Published: 18.10.2004
Updated: 02.07.2015
Karman, Karmans, Karmas, Kārman

Impact of one’s action on the Self

  • holistic version of the principle of cause and effect:
    The causes in Jainism originate in times extending not only the current lifespan, but also all dualistic limits and single perspectives.
  • The law of karma is immutable.
  • the fields of causes are: mind - speech - body
  • results (events in our life) usually have therefore many reasons, reality is manifolded. [ Anekant ]

    In Jain view karma is seen as a most subtle body (karma sarira), consisting of subatomic small particles [those which mass is = 0 (zero), like photons etc.] in motion, which surround the soul more or less completely, limiting it's influence on our awareness.


special type of material (pudgalikā) aggregates, belonging to Karma-varganā, (which are fit for being transferred into different varieties of karma, Karmavada) get attracted to the soul on account of its activity and ultimately get bound to it. After being bound to the soul, they give their effect as a result of which the soul undergoes the cycle of transmigration (birth and death); thus karma is a psycho-physical force keeping the soul in its mundane state;.Only after becoming totally free from karma, the soul can attain moksha (emancipation). It is a very subtle form of matter which plays the major role in deciding the future of the soul. It is also one of the five samavāyas, which have the cumulative effect in deciding the future of the soul.

These most subtle particles are the result of materialisation processes caused by thoughts, spoken words, deeds and feelings in our actual and previous lifes. The existence of those karma particles cause mentality, causing thoughts causing words causing deeds causing feelings in the material world of our 5 sense organs.
On each step from cause to effect there are feedback loops leading back to the karmic particles and by "feeding them", their potentiality (mass stays zero / energy level rises) gets amplifyed and their impact on our life increases.

Purifying one's self (soul) means to stop feeding the karmic particles by not reacting (austerity measures) to thoughts, words, deeds, feelings on each level. Without feeding them they fade away.


Main Types (Mūla Prakṛti) Of Karma In Jainism

All living organisms, with their souls defiled by karma, have piecemeal and fragmented knowledge, intuition and energy, possesses perverted faith and embodied existence, experience joy and grief and a limited life span and are therefore, subject to cycles of birth and death. Karma infects and defiles all worldly organisms and veils, vitiates or obstructs the above mentioned eight qualities of a pure soul and keeps it away from its supreme state of existence. Accordingly there are eight primary, main (mula prakiti) types of karma:


Jñānāvarṇa karma

knowledge obscuring karma

obscures the pure and perfect knowledge.


Darsanāvarṇa karma

intuition obscuring karma

obscures the pure and perfect intuition.


Vedanīya karma

feeling producing karma

holds up the self generated bliss and produces pleasures and pain, joy and grief in worldly life.


Mohanīya karma

deluding karma

produces delusion, meta physical and ethical.

  1. Prevents the innate ability of belief in truth.
  2. Destroys equanimity of conduct.


Āyuṣya karma

life span determining karma

determines the biological species as well as the duration of life-span.


Nāma karma

body making karma

embodies the bodyless soul and determines the diversities and individual traits.


Gotra karma

status determining karma

determines the status and family conditions.


Antarāya karma

abstracts/suppresses the spiritual energy.


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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekant
  2. Antarāya
  3. Antarāya Karma
  4. Body
  5. Darsanāvarṇa
  6. Equanimity
  7. Gotra
  8. Gotra Karma
  9. Jainism
  10. Jñānāvarṇa
  11. Karma
  12. Karma Body
  13. Karmavada
  14. Mohanīya
  15. Mohanīya karma
  16. Moksha
  17. Mūla Prakṛti
  18. Nāma
  19. Nāma Karma
  20. Nāma karma
  21. Prakṛti
  22. Sarira
  23. Soul
  24. Vedanīya
  25. Vedanīya karma
  26. Āyuṣya Karma
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