Jaina Doctrine Of Karma ► Karma Bonds

Posted: 03.12.2008

There are four kinds of Karma bonds. These bonds describe the way in which the Karma system operates.

  1. Numerical strength of Bond (Pradesa bandh). A soul has innumerable pradesa or space points. Truly speaking the soul is indivisible but for the purpose of theoretical explanation it is assumed to have numerous space points. Numerable, innumerable or infinite number of Karma varganas may bond with each soul pradesa depending on the strength of action. If the strength of action is low, less number of Karma bond with each pradesapradesa bond means the number of the Karma varganapradesa. The bonding is uniform over all the pradesas. Why such a large number of Karma varganas bond with each pradesa? This is because only infinite number of Karma can obscure the ability of the soul. Further, only the Karma in the active mode discharge this function as described below.
  2. Nature of Karma bond (Prakriti bandh). There are various types of Karma, their nature is identified by the particular property of the soul they obscure. There are eight main properties of the soul and so there are eight main types of Karma. This is an important subject and is taken up separately below.
  3. Duration of bond (Stithi bandh). A Karma remains bound to the Karma body for a given duration of time. The total duration consists of two parts passive and active duration. In the passive period called abadhakala the Karma exercises no effect on the soul. In the active or experience period the Karma manifests itself and the soul experiences the prescribed effect of the Karma. For example when knowledge obscuring Karma rise, the power of knowing of the soul is reduced. When the active period is over the Karma sheds and leaves the Karma body. The passive period is not fixed and varies between two limits, the minimum limit and the maximum limit. The passive period cannot be less than the minimum limit and cannot be more than the maximum limit. The minimum limit can be about one or a few hours depending on the type of Karma and the maximum limit is of few thousand years.
  4. Intensity of bond (Anubhag bandh). What shall be the intensity of good or bad experience when the Karma becomes active? This depends on the intensity of the bond which is pre decided at the time of bondage of Karma. A strong passion binds high intensity Karma and vice versa.
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First Edition, June 2005

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