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Are we really religious?

“Religion is the realisation of spirit as spirit.” Swami Vivekananda.

We all consider ourselves as religious by visiting temples, doing all kinds of rituals under the pretext of religion, worshipping the non-Gods considering them as Gods, making pilgrimages all around the world, going on so-called religious tours on select days, visiting temples and worshipping with worldly expectations, worshipping false gurus, and many many such things. All our religious practices are thoughtless and most of the time loaded with worldly expectations.  

But alas, nothing of these qualifies as true religious acts if these acts and pilgrimages do not help us achieve what is stated by Swami Vivekananda.

Narsinh Mehta a renowned Gujarati poet (who had written the famous Bhajan – Vaishnav Jan tofavourite one of Gandhiji) had in one of his Bhajans stated,” Without knowing the spirit (Soul) all religious activities and rituals are worthless.”  

Jainism defines knowing the spirit (Soul) as spirit (Soul) as Samyak Darshan. According to Jain scripture, all religious activities towards the liberation of a soul starts when one realises spirit as spirit. Without the self-realisation, all so-called religious activities can be anything but won’t help in the liberation of the soul.

Believing the self as Soul and not the body is the basic truth, but unfortunately, we do not realise that till our human life ends. What can be more disgusting than not knowing the real self as Spirit/Soul/Atma?  

To quote Swamiji again, “Have you realised that you are spirit? When you say, ‘I do,’ what is meant by that— this lump of flesh, called the body or the spirit, the infinite, ever blessed, effulgent, immortal? You may be the greatest philosopher, but as long as you have the idea that you are the body, you are no better than the little worm crawling under your foot! No excuse for you! So much the worse for you that you know all the philosophies and at the same time think you are the body.”

According to Jain scriptures, believing the self as a body and not the Spirit i.e. the soul is the Mithyatva of the highest level. Mithyatva is the cause of the continuation of cycles of life and death of a soul. Mithyatva is defined as false beliefs. The Jain scholar Hemchandracharya defined Mithyatva as “belief in false divinities, false gurus, and false scriptures.”

This is not about Jainism and the concept of Jainism. Religion is the realisation of spirit as spirit and the other quote of Swamiji above are quotes of Swamiji taken from his article on Bhagavad Gita.

However, how many of us whether Jains or Hindu believer of Bhagavad Gita knows this fundamental about the religion?

We all are obsessed with rituals and pilgrimage ignorant of what is expected out of it to make it worth. What is the end result we have to achieve to make our so-called religious efforts actually religious? No clue.  

As rightly stated by Swamiji, there are no difference between us human being and the little worm crawling under our feet if we think the self as a body because at the level of Mithyatva we both share the same belief about ourselves.

This is the reality of so-called religious people as I am ignoring people who don’t think about religion or about the true self. They just waste their human lives running after sensual pleasures, and without giving a thought about the self.   

We are action oriented people so we indulge in all kinds of actions even as our religious practices but we don’t realise for pursuing the real religion, the right realisation must precede right actions. We never realise the basic truth and therefore even our actions are not right. 

We humans have become highly knowledgeable with the advancement of science. We know about the atom theory, we know about byte and we now also know about a gene but isn’t not knowing the self is the highest ignorance we suffer from?  

Sunil Gandhi

10 benefits of Aparigraha & Resolution 2017

Aparigraha is one of the 5 Yamas described in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The other 4 Yamas are Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, and Continence. Most of us know and try to practice the last four Yamas but Aparigraha has mostly escaped our attention. According to Patanjali Yogasutras, ” With constancy of aparigraha, a spiritual illumination of the how and why of motives and birth emerges.”

Aparigraha is one of the virtues in Jainism. It is also one of the five vows that both householders (Sravaka) and ascetics must observe.

aparigraha

What is the meaning of Aparigraha?

To know this we have to understand what Parigraha is.

Parigraha means possessiveness, grasping or greediness.

Aparigraha is the opposite of Parigraha.

If you think deeply, this Parigraha is the cause of all the problems of the world. The problems we face at our individual level and at the global level at large. Our desire for more and more and our greed for more than what we need is the result of our Parigraha mindset.

Non-Violence, Non-Stealing, and Truthfulness we all believe are necessary virtues, but when it comes to Aparigraha we are neither aware nor believe the same is very important virtues in higher pursuit of life.

I had read the book Stuffocation a couple of years back. Very interesting read. Recently I laid my hands on the book The More of Less by Joshua Becker. Today in the western world, minimalism is in vogue.  They are seeing the benefit of minimalist life.

This all minimalist lifestyle concept is about living by the principles of Aparigraha which is deeply rooted in the Indian way of living. The more stuff we see around us is making us running after possessing the more. But in the process, we give up the precious time of human life.

More stuff needs more money and more money needs more of our time which unfortunately is limited. Aren’t we spending our precious human life after our insatiable desire to own and possess more? Many of our possessions are mostly unwanted.

We all believe material possessions, give us happiness, but in reality, material possessions give us a headache. (Pause and think)

The benefit of Minimalism as described by the author of the book The more of less are:

  • More time and energy (Managing lesser things)
  • More money (Buying lesser things)
  • More generosity (Extra money can help someone else who is in need)
  • More freedom (No worry to work for unwanted possessions)
  • Less stress (Obvious)
  • Less distraction (Lesser things to manage)
  • Less environmental impact (Lower production by producers)
  • A better example for our kids (This is a great benefit)
  • Less comparison (No social pressure to show off)
  • More contentment (Lesser possessions means peaceful life)

Low possessions and more time will make us awake to the spiritual side of the self. The whole or major part of our active human life is lost in earning money and possessing possessions.  By the time we realise the purpose of human life was not to earn money, till we die or become incompetent and aged, we have lived most of our lives.

This Aparigraha or Minimalist way of life is the only way to live in this otherwise noisy race we all are participating by chance or by choice.

Before the New Year 2017 begins, make a plan to throw away /give up all the unwanted material possessions we have hoarded for years. & make a New Year resolution to live a life of a Minimalist (Practice Aparigraha) to the extent possible. This is going to be a life-changing resolution.

“A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.” Alexander, the Great

Sunil Gandhi

A (Very) Short Course on Jainism

Jains will celebrate Paryushan, their most prominent festival from today till the 15th of Sep 2016. When the world is facing severe degradation of Morale and widespread violence, Jainism, one of the most ancient or perhaps the oldest philosophy of extreme Non-Violence is worth knowing and practicing by everybody.

The word “Jain” is derived from the Sanskrit word jina (conqueror). A human being who has conquered all inner passions like attachment, desire, anger, pride, greed, etc. is called Jina. Followers of the path practiced and preached by the jinas are known as Jains

Jains believe that Jainism is eternal.

Ancient history of India reveals that there were three major religions in India. They were Brahaminism, Buddhism and Jainism (Nirgranthas). Latest research and excavation at Mohenjodaro and Harappa has shown that Jainism existed before five thousand years ago.

“There is nothing wonderful in my saying that Jainism was in existence long before the Vedas were composed.”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – Ex-President, India

There is a belief that Lord Mahavira founded the Jain religion. This is a wrong belief. The lord Mahavira was the 24th Tirthankara of the present set of Tirthankaras. There are an infinite number of sets of these Tirthankaras as per the Jain philosophy. As the world is eternal so is the Jain philosophy/science/principles.

Jain Knowledge:

Agamas are the original texts of Jainism based on the discourse of the tirthankara. The discourse delivered in a samavasarana (divine preaching hall) is called Śhrut Jnāna and comprises eleven Angas and fourteen purvas. The discourse is recorded by Ganadharas (chief disciples), and is composed of twelve angas (departments). It is generally represented by a tree with twelve branches. This forms the basis of the Jaina Agamas or canons. These are believed to have originated from Rishabhdev, the first Jain Tirthankara of the present set.

The earliest versions of Jain Agamas known were written in the Ardhamagadhi Prakrit language. Agama is a Sanskrit word which signifies the ‘coming’ of a body of doctrine, by means of transmission through a lineage of authoritative teachers.

Time-Kaal:

The Jainas divide the whole span of time into two equally spanned cycles, namely, Utsarpini and Avasarpini. During Utsarpini, there is a gradual ascendancy in moral and physical state of the universe, while during Avasarpini, the case is just reversed, i.e. the gradual descent of moral and physical state of universe. Each of these two is subdivided into six aras, each extending from over crores of years to twenty-two thousands of years. This time-cycle goes on endlessly and humans like us rise to be Tirthankaras (Jina) at regular intervals. They, themselves, practice the eternal principles of Jainism and attain omniscience (Kevaljnan) and preach and expound us the same.

Jain_Cosmic_Time_Cycle

(Source: Jainpedia.org)

The present time is Avsarpani – 5th ara. This ara will last for 21000 years and in 2016 2540 years have already been elapsed.

Karma & GOD as per Jain science:

God as per the Jain philosophy is pure form of the SOUL. Every soul can become God i.e. liberated from the cycles of the body. Jains do not believe God as creator or manager of the universe. Every soul is governed by its own Karma. Every soul is surrounded with invisible Karman Varganas. These are matter scattered around us i.e  SOUL.  Karmas are the derivatives of Karman particles.  Karman particles are non-living matter scattered all around us and all over the universe. They are very fine particles that cannot be seen even with a microscope.  A cluster of innumerable Karman particles is called Karman Vargana.   When you act with passions like attachment, anger, greed, ego, or deceitfulness (4 Kashays), Karman Varganas are attracted towards your soul.  Karman Varganas that are attached to your soul are called karmas.

At the time of bondage of karmas to the soul, four characteristics of karmas are decided. They are: 1) Prakriti (nature).2) Pradesh (quantity).3) Sthiti (duration).4) Anubhag (intensity). The nature and quantity of karmas depend on the vigor of the activities, while the duration and intensity of karmas depend upon the intensity of the desires behind the activities. When a soul sheds all its Karma, it becomes Karma-less and this status of the soul is known as Moksha.   Know how a soul attracts Karma and How to a soul get rid of our Karmas  & How a soul can avoid attracting Karma. 

The following three doctrines of Jainism constitute the path to liberation i.e. Moksha:

  1. Right View (samyak darśana)–Belief in substances like soul (Ātman) and non-soul without delusions.
  2. Right Knowledge (samyak jnana)–Knowledge of the substances (tattvas) without any doubt or misapprehension.
  3. Right Conduct (samyak charitra)–Being free from attachment, a right believer does not commithi (injury).

Jain principles are about the science of the Souls; whether one calls it a religion or a way of life or anything else.

Jainism believes that every living being is a combination of a body and a soul. The body is nothing but the culmination of the Karmas soul had attracted.

The only purpose of the soul is to get liberated (attain Moksha) from the bondage of the Karmas to get rid from the cycles of life and death. Compassion towards every soul is the central theme of the Jain philosophy in order to achieve the Moksha.

All Jain practices are guided by compassion towards other tiniest living beings.

Jainism & Buddhism:

Though there are many similarities but there is confusion about the differences in Jainism and Buddhism. The major differences as per the Jainworld.com are:

Nature of Religion

Buddhism belongs to the category of ‘Founded Religion’ as it was founded by a specific person viz.. Lord Gautama Buddha, at a particular period of time i.e.. in the sixth century B.C. But this cannot be said about Jainism which is a traditional religion continuously existing in India from remote Past.

Concept of Soul

Jainism is an atmavadi religion in the sense that it is based on the existence of soul and that it deals, in detail, with various aspects, conditions and progress of the soul till it reaches its highest position after getting liberated from the bondage of karmas. But Buddhism holds completely contrary views. Buddhism is, therefore, termed as anatmavadi; religion i.e., a religion which does not give any importance to the soul. According to Buddhism, soul is not a permanent thing and that it will wither away in due course.

Principles of Ahimsa

Even though Buddhism and Jainism are regarded as religions based on the fundamental principle of Ahimsa still there is a significant difference in the treatment and application of the principle of Ahimsa in actual practice by both religions. Buddhism deals with the principle of Ahimsa in a limited way in the sense that it enjoins upon its followers not to commit Ahimsa themselves only. That is why a Buddhist can eat fish caught by others. But Jainism not only considers the principle of Ahimsa in all its aspects, but also makes it obligatory on its followers to abstain from committing Ahimsa in nine possible ways. In other words, it is expected of a devout Jaina that he should not commit Ahimsa through manas (i.e., mind), vachana (i.e., speech) and kaya (i.e., body) and each through the manner of krta (i.e., personally committed), karita (i.e., commissioned through others) and anumodita (i.e., giving consent for commitment by others).

Practice of Penance

It is true that both Jainism and Buddhism are considered as ascetic religions as they attach prominence to the ascetic way of life and to the practice of penance. But there is a great difference in the extent of practice of penance in both religions. Jainism always lays utmost stress on the strict observance of the practice of asceticism in all possible ways. In fact, Jaina asceticism is considered as most difficult in the world and for its proper observance in practice, elaborate rules and regulations have been laid down giving rise to what is known as monastic jurisprudence. But Buddhism has shown a complete aversion to extreme asceticism and in its place, it has laid down madhyam-marga i.e.. the ‘Middle Path’ lying between complete laxity and extreme asceticity.

I think the detailing of the science of the soul mentioned in the Jain texts is unparalleled.

Prominent People’s Views on Jain Philosophy:

“In conclusion let me assert my conviction that Jainism is an original system, quite distinct and independent from all others; and that therefore it is of great importance for the study of philosophical thoughts and religious life in ancient India.”

– Dr. Herman Jacobi, Imminent German Ideologist. Jainism Scholar

“Jainism is of a very high order. Its important teachings are based upon science. The more the scientific knowledge advances the more that Jain teaching will be proven.”

– L. P. Tessetori, Italy

“I adore so greatly the principles of the Jain religion, that I would like to be reborn in a Jain community.”

– George Bernard Shaw

“The Jains have written great masterpieces only for the benefit of the world.”

– Dr. Hertel, Germany

“I say with conviction that the doctrine for which the name of Lord Mahavir is glorified nowadays is the doctrine of Ahimsa. If anyone has practiced to the fullest extent and has propagated most the doctrine of Ahimsa, it was Lord Mahavira.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

“I am not Rama. I have no desire for material things. Like Jina I want to establish peace within myself.”

– Yoga Vasishta, Chapter 15, Sloka 8 the saying of Rama

“Mahavira proclaimed in India that religion is a reality and not a mere social convention. It is really true that salvation cannot be had by merely observing external ceremonies. Religion cannot make any difference between man and man.”

– Dr. Rabindranath Tagore

“We learn from scriptures (Sashtras) and commentaries that Jainism is existing from beginning-less time. This fact is indisputable and free from difference of opinion. There is much historical evidence on this point.”

– Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak

“Jainism has contributed to the world the sublime doctrine of Ahimsa. No other religion has emphasized the importance of Ahimsa and carried its practice to the extent that Jainism has done. Jainism deserves to become the universal religion because of its Ahimsa doctrine.”

– Justice Ranglekar, Bombay High Court

“Truly speaking, Jainism is an independent and original religion, for it is neither Hinduism nor Vedic religion, but of course it is an aspect of Indian life, culture, and philosophy.”

– Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister, India

Ideologist and biographer of Moghul Emperor Akbar, Vincent Smith notes: “Akbar’s action in abstaining almost wholly from meat and in issuing stringent prohibitions, resembling those of Asoka, restricting to the narrowest limit the destruction of animal life, certainly was taken in obedience to the doctrine of his Jaina teachers.”

If one wants to know about the principles of the science of the Jain philosophy, one book that covers it all is:  Tattvarth Sutra. The place to get it free is Jain Library, where more than 8500 books on Jainism available for free.

Next Post:

The Science behind te Jain way of life

Sunil Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s Spiritual Guru

Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred his name couple of times during his Independence Day speech today. For those who wish to know more about Shrimad Rajchandra, Spiritual Guru of Mahatma Gandhi here I have reproduced some of the questions Mahatma Gandhi had asked Shrimad Rajchandra and answers given by him.   

_______________________________________________________________

 It is remarkable that Mahatma Gandhi had grown a close intimacy with Kavi Rajchandraji. Mahatmaji had expressed this experience of his life in very impressive language. He writes,

“Tolstoy, Ruskin and Rajchandbhai  the three great personalities have influenced me much. Tolstoy through his book and correspondence Ruskin by his ” UNTO THIS LAST!” and Rajchandbhai by his close contact.

When I had grown up doubts about Hinduism, it was Rajchandbhai who helped me (to remain firm in my belief). In the month of July 1891, when I returned from England and reached Bombay, that I first met Rajchandbhai. Dr. Pranjivandas introducing him to me, as a Kavi (Poet), said, that inspite of being a poet, he is a partner with us in business. He is very wise, a ‘SHATAVADHANI’ also.

I was simply amazed to hear this and out of curiosity read out to him a big list of words from various languages, which I had written beforehand for my convenience. After hearing me, Rajchandbhai repeated those words exactly in the same order as I read them.

I was satisfied and wondered (at this extraordinary feat of memory). Indeed I had a great regard and impression about his faculty of memory. The wonder is that the Kavi had no knowledge of English and he was only 25 years old at the time. A student only of vernacular (normal) classes, yet he developed his wisdom and knowledge such that commanded respect from all ! My acquaintance with Kavi continued for long, as a ” Gnyani” he was!

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

While Mahatma Gandhi was in South Africa, he came into the contact of the Christian Missionaries and had religious and philosophical discussions with them. As a result he had to face a mental storm which arose in his mind . He at once wrote to Kavi Rajchandra and sought his help to clear the doubtful points, which were troubling his mind. He put no less than 27 questions to the Kavi, which were duly answered.  Four are reproduced below:

  1. SOUL AND ITS FUNCTION

Q.- What is a soul and what are its functions ? Do the Karmas bound it ?

A.-Just as the pot, table etc. are material substances, similarly a soul is a conscious substance. But pots, tables etc. all material substances are transient impermanent. They cannot remain static in their nature through aall the ages : past, present and future. While on the other hand, soul retains all its characteristics, because it is permanent and eternal. ‘ Eternal ‘ is that substance which is not created by the processes of integration and disintegration.

There is nothing to show that soul has been created by any such processes. We may make thousands sorts of combinations and permutation (alteration) of material objects, but it is impossible to create consciousness. It is a thing of common experience that if a particular characteristic is wanting in a substance, it cannot be created in it by undergoing it through innumerable processes of combination and permutation. Thus material objects, like pots, tables, etc. which are devoid of consciousness, can never be made to yield it in whatever way they are changed or processed. All these things will result in producing objects of the same materialistic order. It is thus established that soul which is characterized by the wise as a conscious substance, cannot be created from material objects like earth, water, air, and space, etc. The particular characteristic of soul is consciousness.

Where it is not found, or which is devoid of it, that, of course, is a material substance. Animate and inanimate these two are eternal entities. Besides the above, there are other methods also for the eternity and immortality of soul. If you just ponder deep you yourself can well realize the permanence of soul. There is no harm or objection, rather it carries you to truth, to accept the fact that the feelings of pleasure & pain, the desire of getting free from them, thoughts and inspiration etc. are all experiences due to the existence of soul and that soul is primarily a conscious entity.

Since such conscious feeling, willing and knowing are always present in soul, therefore, it is eternal. For a clear understanding of such philosophical questions, it is advisable for you to first read the Shaddarshana-samuchchaya which is being sent to you.

The soul in its pure conscious state, i. e. in the state of its self-realization, is the creator of its own inherent characteristics of knowledge, perception and samadhii. e. spiritual equanimity. But in the state of its ignorance the soul becomes a creator of emotions like anger, conceit, deceit, greed etc. which are all foreign to it. Not only this much, under the influence of these emotions, soul through its instrumentality also becomes a creator of things like pot, table, etc.

To put it more expressively, though soul is not the creator of the substratums of earth from which pots, etc. are prepared, yet it becomes a creator of processes which give new modifications to it. This latter state and functioning of soul is called ‘Karma’ i.e. action in Jainism, and ‘ Bhranti’ i.e. illusion in the Vedanta. Other systems of Philosophy also refer to this state of soul by similar sort of terms. But solemn and serene thinking reveals the truth that in reality the soul is neither a creator of pot etc., nor of the emotions of anger, conceit etc. In fact, it is a creator of its own conscious characteristics of feelings, willing and knowing.

The Karmas (actions) which are done in ignorance of one’s own self, though in the beginning are merely seeds, yet at the time of maturity they turn into trees laden with heavy fruits. It is thus self-evident that the soul itself has to bear the fruits of its actions just as by giving a touch to fire you first feel its heat and then pain follows, similar is the state of the mundane soul.

It also by coming in contact with earthly objects by its sensuous organs, first gives rise to emotions of greed, anger and deceit etc. and then as its fruits has to suffer the pangs of birth, death and old age. Please ponder well over these problems with a detached mind and if you have any doubts please rewrite to me. It is the detached mind, which gives strength for abstinence and control and ultimately leads the soul to Nirvana.

  1. THE NATURE OF GOD & CREATION OF UNIVERSE.

Q.-What is God ? Is He the creator of the universe ?

A.-I. Just see you and we, are all mundane beings bound with Karmas, i.e. our souls are in bondage of foreign matter and foreign impulses. The natural state of self with its intrinsic glory free from all karmas, aloof from all impurities and bondages is godhood. God is endowed with the fullness of peace, bliss and knowledge. This godhood is the inherent nature of self, but due to ignorance born of the bondage of karmas one is unable to have a vision thereof.

However when one realizes the truth that self is altogether aloof from body and its limitations the dire fruits of actions, and this self is introspected by mind, then by and by one begins to realize its inner glory of omniscience etc. If you just make a minute survey of the value of all things around you, you will find that there is nothing to excel in the glory of your self. Thus we are led to conclude that ‘God ‘ is a synonym of self. For this reason I have a firm conviction that God is self and self is God: God has no abode outside the self.

God is not the creator of the universe. All the elements of nature such as atom, space etc. are eternal and uncreated. They have got their own substratum. They cannot be created from substances other than themselves. Perchance if one says that God has created them, this also does not look sound, because if God is a conscious being or consciousness is taken to be His characteristic, then how can atoms, and space etc. be conceived to have been born from Him ?

It is quite impossible for the insentient to come out of the sentient. If we regard God also to be insentient, then it will become devoid of all its glory of peace, bliss and knowledge. just as it is impossible for material things to come out of God, similarly the conscious beings called Jivas cannot be born out of Him.

If God is taken to be sentient-cum-insentient, then we will have to con. tent ourselves with universe by calling it to be God, because universe consists both of sentients and insentients. Perchance while admitting atoms, space etc. to be realities independent of God, you may assert that God is the giver of fruits of our actions, but this pro, position also will equally fail. On this part it would be advisable to consult ” Shaddarshan.-Samuchchaya ” which has dealt this topic at length.

  1. NATURE OF MOKSA.

Q.-What is Moksa (salvation) ?

A.-Moksa or salivation is the absolute liberation of self from anger, conceit, greed and other nescient propensities, which bind the soul with earthly coils and other limitations. There is a natural urge in life to be free from all bandages and limitations. A close consideration of this urge makes the truth of the above saying of the wisemen to be self evident.

  1. POSSIBILITY OF MOKSA.

Q.-It is possible for an embodied soul to know precisely whether he would attain Moksa or not ?

A.-Just as a man, whose hands have been tightly bound down with a rope, on being slowly and slowly loosened, feels a great relaxation from bondage and begins to perceive as if the rope has ceased to exist or exert any influence, similarly the soul which is bound down with various kinds of nescient emotions, on being slowly and slowly released from them, beings to feel the glory of salvation.

The more and more the streaks of these emotions fade away, the more and more the soul shines in its luster untarnished with ignorance. As soon as there is a complete extinction of these nescient forces, soul even though it may be delineated by body it blooms out in its full splendor with a consciousness of freedom all round. Thus the soul though residing, in this body enjoys the blessings of salvation.

 

Gandhi Shrimad

Read all 27 questions and answers.

Sunil Gandhi

Jainism is not a religion & why Irrfan is right?

Question number 1:

Can principles of physics or chemistry or maths be different for different individuals in different parts of the world?

No.

One plus one is two is universal across the world because this is a natural law.

Any laws which are natural are universally applicable to everyone irrespective of their social status, so called caste, human invented religions or geographies.

Question number 2:

Whether the treatment of a disease for different people is different for similar disease?

No.

Medical science does not specify treatment based on caste, religion, class or geographies.

The treatment is the same and does not differentiate for Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jews, Jains, Buddhists and atheists. Or for Bhramins, Dalits or Shias or Sunnis.  The treatment is same for everyone.

Agree?

Science and nature do not have two laws based on the divisions we human beings have created based on our limited thinking and selfish motives.

We human beings or for that matter every animal is a nature’s creation. All laws applicable to us are same and unequivocal.

The real problem is; we do not know our own selves. We think the self as a body and we think the present body is the only body and life we live. Erroneously considering the self as a body makes us believe our existence is only from the birth till death. We believe the family, caste, religion, we are born in is the finest and right.

Though for everything else we change our views and upgrade our knowledge throughout the life,  but the knowledge about who we are and why every life is different, we hardly try to know.

Because of the apparent differences in appearance, social status, education etc. makes us believe different rules are applicable to everyone.

However, we do not see the commonness in everybody, be it humans or animals and that commonness is our SOUL. We all are SOULs having a body. Different bodies. Everybody is different.

Agree?

Why everybody is different?

Each soul is exactly similar but KARMAs of every soul are different and that is why we all bodies are different.

Why Karma of two SOULS cannot be similar?

Because KARMAs are attached to the soul by the thoughts/action/words of the soul. & these cannot be similar for two souls.

This is the reason everybody is different.

Laws of Karma are universal and natural laws and therefore they are applicable to every soul which is also natural.

We see ourselves as different bodies and hence we think rules applicable to different people are different.  We do not see or believe everybody as a soul and only differentiated as body based on our Karma. Know the math of body and soul.

The science and soul and Karma are what Jainism is all about. Whether you call it religion or thinking or way of life anything but it is a pure science. Know about physics of karma.

Jainism explains how every soul become bondage of Karma and how it can be liberated and attain Moksha by the complete extinction of Karma attached to the soul. Know how a soul attracts Karma and How to a soul get rid of our Karmas  & How a soul can avoid attracting Karma. 

It is a science of Soul. Every living being is a soul and therefore this science is universally applicable to every soul.

Whether one believes in the laws of physics does it make any different to the laws? But if one wants to solve the problems involving the laws of physics one has to follow the laws of physics. Likewise, if one wants to know about the living beings and the laws governing them, Principles of Jainism have the answer. Principles of Jainism are a pure science.

The curiosity about the principles of soul and Karma can be initiated by asking three questions.

  • Why everybody is different?
  • Why even if we do not wish to suffer pain, we have to suffer pain?
  • Why even after our best of efforts, we may not get what we want?

The purpose of human life is to know the laws governing souls as it won’t be possible in any other lives.

Irrfan is right when he says we must question the purpose of religious rituals we are doing. What is the purpose and are we achieving the purpose with these rituals? Most of the time we do not either dare or care to question the religious practices; we are indulging in and its purpose.

“What could have saved Indian society from the ponderous burden of omniferous ritualistic ceremonialism, with its animal and other sacrifices, which all but crushed the very life of it, except the Jain revolution which took its strong stand exclusively on chaste morals and philosophical truths?

Jains were the first great ascetics and they did some great work. ‘Don’t injure any and do good to all that you can, and that is all the morality and ethics, and that is all the work there is, and the rest is all nonsense-the Brahmins created that. Throw it all away.’

And then they went to work and elaborated this one principle all through, and it is most wonderful ideal: how all that we call ethics they simply bring out from that one great principle of non-injury and doing good.” (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)

Our soul has once in a hundreds or thousands or perhaps millions of years, this human body; either spend in ignorance or pursue the real knowledge.

Sunil Gandhi

Why everyone needs to know about Anekantavada?

Sushma Swaraj, Indian Minister of External Affairs recently said that Jainism’s principles of Anekantavada, Aparigraha (non-hoarding) and Ahimsa (non-violence) offer a solution to the present day problems the world is facing. She was referring to extremism, climate change, and inequality.

Next week when the world will celebrate Mahavira Jayanti (birth of Mahavira, twenty fourth and the last Tirthankara (Teaching God) of the present time cycle.) today I am writing about one of the most important and fundamental principle of Jainism – Anekantavada.

The world is suffering from absolutism and so much so that it has reached to the level of extremism. Extremism has spread to the extent of even killing people not compliant with the views of the extremists. This kind of world view is on the rise and tolerance limits of people not only have drastically come down, but also are on the further decline on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, religions, we human being has ‘invented’ have become points of discontent and a great reason for dividing people rather than uniting them. Every religion has a point of view and understanding of the truth. However, unless the thing is examined from all possible angles, view of the truth is either conditioned or partial.

Jain philosophy is very eloquent and elaborate on the subject of logic, metaphysics and life science. One of the fundamental principles of Jain philosophy is the principle of Anekantavada. Anekantavada is defined as ;

It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth.

The literal meaning of the word is: anekānta (“manifoldness”) and vāda (“school of thought”)

The guiding principle behind the concept of Anekantavada is; that objects are infinite in their qualities and modes of existence, so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception. Every human expresses his views as per circumstances, in relation to his mental condition and experience.

In her book, Applied Philosophy of Anekanta, author Dr. Samani Shashi Prajna writes;

A thing has many characters and it exists independently. It is called substance (dravya). It persists in and through all attributes and modes. Substance is defined by Umāsvāti as guṇaparyāyavad dravyaṁ, that which possesses qualities and modes. Out of these innumerable qualities of a substance, some are permanent and essential, while others are changing and accidental. The former are called attributes (guna) and the latter modes (paryāya). Substance and attributes are inseparable because the latter is the permanent essence of the substance and cannot remain without it. Modes or modifications are changing and accidental.

Anekantavada means Non-Absolutism which gives space for accommodating other contradictory view. Anekantavada helps us in understanding others’ point of view with a broad mind. The whole truth, complete in all aspect is only known by Omniscient i.e. Kevali, known in Jain terminology. Rest all can view the things or situation in seven different ways (Neither six nor eight).

These are;

  1. syād-asti—in some ways, it is,
  2. syān-nāsti—in some ways, it is not,
  3. syād-asti-nāsti—in some ways, it is, and it is not,
  4. syād-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is indescribable
  5. syād-asti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is, and it is indescribable,
  6. syān-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is not, and it is indescribable,
  7. syād-asti-nāsti-avaktavyaḥ—in some ways, it is, it is not, and it is indescribable.

These seven conditional ways are also known as Svadvada. This can be understood with the help of an example:

I am right – can be viewed as;

  1. I am right (to someone agreeing with my view)
  2. It may not be right (to someone not agreeing with my view)
  3. It may be both right and wrong, depending upon certain conditions.
  4. Independent of all conditions, my views are indescribable (all knowledge rest on certain conditions)
  5. Indescribable in itself, I may be right subject to certain condition (a combination of 1 and 4)
  6. Indescribable in itself, I may be wrong, subject to certain conditions (a combination of 2 and 4).
  7. Indescribable in itself, I may be right or wrong depending upon certain conditions (a combination of 3 and 4).

Another example:

Is Narendra Modi (NAMO) the best Prime Minister?

  1. NAMO is the best Prime Minister.
  2. NAMO is not the best Prime Minister.
  3. NAMO is the best on certain aspect of his performance.
  4. We don’t know whether he is the best Prime Minister.
  5. NAMO is the best Prime Minister subject to certain conditions.
  6. NAMO is not the best Prime Minister subject to certain conditions.
  7. NAMO is the best or may not be the best subject to certain conditions.

Each of these seven propositions examines the complex and multifaceted nature of reality from a relative point of view of time, space, substance and mode. To ignore the complexity of reality is to commit the fallacy of dogmatism.

This can be still be better understood by a famous example which we all know:

A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a drain pipe”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, “I perceive the shape of the elephant to be like a pillar”. And in the case of the one who placed his hand upon its back said, “Indeed, this elephant is like a throne”. Now, each of these presented a true aspect when he related what he had gained from experiencing the elephant. None of them had strayed from the true description of the elephant. Yet they fell short of fathoming the true appearance of the elephant.

These multidimensional viewpoints are conditional views and not a complete view, but they are also not false views.

Dr. Satkari Mookerjee in his book on The Jain Philosophy of Non-Absolutism writes,

The Jaina conception of dynamic constitution of reality and of the eternity of existence may be applied in the various field of human activity to ensure our progress towards the summon bonum*, which is the goal of our destiny.

(* the highest good, especially as the ultimate goal, according to which values and priorities are established in an ethical system.)

This theory is used by scientist in metaphysics, is also equally applicable in our day to day life.

Albert Einstein himself remarked, “We can only know the relative truth, the real truth is known only to the universal observer.”

“We can only know the relative truth, the real truth is known only to the universal observer.”

Jeffery D. Long in his paper ‘Anekantavada and Ahimsa’ writes,

“the relationship of anekāntavāda to ahiṃsā is the relationship between theory and practice–to be more specific, that anekāntavāda is the abstract theory or philosophy of which ahiṃsā is the practical embodiment, and that ahiṃsā is the practice of anekāntavāda.”

Sushma Swaraj and Jeffery D. Long both are right, the only solution to widespread violence around us is to propagate the principles of Anekantavada. The biggest practitioner of this principle in the recent history was Mohandas Gandhi.

We all can find some peace of mind if we practice this principle in life.  Our anger, rivalry, ill feelings and all personal negative emotions towards others can be better understood and managed.

Practicing Anekantavada is a panacea for not only global problems but also for many of our personal problems.

Sunil Gandhi

Five ways SOUL attracts new Karma

In the previous post Physics of Karma we have read what actually the Karma is and characteristics of Karma. We have also read why knowing about karma is the most important thing in the post The Law of Karma – 1.

Now in this post we will see why a soul attracts Karma which makes the soul its bondage. Just to re-emphasise the importance of Karma, knowing definition of Moksha is important.

Definition of Moksha is:

Karmaless Soul. I.e. when a soul sheds all Karma, it need not take a new birth as a body and attain omniscience status of the soul i.e. Kewal Gyan (Omniscience).   

As per the Jain Literature Tattvarthadhigam Sutras by Upadhyaya Umaswatiji Soul attracts Karma because of Yoga that means Mental, Physical and Verbal Activities.

A good deed attracts good Karma. A bad deed attracts bad Karma.

This attraction of Karma, good or bad is known as Aashrav. When Moksha or Salvation means Karmaless Soul, all kinds of Karmas whether good or bad is Aahrav and must be shed to attain Moksha. In short, whatever attracts new Karma to the soul is known as Aashrav.

Before I elaborate on Aashrav it is pertinent to know about Ratnatraya i.e.

  • Samyak Darshan – Right View about the Self (Body and Soul are different)
  • Samyak Charitra – Right Conduct (Without rage, greed, attachment, conceit)
  • Samyak Gyan – Right Knowledge (Knowledge of right laws governing our souls)

We have also read in one of the previous posts The Real Maths who we really are. We all living beings are Souls, but almost every one of us believes self as a body. Therefore, we all lack the basic understanding about the self, i.e. not having Samyak Darshan.

As per the Karma Granth,

One of the fundamental reasons for Aashrav is Mithyatva i.e. not having the right view of the self. Therefore, not believing self as a soul is the first and foremost reason for attracting new Karma to the soul i.e. Aashrav.

Over and above Mithyatva, Karma is also attracted by;

  • Non-observance of codes of conduct, i.e. Yama. These are nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence & possessiveness. This is known as Avirti.
  • Kashaya

This Granth further defined Kashaya as:

Things which enhance cycles of life and death for the soul.

There are four kinds of Kashaya:

  • Kroadh: Anger, rage, insult, hatred, excitement, passion
  • Maan : Arrogance, Self Pride, Conceit
  • Maya: Deceit (See all synonyms)
  • Lobh: Greed (See all synonyms)

These four Kashayas have four degrees of intensity.

  • High Intensity
  • Intense
  • Low Intensity
  • Very low intensity

This intensity decides how long a Karma will remain with the soul.

These are all bad Aashrav.

Similarly, a soul attracts new Karma by its good deeds also. These are known as Satavedniya Karma:

  • Respect and at service for teachers, elders, parents
  • Forgiveness
  • Empathy towards others
  • Practicing proper personal code of conduct – Yama
  • Religious reading and thinking
  • Not succumb to Kashayas
  • Charity & Personal Sacrifice
  • Right religious conduct

All these are the causes of good Aashrav.

These bad and good Karmas can be done by following nine ways:

  • Done by the self by thought, body or words
  • Inspire others doing it by thought, body or words
  • Praising others doing it by thought, body and words

To summarise:

A soul considering the self as a body; (Mithyatva)

  • By not observing codes of conduct ie. Yama (Avirti)
  • By indulging in Kashaya (Kashaya)
  • By doing good deeds (Satavdeniya)
  • By thought, word or body action (Yoga)

Attracts New Karma to the Soul. This attraction of new Karma to the soul is known as Aashrav.

As long as a soul believes the self as a body – whether it is a good Karma or bad Karma it is Aashrav and Karma is attracted to the body.

In the next post on the subject, we will see how a soul can stop attracting new Karma and even shed existing Karmas.

PS: Sharing of this post is permissible to friends on your social network.

Sunil Gandhi

Physics of Karma

In the previous post on the subject The Law of Karma – 1, we have read, there are predominately eight types of Karma which a soul can attract. In this post we will see what is Karma & its Physics.

There are in all nine elements in the universe. One out of nine is Ajeev i.e Non Living. This Ajeev has five types and one of the five types is Pudgala. Pudgala is derived from the words ‘pud’, which is defined as Supplement (Addition), and gala, which is defined as Disintegrate, or Division. Therefore, Pudgalas are best defined as all things that are continuously changing by the process of Supplementation or Disintegration, namely matter.

The individual unit of Pudgala is the material from which all is made, smaller than protons, called a Paramänu, which, by the process of supplementation, can combine to form what can be roughly said is an atom, called a Skandha, Either individually or in combination, this similar type of Skandha is known as Vargana.

There is infinite Vargana or cluster of Vargana in each Pudgala. There are eight clusters of Varganas which a soul can attract. Out of these eight Varganas, four are visible and four are invisible. Like our body is also made up of these Varganas and we can see that. Karma is one of the four invisible Varganas. Invisible Varganas are:

Varganas which helps us in speaking, breathing and thinking are known as Bhasha (Language) Vargana, Swasoswas (Breathing) Vargana and Mano (Thinking) Vargana. Fourth one is Karman Vargana i.e. Karma which is attracted to the soul.

This Karman Vargana is extremely minute and invisible. These Vargana are present everywhere in the cosmos. Every soul has this invisible Karma Body which is made up of Karman Varganas. The Karma body is a dynamic structure having a regular input of Karma Vargana and exit of karma, which have matured.

Soul attracts Karman Vargana due to vibrations. The soul experiences vibrations due to activity involving attraction (Raag) and aversion (Dwesh) attributes. Vibration takes place every moment at the level of our thoughts, speech and body movements.

That means with every vibration of a Soul, it attracts Karman Vargana which is like invisible minute particle is attracted to the Soul. Karman Vargana attached to the Soul is known as Karma.

Dr Narayan Lal Kachhara in his paper – Jain Dualism – 2, writes;

“The vibration in the soul (non-physical) induces vibrations in the karma body, which experiences vibrations of the same type that is the karma body vibrates at a particular frequency. The vibrating karma body attracts karman vargnas of the same frequency from the cosmos due to the phenomenon of resonance. These incoming varganas get bonded with the similar karma, present in the karma body due to the force of activities of body, speech and mind and the passions that originated vibrations in the soul. Thus new karmas are formed in the karma body.”

The attraction of Karmas to the Soul can be compared with:

A person with oil applied on his body attracts many more particles than a person without oil. Oil can be compared with the vibration of the soul. Quantity and stickiness of the particles will be much more of an oily body as compared to non oily body.

When a soul attracts Karma, Karma comes with four kinds of bondage to the Soul. These are:

  • Type – Broadly it is out of any eight
  • Tenure – Life of the Karma i.e. time within which it will give its fruit
  • Intensity – Intensity of its result. There are four degrees of intensity.
  • Quantum – Quantity of Karman Vargana

Every Karma when attach to the body, comes with these four types of feature. This can be understood by an example of medicine tablet.

A tablet can have a few types, expiry date, its power of intensity and size.

Type and quantum are decided by the level of involvement of mind, body and speech while tenure and intensity is decided by level of attraction (Raag) and aversions (Dwesh).

Till now we have known:

This is very important as well as a bit heavy subject, so more on this next time.

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Sunil Gandhi