Eastern Religions and Traditions
traces its origin from ancient times and ascribes twenty-four
enlightened beings who emerge in the course of a cosmic cycle to
teach the path to liberation.
Earlier Tirthankaras had enormous life spans and falls
outside of the historical periods. Each Tirthankara has a shorter
life span than the previous one. The current series ends with
Mahavira, the twenty-fourth, who is held to have lived for
traditional dating of the twenty-third Tirthankara, Parshvanatha,
is 877-777 BC.
last Tirthankara was Vardhamana Jñatriputra lived during the
period 599-527 BCE and
was given the title of Mahavira "the Great Hero".
scholars date his time as 499-427 BC which makes him a
contemporary of Buddha.
word Jain means "Victorious", the one who had conquered.
like Buddhism was again a similar attempt at explaining life and
existence on the basis of Cause and Effect and developed its
detailed science around the law of Karma. However it differs from
Buddhism in considering Karma as a real metaphysical/physical mass zero particles in constant reaction with the Soul which
it surrounds. These
explanations goes deep into detailes of how Karmic particles
affect the souls and propels it into rebirth.
souls or life forces (jiva) exist. They have always existed and
will continue forever. They were not created by anyone. No one
controls these souls. Each soul authors its own destiny under the
laws of the universe. The nature of the soul is energy,
consciousenss, and bliss (virya, caitanya, sukha). Consciousness
includes both perception (darsana) and knowledge (jnana).
jiva which grows, decays, fluctuates, varies, eats, sleeps,
awakes, acts, fears, rests, has knowledge and perception, attempts
to self defend, and reproduces. These and many more qualities of
the jiva are obvious through a physical body when the soul is
present in it but when the soul leaves, these qualities cease.
These qualities are external features and consciousness (chetan)
is the basic inner feature of the soul. This also makes it clear
that the body and the soul are separate entities.
the soul is flexible, it pervades the entire body it occupies.
Such bodies stay alive as long as there is a soul.
are categorized in two groups:·
Liberated or Siddha
Jiva · Liberated
souls have no karmas and therefore, they are no longer in the
cycle of births and deaths. They do not live among us, but reside
at the uppermost part of this universe called Siddhashila.
They are formless and shapeless, have perfect knowledge and
perception, and have infinite vigor and bliss
Sansari Jiva.. The sansari jivas have karmas, and are continually
going through the cycle of birth and death. non-liberated jivas
have limited knowledge and perception.
are known by the senses they possess. There are five senses in
all, namely touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Different
types of Jivas possess one or more of these senses. Among the five sensed beings some have minds and some do not.
Those having a mind are called sangni panchendriya and those
without a mind are called asangni panchendriya.
This bondage of
the soul is explained in the Jain texts by analogy with gold ore,
which—in its natural state—is always found unrefined of
admixture with impurities. Similarly, the ideally pure state of
the soul has always been overlaid with the impurities of karma.
This analogy with gold ore is also taken one step further: the
purification of the soul can be achieved if the proper methods of
refining are applied. Over the centuries, Jain monks have
developed a large and sophisticated corpus of literature
describing the nature of the soul, various aspects of the working
of karma, and the ways and means of attaining mokṣa.
In Jain view
karma is seen as a most subtle body (karma sarira), consisting of
subatomic small particles [those which mass is = 0 (zero), like
photons etc.] in motion , which surround the
Jiva completely, and act as an intermediate medium that
constitute the Jiva's
awareness to the outer dimensions of cosmos which consists of the
Tejas body and the Physical body.
Jainism speaks of karmic "dirt", as karma is
thought to be manifest as very subtle and microscopically
imperceptible particles pervading the entire universe. It is these
karmic particles that adhere to the soul and affect its natural
potency. This material karma is called dravya karma;
and the resultant emotions—pleasure, pain, love, hatred, and so
on—experienced by the soul are called bhava karma,
psychic karma. The relationship between the material
and psychic karma is that of cause and effect. The material karma
gives rise to the feelings and emotions in worldly souls, which—in
turn—give rise to psychic karma, causing emotional modifications
within the soul. These emotions, yet again, result in influx and
bondage of fresh material karma.
Jains hold that
the karmic matter is actually an agent that enables the
consciousness to act within the material context of this universe.
They are the material carrier of a soul's desire to physically
experience this world. When attracted to the consciousness, they
are stored in an interactive karmic field called kārmaṇa
śarīra, which emanates from the soul.
Thus, karma is
a subtle matter surrounding the consciousness of a soul. When
these two components—consciousness and ripened karma—interact,
the soul experiences life as known in the present material
karma particles sticking to the soul cause the soul to be happy or
unhappy and affect the events in the soul's present and future
lives. All forms of karma prevent the soul from attaining final
immersed in the Karma Particles with varying colors.
"Similar to energy, the soul is invisible. An infinite number of
souls exist in the universe. In its pure form (a soul without
attached karma particles), each soul possesses infinite knowledge,
infinite perception, infinite energy and power, and unobstructed
bliss." (from a Jain Sutra)
- Karma is a physical substance
- This substance is everywhere in
- There are 8 forms of karma
- The mental, verbal and physical
actions of the jiva attract karma to it. The more intense the
activity, the more karma is attracted
- The karma sticks to the jiva
because negative characteristics of the jiva, passions like
anger, pride and greed, make the jiva sticky. Karma can be
warded off by avoiding these negative characteristics
- If the being is without passions
then the karma does not stick, thus a person can avoid karma
sticking to them by leading a religiously correct life
- Karma must be burned off the
jiva in order for it to make spiritual progress. Living
according to the Jain vows is the way to get rid of karma
- The jiva takes its karma with it
from one life to another
The 8 Types of Karma particles and
- mohaniya-karma (delusory):
- deludes the jiva
- causes attachment to
- prevents the jiva
living a correct life
- interferes with the
jiva's intellect and senses
- prevents the jiva
understanding the truth
- blocks the jiva's
- interferes with
perception through the senses
- antaraya-karma (obstructing):
- obstructs the energy
of the jiva
- blocks the doing of
good acts that the jiva wants to do
- determines whether
the jiva has pleasant or unpleasant experiences
- determines the type
- determines the
physical characteristics of the new life
- determines the
spiritual potential of the new life
- determines the
duration of a being's life (within the limits of the species
into which the jiva is reborn)
- determines the
status of a being within its species
Here is the
body structure in various dimensions of existence according to
The tejas body gives energy to the whole body.
The karman body carries the imprints of karmas to the next birth.
When the soul departs from the current body, at the time of death, the
tejas and karman bodies go with it to the next life.
Uttarādhyayana-sūtra 3.3–4 states:
"The jīva or the soul is sometimes born in the world of gods,
sometimes in hell. Sometimes it acquires the body of a demon; all
this happens on account of its karma. This jīva sometimes
takes birth as a worm, as an insect or as an ant."
Uttarādhyayana-sūtra 32.7: "Karma is the root of birth
and death. The souls bound by karma go round and round in the
cycle of existence."
There is no retribution, judgment or reward involved but a natural
consequences of the choices in life made either knowingly or
unknowingly. Hence, whatever suffering or pleasure that a soul may
be experiencing in its present life is on account of choices that
it has made in the past. As a result of this doctrine, Jainism
attributes supreme importance to pure thinking and moral behavior.
– colouring of the soul
According to the Jain theory of karma, the karmic matter
imparts a colour (leśyā) to the soul, depending on the
mental activities behind an action. The coloring of the soul is
explained through the analogy of crystal, that acquires the color
of the matter associated with it. In the same way, the soul also
reflects the qualities of taste, smell and touch of associated
karmic matter, although it is usually the colour that is referred
to when discussing the leśyās.
34.3 speaks of six main categories of leśyā represented
by six colours: black, blue, grey, yellow, red and white.
black (Krishna), blue (Neel) and grey (the color of a pigeon:
Kaapot) are inauspicious leśyā, leading to the soul
being born into misfortunes.
They have an adverse influence on the individual's spirit, causing
the influx of painful (PAAP) karma. They also lead to detrimental
impact on one's animate and inanimate environment. Obviously, the
worst shade of passion is the black one as it involves the most
intense emotions and passions (KASHAAYs) of anger, pride, intrigue
and greed. An individual having this shade of passion has total
disregard for his/her own spiritual well-being and for the welfare
of his/her environment - living and nonliving.
yellow (color of sunlight, Peet or Tejoleshya), red (or light
pink, color of lotus, Padma) and white (or crystal clear,Shukla)
are auspicious leśyās, that lead to the soul being born
into good fortune. In
this sense, they are auspicious. The most auspicious shade of
passion is white (SHUKLA). At its highest stage, it embodies the
complete absence of passion and is achieved by those who are in
the state of spiritual meditation (SHUKLA DHYAAN).
"A man who acts on the impulse of the five sins, does not possess
the three guptis, has
not ceased to injure the six (kinds of living beings), commits
cruel acts, is wicked and violent, is afraid of no consequences,
is mischievous and does not subdue his senses – a man of such
habits develops the black leśyā." —Uttarādhyayana-sūtra,
"A man who abstains from constant thinking about his
misery and about sinful deeds, but engages in meditation on the
law and truth only, whose mind is at ease, who controls himself,
who practises the samitis and guptis, whether he be still subject
to passion or free from passion, is calm, and subdues his
senses—a man of such habits develops the white leśyā."
of deeds and intent
Any action committed, knowingly or unknowingly, has karmic
Tattvārthasūtra 6.7: "The intentional act
produces a strong karmic bondage and the unintentional produces
weak, shortlived karmic bondage."
Similarly, the physical act is also not a necessary
condition for karma to bind to the soul: the existence of intent
alone is sufficient. This is explained by Kundakunda (1st Century
CE) in Samayasāra 262–263: "The intent to kill, to
steal, to be unchaste and to acquire property, whether these
offences are actually carried or not, leads to bondage of evil