(5) Bondage and Liberation

The most significant aspect of Jaina Philosophy is its ethics. Final aim of Jaina is to liberate the soul and gain Kevalajnana and regains its true nature of Anantachatustaya . The Soul/Astikaya Jiva is Badha i.e bondage, due to association with Karma Matter (Karma Pudgal).
Soul/Jiva inherently/originally is anantachatustaya, i.e is a possession of four infinite qualities of infinite faith, power, knowledge and bliss (K, F, B, P).
However, passions (Kasaya, Sticky substance) and cravings, which spring from beginning less ignorance, cause the soul to become associated with matter (Karmic Pudgala), and its original qualities are contaminated and souls become finite. (Which previously was infinite). Jiva loses its anantachatusthaya.
The Kasaya/sticky substance which can cause bondage are  : Anger, greed, pride and delusion.
These are called Kasaya or Sticky substance, because they cause matter to stick to the soul. Now the soul, because of Kasaya, attract the flow of Karma Pudgala towards itself. The nature and number of Karma Pudgala attracted by soul depends on its own Karma.
The process of flow (influx) is called Ashrava.
  • Are of 42 kinds.
  • Two types : Bhavashrava and Dravyashrava
  • Bhavashrava : Changes in the bhavs of the soul before the entering of the Karma pudgala. Like body massaged with oil
  • Dravyashrava : Changes after the entrance of Karma Pudgala, i.e sticking of karma pudgala with Jiva.
The process of binding of soul is called Bandha.
The matter intermixes with the Jiva just as water mixes with milk. Thus, our body, we find consciouness and matter in every part. The soul remains co-extensive with the body.
(Ideal bondage occurs as soon as the soul gives rise to ignore dispositions). Relation between Karma and Soul is itself beginning less.

Since Karma is what binds the soul, liberation requires disassociation of the soul from the Karma Pudgala. This is a two step process  :
a) SAMVARA : Stopping of influx of new matter into the soul
b) NIRJARA :  Wearing out of the already present Karma Pudgala in the soul.
When the process is complete, the soul attains Kevalajana and the state is called Moksha. The liberated soul transcends Samsara and resides in Siddha-Shila, where it dwells in its eternal and infinite attributes.
Omniscience + Anantachatushtaya revealed.
The indispensable path to liberation requires three things : Right Faith, Right knowledge, Right Conduct. Together, they are called Triratna or three jewels.
  • Samyak Darshana
  • Samyak Jnana
  • Samyak Charitra : Involves the Panchamahavrata
B) SATYAM : Always say the truth
C) ASTEYAM : Don’t steal
D) BRAHMACHARYA : Abstinence from self indulgance.
E) APARGRIHA : Abstinence from all attachment.
Since beggingless ignorance is the root cause of bondage, it can be removed only by knowledge. But right knowledge can be attained only faith in teaching first. Thus, right faith is necessary. It is right conduct that perfects the knowledge that is gained. Hence, right knowledge is dawned when all the passions are destroyed by Right Conduct.

(4) Saptabhanginaya

It means dialectic of the seven steps or the Theory of Seven-Fold-Judgement.
To sum up, Jaina recognizes seven kinds of conditional judgement, each of which, being relative, is preceded by the word Syad. This is called Syadvada or Saptabhanginaya. (Ordinary logic recognizes two forms of judgement – Affirmative and negative)
Seven forms of Judgements are as follows :
  • Syat ASTI : A thing is real relatively
  • Syat NASTI : A thing is unreal relatively
  • Syat ASTI NASTI : Relatively, a thing is both real and unreal (This cannot be a criticism as we are taking different points of view here)
  • Syat AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is indescriable.
  • Syat ASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is real and indescribable.
  • Syat NASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a thing is unreal and indescribable.
  • Syat ASTI NASTI AVAKTAVYAM : Relatively, a things is real, unreal and indescribable.
Example of Saptabhanginaya takes time and space into consideration. Example : Syad table asti cha nasti cha.
This means, this table is as this time and this location while the fact that it isn’t at another location is also true. This conditional judgement, makes Jaina Philosophy highly tolerant. Almost all philosophical/religious different are due to mistaking partial truth as complete.
Criticisms :
  • In SAPTBHANGINYAYA, the last three are just recombination of what comes in the first four points. Last three points are superfluous and redundant.
  • THEY ARE SELF CONTRADICTORY (same thing has been defined as being real and unreal i.e SYAT ASATI NASATI) : Jainas defend themselves as they consider it to be different points of views. Hence this criticism is wrong and countered.

(3) Syadvada (Theory of Relativity of Knowledge/Propositions)

Probability may be skepticism and Jainas are not skeptic, not agnosticism, not theory of speculative knowledge. Hence SYADVADA isn’t theory of probability. The word SYAD here is used in the context or sense of “relative” and the correct translation of Syadavada is Theory of Relativity.
Reality has infinite aspects, and with out limited perspective, we can only know some aspects, and from each relative point of view (Due to soul in bondage). Thus, every proposition is an incomplete yet definite picture of reality, and thus all our judgement are necessarily relative, limited and conditional. (Human knowledge is necessarily limited, conditional relative)
Hence, the Epistemological theory of Jaina Philosophy disallows categorical/absolute prediction.
As an example, Jainas cite the old story of six blind men and the elephant.
Everything exists from the point of view of its own substance. When we say “This table exists”, we cannot mean that this table exists absolutely and unconditionally. Our knowledge of the table is necessarily relative. The table exists in itself as an absolute real and infintely complex reality, only our knowledge of it is relative.
There are three forms of judgement (That we make)
  • Durniti (Bad Judgement) : It is taking a relative point of view or partial truth as the whole and complete truth. (Taking partial truth as permanent truth)
  • Naya (Judgement) : It is taking a statement as it is, without labelling a condition of partial or absolute.
  • Pramana (Valid Judgement) : By prefixing “Syat”, before a Nyaya, we acknowledge that every judgement can only be partial or relative, and thus gain knowledge in its correct form.
So, every nyaya in order to become pramana or valid knowledge, must be qualified by SYAT.

Justifications of Syadvada : Jiva, due to beginningless ignorance, lose faith in Teerthankaras and hence fall in the trap of Kasaya (Passions), attracts Karmic particles. These Karma causes hindrance in attaining knowledge. Thus, all we know as relative, conditional.
  • To make our ideas errorless and authentic.
  • To promote religious tolerance and harmony
  • It provides a valid middle path between Buddha’s theory of momentariness(Ksanivada) and Sankara’s theory of eternity (nityavada), by accepting and harmonizing both.
  • Opens a liberal Path
  • Support religious pluralism, hence multi-culturalism.
Criticism :
a) Buddhist and Vedatins have called that Syadvada is Self Contradictory (same thing has been defined as being real and unreal i.e Syat asati nasati) : Jainas defend themselves as they consider it to be different points of views. Hence this criticism is wrong and countered.
b) Vedatins have criticized that Syadavada as a doctrine of probability or speculator. But it is not so, as it is a theory of relativity of knowledge (syadvada). All judgements are relative and conditional.
c) Sankara :
  • Without an absolute, the theory of relativity cannot logically sustained. The absolute presupposes the existence of Relative. Ultimately all is manifested in the Absolute itself. Other school accepts the logic that we have partial, limited, relative knowledge, but for considering something to be RELATIVE, we need to compare it with something ABSOLUTE.
Because without the relative, the absolute can exist, but if the absolute is discarded, the relative is also lost. Hence, the absolute and relative are not equally valid or true. The Jainas forget that organic synthesis and not arithmetic addition leads us to reality. (Admission of Kevaljnana, which is called pure, perfect and intuitive knowledge. This is an admission of absolute knowledge. Thus, Syadvada is not a completely consistent theory)
Jainism is Biased against Absolutism
  • If all truths are only partial, Syadavada also is only partially true and hence incomplete. But since they consider their metaphysics of Anekantavada as the only absolute to reach to Kevaljnana i.e they are the only one teaching the whole truth. They themselves are considering a HALF HEARTED ABSOLUTISM and hence become inconsistence.
d) In Saptabhanginyaya or seven fold judgement of Syadvada, the last three are just recombination of what comes in the first four points. Last three points are superfluous and redundant.

(2) Dravya (Substance)

That thing which possesses the characters (positive and negative) is Dravya. There are two kinds of characters found in every substance : essential and accidental. Essential ones or Gunas are attribues/qualities which have permanent essence while accidental substances are Modes which are Prayaya which are changing.
A substance or Dravya can thus be defined as something which possesses both attributes and modes or Gunas and Prayayas.
The Jainas view both change and permanence as Real. Every substance has combination of essential qualities called attributes and accidental qualities called Modes. In so far as substance has attributes, it is permanent and from its modes perspective it undergoes origin and decay.
Thus, to emphasise only on one aspect (ekanta) to the exclusion of other aspects would lead to commitment of Fallacy of Ekantavada. Both Buddhism which talks about Ksankivada and Vedatins which talk about Nityavad (change being absolutely unchanging) fall to this fallacy of Ekantavada.
Thus, both Vedantins and Buddhists commit the fallacy of Ekantavad (Leading to exclusive predication). As Jainism takes into account all partial views, their philosophical doctrine is Anekantavad. Change and Permanence both are real. The contradiction vanishes when we remember that any predication is relative and conditional.
Classification of Substance 
Substance are broadly classified into extended and non-extended substance. There is only one substance namely time which is devoid of extension. All other substances posses extension. They are called by the name Astikaya (which possess extension) and the one (Time) which doesn’t possess extension is Anastikaya.
Substances possessing extension (Astikaya) are subdivided into two kinds namely, the living (Jiva) and the non-living (Ajiva).
Souls/Jiva can again be classified into those that are emancipated and those that are in bondage. The souls in bondage are again of two kinds : those that are capable of movement and those that are immobile.
  • Examples of immobile living substances/astikaya jivas : earth, water, fire, air and plants. (They have only sense of touch)


  • The mobile living substances/astikaya jivas have different degress of perfection and variously possess two, three, four or five senses. Example : beasts, birds and men.
Non-living substance or Astikaya Ajiva possess extension which are Pudgala, Akasha, Dharma, Adharma.
  • Dharma and Adharma are the forces that cause movement and rest respectively.
  • Space or Akasha : The function of this Space is to accomodate all the Extended (astikaya) substances. It consists of Loka and Aloka. (Essentially different from that used in other schools of Philosophy)
  • Matter or Pudgal : It is an Astikaya Ajiva (has extension but is non living). Something which is liable of integration or disintegration (Just like the matter of Charavaka). While Jainas use it to define matter, Buddhists use it in the sense of a soul. Pudagala can further be subdivided into anu(atoms) which combine together to form compounds. Pudgala possess the four qualities of smell, taste, touch and color. Sound is not an original quality but a modification of air itself. (Along with light, heat, shape etc which are produced by accidental modifications/characteristics/prayayas of matter.) It is matter in subtle form, that constitutes Karma, infiltrates the soul, and binds it into Samsara.
Time : It is the only Anastikaya or Non extended substance. It doesn’t extend in space and is indivisible. It is not perceived, but inferred. They can be divided into real and empirical time.

Doctrine of Jiva
Jiva is conscious and Astikaya Dravya.
  • It is a conscious Pudgala.
  • Consciousness is the very essence of Jiva.
  • Like Monads of Leibnitz, Purush of Sankhya, Jivas of Jainism are qualitatively alike but quantitatively differ, i.e all are conscious but the degree of consciousness varies.
  • Their inherent nature is anantachatustaya, i.e Jiva has infinite knowledge, faith, bliss and power (F, K, B, P). It is Astikaya because it extends like Light but not like Matter (Astikaya Ajiva).
  • It is coextensive with body. (For Charavaka, so called “Soul” is nothing but consciousness in body)
Jainas give direct and indirect proofs for the existence of JIVA.
Proofs for existence of soul/Jiva :
  • Direct Proof : Through observation of its attributes/gunas (Consciousness) and modes/prayaya (happiness, sorrow, pain, pleasure etc.)
  • Indirect Proof : We can move own body at will, this proves there is a mover or soul, as matter is immobile by nature. Soul is fundamental truth that needs no proof.
Comparison :
  • N.V : Consciousness is accidental quality of soul (while for Jainas, consciousness is essential quality)
  • Shankara : Soul is Vibhu (all pervasive)
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of Jivas :
a) Those who are liberated or emancipated (Mukta)
b) Those who are bound (Baddha).
The souls in bondage are two, i.e those which are capable of moving or those which are immobile.
  • Examples of immobile living substances/astikaya jivas : earth, water, fire, air and plants. (They have only sense of touch)
  • The mobile living substances/astikaya jivas have different degress of perfection and variously possess two, three, four or five senses. Example : beasts, birds and men.
BONDAGE : In Jainas philosophy, bondage means union of Karma Pugala with Jiva. Due to beginningless ignorance, Jiva loses faith in Teerthankaras and becomes vulnerable to passion known as Kasaya which are sticky substance being four in number : ANGER, GREED, PRIDE & DELUSION.
These Kasaya attract the flow of Karmic Pudagala towards Jiva, this flow is Asrava.
  • Asrava is of 42 kinds.
  • Asrava maybe Bhavasrava i.e it refers to changes in Bhava before the entrance of Karma Pudgala. It is just like body massaged with oil.
  • Dravyaashrava i.e changes after the entrance of Karma Pudgala, i.e sticking of karma pudgala with Jiva.
Liberation is separation of Karmic Pudgala with Jiva.
By possessing and practicing Tri-ratna i.e RIGHT FAITH, RIGHT KNOWLEDGE AND RIGHT CONDUCT, the flow of KARMA pudgala is stopped and this is SAMVARA.
Then already existing Karmic Pudgala are eliminated or exhausted. This is NIRJARA.
When the last of last particle is exhausted, Jiva regains its true nature of Anantachatustaya i.e JIVA has infinite Knowledge, Faith, Bliss and Power . It attains MOKSHA or KEVALAYA.
Liberated soul transcends this SANSAR and goes straight into SIDHHA SHILA and dwells there in eternal knowledge and bliss.
TRI RATNAS or three JEWELS together form the path of liberation.

(1) Theory Of Reality (Metaphysics of Jainism)

The Jaina metaphysics is a realistic and relativistic pluralism. It is called Anektavad or The Doctrine of Manyness of Reality. Jaina holds that there are innumerable material atoms and innumerable individual souls (spirit or jiva) which are all separately and independently real. And each atom and each soul possesses innumerable aspects of its own.
Every object possesses innumerable positive and negative characters. It is not possible for ordinary people, to know all the qualities of a thing. An ordinary person can know only some qualities of something. Human Knowledge is necessarily relative and limited and so are all our judgments. This epistemological and logical theory of the Jainas is called SYADVADA.
As a matter of fact, both Anekantvada and Syadvada are the two aspects of the same teaching – realistic and relativistic pluralism.
So, Metaphysics = Anekantavada
      Epistemology = Syadvada
Arguments for ANEKANTAVADA :
a) There are innumerable material atoms and innumerable individual souls which are all separately and independently real, having innumerable aspects of its own.
b) Experience proves that there are actually innumerable objects in this universe.
c) We find different kinds of knowledge. It proves a thing has a number of aspects.
d) When we perform a research, new qualities is found in an object. Hence, objects have innumerable qualities.
e) Plurality of JIVAS also supports ANEKANTVADA.
f) Definition of SAT supports ANEKANTAVADA. Here SAT(real) is defined as that which possess the three characteristics of production, destruction and permanence.
g) SAPT-BHANGI-NYAYA also supports it : Same object can have seven types of judgments.
h) Relativity of Knowledge also supports Anekatvada.
i)  Presence of different philosophical views regarding the number and nature of ultimate reality supports anekantavada.