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Ăsrav means inflow and according to Jaina philosophy defined as the inflow of karmic matter into the constitution of the soul. The influx of karmas occurs at every second in life. It is this process that keeps our souls wandering in this universe and prevents it from being free. 

Let us say that you went boating and were having a good time. Suddenly, you noticed water spurting from the floor of the boat. What would go through your mind? What would you do? The first thing that would go through your mind is that there is a hole, let me plug it before the boat sinks. You may be lucky if it was just one hole, but there could be more than one. In the same way, we know that karmas are accumulating in our souls through one or more of our activities and unless we stop them they are going to choke our souls.

 Ăsrav can be described as  of two types. 

1) Physical or Objective. 

2) Psychic or Subjective 

The physical type refers to actual activities which lead to the inflow of karmas. The psychic refers to mental engrossment in such activities. There are forty-two ways through which the soul is exposed to the inflow of karmas. Of the forty-two, five are senses, four are passions, five are avratas, three are yogas, and twenty-five are activities. The first seventeen of these are regarded as the major ones, while the other rest twenty-five are the minor ăsrava. These ăsrav can also be named in eighteen different forms (sins), such as; violence, falsehood, stealing, sexual activity, possessiveness, anger, ego, deceit, greed, attachment, hatred , quarrelsomeness, false accusations, divulging someone's secrets, backbiting, taking delight in committing sins, being unhappy with religious acts, lying maliciously, trusting false belief, religious teachers, and religions. In Jainism, karmas enter due to following five reasons: 

1) Wrong Belief (Mithyatva), 

2) Vowlessness (Avirati), 

3) Passions (Kashayas), 

4) Negligence (Pramăda), 

5) Psychophysical activities (Yoga).


1) Mithyatva (False Belief): Mithyatva means wrong attitude, wrong taste, ignoble activity, and lack of faith in  fundamentals (tattvas) expounded by the Jinas. Mithyatva also means not having interest and faith in the path of Moksha expounded by the Jina, but having interest and faith in a so called path of Moksha expounded by ignorant and unenlightened people. In other words, instead of having faith in the Arihants, great spiritual heads, and a great dharma, those with mithyatva believe in a false spiritual head and false dharma. The false preceptor is one who does not act according to the great vows such as non-violence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya), Non-stealing (Asteya), Celibacy (Brahamcharya), and Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha). He keeps wealth and woman, and approves of such actions. He does not abide by the code of conduct of monks. Such a person is a false spiritual head. The false religion, is that which is devoid of samyakdarshan (the right faith), samyakjnan (the right knowledge), and samyakcharitra (the right character). A false religion does not explain the true nature of jăva and ajăva. A false religion deems it right to enjoy sensual pleasures, to have passions, and to commit sins. Having faith in such a false spiritual head and dharma; having partiality for them and interest in them constitute false belief or mithyatva.


2) Avirati (Vow-less-ness) Avirati means the stage of vow-less-ness during which one has no restraint from doing or contemplating upon bad things. Unless we take a vow to restrain or cut our association with any undesirable activities, all such activities will bring bad karmas to our soul. By taking a vow, we are saying that we will not have anything to do with these activities. In this way, we will not accumulate any bad karmas related to such activities in respect of Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahamcharya and Aparigraha.


 3) Passions (Kashayas) Kash means Samsăr and Aya means gain. Therefore, kashayas means that which helps to gain or keep the jäva in samsar. In other words, kashayas are those things which keep Jävas in the cycle of birth and death. Kashayas are also called passions and refer specially to anger, ego, deception, and greed. These passions have many forms such as attachments, hatred, enmity, hostility, arrogance, craftiness, trickery, lust, greed, and possessive propensity, etc. While fun, sorrow, delight, excitement, fear, disgust, abhorrence and sexual craving, etc., provoke kashayas. They themselves are not kashayas, but are rather referred to as nokashayas. The kashayas  are of four type as given below:-

i) Severe (Anantanubandhi Kashaya), 

ii) Moderate (Apratyakhyan Kashaya),

 iii) Mild (Pratyakhyan Kashaya), 

iv) Slight (Samjwalan Aparigraha).

These are in  accordance to the degree of severity in respect of Anger, greed, deception, and ego. The Severest Kashaya (Anantanubandhi Kashaya) is like drawing a line on stone while as the Slightly severe Kashaya (Samjwalan Kashay) is just like drawing a line on water. 

4) Pramăda (Indolence):-Pramăda means engaging in activities like  Arrogance,  Sensual cravings,  Passions,  Sleep and gossiping etc. Further the followings are also included under the category of pramada i.e. i) Attachments, ii) Hatred, iii) Ignorance, iv) Doubt, v) Illusion, vi) Forgetfulness, vii) Harmful activities of the mind, body and voice viii) Not caring for, and not having enthusiasm for any religious activities.

5) Yoga (Psychophysical Activity) In Jainism, yoga means psychophysical activities. In other words, the thoughts( măn/mind), the words( bachan), and the physical (kaya) activities of the jäva are called yogas. There are fifteen types of activities. If these activities are meritorious, the soul gathers auspicious karmas, and if they are de-meritorious, the soul gathers inauspicious karmas.

Thus Yoga is the channel of ăsrava, The physical matter is actually drawn to the soul cannot be perceived by the senses as it is very fine.

Further, ăsrava is of two kinds, viz. (a) Subha ăsrava i.e. good influx, and (b) asubha ăsrava , i.e. bad influx.

The Subha ăsrava  is the inlet of virtue or meritorious karmas, and asubha ăsrava  is the inlet of virtue of vice de-meritorious  karmas.


When the karmic matter enters the soul, both get imperceptibly mixed with each other. Bandha or bondage is the assimilation of matter which is fit to form karmas by the soul as it is associated with passions. This union of spirit and matter does not imply a complete annihilation of their natural properties, but only a suspension of their functions, in varying degrees, according to the quality and quantity of the matter absorbed. Thus the effect of the fusion of the spirit and matter is manifested in the form of a compound personality which partakes of the nature of both, without actually destroying either.

The causes of bandha or bondage are five., as  explained under the heading Ăsrav.

Further, this bandha or bondage is of four kinds according to ( i) prakrit, i.e. nature of karmic matter which has invested the soul; (ii) sthiti i.e. duration of the attachment of karmic matter to the soul; (iii) anubhăga, i.e. the intensity or the character-strong or mild - of the actual fruition of the karmic matter, and (iv) pradesa, i.e. the number of karmic molecules which attach the soul.


Literally, Samvar means blocking of desire and aversion.. Samvar, in the theory of karma, means blockage or stoppage of the inflow of karmas to the soul. It is the opposite of ăsrava , which means the inflow of karmas. In the discussion of ăsrava , we gave the  example  of the boating which also explains how samvar works. Let us pretend as if we went  for boating. We were having a good time and suddenly noticed water rising on the floor of boat. We immediately felt that the boat had a hole and if the leak was not plugged  the boat would sink. So, the first thing we did was to find the hole and seal it so that new water would stop coming in. This stoppage of water coming in is called samvar. A similar situation is that of our soul which is wandering in worldly affairs. We have so many holes (activities) through which karmas are flowing in at all the times. We talked about these holes when discussing ăsrava : wrong beliefs, vow less-ness, passions, indolence, and psychophysical activities. These activities allow karmas to become attached to the soul. Once we have realized the effects of such activities, we need to work towards overcoming them so that we can stop new karmas coming in before they further sink the soul. 

Samvar can be described in two types: 

1) Physical or Objective, 

2) Psychic or Subjective. 

The physical refers to the actual shutting of our activities which leads to stoppage of the inflow of karmas. The psychic means consciously striving to stop our passions. Samvar is of 6 kinds, namely: 

1) Samiti (Careful -spiritual awareness) 

2) Gupti (restraint of the activities of the Mind- vachan and kaya/body) 

3) Yati-dharma (dharma of a sadhu

4) Bhavanas (mental reflections-Twelve Bhavanas )

5) Parishaha (sufferings)

 6) Charitra (conduct) 

These six types of Samvar will be efficacious and real only if they are carried out with a firm faith in the commands of the Jina. Therefore, Samyaktva is deeply and intimately connected with Samvar. Through Samyaktva, the ăsrava  called wrong belief or mithyatva are completely blocked and stopped. By means of Samyak charitra and yati-dharma, the ăsrava  called vow- less-ness is blocked. by means of gupti, bhavanas, and yati-dharma. The ăsrava  called Passions is blocked. By means of Samiti, Gupti, Parishaha, etc. Further the pramada is blocked. By means of Charitra, the ăsrava  called vow-less- ness, passions, psychophysical activities can be blocked.


                                                                                                        "The end"


Note:- The contents of this article are the extract from the book 'Aspects of Jaina religion written by Dr Vilas A. Sangavie and other Jaina litrature.

The words shown in Italic are from Prakrit Language.


"The gentle thoughts make good behevior"

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