Jain Dualism [4] End of Interactions

Published: 14.04.2009
Updated: 30.07.2015

End of Interactions



1 Motivation for End

In the first part of this series of articles we presented a model of Jain dualism consisting of three main units the soul, mind and body. In the second part we studied the interactions between the three units and the external world. In the third part we discussed about auspicious and inauspicious interactions, which determine the quality of life. In this fourth and the last part we consider the important aspect of ways to end the interactions and achieve the pure state of the soul.

All Indian religious philosophies including Jainism laid great emphasis on liberation of the soul. We know that the soul is bound by Karma, which is the main cause of interactions. Liberation, therefore, means elimination of karma so that the soul becomes free (of interactions). This is not an easy task, only a few try and very few accomplish it. It is a long drawn process and may generally extend over a few life spans. Although the final assault is made in the last life, the process begins and continues much before that. 

What motivates one to seek liberation? The beginning is made on realization that the worldly existence is full of sorrow and that the worldly soul has been wandering since the infinity on account of the ignorance of its true nature and would still continue to wander till it attains liberation. One recognizes that worldly pleasures are temporary, and therefore false, and in order to attain the state of stable pleasure and permanent bliss he has to renounce the worldly existence and reach a state from where there is no come back to the worldly order. Liberation or Moksa is the only way to get out of the cycle of worldly existence and escape the attendant sorrow. We shall briefly describe the salient features of the liberation process. But before that we must again reassert the role of body as far as the soul is concerned. Material body is the vehicle for the journey of the soul and its importance must be understood in that context. Just like vehicle the body should be maintained and repaired on damage but should not be misunderstood to be a source of peace and happiness. The true peace and happiness is the attribute of the soul and the material body is only a means of worldly interactions. The soul adopts a suitable body from one sense to five-sense type according to its capability and needs determined by Karma, which in fact is the process of evolution according to Jain philosophy. 

2 How can Interactions be Curtailed and Ended? 

We know that Karmas are bond due to interaction of the soul with the external world through conscious mind and material body. So long as Karmas are in existence, the interaction goes on. Thus Karma and interactions make a vicious cycle. In order to reduce and finally eliminate Karma, it is obvious that the first step should be to control the conscious mind and train the body so as to minimize the interactions with the external world. Any one would be willing to do so only when he makes distinction between the soul, mind and material body, a state of the soul known as Samayaka Darsana or right faith in Jain philosophy. Materialists, who do not hold this kind of view will not choose to do so, they are said to have wrong faith.

Jain Doctrine of Karma provides ways for reduction and finally elimination of Karma. By following the prescribed techniques and practices, the duration and intensity of Karma can be reduced, nature of some Karma can be changed and all karmas can be destroyed. These techniques and practices help control the conscious mind, train the body and enable access to the unconscious mind and the soul. They mainly fall in the following group.

    1. Restraints. Restraints curtail interactions with the external world and limit the freedom of conscious mind.

    2. Pranayama. It is a breathing technique that helps control the conscious mind. It also vitalizes the body.

    3. Meditation. Meditation is an important technique to quiet the conscious mind, to penetrate deeper into the unconscious mind and to contact the soul. Meditation is a potent method to eradicate Karma. Once contact with the soul is made the soul realizes its true nature and sublimates all perversions that have been created by interactions with the external world. As the soul purifies the corresponding karma responsible for that impurity are destroyed.

    4. Prevention of karma inflow. This requires exercising care in activities of body speech and mind and observing a strict code of conduct, which requires an ascetic way of life. 

            We describe below these techniques and practices in some detail.

3 Restraints 

A seeker of liberation has to start with exercising restraints so that the inflow of Karma is reduced. Non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possessiveness are the five principal restraints. Total observance of these restraints is not feasible in the worldly life; it is therefore left to the monastic life. Monks and nuns renounce the worldly life and are therefore able to observe those restraints to the fullest extent. Only a partial observation of these restrictions is possible in worldly life. Violence is defined as deprival of life owing to non-vigilance. Non-vigilance covers negligence, wrong motive, etc. Lie is defined as speaking contrary to the truth. It means that denying anything that has been done or stating anything contrary to the facts amounts to lying. Stealing is defined as taking what is not given. It means not getting or picking up anything, even if it is trifling, without being offered by the owner amounts to stealing. Sexual indulgence is the breach of celibacy.

4 Pranayama and Yoga

The word pranayama consists of tow parts: prana and ayama. Ayama means stretch, extension, length, breadth, regulation, restraint and control and describes the action of pranayama. Prana is energy (tejas vargana), when the self - energizing force embrace the body with extension and expansion and control; it is pranayama. Actually, pranayama is loosely translated as prana or breathe control; the ancient yogis developed many breathing techniques to maximize the benefits of prana. Pranayama is used in yoga as a separate practice to help clear and cleanse the body and mind. It is also used in preparation for meditation, and in asana, the practice of postures, to help maximize the benefits of the practice, and focus the mind. According to Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, yoga works primarily with the energy in the body, through the science of pranayama, or energy - control. Yoga teaches how, through breath - control, to still the mind and attain higher states of awareness. The higher teachings of yoga take one beyond techniques, and show the yogi, or yoga practicener, how to direct his concentration in such away as not only to harmonize human with divine consciousness, but to merge his consciousness in the infinite.

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorders, improving autonomic functions, relieving symptom of asthma and reducing signs of oxidative stress. Practiceners report that the practice of pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will - power, and sound judgment, and also claim that sustained practice extends life and enhances perception. Some detailed observations follow.

Nervous System

Pranayama maintains normal body functions. It influences higher functions of the central nervous system (CNS) like perception, planning, and execution of tasks, learning and memory. It improves coherence between the two cerebral hemispheres signifying synchronization of logical and intuitive function. It increases alertness, along with relaxation. Alertness decreases the reaction time of the brain. Twelve weeks of yoga is known to decrease the visual and auditory reaction times. Pranayama alone and Mukh Bhastrika have shown similar effects. Spatial tasks are enhanced during left nostril breathing and verbal tasks during right nostril breathing. Breathing through a particular nostril also improves spatial memory scores.

Yogic breathing exercises include right and left nostril breathing. These breathing techniques stimulate different divisions of Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) thus having useful implications in treating psycho physiological disorders associated with hemispheric and autonomic imbalance.

Hormonal Balance

The glandular activity increased and hormonal profile is balanced through pranayama. Ujjayi with long and short Kumbhak effects adreno-medullary secretions.

Psychiatric Disorders

Pranayama shows reduction in sympathetic activities, which is the basis of its use in stress management. Sudarshan Kriya yoga (one of the rhythmic breathing process) has been used in depression and melancholia. A thirty-minute session of yogic stretching and breathing exercises produced marked augmentation in perception of physical and mental energy. It increases falling of alertness and enthusiasm. It is more invigorating than relaxation or visualization techniques especially when practiced in a group setting.

Cardiovascular Responses

The cardiovascular system is controlled by the ANS. Yoga accompanied by breath control increases cardiac output, decreases the hepatic, renal blood flow and increases cerebral blood flow in the peripheral vessels.

Heart rate alterations in various types of pranayama and in single thought and thoughtless states have been described. The effects of inspiratory and expiratory phases of normal quite breathing, deep breathing and savitri pranayama breathing on heart rate and mean ventricular QRS axis was investigated in young healthy untrained subjects. Pranayama breathing produced significant cardio acceleration and increase in the QRS axis during the inspiratory phase compared to eupnoea. These changes were similar to the changes observed during the corresponding phase of deep breathing or savitri pranayama breathing. Right nostril breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the heart rate. Alternate nostril breathing bring about a balance in the ANS. Kapalbhati practice showed an increases in the low frequency band and decrease in the high frequency band of the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) spectrum indicating increased sympathetic activity. Nadishodhana pranayama increased both components of HRV.

Respiratory System

The various practices use pranayama, suryanamaskar, dhyana, devotional sessions, asanas, Kriyas and yogic chair breathing. Kapalbhati removes the residual secretions by moving the neck in all directions and forcing out secretions forcefully through the nose. Hence, by this mechanism yoga and naturopathy may be both useful in treating asthma.

The types of pranayama generally used in yoga are surya bhedana, bhastrika, and nadi shodhana. The idea is to maintain a slow rhythmic pattern of breathing using both nostrils alternately. This produces a balancing effect on the ANS. Short Kumbhak or breath holding increase O2 consumption while long Kumbhak decreases O2 consumption. Prolongation of breath holding time with increase in forced vital capacity (FVC), forced vital capacity in first second (FEVI), maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and lowered respiratory rate has been reported after six week of training in pranayama.

Techniques involving focusing on a single thought resulted in regularity of respiration while in the no thought state there was reductions in the rate and regularity of respiration. Savitri type breathing had a similar effect is deep breathing on cardiovascular parameters.

Various respiratory parameters improve after yoga and pranayama A significant increases in FVC, FEV, FEVI, PEFR, increase in the vital capacity, tidal volume increase in expiratory and inspiratory pressures, breath holding time and decrease in the respiratory rate is documented to help symptoms of weekly attacks, and scores for drug treatment, improved exercise tolerance, faster recovery after exercise, decrease in inhaler use, and improvements in bronchial provocation responses has also been documented. Pranayama is believed to decrease the anxiety element as well. Since asthma is a psychosomatic and chronic disease, a psychosomatic imbalance with an increased vagal tone is one of its various etiopathogenesis. Yoga therapy may first bring internal awareness, correct autonomic imbalance, control the breathing, improve the immune status and alter physiological variables.

5 Meditations

Meditation, the primary technique employed for spiritual progress, is a state of concentration of mind leading to higher states of awareness resulting into heightened perceptions. To achieve this state one needs to quiet the mind, control the thoughts, balance the emotions. The process of meditation take long preparations, meditative postures also help the practicener steady the body and mind. Through meditation one can reach the stage of Samadhi, a super conscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the devotee (yogi) is one with the Self or God.

During the past three decades human physiologists and neuroscientists have been able to confirm the various types of changes that occur in body functions during yogic and meditative practices. This has been observed in EEG pattern of yogis; one can see the greater correlation and synchronization of electrical activity of the brain. Studies have shown that the biogenic amines and the neuro transmitters in the nervous system get altered during deep meditation. During yogic practices, the functional hierarchy of the nervous system gets reoriented and functions hitherto known as autonomic come under the control of cortex (will / volition). Depending on the place of (psychic centers) the meditative technique in quality and quantity of time to fit in the materialist - spiritual spectrum, there may also be an underlying motivation towards spiritual growth and transcendence.
The following scientific observations during meditation have been made.

    1. Cardiovascular: A mean decrease of five beats per minute occurred in heart rate, a change that was highly significant (p
    2. Respiratory system: Wallace and Benson (1972) noted that the reduction of oxygen consumption ranged from 15 to 20 percent (p<0.001), whereas carbon dioxide elimination increased by similar percentage, thus indicating a corresponding reduction in metabolic rate. In sleep, the reduction may reach 10 percent but over a period of five hours rather than a few minutes.

    3. Acid Base balance and arterial lactate: Of considerable interest is the finding in both tests that the level of arterial lactate concentration fell rapidly at the onset, from 11.4 mg/ 100 cc to 80 during meditation, and then perhaps even more significantly continued to fall during the post meditation period to 7.0. Arterial lactate has been shown to rise in patients, with anxiety neurosis when stressed. Results, therefore, suggest a pathway by which meditation may achieve its classically reported effects of increased calmness and serenity of decreased anxiety.
    4. Skin Resistance: Studies confirm that skin resistance increases significantly during meditation. The change occurs well within the period of meditation and tends to decay rapidly thereafter.

    5. EEG: Researchers generally agree that in mediators, the electrocephalogram (EEG) during meditation tends to be dominated by alpha (A waves). The alpha frequency band is from 8 to 13 hertz (Hz). During meditation, the frequent predominance of alpha waves seems to confirm the general picture of an awake, alert but restful, no anxious, and passive state. In deeper meditation, theta is also produced. Perhaps of greater potential importance is that the EEG's of different parts of the cortex become synchronized, during some meditation at least and it is hypothesized that this may relate to the harmonization of right and left cerebral hemispheres. 

A theory in medicine says that our DNA contains all the history of mankind and the steps of evaluation. It also agrees that we have enormous unexplained knowledge within us, which needs to be decoded. The awakening of inner Mind can be compared to the knowledge unfolded in a world wide web when connected to Internet. When we experience the inner Mind, the sense of 'being' or 'me' alone remains in the initial stages, and that also gets sublimated in the advanced stages of the experience. 

One of the important methods of yogic practice is rhythmic recitation of a Mantra. This method is very popular in India. Prof. J. Morgan of Research and Experiment Institute of Neuroscience, UK studied the effect of reciting Om for seven years on 2500 male and 2000 female patients suffering from various neurological and cardiac disorders. These patents were administered only essential life saving drugs and all other medicines were discontinued. All patients were asked to recite Om daily in the morning from 6 to 7 in an open and clean environment under the supervision of trained teachers. The recitation was made with different rhythms and sounds. The results obtained after a practice of four years showed that 70 percent of male and 82 percent of female patients had 90 percent relief. There were also patients who got only 17 percent reliefs; according to Prof. Morgan these were the patients who were in the advanced stage of ailment. Persons addict of drinking and smoking were also greatly relieved of their habits. He said that the various frequencies generated by rhythmic recitation revitalize the dead cells and generate new cells. The effect is felt in the brain, heart and other parts of the body and the blood circulation is increased that causes an overall improvement in the condition of the patient. This technique has been found particularly very useful for neurological, cardiac and stomach disorders. 

6 Prevention of Karma

In the next stage liberation seekers initiates steps to prevent in flow of Karma. There are six factors that accomplish prevention of Karma. These six factors are Gupti, Samiti, Dharma, Anupreksha, Parisahajay and Charitra. We explain them here briefly. Gupti consists of properly restraining the mental, vocal and physical faculties. Samiti consists of maintaining vigilance while making movement, while speaking, while accepting the required articles, while moving any object and while disposing the waste. Gupti and Samiti are closely related; they together constitute the eight main precepts of Lords. These precepts mainly pertain to monastic order but laymen can observe them to some extent too. They should also remain vigilant while undertaking their activities.

Dharma means the attributes that constitute a spiritually purposeful religion. These attributes are forgiveness, mildness, straightforwardness, purity, truth, self-restraint, austerity, renouncing, absence of possession and celibacy. Forgiveness necessitates the spirit of forbearance and a sense of equanimity. Mildness means humbleness, which is a prerequisite to forbearance. Straightforwardness denotes absence of crookedness, deceit, duplicity, etc and a positive sense of sincerity and honesty of purpose. Purity means cleanliness, a sense of removal of attachment that pollutes the soul. Truth means verbal truth, absence of ambiguity, etc. Self-restraint implies restraining of five sense organs, observance of five major restraints described above, overcoming of four defilements and restraining of mental, verbal and physical faculties. It stipulates refraining from every activity that hurts true self. Austerities are of two kinds, external austerities and internal austerities. Fasting, eating less than required, curtailing the varieties of eatables, control over tastes, lonely habitation and facing the hardships constitute the external austerities. Repentance, modesty, service, self-study, renouncing and meditation constitute the internal austerities. Renouncing can also be of two types, external and internal. Giving up the worldly possessions is external renouncing. Giving up attachment for sense objects and overcoming of craving, aversion, anger, animosity, arrogance etc. constitute internal renouncing. Absence of possession is a refinement of renouncing. It emphasizes on giving up the sense of belonging than on merely giving up the tangibles. Celibacy is not only non-indulgence in sexual pleasure but staying within the Self and tuned to the soul.

Contemplating about the evanescence, helplessness, worldliness, aloneness, otherness, nature of universe, rarity of right guidance and the tenets of Lord constitute Anupreksha. Parishaha consists of bearing hardship for the sake of staying on the right path and for eliminating the bondage of Karma. Hunger, thirst, cold, heat, insect–bite, unclad state, despise, seduction, moving about, steady posture, rough bed, reproach, injury, going for alms, facing disadvantage, disease, thorny grass, dirtiness, honor or award, intelligence, nescience and failure to comprehend are the main hardships. These hardships are not prescribed for laymen. All twenty-two hardships are relevant to monks in the initial stages and their number reduces as spiritual progress is made. Only eleven hardships remain in the omniscient stage and none in the liberated state. Charitra means putting the precepts into practice. The term is, however, used in the context of monastic life. The first requirement of monastic life is gaining of equanimity. That is when a person realizes that he/she is in a position to observe equanimity and maintain peace of mind; he is initiated in the monastic life. As a monk the person undertakes special types of penance and austerities. With spiritual progress the monk overcomes all types of defilements except very subtle, wholesome attachment. Finally, the monk reaches a stage of total detachment. 

In the path of spiritual progress the passions get eliminated. The monk overcomes the anger first. He is than not affected by adversity of any kind. On further progress pride, deceit and greed are reduced to zero in that order. When all four passions have been eliminated the deluding karma, the king of karma is destroyed paving the way for quick elimination of remaining psychical karma. The stage of omniscience then follows. 

One attains full enlightenment at this stage and is endowed with infinite perception, infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite vigor. He continues to remain embodied as long as the physiological karmas are in balance. Being fully enlightened and devoid of any attachment an omniscient does not incur new bondage. An omniscient spends the remaining part of his life in propounding the religious tenets, and at the end he attains the state of liberation, when all the physiological Karmas are also destroyed.   

7 Interactions of Omniscient (Enlightened Soul)

On elimination of psychical Karma all psychical activities in omniscient cease to exist. There are no thought, emotions, feelings and reactions of any kind. The conscious mind also cease to exist in its usual sense, it now remains as a pure field, which extends to a large distance making the aura unusually big. The external world has no influence on the omniscient; he is all the time experiencing the 'Self' and its powers. The brain is 100 percent developed, which is used only to the extent of 5 to 7 percent in normal human beings. The lesya are pure and the expressions are nothing but truth as all elements causing variations have been eliminated. The interactions with the outside world are just pure observations; he only witnesses the events without reacting to or involving with them. The limitation of conscious mind being removed, the whole cosmos is reflected in his soul and he perceives and knows a paramanu as well as any other objects big and small, far and near, in its true form. He also sees the subtle field of other organisms and knows their thoughts and life history. He also knows the future of every organism. All instincts in omniscient have disappeared, he has no desires and needs, and his life is extraordinary. Jain philosophy has described 10 extra ordinary features that develop in an omniscient. 

(i) No draughts and flood in a radius of 800 miles (2) travel in sky and space (3) four apparent faces (4) no violence (5) no threat or bodily harm (6) no consumption of alimentary food (Digambara tradition) or occasional consumption of a morsel (Swetambara tradition) (7) perfect and full knowledge (8) no growth of nails and hairs (9) no movement of eye lids (10) no shadow cast by the body. In addition to these he also has features like (11) no perspiration, (12) no formation of urine and excreta, (13) white blood (14) fragrant body. These features may look hard to believe in the first instance but we offer some possible explanation in the light of scientific observations on meditation and yogic practices and present day knowledge of science. It must be recognized that an omniscient is a yogi of the highest order and the trends in body changes seen in experimental meditation are multiplied many times in his body. The entire thrust of science now is to discover the benefits of yoga and meditation on health, mental and physical. Health benefits are only a tip of the iceberg the real benefits of yoga and meditation lay in the subtle and spiritual realm, which cannot be measured by science as yet.

No draught and floods and good crops in a region mean that the weather in that region is positively influenced by the omniscient. This implies interaction between his body and the environment so that the clouds are controlled. This is scientifically possible. Psychologists Grof believes that mind is a part of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but also to every atom, organism and region in the vastness of space and time itself. According to Quantum Mechanics at atomic level the experiments are affected by the consciousness of the experimenter, that is the physical nature and consciousness can no longer be treated in isolation but they form part of a system. This implies that mind and consciousness can interact with nature and if this is accepted it would be easy to contemplate a situation in which the mind and consciousness also control the nature in a desired way. The omniscient may not desire for this to happen, as all his desires have vanished, but it should be a natural consequence of his personality (the aura) that the nature behaves in a favorable way. There are examples when a yogi controls the weather in a region not only in his vicinity but also at far away distances too.

Travel in space could be possible in two ways. First, the body floats in air like a balloon that is a yogi is able to create an anti-gravity effect in his body and the body floats by buoyancy. There is an incidence quoted in the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, when the yogi Lahiri Mahashaya floats in his room. Motion of the floating body in air could be possible by movement of limbs or by electromagnetic forces or by an energy jet issued through prana body so as to propel the body in opposite direction. Another way, which is also cited in the same book, is that a yogi travels in a subtle body form (through electromagnetic medium) and materializes in solid body form at the desired site at any place on earth or in space. Jain philosophy has described that a monk can travel through migratory body made of a special field known as ahara vargana to distant lands in this galaxy or to heavenly places to seek clarifications on doubts on scriptural matters from the learned spiritual masters.

Science has also come up with the concept of wormholes through which space travel could be possible. Jain philosophy does not accept the speed limitations imposed by special relativity and believes that the subtler fields have velocities much greater than the speed of light making space travel possible.

The description of four faces appears to be a metaphorical statement. It should imply that omniscient could see in all directions. It is obvious that in doing so he does not see through the eyes, but the entire face skin may become receptive to visual sensations. Similar results where the skin discharges the function of other sense organs, say eye or ear, have been sited recently. Blind people have been trained to sense the object and color through the touch of fingers. Jain philosophy describes such events by stating that every part of the body becomes a "Karan", a device to sense. Physiologically, the retina of the eye contains receptor cells through which we perceive the object and its color. It should then mean that such cells are created in other parts of the body by yogic practices or training. The book Autobiography of a Yogi describes an incidence when on divine touch of his Guru Swami Yogananda enters into trance and perceives the world in all directions; his soul expands in the universe and he experiences unity of his 'Self' and the universe. This incidence indicates direct experience by the soul and presents another dimension of perception. Omniscient perceives directly by the soul through the principle of reflection and the limitation of direction associated with visual experiences by eye does not apply.

Absence of violence implies two things, one, omniscient commits no violence and second, no violence is committed in his presence. Both are true. Omniscient conceives every other soul, from one sense to five senses, like his soul, has no malice towards them and does not harm any one. It is described in Jain scriptures that beings of all types, humans, celestial beings and animals, attend his discourse sessions and all of them understand his sermons in their own language. Animals of all kinds, including wild animals present in the sermon forget their enmity and violent instinct, even lion, cat and snake sit together without harming each other; they are all filled with a sense of love as long as they remain in the field of influence of his aura.

It is clear from above that every being from ferocious wild animals to dacoits, criminals and opponents is filled with a feeling of love in the vicinity of omniscient and inflicts no harm to him. Even his opponents are transformed when they go to him.

Omniscient does not need food; his bodily needs are fulfilled by other means. The metabolic activity goes to a minimum reducing the energy requirement considerably. The autonomic functions are brought under cortex or voluntary control and the body functions are maintained at will. The bare minimum needs of the body may be met by solar energy. Sun gazing has proved to be a powerful technique where a person can survive on solar energy without taking food for long time. Sun gazing is claimed to increase energy levels and decrease the appetite. Our body does not contain cells like photovoltaic cells to harness sunlight but it is possible that such cells are produced when autonomic functions are in voluntary control in omniscient state. In fact, many changes may take place in the body of omniscient. Swetambara tradition maintains that omniscient accepts occasionally a morsel of food without any taste or attachment to it. The book Autobiography of a Yogi mentions of a lady yogi who remained without food and water for 56 years from the age of 12 years and 4 months (and till the end of life thereafter). She practiced a special yoga, which enabled her to live on air and solar energy. She performed normal duties in day and spent most of might in meditation, having very little sleep. She had a disease free life. She did not discharge stool and urine.

The physiological changes in the body of omniscient can be imagined from the example of Swami Paramhansa Yogananda whose body had no sign of decomposition 20 days after his death on 7th March 1952. This was stated in the certificate issued by the Director of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, who said that the body on 27th March was as fresh and live as it was on 7th March before his death. According to him this kind of self-preservation of the body was an extraordinary event in the history of the mortuary.

Omniscient, because of his direct perception, perceives and knows the whole universe as mentioned above. Not only he perceives the present state of matter but also knows its past and future states because his soul has transcended the limits of space and time. He perceives the object in its true form as the forces, which are driven by instinctual desires, and needs and which are the sources of untruth have vanished. His knowledge is perfect, nothing is unknown to him. His infinite perception and knowledge allows him to perceive and know all objects and all their states, past, present and future, simultaneously. 

Growth of hairs and nails is physiological activity. In the omniscient state all growth activities including production of growth hormones must stop, as it is time to discard the body. Such changes take place due to elimination of corresponding physiological Karma. Among the physiological category also very few karma are in balance just sufficient to maintain the body for the remaining period. Due to absence of growth activity the nails and hairs do not grow.

There are many reasons for movement of eyelids. It protects the eyes from any imminent danger, closing of eyes provides rest to body, and concentration increases with closed eyes and eyes are closed during sleep. All these requirements are absent in the omniscient state. No one harms the omniscient as mentioned above. Entry of any foreign matter in the eyes does not cause any pain as the pain producing Karma have been destroyed. The omniscient does not sleep in the absence of sleep producing Karma, and the sleep producing hormone melatonin, is not produced in the body. He is always experiencing the "Self", the highest state of consciousness and concentration, and need not close the eyes from that aspect. He is always in the state of full awareness and his eyes are always open, the eyelids do not move.

Why omniscient body does not cast shadow? We know that shadow is darkness, absence of light. The body of omniscient is glowing with light, how can shadow exist?

The purpose of perspiration is to dissipate the body heat. In the omniscient state the skin resistance increases to the level that the body does not feel the effect of heat or cold. No perspiration therefore takes place. 

In the absence of consumption of alimentary food no urine or excreta formation takes place.

White blood in the body of omniscient is perhaps described in the metaphorical sense. It should mean that the level of while blood cells goes up signifying a very strong immune system. In this state insect bite or even shake bite does not affect the body. The omniscient is also immune from virus and bacteria attack.

Autobiography of a Yogi mentions of a yogi swami Vishudhhanand who could produce any desired fragrance in a fragrance less flower or in the body of another being without touching them. Scientifically fragrance is chemicals consisting of atoms and molecules. According to Jain philosophy the atoms and molecules are made of Mahaskandh Vargana field, which on condensation is transformed to corpuscular form. The production of fragrance may involve a few steps. The soul directs the prana energy (tejas vargana) to organize the Mahaskandha vargana, existing in the cosmos, at the given site, condense them to corpuscular form as atoms and assemble the atoms to form molecules of a particular fragrance. The Swami acquired this power by 12 years of rigorous yoga practice. But in case of omniscient such phenomenon takes place naturally without desire and the prana energy acts voluntarily to produce the fragrance in his body. Yogis can use the same technique to materialize a desired object from cosmos. For example, Swami Vishudhhananda could materialize fruits from cosmos. However, such miracles have no spiritual value; they are merely means of entertainment and show of yogic powers. A real yogi seeking liberation does not waste his time energy in such worldly feats.

We can imagine now the extraordinary state of the body of omniscient, although he has no attachment with it. He uses the body for propounding the religious tenets and not for his personal self. This is only a glance of the powers of a yogi; his real powers cannot be described in words.  At the end of life span he drops the body too and this requires a special operation as described below.

8 End of Interaction (Liberation)

The omniscient has to destroy the remaining physiological karma before liberation. The physiological karmas in existence at that stage are age - determining karma, body - making karma and pleasure producing karma. These karmas may be out of balance in the sense that body making karma and pleasure-producing karma may be too much to be destroyed fully by possible means in the short span of life left. In order to overcome this problem the soul undertakes a special operation known as Samudghat for balancing the karma a few minutes before the end of age - karma. The soul suddenly expands his pradesa along-with the karma body and luminous body so as to span the entire space in the universe.

This sudden extra-ordinarily large expansion of karma field drops the excess karma (records) and equalizes all the karma. In the next moment the soul restores its fields to the previous stage and then enters into deep meditation to eliminate all the remaining karmas simultaneously. The process of elimination goes through some prescribed steps and finally a stage dawns in a few minutes when all the physiological Karmas are completely destroyed and the soul becomes free of karma leaving the body. Thus the soul gets rid of the Karma, which has been bounded to it since time immemorial and severs all its connection with the physical world. The free soul now in its pure state enjoys his natural powers of infinite bliss and infinite perception and knowledge forever without interruption. All interactions of the soul with the physical world come to an end.

9 Conclusions

The soul, the doer, has devised a unique system of mind and body to discharge the worldly functions and also to achieve the objective of purification of the Self. The soul develops his consciousness through this system, which at any stage of development is designed to have the optimum configuration in terms of the structure and constitution of mind and body. In the initial stage the mind and body are in simplistic form say like virus, the complexity increases with development of consciousness which needs increasingly more elaborate system to cope up with the functions of higher order of life. In the last stage of development the soul occupies a human body which is necessary, and sufficient, to advance the journey to perfection.

Evolution is now clearly seen as a joint venture of the soul and the physical forces, which are continuously interacting with the soul. Evolution of diverse species is primarily an effort of the soul consistent with the powers of the natural forces.

Each species is an optimum design to perform the desired functions in an efficient and orderly manner, each design delivers maximum output for minimum energy; the soul is the best conservator in nature.

The mechanism employed for interactions between the system elements and the external world is compatible with the requirements of system at any particular stage of development. The means of interactions are powerful subtle fields, which work with the non-physical soul on one hand and with the material body on the other. The soul, mind and body together make a perfect system for integrated and coordinated functioning.

The soul is the impartial God. He observes all the rules of the system strictly and impartially and maintains an up to date record of all actions and events of which he is a part. He enjoys the fruits of his interactions good or bad, without fail. While engaged in interactions he knows that these interactions are in fact a hindrance to attainment of his pure state. This realization comes to souls at some stage and then the way of thinking undergoes a sea change, he discriminates between the soul and the body, as distinct parts of the system. This awakening initiates the spiritual journey, which ultimately leads to liberation.

Liberation is a difficult and long drawn process and only very few can successfully complete it. But this should not, however, discourage us, it is enough for us to know that the spiritual path leads to liberation and by following this path we are on the right track. The spiritual path provides us peace and happiness in life and saves us from melancholy, stress, depression, agony and gives us power to face the adversities. In fact by following a spiritual way of life we can discharge our worldly duties and obligations in a better way. The powers of the soul are better utilized in performing tasks which otherwise may appear as burden.

Modern science has made a great deal of progress and we know a lot about the material body now. This knowledge is the sum total of all contribution made by thousands of inquisitive minds in the last four / five centuries. But all the knowledge of science, philosophy, psychology etc. put together does not equal even a tiny fraction of the knowledge of an omniscient. Discovery of genetic science is a big achievement of science but it does not fully explain the functioning of the cell that is continuously interacting with its counterpart in the subtle body. In order to understand the function of the cell fully the knowledge of the subtle body and interactions with it is essential, but science has a long way to go to accomplish this capability. It is here that Jain philosophy may prove to be of immense help, the science and Jain philosophy together should be in position to reveal the secrets of life which are known to omniscient (who is not available now unfortunately).

10 References:

  1. "Tattvartha Sutra", Translation and Commentary by Manu Doshi, Jain & Shrut Ratnakar, 2007
  2. Pranayama [Wikipedia]
  3. Effects of Pranayama - Part 1-3”, Ayurveda For You 
  4. "Science of Yoga and Health", Dr. M.R. Jain, Dr. M.R. Jain Charitable Trust, Jaipur, 2008
  5. "Autobiography of a Yogi", Paramhansa Yogananda, Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, 1974
  6. Sungazing  [Wikipedia]
  7. “Teerthankar Vani”, December 2008
  8. "Jain Tattvavidya", Acharya Tulsi, Adarsh Sahitya Sang, Churu 2000

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Asana
  2. Asanas
  3. Body
  4. Brain
  5. Celibacy
  6. Concentration
  7. Consciousness
  8. Darsana
  9. Dhyana
  10. Jain Philosophy
  11. Jainism
  12. Karma
  13. Karmas
  14. Kriya
  15. Meditation
  16. Moksa
  17. Nadi
  18. Non-violence
  19. Prana
  20. Pranayama
  21. Psychic Centers
  22. Samadhi
  23. Science
  24. Soul
  25. Suryanamaskar
  26. Swami
  27. Tolerance
  28. Vargana
  29. Violence
  30. Yoga
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