Philosophy In Jain Agams ► 05 ►KARMA MĪMĀNSĀ (DOCTRINE OF KARMA - A Critical Probe) ► Causes of Karmic Bondage

Posted: 22.05.2019

As mentioned before, the theory of cause and effect is one of the most significant doctrines in the philosophical world. Many philosophical concepts are based on the series of cause and effect. Doctrine of karma is an important doctrine in Jainism. This theory is based on the theory of cause and effect. Karmas are bound to the soul, but there must be some reason behind this. Bondage of karma is the effect but what is its cause? Jain philosophy has given serious thought to this as only by knowing the causes of bondage, we can avoid further karmic bondage.

Causes of Karmic Bondage - Remissness and Activity

The Bhagavatī illustrates that remissness and activity are the causes of karmic bondage, while discussing the bondage of view-deluding inclination (Kāṅkṣā mohanīya) and the like.[1] The prime cause of karmic bondage is remissness and the auxiliary cause is activity (of mind, speech and body). This fact can be derived from the use of the word pratyaya (substantial cause) with the word remissness and nimitta -instrumental cause with the word yoga.[2] For the accomplishment of any task we need both substantial and instrumental causes. For the accomplishment of karmic bondage also, both are essential. Ṛṣi himself has clearly explained both these causes.


Types of Remissness (Pramāda)

In Bhagavatī Bhāṣya, Acharya Mahapragya ji expressing the critical analysis about remissness and yoga, has written that - one meaning of pramāda is intoxicant[3] Ṭhāṇaṃ states about six kinds of pramāda -intoxicants,   sleep,   sensual-objects,   passions,   gambling and pratilekhanā (inspection of outfit undertaken heedlessly.[4] The composer of vṛtti has discussed about perverted-belief, non-abstinence and passions as types of remissness.[5] Tattvārtha Vārtika illustrates about fifteen kinds of remissness.[6] While analyzing the causes of karmic bondage, both remissness and activity have been independently discussed, hence, there must also be a difference in the process of karma bondage from them. Due to these two kinds of causes, we come to the conclusion that in the process of karmic bondage basically two varieties of karma are responsible- deluding karmas and body determining karmas. [7] Remissness originates from the deluding karma and activity is related to the body determining karma.[8]


Meaning of Activity (Yoga)

Shrimad Jayacharya has quoted the opinion of Monk Dharmasi that activity (yoga) stands for inauspicious activity.[9] But this statement seems questionable when we critically consider the relation between remissness and action. If an activity is considered as inauspicious, then what will be the meaning of remissness? Here, remissness itself is a kind of sinful activity. This will obliterate the line of demarcation between remissness and activity. It will therefore, be reasonable to explain remissness as the clinging that results from the rise of the deluding karma or any kind of inauspicious activity. Activity (yoga), on the other hand, should be regarded as the rise of body-making-karma resulting in the activity of body, speech and mind.[10] All the activities of a living-being result from the interaction of body and soul. Body is sustained by the soul.[11] There are two kinds of vīrya (energy or functional efficiency) - active and inactive. The inactive vīrya is related to the soul alone. The active virya of soul arises from the body, which governs the activities of the mind, body and speech.[12]

Umaswati has defined the yoga as the action of the body, mind and speech.[13] Siddhasena gani has enumerated four factors in the process of yoga- the soul, the body, the active energy and activity[14], which can be compared with the discussion in Bhagavatī as jīvapravahaśarīra (soul is the origin of body) śarīrapravaha vīrya (body is the origin of functional energy) and vīryapravaha yoga (energy is the origin of activity).[15] Remissness and activity respectively, represent the deluding karma and body determining karma and are the causes of karmic bondage. There is a description about the causes of karmic bondage, in the other Jain āgamas and philosophical texts, which will be relevant to discuss here. For the ease of readers, the ancient references given in the Bhagavatī bhāya have also been included.

Cause of Karmic bondage - Attachment and Aversion

In Prajñāpanā, there is mention of two causes of karmic bondage -attachment and aversion. Attachment is of two kinds - deceit and greed. Aversion is also of two kinds - anger and pride. In general anger, pride, deceit and greed are the four causes of karmic bondage.[16] a also mentions about these four causes of karmic bondage.[17]

Concept of Prajñāpanā

There is an important analysis about karmic bondage in Prajñāpanā. The description about the background of karmic bondage is worth mentioning. According to Prajñāpanā, the intense rise of knowledge -obscuring karma gives intense rise to intuition - obscuring karma. The intense rise of Intuition-obscuring karma gives rise to intense faith-deluding karma (darśanamoha) and the intense rise of faith-deluding karma gives rise to perverted belief (mithyātvas). The rise of perverted belief causes eight kinds of karmic bondage to the soul.[18] In Bhagavatī, remissness and yoga have been considered as the cause of karmic bondage. In Prajñāpanā, the cause is stated as mithyātva which is a subtype of deluding karma only and the remissness of Bhagavatī is also a sub-type of deluding karma. Although, yoga has not been indicated as a cause of bondage in Prajñāpanā, it has another significant description that due to the rise of knowledge-obscuring and intuition-obscuring karmas, there rises darśana moha (faith deluding karma) which is the cause of bondage of karmas. It includes mithyātva as one of darśanamoha's subtypes. When we analyze all these facts, we come to know that the authors are referring to ignorance and mithyātva (perversity) to be cause of karmic bondage. The above description highlights the casual linkages of karmic bondage. This chain of karmic bondage asserts the reasons for bondage. Except obstructing karma out of the four destructive karmas, are the cause of bondage. The direct cause of karmic bondage is passion and ignorance or perversity is the supplementary factor. In conclusion, we can say that ignorance and passion, are the two causes of karmic bondage.

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