A study of the philosophy of Jainism

by Deepa Baruah | 2017 | 46,858 words

This page describes the Bondage (bandha) and its causes from the study of the philosophy of Jainism: one of the oldest religions in India having its own metaphysics, philosophy and ethics. Jainism is regarded as an ethical system where non-violence features as an important ethical value.

Chapter V.a - Bondage (bandha) and its causes

Bondage means the chain of birth and death and the consequent miseries or sorrows. The self attains liberation from all miseries or sorrows of this material world and from the chain of birth and death. The conception of bondage is differently interpreted by different systems of Indian philosophy. In Jainism, jīva or self is conscious. Infinite knowledge, infinite faith, infinite power and infinite bliss are the four essential qualities of the jīva or self. But, because of karman these four qualities are revealed in the jīva during its empirical existence. These four qualities are realized by the self only when all the obstacles that stand in the way are removed. Just as, the sunshine illuminates the entire world as soon as the atmosphere is freed from cloud and fog, similarly the self attains omniscience as soon as all the obstacles of karmans are removed. Karmans are then the main cause of bondage of the self. According to the Jainas karmans are material which are of the form of infra-atomic particles.

It has already been mentioned that puṇya, pāpa, āsrava, bandha, samvara, nirjarā and mokṣa are the tattvas along with the jīva and the ajīva. Among these, puṇya and pāpa are sometimes included in āsrava and bandha. The Jaina philosophers mention āsrava, bandha, samvara and nirjarā regard as the ways for the association with and dissociation of the self from karman. Among these four ways, āsrava and bandha are the cause of saṃsāra, while samvara and nirjarā are the cause of liberation. Now, a brief account of these four states has been discussed one by one.

(i) Āsrava:

The flow of karmic-matter into the self is called āsrava or influx. Āsrava is described as the activity or channel of the self. The activity of the self or yoga is called āsrava. Just as a wet cloth absorbs the dusts brought by the wind, or a heated iron-ball absorbs the particles of water; in the same way, the self affected by anger, greed etc. absorbs the karma-paramāṇus brought by yoga. The influx of karmicmatter into the self continues until liberation. When the influx of karman is checked and the karmic-matters which already entered into the body of the self are washed out, then the self regains its real nature and attains liberation from this worldly life.

It has already been mentioned that yoga is called āsrava. Now, the term yoga is used in quite a different sense in Jainism. Yoga here means the activity of the self through body, speech and mind. Hence, yoga is of three types: kāya-yoga, vāgyoga and mana-yoga. Āsrava is the effect of bodily, verbal and mental actions, and the cause of the self’s bondage. It is also good or evil as it produces merit and demerit. That means, puṇya and pāpa are the auspicious and inauspicious-influx of karman. It is cause of virtue and vice. Āsrava is again said to be the action of the senses which impels the self towards external objects.

Āsrava or influx of karman is divided into two categories, viz., bhāvāsrava or subjective influx and dravyāsrava or karmāsrava or objective influx. These two types of āsrava are again divided into two categories, viz., sāmparāyika and īryāpatha. The modification of the self by which karman gets into it, is known as bhāvāsrava. Bhāvāsravas are of five kinds, viz., (a) false belief; (b) want of control; (c) inadvertence; (d) the activity of body, mind and speech and (e) passions.

Prabhācandra also hold that the same idea, i.e. bhāvāsrava is of five kinds. Dravyāsrava or karmāsrava means the entrance of the karmic-matters into the self through the three channels of yoga. The cause of all the karmāsravas are upaghāta, antarāya, mātsarya etc.

There are forty-two chief channels or āsravas through which the karmapudgalas enters into the self. Among these, seventeen are regarded as major āsravas. They are—the three yogas, the five sense-organs, the four kaṣāyas and the five vratas. Besides these seventeen major āsravas or channels, there are twenty-five minor āsravas. All of these are the causes of bondage.

(ii) Bandha:

Āsrava leads the self to bandha. Āsrava and bandha are mutually related as cause and effect. As a result of āsrava, karma-particles enter into the self and the self is affected by passions like love, anger etc., and absorbs these karma-pudgalas into its innumerable parts. The absorption of the karma-pudgalas by the self within itself is called bandha or bondage. After the absorption of karma-pudgala, the self which is intrinsically pure and perfect, becomes impure and imperfect. The karmapudgalas also obstruct the self’s four infinite qualities. Therefore, the self forgets its real nature and undergoes the cycle of birth and death.

Bandha or bondage is of two types, viz., (i) bhāva-bandha or subjective bondage and (ii) dravya-bandha or objective bondage. Bhāva-bandha means that conscious state by which the karman is bound with the self, while the union of the pradeśas of karman and self is called dravya-bandha. That means, first of all there is the influx of karmic-matters i.e. āsrava which leads the self to bondage. The psychical states which are the cause of the contact of the self with the karmapudgalas are known as bhāva-bandha, after that there is the union of the self with the karman, which is known as dravya-bandha.

Dravya-bandha is of four kinds, according to its prakṛti (nature), sthiti (duration), anubhava (intensity) and pradeśa (number). Among these, the prakṛti and pradeśa bondage result from the activities of body, mind and speech, while the sthiti and anubhava bondage result from the conditions of attachment and aversion. Prakṛti means the natural qualities, such as bitterness or sweetness found in the nimba plant or molasses. The nature of different kinds of karman determine the nature of bondage. Sthiti means the duration of karman. The duration of karman differs in different cases. Some karman will remain a thousand years, some only a decade. There are again some karman which can be washed out in a day. Anubhava means the intensity of karman. This may be sometimes mild, sometimes strong.

Pradeśa means the amount of karman. This is different in different cases. Some karmans attract more pudgala, some less; so, it is divided according to its thickness and thinness. These four types of bondage are illustrated with an example of an lāḍu (a kind of sweet-meat). Some lāḍus cure cough and rheumatism by their nature; some are good for a long time; some for a short time. Some lāḍus contain melted butter in them, while others do not. Some are thick, some thin, because of the amount of flour with which they have been made.

There must be some cause for an effect. Without cause, effect cannot be produced. So, there must be some cause for the self’s bondage. Āsrava is the main cause of bandage, because it is the first paryāya of bandha or bondage. The Jainas enumerate five causes of bondage, viz., (a) mithyātva or avidyā (nescience); (b) avirati (non-restraint); (c) pramāda (delusion);(d) kaṣāya (passion) and (e) yoga (activity of the self). From mithyātva or avidyā arises avirati; from avirati arises pramāda; from pramāda arises kaṣāya; from kaṣāya arises yoga. Hence, mithyātva is the root cause of all evils.

1) Avidyā or mithyatvā is also called mithyādarśana, mithyādṛṣṭi, darśanamoha or moha. Because of avidyā, the people accept adharma as dhrama, aśubha as śubha, ajīva as jīva etc. All of these are the opposite nature of samyagdarśana. Avidyā is the root cause of sufferings. For avidyā, the jīva thinks that “it is mine”, “I know all the things” etc. For these kinds of false knowledge, the self always comes under bondage in this saṃsarā.

Avidyā has three factors, viz., (i) mithyādarśana, (ii) mithyā-jñāna and (iii) mithyā-cāritra which are the opposites of right-vision, right-knowledge and rightconduct. So, bondage is not only cause by mithyā-jñāna, but also by mithyā-darśana and mithyā-cāritra. That is the reason that after the attainment of right-knowledge, the self is not freed from the bondage of karma-matter without right-vision and right-conduct.

Avidyā or mithyātva is of two kinds, viz., (i) naisargika and (ii) paropadeśa. Paropadeśa mithyātva is of four kinds, viz., (a) kṛiyāvādi;(b) akṛiyāvādi; (c) ajñānī and (d) vainayika. On the other hand, Pujyapāda admits five kinds of mithyātva or avidyā, viz., (i) ekāntamithyādarśana, (ii) viparītamithyādarśana, (iii) saṃśayamithyādarśana, (iv) vainayikamithyādarśana and (v) ajñanikamithyādarśana.

2) The second cause of bondage is avirati. Avirati means non-restraint from the six sense-organs.

3) The third cause of bondage is pramāda or delusion. It is of eight kinds, i.e., five kinds of samiti and three kinds of gupti. These are—(i) īryā; (ii) bhāṣā;(iii) eṣaṇā; (iv) ādāna; (v) utsarga;(vi) kāya; (vii) vāg and (viii) mana.

4) The fourth cause of bondage is kaṣāya. The Jainas hold that space is full of karma-pudgalas and the self absorbs these karma-particles because of kaṣāya. It is of four types, viz., (i) anger (krodha); (ii) pride (māna); (iii) deceit (māyā) and (iv) greed (lobha).

5) The last cause of bondage is yoga. It is the activity of the self through the body; mind and speech. Passions are the internal cause of bondage, while the activities of body, mind and speech are the external causes of bondage.

All of these are the cause of bondage. For āsrava and bandha, the self is always affected by the karma-pudgalas.

(iii) Samvara:

It is seen in the foregoing discussions that āsrava and bandha are the cause of bondage of the jīva. Because of these two the self comes under the cycle of birth and death. The self does not attain the ultimate aim of life, i.e., liberation, because the self is affected by the karma-matter. Attainment of liberation is not possible as long as the karma-particles exist in the self. When the influx of karmamatter stops, then the self attains liberation. So, for the attainment of liberation, it is necessary to stop the influx of karma-matter into the self. Prabhācandra holds that for the attainment of liberation, the influx of new karma-matter into the self must be stopped. The new karma-matter enters into the self through āsrava or influx. This stoppage of the influx of karma-matter is called samvara.

Samvara is also of two kinds, viz., (i) bhāvasamvara or subjective stoppage and (ii) dravyasamvara or objective stoppage. The checking of the modifications of consciousness of the self which is the cause of the influx of karma-matter is known as bhāvasamvara, while dravyasamvara means that state where the influx of karmamatter is stopped. Thus, bhāvasamvara is the cause of dravyasamvara.

According to Prabhācandra, bhāvasamvara is again divided into six categories, viz., (a) samiti i.e. carefulness;(b) gupti i.e. restraint; (c) dharma i.e. observance; (d) anuprekṣā i.e. thought; (e) parīṣahajaya i.e. victory over troubles and (f) cāritra i.e. conduct. Each of these is again divided into various sub-classes. These are the steps of stopping the influx of karma-matter.

The first way of stopping the influx of karma-matter refers to outward behavior, which is known as samiti. It means that people must be careful about their conduct in order to avoid injury to all the living beings in this world. It is of five kinds, viz., (i) īryā-samiti i.e. observance of the greatest care about the rules of walking; (ii) bhāṣā-samiti i.e. to be careful about the rules of speech; (iii) eṣaṇāsamiti i.e. to be careful about the rules of eating; (iv) ādānanikṣepaṇa-samiti i.e. to be careful about the rules of keeping some portion of the alms for the performance of religious duties and (v) utsarga-samiti i.e. observance of carefulness about the rules of performing bodily evacuations in a spot.

Gupti or restraint is the second way of stopping the influx of karma-matter. Gupti means the rules for controlling yoga of the mind, body and speech. So it is of three kinds, viz., (i) kāya-gupti i.e. bodily restraint; (ii) vāg-gupti i.e. verbal restraint and (iii) mana-gupti i.e. mental restraint.

By the observance of ten kinds of dharma, the influx of karma-pudgala must be stopped. That means, by the performing of dharmas, the jīva becomes free from all kinds of sorrows and attain excellent pleasure. These are: (i) uttama-kṣamā (excellent forgiveness); (ii) uttama-mārdava (excellent humility);(iii) uttamaārjava (excellent simplicity); (iv) uttama-śauca (excellent cleanliness); (v) uttamasatya (excellent truth); (vi) uttama-saṃyama (excellent restraint); (vii) uttamatapas (excellent penance); (viii) uttama-tyāga (excellent renunciation); (ix) uttamaākiñcana (excellent indifference) and (x) uttama-brahmacarya (excellent sex-control).

The influx of karma-matter can also be stopped by keeping the twelve kinds of thoughts or anuprekṣā. One should always bear these twelve kinds of thoughts in mind for the stoppage of karma-pudgala into the self. These are: (i) anityānuprekṣā, (ii) aśaraṇānuprekṣā, (iii) saṃsārānuprekṣā, (iv) ekatvānuprekṣā (v) anyatvānuprekṣā, (vi) aśucitvānuprekṣā, (vii) āsravānuprekṣā, (viii) samvarānuprekṣā, (ix) nirjarānuprekṣā, (x) lokānuprekṣā, (xi) bodhidurlabhānuprekṣā and (xii) dharmānuprekṣā. Anityānuprekṣā is thinking that everything is transient. Aśaraṇānuprekṣā means that there is no shelter except truth. Saṃsārānuprekṣā means about the cycle of birth and death. Ekatvānuprekṣā means that one is responsible for his own deeds. Anyatvānuprekṣā means that the self is separate from the body. Aśucitvānuprekṣā is thinking that the body and its relation to everything are impure. Āsravānuprekṣā is about the influx of karman. Samvarānuprekṣā is about the stoppage of influx of karma-matter. Nirjarānuprekṣā is about the destruction of influx of karma-matter that has already entered into the body of the self. Lokānuprekṣā means about the self, the matter and the substances of the world. Bodhidurlabhānuprekṣā means about the difficulty of attaining true vision-knowledge-conduct. Dharmānuprekṣā means about the essential principles of this world.

For the stoppage of the influx of karma-matter and the attainment of liberation, one has to follow parīṣahajaya i.e. victory over hardships or troubles. The twenty-two hardships are: (i) the feeling of hunger (kṣudhā), (ii) the feeling of thirst (pipāsā), (iii) the feeling of cold (śīta), (iv) the feeling of heat (uṣṇa), (v) troubles by mosquito (daṃśamaśakā), (vi) the feeling of shame for nakedness (nagna), (vii) the feeling of dissatisfaction through hunger, thirst, cold, heat etc. (arati), (viii) the feeling of emotions caused by women (stṛī), (ix) the feeling of tiredness for journey (caryā), (x) the desire of moving from a fixed posture in meditation (niṣadyā), (xi) the desire to have a bed for take some rest (śayyā), (xii) the feeling of anger when insulted (ākrośa), (xiii) the feeling of fight against an enemy who comes to kill (vadha), (xiv) the desire of asking anything in great need (yācnā) (xv) the feeling of satisfaction (alābha), (xvi) the feeling of pain caused by a disease (roga), (xvii) the feeling of pain caused by some thorns (tṛṇasparśa), (xviii) the feeling of displeasure for dirtiness (mala), (xix) the desire to get some reward or honour (satkāra-puraskāra), (xx) the feeling of pride for one’s learning (prajñā), (xxi) the feeling of despair for failure to obtain knowledge (ajñāna)and (xxii) the feeling of despair for failure to attain something (adarśana). One who controls over these hardships or troubles becomes free from all kinds of sorrows. One should also observe five kinds of cāritra or conduct for stopping the influx of karma-pudgala. These are: (i) sāmāyika, (ii) cchedopasthāpanā, (iii) parihāraviśuddhi, (iv) sūkṣmasaṃparāya and (v) yathākhyāta. Sāmāyika means one should always give up bad deeds and take up good deeds. Cchedopasthāpanā means repentance for doing all kinds of wrong deeds in front of the preceptor.

Parihāraviśuddhi means one should obtain purity by abstention from injury to living being. Sūkṣmasaṃparāya means one should control of the subtle from of passions. Yathākhyāta means thinking for liberation after the control of all the passions. Moreover, the influx of karma-pudgala can also be stopped out by vow. It is of five kinds, viz., (i) ahiṃsā i.e. abstention from injury; (ii) anṛta i.e. abstention from falsehood; (iii) asteya i.e. abstention from stealing; (iv) brahmacarya i.e. abstention from sexual pleasure and (v) aparigraha i.e. abstention from worldly things.

All of these are the ways of stopping the influx of new karma-pudgala into the self. When all of these ways are successfully followed, then the influx of karma-pudgala is stopped.

(iv) Nirjarā:

The destruction of old karma-pudgala is called nirjarā. Samvara stops the influx of fresh karmans. But the self is not free from the karma-pudgalas which have already entered into the self. So, Prabhācandra holds that for the attainment of liberation, it is also necessary to destroy the karma-matters that have already entered into the body of the self. This destruction is only possible through nirjarā i.e. it consists in the annihilation of already entered karmans. Prabhācandra says that it is of two types, viz., (i) upakrama-nirjarā and (ii) anupakrama-nirjarā. Upakramanirjarā is destroyed through twelve kinds of penances, while the anupakramanirjarā is destroyed in proper time after the fruits of such karman are enjoyed.

According to another view, nirjarā is of two kinds, viz., (i) bhāva-nirjarā and (ii) dravya-nirjarā. Bhāva-nirjarā is again of two types, viz., (i) savipāka and (ii) avipāka. The natures of savipāka-nirjarā and avipāka-nirjarā are the same with the natures of anupakrama-nirjarā and upakrama-nirjarā.

By the twelve kinds of penances, the karma-matters are destroyed. Of them, the six are external penances and the remaining six are internal ones. The six external penances are: anaśana (fasting); uṇadarī (less eating); vṛttiparisaṃkṣepa (limiting quantity of food); rasa-tyagā (abstaining from eating ghee, sweet etc.); kāya-kleśa (torturing the body) and saṃlinatā (avoidance of temptation by control the senses, mind etc.). On the other hand, the six internal penances are: prāyaścitta (confession of crime and performance of penances for its atonement); vinaya (respect to the ascetics); vaiyāvacca (service to the ascetics, the poor etc.); svādhyāya (study of scriptures); vyutsarga (giving up all the internal and external things of the mundane world) and dhyāna (meditation). All of these are the means of destroying the karma-pudgalas that have already entered into the self.

Thus, from the above point of discussion it has been seen that the self comes under the bondage of karma-pudgala because of āsrava and bandha. So, it becomes impure and cannot attain liberation. The self becomes free from all of the karma-pudgalas through samvara and nirjarā. So, after the destruction of all the karma-pudgalas, the self become fit for liberation.

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