The fundamental beliefs of a knower define how the knower views and experiences the world. These fundamental beliefs are axioms the knower trusts or has faith in. The knower acquires more knowledge by building on these axioms. These beliefs, along with knowledge built upon them, when applied, affect the knower’s conduct.
Different knowers believe different views. However almost all knowers believe that happiness is worth pursuing. For those who believe that a supreme and permanent happiness exists, consider this to be liberation or Moksh.
In order to attain Moksh, a knower’s beliefs must first be right. First, right belief (Samyagdarshan) must be attained. The knowledge built upon these beliefs must be right. Right belief is accompanied by right knowledge (Samyaggyan). Then the knower’s conduct needs to be right. Right belief and right knowledge are followed by right conduct (Samyakcharitra). Right belief, right knowledge and right conduct together form the path to liberation (Moksh Marg).
There are 4 levels (or steps) of right belief.
1. Trust in the correct God (Dev), scripture (Shastra) and teacher (Guru) on the path of liberation
2. Faith in the 7 correct fundamental beliefs (Tattva)
3. Special beliefs about the distinctions between self and non-self
4. Clear beliefs about the self
The correct God is one who is perfectly detached (Vitrag), free from all attachment (Rag) and aversion (Dvesh). Such a God is all-knowing (Sarvagya) and a giver of beneficial advice (Hitopdeshi) but does not interfere with or control any worldly activities. The correct scripture consists of the words of the correct God, features the true nature of objects (Vastu Svarup), views objects with many points of view (Anekant) while highlighting a pleasant point of view (Shubh Nay) which encourages liberation and acknowledging Shyadvad which is the theory that any statement could be true, false, both, indescribable, etc. relative to various points of view. The correct teacher is a detached possessionless naked saint (Muni) making continuous effort to become perfectly detached (Vitrag), free from attachment and aversion. He is free from all external ties and internal knots (Nirgranth). Without any clothes, he is clad by the directions (Digambar).
Unshakable trust in the correct God, scriptures and teachers is beneficial for a seeker of liberation. Knowledge acquired directly from the correct God, the correct scriptures and the correct teachers is right knowledge of the 1st level.
There are 7 fundamental beliefs which, if taken as fundamental axioms, help the knower to view the world with the aim and the potential of attaining liberation.
1. There is a soul or living substance (Jiv) characterized by its conscious nature, its ability to know and perceive, its potential for happiness and will-power
2. There are non-living substances (Ajiv) which are unconscious and only one of these, matter (Pudgal) which is made of molecules (Skandhs) and ultimate atoms (Paramanus) is characterized by its touch, taste, smell and color
3. There is an inflow (Ashrav) of Karm molecules towards the soul due to various activities of mind (Man), speech (Vachan) and body (Kay) produced by the mixing up of soul and matter
4. There is bondage (Bandh) of Karm matter that flows into the soul which mixes with the soul, keeping the living substance bound by matter
5. There can be a stoppage (Samvar) of the Karm inflow by adopting 10 virtues (Dharm), reflecting on 12 contemplations (Bhavna), enduring 22 sufferings (Parishah), 5 types of carefulness (Samiti), 5 types of conduct (Charitra) and 3 types of control (Gupti) over mind, speech and body
6. There can be a discharge (Nirjara) of the previously bound Karm molecules by performing 6 types of external penance (Bahya Tap) and 6 types of internal penance (Abhyantar Tap)
7. There is liberation (Moksh)
A detailed understanding and knowledge of the 7 Tattvas is right knowledge of the 2nd level.
Each substance (Dravya) has permanence (Dhrauvya) since its essential qualities (Gun) have existed without beginning and will exist without end. Along with this permanence, each substance also has both creation (Utpad) and destruction (Vyay) since it constantly changes from one state (Paryay) to another with the creation of a new state and the destruction of an old state. The soul is the knower, the self, the conscious substance. Its essential nature of consciousness (Chetanatva) exists permanently but keeps changing as it constantly directs its attention to different objects. Matter, the medium of motion (Dharmastikay), the medium of rest (Adharmastikay), space (Akash) and time (Kal) are the 5 non-living, unconscious substances. Of all the 6 substances, only matter can be known through the sense organs. Matter’s essential qualities of touch, taste, smell and color permanently exist while constantly changing from one form to another. Only matter is known through the sense organs. The soul cannot be directly known through the sense organs. Special distinctive knowledge (Bhed Vigyan) that helps to distinguish the soul from other substances is right knowledge of the 3rd level.
A special happiness arises when the knower realizes that it is knowing and its attention (Upyog) is directed toward itself. This happiness is peaceful and arises naturally. Such a knower does not consider the self to be the cause or effect of various activities of matter. He considers himself merely an observer, a knower or one who perceives. Such a knower does not consider objects of matter to be his nor does he consider himself one with matter and other non-living substances. He realizes himself to be separate from matter and other non-living substances. He realizes that objects knowable through the sense organs, the sense organs themselves, Karm, the body, the speech, the mind and all other objects of matter are really not his, they are all non-self. Clear knowledge about the self is right knowledge of the 4th level
Religion is an application of philosophy. For any seeker of permanent happiness, faith in the supremacy of 5 aspects of religion is helpful.
1. Of all 84 lakh magical chants (Mantras), the Panch Namaskar Mantra or the Namokar Mantra is the most supreme
2. Of all divinities, the perfectly detached (Vitrag), desire less God is supreme
3. Of all teachers and spiritual masters, the possessionless monk (Nirgranth) is supreme
4. Of all ethical principles or virtues, non-violence (Ahimsa) is supreme
5. Of all types of concentration or meditation (Dhyan), deep meditation on the self (Atma Dhyan) is supreme
The 5 most supreme beings (Panch Parameshtis) are paid obeisance in the Namokar Mantra. These are the Omniscient embodied Gods (Arihants or Jins) who are very near to liberation, the liberated perfected souls (Siddhs), the leaders (Acharyas) of groups of possessionless monks pursuing liberation, the teachers (Upadhyays) among monks who constantly acquire and impart right knowledge and all monks seeking liberation (Sadhus) in the universe.
The perfectly detached (Vitrag) God is free from attachment (Rag) and aversion (Dvesh). Aversion consists of anger (Krodh), pride (Man), disinterest or boredom (Arati), sorrow (Shok), fear (Bhay) and disgust (Jugupsa). Attachment consists of deceit (Maya), greed (Lobh), laughter (Hasya), interest or indulgence (Rati) and lust towards females (Purushved), towards males (Strived), or towards both (Napunsakved).
The possessionless monk pursuing liberation has 28 major qualities (Mul Gun). These include the 5 great vows (Mahavrat) of non-violence (Ahimsa), truth (Satya), non-stealing (Achaurya), chastity (Brahmacharya) or restraint from sensual indulgence and non-accumulation of possessions (Aparigrah). There are also 5 types of carefulness (Samiti) while walking, talking, eating, lifting or placing objects, and excreting. There is also the conquest of the 5 sense organs. There are also 6 essential duties (Avashyak) of Stuti, Vandana, Pratikraman, Pratyakhyan, Samayik and Kayotsarg to be performed daily. There are 7 special qualities which are being naked or clad by directions (Digambaratva), plucking out one’s hair (Kesh Lonch) with one’s bare hands, not bathing, not cleaning one’s teeth, eating once a day, eating in a standing posture and sleeping on the floor without changing the sleeping position.
The principle of non-violence is the most supreme ethical principle and when applied to practice involves restricting one’s acts of mind, speech and body which injure or cause any harm to other living beings. Beings with mobile, plant, earth, water, fire and air bodies are protected by the monks who practice the most strict non-violence. Householders avoid the violence of mobile beings. There are 4 types of violence committed by worldly activities. These are intentional (Sankalpi), household (Arambhi), occupational (Udyogi) and defensive (Virodhi). Intentional violence can always be avoided. Householders avoid all intentional violence while avoiding other violence as much as possible. Monks avoid all types of violence.
Concentrating the mind on one thought is meditation. There are 4 types of meditation depending on the type of thought the knower concentrates on.
1. Cruel meditation (Raudra Dhyan) involves concentrating on enjoying violence, lies, stealing, accumulating possessions or enjoying sensual pleasures. It can be a cause of hell.
2. Anxious meditation (Art Dhyan) involves pitiable concentration on thoughts that arise upon separation with a desirable object, upon facing an undesirable object, upon experiencing pain and upon wishing for rare objects or future enjoyments. It can be a cause of rebirth as an animal or plant.
3. Virtuous meditation (Dharm Dhyan) involves calmly concentrating on the words of the Omniscient embodied Gods, on trying to find a solution to attain liberation or right conduct, on the fruits and causes of Karm, and on the true nature of the universe consisting of substances with simultaneous permanence, creation and destruction. Virtuous meditation can also involve concentration on images (Pindasth) such as Arihant idols, words (Padasth) such as those in a Mantra, the embodied form of an Arihant (Rupasth) and the bodiless form of a Siddh (Rupatit). It can be a cause of heaven but also leads to the discharge of Karm.
4. Pure meditation (Shukla Dhyan) involves concentrating with perfect detachment. This can be on the nature of the soul or other substances. It causes a major discharge of Karm molecules and is a cause of liberation.
Cruel meditation and anxious meditation which involve concentration on worldly activities or enjoyments regularly increase worldly miseries while virtuous and pure meditation which involve peacefully concentrating on right knowledge or on the nature of the self lead to the permanent happiness of liberation.
What is written here is based on my beliefs about the truth. I do not wish to offer arguments or proofs of these beliefs. I wish peace and happiness on all, whether they agree or disagree with me.