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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: Relation Of Soul & Karma: The Soul Is The Sole Determinant Of Its Own Psychic States

daviyaṃ jaṃ uppajjadi guṇehi taṃ tehi jāṇasu aṇaṇṇaṃ.
jalia kaḍayādῑhiṃ du ya pajjaehi kaṇayamaṇaṇṇamiha..

jῑvassājῑvassa ya je pariṇāmā du desidā sutte.
jaṃ jῑvamajῑvaṃ vā tehimaṇaṇṇaṃ viyāṇāhi..

ṇa kudoci vi uppaṇṇo jamhā kajjāṃ ṇa teṇa so ādā.
uppādedi ṇa kiṃci vi kāraṇamavi teṇa ṇa so hodi.

kammaṃ paḍucca kattā kattāraṃ taha paḍucca kammāṇi.
uppajjaṃte ṇiyamā siddhῑ du ṇa dissade aṇṇā..

cedā du payaḍῑyaṭṭhaṃ uppajjadi viṇassadi.
payaḍῑ vi cedayaṭṭhaṃ uppajjadi viṇassadi..

evaṃ baṃdho ya doṇhaṃ pi aṇṇoṇṇapaccayā have.
appaṇo payaḍῑe ya saṃsāro teṇa jāyade..

(Jaṇasu) Know ye (jaṃ davvaṃ guṇehi uppajadi taṃ tehi aṇaṇṇaṃ) a substance is not (absolutely) different from the attributes/qualities/states of which it is the substratum; (jaha ya kaḍayādihiṃ pajjaehi du kaṇayamaṇaṇṇamiha) just as, in the worldly life, gold is not (absolutely) different from the bangles/ bracelets etc. made from it.

(Viyāṇāhi) Know ye: [in the same way] (jῑvassajῑvassaiya je pariṇāmā du sutte desidā) the (characteristic) attributes of the psychical and the physical orders of existence as described in the scriptures (tehiṃ taṃ jῑvamajῑvaṃ vā aṇaṇṇaṃ) are not (absolutely) different from these existents respectively.

(Jamhā) Since (so ādā kudoci vi ṇa uppaṇṇo) the soul is not created by (or from) anything, (teṇa kajjaṃ ṇa) it is not a product/ effect; (kiṃci vi ṇa uppādedi teṇa) and since it does not create/ produce anything, (so kāraṇamavi ṇa hodi) it is not a cause.

(Ṇiyamā) According to the law [of causation], (kammaṃ paḍucca kattā) every effect which is manifested reveals the nature of its cause; (taha kattāraṃ paducca kammāṇi uppajaṃte) conversely the cause determines the nature of effect. [This law of cause and effect is observed] (aṇṇā siddhi du ṇa dissade) and there is no other law which is evident.

(Cedā du payadῑyaṭṭhaṃ uppajjadi viṇassadi) The psychic states are produced and demolished by various species of karma, [conversely] (payaḍῑ vi cedayaṭṭhaṃ uppajjadi viṇassadi) various species of karma are produced and demolished by the psychic states.

(Evaṃ ya aṇṇoṇṇapaccayā doṇhaṃ pi appaṇo payaḍie baṃdho have) Thus both, the psychic states and the species of karma act mutually as causal agent, one of the other, and thus the self and the non-self get mutually bound with each other; (teṇa saṃsāro jāyade) and thus the cycle of rebirths called saṃsāra comes into existence.


The learned author opens the last chapter of the book by quoting the law of causality. Before commencing to comment on the contents of the above verses, let us review briefly the significance of the doctrine of non-absolutism in respect to this law. In the first place, the Jain doctrine of anekānta (non-absolutism) gives us a satisfying explanation of the causation, the belief in which is irresistible for all human beings and is the condition sine quâ non of all scientific, philosophic and practical activity. The absolutistic view-point of the other philosophies fails to offer a satisfactory explanation. Non-absolutism avoids the fallacies incident to extremism, as the cause is both permanent and fluxional and the effect is both existent and non-existent. Secondly, an internal relation always exists between every substratum and its substrates and the existence of relation entails the mutual dependence of the relate. Thirdly, every real is the principle or internal cause (upādāna karaṇa) of its own modification/change but the services of subsidiary of external causes (nimitta karaṇa) are not entirely superfluous as they are necessary and responsible for the speciality of the modes/states. Thus, the nature of the causal agentwhether internal or externalwill determine the nature of effects and the effects will reveal the nature of the causal agent responsible for their manifestation.

Again, the non-absolutism lays down that a relation[1] cannot hold between absolutely identical or absolutely different terms but is possible if the terms are both identical and different from each other. Conversely, if a relation does existas between substratum and substratebetween two apparently different terms when perceived together, the two terms cannot be absolutely different from each other.

Just as, the substance gold is neither absolutely different nor absolutely identical to a bangle/bracelet made from it and so gold is not different from its determinant statethe bracelet, so also the psychical states are not different from the psychical substance soul and physical states are not different from the physical substance matter. Hence, no substance can be ultimately responsible as a causal agent for the manifestation of objects or states of entirely different nature. It, therefore, follows that no physical (inanimate) effect can be produced by the soul.

It follows from the above that transcendentally, the soul (self) cannot be principle causal agent producing the states of karma. It is only from the empirical aspect that the soul is held as the producer of karma (kartā), whereas, in reality, it is non-producer (akartā). And again, the soul itself is not created by or from anything nor does it produce anything other than its own pure psychical states. It is therefore, neither a cause nor an effect.

However a relation does exit (and is perceived) between the soul and the karma and their togetherness cannot be explained by any other hypothesis other than that of a relation, and so we have to discover the nature of this relation.

Transcendentally, the soul can produce only its own psychical states, i.e., the psychical states are the sole objects of the subjectsoul. Similarly, karmic matter is also eternal, uncreated substance and the physical states are the sole object of the subjectmatter. The conscious substance (jῑva) is not the subject of physical states and vice versa. Thus, there is no subject-object, (kartā-karma) rela­tion between the two substances. What then is the nature of their relation? The answer to this question is given in verses 10.5 and 10.6.

Causality is a relation of determination where the determinant is called the cause and the determinatum is called the effect. According to the law of causation, at least two categories of causal agents (kāraṇa) are essential to bring about an effect, viz. (i) internal or material cause (upādāna kāraṇa) and (ii) external or auxiliary cause (nimitta kāraṇa). A single agent cannot produce any effect unless it is accompanied by the other. A seed, for instance, is the material cause of the sprout but it cannot produce a sprout by itself, unless it is associated with a number of auxiliary factors such as water, soil etc. In the case of yarn and linen (or clay and pot), the latter is the product and the former is its material cause, that is, it is the yarn that becomes linen and the clay that becomes pot. But the yarn cannot become the linen, not a clod of clay a pot by itself. A weaver must weave the yarn into the linen and a potter must turn the clay into a pot, using adequate equipment such as a loom or a wheel. The weaver, the loom, the potter and the wheel, besides the talent of each of the two artisans comprise the essential auxiliary cause, collectively known as nimitta kāraṇa. Similarly, the extreme proximity of the soul and its psychic states are essential auxiliary causes for the modification of the karmic matter into various species of karma; karmic matter being the material clause and becoming karma. Conversely, the soul needs the proximity of the karmic matter and various processes and states of karma (rise, fruition, subsidence etc.) to produce different psychic states although the soul alone is the material cause of these states. Thus there is a clear-cut distinction between the material cause and the auxiliary cause.

In the worldly state of existence, called saṃsāra, birth and death are characteristics of an organism. A living organism is neither a body nor a soul nor yet composite of the two and the problem of the relation between the two has always remained a complex one. Simply expressed, the existence of a living organism is brought about by the unification of two different substancesmatter and jῑva or soulone physical and the other non physical and psychical. Psychologists and metaphysicians in the west, have adopted various hypotheses to explain the complex relation between the two. Epiphenomenalism, Parallelism and Interaction are some of the more popular hypotheses and these have also been discussed in chapter III. Each of these is found to be partially true, but none can justify its claim of being the best hypothesis.

Physical and chemical changes in the physical body cannot have any direct influence on the non-physical soul and yet in actual life they do influence and determine each other, each functioning as the auxiliary cause of the other. Thus, the two parallel series of modification are inter-related, each determining the other as an external or auxiliary causal agent.

Here, then, we have to deal with psycho-physical relationship which is transcended and reconciled by the law of causality and the doctrine of auxiliary cause. The soul and the karmic matter are brought into contiguity and remain in a state of contiguous co-existence, called bondage. The soul does not have any positive attraction towards karmic matter and the causal interaction between them is the inter-determination in the form of auxiliary (nimitta) cause each of the other. The beginningless contiguous co-existence of the two substances is accepted as a fundamental presupposition and is condition of fresh bondage and the uninterrupted cycles of rebirths called saṃsāra. The verses are, therefore, an explanation of the perpetuity of the worldly state of existence.


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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. Anekānta
  2. Body
  3. Karaṇa
  4. Karma
  5. Karmic matter
  6. Nimitta
  7. Non-absolutism
  8. Saṃsāra
  9. Siddhi
  10. Soul
  11. Upādāna
  12. Upādāna kāraṇa
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