Of Body & Soul, Birth & Death
By Mr. Ram Gopal Jain
Jainism studies nature in its two essential aspects; living and non-living. It is therefore universal in nature. Living matter is part of nature, having the vital property of chetna or consciousness, perception and knowledge. This living matter, commonly known as "soul" in our worldly language is subjected to the process of transmigration i.e. continuously perpetuating the cycle of birth and death through eternity.
The soul's manifestation each time in a new body is called birth. Correspondingly, exit of that soul from the body is known as death. This process has been going on since eternity and will continue to do so till the soul is liberated from its own implication karmas, and is thereby free to obtain salvation or moksha.
There are innumerable forms of life which synthesis the soul and body in different permutations and combinations. Human life is considered to be pre eminent since its possesses to capacity to embody a separate sense called "mind". Along with the five other sense, through this composite medium of cognition can perceive the truth of nature.
Form the ordinary point of view, the soul in the body is alive with four pranas, the five sense, energy in the body, ayu, karma or age and vital respiration. But from the realistic point of view the soul is alive due to its chetna shakti or consciousness which is its main property and cannot be separated from its core wing.
The universe is existing since eternity and will last till infinity , and it is based on the scientific premise of " Cause and Effect ". With every cause there is an effect. With action in nature there is a reaction. Potential energy is transformed to kinetic energy and in this process of transformation nothing is lost or gained. Modern science also grants that the vital matter neither be created nor destroyed. This universe has always existed . It has not been created by any god. Jainism is also based on the same theory that the universe was not created by anyone and no one can destroy it.
The cause of soul's present embodiment within the body is related to the karmic particles it has accumulated in its karmic form from innumerable lives in the past. These karmas produce resulting consequences and soul experiences comprising happiness as well as sorrow in the present life. Because of Karmas the soul is subject to " attachment " , anger, greed, etc. which pollute and burden its real nature of gyana or knowledge. These karmas can be dispensed within human life and the soul can emerge triumphantly into the illuminated realm of salvation. The process of shedding karmas is directed through the act of meditation.
In human life and in other lives they resist the polarity of purusha, male principle and prakrati, female principle. In human life the two biological forms, male and female and in the present worldly society the two kinds of lifestyle, the householder' s and the monk's - Each of these dimensions can benefit form the practice of meditation. In the new age this process of meditation and learning about the concept of the universe is extremely important. If our conception becomes clear we can approach salvation without doubt. The way to salvation through this two kinds of lifestyles and be culled from Jainism.
The householder should know what is soul and what is body, what is birth and what is death, what are the properties of soul and what are the properties of nonliving matter. One should know about karma in the light of cause and effect theory; how one gets rid of karmas which are accumulated in the soul through eternity. The time will come when householder will attain the samyak darshan or right perception which is the basis of achievement of moksha.
After achieving the objective of right perception one can adopt the lifestyles of monks and nuns for the practice of meditation. A monks life demands renunciation of worldly involvement that is family life, business life, any short of commercial occupation. he or she could glen a lot from study of the literature of Jainism or concentrate on meditation. It is up to the seekers to find out the best way to achieve self awareness and salvation. Although in the present age, salvation is the rare achievement, one can always try to get closer to truth.