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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Other karma matters are accumulating by his activities


To

notice other relevant points in connection with the Karma doctrine as established in the astika systems we find that it was believed that the unseen (_ad@r@s@ta_) potency of the action generally required some time before it could be fit for giving the doer the merited punishment or enjoyment. These would often accumulate and prepare the items of suffering and enjoyment for the doer in his next life. Only the fruits of those actions which are extremely wicked or particularly good could be reaped in this life. The nature of the next birth of a man is determined by the nature of pleasurable or painful experiences that have been made ready for him by his maturing actions of this life. If the experiences determined for him by his action are such that they are possible to be realized in the life of a goat, the man will die and be born as a goat. As there is no ultimate beginning in time of this world process, so there is no time at which any person first began his actions or experiences. Man has had an infinite number of past lives of the most varied nature, and the instincts of each kind of life exist dormant in the life of every individual, and thus whenever he has any particular birth as this or that animal or man,

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the special instincts of that life (technically called _vasana_) come forth. In accordance with these vasanas the person passes through the painful or pleasurable experiences as determined for him

by his action. The length of life is also determined by the number and duration of experiences as preordained by the fructifying actions of his past life. When once certain actions become fit for giving certain experiences, these cannot be avoided, but those actions which have not matured are uprooted once for all if the person attains true knowledge as advocated by philosophy. But even such an emancipated (_mukta_) person has to pass through the pleasurable or painful experiences ordained for him by the actions just ripened for giving their fruits. There are four kinds of actions, white or virtuous (_s'ukla_), black or wicked (_k@r@s@na_), white-black or partly virtuous and partly vicious (_s'ukla-k@r@s@na_) as most of our actions are, neither black nor white (_as'uklak@r@s@na_), i.e. those acts of self-renunciation or meditation which are not associated with any desires for the fruit. It is only when a person can so restrain himself as to perform only the last kind of action that he ceases to accumulate any new karma for giving fresh fruits. He has thus only to enjoy the fruits of his previous karmas which have ripened for giving fruits. If in the meantime he attains true knowledge, all his past accumulated actions become destroyed, and as his acts are only of the as'uklak@r@s@na type no fresh karma for ripening is accumulated, and thus he becomes divested of all karma after enjoying the fruits of the ripened karmas alone.

The Jains think that through the actions of body, speech and mind a kind of subtle matter technically called karma is produced. The passions of a man act like a viscous substance that attracts this karma matter, which thus pours into the soul and sticks to it. The karma matter thus accumulated round the soul during the infinite number of past lives is technically called _karmas'arira_, which encircles the soul as it passes on from birth to birth. This karma matter sticking to the soul gradually ripens and exhausts itself in ordaining the sufferance of pains or the enjoyment of pleasures for the individual. While some karma matter is being expended in this way, other karma matters are accumulating by his activities, and thus keep him in a continuous process of suffering and enjoyment. The karma matter thus accumulated in the soul produces a kind of coloration called _les'ya_, such as white, black, etc., which marks the character of the soul. The


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