States of Karma

Based on the scriptures of Karananuyoga and Dravyanuyoga such as Gommatsar and Tattvarthasutra, Karma can be in various states and go through various processes.

Bandha or Bondage

Except for Arihants and Siddhas, all beings bind Karmas every moment. The actions of the living being bring about the Influx or Ashrav of Karma. This occurs due to Wrong Belief or Mithyatva, Lack of Restraint or Avirati, Carelessness or Pramada, Passion or Kashaya and Activity or Yoga. After the Karma flows inward toward the soul, it is bound to the existing corpus of Karma known as the Karmic body associated with the soul.
At the time of bondage, Yoga i.e. the disposition of mind, speech and body determines the Type or Prakriti and the Quantity or Pradeshas of Karma bound while Kashaya i.e. Passions of Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed determines the Duration or Sthithi and Intensity or Anubhaga of Karma bound. Further, deeds done with extreme hateful or passionate intensions lead to a more sticky and tight bondage
The Type of Karma is the nature and function of the karma
The Quantity of Karma is the actual number of karma particles attracted by the soul
The Duration of Karma is the amount of time the karma shows its effects
The Intensity of Karma is the degree to which the soul experiences the effects of the karma
The Yoga which leads to the bondage of various types of Karma is discussed in the section States of Specific Karmas
The 4 different Passions are discussed there also
Engaging in acts with severe Passions leads to long-lasting bondage
Repeatedly binding Karmas without understanding the truth and/or without making effort to stop bondage prolongs the cycle of birth and death
In truth, the Arihants and monks very close to Kevala Jnana experience a highly fleeting inflow of Pleasurable Karma since they are passionless
Good deeds are said to bind Punya Karma while bad deeds bind Papa Karma

Udaya or Operation

Except for the Siddhas, all beings experience the operation of Karmas at every moment. The various types of previously bound Karma operate or show their effects to ensure that living beings experience the fruits of their past actions. If a being experiences a bad situation, it is due to the Udaya of a previously bound Papa Karma. If the situation is good, it is due to the Udaya of a previously bound Punya Karma. The way the being reacts to the operating Karma leads to bondage that determines the future situations it must face.
For example, consider a Papa Karma that operates so as to give somebody a headache. If the person complains and gets angry with the situation, more Papa Karma will be bound. If the person considers the headache the result of bad deeds done in the past and bears the pain calmly, Punya Karma will be bound.
Similarly, consider a Punya Karma which gives somebody an important victory. If the person gets arrogant and gloats, trying to make the loser feel bad, Papa Karma will be bound. If the person remains level-headed and considers the victory to be a result of good deeds done in the past, Punya Karma will be bound.
Good deeds done out of greed for rewards bind Punya whose operation leads to the bondage of Papa. Selfless good deeds bind Punya which leads to more Punya.
The way in which various types of Karma operate is described in the Specific Karmas section
A previously bound karma generally shows its effects while it operates for its allotted duration and then separates completely from the soul

Udirna or Premature Operation

Some Karmas having become lightly bound can due to certain Yoga completely show their effects and separate from the soul before their duration of bondage is over. This is a huge help in trying to destroy Karmas.
The premature operation of some types of Karmas are described in the Specific Karmas section

Satta or In Stock

Any Karma which forms a part of the Karmic body of a soul is in stock

Upkarshan or Increase

Certain Yoga and thought activity or soul activity (Bhav) could lead to an Increase in the intensity, duration or both of a previously bound karma
An Upkarshan of certain sub-types is discussed in the Specfic Karmas section

Apkarshan or Decrease

Certain Yoga and Bhav could lead to a Decrease in intensity, duration or both of a previously bound karma
An Apkarshan of certain sub-types is discussed under Specific Karmas

Samkramana or Transformation

Certain Karmas can due to Yoga or Bhav transform from one sub-type to a different sub-type, based on certain constraints
The constraints are discussed in the Specific Karmas section

Upsham or Subsidence

Some Karmas can subside by not showing their effects in spite of existing in stock, like particles of mud settle at the bottom of a pond, making it appear clear
These Karmas are most probably purified by undergoing Increases, Decreases or Transformations while in a subsided state
An example of Subsidence is given in the next section

Kshaya or Destruction

If a Karma is destroyed by being ejected from the soul with or without self-effort, it has undergone Destruction. Ultimately the Destruction of all Karmas leads to liberation
Examples of Destruction are given in the Specific Karma section

Kshayopsham or Destructive Subsidence

If a Karma’s effects are mitigated by partially subsiding and partially destroying it, it has undergone Destructive Subsidence.
Examples of this are given towards the end of the next section

Nidhatti or Rigid

Rigid Karmas are those which are bound due to very hateful or passionate dispositions such that they cannot undergo an Udirna nor can they undergo a Samkramana. But they can undergo an Apkarshan or Upkarshan.

Nikachit or Fixed

Fixed Karmas are those which are bound due to such extreme passion that they cannot be changed by Udirna, Samkramana, Apkarshan or Upkarshan. They must be borne as is.

States of Specific Karmas

There are 8 major types of karma – 4 Ghatiya or Dangerous Karmas (which block the soul’s innate qualities of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite bliss and infinite power) are respectively called Knowledge-obstructing or Jnanavarniya Karma, Perception-obstructing or Darshanavarniya Karma, Deluding or Mohaniya Karma and Obstructing or Antaraya Karma; 4 Aghatiya or Non-dangerous Karmas (which determine the environment and superficial aspects of the soul’s body) are called Feeling or Vedaniya Karma, Lifespan or Ayu Karma, Body or Nama Karma and Status or Gotra Karma
There are 5 sub-types of Knowledge-obstructing, 9 of Perception-obstructing, 28 of Deluding, 5 of Obstructing, 2 of Feeling, 4 of Lifespan, 93 of Body and 2 of Starus Karma; thus there are 47 Ghatiya and 101 Aghatiya sub-types with a total of 148 sub-types
28 sub-types of Mohaniya karma include 3 Darshan Mohaniya or Faith-deluding Karmas and 25 Charitra Mohaniya or Conduct-deluding Karmas
The Feeling Karmas are Painful or Asata and Pleasurable or Sata
The Lifespan Karmas are Infernal, Sub-human i.e. plant or animal, Human and Celestial
The Body Karmas include pleasant sub-types such as those which bestow pleasant gait, a beautiful body, a melodious voice, fame, etc. and unpleasant ones such as unpleasant gait, an ugly body, a harsh voice, shame, etc.
There is a special Body Karma called the Tirthankar Nama Karma which bestows the status of a Tirthankar
The Status Karmas are Uccha or High and Nicha or Low
Concealing knowledge, spreading false knowledge, being conceited about one’s knowledge and being envious of or disrespecting knowledgeable persons, objects of knowledge or one’s teacher leads to the bondage of Knowledge-obstructing Karma
Concealing perception, injuring another’s sense organs, disturbing another’s sleep and the same causes as those for Knowledge-obstructing Karma lead to the bondage of Perception-obstructing Karma
Disrespecting, defaming or spreading falsehood about the Kevalis, the order of monks, the true scriptures and the true religion, and also spreading false rumors about the Celestial beings or Devas leads to the bondage of Faith-deluding Karma
Getting confused by the Passions of Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed or the Pseudo-passions of Laughter, Indulgence, Boredom, Sorrow, Fear and Disgust, engaging in immoral acts and acting under the influence of the Passions leads to the bondage of Conduct-deluding Karma
Obstructing another living being’s charity, profit, enjoyment, repeated enjoyment or will-power leads to the bondage of Obstructing Karma
Inflicting pain on oneself or others, weeping and wailing, enjoying sorrow, complaining, showing angst and disrespecting the Panch Parameshtis leads to Asata Vedaniya Karma
Showing compassion for all living beings, forgiveness, humility, simplicity, contentment, auspicious contemplation, Akam Nirjara i.e. submission to Karma with Equanimity, Balatap i.e. penance based on incorrect knowledge, charity, self-restraint with slight attachment, partial self-restraint, taking vows and venerating the Panch Parameshtis leads to the bondage of Sata Vedaniya
Engaging in sins of violence, untruth, stealing, Abrahmacharya i.e. unchaste activities including adultery and Parigraha i.e. accumulation of possessions, excessive indulgence in worldly matters, excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures and regularly engaging in cruel mental dispositions leads to the Infernal Lifespan
Engaging in fraud, lies, deceit, cheating, sensual pleasures, worldly matters and crooked mental dispositions leads to the Sub-human Lifespan
Tenderness, being modest and gentle, mild indulgence in worldly matters, less Parigraha and simple mental dispositions leads to the Human Lifespan
Engaging sincerely in religious activities, taking vows, self-restraint with slight attachment, partial self-restraint, Akam Nirjara, Balatap, Samyaktva or Right Belief, non-violence, truth, non-stealing, Brahmacharya i.e. sensual chastity, Aparigraha i.e. discarding possessions and engaging in pious mental dispositions leads to the Celestial Lifespan
Leading an unrestrained life without vows could lead to the bondage of any Lifespan depending on the natural disposition and severity of Passions of the individual
Pleasant Nama Karmas are bound by straightforward dealings with the mind, speech and body, trying to solve disputes, modesty, genuine behavior, admiring praiseworthy people and Right Belief
Unpleasant Nama Karmas are bound by deceitful workings of the mind, speech and body, trying to start disputes, envy, backbiting, haughtiness, self-praise and Wrong Belief
There are 16 special contemplations which lead to the bondage of the Tirthankar Nama Karma –
1. Purity of Belief: to attain pure and perfect Samyaktva with no doubt, no worldly desire, no repulsion from anything, no superstition, without proclaiming the faults of others, with the tendencies to keep oneself and others steady on the path of truth, to keep tender affection for other right believers and to propagate the path of liberation through one’s conduct and speech
2. Treasury of Reverence: to properly venerate all worthy persons on the path of liberation along with the means of liberation
3. Faultless Vows: to keep perfect vows free from transgressions without passion
4. Ceaseless Pursuit of Knowledge: to relentlessly acquire the correct knowledge
5. Fear of the World: to constantly fear the miseries of worldly existence such as birth, death, disease and old age, and to understand that sensual indulgence is the root cause of these
6. Renunciation to one’s Potential: to give others gifts of food, shelter (includes saving their life), medicine and knowledge as per one’s capacity
7. Penance to one’s Potential: to do penance as per one’s capacity without any desire for a return
8. Tranquility of Monks: to protect, reassure and remove troubles from the path of monks so as to maintain peace in the order of monks
9. Service to the Worthy: to selflessly serve the meritorious and those on the path of righteousness (such as monks, spiritual laymen, etc.)
10. Devotion to Arihants or Omniscient Lords
11. Devotion to Acharyas or Monk Leaders
12. Devotion to Upadhyayas or Monk Teachers
13. Devotion to Scriptures and Religious Discourses
14. Six Essentials: to not neglect one’s essential religious duties such as worshiping the Tirthankars, meditation, etc. (the duties of monks and householders are different)
15. To propagate the path of liberation
16. To have tender affection for others on the path of liberation
Even one of these, if correctly contemplated, leads to the Influx or Ashrav of the Tirthankar Nama Karma. Out of the 16, Purity of Belief must be there.
A High Status is bound by praising others, criticizing oneself, proclaiming the good qualities of others, not proclaiming one’s own good qualities, having a humble attitude towards one’s betters and not being proud of one’s own achievements.
A Low Status is bound by praising oneself, criticizing others, hiding the good qualities of others, proclaiming in oneself good qualities that one does no possess, being haughty and being proud of one’s achievements.

All the Ghatiya Karmas are considered Papa
Knowledge-obstructing Karma operates so as to prevent the being from acquiring knowledge, like a veil which hides the face
The 5 sub-types of this prevent Mati Jnana or Sensory Knowledge, Shruta Jnana or Articulate Knowledge, Extrasensory Knowledge or Avadhi Jnana, Telepathy or Manahparyaya Jnana and Omniscience or Kevala Jnana
For example, if we read something and do not understand it, it could be due to the operation of Sensory or Articulate Knowledge-obstructing karma
Perception-obstructing Karma operates so as to prevent the being from seeing or perceiving an object, like a gatekeeper prevents sight of the king
4 out of 9 sub-types of this prevent Chakshu Darshana or Visual Perception, Achakshu Darshana or Non-visual Perception, Extrasensory Perception or Avadhi Darshana and All-seeing Perception or Kevala Darshana
For example, a blind person could be so due to the operation of Visual Perception-obstructing karma
The other 5 sub-types operate so as to induce 5 kinds of sleep – Light Sleep or Nidra, Deep Sleep or Nidranidra, Drowsiness or Prachala, Heavy Drowsiness or Prachalaprachala and Sleepwalking or Styanagriddni
Mohaniya Karma operates so as to delude a soul, attracting it towards various forms of matter, like a flower’s scent intoxicates a bumblebee
Darshana Mohaniya Karma creates Wrong Belief in the soul while Charitra Mohaniya Karma creates imperfections in its conduct
The 3 sub-types of Darshana Mohaniya Karma are Mithyatva, Samyagmithyatva and the Samyaktva Prakriti. These respectively create complete Wrong Belief, a mixture of Wrong Belief and Right Belief and Right Belief clouded by minor imperfections.
The 25 sub-types of Charitra Mohaniya Karma are discussed along with the Passions below
Antaraya Karma operates so as to prevent the soul from realizing its innate power like a treasurer prevens the king from removing wealth from his treasury
The 5 sub-types create obstructions in acts of Dana or charity, Labha or profit, Bhoga or enjoyment, Upabhoga or repeated enjoyment and Virya or will-power
Among the Aghatiya Karmas, there are both Punya and Papa Prakritis
Sata Vedaniya is considered Punya while Asata is Papa
The former creates a pleasurable feeling while the latter creates a painful feeling
Generally beings are more affected by the operation of Asata
Thus experiencing Vedaniya Karma is like licking honey from a sword
All Lifespan Karmas except the Infernal Lifespan Karma are considered Punya because all beings except infernal beings are attached to their life
A being lives due to the operation of Lifespan Karma and the length of the lifespan depends on the duration of the Lifespan Karma bound. Once the Lifespan Karma is over, the being dies and is reborn into its next Lifespan. The next Lifespan Karma is bound while the current Lifespan operates.
Thus Lifespan Karma operates like the inventories which keep a trade going
Among the Nama Karmas, pleasant ones are Punya while unpleasant ones are Papa
Examples of Punya include the strongest joint structure karma which operates to create rigid adamantine joints throughout the body, the symmetric figure karma which operates to create a perfectly symmetric body, the five-sensed karma which gives a five-sensed body, the Tirthankar Nama Karma, the mobile karma which bestows a mobile body, the beautiful karma which bestows a beautiful body, the fame karma which bestows fame and many others
Examples of Papa include the weakest joint structure karma which bestows flesh-like joints, the asymmetric figure karma, the one-sensed karma, the immobile karma which bestows an immobile body such as that possessed by plants and rocks, the ugly karma, the shame karma, etc.
Thus Nama Karma operates like a painter who paints various different pictures and colors
The High Status is a Punya Karma while the Low Status is Papa
They respectively operate to bestow a high or low status in society
Thus the Status Karma operates like a potter who makes tall and short pots

Among the 25 Prakritis of Conduct-deluding Karma, there are 16 Passions and 9 Pseudo-passions. The 16 Passions involve Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed each of 4 severities. The 9 Pseudo-passions are Laughter, Indulgence, Boredom, Sorrow, Fear, Disgust and 3 Sex-passions called Purushaveda, Striveda and Napunsakaveda. The 3 Sex-passions respectively create a lustful attraction towards women, men and both women and men.
The 4 severities of Passions are Anantanubandhi or Infinitely Binding, Apratyakhyanavarniya or Vow Preventing, Pratyakhyanavarniya or Restraint Preventing and Samjvalana or Flaming Up. Infinitely Binding Passions are so severe that they prevent Samyaktva or Right Belief thereby prolonging the cycle of birth and death. Vow Preventing Passions are severe and prevent even the slightest renunciation, Restraint Preventing Passions are mild but prevent taking up the vows of a monk, Flaming Up Passions are extremely mild but prevent the state of Vitaraga which is required in order to attain Kevala Jnana.
Infinitely Binding Anger is like a line carved in stone, Vow Preventing Anger is like a line made in wet earth, Restraint Preventing Anger is like a line in sand and Flaming Up Anger is like a line in water. The difficulty with which the line can be erased represents the amount of effort and forgiveness required to counteract the passion.
Similarly, the 4 severities of Pride are like a pillar of stone, a bone, a piece of wood and a creeper vine. The difficulty with which the objects can be bent represents the amount of effort and humility required to oppose the passion.
The 4 severities of Deceit are like a bamboo root, the horns of a ram, a cow’s urine and a piece of wood. The difficulty with which the objects can be straightened represents the amount of effort and straightforwardness required to counter the passion.
The 4 severities of Greed are like red paint, a large spot of earth, a small spot of earth and a tiny spot of turmeric which soil garments. The difficulty with which the stains can be cleaned represents the amount of effort and contentment required to counter the passion.
Infinitely Binding Passions are causes of Hell, Vow Preventing Passions are causes of the Sub-human state, Restraint Preventing Passions are causes of the Human state and Flaming Up Passions are causes of Heaven.
The Duration and Intensity of Karmas bound depends on the severity of Passions which influence the bondage. Generally, more passionate dispositions and actions lead to longer durations of bondage. The Celestial Lifespan is an exception since less passionate and purer dispositions lead to a longer duration of this karma.
For Papa Karmas, intensely passionate actions lead to bondage of a higher intensity while dispassionate actions lead to less intensity. For Punya Karmas, intensely passionate actions lead to bondage of lesser intensity whereas milder passions lead to bondage of higher intensity.
For example, consider Asata Vedaniya karma bound by causing pain to others. If others are hurt with extremely hateful or passionate intentions, then the Asata Vedaniya karma will cause very intense pain. If others are hurt unintentionally or with mildly passionate soul-dispositions, then the Asata Vedaniya karma will cause relatively less pain.
As another example, consider Sata Vedaniya karma bound by showing compassion for others. If others are helped with impure or passionate soul-dispositions, then the Sata Vedaniya karma will cause very mild pleasant feelings. If others are helped with pure or mildly passionate soul-dispositions, then the Sata Vedaniya karma will be more intense.

There is a special time period before a bound Karma operates when it exists in stock but does not show its effects. This time period is the Abadha Kala or Quiescent Period and is proportional to the duration of bondage. For example, if a Karma is bound that has a duration of 10 crores of crore Sagars (the Sagar is a unit representing uncountable crores of years), it has a Quiescent Period of 1000 years before it operates. So for every crore of crore Sagars, there is a Quiescent Period of 100 years. Naturally, Lifespan Karmas do not follow the same ratio for their Quiescent Period.

Some Karmas undergo premature operation if triggered by certain Yoga
For example, Purushaveda karma could prematurely operate upon being attracted by a certain woman. Then whether one chooses to succumb to his lust or not determines what karma is bound for the future.
Other examples include Asata Vedaniya karma prematurely operating in the form of hunger upon seeing some delicious food, etc.
For humans and sub-humans in a Karmabhumi, the Lifespan karma could prematurely operate due to extreme pain, passion, blood loss, accidents, murder, etc. This could result in premature death.

An Increase in the duration of bondage is always detrimental to liberation. Highly passionate thought activities lead to an Increase in duration. An Increase in intensity for Papa Karmas is caused by highly passionate Yoga and Bhav while that for Punya Karmas is caused by more pure Yoga and Bhav free from Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed.
Notably, an Increase in the current Lifespan duration is not possible and for the Celestial Lifespan’s duration, pure Bhav can increase the duration if it pertains to the next lifespan.

A Decrease in the duration of bondage is conducive to liberation. Highly dispassionate and pure Yoga or Bhav lead to a Decrease in duration of karmas, except for the Celestial Lifespan. For Punya Karmas, a Decrease in intensity is brought about by impure Bhav and passionate acts driven by Anger, Pride, etc. For Papa Karmas, pure dispositions free from passion bring about a Decrease in intensity.
There is a parable of two men – one pious and one cheat. The pious man is injured by thorns one day while the cheat finds a bag of gold coins on the road. The explanation is that the pious man had previously bound some atrocious Papa karma which could have operated to put him in jail with a death sentence but through his pious acts and purity, he slowly reduced the intensity of the Papa karma. Similarly, the cheat had previously bound some excellent Punya karma which could have operated to give him the wealth of a king but through his impure acts, he slowly reduced its intensity.

Transformations can take place if the Karmas are loose enough so that they change from one sub-type to another. However there are some fundamental constraints. For example, Mohaniya cannot become Antaraya, Knowledge-obstructing cannot become Perception-obstructing and so on. Thus only the sub-types can change provided the main type is the same.
For example, pure activity can transform Asata to Sata Vedaniya while impure acts can do the opposite
In the same way, beautiful can transform to ugly and vice versa based on impure or pure acts respectively
The Lifespan Karmas cannot undergo Transformations. Thus once a Lifespan is bound it must be experienced. Nevertheless, if the next Lifespan is the infernal one, it can be decreased through pure Yoga and Bhav, as done by the king Shrenika.

An example of Subsidence is that causing Right Belief or Samyag Darshan. If for a Bhavya i.e. a being capable of liberation, the soul attains such purity that all Darshan Mohaniya karma undergoes an Upsham, the soul is said to have acquired Upsham Samyaktva or Right Belief with Subsidence. This is also necessarily accompanied by the Subsidence of all Anantanubandhi passions. While this Subsidence persists, the soul experiences such pure Bhav that all previously bound Karmas begin to Decrease in duration, while Papa decreases in intensity and Punya increases in intensity. Also, some Papa Prakritis undergo a Samkramana into Punya Prakritis. Further, all previously bound Karmas become capable of Premature Operation.
Another example of Subsidence is that causing Right Conduct or Samyak Charitra. If such purity is attained by a monk who through meditation subsides all Mohaniya Karmas, including the Samjvalana Kashayas, he is said to have acquired Upsham Charitra or Right Conduct with Subsidence. A monk in such a state must fall though, because the Mohaniya Karma still exists in stock. If he dies in such a state, he is reborn in the highest celestial abode known as Sarvarthsiddhi. Otherwise he could try again to achieve such purity.

As earlier, if Right Belief is caused by the Destruction of all Darshana Mohaniya Karma and Anantanubandhi Kashayas, it is said to be Right Belief with Destruction. Such a soul is guaranteed liberation within 3 or 4 lives. Similarly, if Right Conduct is caused by the Destruction of all Mohaniya Karma, then within an Antarmuhurta i.e. less than 48 minutes, the soul destroys all Knowledge-obstructing, Perception-obstructing and Antaraya Karmas. Then the soul is known as Arihant or Destroyer of Enemies. It now possesses Kevala Jnana or infinite knowledge, Kevala Darshana or infinite perception, Anant Sukh or infinite happiness and Anant Virya or infinite power.
When the Lifespan of an Arihant is close to an end, he engages in highly pure meditation which leads to the Kshaya of all remaining Aghatiya Karmas, after which he is a Siddha or Perfected Soul, enjoying his own pristine attributes for eternity.

Destructive Subsidence is found in most Ghatiya Karmas
For example, if just before attaining Right Belief, some of the Mithyatva is destroyed, some is subsided and some is transformed into the Samyaktva Prakriti, then Kshayopsham Samyaktva or Right Belief with Destructive Subsidence is attained. This involves the Kshayopsham of Mithyatva and the operation of the Samyaktva Prakriti. Usually a soul that has been a wrong believer since infinite time acquires Upsham Samyaktva first which could then be followed by Kshayopsham Samyaktva.
The Kshayopsham of Knowledge-obstructing Karma leads to the limited knowledge we possess. A larger Kshayopsham results in more knowledge. For example, you understand what you read due to the Kshayopsham of Mati and Shruta Jnanavarniya Karma. Similarly, a clairvoyant monk possesses Extrasensory Knowledge due to the Kshayopsham of Avadhi Jnanavarniya Karma.
Similarly, we can perceive through the eyes due to the Kshayopsham of Visual Perception-obstructing Karma. A larger Kshayopsham gives better vision while a smaller one gives more limited vision.
The Kshayopsham of Antaraya Karma leads to limited charity, limited profit, limited enjoyment, limited repeated enjoyment and limited will-power. Verily any Yoga is made possible only if there is a Kshayopsham of Antaraya Karma. A higher Kshayopsham of Antaraya Karma leads to the soul possessing more intrinsic power.

Effects of Purity and Samyaktva

Purity can be judged based on the absence of Wrong Belief, Non-restraint, Carelessness, Passion and Yoga

A soul without Wrong Belief is said to possess Samyaktva
Constantly engaging in activities that strengthen Samyaktva check the Influx of Papa Karmas that prolong births and deaths. This also binds Punya Karmas of a high intensity
A soul with Samyaktva cannot bind Mithyatva, Anantanubandhi passions, Striveda, Napunsakaveda, Infernal Lifespan, Sub-human Lifespan, Nicha Gotra and several unpleasant Nama Karmas
If a soul has already bound an infernal Lifespan but later acquires and dies with Samyaktva, it can take birth only in the first of seven Hells
If a soul has already bound a sub-human Lifespan but later acquires and dies with Samyaktva, it is necessarily reborn as a male five-sensed animal in a Bhogbhumi
If a soul binds a human Lifespan and dies with Samyaktva, it is necessarily reborn as a male human in a Bhogbhumi
If a soul binds a celestial Lifespan and dies with Samyaktva, it is necessarily reborn as a male celestial being in Heaven (it is not born among the 3 sub-celestial beings known as Bhavanvasi, Vyantara or Jyotishka Devas)
If a celestial or infernal being dies with Samyaktva, it is necessarily reborn as a human in a Karmabhumi

A soul without Non-restraint adopts Restraint as a householder or a monk. Monks take major vows of Ahimsa or Non-violence, Satya or Truth, Achaurya or Non-stealing, Brahmacharya or Chastity and Aparigraha or Non-accumulation of Possessions. Householders take minor vows of the same five, along with some practice vows.
A soul with restraint necessarily has Samyaktva
Such a soul in addition to the Karmas not bound by a right believer does not bind the Apratyakhyanavarniya passions and the Human Lifespan
Monks do not even bind the Pratyakhyanavarniya passions
If a soul dies with restraint it is necessarily reborn as a male celestial being in Heaven ( not among the sub-celestials)
If any Lifespan other than celestial has been bound, a soul is not capable and/or does not develop the inclination to take even the vows of a householder
Celestial and infernal beings cannot obtain any restraint

A soul without Carelessness in addition has Samyaktva and restraint
Such a soul is a careful monk and does not bind Boredom, Sorrow, Asata Vedaniya, ugly, shame and unsteady Nama Karmas
Such a careful state can normally last at most for an Antarmuhurta after which some Carelessness arises for an Antarmuhurta. This is again followed by great care for an Antarmuhurta again and so on
Thus monks oscillate between careful and careless states under ordinary circumstances
If a monk attains a high level of purity, he can rise from the careful state to yet purer states by either subsiding or destroying Mohaniya Karmas
Once all Mohaniya Karmas are no longer showing their effects, the soul is in a state of Vitaraga

A soul without Passion is Vitaraga and necessarily has Samyaktva, restraint and carefulness
Such a soul only binds Sata Vedaniya Karma
If the celestial Lifespan has been bound, the soul which dies in such a state must have attained the Upsham Charitra and is hence reborn in the highest celestial abodes
If no Lifespan has been bound, the soul cannot die in such a state but will either fall back down due to the operation of Mohaniya Karma or will destroy all Ghatiya Karmas in case it has attained the Kshayik Charitra

A soul without Yoga is necessarily an Arihant nearing the end of his Lifespan
No Karma is bound by such a soul and the end of his Lifespan is not considered death, but Nirvana
Such a soul is venerable to the highest degree

For a monk who has not been able to eradicate the Passions, the Flaming Up Passions still operate hence preventing a state of Vitaraga
For a householder, in addition to these, the Restraint Preventing Passions still operate, hence preventing the vows of a monk
Women, Napunsakas and five-sensed animals cannot become monks but can still take up a householder’s vows to their capacity
For a right- believer who cannot take up the householder’s vows, adding the Vow Preventing Passions, 3 sets of Passions operate
For a wrong-believer even the Infinitely Binding Passions operate thereby preventing Samyaktva

Leshyas or Auras

The Aura a soul emits could be a measure of how pure a soul is at a given point in time
The Aura is formed due to the combination of Yoga and passions
There are 6 Leshyas – Krishna or Black, Nila or Blue, Kapot or Grey, Pita or Yellow, Padma or Pink, Shukla or White
There is a parable of 6 friends wandering through a forest who are hungry and find a mango tree. One with the Black Leshya wants to uproot the entire tree in order to obtain the mangos, one with the Blue Leshya wants to cut off many large boughs, one with the Grey Leshya wants to cut off few small branches, one with the Yellow Leshya wants to pluck off an entire bunch of fruits, the Pink one wants to pick only the fruits needed while the White one only wants the fruits that have fallen on the ground.
Souls with the Black Leshya are barbarous, cruel, slow, ruthless, fearsome and enjoy torturing and other sinful activities
Those with the Blue Leshya are vindictive, spiteful, greedy for sensual pleasures, fraudulent, corrupt and enjoy cheating others
Those with the Grey Leshya are haughty, lazy, backbite, do not know right from wrong, get excited about small things, criticize others and are averse to Dharma
Those with the Yellow Leshya are generous, compassionate, pious, know right from wrong and enjoy some Dharma
Those with the Pink Leshya are charitable, always eager to renounce, forgiving, satisfied with what they have and even wish well for their enemies
Those with the Shukla Leshya are impartial, detached, calm, peaceful and retain equanimity in victory or defeat, pain or pleasure, life or death
Beings who regularly harbor the Black, Blue and Grey Leshyas are reborn as infernal or sub-human beings. Those who regularly harbor the other three are reborn as humans or celestial beings. Those who master the White Leshya soon attain liberation.
In the Black, Blue and Grey Leshyas, any Lifespan can be bound. In the Yellow and Pink ones, the infernal lifespan is not bound. In White, only human and celestial Lifespans are bound.
Arihants close to the end of their Lifespan and all Siddhas do not have any Aura since they no longer have any Yoga.

Living in the World

The situation a person faces is created due to the Udaya of previously bound karma. The way he reacts and the choices he makes determines what new Karma he binds. The act itself determines the type of karma bound while the passion behind the act determines how tightly and how long the karma will be bound. The severity of passion driving the act also determines the intensity with which the karma will be experienced. Extremely passionate drives could lead to karma bound in a Nidhatti or Nikachit state, which is impossible to shake off. Nidhatti Karmas can at least undergo an Increase or Decrease though.
Other previously bound Karmas can be changed through one’s self-endeavor and purity. If one regularly tries to follow Dharma, to replace Anger with forgiveness, to replace Pride with humility, to replace Deceit with straightforwardness, to replace Greed with contentment, to harbor a Shukla Leshya, to control one’s desires, to harbor Samyaktva and to face any outcome with equanimity, previously bound Punya Karmas will Increase in intensity, previously bound Papa Karmas will Decrease in intensity, previously bound Papa Karmas will transform into Punya Karmas and previously bound Karmas will Decrease in duration. In addition, new Karmas that are bound will consist of more Punya than Papa. One must keep one’s expectations at a minimum while pursuing Dharma though. All Papa Karmas and bad habits cannot be changed overnight because we have been binding Papa and engaging in bad habits since eternal time. So one ought to be patient. It will take time, effort and continuous pursuit to convert Papa to Punya.
Finally, if one seeks liberation, all worldly activity must be abandoned and only the soul must be pursued, relentlessly.

For worldly right-believers i.e. householders and those with non-restraint, it is still important to minimize one’s Karma
Thus one must refrain from immoral acts fueled by hatred, envy, revenge and Passion
One must minimize violence, lies, theft, unchastity and accumulation of possessions
One must discard unnecessary likes and dislikes, and not make frivolous judgements
One must replace Anger with forgiveness, Pride with humility, Deceit with straightforwardness and Greed with purity and contentment
One must live a worldly life with 10 virtues or Dharmas –
1. Uttam Kshama : supreme forgiveness without any expectation, condition or cowardice
2. Uttam Mardava : supreme modesty without any greed for approbation or material gain
3. Uttam Arjava : supreme straightforwardness involves simplicity without being a simpleton
4. Uttam Shaucha : supreme contentment and purity without excessive sanctimonious conduct
5. Uttam Satya : supreme truth which is multi-sided, not one-sided
6. Uttam Sanyam : supreme restraint without showing off, without passion and with sincerity
7. Uttam Tap : supreme penance without being intoxicated nor disappointed by one’s capacity to do penance
8. Uttam Tyaga : supreme renunciation without any expectation for a reward in return
9. Uttam Akimchanya : supreme detachment without spite
10. Uttam Brahmacharya : supreme chastity without excessive sensual indulgence
The first 4 counteract the Passions thereby binding less Mohaniya Karma (which is indeed the most dangerous Karma), the fifth Dharma ensures the acquisition of right knowledge while the next 5 prevent the bondage of several Papa karmas. In addition, these virtues also lead to Punya. The level of the Punya depends on the sincerity with which they are followed
Addictions must also be abandoned since they are the epitome of Moha
Alcohol, meat, gambling, hunting, stealing, visiting prostitutes and coveting women are 7 addictions that lead to mountains of bondage
Also, eating at night, eating underground vegetables, consuming honey, etc. where many micro organisms thrive leads to more bondage than necessary. Such acts increase attachments towards food. Even if one has developed such habits throughout one’s life so that he is unable to renounce them, it is wise to gradually discard them if spiritual progress is to be made.
Regardless, leading a life of renunciation with mild passions and without expectations could lead to birth in a Bhogbhumi
Adding Tap, Sanyam, Akimchanya and Brahmacharya if done sincerely lead to birth in Heaven
All these activities if done relentlessly with Samyaktva will reduce a lot of bondage

Besides this, charity or Dana is also something a worldly being should engage in
Charity can be of 4 kinds – Ahara or food, Aushadhi or medicine, Jnana or knowledge and Abhaya or shelter (Abhaya also includes saving another’s life)
Ahara Dana out of compassion to the hungry leads to Punya while Ahara Dana to monks on the path of liberation leads to higher Punya, possibly birth in a Bhogbhumi
The Dana must be selfless, without expectations, with humility and could be out of compassion, reverence or both
Dana done with crooked intentions or with improper substances such as meat, alcohol, etc. even if it does lead to some trivial Punya, could result in birth in a Kubhogbhumi
Charity is indeed a source of Punya and could bind Karmas which result in victory, wealth and a handsome form in the future. However, if it is done with expectations for the rewards, the rewards are diluted into a tiny fraction of the actual result. Further even if such worldly rewards are obtained, the soul may become too attached to them, hence falling into a sea of Moha. Thus the donor should consider oneself an instrument in the fruition of Punya for others who are donated to, while discarding all expectations for rewards in return.

Worldly beings should also engage themselves in the study of the scriptures
This increases Right Knowledge or Samyag Jnana while strengthening Right Belief or Samyag Darshana
This if coupled with contemplation and Samayika (i.e. practicing equanimity) increases the stability and strength of one’s mind
Swadhyaya or self-study also leads to Punya that could manifest as ingenuity, wit and merit of a more intellectual nature
Also, it helps in acquiring the correct fundamental knowledge such as –
Only matter has a color, smell, taste and touch
Only the soul knows and sees
This knowledge helps in breaking attachments to sense pleasures, in knowing self from non-self and in cultivating detachment

So even if one lives in the world, one must live with Dharma. He who pursues Dharma also attains Artha or Prosperity and Kama or Pleasure. But ultimately the world is a game where everyone acts and enjoys the fruits of their own Karma. The wise ones are those who transcend the world and Karma to pursue Moksha.

2 comments on “States of Karma
  1. Arnav says:

    To all those who have been hurt by this article in any way, I ask for your forgiveness
    Of all that is written here, what is correct has come from the Jinas and what is wrong is due to my error and carelessness
    I bow down to the Jinas and wish happiness and liberation on all

    For more detail and accurate knowledge consult:
    Gommatsar Jiva Kanda, Gommatsar Karma Kanda, Tattvarthsutra

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