Karma in Jainism

Karma in Jainism

Karma in Jainism (Sanskrit: कर्म, kär'mə, kär'mən, Prakrit: कम्म, kä'mmə) refers not only to the actions and deeds that are part of the cause and effect mechanism that results in a cycle of re-births and re-incarnation, but also to the subtle karmic particles clinging to the soul and obstructing its inherent potency and bliss. The word "karma" is commonly understood to mean "action," but implies both action and its concequences. The concept of Karma in Jainism conveys a different meaning as commonly understood in the Hindu philosophy and western civilization. Kuhn, Hermann (2001). In: "Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate". Nevada: Crosswind Publishing. ] It is not the so called inaccessible mystic force that controls the fate of living beings in some inexplicable way. It is a complex of very fine matter, imperceptible to the senses, which interacts with the soul and causes great changes in it. Hence karma is something material which produces in the soul certain conditions, like a medical pill which, when introduced into the body produces therein certain effects. [Dr. H. V. Glasenapp, Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy, Pg 2] Hermann Kuhn, quoting from Umasvati's "Tattvartha Sutra", describes karma as a mechanism that makes us thoroughly experience the themes of our life until we gained optimal knowledge from them and until our emotional attachment to these themes falls off. Kuhn, Hermann (2001). In: "Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate". Nevada: Crosswind Publishing.]

The Jain theory seeks to explain the karmic process by specifying the various causes of karmic influx and bondage. The experiencing the effects of karmas are determined by the intensity of our emotional engagement at the time of the binding of the karmas. According to the Jains, the karmas may remain latent and may bear fruits after a few lifetimes when the supporting conditions that bear fruit arise. However the Jain doctrine also states that it is possible to modify our karmas and obtain release from the karmas through the austerities and purity of conduct and intentions. Jain texts have classified the various types of karmas according to their effects on the potency of the soul.

Jains cite inequalities, sufferings, and pain as evidence for the existence of Karma. The Jain karmic theory attaches responsibility to the individual action and eliminates existence of divine grace or retribution. This transtheistic approach and emphasis on asceticism and austerities has led to criticisms from many rival philosophies. Many scholars now hold that the doctrine of karma is a pre-aryan theory, which was probably developed by the sramanas and later assimilated into the brahmanical religion by the time of Upanashids.

Philosophical Overview

According to Robert J. Zydenbos, Jainism can be considered a kind of system of laws, but natural rather than moral laws. In Jainism, actions that carry moral significance are considered to cause certain consequences in just the same way as, for instance, physical actions that do not carry any special moral significance. When one holds an apple in one's hand and then lets go of the apple, the apple will fall: this is only natural. There is no judge, and no moral judgment involved, since this is a mechanical consequence of the physical action. Robert J. Zydenbos. "Jainism: Today & Its Future". Manya Verlag, Munchen: 2006]

According to Jainism, consequences occur when one does something that is harmful. Rather than assume that moral rewards and retribution are the work of a divine judge, the Jains believe that there is an innate moral order to the cosmos, self-regulating through the workings of karma. Morality and ethics are important not because of a god, but because a life that is led in agreement with moral and ethical principles is considered beneficial; it leads to a decrease and finally to the total loss of karma, which in turns leads to ever increasing happiness.Robert J. Zydenbos, Jainism Today & Its Future, Manya Verlag, Munchen, 2006] In these ways it is similar to some other Dharmic religions, especially Buddhism.

As all actions have consequences, some immediate, some delayed, others in future incarnations, the doctrine of karma must be considered not in relation to one life only, but with an understanding of reincarnation. In fact, it forms a central and fundamental part of Jain faith and is intricately connected to other concepts like transmigration, reincarnation, liberation, "ahimsa", and non-attachment to name a few. Hence it is not surprising that since ages Jains have produced abundant of doctrinal material dealing with the karmic mechanism, causes of karmas, types of karmas, nature and duration of karmas, liberation from karmas and like.

In Jainism, karma is referred to as karmic dirt, as it consists of very subtle and microscopic particles that cannot be perceived by our senses i.e. pudgala that pervade the entire universe. Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII] They are so small that one space-point (smallest possible extent of space) contains infinity raised to the power of infinity karmic particles. These material Karmas are called dravya karma and the resultant emotions of pleasure, pain, love, hatred etc are called bhaav karma i.e. psychic karmas. The relationship between the material karmas and psychic karmas is that of cause and effect. The material karmas give rise to the feelings and emotions in the worldly souls, which, in turn, cause the influx and bondage of fresh material karmas.

Karmic matter is actually the agent that enables us (our consciousness) to act within the material context of this universe. When attracted to our consciousness, they are stored in our interactive karmic field i.e. karmic sharira. They are attracted to the soul on account of vibrations created by activities of mind, speech and body and stick to the soul due to various mental dispositions. Thus the karmas are the subtle matter surrounding the consciousness of a soul. When these two components i.e. consciousness and karma interact, we experience the life as we know it at present.

Mechanism of Karma

Karmas are often wrongly interpreted as a method for reward and punishment of a soul for its good and bad deeds. In Jainism, there is no question of there being any reward or punishment, as each soul is the master of its own destiny. The karmas can be said to represent a sum total of all unfulfilled desires of a soul. They enable the soul to experience the various themes of the lives that it desires to experience.Hermann Kuhn, Karma, the Mechanism, 2004] They ultimately mature when the necessary supportive conditions required for maturity are fulfilled.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 21] Hence a soul may transmigrate from one life form to another for countless of years, taking with it the karmas that it has earned, until it finds conditions that bring about the fruits. Similarly, heavens and hells are often viewed as places for eternal happiness or eternal damnation for good and bad deeds. But according to Jainism and some other Dharmic religions, they, including earth, are simply the places which allow the soul to temporarily experience its unfulfilled desires.

For example, a person who is good and virtuous all his life indicates a latent desire to experience good and virtuous themes of life. Therefore, he attracts karmas that will ensure that his future births allow him to experience and manifest his virtues and good feelings unhindered. In this case, he may take birth in heaven or in a prosperous and virtuous human family. A person who has always indulged in immoral deeds with a cruel disposition indicates a latent desire to experience cruel themes of life. As a natural consequence, he will attract karmas which will ensure that he is reincarnated in hell to enable him to experience the cruel themes of life unhindered, as the environment in hell is conducive of such life. There is no retribution, judgment or reward involved.

Hence whatever suffering or pleasure that a soul may be experiencing now is on account of choices that it has made in past. That is why Jainism stresses pure thinking and moral behavior. Apart from Buddhism, Jainism may be the only religion that does not invoke the fear of God as a reason for moral behavior.

Karmic process

A soul is in bondage with karma since beginingless time. It is not thought that soul was originally pure and that at certain point of time it lost purity by attracting karma. As such Jainism is not concerned with the fall of man. The soul is in association with the karmas by continuous attraction and disintegration of karmic particles. The entire karmic process can be understood by understanding as to what causes the karmic bondage, what is the nature and duration of karmic bonds, how the karmas bear fruit, how the karmas can be modified and how one can attain release from the karmas.

Causes of karmic bondage

Irrationality ("mithyatva"), non-restraint ("avirati"), carelessness ("pramada"), passions ("kashaya") and activities of mind, speech and body ("yoga") result in karmic bondage.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 1] The influx of karmas is called "asrava" and the resultant bondage is called "bandha". According to Jainism, even the mental disposition of a person results in the karmic bondage. For example, an intense desire to kill also attracts the karmic particles and results in the karmic bondage even if no one is actually killed. Hence, Jains attach a lot of importance to purity of thought.

The "Tattvartha Sutra" identifies the following elements in the process of attachment of karmas:
*Activity ("yoga") attracts the karmic matter to our consciousnessAcharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VI]
*Negative emotions like anger, pride, greed and deceit cause the bondage between the karma and our consciousness.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 2]
*The nature and intensity of our emotions determine the strength of these bonds i.e. nature, duration and quantity of the karmas so attracted.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 24]

The karmas are attracted to the consciousness of the soul by combination of the following four factorsAcharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 3] :

1. The instrumentality of our actions. We act by either through:a. body i.e. physical action,:b. speech i.e. verbal action, or:c. mind i.e. thoughts2. The process of action. This includes whether we:a. only decide or plan to act,:b. make preparations for the act e.g. like collecting necessary materials, or:c. actually begin the action3. The modality of our action, including if we:a. we ourselves carry out the act,:b. we instigate others to carry out the act, or:c. we give our silent approval for the act4. The motivation for action. This includes which of the following negative emotions that actions is motivated by.:a. Anger:b. Greed:c. Pride:d. Manipulation or deceit

Thus a karma is attached to a soul in a combination of any one element of the above four factors. Due to this, there are 108 ways with which the karmas are attracted.

Experiencing the effects of the karmas

How one experiences the effects of the karma depends on Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 3] :
*Prikriti - The nature or type of karma.
*Stithi - The duration of the karmic bond. Up to the time it does not activate, the karmic bond remains latent and bounded to our consciousness. Although latent karma does not affect the soul directly, its existence alone limits spiritual growth.
*Anubhava – Intensity of karmas. This determines the power of karmas and its effect on the soul.
*Pradesha – Quantity of karmic matter that gets activated.

Duration, intensity and quantity are determined by the intensity of our emotional engagement at the time of the binding of the karmas. The type or nature of the karmas bound depends on the nature of the activity that bound the karma in first place.

How the karmas bear results

The consequences of karma are inevitable. The consequences may take some time to take effect but the karma is never fruitless. To explain this, a Jain monk, Ratnaprabhacharya once said, "The prosperity of a vicious man and misery of a virtuous man are respectively but the effects of good deeds and bad deeds done previously. The vice and virtue will have their effects in their next lives. In this way the law of causality is not infringed here."Hari Satya Bhattacharya, Reals in the Jaina Metaphysics, page 197]

The latent karma becomes active and bears fruit when the supportive conditions arise.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 21] A great part of attracted karma bears its consequences with minor fleeting effects, as generally most of our activities are influenced by mild negative emotions. However, those actions that are influenced by intense negative emotions cause an equally strong karmic attachment which usually does not bear fruit immediately. It takes on an inactive state and waits for the supportive conditions as to time, place, and environment to arise for it to manifest and produce effects. If the supportive conditions do not arise, the respective karmas will manifest at the end of maximum period for which it can remain bound to the soul. There are certain laws of precedent among the karmas according to which the fruition of some of the karmas may be deferred but not absolutely barred.

Modifications of karma

While Jainas hold the karmic concequences as inevitable, Jain texts also hold that it is possible to transform and modify the effects of the karmas. The following are the states and transformation of karmas as described in Pancha Sangrah by 9th Century Jain Acharya Chandrsi MahattarJain Study Circle, Studies in Jainism: Reader 2, Ch. 35] :

#"Udaya" - operation of karmas, or the state of fruition of karmas and the state where the karmic effects are felt.
#"Udirana" - premature operation, such as when certain karmas become operative before their predetermined time. When a certain karma is already operative, similar type of karma can be made operative.
#"Utkarshan" - augmentation, or subsequent increase in duration and intensity of the karmas due to additional negative emotions and feelings.
#"Apkarshan" - diminution, or subsequent decrease in duration and intensity of the karmas due to positive emotions and feelings.
#"Sankraman" - mutation, or conversion of one sub-type of karmas into another sub-type. Mutation does not occur between types. For example, pap (bad karma) can be converted into punya (good karma), both being of same sub-type.
#"Upashaman" - state of subsidence. During this state the operation of karma does not occur. The karma becomes operative only when the duration of subsidence ceases.
#"Nidhatti" - prevention, or state where premature operation and mutation is not possible but augmentation and diminution is possible.
#"Nikaachana" - invariance. For some sub-types, no transformation or modifications are possible, the consequences are the same as were established at the time of bonding.

It is evident that according to Jain karma theory, our thoughts and feelings are quite important, not only at the time of binding the karmas, but also for its operation and modifications.

Release from karmas

Once attached to the karmic field, the karmas drop off only after they bear the necessary fruits or results for the soul (Udaya). It is possible to stop the influx of karmas ("samvara") as well as shed the karmas ("nirjara") by maintaining equanimity and detachment and by practicing penance and repentance for various deeds.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch IX, Sutra 1, 2 and 3] This leads to liberation and this is the basis of Jain philosophy. According to Jainism, the influx, bondage, stoppage, and shedding of karmas and salvation are solely functions of the soul. Unlike in Hinduism, God has no role to play in Jainism as a dispenser of karmas.

According to Jainism, karmic consequences are unerringly certain and inescapable. No divine grace can save a person from experiencing its consequences. Only practice of complete equanimity and detachment and practice of austerities can modify or alleviate the consequences of the karmas. In some cases there is no option but to accept the karmas with equanimity. Some Jain stories show how even Mahavira had to bear the brunt of his previous karmas before attaining enlightenment.

Types of Karmas

There are eight types of karmas, categorized into four "Ghatiya" and four "Aghatiya" karmas.Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 4]

Ghatiya karmas

These directly affect the attributes of the soul. These are:

#Knowledge-obscuring karma ("Jnanavarniya karma") – These karmas obscure the knowledge attribute of the soul.
#Perception-obscuring karma ("Darshanavarniya karma") – These karmas diminish the powers of Perception of a soul.
#Deluding karma ("Mohaniya karma") - These karmas are an instrumental cause of destruction the soul's right belief and right conduct. Of all karmas, deluding karma is the most difficult to overcome. Once this is eradicated, liberation is ensured.
#Obstructing karma ("Antaraya karma") - The fruition of these karmas creates obstructions to giving donations, obtaining gains, and enjoying things.

When Ghatiya karmas are totally destroyed, the soul attains "kevaljnana" or omniscience. Liberation is guaranteed for such souls in the same lifetime as soon it burns off the Aghatiya karmas also.

Aghatiya karmas

These do not affect the soul directly; rather, they have an effect on the body that houses the soul. These are:

#Lifespan-determining karma ("Ayu karma") – These karmas determine the subsequent states of existence and lifespan therein after death. The soul gets locked either into subhuman (Tiryanch), infernal (Naraki), human (Manushya), or celestial (Dev) bodies for its next birth.
#Body-determining karma ("Nama karma") – These karmas determine the type of body occupied by the soul.
#Status-determining karma ("Gotra karma") - The fruition of these karmas gives one high status or low status in society.
#Feeling-producing karma ("Vedaniya karma") - These karmas become an instrumental cause of the interruption of the soul's uninterrupted happiness (Avyabadh sukha). As a result of this, the soul remains agitated.

As soon as the soul releases Aghatiya karmas, it attains "moksha" or liberation.

Each of these types has various sub-types. The Tattvartha Sutra generally speaks of 148 types and sub-types of karmas.

Duration of Karmas

The maximum duration of attachment of karma is 70 "kotakoti" [100 trillion years] "sagaropama" [Sagaropama refers to a unit of time with such a large magnitude that it cannot be measured with conventional numbers. Here it is taken as innumerable years] and minimum time is less than one "muharta" [1 muharta = 48 minutes] .The maximum and minimum time for which the karmas remain bound to our consciousness depends on the type of karma which is as follows :-

Rationale of karmic theory

Jains cite inequalities, sufferings, and pain as evidence for the existence of Karma. The theory of karma is able to explain day-to-day observable phenomena such as inequality between the rich and the poor, luck, differences in lifespan, and the ability to enjoy life despite being immoral. These disparities and sufferings can be explained as being on account of previously accumulated karmas.

Jains believe that they never have to be apologetic about sufferings, pain and unhappiness as God's creations, nor do they need to believe in Satan as a creator of evil. Instead, they believe each individual is empowered by making himself responsible for his own happiness as well as salvation.

Relationship of karma with other concepts

The Jain theory of karma is consistent with other concepts like soul, reincarnation, "Ahimsa", God, and "moksha". Reincarnation and transmigration of the soul ensures that the karmas are carried forward to the next lives to bear fruits when conditions are right. The concept of "ahimsa" or non-violence is also consistent with karmic theory. As the doctrine of transmigration of souls includes rebirth in animal as well as human form, it creates a humanitarian sentiment amongst all life forms.Bal Patil, Jaya Gommetasa, Hindi Granth Karyalaya, 2006] The law of karma also effectively precludes God as creator and operator of universe.

Origins and Differences with other philosophies


While the doctrine of karma is central to all religions originating in India, it is difficult to say when and where the concept of karma originated in India. The doctrine of Karma does not appear in the Rigveda and became a part of Hinduism only during 500–200 B.C.E.Axel Michaels, Hinduism Past and Present, Page 156]

With regards to its origins, Dr. Padmanabh Jaini observes, "Perhaps the entire concept that a person's situation and experiences are in fact the results of deeds committed in various lives may not be Aryan origin at all, but rather may have developed as a part of the indigenous Gangetic traditions from which the various shramana movements arose. In any case we shall see, Jaina views on the process and possibilities of rebirth are distinctly non-Hindu; the social ramifications of these views, moreover, have been profound." Padmanabh Jaini, Collected papers on Jaina Studies, Chapter 7, Pg 122]

According to Dr. H. V. Glasenapp, of the conception of karmic theory, the most realistic of all that have had their origin in India is that of the Jains [Dr. H. V. Glasenapp, Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy, Pg 15] . The fundamental idea that the soul, pure in itself, is polluted through its actions and must be freed from its stain in order to regain its natural state is an idea which is also found in other religions, but which, while it has remained with them as an allegorical expression, has been adopted by the Jains in the real sense of the word. Others disagree with this opinion for various reasons.

Dr. T. G. KalghatgiDr. T. G. Kalghatgi, Study of Jainism, Pg 177] observes that karma doctrine must have been a pre-Aryan doctrine which was developed by the shramana culture and later assimilated and developed in the Brahminic thought by time of Upanishads. Ninian Smart also observes, "The Indian view of the karma is doubtless of pre-Aryan prominence and it was a kind of a natural law."Ninian Smart, Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy, 1964, Pg 163]

Differences with other philosophies

With regards to differences with other philosophies, Dr. Padmanabh Jaini states:

...this emphasis on reaping the fruits only of one's own karma was not restricted to the Jainas; both Hindus and Buddhist writers have produced doctrinal materials stressing the same point. Each of the latter traditions, however, developed practices in basic contradiction to such belief. In addition to sradhha (the ritual Hindu offerings by the son of deceased), we find among Hindus widespread adherence to the notion of divine intervention in one's fate, while Mahayana Buddhists eventually came to propound such theories like boon-granting bodhisattvas, transfer of merit and like (Theravada Buddhist views however are more like the Jain). Only Jainas have been absolutely unwilling to allow such ideas to penetrate their community, despite the fact that there must have been tremendous amount of social pressure on them to do so.Padmanabh Jaini, Collected papers on Jaina Studies, Chapter 7, Pg 137]

Remaining true to the karma philosophy, the attempts to dilute the theory of karma by Hindu and Buddhist philosophies by introducing the concepts of divine will, transfer of karmas through food, and inheritance of karmas were strongly resisted by Jains.

This had wide social consequences in the beliefs and practices of Jains. Besides rejecting various Vedic rituals and beliefs, it further fortified the Jaina belief in Ahimsa (non-violence), Aparigraha (non-possession) and Anekantvada (multiplicity of view points)

To summarise, the following are the key points where the theory of Karma in Jainism differs from the other religionsSancheti Asoo Lal, Bhandari Manak Mal, First Steps to Jainism (Part Two): Doctrine Of Karma, Doctrine of Anekant and other articles with Appendices, Catalogued by Library of U.S. Congress, Washington, Card No. 90-232383)] :
#Karma in Jainism operates as a self-sustaining mechanism as natural universal law, without any need of an external entity to manage them. (absence of the exogenous "Divine Entity" in Jainism)
#Jainism advocates that a soul's karma changes even with the thoughts, and not just the actions. Thus, to even think evilly would endure a "karm-bandh" or an increment in bad karma. It is for this reason that Jainism places a very strong emphasis on "samyak dhyan" (rationality in thought) and "samyak darshan" (rationality in perception), not just "samyak charitra" (rationality in conduct).
#Under Jain theology, a soul is released of worldly affairs as soon as it is able to emanicipate from the "karm-bandh". A famous illustration is that of Mata Marudevi, the mother of Shri Rishabh Dev, the first Tirthankar of present time cycle, who reached such emanicipation by elevating sequentially her thought processes, while she was visiting her Tirthankar son. This illustration explains how "Nirvana" and "Moksha" are different in Jainism, from other religions. In the presence of a Tirthankar, another soul achieved kevalgnan and subsequently nirvana, without any need of intervention by the Tirthankar.
#The karmic theory in Jainism operates endogenously. Tirthankaras are not attributed "godhood" under Jainism. Thus, even the Tirthankaras themselves have to go through the stages of emanicipation, for attaining that state. While Buddhism does give a similar and to some extent a matching account for Shri Gautama Buddha, Hinduism maintains a totally different theory where "divine grace" is needed for emanicipation.
#Jainism treats all souls equally, inasmuch as that it advocates that all souls have the same potential of attaining nirvana. Only those who make an effort really attain it, but nonetheless, each soul is capable on its own to do so by gradually reducing its karma. Buddhism also holds similar beliefs.

Criticism of karma theory

The Jain theory of Karma has been debated and criticized by various ancient philosophies like the Vedics, Buddhists, Samkhyas, and in recent times, Christian missionaries.

The adamant position of the Jains on the supremacy and potency of the karmas and non-intervention by any supreme being on the fate of souls led the Vedics to label Jainism as "nastika" or atheistic.

Similar reasons led Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, an Irish missionary, to declare that "the heart of Jainism is empty". While making a fervent appeal to accept Christianity, she says that Jains strongly believe in duty of forgiving others, and yet have no hope of forgiveness by a higher power for them. [Stevenson, Sinclair. "The Heart of Jainism". (1915) p. 289]

A strong emphasis on the doctrine of karma and intense asceticism was also criticised by the Buddhists, even though they also believe in karma. The ancient Buddhist scripture of Samyutta Nikāya narrates the story of Asibandhakaputta, a headman who was originally a disciple of Mahavira. [Samyutta Nikāya (iv.312ff)] In the ensuing debate with the Buddha, Asibandhakaputta tells him that, according to Nigantha Nataputta (Mahavira), a man's fate or karma is decided by what he does habitually. The Buddha points out the absurdity of this view by stating that a sinner spends more time "not doing the sin" and only some time is spent in actually "doing the sin." In another Buddhist text Majjhima Nikaya, Buddha criticizes the Jain emphasis on destruction of some unobservable and unverifiable karmas as a means to end suffering rather than eliminate evil mental states such as greed, hatred and delusion, which are observable and verifiable. [Majjhima Nikaya 1. 93, PTS [VRI 1. 179] ] The Buddha also rejected the Jain theory of the present events and experiences on account of previous karmas as unreasonable. According to him many things are the result of our own deeds done in this present life rather than previous lives and also of external causes other than karmas.

While admitting the complexity and sophistication of the Jain doctrine, Padmanabh Jaini compares it with that of Hindu doctrine of rebirth and points out that the Jain seers are silent on the exact moment and mode of rebirth, that is, the re-entry of soul in womb after the death. [Padmanabh Jaini, Collected papers on Jaina Studies, Chapter 7, Page 124] The concept of "nitya-nigoda", which states that there are certain categories of souls who have always been nigodas, is also criticized. According to Jainism, nigodas are lowest form of extremely microscopic beings having a momentary life spans, living in colonies and pervading the entire universe. According to Dr. Jaini, the entire concept of nitya-nigoda undermines the concept of karma, as these beings clearly would not have had prior opportunity to perform any karmically meaningful actions. [Padmanabh Jaini, Collected papers on Jaina Studies, Chapter 7, Page 128]

Karma is said to lead to the dampening of spirits with men suffering the ills of life with helpless equanimity of attitude because the course of one's life is determined by karma. [T.G. Kalghati, The Study of Jainism, Page 184] Thus the impression of karma as the accumulation of a mountain of bad deeds looming over our heads without any recourse leads to fatalism. [Kuhn, Harmann. "Karma, the Mechanism." 2004, pp. 10-11] However, as Paul Dundas puts it, the Jain theory of karma is undoubtedly much more elaborately thought out and systematic than its equivalent in Hinduism or Buddhism, but this does not imply lack of free will or operation of total deterministic control over destinies. [Dundas, Paul, The Jains, 2002, Page 101]

cientific interpretation of karma

Jainism postulated the existence of karmic matter as extremely subtle and microscopic particles that cannot be perceived by senses or measurements some two millennia before modern science proved the existence of atoms and subatomic particles. However, these elementary particles, or at least those that have been discovered, certainly cannot be equated with karmic particles. Some authors have sought to explain the concept of karmic particles in the context of modern science and physics. Hermann Kuhn points out that while the idea that "karmic molecules" exists may not yet be proven, we only need to recall that science found proof of the existence of molecules in 1906 and atoms in 1920. Anyone who would have suggested that these "indivisible" particles were made up of even subtler units like quarks and leptons only a hundred years ago may have been dismissed, though such theories were in existence. With regards to interaction of consciousness and karmic matter, he states that it can be easily understood considering that ideas like the mind fundamentally affecting matter are now accepted in scientific circles. He further states, "…that science has not discovered karmic matter yet does not state anything against its existence." K. V. Mardia, in his book "The Scientific Foundations of Jainism", has interpreted karma in terms of modern physics, suggesting that the particles are made of karmons, dynamic high energy particles which permeate the universe.Natubhai Shah, Jainism, The World of Conquerors, page 64] However, most scientists do not consider karma theory to be within the bounds of science, as many believe it is a non-testable idea and so cannot be considered science.Greenberg, Jon. "BSCS Biology: A Molecular Approach." Columbus: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2001]

References and notes


*cite book | last =Duli Chandra Jain (ed.) | title =Studies in Jainism: Reader 2 | publisher =Jain Study Circle Inc. | date =1997 | location =New York | isbn =0-9626105-2-6


*cite book | last =Glasenapp | first =Helmuth Von | title =The Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy | origyear=1942 | publisher =Jain Pub Co| date =2003 | location =Fremont, CA | language =English. Trans. From German by G. Barry Gifford | isbn =0895819716

* Hari Satya Bhattacharya

*cite book | last =Jaini | first =Padmanabh | title =Collected Papers on Jaina Studies | publisher =Motilal Banarsidass Publ. | date =2000 | location =Delhi | isbn =81-208-1691-9

*cite book | last =Kalghatgi | first =Dr. T. G. | title =Study of Jainism | publisher =Prakrit Bharti Academy | date =1988 | location =Jaipur


*cite book | last =Michaels | first =Axel | title =Hinduism: Past and Present | publisher =Princeton University Press | date =2004 | location =Princeton | isbn =0691089531

*cite book | last =Patil | first =Bal | title =Jaya Gommatesa | publisher =Hindi Granth Karyalaya | date =2006 | location =Mumbai | isbn =81-88769-10-X

*cite book | last =Shah | first =Natubhai | title =Jainism: The World of Conquerors | publisher =Sussex Academy Press | date =1998 | location =Sussex | series =Volume I and II | isbn =1898723303

*cite book | last =Smart | first =Ninian | title =Doctrine and Argument in Indian Philosophy | publisher =George Allen & Unwin | date =1964 | location =London



*cite book | last =Sanghavi | first =Jayantilal | editor =(ed.) Marilynn Hughes | title =The Voice of the Prophets: Wisdom of the Ages | publisher =Lulu.com | date =2005 | location =Morrisville, North Carolina | pages =pp. 587–662 | url =http://books.google.co.in/books?id=BG-CBk4vyccC&dq=The+Voice+of+the+Prophets,+jainism&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 | series =Volume 2 of 12 | isbn =1411651219 | chapter =A treatise on Jainism

Further reading

Ancient Jain Texts

#Tattvartha Sutra, Chapter VI, VIII and IX, Acharya Umasvati
#The Karmagranthas, Six Volumes, Devendrasuri
#The Pancasamgraha, Candrarsi Candramahattara
#The Karmaprakti, Sivasarmasuri
#Satkhandagama, Six Volumes, Acharya Pushpadanta and Bhutabali
#Kasayaprabhrta, Acharya Gunabhadra

Other Reference material

#Dr. H. V. Glasenapp, Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy
#Karma, the Mechanism – Hermann Kuhn
# [http://www.jainworld.com/teachers/karma.asp Jain World]
#Jaina Path to Purification – Dr. Padmanabh Jaini
#Collected Papers on Jaina Studies, Ch. VII Karma and problem of re-birth – Dr. Padmanabh Jaini

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