Jainism which has been derived from the root Jina means to conquer the flesh of passions, desires, anger, e.t.c.. Hence, Jainism was founded by the 24 Holy teachers also known as Tirthankas. The first one was Rshabdeva and the last Vardhama Mahavira. Jainism, being a non-vedic school has not accepted God but has given great importance to the soul which is omniscient. In fact, all the teachings of Janism are based on the authority of the Holy Tirthankas.

The soul in Jainism is always omniscient because it is endowed with pure consciousness. Jainism has accepted 3 types of souls namely bonded souls, partly liberated souls and liberated souls. Just like in Hinduism, the soul is often bound by karmas. Hence, bounded souls are those which cannot reveal their omniscience. Such type of souls have been completely covered by the karmas accumulated by the individual. Partly liberated souls are those which are partially liberated because only part of karmas have been removed from them. These partly liberated souls are not fully enlightened because they are still under the influence of karmas. Finally, liberated souls are those which are completely free from karmas. As a result, the liberated souls are also called enlightened souls because they have reached the state of Siddha Parmesthi.

Karmas as interpreted in Jainism are completely different from the other schools of Indian philosophy. Thus, karmas in Jainism are in the form of tiny matter particles which often conceal the omniscience of the soul just like brilliance of the sun is concealed by clouds. Those tiny particles of karmas are also known as karmic molecules. Consequently, they are produced by the various karmas that the individual accumulates. Hence, Jainism has accepted 6 major types of karmas namely:

1.Ayus karma (determining life span)
2.Gotra karma (determining family)
3.Jnana varaniya (obstructing knowledge)
4.Mohaniya (causing delusion)
5.Vedaniya (causing fear)
6.Darshan varaniya (obstructing pure vision)

However, these karmas are usually in the form of karmic shacles which always flow in towards the sould in order to conceal its omniscience. The inflow or influx of karmas towards the soul is also called Asrava in Jainism. Hence, when these karmic shachles flow in towards the soul. they are accumulated until they completely conceal the omniscience of the soul. The accumulated karmas around the soul become just like the karman sarina or subtle body as taught in Hinduism. Therefore, the aim of Jainism is to destroy the karman sarina or accumulated karmas so that the soul can reveal its omniscience. Jainism has accepted 2 ways by which these karmic molecules can vanish.

The 2 ways for the elimination of karmas are:


Samvara means stopping the influx of karmas so that no more karmic molecules can flow in towards the soul. As a result, the soul is not yet purified until the accumulated karmas are destroyed.

Nirjana is the second way by which all accumulated karmas around the soul are destroyed. It is only then that the soul becomes illumined and can thereby reveal its omniscience.


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