Essentials of Jain philosophy

  • By Munisri Nyayavijayaji
  • February 2003


Partial Dissociation (Nirjara)                                                                       

The partial dissociation of the bound karmic matter takes place in two ways. One is by force of austerity for a higher spiritual objective where the bound karmic matter gets dissociated with the soul even before it has yielded fruit. Two comes about from the dissociation of the bound karmic matter thru experiencing its fruit at the destined time. The former is voluntary (sakama) & the latter involuntary (akama). Today we eat fruits that are ripened naturally meaning experiencing by the soul of the fruits of its karmas or where they are kept in a room and ripened by other means meaning we can use the heat of austerity & get karmas burnt (dissociated) by the fire of austerity.

While experiencing the fruits of its karmas, if the soul is perturbed, constantly engages in bad thoughts and yields itself to passions, then it binds new karmas. Thus, this cycle will go on for infinity. Conversely if the fruits of the bound karmas are accepted peacefully without yielding to passions, then no new karmas are bound to one’s soul.

As stated earlier samvara (stoppage or prevention) is the opposite of asrava inflow. It stops the inflow of karmic matter. It is of the nature of internal purity, which is achieved by means of gupti, samiti, dharma, anupreksa, parisahajaya and caritra. Gupti means spiritually beneficial control of the activities of mind, speech & body. Samiti means careful activities inspired by a sense of discrimination. Dharma means meritorious qualities i.e. forbearance, softness of heart, humility, truthfulness, non-attachment etc. Anupreksa means spiritually beneficial deep-reflections. Parisahajaya means endurance with equanimity. Caritra means the endeavor to remain steady in the state of equanimity by giving up all impure activities.

By all these means stoppage of the inflow of karmic matter is achieved. And the partial dissociation of the bound karmas is achieved by means of austerity. Spiritually motivated external & internal austerity leads to the partial dissociation. Internal austerity is divided into six types i.e. prayascitta (atonement with a view to making clean sweep of defects), vinaya (veneration), vaiyavrttya (rendering service), svadhyaya (self-study), vyutsarga (renouncement of attachment & other passions) and dhyana (spiritually beneficial mental concentration).

Knowledge & vision covering karmas, deluding & obstructive karmas are called ghati-karma (destructive karma) because they cover or adversely affect the natural qualities of the soul. When these four ghati-karmas are removed completely from the soul, perfect knowledge (omniscience) manifests itself. And when this perfect knowledge manifests itself, the soul becomes perfect seer and perfect knower. Then the concerned soul, at the time of its life span coming to an end, by its special efforts dissociates even the remaining four karmas designated ‘agahti’. And the moment they are totally removed from the soul, the latter moves upward, and within a moment reaches the end of the universe and rests there. This state is called liberation or moksa.

Liberation (Moksa)

On account of the removal of the causes of bondage as also on account of the dissociation of the bound karmas, there takes place the total & absolute dissociation of all karmas. This is liberation. The soul is now established in its pure and pristine state. To move upward on the total & absolute removal of all the karmas is the nature of the soul. Moving upward the soul reaches the end of the universe; it stops there and rests there. It cannot move upward because beyond the upper limit of the universe there is no medium of motion, as assisting cause of motion, there. Nor can it move backward, because it has no weight, nor sideways, because it is devoid of any urge generated by karmas.

In this state the soul does not have body, sense organs and mind altogether. It is eternal, infinite & pure. In liberation there are no gardens, women or sweet dishes. But how can we forget that all the miseries of the soul are due to its desire for sensual pleasures. These pleasures like everything else is temporary.

The liberated souls, who are completely cured of the disease of delusion, always remain blissfully engrossed in their pure mental state. Such bliss as is there in the absolutely pure state of soul is ultimately real, perfectly pure and completely unmixed with sorrow. The Indian philosophers have given to such supreme souls who are pure, supremely blissful and perfectly luminous (i.e. omniscient) various names like Suddha (the Pure), Buddha (the Enlightened), Siddha (the Perfected), Niranjana (the Unstained).

Liberation is attained through human body only. Heavenly bodies are by nature lacking in restraint. So it is not possible for them to attain the supreme state of liberation directly from their state of godhood. All worldly souls are divided into two i.e. bhavyas and abhavyas. The former are those who are capable of attaining liberation while the latter are those who are not capable of achieving liberation.

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