. One cannot have fruits the very moment a tree is planted. The seed cannot neglect the temporal limitation set out by time for its transformation into a tree; even nature depends on time for its manifestation or actualization. Time is a controlling principle. Without it, temporal order cannot be accounted for. If there were no time, a spout, a stem, a stalk, a flower and a fruit - all would emerge and exist simultaneously.

We cannot but acknowledge the fact that time plays an important role in the events of one’s life. If man understands that time is one of the important factors that produces an effect, he will learn to be patient during the period from the inception of the work to its completion or accomplishment. Otherwise, he will wrongly expect success or accomplishment the moment the work has commenced or at least before its due time. He may then lose all hope on account of not attaining success. This will make him slack in his efforts. As a result, he may be deprived of success in the future.

Svabhäv (Nature of a Substance)
Every substance has its own nature and they generate effects according to it. Time is not everything. Even if the right time arrives, certain seeds do not sprout. Why are thorns sharp? Why do most flowers have beautiful colors? Why are some animals cruel? Why are some animals clever and capable of rapid movement? Why does a dog bark? A single answer to all these questions is, it is their nature (Svabhäv). For example, to bark is a dog’s nature. You will not be able to grow mangoes on a lemon tree. In matters like these, individual nature is considered as the main cause. Nothing can generate an effect against its own inherent nature, even if all other causal conditions such as time, human effort, etc., are present there. An insentient or sentient thing produces an effect strictly in accordance with its own inherent nature. Undoubtedly, the place of inherent nature is very important in the production of an effect or in the occurrence of an event.

Niyati (Destiny)
Niyati means destiny or fate. In this world, there are certain things that are predetermined and unalterable. In these situations, whatever has been destined will take place. Whatever has to happen keeps happening. In this process, change cannot be made despite our best laid plans. For example, even if we make all possible efforts, we cannot prevent the aging process or may not be able to save someone’s life. If someone were going to hit our car from behind, he/she would do so despite our best efforts. In essence, although we are in control of most events that occur throughout our life, there are certain things that are beyond our control. Destiny can be regarded as identical to a certain type of karma, an unalterable karma. In Jain terminology, it is called ‘Nikächit karma’. The Nikächit karma is that which is unalterable and which most certainly causes the experience of pleasure or pain to the concerned soul at the time of its fruition. The fruit or result of such type of karma being Niyat (fixed and unalterable), the karma is known by the name ‘Niyati’. However, it must be stressed that the concept of Nikächit only applies to a select few karma and cannot be used as a justification for apathy or evil.

Nimitta or Prärabdha (External Circumstances and Karma)
Nimitta is an apparent cause of a result or a catalytic agent (helper) of a process, result or activity. There can be one or more Nimitta in any given event. Nimitta can be either external (person, objects) or internal (Karma). Guidance of a Guru and scripture or an event can be an external cause.

Happiness, misery and various conditions related to us depend on diverse karma. Sometime we notice that good deeds yield bitter fruits and evil deeds yield sweet ones. Behind this apparent anomaly, it is the force of karma that is at work. All strange things and all the sad and happy things we experience; are all due results of previously bonded Karma. A mother gives birth to twins. Still one turns out to be different from the other. This is because of one’s own Karma. The rich become poor, poor become rich, rich become richer and poor become poorer. This is also because of one’s own Karma. Every one has to experience both the good and the evil consequences of their Karma.
There occur inexplicable or strange events in the life of an individual or of a group, which are described as ‘determined or controlled by Fate’. From such events, we get the idea of the existence of karma.

Purushärtha (Self effort or Free Will)
Purushärtha or individual effort has a special place. A person cannot progress if he/she depends on Time or Nature or Destiny or Karma and if he/she does not put forth effort. The human race has progressed because of efforts and initiatives. It is not possible to improve anything without effort. Which one is the most important of these five? Which is the most effectual? The controversy regarding these questions is not of today; but has existed for centuries. Countless arguments and counter arguments have been made for and against one or another proposition. One who supports one view disagrees with other causes. However, Jain philosophy does not consider these five from a single point of view; nor does it consider anyone of them as the only right one.

The Jain philosophy considers their collective effect as valid and right. We must understand that in the production of each and every effect, all five causal factors are not equally important. Of course, all of them are necessarily present there simultaneously to produce an effect. However, with respect to a particular effect a particular causal factor acts as the principal one and the rest act as subordinate to it.

However, Jain philosophy does put more emphasis on individual effort (Purushärtha), because individual effort is the only one in our control. Individual effort can change or eradicate one’s Karma. Purushärtha of the past is Karma of the present and Purushärtha of the present is Karma of the future. If we continue to put forth self-effort to shed our Karma, our destiny will improve and that can happen sooner depending upon the eradication of Karma. However, we must understand that it takes all five causes for any action to take place.

We cannot help but recognize the importance of human effort. Those who regard karma as supreme should question themselves as to who generates karma. It is the activity and passions of the soul that generates karma. Karma makes the soul wander in the cycle of life and death, whereas human effort wages war against karma destroys their entire force and leads the soul to the Abode of the Liberated. It is not the force of karma that brings about the manifestation of the state of liberation. In fact, it is the destruction of karma that is the only cause of liberation. It is only human effort that can destroy karma. When one directs one’s attention to this uncommon characteristic of human effort, one finds it improper to give sole importance to karma. This is the reason why the knowledgeable and wise saints have taught us that the only means for improving and destroying karma is one’s firm determination to keep one’s mental, vocal and bodily operations auspicious (virtuous) or pure while performing spiritual good, auspicious, praiseworthy and compassionate acts. Those who depend solely on karma become despondent and indolent. Hence, they are deprived of success. Though human effort has to depend on time, nature, etc., it is the most efficient way to bring victory to man. In the modern age, many wonderful things have been invented and widely used. These inventions serve as brilliant instances of the efficacy of human effort. Individuals or nations that put forth great efforts make progress and attain prosperity and welfare. On the other hand, idle individuals and nations fall behind and degenerate on account of their lack of vigor and vitality; they consequently become slaves of others and subject themselves to their oppressions. If the achievements attained or inventions made by human effort are misused, it is the people who misuse them that are at fault and not the achievements or inventions.

We have now seen the importance of the five causal factors. All five are useful in their own places. All contribute to the production of an effect. We should not give exclusive importance to any one of them, rejecting all others or relegating them to an utterly insignificant place. The believers in the doctrine of time are under the sway of illusion, if they accept time while excluding the other factors without properly evaluating their contribution. This view is the right view, which accords proper placement to all the causal factors. Contrary to it, the wrong view is that, which regards anyone of them as the sole cause, neglecting the rest. Jainism puts most emphasis on Purushärtha (to rely a great deal on one’s own efforts and initiatives) since it is the only one in our control and can make an impact on other Samaväya in future. No progress can be made if one depends only upon fate or Karma. Individual effort (Purushärtha) can help in shedding Karma and in purifying his/her consciousness. Believing in these five causes is the beginning of the theory of multiplicity of views (multifaceted truth or Anekäntaväda).

Significance of Samaväya:

• To form an opinion on any one of the five causes indicates our ignorance about Jain reality.

• However during our spiritual growth period, we should reflect on one cause that will reduce or minimize our vices and enhance our spirituality.

• During the action or activity period one should reflect on: One’s own effort for the success (Determination, Free will, Self effort)

• At the conclusion of an activity or action one should reflect on: If the result is positive the success was due to the help from others (external Nimitta or circumstances). If the result is negative the failure was due to my past karma (internal Nimitta) or the failure was Predestined or My effort was not adequate

• Person needs Freewill, Determination, and Effort to progress from Illusionary/Ignorant state (1st Gunasthan) to Monk-hood state (6th Gunasthan)

• Person can not spiritually progress further without dissolving his/her ego.

• To the egoless person, all events that occur in the universe seems predestined

• This does not mean that events are predestined in reality (all five causes are equally present)

• We may continuously change two of the five causes: Purushärtha and Nimitta (Self Effort or Free Will, Karma and External situation) Hence the probability of all events are predetermined is very low

• During an ignorance state a person is controlled by surroundings (Nimitta).

• Hence on the path of spiritual progress the person should be surrounded by proper Environment

• As spiritual progress occurs, the effect of external causes reduce, and the power of soul

Karma philosophy applies to ourselves, Compassion applies to all.

courtesy: Jain Philosophy & Practice-2

Sunday, May 1, 2011


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Syädväda or Sapta-Bhanga (Seven Predications)

‘‘The doctrine of Syädväda holds that since a thing is full of most contrary characteristics of infinite variety, the affirmation made is only from a particular standpoint or point of view and therefore it may be correct or true. However, the same assertion may be wrong or false from some other standpoint or point of view. Thus, the assertion made cannot be regarded as absolute. All affirmations in some sense are true and in some sense are false. Similarly, all assertions are indefinite and true in some sense as well as indefinite and false in some other sense. Assertions could be true, or false or indefinite. Thus, Jainism proposes to grant the non-absolute nature of reality and relativistic pluralism of the object of knowledge by using the word ‘Syät’ (or Syäd) before the assertion or Judgment. The word ‘Syät’ literally means ‘may be.’ It is also translated as ‘perhaps’, ‘some how’, ‘relatively’ or ‘in a certain sense’. The word ‘Syät’ or its equivalent in English used before the assertion makes the proposition true but only under certain conditions i.e. hypothetically. What is to be noted is that the word ‘Syät’ is not used in the sense of probability leading to uncertainty.

Probability again hints at skepticism and Jainism is not skepticism. Since reality has infinite aspects, our judgments are bound to be conditional. Thus, Syädväda is the theory of relativity of knowledge. The Jains quoted quite a good number of parables, which are conventionally used by Jain writers to explain the theory. The most famous one for the grip over the core of the theory is the famous parable of six blind men who happened to come across an elephant. Each one was sure and asserting about his own description alone being correct. However, each one was correct from his point of view though contrary to each other. Thus the Jains hold that no affirmation or judgment is absolute in its nature, each is true in its own limited sense only. The affirmations will tell either about the existence, or non-existence, or about the inexpressible. Combining these three will give four more alternatives. So, we derive the seven alternatives technically known as Sapta-Bhanga Naya or the sevenfold Judgment.

Theory of Seven Predications (Sapta-Bhanga)

To clarify the above approach of ascertaining the truth by the process of Syädväda, the Jain philosophers have evolved a formula of seven predications, which are known as Sapta-bhanga. ‘Sapta’ means ‘seven’ and ‘Bhanga’ means ‘mode’. These seven modes of ascertaining the truth are able to be exact in exploring all possibilities and aspects. For any proposition, there are three main modes of assessment, namely,
(1) Syad Asti (Perhaps it is), 
(2) Syad Nasti (Perhaps it is not), 
(3)Syad Asti Nasti (Perhaps it is as well as it is not), 
(4) Syad Avaktavya (Perhaps it is indescribable), 
(5) Syad Asti Avaktavya (Perhaps it is and it is indescribable, 
(6) Syad Nasti Avaktavya (Perhaps it is not and it is indescribable), 
(7) Syad Asti Nasti Avaktavya (Perhaps it is, as well as it is not and it is indescribable.

 All these seven predications are explained with reference to an ethical proposition that ‘Does the soul exist?’ With regard to this proposition, the seven predications noted above can be made as under:

1)      Syad Asti: Perhaps the soul does exist.

2)      Syad Nasti: Perhaps the soul doesn’t exist.

3)      Syad Asti Nasti: Perhaps the soul does exist as well as it does not.

4)      Syad Avaktavya: Perhaps it is indescribable.

5)      Syad Asti Avaktavya: Perhaps the soul does exist and it is indescribable as well.

6)      Syad Nasti Avaktavya: Perhaps the soul doesn’t exist and it is indescribable as well.

7)    Syad Asti Nasti Avaktavya: Perhaps the soul does exist as well as it doesn’t and it is indescribable as well.

All these seven modes can be expressed with regard to every proposition. The Jain philosophers have applied them with reference to self, its eternality, non-eternality, identity and character. In fact, this approach of Anekänta permeates almost every doctrine, which is basic to Jain philosophy. S. Gopalan quotes Eliot in this connection as saying: "The essence of the doctrine (of Syädväda) so far as one can disentangle it from scholastic terminology, seems just for it amounts to this, that as to matters of experience it is impossible to formulate the whole and the complete truth, and as to matters which transcend experience, language is inadequate." At no time in the history of mankind, this principle of Syädväda was more necessary than in the present.

This is the general view of the method of the Jain dialectic. Only this type of dialectical method can represent Syädväda. The theory of sevenfold predication is treated as synonymous with Syädväda owing to the fact that the number of possible or alternative truths under the conditional method of Syädväda is seven only.’’

Syädväda: Critical Evaluation
Jains admit that a thing cannot have self contrary attributes at the same time and at the same place. What Jainism emphasizes is the manyness and manifoldness of a thing or the complex nature of reality. Dr. Rädhäkrishnan says, "Since reality is multiform and ever-changing, nothing can be considered to exist everywhere and at all times and in all ways and places and it is impossible to pledge us to an inflexible creed." A. N. Upadhhye writes that Syädväda and Naya-väda has supplied the philosopher the catholicity of thought. It also convinces one that Truth is not anybody’s monopoly with tariff walls of denominational religion while furnishing the religious aspirant with the virtue of intellectual toleration. This is the part of that Ahimsa which is one of the fundamental tenets of Jainism.’’ Lastly, in the words of Dr. Y. J. Padmarajiah, ‘‘Anekäntaväda is the heart of Jain metaphysics and Naya-väda and Syädväda (or Sapta-bhangi) are its main arteries. To use a happier metaphor: the bird of Anekäntaväda flies on its wings of Naya-väda and Syädväda.’’ Through Anekäntaväda, and thus through Naya-väda and Syädväda, Jains bring a solution to the age-old controversy between the absolutism and nihilism or between the one and the many or the real and the unreal.

Theistic Implication of Syädväda
Thus, the spirit to understand the other and other’s standpoint and to learn to tolerate the conflicting or contrary situation helps a lot towards the higher development of right conduct. It broadens the mind and makes a person quite objective and open in his thinking. Such a person, like Jain monks, reads extensively the treatises of other schools. It proves to be good training ‘‘to identify extreme views and to apply the proper corrections.” Thus, here also, we find Syädväda a great help towards right knowledge and right conduct. Syädväda, by molding a person towards better conduct and higher knowledge, proves to be of great theistic significance. One of the aims of life is to make the earth a better and worthier world. Syädväda in spite of its dry dialectic and forbidding use of logic is not without a lesson for the practical human beings of the world. Pundit Dalsukhbhai Malvania, an authority on Jainism, in one of his essays on Anekäntaväda explains that the motto of Anekäntaväda is Ahimsa and that is the prime reason that Jain philosophy is based on Anekäntaväda. The very idea of not to hurt others but to be kind and sympathetic towards others’ views and thus to be friendly is the logical outcome of Ahimsa. Ahimsa in its positive concept becomes love and compassion. A perfect theism, not in its narrow rigid sense, but in the sense where broad religiousness, deep spirituality and high knowledge are thought of for the soul’s ultimate liberation from bondage, require Syädväda as its valid approach to have an objective vision of truth, to be tolerant, to be sympathetic and to have an attitude of impartiality. Without all these, no theism in its actual practice is possible. Syädväda shapes a personality into a theistic one.

Moreover, subjective attitude and past recollections towards the same or similar objects play a decisive role in judgment. At the same time prejudices and predilections, social upbringing, environmental necessities and politico-social taboos also play a very decisive role in a judgment about an idea. In fact, every object and every idea has infinite characteristics and is required to be judged from a variety of standpoints. What should be our reaction towards a thing if we are convinced that everything in this universe has infinite characteristics and with limited knowledge, a human being is not capable of determining all these characteristics? Certainly, if our approach were objective and unbiased, we would not rush to take an absolute view of that thing or thought by keeping in mind the limitations of our knowledge. Our judgment based on limited data is likely to be wrong. We would, however, not have actual perception. Therefore, in our prudence, we would say that the judgment formed about actually perceived things is ‘likely’ to be true. While saying so, we would not rule out the possibility that it may turn out to be untrue if looked at from any other perspective. This is the approach of Syädväda, which implies that each and all knowledge is relative. What we know by the analytical process of Naya-väda, we express by the synthesis of Syädväda. As already noticed, the etymological meaning of the word ‘Syäd’ is ‘Perhaps.’ However, it is used to suggest a relative truth. The theory of Syädväda is based on the premise that every proposition is only relatively true. It all depends upon the particular aspect from which we appreciate that proposition. Since all propositions are related to many circumstances, our assertions about them depend entirely upon the particular circumstances through which we are viewing them. Since our view has a limited aperture, we cannot know everything and hence it is appropriate to avoid our absolute assertion.

For instance, when we say that a particular thing weighs 5 lb., our statement about the weight is related to the gravitational force exerted on that thing by our planet, the earth. The same thing may not weigh anything if removed from this gravitational field or may weigh differently on a different planet. The same can be said about our statements relating to time and space and about every human experience. It is the matter of our daily experience that the same object, which gives pleasure to us under certain circumstances, becomes boring under different circumstances. Scientific truths are, therefore, relative in the sense that they do not give complete and exhaustive knowledge of the objects under study and contain elements that may be changed with further advance in knowledge. Nonetheless, relative truth is undoubtedly useful as it is a stepping stone to the ultimate truth.

Is “Self” Permanent or Transitory?
In the field of metaphysics, there has been serious controversy about the real nature of ‘Self’. While Vedäntists believe that, everything that is found in this universe is ‘Brahma’, the super self, permanent, and the material things, which are found to have no reality, as they are transitory in nature. The Buddhists would say that everything in this universe including the super-self is transitory and constantly changing. These are the two extreme views as they concentrate only on particular aspects to the exclusion of other aspects. The Jains say that both are relatively correct from the viewpoint through which they see the thing, but both are incorrect in as much as they fail to take the comprehensive view of all the aspects involved. The Jains would say that, from the point of view of substance (Dravya) self is permanent but from the point of view of modifications (Paryäya), it is transitory. Since substance and its modes should be taken as an integrated whole in order to comprehend it properly, both the attributes of permanence and transitoryness should be taken into account. Both to the Vedäntists as well as to the Buddhists, the Jain seer would say ‘Syäd Asti’, i.e., "From one aspect you are right” and applying his ‘Anekänta Naya’, i.e., looking at the problem from different angles would come to the above conclusion. Thus the doctrine of relativity, which is the practical application of the theory of multifold aspects (Naya-väda), is nothing but the doctrine of metaphysical synthesis. This doctrine has a great value in our day - to - day individual and social life.

Importance of Anekäntaväda
The importance of this comprehensive synthesis of ‘Syädväda’ and ‘Anekänta Naya’ in day-to-day life is immense in as much as these doctrines supply a rational unification and synthesis of the manifold and reject the assertions of bare absolutes. Mahatma Gandhi’s views (wrote in 1926) about the Jain theory of Anekänta are as follows: “It has been my experience, that I am always true (correct) from my point of view and often wrong from the point of view of my critics. I know that we are both (I and my critics) right from our respective points of view." "I very much like this doctrine of the manyness of reality. It is this doctrine that has taught me to judge a Muslim from his standpoint and a Christian from his. From the platform of the Jains, I prove the noncreative aspect of God, and from that of Rämänuja the creative aspect. As a matter of fact we are all thinking of the unthinkable describing the indescribable, seeking to know the unknown, and that is why our speech falters, is inadequate and been often contradictory."

The history of all conflicts and confrontations in the world is the history of intolerance born out of ignorance. Difficulty with the human being is his/her egocentric existence. If only the human being becomes conscious of his/her own limitations! Anekänta or Syädväda tries to make the human being conscious of his/her limitation by pointing to his narrow vision and limited knowledge of the manifold aspects of things, and asks him/her not be hasty in forming absolute judgments before examining various other aspects - both positive and negative. Obviously, much of the bloodshed, and much of tribulations of mankind would have been saved if the human being had shown the wisdom of understanding the contrary viewpoints.

The doctrine of Syädväda also clarifies the metaphysical doctrine of ‘Self’ envisaged by the Jains. The proposition ‘Syäd Asti’ is positive in character and points out the positive attributes of the thing in question. These are individual attributes, which belong to and are inherent in the thing in question. Therefore, when the proposition ‘Syäd Asti’ is applied to ‘Self’, it conveys that ‘Self’ is justified in its existence only from the point of view of its own individual attributes, modes, space and time. However, when the other proposition of the doctrine namely ‘Syät Nästi’ is applied to it, it means the ‘Self’ does not possess the attributes and modes which do not belong to it. It is just like a pot that can be identified as a ‘pot’ only if it carries the attributes of a ‘pot’ but it cannot be identified as a pot if it carries the attributes, which are foreign to it. So the negative identification of ‘Syät Nästi’ when applied to ‘Self’ would mean, that if the self tries to adopt the attributes of Pudgal (matter) which are foreign to it, it is not the ‘self’. In other words, Syädväda teaches us that ‘Self’ can be identified positively as ‘Syäd Asti’ only if it is viewed from its own attributes, and negatively as ‘Syäd Nästi’ to show that it is not Pudgal, etc. if it is viewed from the attributes that are foreign to it.

Thus, the doctrine of Syädväda gives clarity to the real character of the ‘Self’ and by the same process of reasoning, the real character of ‘Pudgal’, i.e., non-sentient things.

Anekäntaväda and Ahimsa
However, the important aspect of Anekäntaväda and Syädväda is the subtlety with which it introduces the practice of Ahimsa (nonviolence) even in the realm of thought. The moment one begins to consider the angle from which a contrary viewpoint is put forward, one begins to develop tolerance, which is the basic requirement of the practice of ‘Ahimsa’. The origin of all bloody wars fought on the surface of this earth can be traced to the war of ideas, beliefs and disagreements. Anekäntaväda and Syädväda puts a healing touch at the root of the human psyche and tries to stop the war of beliefs, which lead to the war of nerves and then to the war of bloodshed. It makes all absolutes in the field of thought quite irrelevant and naive, and it imparts maturity to the thought process and supplies flexibility and originality to the human mind. If mankind will properly understand and adopt this doctrine of Anekäntaväda and Syädväda, it will realize that real revolution was not the French or Russian; the real revolution was the one, which taught man to develop his/her power of understanding from all possible aspects.

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