Jai Mahavir ji

   Fundamental Features of Jainism

   Soul- An Eternal Reality & True Pilgrimage

Source religious books written by Upadhaya Munishri Kamakumar Nandi ji in excerpt form.





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Man is mortal immortal soul Life is like a

 'horse race goal'.

"The self is different   from matter, Matter from the self-this is the quintessence of all the compilations of wisdom; all the rest of knowledge is but an amplification of this! I am not subject to death; then, what for should I fear death? Nor I am subject to disease; then, what can cause me pain? I am not a child; I am not an old man; nor am I a youth- all these appertain to the flesh (matter)"

Jain philosophy has a special significance in the field of philosophy. Jain principle of soul-living and matter-non-living is very important. Jain philosophy is a scientific philosophy . It  believes in the concept that consciousness is Soul. Consciousness is the characteristic of every living Soul.

The soul constitutes the most important theme of the Jain Philosophy. The soul is central theme in the Jain system. Different parts of the system appear to be woven round the central theme. The soul is neither created nor is any body created by the soul. It is essentially a unite of chetana (Conscious-ness) and Upyoga (Conation).

The soul is eternal but not of a definite size, since it contracts or expands according to the dimension of the body in which it is incorporated for the time being. According to Jain theory of substance not only the Soul but all the substances must also have some extension, finite infinite or atomic. Variability of a Soul’s magnitude, which is perceived through the variability of the organism of the living beings. Can be explained only by affirming extension of the Soul.

  Soul is different from matter, and is conscious by nature. What is termed as ’purusa’ spirit in Samkhya Yoga, What the Budhists call ‘scientific flow’ What Charak regards’ consciousness predominated body’ and What is Soul according to Nyaya -Vaisesika and Vedant religion, that a Soul from the viewpoint of Jain philosophy. Despite all this the thinking of Jain philosophy about Soul is independent of other philosophies.

  In the midst of a conglomeration of philosophies, stands out the Jaina system which starts with the scientific postulate ex nihilo nihil fit, and is thus grounded in reality. It may look strange, that although it is very ancient Indian system, it is highly and peculiarly consistent with modern realism and modern science. Since it establishes the existence of soul and matter as the two separate, distinct, independent and immutable entities, it is often described as dualism or dualist realism. Indeed, the Jain dualism of the soul and the non-soul (matter) is not based on absolute opposition. Hence the theory of the relation between them is shown to transcend both interactions and parallelism.

The soul is independent in everybody. This conception of the Jain philosophy is in conformity with Samkhyas, Naiyayikas and Vishistha Advaitvadis; still the opinion of Advaitvada is different, because it regards that by nature Soul is one, but due to the characteristics of the body it seems of different natures.

 In accordance with the Jaina theory of substance the soul possesses a multiplicity of attributes. In respect of some other attributes both the soul and non-soul (body) agree with each other. The special attributes of the soul like conation, knowledge and bliss etc. distinguish it from the non-soul (body) and the general implication of such attributes is termed as consciousness. Besides, many other attributes of the soul are also conscious.

The Jains are of the opinion that Soul is linked with karmas. Just as the link between the earth and gold is eternal and c; likewise the union between Soul and Karma is also beginning less. Just as the food eaten is automatically converted into the shape of seven elements, similarly the karmic matter adopted by the soul is automatically converted in the shape of Karmas.

To sum up, according to Jain Philosophy soul is conscious and despite being transformed into different states it is eternal, the doer of pious and evil karmas and the sufferer of their auspicious and inauspicious fruits; it is self-sizes, neither psychical nor cerebral but psych-Cerebral.

The Jains have compared Soul with sun. Life exists only with Soul; otherwise it is death. In bondage the power of Soul becomes limited. Soul is living; and the existence of Soul is self-evident by the word life. Soul is different from body and is all pervading. It does not mean that it expands like the non- living substances but the experience of the different organs of the body exist in it. Like light soul pervades every part of the body through consciousness. It is the moving force of the body and senses are its medium. The relationship of cause and effect cannot be established between body and consciousness. The co-working with body is not everlasting; for the Soul performs its functions and during sleep and unconsciousness as well.

As the Soul moves on from one state to another state of existence every moment, it is dynamic. Just as gold remains gold even when crowns and different types of ornaments are manufactured with it, likewise while moving in all the four conditions of existence of the state of Soul changes, still the Soul remains as it is.

Prof. A. Chakravarti observes: “The appearance is just the appearance of reality and the reality cannot exist apart from and independent of its appearance which is but its manifestation. The contradiction between reality and existence is but the result of mental abstraction, and as such has no basis in a genuine metaphysics.”

The followers of the omniscient-Jinas, do not rely upon anything like the so-called creator or the father-god of heavens, or supreme Soul. On the other hand, the Jains have their own ontology of religion and Theism, doctrine of purity of Souls, concept of mundane creatures and the school to cognize other phenomena in the universe. It is the firm conviction of the Jainas that the Soul is the supreme knower and knowable too. Knowledge is the fundamental virtue attribute to the Soul.

Jainism teaches that soul is immortal and in its pure nature is full of absolute knowledge and infinite bliss. It is only when Soul is drawn low by the body and the senses that it is held in bondage with karmas. To mediate for only a few minutes daily on the pure nature of the Soul is path of liberation and salvation.

Human Soul endowed with the characteristics of pure and perfect knowledge by nature and capable of sailing us across the vast ocean of the world is the real place of pilgrimage. The mundane Soul who bathes in the celestial pond of his Soul gets rid of all blemishes of karmic matters in the world.  For this purpose mundane Souls should observe the religious vows day and night and should become purified with Right Belief. Acharya kundkund Swami has stated this fact in the 26th couplets of ‘Bodh Prabharta’. Non-violence, Truth, Non-stealing, Celibacy and Non-possession are five vows or great vows. To have faith in the ultimate sanctified principles bereft of twenty five infirmities, i.e.- eight blemishes, eight type of prides, three follies and six forbidden acts is called Right Belief. Right Belief means true and firm conviction in seven tattvas. i.e. principles of Jainism as they are and without any perverse notion. The belief that the Jain Tirthankaras are the true Gods, the Jain Sastras, i.e. sacred books, the true scripture, and the Jain saints the true preceptors, is called the Right Belief. The ascetic who has been made sanctified with Right Belief and vow with the above characteristics, who is not governed by the five senses, and not ambitious for the external objects, gets initiated into the holy path of pure inner self (Soul) and bathes in the pure stream of knowledge.

The Acharyas have termed the pure, unblemished and spotless holy religion free from all type of excesses, as moral character is the true pilgrimage. Right-Belief with full faith in the Jain principles is also a pilgrimage. To subdue the senses and control the mind is self-restraint. This self-restraint being capable to sail us across the ocean of the world is also pilgrimage. The characteristic of penance is the negation of desires. This penance is also a pilgrimage. Besides, acquisition of knowledge is also pilgrimage. In Jainism all these are called pilgrimage from the substantial point of view. We should undertake these pilgrimages with calm and peaceful mind. When these feelings of Right-Belief etc. are accompanied with anger, they are not called pilgrimage.

From the conventional and relative point of view visiting the world renowned Jain holy places like Sammed Shikker, Champapuri and Pawanpur etc, which have been rendered sacred by the foot prints of the liberated Souls who are instrumental in attainment of salvation, and offering prayers at these bliss-full spot is also a pilgrimage.

Just as in the world an edible article gains greater sweetness with the addition of molasses, jamjaggery or sugar, likewise the holy places, which are the permanent abobes of liberated Souls, make the world a sacred place. Only the holy places mentioned in the Jain scriptures have been regarded true places of pilgrimage. To regard taking dips in some rivers or ponds or taking jumps from the hilltops or passing through some caves in the hills as pilgrimage is simply ignorance.

Those who embark whole-heartedly on the pilgrimages mentioned in the Jain scriptures getting rid of wrong belief; anger, pride, deceit and greed etc. can attain liberation on becoming endowed with Right- Belief.

A journey into the eternal land of bliss (Soul) is a true pilgrimage. It is only by going on this pilgrimage that the noble souls swim across the ocean of the world. It has also been said in Jains scriptures that’ the three jewels namely  ‘Right- belief, Right knowledge and Right- conduct’ are the superb type of pilgrimage. A living being endowed with the three jewels performs the superb type of pilgrimage; for the three jewels are the attributes of the Soul. The three jewels are not found in the other substances except the Soul. Therefore, a living being adorned with the three jewels has been stated to perform the sublimes pilgrimage. In ‘Aadi Puran’ one of the Jains scripture ‘Right- belief, Right knowledge and Right- conduct’ which pave

The path of Salvation have been called pilgrimage

From the above illustration we come to the conclusion that Soul is the true pilgrimage. Therefore, all human beings should undertake the pilgrimage of Soul (from the substantial point of view) along with the practical pilgrimages. Only by doing so the migration of Soul from world to world can be put to a stop.

           The End

Note:-The words shown in italics and green color are from prakart/sanskrit language.

In case any mistake is noticed it may be either informed to us or the contents may be read after correction.


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