Methods of Mahavira for Social Change [5/7] Method Of Propagating The Doctrine Of Karma

Published: 07.06.2008
Updated: 13.10.2008

5.0 Method Of Propagating The Doctrine Of Karma

Mahāvīra ascribed responsibility to an individual for the actions that he does in society. For establishing this he propagated the doctrine of Karma. Individuals differ from one another in respect of cognition, conation and affection etc. What is the cause of this difference? How to account for these perceptible distinctions among individuals? The answer of Mahāvīra is that it is the beginning-less material subtle principle known as Karma that is responsible for the cause of differences in individuals. This Karma has been exercising its limiting and crippling influence on individuals from the beginning-less past. This material subtle principle is known as Dravya-karma, and its psychical counterpart in terms of Rāga (Attachment) and Dveşa (Aversion) is called Bhāva-Karma.

It is no doubt true that Karmas bind the self to mundane existence. Now the question that arises is this: How the self is bound by Karmas? What are the causes that create Karmic bondage in individuals? The answer of Mahāvīra is that it is action (mental, bodily and vocal) polluted by passion that causes empirical bondage to individuals.[24] the passion-free actions do not bring about any mundane bondage whatsoever. When there are no passions, there is no bondage (Bandha). It is the passion that mars the socio-spiritual career of an individual.


24. Rājavārtika of Akalańka, VI. 2/4, 5, (Bharatiya Jñāna Pītha, New Delhi).

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