Jain Science and Spirituality

by Medhavi Jain | 2020 | 61,419 words

This essay studies the elements of Jainism and investigates how Jain science and philosophy can give the world answers to through science and spirituality. Instead of interpreting it as a confined, strict philosophy, it is shown that Jainism represents a path towards self-awakening through self-improvement....

Each action gives way to another action, this is the nature of karma. As yoga is action, it attracts more karma. Hence,

‘the authentic reason for asrava is yoga. One must note that yoga and asrava are indistinguishable, in as much as the vibrations happening in the pradeshas of the spirit by reason of the movement of discourse, body and mind synchronize with the inflow of karmic particles. Further, the undertaking to set the discourse, body and mind in task which results in the vibrations of the pradeshas of the spirit is called yoga. Arihanta and empirical souls have this kind of undertaking. Yet, the Siddhas are down and out of all undertaking, and subsequently desperate of yoga; for they have no action of speech, body and mind.’[1]

Pradeshas are the space points occupied by the soul’s actions/karma, each karma generates vibrations into the previously present karmic particles in these space points and in the process some karma gets shed and the new ones get bound to the soul. In this way ashrava and yoga are similar. No yoga means no action, which eventually means no ashrava hence the arihanta are free from even the tiniest of ashrava as they attain the state of no karma through penance.

As there are innumerable species of jiva which vary from one sensed to five sensed beings; yoga is an intricate part of each of them. However it may be possible that some may perform more karma with a particular part of their bodies and the others with all three of them.

For example a tree despite being having a soul, cannot perform karma through its speech and physical actions, it can merely use its mind that too in a subtler way.

‘The most extreme conceivable number of yoga is three, for example it differs with the advancement of Jiva from one sensed to the five sensed. Such is the general idea of yoga which definitely draws the karmic matter towards the spirit. In this way yoga readies the ground for empirical bondage on the nearness of different conditions, and subsequently, for the propagation of worldly career. At the end of the day, the entire obligation and weight for the fascination of karmic particles towards the spirit lapses upon yoga, however their digestion, which prompts the obscuration and bending of the celestial traits characteristic of the supernatural self, is incumbent on the presence of other baneful material of passions.’[2]

The more the indulgence is, in anything be it possessions or passions; the heavier the karma and vice versa.

Karma is directly related to bandha, which eventually connects with ashrava that is caused by yoga. Increased ashrava leads to increased karmic particles where good deeds lead to lighter karmic matter, bad leads to the opposite. Further it is beautiful to know that only performing karma is not enough, one’s intention (good, bad or medium) and intensity (sharp, light or mixed) matter too.

Which decides the time period for which that particular karma is bound, which kind of fruit will it give when ripened, how many space points will it cover etc.

Bandha depends on asrava, which is primarily conditioned by yoga. The bondage of the soul by the karmic particles admits of fourfold classifications, namely: 1) type bondage (prakriti bandha), 2) space bondage (pradesha bandha), 3) duration bondage (sthiti bandha) and lastly, 4) intensity of fruition bondage (anubhaga bandha).’[3]

‘The idea of bondage after the change of material into karmic particles inferable from the vibratory movement of the soul has been assigned as type bondage.’[4]

Will the karma be of good type or a bad is decided by the prakriti bandha. For example: a person steals something out of sheer helplessness, under compelling circumstances but otherwise he is an honest and ethical being. The type of karma he binds will be, of course of stealing, but of lighter kind. This depicts the honesty of nature as well, as in Jain philosophy karma is nothing but a natural law.

If there is space it is occupied by something or the other and in the context of the space points occupied by the soul it’s always karma.

‘The connection between the karmic particles and the pradeshas of the soul alongside the volume of matter pulled in through a similar organization of yoga has been styled as space-bondage (pradesha-bandha). This bondage itself means that none of the pradeshas of the soul is left without the particles of karmic matter.’[5]

When the soul’s pradeshas are without karma, then only it becomes the supreme or paramatma.

If one has sown the seeds of a mango tree, one will get the fruits according to its time of fruition only, similarly each seed has its own time of giving fruits.

‘The ceaseless continuation of the karmic particles in relationship with oneself, up to a specific timeframe is called duration bondage (sthiti bandha) and the impact creating strength with which the karmic particles become impregnated is known as intensity of fruition bondage (anubhaga bandha).’[6]

Now the intensity of sowing the seed matters too, how one takes care of the plant by watering it at appropriate times etc. There are some seeds that give fruits only once in their lifetime and there are trees which give fruits every year, many a times. The beauty is that the karma philosophy can easily be understood by the real life examples of sowing seeds and getting fruits.

Footnotes and references:


Sogani Kamal Chand. Ethical Doctrines in Jainism (EDIJ). Jaina Sanskriti Samrakshaka Sangha. Solapur. 2001. pp. 48


EDIJ. pp. 48,49


EDIJ. pp. 49


EDIJ. pp. 49


EDIJ. pp. 49


EDIJ. pp. 50

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: