Tag Archives: karm

The Foursome Kasaay

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Today’s topic is something we have touched upon many times. So many times that I thought necessary to dedicate a day for it – the topic of the foursome kaṡāy – anger (क्रोध), ego (मान), deceit (माया), greed (लोभ). Interestingly, almost every philosophy says that these are the cause of the bondage, sufferings, etc. And if you reverse question as why are these four there. It would come back as because of the karm bondage we have.

“That looks like a vicious cycle. Kaṡāy because of bondage, and bondage because of kaṡāy”, interrupted Ātmā.

Yes, it is.

If it is a cycle, can we ever come out of it and be a free soul aka go to mokṡ.

Yes, sure. But for that, one needs to understand as how to break the cycle. The key is puruṡārth – one’s own effort.

Yes. We had talked about it under the drivers of our activities.

Correct. That is the only one which could break the cycle. Bondage would lead to kaṡāy, but with our conscious efforts, we can prevent them to further cause bondage – thus breaking the cycle.

How do we do that?

Simply by being equanimous in the situations of provocation of kaṡāy.

“That’s hell lot of effort”, exclaimed Yog.

Ya but that’s what is needed to break the cycle. In fact, it looks complex only at its face. There are ways to make it simple.

Tell us that.

The kaṡāy could be broken up into four stages, and then we may master its control to equanimity through these stages, one by one.

Are these four stages for all the four kaṡāy?

Yes. Thus, there becomes four x four = sixteen kaṡāy, but for the time being we’d consider it just as four stages, each with the four kaṡāy. The various insights into the four stages of kaṡāy is tabulated as follows (alongwith the various stages of soul purification):

Kaṡāy stage Guṅasthān Max period of the stage Next birth Avoid falling back to previous stage by effort of Forgiving
anantānubandhī (severest) 1, 3 Life long Hell Already at the lowest
apratyākhyān (severe) 2, 4 1 year Tiriyanch Forgive within 1 year
pratyākhyān (light) 5 1 month Human Forgive within 4 months
sanjwalan (lightest) 6-10 15 days Heaven Forgive within 15 days
Zero kaṡāy stage 11 < 48 minutes Heaven Not controllable by puruṡārth – would eventually fall back to previous stages
Zero kaṡāy stage 12-14 Permanent Mokṡ Not controllable by puruṡārth – would be maintained forever

“What I understand from the chart is that once we reach 12-14th stages of soul, we don’t need to put any efforts to be equanimous”, clarified Ātmā.

Yes – there you are already equanimous and it is self-sustaining – basically you have broken the cycle and are heading to permanent mokṡ.

That’s great. I think the last column in the chart is really something that gives us the direction to conquer our kaṡāy.

Yes. And other columns shall give you motivation.

Before we close for today, can you please provide some analogies for us to understand the four stages for each of the four kaṡāy? That way we could be more alert of our kaṡāy, so as to take some actions to conquer it.

Ya sure. In fact, I’ll quote the analogies from the philosophical text, itself:

Anger Ego Deceit Greed
(Strong as) (Stubborn as) (Twisted as) (Sticky as)
anantānubandhī Etching on a stone Stone pillar Bamboo roots Colour of silk
apratyākhyān Etching on hard land Bone pillar Sheep horns Colour of mud
pratyākhyān Etching on sand Wood pillar Pee-line of a walking ox Grease
sanjwalan Etching on water Vine pillar Stripping bamboo bark Colour of turmeric

Thanks. That looks cool.

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Stages of Soul Purification

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Stages of soul purification will be our focus of discussion today.

“But, I have a question related to the previous session“, interrupted Ātmā.

Go ahead.

Once on the pathway to mokṡ, can we track ourself as to where are we on the pathway? Are we on the right direction, or the opposite direction?

Right question at the right time. Yes, we can track. And the various stages of soul purification could be the guide for the same. As such, there would be infinite stages of soul purification because of infinite gradations in soul purity. However, broadly they can be classified into fourteen guṅasthān.

What is guṅasthān?

Stage of purification. Under each, there could be infinite varieties. But they are classified into one because of some common characteristics.

What is the basis of classification?

As such there are 5 doorways of karm accumulation (āshrav), which obstructs the pathway to mokṡ. Depending on the level and number of doors being closed, the progress / purification stage of the soul is determined on the pathway to mokṡ.

What are the five āshrav?

They are wrong faith (मिथ्यात्व), wrong conduct (अव्रत), neglect of right conduct (प्रमाद), kaṡāy (कषाय) (foursome of anger, ego, deceit, greed), activity (योग) (threesome by mind, speech, body).

O! So even activity accumulates karm?

Yes. In fact, that is the key one, which leads to karm accumulation. It is just the addition of kaṡāy or no kaṡāy alongwith, which decides the badness or goodness of the accumulated karm. So, when all the 5 doors are open, it is the stage one – mithyādriṡṫi guṅasthān. When the faith is shaky in an undecided state of right and wrong, the soul is in the stage three – mishra guṅasthān.

“What about the second stage?”, asked Guṅasthān.

Don’t worry. We’ll come to that. When the faith is completely right, the soul is at the fourth stage – avirati samyak driṡṫi guṅasthān. So, in all stages four and above, the first door of wrong faith is closed. If partial right conduct is added, the soul gets into the fifth stage – desh virati guṅasthān, and with complete right conduct, it is in the sixth stage – pramatt sanyat guṅasthān. From sixth and onwards, the second door of wrong conduct is closed, but the neglect may still happen. The stage where even that third door is closed, takes the soul to stage seven – apramatt sanyat guṅasthān. And from there onwards it is the diminishing foursome kaṡāy which keeps the soul moving upwards to stages eight (nivritti bādar guṅasthān) and nine (anivritti bādar guṅasthān).

What is the difference between the eight and ninth stage?

Eighth is with diminished kaṡāy. Ninth is with so further diminished kaṡāy, that towards the end of it, only the last one greed (of the foursome) is left, and then the soul enters the stage ten (sukshm samprāy guṅasthān) with a very minute greed. The next stage would be with zero kaṡāy, where even the fourth door is closed. But here comes an interesting twist in the tale. The diminishing kaṡāy could be diminishing in two ways: 1) By elimination, 2) By suppression. If it was due to suppression, the soul enters stage eleven (upshānt moh guṅasthān) with zero kaṡāy due to complete suppression. Otherwise it enters stage twelve (kshīṅ moh guṅasthān) with zero kaṡāy due to complete elimination of its causing karm – the perception hindering aka deluding (mohaniya) karm – one of the eight karm types.

But isn’t the stage eleven a danger zone? How long would the kaṡāy remain suppressed?

Yes, very rightly pointed out. It is a danger zone, because the soul can’t stay longer here, as the suppressed kaṡāy would erupt again within 48 minutes, meaning the soul would fall back to the lower stages.

Which lower stage would it go to?

It may go to starting from tenth till back to the first stage.

That’s really bad.

And it is for this falling soul which is heading towards the stage one, there comes a pre-stage two (sāswādan samyak driṡṫi guṅasthān), where only the taste of right faith remains.

O! This is the missing stage two.

Yes. It is better than one but worse than three, as from it the soul would definitely go to stage one. From stage three, the soul would have gone to either four or one.

So, it is always better to skip stage eleven and jump to stage twelve from the stage ten.

Yes indeed.

But how do we know, whether we are heading towards eleventh or twelfth?

May not be perfectly with the current level of knowledge. But you may get a feel of it. Say you are being bothered by someone to trigger one of your kaṡāy, say anger. Now, whatever that someone does, you don’t get angry. That’s really great, your soul is getting into the better stages. But did you not get angry by letting it go forever, or by ignoring for the time being. That decides the pathway to twelfth vs eleventh stage, respectively.

Okay. Isn’t then getting to the twelfth stage near impossible? I guess all of us would go to eleventh and fall back.

Even if you keep falling back in this birth, you should keep trying – so that you would have enough practice to get to the twelfth stage at least in your later births. And once the soul is in the stage twelve, there is no returning back – mokṡ is for sure, in that life (birth) itself. From stage twelve, it would get rid of three more hindering karm types (knowledge hindering (jyānāvaraṅiya), vision hindering (darshanāvarṅiya), power hindering (antarāy)), leading it to attain the stage thirteen (sayogī kewalī guṅasthān) – the state with the infinite kewal knowledge.

“What I understand from our discussions is that mohaniya karm has to be the first karm type to be completely gotten rid of”, clarified Karm.

Yes. Absolutely correct. And if it is gotten rid of, others would any way go away. And that’s why it is called the king of karm among the eight karm types.

And then, while attaining the kewal knowledge, three more karm types are removed.

Yes.

So, does that mean even in stage thirteen, there are still four more karm types associated with the soul?

Absolutely. And in fact, it is because of these only, the soul is able to continue its physical aka worldly existence till before its mokṡ.

What are these four more karm types?

Pain / Pleasure causing (vedaniya), Age deciding (āyuṡ), Body deciding (nām), Status deciding (gotra). And as you see, they are non-hindering to any of the soul attributes of knowledge, vision, perception, power. Moreover, they are the basic ones needed to live in this world.

So, mokṡ can’t be attained unless these are also gotten rid of, right?

Yes. And that is where the soul has to stop all its activities, closing the fifth door, to enter the stage fourteen (ayogī kewalī guṅasthān). With all doors closed for karm particle entry, no new karm particle gets attracted towards the soul. And the above four karm types also get disassociated from the soul, leading it to mokṡ, beyond all stages of purification – the ultimate purification.

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Drivers of Activities

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“World is made up of precisely two things: living beings and non living things, and then there are all kinds of activities around. Who or What drives these activities, which are happening all around?”, kicked off the 5th session on philosophy.

“As per some philosophies, it is some super power called God, who makes all the things happen around”, answered Viṡay.

“But then does that mean, no one has any control on doing anything, it is all as per the super power”, quizzed Mitthyātva.

“Such philosophies believe so. But I don’t think that is practical. May be God has some control and remaining control is left to the individuals – the living beings”, replied Viṡay.

“Yes, I know of many philosophies, which propound that doer is the individual, but the result provider is the super power”, intervened Tatva.

“There are a few who believe in no super power as well, and dictates that you are the sole controller of your destiny”, added Ātmā.

“But again, that may not be practical, as we have seen incidents which are totally out of one’s control, whatever one may do”, interrupted Viṡay.

“I liked it. A really healthy debate”, praised the professor. “In fact, nothing really right or wrong about these philosophies. It is just that they have been put up from different perspectives, and they may be valid from that perspective.”

“That’s really interesting”, expressed Mitthyātva.

“Yes it is, indeed. And, how about incorporating various of these perspectives in say a unified philosophy?”, questioned the professor.

“O Wow! Don’t tell me that’s possible”, exclaimed Tatva.

Why just possible? In fact, there is a name for the technique of incorporating multiple perspectives.

What is it?

Anekāntvād (अनेकान्तवाद), which is one of the foundation pillars of the philosophy under discussion, all these days.

Okay, so what does it talk about the driver of the activities?

As per it, there is not just 1 or 2 but 5 samvāy (समवाय) or the so called drivers of activities.

Five?! We are already puzzled with two.

Don’t you worry. It would rather help us resolve the unanswered from other philosophies. And the five are:
+ kāl (काल) – time
+ swabhāv (स्वभाव) – the intrinsic property or nature
+ karm (कर्म) – the tiny particles, we learnt about in our previous session
+ puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ) – one’s effort, we discussed in our previous session
+ niyati (नियति) – the pre-determined activity – the destiny, which can’t be changed

That seems complicated.

Let’s take some examples to simplify. Take for example a mango seed. We sow that for growing a mango plant, and then into a mango tree, to finally bear mangoes. We water it, manure it, for it to grow healthy and faster. Now, whatever be done, it would take a minimum time for the seed to sprout and come out as a sapling, one can’t make it faster – that is the kāl in action. After all these, what size of tree it grows into, what taste of mango it bears, … is all decided by the karm attached with the soul in the mango tree. Now, if one expects berry from the mango tree, it wouldn’t but give only mango – that is its swabhāv in action. Now, even after the first three in action, if one wouldn’t have done the puruṡārth of sowing the seed, it wouldn’t have even grown, forget about bearing fruits.

“So, puruṡārth is the most powerful – that’s why people say don’t stop putting in your effort”, quipped Ātmā.

Your second part is correct that don’t give up your effort, but not the first one. Actually, all the samvāy have their own roles to play. Sometimes one may seem to be more powerful than the other, but all of them have their importance – again that is what is anekāntvād.

If it is not *the* powerful, then what’s the point of doing puruṡārth?

Understand that you may need all the drivers for an activity to happen. So, skipping puruṡārth may cause it not to happen at all. Say you are all planned to become rich, you have the characteristics to earn (swabhāv), opportunities to earn (kāl), and karm supporting it – but then you don’t even attempt to earn. In such a scenario, given all possibilities of you becoming rich, you won’t become rich.

What if any of the others is not supporting?

Exactly. Note that, in this scenario, all may be important – and any one missing may lead to not becoming rich. But the challenge is our inability to know about the state of others. More importantly, out of all the samvāy, it is only puruṡārth, which is under one’s control, none others are – so this is our only key, and *the* key to control or drive the activity – and that’s why we should not stop putting in our effort.

“What is the role of niyati? That has not come in any of the above examples”, asked Tatva with curiosity.

Niyati is what people call the destiny – whatever may happen, if something has to happen, it would happen. For example, if the niyati of the mango seed was to not sprout, even after all the first four supporting samvāy, it would not sprout.

That’s dangerous.

Yes, it is. But typically, only very few things are niyati. And that’s why most of the times, it is not *the* most powerful one, as it may look like in the first go.

But, how is niyati decided? Is it set by a super power? And why is it set, in the first place?

It is set or rather attracted by no other super power but the soul itself. Niyati is basically driven by a special type of karm called nikāchit (निकाचित) karm, attracted & set by soul itself. And it is such, that its effects cannot be altered or removed without bearing them as is, unlike other karm.

But, why would the soul attract the nikāchit karm, in the first place?

As discussed earlier, as long as we do activity, there is continuous inflow & outflow of karm particles. However, if during the inflow, we (as in our soul) is in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), these karm particles get transformed into nikāchit karm.

So, if our soul (as in we), through our puruṡārth, are never in intense passion of anger, greed, ego, or deceit (AGED), we’d never attract the nikāchit karm, avoiding any effect of niyati.

Yes, no more new niyati drivers. But, you’d have to bear the past ones, if you had already accumulated any.

Hmmm! So, that’s one more strong reason for being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit, at least the intensest ones.

Excellent recall. And, finally note that the five drivers are for the activities of living beings. For non-living things, it is only the first two, others don’t make sense.

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Theory of Karm

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“As discussed in our last class, karm (कर्म) particles are the impurities surrounding the soul, obstructing it to attain its state of complete knowledge. But what are these karm particles? Are they living or non-living? Do they decide the fate of soul? Can they ever be eliminated from the soul? If yes, how? Why in the first place are they surrounding the soul? I am sure you have one or more such queries bothering you”, jolted the professor.

“Yes”, came a chorus.

These and many more questions around karm are what are dealt in the theory of karm.

“So finally, are we going to learn how to attain the complete knowledge by eliminating the karm particles?”, asked Jāti.

Dear Jāti, it is a continual learning process, not just a pill to eliminate all karm particles. So, knowing the theory of karm is just the beginning into the process.

Great! at least we’ll begin today.

Karm particles are one of the tiniest granules of matter, and as such they are non-living.

“How does the living soul accumulate the non-living karm?”, asked Upyog.

If it is a pure living soul, it in fact cannot accumulate non-living karm, and that state of soul is what is called nirvāṅ (निर्वाण) or mokṡ (मोक्ष), from which it never comes out. However, the worldly soul is already surrounded by karm and these karm leads to accumulating more karm – it is a vicious cycle.

“If it is a vicious cycle, would soul ever be able to come out of it”, asked Yog.

Good question. If left on its own, the karm wouldn’t allow soul to attain nirvāṅ. However, soul has the ability of doing puruṡārth (पुरुषार्थ), i.e. “putting effort” to break the vicious cycle.

What kind of effort?

Effort to stop the inflow of karm, and effort to remove the existing karm.

How to do the effort?

For that, let’s first understand the process of inflow & accumulation. Any of our mental, vocal, or physical activity brings in the karm. So, stopping or reducing them, stops or reduces the inflow, e.g. taking vows to reduce our activities – the most common & profound activity being eating.

Is that why so many soul centred philosophies are centred around food restrictions?

Sort of – more precisely food control and management, as food is one major activity driver for all living beings.

So, does it directly relate fasting to removal of karm particles?

Yes, it does – just that it should be done with that intention alone – otherwise it may not be that effective.

“Intentions? Do they have any role?”, asked surprised Karm.

In fact, they are the ones having the major role, as intentions trigger thoughts, and thoughts drive the appropriate effort.

Isn’t putting effort an action in itself?

Putting effort to remove karm is an action indeed.

Then, wouldn’t it further accumulate more karm?

It would, but accumulate only good karm particles, eliminating the bad ones.

“Does it mean, it is good to have good karm particles?”, quizzed Yog.

Not really, as even they would obstruct the soul from reaching its pure form. But once all the bad ones are gone, the good ones cannot stay for long – they would eventually go off. And a thing to understand is that more important than the accumulation of karm particles is the strength with which they are bonded with. As it is almost inevitable to reach zero activity, so karm particles would keep on accumulating, till almost our soul gets into pure form. But, if they are accumulated with the least possible bonding strength, they could all be cleared very easily, in lesser go’s.

And how do we control the bonding strength?

The bonding strength depends on the level of kaṡāy during the bonding.

“What is this kaṡāy?”, asked Guṅasthān.

It is the glue for karm particles. The foursome of Anger, Greed, Ego, Deceit is collectively termed as kaṡāy. So, having the less of these in our character, enables easy removal of our karm. One may remember them as the acronym AGED. I hope all of you understand these four emotions.

I believe anger is best understood but least worked upon. Greed is want of something more than one’s need, even at cost of others. Ego is the “only me” thought. Deceit is cheating.

More or less correct. And with that I believe you understand why various philosophies talk about being simple, devoid of anger, greed, ego, deceit.

You mean being devoid of AGED paves the path towards complete knowledge.

Yes. Shed anger, be peaceful. Shed greed, be satisfied. Shed ego, be accommodative. Shed deceit, be straightforward. And head towards achieving complete knowledge, and henceforth the state of pure soul.

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Types of Knowledge

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“Today, we’ll talk about the types of knowledge. Before we start, you may ask any doubts from our last two sessions”, stated the professor.

“In the previous session, you mentioned that all souls already have the complete knowledge. Then, what do you really mean by types of knowledge? Is completeness also of different types?”, quizzed Sharīr.

Excellent. That’s correct that every soul’s complete knowledge is just one – there is no categorization of it.

Then, what do we mean by types of knowledge?

Hope you also remember the discussion, that just having knowledge doesn’t mean having the ability to use it.

Yes – the worldly bounds and limitations, restricts the ability of the soul to use its complete knowledge.

Exactly. So these types or rather levels of knowledge are classified based on the ability of the soul to use its knowledge. Accordingly, knowledge is broadly categorized into five types:

  1. Mati (मति)
  2. Shrut (श्रुत)
  3. Awadhi (अवधि)
  4. Manh Paryav (मन:पर्यव)
  5. Kewal (केवल)

Okay, so these are basically levels of exercisable / usable knowledge.

You may say so. Mati knowledge is the most basic form, we perceive through our sense organs and processed / analyzed by our mind. Mind (मन) is not just what one relates to brain, but it actually is spread throughout our sense organs and body.

Is Mati, the common sense, we talk about?

Let’s not get into that, as that’s a very loose term we use. Common for one may not be common for others. Basically, the knowledge of sound, colour & form / shape, smell, taste, touch could be assimilated as Mati knowledge.

“So, does it mean that, living beings only with all 5 working sense organs have Mati knowledge?”, asked Yog.

Not really. Every living being has it in some form or the other. Depending on its sense organs, or rather capability of sense organs, a particular one may be used / exhibited more profoundly than others. In that sense, you may have heard / read about blind people recognizing colours using touch, and similar other cases.

Wow! This foundation that knowledge is within, would possibly answer many such miracles around us.

Yes. In fact, as you dive deeper into the non-observables, the more you’d realize that there is nothing called a miracle, but just connection of some missing dots.

So can we conclude that, what all observable knowledge we currently know, can be called as Mati knowledge?

Don’t be so impatient. Let me first explain the next one – Shrut knowledge. Then, we shall draw some conclusions. Mati is just the basic form of recognition, but it lacks relation. Hence, we may be able to know using Mati, but may not be able to share / exchange / communicate the knowledge with others. The knowledge which enables us to do that is called Shrut knowledge.

“We communicate using languages. So, are they a form of Shrut knowledge?”, asked Upyog.

Yes, one of the forms, or at least a medium for it. And the language could be anything – written, spoken, pictures, or for that matter even sign. However, Shrut is more than just language – it knowledge about relations, e.g. between words and their meanings, which finally conveys the knowledge. For an example, one may know what an elephant is (Mati knowledge), but in absence of the word elephant, or other words describing it, or one’s inability to express it, one may not be able to convey it to others (absence of Shrut knowledge).

“In that case, all our current knowledge is Mati & Shrut knowledge”, said Yog, in a summarizing tone.

If you just consider the knowledge commonly observable through our sense organs & mind, in day to day life, then yes.

Why only day to day? Does knowledge of *all* observables, still not come under these two categories?

Before I answer that, I’d like to elaborate a bit on observables. By observables, we define anything having one or more of sound, colour / shape, smell, taste, touch. However, even within observables, there is a category, which literally cannot be observed using our sense organs, directly or even indirectly, which we would like to call the invisibles.

May not be observable today, but with evolution of science & technology, shouldn’t one day, we would be able to observe at least all the observables?

No. Even science has proved that there are limits of space & time, beyond which we may not be able to observe, even using any level of technology.

So, we cannot know about the so-called invisibles?

No. We just cannot observe using our sense organs and mind, but we can definitely know about them. And it is the knowledge of such observable invisibles, which doesn’t come under the purview of Mati & Shrut knowledge.

“Is that where the Awadhi knowledge comes into play?”, interrupted Upyog.

Exactly. Awadhi is the knowledge of observables, without using sense organs & mind, typically attained by deep meditation. However, it typically is bound by matter, space, time, properties.

“Any examples of invisibles?”, asked Sharīr.

Particles of speech, particles of thoughts, karm particles are all examples of invisibles.

What are these karm particles?

These are the particles restricting the complete knowledge of the soul.

“O! I see. So removing these we would get the complete knowledge and know everything”, spoke the still silent Jāti.

Yes.

Please tell us how to remove them.

Yes Jāti, we’ll talk about them, but in separate sessions. Let’s complete our discussion on types of knowledge, today.

“What are these particles of speech and thoughts?”, continued Sharīr.

Our speaking and thinking also emits invisible particles. In fact, specialized knowledge of particles of thoughts is called Manh Paryav knowledge. Having this would enable one to know the thoughts of others.

Wooh! Mind reading.

And finally, Kewal knowledge is the complete knowledge of everything – observable and non-observable, in all forms, in all spaces, in all times, of all properties.

“… which the soul already has. Just that these karm particles are the nuisances”, Jāti concluded as reminder.

Yes, let’s talk about them in our next session.

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