Shri Amar Muni

Don't Despair: Remember soul

We need not despair entertaining such thoughts as "'I' means not my body, but my soul that has been crushed by karmas from times immemorial. Then how can my efforts for (instincts). emancipation be possible and fruitful? If the soul has been experiencing enormous afflictions and agitations through countless births as a slave to karmas where is the possibility of having an end to it?" Of course, we need not think thus in despair yet we must be aware of this fact so that we may not be enticed and indulge in the qualities of the body aud senses and external objects, i.e., the enjoyments of sensual objects and sexual pleasures, carrying on incessantly their activities and propensities, which result in collecting terrible karmas.

What awareness is necessary? Don 't forget the immortal soul:

We have to keep this awareness so that in the illusion of the pleasures of the mortal body, we may not forget our own loveable immortal soul. The body requires excellent inanimate objects, sensual pleasures, pride and prestige, food and drink, pomp and power, joys and jubilations etc. Ensnared in such enticements and cravings of the body, the soul commits sinful Karmas by committing such follies as developing an illusory faith, committing sins, devloping attachments and hatred, falling into the pits of pride and deception, and engaging itself in futile and sinful behaviour and sinful usage of utterances. Committing such sins the soul gets itself caught in the bondages of terrible Karmas.

What is body?: Where has the body to be caught in bondage? The body which will one day stop working, will break down all relations with the soul. Thee body staying in this world will dismiss the soul from her. In this respect it can be said that the body can assert its supremacy over the soul and paralyse it. It is now not at all prepared to have any connection with the soul and the welfare of soul. And the result is that the soul will have to be imprisoned in another body, in the next birth. And in that birth the soul will have to suffer inordinate agonies and anguishes on account of the effects of the sinful Karmas of previous births.

For the emancipation of the soul from all these Karmas and bodily enslavements, as well as births and deaths, even one's father or one's dear wife is not capable of freeing the soul from those agonies. Moreover the soul, for experiencing the fruits of such sinful Karmas has to assume an inferior state of a series of low births. There it cannot in the least engage itself in the sensibility, faith, and observance of religion, and cannot carry out elevating spiritual activities or austerities. In consequence living the life of solely sinful behaviour, the Karmas of a terrible nature increase, and consequently the soul will have to take birth in very many inferior and despicable states of existence and will have to experience countless agitations and agonies. Who has to experience all these things? You' have to experience them. That means, 'your' soul has to experience them. No one else. Who experiences the fruits of your Karmas Not your body, but your soul, which has been and which will have to continue to wander through the confounding mazes of the Samsar.

What is the Meaning of 'I'

Yet you need not give way to despair or fear because your other form of soul is absolutely beautiful. On it you cast a glance and contemplate a little on that form of your soul. Your' means whose? Your soul's, whom you recognise as 'I'. Now you see the glory of 'I'.

1. 'I' means the soul that achieves a victory over the body and the senses, by means of spiritual knowledge and activities of the devotion to God, and sacrifices and austerities.

2. 'I' means the soul which possesses instead of false faith, the right faith, the right vision, the vows of renunciation and repugnance to sinful acts, hatred and disgust towards sensual objects and the spirit of renunciation, the quality of serenity, cheerfulness and the propensity to entertain sublime contemplations.

3. 'I means the soul that is capable of newer and newer sublime and noble contemplations irrespective of the condition of the body.

4. '1' means the soul which can bestow upon all the souls of the universe, the boon of non-violence and fearlessness and which embodies such lofty virtues as spiritual strength, ethical excellence, righteousness, celibacy and refrainment from sensual pleasures.

5. 'I' means the soul that has the power of attaining an absolute victory over the inner enemies like attachment etc., and which can exercise such magnificent qualities as faith, politeness, discretion, indifference towards the world, refrainment from sins etc.

6. 'I' means the soul that is the proprietor of supreme peace, poise, and serenity, supreme tolerance, supreme forbearance, noble thoughts, and supreme spiritual tranquillity etc.

7. 'I' means the soul which has the potentialities of supreme virtues by means of which it can gradually rise up to the auspicious deliverance of the supreme state of soul's pure existence characterised by infinite and ineffable felicity, etc. It is not the body but the soul. Is not this form of the soul the very embodiment of beauty? It is the first in beauty and so it is the first in power. How can we become so fortunate as to possess such a beautiful form of soul In this state of soul there is the occasion of being petty, caught in narrow conceptions and faulty propensities or actions. In this discussion there is no significant digression from the running contemplation and deliberation. Now we shall think upon the various 'Pramanas' (evidences) and beliefs and doctrines of various Darshans (philosophies) and testify the truth in them.

The Upamana pramana (the testimony of comparison) regarding the existence of the soul: We can establish the existence of soul by means of the Upamana Pramana because we have to employ the comparative method in this connection, and we can compare the soul to air etc. The soul is like air, just as physical indolence, inflation of the belly, a loud release of wind from it and such things prove the existence of air in the body. In the same manner, the various activities and refrainments prompted by the desirable and undesirable propensities of the mind, anger, pride, etc., which appear on the face, the circulation of the blood, the shaking of the sinews and nerves etc. prove the existence of the invisible incentive substance called 'soul' in the body. We cannot see the wind but when a paper or a piece of cloth is flying we say that the wind is causing it to fly or shake. In the same manner, we can say that the activities and commotions of the various senses and organs of the body and the activities and propensities of the mind etc., are all caused by soul, though we may not be able to see soul. Someone may say, "If the soul is like wind, (a) we should be able to experience its presence by the sense of touch, and (b)it must exist in different forms in the various organs of the body, manifesting itself just like the wind called 'Prana Vayu', the 'Apana Vayu' the 'Udana Vayu' etc." Here we can only say that their opinion is wrong because an example can never be similar in all respects; it is only partially similar. Here we have to establish the existence of an invisible substance by means of a partial comparison.

The Arthapati Pramana (Deductive testimony)

Even by means of the Arthapatti Pramana, we can, establish the existence of soul. For example, Devadatta appears healthy with a sound and strong body, though he does not eat food for months during day times. We can deduce from this fact that he must be eating food at nights, because the robustness of physical health cannot exist without food. In the same manner, we can infer that the consciousness, the activities and the refraining movements which are not visible in the dead body, are seen in a living body, hence they are Indicative of the existence of the soul inside the body, because without someone dwelling in the body and accomplishing these movements in the organs---voice, mind and senses, these cannot happen. Thus by means of the deductive method we can prove the existence of the soul.

The sambhava pramana (Probability evidence)

Even by means of the sambhava pramana we can prove the existence of soul because even the sambhava pramana is a kind of inference. For instance, one hundred includes fifty and fifty. Therefore, if somebody has with him one hundred rupees, we can infer easily that he has with him fifty rupees as well. In the same manner, the tendencies of liking etc. and similar activities, the consciousness, and the movements of a newborn child indicate the existence of an invisible power and that is soul. The soul is one of these invisible things. So we can say by Sambhava pramana that soul lies concealed in the body as the prime cause of all these activities and movements.

Aitihya Pramana By means of the Aitihya pramana, we can prove the existence of soul. Aitihya Pramana means historical proof. The wise learned people had the belief that soul exists. Even a layman may say, regarding a man lying on the death-bed is still alive, there soul exists in his body" etc. This is historical testimony.

The testimony of Agama (scriptures). The theories expounded in the various schools (systems) of philosophy

Now, let us think of the testimony given by the Agams (scriptures). There are six schools of Darshanas (systems of philosophy) namely Nyaya Darshana, Vaisheshika Darshana, Vedanta Darshana, Shankhya Darshana, Yoga Darshana. Let us also see what the scriptures of Jain Darshan say about this subject. A detailed discussion will be made further regarding the various philosophical scriptures and their beliefs in various types of the form of soul, and also a discussion on the point that two contrary darshanas expound two contrary views regarding this truth. But first we have to understand these theories in brief and then scrutinize them.

The Theory according to the Vedanta Darshana

According to the Vedanta philosophy soul is one named Param-Brahma. The jivatma and the paramatma are one entity. This is monistic mysticism; but this theory is not convincing because among the jivas (souls) of the universe differentiations and diversities are found, e.g., some jivas are happy, some are unhappy; some are enlightened; some are ignorant; some are human beings and some are animals, birds etc., some are religious minded believing in soul, and some are nihilists; some are violent, and some full of mercy. In this manner, if there is one soul, one spiritual reality, in this universe, how could there be such difference and diversities? Moreover, according to the monistic mystical philosophy, the bondage and deliverance cannot happen in their true sense.

The Sankhya and Yoga Philosophies

Sankhya and Yoga Darshanas (philosophies) believe in infinite souls, but according to them should named `Purush' is a steadfast substance unchangeable in the three phases of time, and hence not bearing charges of different knowledge, death, birth, bondage, deliverance etc., i.e. soul is void of knowledge etc. The qualities, the attributes, like knowledge, desire, endeavour, etc., seen in soul are not of soul but they are possessed by the substance named `Prakriti' (an aggregate of main three qualities named Satva, Rajas, Tamas. The `Prakriti' is shinning like a mirror in which soul is reflected, and the qualities and attributes of prakriti are adopted as of soul, which is in fact an illusion originated by `Avidya'.

Now the questions arise,

(1) If the soul is utterly void of knowledge etc., how can we believe soul as possessing consciousness?

(2) In soul what is the thing called conscience?

(3) If soul si not under bondage, what is the meaning of soul's salvation?

(4) Let `Prakriti' be under bondage, but why and how should soul exercise efforts for salvation?

The Theory of the Nyaya and Vaisheshika Darshanas

The philosophies believe in infinite souls recognising the existence of the qualities like knowledge (Jnana) etc., in soul: of course not as the natural qualities of soul, but as the creative extraneous qualities (in being created) dependent on the causes and newly originating, when the contact of the senses, inference etc., are applied as the causes. When there is no causes, as in salvation, these qualities cannot exist there in soul. Now the questions arise,

(1) If knowledge (jnana) is not the nature of soul, then what exactly is the nature of soul in the absence of jnana?

(2) What is meant by consciousness, when the soul is devoid of qualities like jnana?

(3) In the state of moksa, according to them soul is devoid of jnana. In other words, if the salvation is utterly devoid of knowledge, will it not be an inanimate thing like a stone?

Moreover, the Nyaya Darshana (philosophy) etc. believe in the principal of `ekantavad' (i.e. absolutism) by adopting the Ekanta (absolute) point of view Nyayadarshan says that soul is absolutely imperishable and absolutely Omnipresent i.e. pervading the whole cosmos. But if it is absolutely omnipresent and permanent and if it cannot undergo transformations the following questions arise:

Obstacles in the Theory of Soul's omnipresence

(a) How can there be souls in different states at different times?

(b) Where is the need for accepting the path of salvation since it undergoes no changes?

(c) How can it keep moving from Janama to Janama and from place to place, if it is omnipresent?

(d) Why should soul experience and realise joy and sorrow only in the body but not everywhere, when it is omnipresent?

The Bauddha Darshan: According to the Bauddha Darshan, (Philosophy) soul is momentary and it is knowledge incarnate, since it is momentory it undergoes transformations, and the original form disappears. If that is so, the question is "who will have to experience the fruits of previous Karmas? If there is one who experiences the fruits of previous karmas he was not at all existing in the previous moment, then who performed those Karmas? How can there be remembrance? How can such gradual activities take place like knowing first and then desiring, and then acting? First, acquiring the knowledge of Tattvas, and then contemplation on them, and then deep meditation. These gradual activities take place in soul. But if soul is momentary how can those actions of gradual moments happen? If soul is wholly "Enlightenment incarnate", then it is only the quality, but not a dravya, or a substance. If that is so, what is the supporter of this quality? Who is the possessor of the quality? If you say, "It itself is the quality and is itself the substance", then what about the activity? Who is the performer of activity? In the same manner, how can other qualities be justified in soul if it is in the form of pure 'cognition' quality because quality cannot remain in any other quality.

Anekantvad, Sapekshavad (The theory of Relativity) conquers:

The irrefutable questions arising in various non-Jain darshanas are due to the principle of Ekantvad (Absolutism). Looking from the 'Anekant' point of view, one vital truth emerges from this discussion and that is that there are infinite number of souls in existence. Every soul, excepting those in salvation, is of the size of the body, being confined in the body. It is both immortal (permanent) and transient, meaning mortal. It is both the performer of Karmas, and the one who experiences their fruits of Karmas. It can be bound by Karmas, and it can also attain deliverance from Karmas. It is both knowledge incarnate itself, and a supporting substance also of knowledge; and it is different from, as well as in the form of, knowledge. The Jain Darshana which adopts the non-absolute but the relative (Anekant) point of view, (the relative aspect, vision) believes the soul in all these mutually alternate forms. Owing to this, true scriptural evidence regarding form and nature of soul is available in Jain darshana. the proof of the existence of soul on the basis of daya (mercy, kindness) dan (charity), daman (self restraint or restriction over senses).

In this manner, refuting the theory of nihilists viz. 'there is no substance like soul', (a) the existence of soul has been proved on the basis of the pratyaksha (direct perception), Anumana (inference) and Agams (the scriptural testimonies); and (b)the nihilistic philosophy that soul does not exist has been repudiated and disproved. Here, Lord Mahavir said to Indrabhuti Gautam: "O Indrabhuti Gautam! If there is a substance like soul an independent reality, then only (a) such sacrifices as the Agnihotra etc., propounded in Vedas can be of a sound basis, and a heavenly state of existence etc., as their fruit, can be logically established as true. If soul does not exist at all, who would go to heaven after death? The body being burnt here, there remains none who can go to heaven. In the same manner what is the need of 'Da', 'Da', 'Da', viz Daya, Dana, Daman! Daya (Mercy, kindness), Dana (charity) Daman (self-restraint) are impossible in the absence of soul. The law of nature is "as you give, so you receive", "As you sow, so you reap". As you sow you are to accomplish the fruit. Just as your soul does not like agony and anguish, other souls also do not like them. Then if you cause anguish to others, it will surely cause anguish to yourself, if not in this life, surely in the next life you shall have to experience anguish. It is a valid doctrine that instead of causing anguish to others, you bestow mercy, kindness and benevolence upon others. Benevolence, magnanimity or charity is a duty of human beings because blessed are the benevolent. Our giving alms or exercising charity in this life brings a great benefit to us in the next life. In the same manner, we must exercise strict restraint upon our senses which impel the soul engrossed in villainous tendencies (in devilish propensities), and which bind soul with inauspicious karmas, which in the next life give wicked births like those of worms etc. Hence by keeping restraint over senses, these calamities are avoided. This means that if you restrain your sensual desires and cravings, you will not have to commit sins, in consequence of which you will be born in your next life at a higher state of existence; and higher births will give you virtues and bliss and there you will not be tortured with agonies as in the births of birds, animals, worms and insects, etc. or in hell. In this manner we can observe and practise the three sublime ethical principles implied in the upanishadic sounds 'Da-Da-Da'. This is possible only if a substance like soul exists in the world utterly different from the body as a different entity just like a body.

Now, the supreme Lord Mahavir further preaches thus "O Gautam Indrabhuti!

[gada page 42 indian writing]

(Vijnanghan eva etebhyuh bhutebhyuh sumutthaaya tanyevaanu - vinashyati na pretyasanj naasteet(a)

This statement from the Vedas has been thus wrongly interpreted by you. The word 'Eva which follows the word 'Vijnanghan', has been wrongly joined by you with the word 'Bhutebhyuh', instead of reading 'Eva' with 'Vijnanghana.' By reading that phrase with bhutebhyuh, you understand that soul is created out of 'Panch Bhuta' i.e. five basic elements.

You interpret the statement to mean that the soul arises from the five basic elements. But in the Vedic statement the word 'Eva' is to be read in its place where it is exactly put in the sentence and then this reading gives us the right meaning thus--

'Vijnanghana Eva' means that the soul itself is the embodiment of knowledge. 'Vijnan means a special kind of knowledge, which is a working consciousness that sprouts and flashes out that becomes only disclosed, but not newly originated. It means the soul possesses the inherent natural ability of knowledge. This kind of quality of knowledge constitutes the nature of soul. Therefore, it is a part and parcel of soul remaining non-different from soul, and therefore, soul assumes the form of knowledge. In other words, soul is an embodiment of knowledge. Hence, there happens the intimate contact of soul with the flashes of knowledge. By such true interpretation the soul is called vijnanghana.

The Anekant Theory of the Quality Separate and Non-Separate from Substance

Knowledge which arises relating to such 'Bhutas' viz. the basic elements as the earth, water, air etc., knowledge which arises relating to a pot, a cloth, or water, is the knowledge that arises from the basic elements, but in fact that knowledge arises and remains inseparable in soul. Hence the implication is that the knowledge being inseparable from soul, new souls are created in accordance with the gradual creations of flashes of new gradual knowledge of pot, cloth etc. As for example, see that first the finger is straight, and afterwards if it is bent in other words if it assumes a curved form, this curvedness is not absolutely separate from the finger but it is also in the form of the finger i.e. inseparate from the finger. Thus the attributes like straightness or curvedness are not independent substances, but are the form of independent substances like the finger etc. These forms are inseparable from the supporting substances. Therefore on being straightness or curvedness in the finger, it is said that the finger itself has become straight or has become curved. Here "has become" means "has been created". It implies that the finger has assumed a new form. In other words a new curved finger has been created, a new form creating a new finger. In the same manner, when we say new knowledge is created, it means that knowledge being inseparable from soul, and hence being a form of new knowledge has been created. From this it is evident that a new form of knowledge, by means of its relationship with the basic elements 'bhutas', has been created from 'bhutas' Moreover, the knowledge being an inseparable form of soul on the creation of a new form of knowledge, a new soul 'vijnanghan' has been created. The soul itself is changed in the varied forms of knowledges. This means new souls are created in accordance with the creation of new forms of knowledges, because the form of knowledge is not absolutely separate from soul. Inasmuch as it is also partially separate from soul, it is said that varied forms of knowledges "come and go" in soul, because soul is the container of the knowledges. Now as regards the creation of 'only Vijnan', when it is said 'only vijnanghan' is created, here by the word "only" is meant a negation of the other qualities of soul such as happiness etc. From this it is evident that the basic elements 'bhutas' impel only knowledge to occur in soul, but not happiness etc. to occur. 'Vijnanghan Eva Bhutebhyuh samutthaya' i.e. the soul acquires only a form of knowledge from its contact with the basic elements. 'Tanyevanuvinashyati i.e. on the destruction (i.e. separation) of those elements soul in that form is disturbed, that form of knowledge being destroyed.

When Indrabhuti Gautam was thus enlightened and when his doubts were thus cleared, he felt that he could not find such a sublime spiritual refuge anywhere else except such Omniscient Lord. Moreover he felt that to seek the refuge of others was in the end futile and fruitless. He also realised "since my soul also, in its original form is so faultless and perfect, my first duty is to safeguard my soul. So let me accept the refuge of Lord Mahavir.'' Thus being relieved of all his doubts, he with his 500 disciples accepted on the spot Charitra dharma at the hands of Bhagavan Mahavir. Renouncing worldly house holder's life he became an 'Anagar Sadhu' (asetic without any possessions of a house, an abode and wealth etc.)