A Distinct Characteristic of Jaina Path of Liberation
Dr. Dayanand Bhargavs
1. The ultimate aim is to attain a state of consciousness where there is no activity-physical, mental or vocal. This being the last mage is the last of fourteen stages of spiritual development which is known as ayoga-kevall meaning that all yogas or activities are absent at this stage.
2. This, however, does not mean that there is no liberation with us the cessation of activities. The penultimate stage ie, the thirteenth stage of development, is also a stage of liberation (kaivalya) but with activities ie yogas. This is logically named as sayoga keivali. The Indian systems of philosophy term it as jivanmukta.
3.The Journey to this goal of sayoga kaivalya (which automatically leads to ayo ga kaivalya in due course of time) starts with renunciation (pratyakhyana) of vitiated activities (savadya yoga). All activities prompted by passions (Kasayas) like ego, hypocricy, anger or greed are vitiated. Such activities are to be abandoned.
4. A question arises as to how these vitiated activities are to be abandoned. What is the genesis of our activities? We are engaged in activities from time immemorial. These activities do not die without leaving some impressions on the agent. These impressions do not die with what we call death. The gross body may dissolve at death, but the subtle body carries these impressions from one life to another. The impressions are the genesis of our activities. All our activities, then do not come from void but from the impressions that lie latent in our subtle body.
5. A latent impression in our subtle body becomes active on attaining maturity. We have an inner vibration for engaging ourselves in a particular type of activity. This inner vibration is known as inclination or adhyavasaya. Naturally. this inclination could be not only for good activities but for bad activities al This inclination pertains noe to our gross body but to our subtle body, the karmana sarira. We can, perhaps, hardly do anything about it. It is, as it were more or less a case of determinan where our previously accumulated impres sions have their sway over us.
6. This inclination or adhyavasaya in itself is not an activity or yoga. It has to pass through yet another stage before it can give birth to an activity. In case this inclination comes into contact with the astral body (taijasa sarira), it a mes a colouring known as lesya which is also of two types good and bad. This lesya affects the astral body and consequently our aura. A yogi can stop adhyavasaya from affecting his astral body but not an ordinary man. So gene- rally we do not have any control over our lesyas either.
7. It is only after passing through the stage of lesya that an adhyavasaya take the from of a yoga i e. activity. It is only at this last and the third stage of yoga, that an aspirant has to exert himself. He has to exert his will power against allowing bad lesyas to be expressed through mind, body or speech, This is precisely what is meant by the vow or vratas, which consists in avoiding all vitiated activities,
B. There are two important conclusions of the above discussion-
(i) The first stage of the activity is adhyavasaya which is fully determined leaving no freedom for us. The lesya stage is partly determined. We are completely free at the yoga stage which means that all purusartha belong to controlling bad yogas.
(ii) We generally confuse adhyavasaya with mental activity, whereas the adhyavasaya really belongs to a different level. Mind is just an instrument of yoga like speech or body. The Jainas have, therefore. not given that special status to mind, in comparison to the body, as the Buddhists have given. The physical activity is as significant as the mental and as such physical control is as important as mental.
If we can understand this, we can appreciate the Jaina approach to self-control in comparison to the Vedic or Buddist approach which says mana eva manusyanam karanam bhandhamoksyoh or manopubbamgamah dhammah.