Jain Dualism ► Jain Dualism [3] Auspicious and Inauspicious Interactions

Posted: 07.04.2009

Auspicious and Inauspicious Interactions

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1. Attributes of Karma.

We discussed in earlier sections how the Karmas are bond. A bonded karma has four important attributes.

  1. Numerical strength of bond. As mentioned before a soul has innumerable pradesa or space points. Numerable, innumerable or infinite number of Karma Vargana may bond with each soul pradesa depending on the strength of the action. If the strength is low, less number of Karma bonds with each pradesa and so on. The bonding is uniform over all pradesas.
  2. Nature of Karma bond. 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. As before we restrict to two class of karma, psychical karma and physiological karma, each containing four types of karma. 
  3. Duration of bond. Karma remains bound to the karma body for a given duration of time, short, medium or long as mentioned earlier. The total duration consists of two parts, the passive and active period. In the passive period the karma exercises no effect on the soul except that it limits its powers. In the active period, which follows the passive period the karma produces vibrations in the karma body, that emits adhyavasaya waves and the soul experiences the prescribed effect of karma though the mechanism described earlier. At the end of active period the karma is shed and leaves the karma body as karma vargana. The duration of the passive period is fixed at the time of bonding of karma; the duration depends on the strength of passion accompanying the action causing the bond. The duration as a first approximation is proportional to the strength of the passion. The active period is generally very small compared to the passive period. 
  4. Intensity of bond. This refers to the intensity of experience the soul has on rising of karma. The intensity of bond is also decided at the time of bonding and is mainly determined by the intensity of passion following the action causing the bond. A strong passion produces a strong intensity experience and vice versa.

Anger, ego, deceit and greed are considered to be the four main passions. These passions are produced by the action of a particular psychical karma called deluding karma, which prevents the innate ability of the soul in belief in truth and destroys equanimity of its conduct. This is the most detrimental Karma, which obscures the real identity of the soul and produces untruthful behavior and unscrupulous conduct that is typical of most human beings. This is regarded as king of all karmas and the karma bondage caused by it singly or in association with other karmas is always inauspicious, which on rise produces unpleasant, painful, stressful, and passionate experience that again causes bondage of similar karma, perpetuating the cycle. To eliminate this karma is the most difficult task and only rare individuals having very strong will power and determination can do it. The deluding karma is responsible for duration and intensity of bond, which vary according to the strength of the passion.

The other two attributes of bond, the numerical strength and nature of karma, depend on the activities of mind, body and speech, which are produced by body making Karma. The karmas being bond by these activities can be auspicious or inauspicious. The auspicious Karmas on fruition produce pleasant experience, peace and happiness and the inauspicious Karma does just the opposite. For example, a positive, kind and compassionate mind, sweet and soothing words, helpful and cooperative hands and the like shall bond auspicious karma, which on fruition shall proud peace, pleasure and happiness. The activities of mind, body and speech are generally followed by some kind of passion and the bonded karma is of inauspicious type. The auspicious Karmas are bond only when one has control over the passions. All passions are attributes of mind and therefore the mind is the major contributor of karma bondage, activities of the body (alone) bind only short term and low intensity Karma.

 

2. Instinctual Interactions

The interaction with the external world is driven by instinctual needs and desires. We shall now consider bondage of Karma with reference to each type of instinctual need and examine its role in our life.

(a) Food

Organisms are of two types herbivores and carnivores. Herbivores eat plants and carnivores eat animals that eat plants or other carnivore’s animals. The ultimate food for all living organisms is plants. All plants and animals have life and their killing involves acts of violence that cause bondage of karma. Plants are one-sense living organisms and the animals for food are generally five - sense organisms, the bondage of karma in killing five sense organisms is much higher than that in eating plants and vegetation. Human beings by their body structure are herbivores and are vegetarian by nature. Non-vegetarian food not only causes higher bondage of karma it also affects the health adversely. Jain philosophy has differentiated between various types of plants. All bulbous roots and roots of various sorts and sprouts are common body plants, where more than one souls have a common body. Onion, garlic, radish, ginger, turmeric, are some examples of common body plants. Other plants have solitary soul. Fruits with seeds have as many souls as the number of seeds. The violence incurred in eating a plant is proportional to the number of souls it contains. Therefore eating of roots is prohibited in Jainism and all Jain are commanded to be vegetarian. The processed raw material and prepared food has a self-life before microorganisms are generated. Once microorganisms are generated eating of the material involves violence and is prohibited from consumption.

Apart from religious consideration vegetarianism has ecological and economical dimensions. Besides the inhuman process involved in the production of animal food, the moral consideration of animal rights, welfare, hygiene and ethical issues, production of animal based food carries with it, a series of economically dismal scenarios. Damage done to the economy on account of producing animal food or nourishing the meat eating habits, is irreparable. A large chunk of food grains is set aside for force breeding of livestock for the purpose of producing animal food. For instance the livestock in the USA consumes eighty-percent of Soya and ninety - percent of corn produced in the country. In the United Kingdom ninety percent of the agricultural land is used to produce feed for the livestock. If this land were utilized in the cultivation of food crops, they would be able to feed 250 million more people. In India an estimated 40 million tones of food grains are consumed by the poultry and animal rearing exercises, for the meat industry. The industry in return produces 4 million tones of meat and eggs, which meets a part of the food requirements of 40 million people only. Otherwise this 40 million tones food grains could have met the full food requirements of 400 million people. Reduction in medical expenses, increase in exports, production of dung - manure and hence reduction in fertilizer bill, etc. would be additional benefits of vegetarianism, By reduced use of chemical fertilizers the soil will be saved of decrease in fertility and the consumers will be saved of poisonous effects of chemicals. 

Conservation of ground water is another critical aspect connected with food habits. According to the Productivity Council of California USA the quantity of water required for the manufacture of one kilogram of the under mentioned commodities is as below. 

Commodity

Water required (Liters)

Apples 

190

Carrots

125

Chickens

3200

Eggs

2000

Grapes 

250

Meat

10000

Milk 

520

Oranges

240

Pork

4800

Potatoes

92

Tomatoes 

90

Wheat

100

The table shows that production of one kilogram of meat requires ten thousand liters of water, which is equivalent to drinking water requirements of an adult person for seven years. The hectic rate at which animals are slaughtered for the purpose of procuring meat, it is only a matter of time that drinking water becomes the most scarce commodity on Earth. 

Animals provide natural manure and bio-pesticides through their dung and urine, besides plowing the fields. Therefore, if funds are canalized in developing manures, pesticides and other products, like biogas from animal wastes, the substantial financial burden on the Government Exchequer, in the form of subsidies, as given now on fertilizers, can be curtailed. It is implied over here and obvious that this process would also trigger the onset of healthy and nutritious food crop cultivation.

People may advocate eating flesh of naturally dead animals. But in dead bodies a large number of bacteria and other life forms grow which are killed, they may also cause various diseases in the consumers. Drinking alcohol is also prohibited in Jainism. The fermentation process used in producing alcohol involves killing of a large number bacteria lives. Alcohol also stupefies the mind, the person forgets piety and commits violence without hesitation and indulges in other harmful and objectionable activities. Production of honey also involves cruelty to bees and killing of bacteria like organisms and is prohibited.

 

(b) Fear

The fear instinct initiates a variety of activities ranging from self-defense to fighting and killing. Fear may be related to harm or injury to body, health, safety and security, theft, fulfillment of needs of various kinds, loss of mental peace emotional shock, loss due to natural calamities, aggressive tendencies of others, etc. In each case an individual may take steps in self-defense, submit or fight or eliminate the source of fear. All such activities may involve violence, resorting to untruthful and unethical behavior, harnessing passions and undesirable activities of mind, body and speech. All these activities cause bondage of inauspicious Karma of varying duration and intensity, which bring suffering, unhappiness, and non-peace in future. 

            Jainism has dwelt in detail on the question of violence. Violence can be classified in four categories. 

  1. Occupational (and accidental) Violence.

    This kind of violence is committed in cooking, bathing, scavenging, house construction, drinking water supply, irrigation, journey and touring and other allied activities necessary for living. No householder can escape from this kind of violence but he should try to minimize it. 

  2. Professional violence.

    This kind of violence is committed in earning a living by way of trade and industry, providing service, farming, etc. and is also unavoidable. But discretion should be used to keep this violence also to minimum.

  3. Intentional violence:

    Criminal violence. This kind of violence is committed in unnecessary killing of living beings to satisfy personal criminal desires and killer habits like hunting, arranging fights between animals for pleasure, killing for selfish motives or monetary gains, killing in the name of religion or God, etc. This is the worst kind of violence and is strictly prohibited.

    Violence in self-defense. This kind of violence includes defending the self, family members, own property and self - respect, and protecting self, family, society and the country from attackers, terrorists, wild animals, thieves, dacoits, etc. This type of violence is condonable (excusable) for a householder but care must be exercised to see that no excess is committed, no injustice is done in the wake of impulsive reaction, the force used is kept to a minimum and no feeling of revenge is allowed to take control of the self.


  4. Violence for valid reason.

    Many a times a householder has to commit violence unwillingly in situations which are unavoidable. For example he needs potable water killing the bacteria, cleaning of grains and eatables eliminating worms and other organisms, protect his crops and pets from attacking pests and insets, etc. But in these cases also discretion should be used to minimize or avoid the violence as far as possible. 

The above cases of violence apply to a householder who has to discharge certain responsibilities and commitments. The rules for a monk or an ascetic, who has renounced worldly life, are different; he has to avoid all kinds of violence including killing of even invisible one- sense organisms. The main objective is to keep the inauspicious karma bondage to a minimum corresponding to the life style adopted.

 

(c) Sex 

Sex instinct is found in all organisms, its main purpose is reproduction. The sexual activity in animals is seasonal but human beings observe no such restrictions and often indulge in sex for purposes other than reproduction. Sex involves violence, all the sperm and ova cells that are discharged during copulation contain life, and Jain philosophy regards their destruction as violence of that money lives (about one million). Thus one act of copulation involves large amount of violence and we bind enormous inauspicious Karma.

The fact that sex instinct is primarily for reproduction activity, homosexuality is unnatural, and if it were natural it would also be found in animals. Human beings have found ingenious excuses to support their unethical sexual practices going to the extent of naming a gene responsible for homosexuality. Excessive sex (which is not found in animals) is immoral, unethical, and physically, mentally and emotionally detrimental to health and is followed by bonding of intense inauspicious karma. Jain philosophy attaches great importance to celibacy denying any kind of sex, physically, mentally, emotionally, to unmarried person and sex limited to the purpose of reproduction only to married persons, extra - martial sex is strictly prohibited. 

 

(d) Sleep

Sleep is also a basic instinct in all organisms; it is a requirement of the material body ordinarily. Jain philosophy describes various grades of sleep, light to intense, depending on the strength of deluding Karma. Dreams are anti-dose of sleep and may cause bonding of Karma. Dreamless sleep is state of the soul where the psychical mind, conscious mind and senses are at rest that is the psychical activity is suspended. The physiological Karma, the corresponding part of the brain and nervous system concerning the autonomic functions and the systems of the body excluding sense organs are working. This state provides complete rest to the body and mind and the individual is fully relaxed. In the dream state the psychical mind, the conscious mind, the related parts of the brain and nervous system and the body systems excluding sense organs are at work. The eye is though not sensing but scientists have observed a rapid movement in it. Since the psychical mind and the conscious mind are involved in the process, the visuals, emotions and feelings produced in dreams cause bonding of Karma. These acts may also interact with the body through brain, and the body may experience certain effects like crying, weeping, laughing, urination, discharge of seminal fluid, and even walking and doing some acts without being conscious of the same.

Dreams have also drawn attention of many western thinkers. General observation shows that dreams are strongly associated with rapid eye movement sleep, during which an electroencephalogram shows brain activity to be most like wakefulness. Eugen Tarnow suggests that dreams are ever-present excitation of long-term memory, even during waking life. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both signal Freud and Carl Jung identified dreams as an interaction between unconscious and the conscious. The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety.

According to Jain philosophy the conscious mind possessed of desires and ambitions imagines and decodes many things through senses during wakeful state. These recordings of the conscious mind, added by fruition of respective karma from the psychical mind produce images, which appear in the dream. In a way the soul with the help of conscious mind through dreams enjoys those karmas, which are meaningless or undesirable for wakeful life. Some dreams have also been interpreted to give indications of future events and a detailed study has been done in this respect.

What is being emphasized here is that dreams have a purpose and are natural for individuals having desires and psychical karma and are part of sleep process. An Omniscient who has no desires and has eliminated all psychical Karma does not dream.

 

(e) Anger, Pride, Deceit, Greed.

Anger is the worst passion that is responsible for binding maximum karma among all passions. Anger is an emotional state that may range from minor irritation to intense rage. The physical effects of anger include stress condition, increased heart rate, blood pressure and levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Anger, in its strong from, impairs one's ability to process information and to exert cognitive control over his behavior. An angry person may lose his/ her objectivity, empathy, prudence or thoughtfulness and may cause harm to others. Anger can activate aggression or increase its probability or intensity. Some psychologists view anger as a reaction and healthy response that has evolved to enable to deal with threats. Anger can potentially mobilize psychological resources and boost determination toward correction of wrong behaviors, protection of social justice, communication of negative sentiment and redress of grievances. It can also facilitate patience. Jain philosophy has regarded anger as a negative quality, which must be controlled by love and patience toward every fellow being and organism.

Christian saints have described Seven Deadly Sins as most objectionable vices. They are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. The Catholic Church divided sin into two principal categories: "venial", which are relatively minor, and could be forgiven through any sacramental or sacraments of the church, and the more severe "capital" or mortal sin. Mortal sins destroyed the life of grace, and created the threat of eternal damnation unless either absolved through the sacrament of confession, or forgiven thorough perfect contrition on the part of the penitent. The accepted meaning of the seven sins is given below.

 

Vice

Meaning

Lust

Excessive thoughts or desire of sexual nature. This can lead to sexual addiction, firmication, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion, and incest. 

Gluttony   

Over- indulgence and over - consumption of anything (like food) to the point of waste.  

Greed

Acquisition of wealth. Greed may inspire hoarding of materials, or objects, theft and robbery, trickery, manipulation of authority, etc. 

Sloth 

Melancholy, apathy, depression, joylessness or sadness. A feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent.   

Wrath (or anger)

Uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Transgressions borne of vengenence are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide.   

Envy

Insatiable desire. Resentment that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it.

Pride

A desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them.
Pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. 

 


There are seven Heavenly Virtues, which correspond inversely to each of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Vice

 Virtue

Meaning

Lust 

Chastity

Courage and boldness. Embracing or moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought through education and betterment.    

Gluttony

Temperance

Control, abstention, and moderation

Greed

Charity

Generosity. Willingness to give. A nobility of thought or actions.

Sloth

Diligence

A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic, guarding against laziness.    

Wrath

Patience

Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving actions peacefully. The ability to forgive, mercy.     

Envy   

Kindness

Charity, compassion, friendship, and sympathy without prejudice and for its own sake.   

Pride

Humility

Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due, not unfairly glorifying one's own self.

The vices make the life of the self and the society miserable, unhappy and sorrowful and are likely to lead to hellish life after death. The virtues support moral and ethical life, bring pleasure, happiness and peace and makes heavenly life after death possible. Jain philosophy relates conduct and behavior to karma and goes in more detail of the effects of thoughts and actions of individuals in terms of consequences from which there to no escape and which become determining factors in deciding the present and future life. We briefly review the effects of thoughts and actions on Karma bondage.

 

3 Inflow of Karma

The inflow of karma is of two types, one is due to the exercising of physical, vocal and mental faculties in the exclusive sense and the other is exercising these faculties with the feeling of attachment and aversion, we usually behave in the second way. Anger, pride, deceit and greed are four main passions, which defile the soul and result in the second type of karma inflow. When one undertakes an activity under the influence of such defilement, the purity of soul is affected. Karma acquired thereby is relatively stronger and stays longer. Karma resulting from innocent exercising of one's faculties is not that strong and does not stay long. The intensity of bondage depends upon the activity undertaken with sharpness or wildness, knowingly or unknowingly, vigoursly or otherwise and the means employed for the purpose.

The second type of karma inflow takes place in four different ways. The first is absence of restraints; violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possession are the five major restraints. Non-observance thereof leads to involvement in violence, lies, stealing, sex- gratification and acquisition. The second is passions, anger, pride, deceit and greed that defile the mind. The third is the sense organ; skin, tongue, nose, eyes and ears are the five sense organs, with which we experience the sense of touch, taste, odor, sight and sound. We contact external objects through senses and mind. Ideally one should try to remain dispassionate during such contacts, but the worldly soul happens to develop attachment or aversion for the objects, depending on his/her likes and dislikes. The fourth pertains to a few specific activities like killing and violence. In order to avoid the second type of karma inflow one should have a detached mind. 

"Slandering, withholding, envying, obstructing, condemning and opposing the knowledgeable people or the means of knowledge lead to knowledge and perception obscuring karma. Causing distress to the self or to others, lamentation, pain, wailing, violence and affliction lead to uncomfortable situation conferring karma. Compassion for all beings, particularly for those observing restraints, charity, observance of restrain with attachment, forbearance and purity lead to comfortable situation - conferring karma. Slandering the omniscient lords, scriptures, religious order, scriptural precepts and deities lead to perception - deluding karma. Acute perversion of the soul arising from defiling instincts leads to conduct - deluding karma. Strong aggressive instincts and extreme possessiveness leads to the life in infernal realm. Deception leads to the life in animal and other lower realm. Lower degree of violence and possessiveness, wildness and forthrightness lead to human birth. Restrain associated with attachment, observance of partials restraint, and involuntary expiration of karma and conventional observance of austerities lead to the life in heavenly realm. Crooked activity and disputation lead to unwholesome physique - determining karma. Reverse of that lead to the wholesome physique - determining karma. Purity of perception, utmost modesty, faultless observance of the spiritual code and restraints, pure awareness, desire for liberation, austerities and sacrifice to the extent possible, extending peace and security to the religious order, particularly to the monks and nuns, selfless servicing, dedication to omniscient lords, heads of religious order, learned people and sacred literature, observance of essential rituals, promoting the right path and affection towards the fellow religionists lead to the karma of becoming a Tirthankar. Criticizing others, praising the self, concealing the virtues and publicizing the vices of the others lead to the low status karma. Reverse of that leads a high status karma. Obstructing charities etc. lead to obstructing karma."

 

4 Comments

All philosophies in the world warn against vices and advocate virtuous life but Jain philosophy also provides a system by which the soul maintains a record of his actions and thoughts, through the law Karma, and ensure appropriate consequences in a scientific way. The soul is solely responsible for his deeds and no other power can help him escape the consequences. Vices and Virtues bond inauspicious and auspicious karma respectively, which show corresponding results in future life, this universal law teaches one to make proper choices in his life. Jain philosophy lays special emphasis on non-violence, as violence is the worst kind of sin that leads to hellish life. Interaction mechanisms described in Jain philosophy are unique systems that explain the realities of life and make it self - reliant and personal. A soul decides his own destination; other factors are of only auxiliary importance. Mind and body are means through which the soul functions and enjoys his deeds. The system of soul, mind and body is self - sufficient and it explains the diversity, experiences of pleasure and pain, wholesomeness and unwholesomeness and all other happenings in our life. 

 

5 References:

  1. "Jaina Doctrine of Karma", Dr. N.L. Kachhara, 2005
  2. "Jain Metaphysics and Science: A comparison", Dr. N.L. Kachhara, Prakrit Bharati Academy, Jaipur, Under Publication.
  3. "Jain Biology", Jethalal S. Javeri and Prof. Muni Mahendra Kumar, Jain Vishwa Bharati University Ladnun, 2008.
  4. Dr. Chiranjee Lal Bagra, Disha Bodh, Year 14, Vol 2, February 2009 
  5. "Jain - Dharma: Jeevan Dharma", Col. Dalpat Singh Baya 'Shreyas', Agama Ahimsa Samata Avam Prakrit Samsthan, Udaipur, 2004
  6. Dream [Wikipedia] 
  7. Anger [Wikipedia]
  8. Seven Deadly Sins [Wikipedia]
  9. Seven Virtues [Wikipedia]
  10. "Tattvarartha Sutra", Translation with commentary, Manu Doshi, Federation of JAINA & Shrut Ratnakar, 2007.

See also:

"The Jain Path, Ancient Wisdom for the West", Aidan Rankin, O Books, 2006.

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