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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: Raison D'Etre Of The Soul's Bondage By Karma

jāva ṇa vedi visesaṃtaraṃ tu ādāsavāṇa dohṇaṃ pi.
 aṇṇāṇῑ tāva du so kohādisu vaṭṭade jῑvo..

kohādisu vaṭṭaṃtassa tassa kammassa saṃcao hodi.
 jῑvassevaṃ baṃdho bhaṇido khalu savvadarasῑhiṃ..

(Jāva [jῑvo]) As long as [the soul] (ṇa vedi visesaṃtaraṃ) does not distinguish between (ādāsavāṇa dohṇaṃ pi tu) the self and the causes of influx of karmic matter, (tāva du so aṇṇāṇῑ) such unenlightened one (kohādisu vaṭṭade) remains engrossed in anger and the like.

(Kohādisu vaṭṭaṃ tassa) Its engrossment in anger and the like (tassa kammassa saṃcao hodi) causes the accumulation (and bondage) of karmic matter; (evaṃ jῑvassa baṃdho) this is the process of bondage (khalu savvadarasῑhiṃ bhaṇido) which is surely described by the omniscient (s) (in the scriptures).


In these and a few succeeding verses, Ācārya Kundakunda lays down the criterion of distinction between the enlightened and the unenlightened aspirants. To understand the significance of this criterion, it is necessary to grasp the process of bondage of karmic matter with soul. We shall, therefore, first recapitulate this process.

We have often stressed the inherent purity and the innate potentiality of perfection of the soul and the possibility of self-realization or emancipation. The selfsame fact of emancipation, again, presupposes corruption and deferment of the soul with state of worldly existence. The corruption, itself, is basically due to beginning less ignorance about truth and ignorance, again, presupposes the soul's association with karma. The fundamental essence of the doctrine of karma is, thus, based on the cyclic nature of the system which means that the effect of old existing karma becomes the causes of the bondage by new karma and the vicious circle continues ad infinitum till one attains emancipation. The term karma is mostly used as standing for the karmic matter that is attracted by the activity of the organism. This is, exactly speaking, the definition of dravya karma, while bhāva karma is identical with the activity of the soul under the influence of the predispositions, consequent upon the functioning of the past karma in the form of fruition (udaya). The distinction between the bhāva karma which relates to the psychological distortion of the soul and the dravya karma which is identical with karmic matter is important. No doubt the two are associated together; yet the two are distinet and separate. Soul is conscious substance (cetana) while karma is inanimate (acetana). The bondage of the soul is also literal and not figurative. It is the actual assimilation of karmic matter and the mutual coalescence[1] (like milk and water).

Emotional and passionate mutations of the self, which is the cause of influx or entry of karmic matter into the soul is called āsava or āśrava. This is different from bondage (bandha) which is the acceptance or the intake of the matter by the soul. Intake must naturally be preceded by the influx of the karmic matter from the space. The word āśrava is used both in the sense of cause of influx which is bhāva āśrava and the flow of karmic matter which is dravya āśrava. 'Asave' literally means what intoxicates, stupifies and bemuddles the self so that it forgets itself and cannot rise to spiritual discipline.

We, now, come to the more subtle distinction between the self and the cause of influx i.e. bhāva āśrava. It is not very different to see that dravya āśrava is quite close to dravya karma. Both being material, the only difference between them is that the former is attraction of karmic matter from space while the latter is subsequent coalescence. The distinction between the self and bhāva āśrava is, however, not so obvious because empirically bhdva āśrava is also mutation of the soul and therefore not absolutely different from it. Transcendentally, however, anger, pride and the like i.e. emotions, passions and psychological distortions are the result of the fruition of deluding karma and not modifications of pure self. Hence anger and the like are not the characteristics of the self and can therefore be abandoned and eradicated. As long is this subtle distinction is not realized, the soul remains unenlightened and continue to indulge in anger, pride and the like, with the inevitable consequence of the bondage by dravya karma. But as soon as it is realized that anger etc. are distinct from the soul and can therefore be abandoned, the soul becomes enlightened and refrain from indulging in them and stop bondage of new karma. Thus, we have a positive criterion for the enlightened souls, which is in accordance with what has been shown by the omniscient through the scripture.


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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda Publishers:
Jain Vishva Bharati University First Edition: 2009

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Amūrta
  2. Anger
  3. Bandha
  4. Bhāva
  5. Discipline
  6. Dravya
  7. Dravya karma
  8. Karma
  9. Karmic matter
  10. Kundakunda
  11. Omniscient
  12. Pride
  13. Soul
  14. Space
  15. Udaya
  16. Ācārya
  17. āśrava
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