Monday, October 12, 2009

Karma Theory in Jainism: Origin, History, Texts and other descriptions Part 1

Most of the Indian philosophies believe in Karma theory. Vedic, Buddhist and Jain, all have a faith on Karma and Karmafal. However, they differ in many points.

Jainism has the most subtle description of Karma. Ninth of the fourteen "Purva" is dedicated to Karma theory and named as "Karma Pravaad Purva". This is part of "Drishtivaada", the biggest, greatest, most complicated part of teachings of Lord Mahavira.

We can not find Drishtivaada as people can not retain it in their memory some centuries after the Lord. Probably, Acharya Aryarakshita Suri was the last to retain Karma Pravaad Purva with him.

Karma theory is described in many places in ancient Jain texts, Aagama.  Bhagwati Sutra, the fifth Anga Sutra describes a lot about Karma. We get references in many other anga such as Sthananga and Samavaayaanga Sutra, Uttaraadhyayana Sutra etc. A separate Anga Vipaka Sutra is dedicated to Karma Vipaka that means fruits of Karma.

Tons of texts are written about Karma theory later on such as "Kamma Payadi" in Shwetambara and "Gommatsara" in Digambar school.

However, the most popular is "Karma Grantha" by Acharya Devendra Suri, It is so popular that almost every reader of Jainism reads it. This is didided into six parts. The last part describes that this text is a drop from the ocean of Drishtivada.

Karmagrantha falls into the category of "Ganitaanuyoga" alias Karanaanuyoga among four divisions of Jain texts. Rest of three Anuyoga are Kathaanuyoga alias Prathamaanuyoga, Charanaanuyoga and Dravyaanuyoga.
Ganita  / Karana means mathematics in Sanskrit language. Hence, tons of mathematical calculations are there in Karma Grantha to describe specific theories of Vandha, Udaya, Udirnaa, Satta, Sankraman, Upashamana, Apavartanaa, Udvartanaa, Nidhatta and Nikaachana.

Karma Grantha also deals with five causes of Karma Vandh, Avadhaa Kaala, eight types of Karma Prakriti and sub types and many other topics.. It also deals with fourteen Gunasthana, stages of spiritual development of a soul.

To be continued......
Karma Theory Part 1
Karma Theory Part 2
Karma Theory Part 3
Karma Theory part 4
Karma Theory part 5

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  1. Jyoti ji,
    Jai Jinendra,

    Excellent description about Karma Theory. I have not found such description anywhere else in the web.
    It is complicated but that is what sansara. We, mundane souls are traveling and transmitting ourselves in four Gatis because of Karma.

    I like to read more and will be waiting for your new post to come up.

    Anil Jain

  2. Very good and descriptive article about Karma theory.

  3. Hi,
    Very very technical description. Excellent article.

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for commenting. jainism dicusses in details on Karma Theory.
    Jyoti Kothari

  5. Jyoti,
    This is a very good post with brief description of Jain Karma theory texts and scripts.

    You may expand this article.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Surendra Bothra