Abstract Thinking: [13.03] Bhavana Of The Rarity Of Enlightenment - Kinds of Enlightenment

Published: 05.01.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

There are three kinds of enlightenment:

  1. Enlightenment through knowledge,
  2. Enlightenment through faith,
  3. Enlightenment through conduct.

Man is naturally attracted towards luxury and comfort, and these very things become factors of suffering. Man often forgets it. In the course of practising the bhavana of the rarity of enlightenment, a man is confronted with the question as to what is rare in the world. Wealth and comforts are not essentially rare. Rare is mental peace. It cannot be got through wealth and comforts. It only comes with right knowledge, right faith and right conduct.

Enlightenment is the factor behind the peace of mind. Once you know the factor behind a particular goal, accomplishment naturally follows. After the attainment of enlightenment, peace of mind no longer remains inaccessible.

Gautam asked Lord Mahavira: - "0 Gentle One! Right faith destroys wrong belief. A person possessed of right faith becomes the observer of reality; the flame of truth ignited in him can never be extinguished. His soul is permeated by unquestionable knowledge. This is the spiritual fruit. The practical gain is that the man possessed of right faith is not bound to any existence other than that of gods."

The sage established in the gr<--at vows does not get caught in the desire for worldly prosperity. He attains salvation through mental purity and the accomplishment of good deeds."

Once Gautam asked: -"O Lord, what is truth?" The Lord said, “Origination is truth” Gautam's problem yet remained unsolved. So he repeated his question, "0 Lord! What is truth?" The Lord said: "Cessation is truth." Gautam was still dissatisfied. So he asked again for the third time, "O Lord, What is truth?" The Lord said: "Cessation is truth," Gautam was still dissatisfied. So he asked again for the third time,"0 Lord, What is truth?" The Lord said: - "Continuity is truth."

Origination, cessation and continuity - they form a trinity. It was on this basis that Gautam, the community-chief, evolved rhetoric literature. Origination and cessation are the properties common to both the animate. Both the animate and the inanimate, and the inanimate continue. The inanimate does not become animate, nor the animate become inanimate. Both change their states, and this change of conditions goes on forever. The animate leaves one state to enter another. That is the immortality of the soul. In the Gita, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: "Just as an old worn-out garment is replaced by a new one, similarly the soul abandons its present, worn-out body, to enter a new body. Sometimes it inhabits the realm of gods, at other times, the animal kingdom. At times, it assumes a demonic form, at other times human:-the soul goes on changing its states. From a child, it grows into a youth, /and from a youth it grows into an old man till it embraces death. The soul is ever present in its different states. Consciousness knows no extinction."

We meet with a similar transformation in the inanimate. The earth assumes many forms, which ultimately dissolve. Similarly, gold is made to assume different shapes. But in all these shapes, the virtue of gold remains unchanged. One man wants a pitcher of gold, the other wants a crow; still another wants pure gold. Melting down the golden crown and remoulding it into a pitcher, would make one happy, while causing gloom to another. However, the man in possession of pure gold, is afflicted neither by joy nor gloom. Gold is eternally gold. The pitcher and the crown are the different forms they assume. The qualities of the material inanimate remain unchanged under all conditions. The earth might be transmuted into gold, the body on the funeral pyre might be burnt into ashes, all of them have colour, smell, taste and touch, which they will always have. From an aggregate of one atom to that of countless atoms, these qualities remain.

Free souls are fewer than those living in the world. Having realized their divinity, they cross the circle of life and death, but this does not in any way affect the number of souls. Whether here or there, the brotherhood of souls continues to exist. The worldly souls are infinite; and so are the emancipated souls. As compared to the emancipated souls, the worldly souls have always been more numerous and they will continue to be so. The world will never become a void. Also, souls worthy of being emancipated will continue to be found here.

The question posed by the laywoman, Jayanti, makes the whole thing clear. Jayanti asked Lord Mahavira: "0 Lord! Will all the souls become emancipated? If all are emancipated, the world would become devoid of souls." Lord Mahavira said: "No, it won't come to that. Only those souls achieve salvation that are divine." This created another problem. "If all divine souls are emancipated, will not the world become devoid of divinity?" The Lord said: "No, that, too, won’t happen. The divine beings will achieve final liberation, but it would require a favourable opportunity which is not readily available to all."

The soul is knowledge incarnate. It should know everything. Why should it be unknowable for it as to where it has come from, where it is bound for? Why should future events remain unknown to it? What is it that hinders the perfection of knowledge and the development of faith and conduct?

In Lord Mahavira's view, the knowledge-obscurant, the hindrance producing, and the deluding karman obstruct the perfection of knowledge and the development of faith and conduct. The covering of knowledge stands in the way of realizing the soul. When this covering is removed, the sphere of knowledge becomes very comprehensive. Hindrance-producing karman obstruct the development of self; they prevent the explosion of spiritual energy. Although a man sees reality, he does not persevere with it. The lack of faith in and the repudiation of reality is due to the deluding karman. With the rising of delusion, a man is caught in material temptations. Neither has he any interest in truth, nor does he conduct himself truthfully. On the contrary, he looks upon truth as a hindrance to his peace of mind. This infatuation is the product of delusion.

  • Abstract Thinking
    by Acharya Mahaprajna, © 1988
  • Edited by  Muni Dulheraj
  • Translated by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • Published by Jain Vishva Barati
  • Edition 1999 compiled by Samani Stith Pragya

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhavana
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Gita
  5. Jayanti
  6. Karman
  7. Krishna
  8. Mahavira
  9. Soul
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