A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1922 | 212,082 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of moksha (emancipation): a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the twenty-third part in the series called the “the jaina philosophy”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 23 - Mokṣa (emancipation)

The motive which leads a man to strive for release (mokṣa) is the avoidance of pain and the attainment of happiness, for the state of mukti is the state of the soul in pure happiness. It is also a state of pure and infinite knowledge (anantajñāna) and infinite perception (ancuntadarśana). In the saṃsāra state on account of the karma veils this purity is sullied, and the veils are only worn out imperfectly and thus reveal this and that object at this and that time as ordinary knowledge (mati), testimony (śruta), supernatural cognition, as in trance or hypnotism (avadhi), and direct knowledge of the thoughts of others or thought reading (manah-paryāya).

In the state of release however there is omniscience (kevala-jñāna) and all things are simultaneously known to the perfect (kevalin) as they are. In the saṃsāra stage the soul always acquires new qualities, and thus suffers a continual change though remaining the same in substance. But in the emancipated stage the changes that a soul suffers are all exactly the same, and thus it is that at this stage the soul appears to be the same in substance as well as in its qualities of infinite knowledge, etc., the change meaning in this state only the repetition of the same qualities.

It may not be out of place to mention here that though the karmas of man are constantly determining him in various ways yet there is in him infinite capacity or power for right action (i anantavīryd), so that karma can never subdue this freedom and infinite capacity, though this may be suppressed from time to time by the influence of karma. It is thus that by an exercise of this power man can overcome all karma and become finally liberated. If man had not this anantavīrya in him he might have been eternally under the sway of the accumulated karma which secured his bondage (bandha). But since man is the repository of this indomitable power the karmas can only throw obstacles and produce sufferings, but can never prevent him from attaining his highest good.

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