Friday, February 25, 2011



What is Jainism?
Jainism is nature in the purest and truest form. Jainism is as old as nature, which has neither beginning nor any end. The mission of Jainism is the mission of nature, which is to work for the welfare of one and all, to rise from the pitfall of ignorance and inaction to the spiritual climax of infinite bliss and perfect knowledge. i.e. absolute freedom.
Jainism is a religion based on cosmic principles, eternal principles on which this colossal machinery runs without any mistake or even a single momentary halt. The principles of modern science are true and temporary in particular context of space and time only, but the principles of Jainism are true for all time, for all space, for everybody and everything. Jainism throws light on the colossal structure of universe, its shape, size, origin, purpose and mechanism. It deals in perfect details with six reals out of which the universe is made. Everything that happens in the universe is according to the fixed pattern of eternal laws, which are unshakable and infallible.
Jainism does not belong to any particular sect or fixed dogmas. Jainism does not say that some particular class will be given freedom and the others will remain in bondage, it is a perfect form of democracy. It emphasises equality of opportunities to achieve perfect freedom and spiritual perfection, be it a highborn or any backward class member, even the lowest form of life. Each one has the potentiality of reaching the highest state. It believes that every soul has immense power, which can be released like the nuclear energy.
Jainism believes there are two kinds of energies, one is the energy of mechanism and the other is the energy of intelligence. In technical terms they are called matter and life. (Jada and Chetana). Energies of gravitation, magnetism and electricity are believed to be three scientific forces, which sustain the universe. But the subtle forces of silence and solitude of surrender and prayer, of love and sympathy, of dedication and determination these subtle forces etc., are manifestation of the energies of intelligence. It is a rule in nature that subtle forces of Yoga- (The activities of mind, speech and body are more powerful than the gross forces of material science).
Two kinds of Energies
"The energy of intelligence not through mind alone, nor through heart alone but through the whole of your totality is the highest wisdom" says Jainism. You should distinctly distinguish between what you are and what you are not. Jainism starts with the Holy curiosity to know the marvelous structure of reality and ends in the flawless perfection which is the combination of Joy, Knowledge and Energy.
The Fundamentals of Jain Philosophy are that (this universe) the whole cosmos is self-created, self ruled, self regulated and self-administered, according to the mighty and eternal cosmic law. Every conceivable subject in Jain Scriptures is well discussed in a systematic and convincing way that one would realise that if the Jain Doctrines are well understood and practised, it is certain that the world will enjoy lasting peace and prosperity instead of present day, world of hatred and violence!
Practically all religions have individuals as Supreme God. Jain religion believes that all worldly souls possess inherent attributes (principle qualities) 4 original - infinite knowledge, Infinite Cognisance, Infinite Power, but wordly souls are obscured by the veil of Karman and when liberated they can reach the highest state.
The word 'Dharma':- some aspects...
1. Ordinarily it means 'Pious Act
2. Dharma - Duty : towards others, elders, dependents, sub-ordinates, society, country etc.
3. Dharma - Nature :
Nature of fire is to burn
Nature of water is to cool
Nature of soul is conscience, sentient, immortality, infinite knowledge, perception, energy, bliss, longs to be purified, to rise upward to Moksha- Eternal salvation.
4. Dharma -Religion : That saves one from sinking in the temporal ocean of births and deaths (Samsar). Religion consists of Dana, Sheel, Tapa, Bhava. (Charity, Chastity, Penance and Intention.)
           The highest Charity is to give freedom from fear -the fear of death, injury, torture, hurt, oppression, etc. Chastity means complete control of impure desires of five senses and mind including celibacy. Penance is of twelve kinds to purify the soul from all Karmic energies. Intention means all of the above mentioned three should be with soul aim/ intent of achieving the spiritual zenith.
5. Dharma- Spiritual: Samyaka/ Jnana, Darshana and Charitra (Right & True Knowledge, Faith and Conduct)
6. Dharma - Shramana Dharma (monkhood) having ten fold
(i) Khsama : forgiveness, forbearance.
(ii) Mardava : humbleness, politeness, humility and courtest
(iii) Arjava : frankness, straight forwardness, deceitless
(iv) Mukti : free from desires, greed and expectations
(v) Tapa : penance of twelve kinds.
(vi) Samyama : to stop all inflow of karmas
(vii) Satya : beneficial, pleasant and well-thought truth, avoiding untruth.
(viii) Saucha : purity of conduct , to avoid all short-comings.
(ix) Akimchanya : to abstain from wealth and other material desires, even       love and affection of own body.
(x) Bhramcharya : complete celibacy, chastity in thought, word and deed.
Universe and its constituents
The basis of the constitution of the cosmos lay in the basic substance called Dravya or Reals in the Jain Holy Scriptures. Every Real has three characteristics, Creation (emergence), Destruction (annihilation) and Permanence (persistence) "Utpada, Vyaya and Dhrouvya" with infinite qualities and subqualities. It means that every substance possesses the quality of permanence (Dhrouvya) generation (Utpada) and decay (Vyaya) as modification of itself.
In order to clearly understand the characteristics of Dhrouvya, we may take an example of gold bangles broken and made into a necklace with the same gold, the substance persists (Dhrouvya), bangle is destroyed (Vyaya) and the necklace is created, (Utpada). Every material object in the same manner is changing constantly. Yet the basic attribute (Guna), essential character, remains forever.
The comos has six Dravyas, Reals - Basic Substances, Fundamental Realities :
I. JIVA : Soul- life- spirit- innerself- conscious being (with chetana) with sentience, intelligence life.
The Soul : One of the Six basic Substances which are uncreate, self existent without beginning or end, only modifications. No new souls are created, it is a continuous cycle of birth and rebirth in four states of existence (GATI) i.e. (i) Human condition (ii) Sub Human condition of lower forms of, (iii) Angels in heaven, (iv) Infernal beings in hell, and this cycle is run by the infallible mathematical mechanism of nature, molded by soul's conduct and deeds, committed by thought, speech or physical action in past or present life either with intensity of anger, pride, deceit, selfishness and greed, or with love, sympathy, fellow-feelings , pity etc.

Jain religion recognises the fundamental natural phenomenon of Symbiosis or mutual dependence, which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology.
Life is viewed as a gift of togetherness, accommodation, and assistance in a universe teeming with interdependent constituents.
Jain whether monks, nuns or householders, therefore, affirm prayerfully and sincerely, that their heart is filled with forgiveness for all living beings and that they have sought and received the forgiveness of all beings, that they crave the friendship of all beings, that all beings give them their friendship and that there is not the slightest feeling of allienation or enmity in their heart, for any one or anything. They also pray that forgiveness and friendliness may reign throughout the world and that all living beings may cherish each other.

Life of Mahavir
Mahavir is the exponent of one of the popular religions in India - Jainism. Born in 599 BC in a village called Kunda in Bihar, his father Siddhartha was an important nobleman from the Kshatriya dynasty. His mother's name was Trishala. Mahavir was named Vardhaman by his parents, and showed signs of spiritualism from his early days. At the age of 5, he was sent to a Gurukul to study Sanskrit and became a great scholar.

A Spiritual Search
As an obedient son he married the girl of his parent's choice - Yashodhara who consequently gave birth to a daughter. But marital ties could not bind him, as he thirsted for something more. His search compelled him to leave home, with his elder brother's permission, to understand the true purpose and meaning of life.
He traveled far and wide, expanding his knowledge and subsequently his perceptions of the world at large. And then, one day he attained 'Kaivalya' or enlightenment while sitting under a tree on the banks of a river. Henceforth he was to be known as Mahavir, as he was freed from the boundaries of sadness and joy, pain and pleasure.
His teachings were greatly appreciated in North India for 30 years, and had in its following, the King of Magadha. He preached that truth and clean living were the priorities in life, as was non-violence. Till today, Jains do not even harm a fly or a mosquito. True Jains tie a cloth around their nose, so as not to breathe in or destroy living organisms in the atmosphere.
He died in 527 BC at Parapuri in Bihar, and left behind a legacy of thought and some beautiful temples like the Dilwara in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan and Shravanbelagola in Karnataka. These temples are popular today, not only as famous pilgrim spots, but also as works of great architecture

Philosophy OF JAINISM
Jainism emphatically asserts that every soul is capable of attaining perfection if it willfully exerts in that direction. But the real situation is that from time eternal the soul is bound with matter and it is the aim of every person to get the soul rid of matter so that soul can assume its true state. This spiritual emancipation requires the knowledge of the beatific condition and of the causes which stand in the way of its attainment. To find out these causes it is necessary to understand what are the existing elements or substances of nature and mode of their interaction. Jainism believes that the whole universe can be divided into two categories, viz., Jiva, i.e., soul and Ajiva, i. e. non-soul. These two - Jiva and Ajiva - exhaust between them all that exists in the universe and Jaina philosophy is based on the nature and interaction of these two elements. It can be said in short that the living and the non-living, by coming into contact with each other, forge certain energies which bring about birth, death and various experiences of life; this process could be stopped, and the energies already forged destroyed, by a course of discipline leading to salvation.
A close analysis of this brief statement shows that it involves following seven propositions.
  1. Firstly, that there is something called the living.
  2. Secondly, that there is something called the nonliving.
  3. Thirdly, that the two (i. e. the living and nonliving) come into contact with each other.
  4. Fourthly, that the contact leads to the production of some energies.
  5. Fifthly, that the process of this contact could be stopped.
  6. Sixthly, that the existing energies could also be exhausted; and
  7. Lastly, that salvation could be achieved.
These seven propositions are called the seven tattvas or realities in Jainism.
These seven tattvas are termed as follows:
  1. Jiva (i. e. Living substance)
  2. Ajiva (i. e. matter or non-living substance)
  3. Asrava (i. e., the influx of Karmic matter in the soul
  4. Bandha (i. e., bondage of soul by Karmic matter)
  5. Samvara (i. e., the stopping of Asrava)
  6. Nirjara (i. e., the gradual removal of Karmic matter).
  7. Moksha (i. e., the attainment of perfect freedom or salvation).
It is clear that the first two of the tattvas deal with the nature and enumeration of the external substances of nature and the remaining five tattvas deal with the interaction between these two substances, viz., Jiva, i. e., spirit and Ajiva, i. e., matter.
Further, much importance has been given to these seven tattvas as every would be aspirant for Moksha has to understand the nature of these tattvas. Again, out of these seven tattvas the substances are really two viz., soul and non-soul, and among these two, the non-soul is all that is not soul, i. e., devoid of sentiency. Therefore, among these two substances, the really sentient object is the Jiva, i.e., the soul. Naturally, the living substance, viz. Jiva, assumes highest importance in the context of Ahimsa.
As regards the characteristics of Jiva, i.e., the soul, it is stated that there is an infinite number of souls; in fact, the whole world is literally filled with them. The souls are substances and as such they are eternal. Again, their characteristic mark is intelligence, which can never be destroyed. Further, the soul is ever all perfect, all powerful; but by ignorance it identifies itself with the matter and hence its degradation and troubles start.
Furthermore, souls are of two kinds, viz.,
  1. Samsari, i. e., mundane souls and
  2. Siddha or Mukta, i. e. liberated souls.
Out of these, the samsari jivas, i. e. the mundane souls, are the embodied souls of living beings in the world and are still subject to the cycle of Births and Deaths and the Siddha or Mukta Jivas are the liberated souls and as such
  1. they will not be embodied in future,
  2. they have accomplished absolute purity,
  3. they dwell in the state of perfection at the top of the universe,
  4. they have no more to do with worldly affairs,
  5. they have reached Mukti or Nirvana or Nivrtti, i. e. liberation, and in their condition they have four enjoyments, viz., Ananta-darsana, i.e.,. unlimited perception, Ananta-jnana, i. e., perfect knowledge, Ananta-Virya, i.e., infinite power, and Ananta- sukha, i.e., unbounded happiness.
In addition, from the Metaphysical point of view the difference between the Samsari-Jiva, i.e., the mundane soul, and the Mukta Jiva i.e. the liberated soul, consists in the fact that the former is permeated with subtle matter known as Karma, while the latter is absolutely pure and free from any material alloy.
Moreover, the mundane or embodied souls, i.e. the Samsari Jivas, are further classified in different ways and this classification is a subject not only of theoretical but also of great practical interest to the Jainas. As their highest duty is not to injure any living beings, it becomes incumbent on them to know the various forms which life may assume.
  1. Samanska and Amanaska Jivas
  2. The mundane souls are divided into two groups, viz., `Sthavara Jivas', i. e. those who have a mind (i.e., the faculty of distinguishing right or wrong) and `Amanaska Jivas' i.e., those who have no mind.
  3. Sthavara and Trasa Jivas
The mundane souls are also divided into two groups from another point of view, viz. `Sthavara Jivas' are the immobile or one-sensed souls, that is, having only one sense, i.e. the sense of touch; and `Trasa Jivas' are the mobiles, many- sensed souls, that is, having a body with more than one sense. Again, the mobile souls are those which being in fear have the capacity of moving away from the object of fear, and immobile souls do not have this capacity.
The Sthavara, i.e., the immobile or one-sensed souls are further divided into following five kinds :
  1. Prthvikaya, i.e., earth-bodied souls,
  2. Apkaya, i.e., water-bodied souls,
  3. Tejahkaya, i.e., fire-bodied souls,
  4. Vayukaya, i.e., air-bodied souls; and
  5. Vanaspatikaya, i.e., vegetable-bodied souls.
The Trasa, i.e., the mobile or many-sensed souls are also further divided into four classes according to the possession of two or more of the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing :
  1. Dvi-indriya Jivas, i.e., those which have the first two senses of touch and taste, for example, worms, etc.,
  2. Tri-indriya Jivas, i.e., those which have the first three senses of touch, taste and smell, for example, ants, etc.
  3. Chatur-indriya Jivas, i.e., those which have first four senses of touch, taste, smell & sight, e. g. humble-bee
  4. Pancha-indriya Jivas, i.e., those which have five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, for example, man, etc.
Thus, in this classification each class has one sense more than the preceding it.
Jaina philosophy starts with a perfect division of the universe into living and non-living substances, Jiva and Ajiva. The non-soul substances are of five kinds, viz.,
  1. Pudgala, i.e., matter,
  2. Dharma, i.e., medium of motion,
  3. Adharma, i.e., medium of rest,
  4. Akasa, i.e., space, and
  5. Kala i.e., time
These six living and non-living substances are called Dravyas in Jaina Philosophy.
A Dravya has got three characteristics. First, Dravya has the quality of existence. Secondly, it has the quality of permanence through origination and destruction. Thirdly, it is the substratum of attributes and modes.
The Dravya is thus un-created and indestructible, its essential qualities remain the same and it is only its Paryaya or mode or condition, that can and does change.
Asrava :
The third principle Asrava signifies the influx of Karmic matter into the constitution of the soul. Combination of Karmic matter with Jiva is due to Yoga. Yoga is the activity of mind, speech and body. Thus Yoga is the channel of Asrava. The physical matter which is actually drawn to the soul cannot be perceived by the senses as it is very fine.
Bandha :
When the Karmic matter enters the soul, both get imperceptibly mixed with each other. Bandha or bondage is the assimilation of matter which is fit to form Karmas by the soul as it is associated with passions. The union of spirit and matter does not imply a complete annihilation of their natural properties, but only a suspension of their function, in varying degree, according to the quality and quantity of the material absorbed.
Thus, the effect of the fusion of the spirit and matter is manifested in the form of a compound personality which partakes of the nature of both, without actually destroying either.
Samvara :
Effective states of desire and aversion, and activity of thought, speech or body are the conditions that attract Karmas, good and bad, towards the soul. When those conditions are removed, there will be no Karmas approaching the Jiva, that is complete Samvara -- a sort of protective wall shutting out all the Karmas is established round the self.
Thus Samvara is the stoppage of inflow of Karmic matter into the soul. There are several ways through which the stoppage could be effected.
Nirjara :
Nirjara means the falling away of Karmic matter from the soul. The soul will be rendered free by the automatic falling out of the Karmas when they become ripe. But this is a lengthy process. The falling away may be deliberately brought through the practice of austerities.
Thus, Nirjara is of two kinds. The natural maturing of a Karma and its separation from the soul is called Savipaka Nirjara and inducing a Karma to leave the soul, before it gets ripened by means of ascetic practices is called Avipaka Nirjara.
Moksha :
Moksha or liberation is the freedom from all Karmic matter, owing to the non-existence of the cause of bondage and the shedding of all the Karmas. Thus complete freedom of the soul from Karmic matter is called Moksha.
Moksha is attained when the soul and matter are separated from each other. The separation is effected when all the Karmas have left the soul, and no more Karmic matter can be attracted towards it.


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