A study of the philosophy of Jainism

by Deepa Baruah | 2017 | 46,858 words

This page describes the Prabhacandra’s refutation of Bauddha and Samkhya view of Karman 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.c - Prabhācandra’s refutation of Bauddha and Sāṃkhya view of Karman

The Jainas hold that the self attains its pure knowledge when the obstruction of karman is destroyed. The obstruction or āvaraṇa between the self and its knowledge according to Prabhācandra, is not śarīra etc., but karman. This āvaraṇa of karma-pudgala is critically established by Prabhācandra after refuting the point of view of the Buddhists and the Sāṃkhyas.

The Buddhists do not agree with the Jainas. The Buddhists argues that if there be any āvaraṇa, then it is possible to remove that āvaraṇa, so the knowledge can arise. But no āvaraṇa is possible in this case. For the question is what is this āvaraṇa? Is it the body or the passions or the time, space etc.? The body and passions cannot be the āvaraṇa,because knowledge is found to arise even in their presence. They maintain that avidyā is the āvaraṇa and not the karma-pudgala, because pudgala has some form (mūrta). Hence, it cannot veil the formless knowledge of the self. If the mūrta substance can envelop the amūrta knowledge, then the body may also be the āvaraṇa. It is also said that karman is a quality of the self, hence it cannot be a pudgala. So, the Buddhists hold that karma-pudgala is not the āvaraṇa.

According to the Sāṃkhyas, karman is not the quality of the self, but it is the effect of Prakṛti. White and black karmans are the effects of Prakṛti. The creation of the world starts from Prakṛti. From Prakṛti arises buddhi, from buddhi arises ahaṃkāra, from ahaṃkāra arises sixteen categories i.e. five tanmātras, five jñānendṛiyas, five karmendṛiyas and manas. So, they hold that Pradhāna or Prakṛti is the āvaraṇa not karman.

But, Prabhācandra does not agree with the Buddhists and the Sāṃkhyas. First of all, he critically refutes the Buddhists view point. The following are the arguments:

1. Firstly, Prabhācandra says that karma-pudgala is the āvaraṇa, which is different from the body etc. By inference, it is proved that the attraction of the self towards the śarīra, sense-organs etc. is due to some cause other than the body, sense-organs etc. Just as a beautiful woman is attracted by an ugly man because of some blackmagic. Without this, this type of attraction is not possible. So, the attraction of the self towards the body, the sense-organs etc. are possible because of karmapudgala.

2. Secondly, Prabhācandra tries to prove the existence of karman as āvaraṇa with the help of another inference. He argues that the knowledge which does not apprehend its own object is said to have āvaraṇa i.e., veiled knowledge. For an example, the defective eye perceives two moons instead of one moon. Similar is the case with knowledge which cannot apprehend the objects.

3. Thirdly, he argues that knowledge can intrinsically apprehend all the objects. But it cannot apprehend all the objects at all times because of the āvaraṇa or veil. Just as an intoxicated person thinks a lump of clay as gold, so also misapprehension of something is due to some āvaraṇa which is nothing but karma-pudgala.

4. Fourthly, it is argued that argues that avidyā is not the āvaraṇa and not karman, it being mūrta cannot veil amūrta knowledge. To this Prabhācandra says that alcohol etc. which are mūrta can obscure knowledge. In the same way materialkarmapudgalas which are mūrta flow into the formless self. There is no rule that the āvaraṇa of knowledge must itself be amūrta. All the wrong-knowledge occurs due to karma-pudgala. So, karma-pudgala is the āvaraṇa between the self and its knowledge.

5. Lastly, he says that karman is not the quality of the self. If the karmans are the quality of the self, then they could not be the cause of bondage of the self. In that case, either the self should always be in bondage or always free. But, this is not possible. Because, whatever is the quality of something cannot be the cause of that thing, just like colour, taste etc. are the quality of the earth not its cause. Karmapudgalas are the cause of the bondage of the self and as such are not the quality of the self.

After the refutation of the Buddhists view about karman, Prabhācandra has critically discussed the Sāṃkhyas point of view. The following are the chief arguments:

1. Firstly, Prabhācandra argues that karman is not the evolutes of Prakṛti. According to the Jainas, Pradhāna or Prakṛti does not exist and as such it is not possible that its evolutes can exist. Even if it is said that karman is the evolutes of Prakṛti, then also it must be accepted as the cause of the bondage of the self;otherwise, it cannot be karman. So, karma-pudgala is the cause of bondage of the self not Pradhāna or Prakṛti.

2. Secondly, he argues that if it is said that the karman is the cause of bondage and liberation of Pradhāna itself, then there will be no necessity to admit the existence of the self. In that case, Pradhāna will be the enjoyer of the fruits of action of which it is the agent, because one who acts enjoys the fruits. But it is impossible since Pradhāna is inert and as such cannot be the enjoyer.

3. Lastly, Prabhācandrasays that if the Sāṃkhyas say that empirical self undergoes bondage because of its connection (saṃsarga) with Pradhāna, then it is established that bondage pertains to the self itself. As such saṃsarga is another name of bondage and pudgala is known as Pradhāna in the Sāṃkhya philosophy. So, karma-pudgala is the only cause of bondage of the self.

Types of Karman:

According to the Jainas,karmans are of two types, dravya-karman and (ii) bhāva-karman. Dravya-karman means karma-pudgalas which enter into the self and pollute its nature. Bhāva-karman points to the mental states of anger, delusion, greed etc. called passions which perverts the capabilities of the self. These are the results of the activity of the body, mind etc. Dravya-karman is known as āvaraṇa and bhāva-karman is known as doṣa. The activity of the self is bhāva-karman and its effects are dravya-karman. There is a mutual relation of cause and effects between these two karmans. Dravya-karman is produced from bhāva-karman and bhāvakarmans are affected by dravya-karmans. So, bhāva-karman is accepted as a cause and dravya-karman as an effect. Thus, there is an inter-action relation between these two kinds of karmans.

Dravya-karmans are of eight kinds. The eight types of karman also come under the prakṛti, i.e. the first division of bondage. These are—(i) jñānāvaraṇīyakarman, (ii) darśanāvaraṇīya-karman, (iii) vedanīya-karman, (iv) mohanīyakarman, (v) āyus-karman, (vi) nāma-karmam, (vii) gotra-karman and (viii) antarāya-karman. These eight kinds of karman are again divided into two groups, viz., (i) destructive (ghātin) and (ii) non-destructive (aghātin). Among these eight types of karman, jñānāvaraṇīya, darśanāvaraṇīya, mohanīya and antarāya karmans are destructive karmans, because they hinder the manifestation of the self’s four natural attributes, viz., infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite power and infinite bliss. The remaining four karmans, i.e. vedanīya, āyus, nāma and gotra karmans are non-destructive karmans, because they do not adversely affect the nature of the self. Each of these karmans is divided into a number of sub-species such as five, nine, two, twenty-eight etc.

All of these karmans and their sub-species are discussed briefly here:

(i) Jñānāvaraṇīya-karman:

Jñāna means knowledge and āvaraṇa means covering, obscuring etc., so this term literally means knowledge-obscuring karman. That means, jñānāvaraṇīya-karman is that which obscures the knowing faculty of the self. It acts as a hindrance in the attainment of omniscient knowledge. However, this karman does not actually obscure the self’s knowing capability; only exercising of that capability remains restricted under its impact, just as, the sunlight is being restricted under the impact of clouds. It is divided into five sub-species, according to the five kinds of knowledge, viz., (i) matijñānāvaraṇīya-karman—that which causes the obstruction of the knowledge acquired through the senses; (ii) śrutajñānāvaraṇīya-karman—that which produces the obscuration of the knowledge acquired by reading, hearing etc.; (iii) avadhijñānāvaraṇīya-karman—that which hinders direct knowledge of material objects; (iv) manaḥparyāyajñānāvaraṇīyakarman—that which hinders direct knowledge of the thoughts of others and (v) kevalajñānāvaraṇīya-karman—that which obscures the omniscience inherent in the self by natural disposition.

(ii) Darśanāvaraṇīya-karman:

Darśana means opinion, belief, understanding, conviction, and perception etc. So literally this term means perception-obscuring karman. Darśanāvaraṇīya-karman obstructs that form of consciousness which precedes knowledge. It obstructs the perception of the objects, just like a gatekeeper hinders the entrance of a visitor to the residence of a dignitary. It is of nine types, viz., (i) cakṣudarśanāvaraṇīya-karman –that which produces the obstruction of the darśana conditioned by the eye; (ii) acakṣudarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that which causes the obstruction of the darśana conditioned by the other senses other than eye; (iii) avadhidarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that which causes the obstruction of the direct cognition of material things; (iv) kevaladarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that which hinders the complete intuition; (v) nidrādarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that which causes a light, pleasant sleep, out of which the sleeper is aroused by a slight call; (vi) nidrānidrādarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that karman which produces a deep sleep, out of which the sleeper can only be awakened by being shaken violently; (vii) pracalādarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that karman which causes a sound asleep while sitting or standing; (viii) pracalāpracalādarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that karman which causes an intensive sleep while walking and (ix) styānagṛddhidarśanāvaraṇīya-karman—that karman which acts in an unconscious state.

(iii) Vedanīya-karman:

Vedanīya-karman is that which produce the feeling of pleasure and pain of the jīva. So, it is known as feeling-producing karman. It is divided into two types, viz., (i) sātvedaniya-karman and (ii) asātvedaniya-karman. Sātvedaniya causes a feeling of pleasure. As for example, the feeling of pleasure by licking something sweet like honey etc. is called sātvedaniya-karman. Asātvedaniya causes a feeling of pain, e.g. when one is hurt by a sword.

(iv) Mohanīya-karman:

The karman which obstructs true faith and right conduct is known as mohanīya or deluding karman. It has two chief divisions, viz., (i) obstruction of belief or darśana-mohanīya and (ii) obstruction of conduct or cāritramohanīya. Darśana-mohanīya-karman obstructs the true faith. It is further divided into three sub-divisions, viz., (i) samyaktvadarśanamohanīya-karman, (ii) mithyātvadarśanamohanīya-karman and (iii) miśradarśanamohanīya-karman. Samyaktvadarśanamohanīya-karman means when one knows the truth, but does not have complete belief in that truth. Mithyātvadarśanamohanīya-karman means when one remains attached to the wrong belief. Miśradarśanamohanīya-karman means when one stays in suspense and cannot decide what is right and wrong. Cāritramohanīya-karman obstructs right conduct. Firstly, it is divided into two chief sub-divisions, (i) kaṣāyacāritra and (ii) nokaṣāyacāritra. Kaṣāyacāritramohanīya karmans are anger, pride, greed and deceit. Each of them is again divided into four categories, according to their intensity of nature, viz., (i) anantānubandhi, (ii) apratyākhyānāvaraṇa, (iii) pratyākhyānāvaraṇa and (iv) saṃjvalana. Nokaṣāya karmans are divided into nine categories, viz., (i) hāsya, (ii) rati, (iii) arati, (iv) śoka, (v) bhaya, (vi) jugupsā, (vii) purūṣaveda, (viii) strīveda and (ix) napuṃsakaveda. Hence, the obstruction of right conduct is produced from the sixteen passions and nine non-passions. That means, cāritramohanīya-karman has twenty-five sub-divisions. Thus, there are twenty-eight sub-species of mohanīyakarman.

(v) Āyus-karman:

It determines the length of life in a particular body. This karman makes the self captive in a particular body for a limited period. Due to this karman, a person enjoys long life or premature death. So, it is known as age-determining karman. It is divided into four sub-species, viz., (i) devāyus-karman—which determines the celestial age; (ii) manuṣāyus-kartman—which determines the human age; (iii) tiryagāyus-karman—which determines the animal age and (iv) narakāyuskarman—which determines the age of hellish beings.

(vi) Nāma-karman:

Nāma-karman means that karman which determines the transmigration of the self to hellish, animal, human and celestial life. So, it is known as character-determining karman. It consists of forty-two sub-species, viz., (i) gatināma-karman (that karman which causes the states of existence); (ii) jātināmakartman (that karman which causes the caste of beings); (iii) śarīranāma-karman (the karman which causes the physical body); (iv) aṅgopāṅganāma-karman (that karman which causes the chief and secondary parts of the bodies);(v) nirmāṇanāma-karman (that karman which causes the formation of the body); (vi) bandhananāma-karman (the bindings of the body with karma-pudgalas); (vii) saṅghātanāma-karman (that karman which causes to bind one another; (viii) saṅsthānanāma-karman (that karman which determines the stature of a being); (ix) saṅhanananāma-karman (that which unites the bones of the body); (x) sparśanāmakarman (touch); (xi) rasanāma-karman (taste); (xii) gandhanāma-karman (pleasant and unpleasant odours); (xiii) varṇanāma-karman (colour); (xiv) ānupūrvīnāmakarman (it is the causes of the existence of the self in the body); (xv) agurulaghunāma-karman (which makes a body being neither heavy nor light); (xvi) upaghātanāma-karman (which causes of self-annihilation of the body); (xvii) parāghātanāma-karman (which gives superiority over others); (xviii) ātapanāmakarman (hot body such as sun); (xix) udyotanāma-karman (cold body such as moon); (xx) ucchvāsanāma-karman (the capability of breathing);(xxi) vihāyogatināma-karman (causes of the movement of the body in a pleasant and an ugly manner); (xxii) pratyekanāma-karman (an individual body); (xxiii) sādhāraṇanāma-karman (common body); (xxiv) trasanāma-karman (which is a movable body);(xxv) sthāvaranāma-karman (that body which is not movable);(xxvi) subhaganāma-karman (that which have gaining of sympathy without any obligation); (xxvii) durbhaganāma-karman (it means that the jīva does not have gaining of any sympathy); (xxviii) susvaranāma-karman (sweet voice of the jīva); (xxix) duḥsvaranāma-karman (ill-sounding voice of the jīva); (xxx) śubhanāmakarman (the beautiful and lovely parts of the body); (xxxi) aśubhanāma-karman (the ugly parts of the body); (xxxii) sūkṣmanāma-karman (cause of subtle body); (xxxiii) sthulanāma-karman (cause of gross body); (xxxiv) paryāptanāma-karman (it means that which causes the complete development of the body); (xxxv) aparyāptanāma-karman (it means undeveloped body); (xxxvi) sthiranāma-karman (cause of firm body); (xxxvii) asthiranāma-karman (which means body that is not firm); (xxxviii) ādeyanāma-karman (suggestive speech of the jīva); (xxxix) anādeyanāma-karman (un-suggestive speech of the jīva); (xl) yaśanāma-karman (which is the cause of honour and glory of the jīva); (xli) ayaśanāma-karman (which is the cause of dishonor and shame of the jīva) and (xlii) tīrthakaranāma-karman (procures the position of a prophet of the Jaina religion).

(vii) Gotra-karman:

This karman determines status. One is born in a family of high status or low status by virtue of this karman. So, it is known as family-determining karman. It is of two categories. The karman by virtue of which one is born in a noble cultural family is called uccagotrakarman;while by which one is born in a lower and poor family is called nīcagotrkarman.

(viii) Antarāya-karman:

The karman which obstructs the inborn energy of the self and prevents it from doing good action is called antarāya or obstructive karman. It is divided into five sub-categories, viz., dānāntarāya-karman, lābhāntarāyakarman, bhogāntarāya-karman, upabhogāntarāya-karman and vīryāntarāyakarman. (i) Dānāntarāya-karman is that which causes hindrance to charity etc. (ii) Lābhāntarāya-karman is that which causes hindrance to gaining something. (iii) Bhogāntarāya-karman is that which causes obstruction to the enjoyment of something. (iv) Upabhogāntarāya-karman is that which causes obstruction to the enjoyment of something that can be repeatedly enjoyed. (v) Vīryāntarāya-karman is that which causes hindrance to the freedom of will-power.

There are some causes for each of these eight types of karmans. Although all the karmans are bound by activities and passions in general, yet every karman has some special cause constituted by some particular activities. Just as, honesty, gentleness etc. is the cause of the bondage of good character-determining karman, while the reverse causes produce the bad character-determining karman, in the same way, all the sub-species are the causes of bondage of their related karman.

Stages of Spiritual Development (fourteen guṇasthānas):

A question may arise here thus: if karmans are nothing but material substances and if the inflow of karmans into the self continue from beginningless time, then how this obstruction of the karma-pudgalas be destroyed? Then, Prabhācandra here replies that there are some special conditions under which the karma-pudgalas can be destroyed. These are the right-knowledge, right-faith and right-conduct. By these three ways, the karmans are destroyed. Prabhācandra also holds that there are samvara and nirjarā which make the self free from the obstruction of the karmans. All karmans of the self may sometimes be destroyed because of their functioning is completely exhausted. If something is not destroyed, then its power of producing effects does not come to an end, just as in the case of time. The Jainas hold that there are fourteen stages of development through which the self gradually becomes free from all kinds of karman. These stages are known as the states of virtue i.e. guṇasthāna.

The fourteen guṇasthānas are as follows:

1. Mithyādṛṣṭi-guṇasthāna means that state where one has wrong belief.

2. Sāsvādana-samyagdṛṣṭi-guṇasthāna means one who has a slight taste of right belief.

3. Miśradṛṣṭi-guṇasthāna means that state where one has a mixed belief i.e. both wrong and right.

4. Avirata-samyagdṛṣṭi-guṇasthāna means that state where one has a true belief, but does not possess self-discipline.

5. Deśavirata-guṇasthāna means one who has partial self-control.

6. Pramatta-saṃyata-guṇasthāna means that state where one has got complete selfdiscipline, but sometimes negligence occurs.

7. Apramatta-saṃyata-guṇasthāna means that state where one has got self-control without negligence.

8. Apūrvakaraṇa-guṇasthāna means that state where one has obtained greater or definite self-control.

9. Anivṛttikaraṇa-guṇasthāna means that state where one attains complete freedom from maya, deceit etc.

10. Sūkṣma-sāmparāya-guṇasthāna means that state where passions occur in a subtle form.

11. Upaśānta-kaṣāya-guṇasthāna means that state where one has suppressed every passion, but does not possess omniscience.

12. Kṣīna-kaṣāya-guṇasthāna means that state where one has annihilated every passion, but does not possess omniscience.

13. Sayoga-kevalī-guṇasthāna means that state where one possesses omniscience and engages himself in activities.

14. Ayoga-kevalī-guṇasthāna means that state where one becomes omniscient and does not perform any activities.

So, when the self follow these fourteen stages, then it becomes free from all the bindings of karmans. After this, the self attains liberation.

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