Bhagwaan Mahaveer Evam Jain Darshan: The root causes of the influx and bondage of the karma

Published: 15.03.2014
Updated: 02.07.2015
1.8   The root causes of the influx and bondage of the karma:

The line of distinction between the influx of karma into the soul and bondage and retention of karma by the soul is very fine so much so that in its broader concept bondage includes influx and the causes for the influx are also included in the list of causes of the bondage. Because of this, the main or root causes of the influx and bondage of karma is being discussed here with:


Some scriptures depict 5 thresholds of the karmic influx such as - (1) miṭhyātva,  (2) avirati,  (3) pramāda,  (4) kaṣāya, (5) yoga.

Non-righteousness (miṭhyātva) - from time immemorial, all worldly souls being influenced by non-righteousness, is experiencing other things as their things. This very thinking is the miṭhyātva.

Non-abstinence (avirati) - keeping entangled of sense organs with their subjects is non-abstinence. 

Carelessness (pramāda) - the lack of self-awareness as well as lack of encouragement in auspicious deeds, lethargy is pramāda. 

Passion (kaṣāya) - the dirt emerged in modes of soul is termed as kaṣāya. In brief passion is divided into two parts - (1) attachment (rāga) and (2) aversion (dveṣa). In detail passion is divided into four parts - (1) anger (2) pride (3) deceit (4) greed.

Activity (yoga) Yoga is the vibrations of the soul due to activities of mind, speech and body. In other words, the soul space points being vibrated by the tendency of these three viz., body, speech and mind attract the karmic particles towards it and this tendency of attraction is known as yoga.

(The soul space point vibrates fast at the time of the fruition of the karmas by which the senses rooted in attachment and aversion is evolved.)

1.8. 2

Prajñāpanā deems untruthfulness or falsehood (मिथ्यात्व) as the root cause of bondage of eight types of karmas. The intense rise of the sentience -obstructing -karma gives rise to perception-obscuring-karma. The intense rise of perception obstructing karma gives rise to faith-deluding-karma. The intense rise of faith-deluding-karma gives rise to untruthfulness or falsehood (मिथ्यात्व). The rise of untruthfulness or falsehood (मिथ्यात्व) causes eight kinds of karmic bondage. (Prajñāpanā, 23/1/289)


This is described in some scriptures that when jīva involves with passions such as attachment and aversion, he binds inauspicious karmas. (Bhagavati Sutra, 9).
“The cause of material modifications of the Self is when it gets involved in psychic states like attachment and aversion.” (Acharya Kundkund: Samayasar, 5/2/165)

1.8. 4

According to other tradition, untruthfulness or falsehood-vision (Mithyā Darśana), un-disciplined life (Avirati) and negligence (Pramāda), are also considered causes leading to Bondage (Bandh) of the soul. However, an in-depth look will reveal that these three causes are covered by Yoga and Kaṣāya in their broader meaning.

“Karmas in the empirical Self, such as wrong belief, non-discipline, soul soiling gross emotions, and psycho-physical structure, with their various sub-species are mainly of two classes, material (acetana) and psychical (cetana), (dravya karma and bhāva karma). The psychical karmic modifications are inseparable from the Self.
Those impure psychic modifications cause the material karmas such jnanavaraniya (knowledge-obscuring), etc. To them (those psychic karmic modifications) the empirical Self with the characteristics of attachment and aversion is the cause.”

(Acharya Kundkund: Samayasar, 3/164- 165)

In brief, there are two causes of karmic bondage viz., (1) kaṣāya and (2) yoga.

The worldly jīva binds karma through kaṣāya and yoga.  In higher stages of spiritual development or progress of the soul, when the soul is passionless, the Karma entering the soul leave it simultaneously, staying just for smallest division of time, which does not constitute bondage? It means that even in these two, if jīva becomes devoid of kaṣāya by eliminating entire dirt from the modes of soul, new karmas will not bound.

“The soul that does not perform passionate karmas like attachment and aversion, in itself, it does not bind new karmas” (akuvvao ṇavaṁ ṇatthi)


It has been noted that due to Yoga-activities of the soul of three types (body, speech and mind); disturbance is caused in the material world or Pudgala which are attracted to the soul and which get converted into Karma. It has also been mentioned that these Pudgala or Karma-vargaṇā get attached to the soul due to presence of the passions (kaṣāya). Psychic modes, like attachment etc., of the Self result into bondage of fresh karmas, the Self devoid of such psychic modes is free from bondage; he is of the nature of the knower. “In the case of right believer, the karmic inflow of the opposite psychic is absent. (When this is absent) the remaining karmic conditions, (since they are incapable of producing bondage leading to samsara) are declared to be non-binders. On account of these reasons, the right believer is said to be non-binder.”

(Acharya Kundkund: Samayasar, 3/176)

Original Title:
भगवान महावीर एवं जैन दर्शन
Bhagwaan Mahaveer Evam Jain Darshan
English Translation:
Dr. Pradyumna Shah Singh
Department of Religious Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, India
HN4U Online Edition:
in progress
showing the available English renderings.

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Kundkund
  3. Anger
  4. Avirati
  5. Bandh
  6. Bhagavati Sutra
  7. Bhāva
  8. Body
  9. Darśana
  10. Deceit
  11. Dravya
  12. Dravya karma
  13. Dveṣa
  14. Greed
  15. Jnanavaraniya
  16. Jīva
  17. Karma
  18. Karma-vargaṇā
  19. Karmas
  20. Kaṣāya
  21. Kundkund
  22. Pramāda
  23. Pride
  24. Pudgala
  25. Samayasar
  26. Samsara
  27. Soul
  28. Space
  29. Space point
  30. Space points
  31. Sutra
  32. Yoga
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