Moksha (Jainism)

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Depiction of Siddha Shila as per Jain cosmology which is abode of infinite Siddhas

Moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष, leration) or Mokkha (Jain Prakrit: मोक्ख) means liberation, salvation or soul. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage, free from saṃsāra, the cycle of birth and death. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite perception. Such a soul is called siddha or paramatman and considered as supreme soul or God. In Jainism, it is the highest and the noblest objective that a soul should strive to achieve. In fact, it is the only objective that a person should have; other objectives are contrary to the true nature of soul. With right view, knowledge and efforts all souls can attain this state. That is why, Jainism is also known as mokṣamārga or the “path to liberation”.

Bhavyata[edit]

However, from the point of view of potentiality of mokṣa, Jain texts bifurcates the souls in two categories–bhavya and abhavya. Bhavya souls are those souls who have faith in mokṣa and hence will make some efforts to achieve liberation. This potentiality or quality is called bhavyata.[1] However, bhavyata itself does not guarantee mokṣa, as the soul needs to expend necessary efforts to attain it. On the other hand abhavya souls are those souls who cannot attain liberation as they do not have faith in mokṣa and hence never make any efforts to attain it.

Samyaktva[edit]

According to Jainism, Samyak darsana (Rational Perception), Samyak Gyaan(Rational Knowledge) and Samyak Caritra (Rational Conduct) collectively also known as Ratnatraya or the three Jewels of Jainism constitute true Dharma. According to Umasvati, Samyak Darsana, Gyaan Caritra together constitutes mokṣamarga or the path to liberation.[2]

Samyak Darsana or rational perception is the rational faith in the true nature of every substance of the universe.[3]

Samyak Caritra or rational conduct is the natural conduct of a (soul) living being. It consists in following austerities, engaging in right activities and observance of vows, carefulness and controls.[4] Once a soul secures samyaktva, mokṣa is assured within a few lifetimes.

Nirvāna[edit]

Nirvāna means final release from the karmic bondage. When an enlightened human, such as, an Arhat or a Tirthankara extinguishes his remaining aghatiya karmas and thus ends his worldly existence, it is called nirvāna. Technically, the death of an Arhat is called nirvāṇa of Arhat, as he has ended his wordly existence and attained liberation. Moksa, that is to say, liberation follows nirvāṇa. However, the terms moksa and nirvana are often used interchangeably in the Jain texts.[5][6] An Arhat becomes a siddha, the liberated one, after attaining nirvana.

Kalpasutra gives an elaborate account of Mahavira’s nirvāṇa.[7]

The aghatiya Karma’s of venerable Ascetic Mahavira got exhausted, when in this Avasarpini era the greater part of the Duhshamasushama period had elapsed and only three years and eight and a half months were left. Mahavira had recited the fifty-five lectures which detail the results of Karma, and the thirty-six unasked questions (the Uttaradhyana Sutra). The moon was in conjunction with the asterism Svati, at the time of early morning, in the town of Papa, and in king Hastipala's office of the writers, (Mahivira) single and alone, sitting in the Samparyahka posture, left his body and attained nirvana, freed from all pains.” (147)

In the fourth month of that rainy season, in the seventh fortnight, in the dark (fortnight) of Karttika, on its fifteenth day, in the last night, in the town of Papa, in king Hastipala's office of the writers, the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira died, went off, cut asunder the ties of birth, old age, and death; became a Siddha, a Buddha, a Mukta, a maker of the end (to all misery), finally liberated, freed from all pains. (123)

That night in which the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira died, freed from all pains, was lighted up by many descending and ascending gods. (125)

In that night in which the Venerable Ascetic Mahavira, died, freed from all pains, the eighteen confederate kings of Kasi and Kosala, the nine Mallakis and nine Licchavis, on the day of new moon, instituted an illuminations on the Poshadha, which was a fasting day; for they said: 'Since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination of material matter!'(128)

The terms moksa and nirvana are often used interchangeably in the Jain texts.[8][9]

Uttaradhyana Sutra provides an account of Gautama explaining the meaning of nirvāṇa to Kesi a disciple of Parsva.[10]

There is a safe place in view of all, but difficult of approach, where there is no old age nor death, no pain nor disease. It is what is called Nirvâna, or freedom from pain, or perfection, which is in view of all; it is the safe, happy, and quiet place which the great sages reach. That is the eternal place, in view of all, but difficult of approach. Those sages who reach it are free from sorrows, they have put an end to the stream of existence. (81-4)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). "Chapter 5. Bhavyata and Abhavyata : A Jaina Doctrine of 'Predestination'". Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9. 
  2. ^ Kuhn, Hermann (2001). Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate. Wunstorf, Germany: Crosswind Publishing. ISBN 3-9806211-4-6. 
  3. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (1998). The Jaina Path of Purification. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1578-5. 
  4. ^ *Varni, Jinendra; Ed. Prof. Sagarmal Jain, Translated Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr. K.K. Dixit (1993). Samaṇ Suttaṁ. New Delhi: Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti.  Verse 262 - 4
  5. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9. : "Moksa and Nirvana are synonymous in Jainism". p.168
  6. ^ Michael Carrithers, Caroline Humphrey (1991) The Assembly of listeners: Jains in society Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521365058: "Nirvana: A synonym for liberation, release, moksa." p.297
  7. ^ Jacobi, Hermann; Ed. F. Max Müller (1884). Kalpa Sutra, Jain Sutras Part I, Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 22. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 
  8. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9. : "Moksa and Nirvana are synonymous in Jainism". p.168
  9. ^ Michael Carrithers, Caroline Humphrey (1991) The Assembly of listeners: Jains in society Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521365058: "Nirvana: A synonym for liberation, release, moksa." p.297
  10. ^ Jacobi, Hermann; Ed. F. Max Müller (1895). Uttaradhyayana Sutra, Jain Sutras Part II, Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 45. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.