Leshya, a unique concept in Jain metaphysics denoting light or radiation, links the dynamics of the soul (consciousness) and the karmic body with the psycho-physical activities performed by the physical body, and is believed to be associated with every conscious-being, Jeeva (except Ayoga Kevali and Siddha Jeeva). Jeeva in their mundane existence as worldly living-beings, constitute impure states due to association of souls with matter, which profoundly influence their behavior and evolution.
Living Being = F (Subtle body, Gross Body) = F ((Soul + Karmic particles), (Physical Body))
Leshya, is postulated to relate to the Bhava-Dhara or the stream of emotions, passions, and instincts, originating from the dynamic interactions of Adhyavasay with karma induced Kashaya (basic instincts and passions) and the resulting psycho-physical activities (Yoga) of the living organism. Dravya-leshya, the material form, in the presence of kashaya and yoga induce bhava-leshya reflecting the state of consciousness. Bhava-leshya blends in turn with kashaya and yoga to attract corresponding Karmic particles. Bhava-leshya is modified by the instant change in the state and power of the consciousness, thus allowing scope for effort (pursharth) in modification of behavior and diluting karmic determinism.
Leshya also influences the psychophysical activities of the gross physical body and Leshya-Dhyan (color meditation on psychic-centers) is being practiced to improve emotional control and behavior. Associations of Dravya-leshya with the Aghati Karmas viz. Nama- and Gotra-Karma, the determinants of the structure and environment of the physical body, have been described. Since chromosomes and DNA provide the basic genetic information for the development of the physical body, systematic explorations on the precise relationships of Leshya with the structure and functioning of the physical body using the modern scientific methods should be initiated.
Transformation of Leshya from inauspicious (black, blue, and grey) to auspicious (red, yellow, and white) ones can be brought about by practices directed towards self-realization and soul purification as recommended in the Jain Philosophy and way of life. The practice of righteous contemplation and virtuous meditation (Samayik) combined with introspection, repentance, and forgiveness (Pratikaman) will encourage development of emotional control, self-restraint, tolerance, equanimity, non-violence, and compassion as natural personality traits and could be effective in bringing appropriate modifications in human behavior required to meet the challenges in the present-day world.
It is further suggested that comprehensive theoretical and experimental studies on the possible correlations of leshya with (a) the pattern of biophotons (emission of very low intensity of coherent light in the wavelength range of 200-900 nm by living organisms) and (b) aura should be undertaken to advance our understanding of leshya and applications of leshya transmutation for behavior modificat.
Leshya is a Sanskrit word that denotes light or radiation. In Jain metaphysics, Leshya is conceived to provide the crucial linkage of the Subtle-body (sukshama-sharir) with the Gross-physical-body (sthul-sharir). The Subtle body is assumed to be constituted by the karmic particles enveloping the soul/consciousness. Certain functional aspects of the Subtle body might be analogous to mind as generally discussed in the western philosophy. Leshya is related to the spiritual as well as the physical domain involving the interactions of the consciousness (soul enveloped by the Karmic body) with the psychophysical activities. Leshya, therefore, is an important and useful concept to understand the behavior in relation to the spiritual evolution of the living being. Concepts of Leshya and its transformation, as propounded in the Jain philosophy and way of life, are of great relevance in developing effective techniques for behavior modification required to solve major problems facing the world today.
Some of the basic and applied aspects of Leshya are discussed in the present paper. To appreciate Leshya from the spiritual perspective, the relevant conceptual framework, provided by the Jain metaphysics, is summarized in section 2, followed by an analysis of its behavioral and spiritual correlates. Important steps recommended in the Jain way of life to transform Leshya and consequent modifications in behavior are briefly outlined in sec. 3. The need for undertaking comprehensive and systematic studies on Leshya from the perspectives of modern science, particularly in the context of mind-body problem, is emphasized. Plausible correlations of Leshya with recently emerging scientific facts and theories that could form potentially useful areas of research are discussed in sec.4.
2.The Jain Metaphysics
Jain thinkers believe in the eternal existence of the Universe functioning according to its own laws, unaided by any supernatural power(s). This universe is basically constituted by 6 fundamental substances (dravyas) viz. (1) Jeeva (Soul), (2) Pudgala (Matter), (3) Akasha (Space), (4) Dharama (Principle of Motion), (5) Adharma (Principle of Rest) and (6) Kala (Time).
The concept of Jeeva and the doctrine of Karma form the core of the Jain philosophy.
2.1. Jeeva (The Conscious Beings)
Jeeva or soul(s) exist in the pure (Mukta) and impure (Sansarik) states.
The essence of the soul in its pure state is Chetanaya or pure consciousness endowed with attributes such as infinite conation (darshana), knowledge (janana), power (virya) and bliss (sukha, ananda).
Jeeva in their mundane existence, described as Sansarik Jeeva (worldly living-beings), present impure states of consciousness (Con) due to association of souls with matter. The soul bound with matter (pudgala) constitutes the Karma-Sharira (Karmic-Body) also called the sukshma sharir (subtle body). This sukshma sharir in association with the sthul- sharir (Audarik-sharir or the physical-/gross-body) of the living organisms profoundly influences their behavior and evolution.
2.2. The Karma Doctrine
The underlying karma doctrine postulates that every physical or mental activity by the living being produces some imperceptible effects besides perceptible consequences. The imperceptible effects have the potential of restricting and distorting the attributes of the soul/consciousness. These alterations in the consciousness are bought out by the bondage of the soul to very fine and imperceptible particles of matter called karmic particles. The conscious attributes of pure Jeeva such as infinite perception, knowledge, power, and bliss get severely restricted (though not completely) and distorted by the karmic envelope. The degree of restriction and distortion of consciousness depends upon the type and strength of the Karmic bondage.
Thus, to express mathematically, a living-being according to this theory can be represented by the equation:
Living Being = F (Subtle body, Gross Body)
= F [(Soul + Karmic particles), (Physical Body)], or
J = F [(S, K) + (k, M)] ……. (1)
where J is the living-being (Jeev); S denotes the soul, K the karmic particles bonded to the soul; k the activated karmons and M represents the physical matter constituting the physical body of the living-being. The form of the function F remains to be determined.
The Karmic particles attached to the soul constituting the Karmic envelope are called the Dravya Karma. Psychic, verbal physical activities (Yoga) in combination with the passions (Kashaya), which lead to karmic bondage, are called the Bhava Karma. The Dravya and Bhava Karma are mutually related as each other’s cause and effect. The Bhava Karma attract Dravya Karma (Karmons) and bind them to the soul, while the latter cause vibration in the soul leading to further Yoga and Kashaya or further Bhava Karma.
Depending upon their particular effects on the living-beings, 8 primary types of karma grouped into 2 major categories viz. 1) Ghäti (Destructive) and 2) Aghäti (Non-destructive) have been described.
Destructive Karmas obscure, distort, impair, or prevent the true and full expressions of the intrinsic attributes of the soul (pure Jeeva). Destructive karmas include: 1) Darshnavarniya (Perception-Obscuring); 2) Jnänavarniya (Knowledge-Obscuring); 3) Antaräy (Energy-Obstructing) and 4), Mohniya (Deluding) karmas.
Non-Destructive karmas include: 5) Vedniya (Pain-Producing); 6) Näma (Physique determining); 7) Gotra (Status-determining) and 8) Ayushya (Age-Determining) karmas.
Non-Destructive karmas affect the form, structure, and function of the physical body of the living-being and not so much the attributes of its soul.
The origins of the mental, verbal, and physical activities (Yoga) of the physical body (sthul-shareer) can be traced to the states of consciousness expressed by the subtle-body (sukshma-shareer constituting soul enveloped by the karmic matter). The behavior and evolution of living beings, existing in various physical forms (gross bodies) as plants, microbes, insects, animals, and humans, are essentially determined by the complex dynamics of interactions of their souls with the subtle, invisible, sub-atomic material, the Karmic particles.
2.3. Bhava as Expression of Consciousness
The power to act and feel (karanvirya) originates from the complex combination of the subtle body with the physical body. At any instant of time, interactions of adhyavasaya (that power of the soul which remains unobstructed by the karmic body) with the system of kashaya (primal drives, instincts, and passions) induced by the karmic-body influence expressions (parinam) of the consciousness (chetna) manifesting as bhava (feelings, emotions, passions, desires) at that moment. The karmic particles decay or fall off after fruition (vipak), however, their dissolution (nirjara) can also be accelerated by self-discipline and meditation (dhyan), which appropriately modify the expression of the existent state of consciousness (bhava). Depending upon the nature of these interactions and their further effects on the dynamics of karmic-body, bhava have been classified into five types: 1. Parinamic bhava (P) due to soul’s own natural disposition; 2. Audayik bhava (A) resulting from the fruition of the karma; 3. Upashamic bhava (U) resulting from cessation of the effect of the karma; 4. Kshayopshamic bhava (SS) resulting from partial cessation and partial annihilation of the effect of the karma; 5. Kshayik bhava (KS) resulting from annihilation of the effect of the karma.
2.4. Leshya as Bhava-Dhara and its Relation to Kashaya and Yoga
Leshya, is postulated to relate to the Bhava-Dhara or the stream of emotions, feelings, and instincts, originating from the dynamic interactions of adhyavasay with karma induced kashaya and the resulting psycho-physical activities (Yoga) of the living organism. Adhyavasaya is the power of the soul remaining unobstructed by the karmic body, kashaya are the primal instincts and feelings (such as anger, pride, greed, and deceit) induced by the karmic-body and yoga represents the complex of mental, verbal, and physical activities performed by the living being.
Leshya = F((adhyavasaya, kashaya, yoga) ; or
L(t) = F[(S,K,) (k, IP)(Y))] …(2)
Where, L(t) is leshya at any given time t; (S) is the state of consciousness at that time; represents the body of karmons; k are the activated karmons at time t; IP are the primal instincts and passions induced by k and Y denotes the complex of psychophysical activities performed by the gross physical body.
Thus, Leshya can be considered as a complex function F representing the interaction dynamics of the soul (consciousness) and the karmic body with the psycho-physical actions performed by the physical body. The exact form of the function F remains to be specified and is a topic of further research. However, the above equation implies that Leshya can be modified by the instant change in the state and power of the consciousness, thus allowing scope for effort (pursharth) in modification of behavior and diluting karmic determinism.
Two forms of Leshya viz. (a) dravya-leshya and (b) bhava-leshya have been described. Dravya-leshya is the material (pudgal) form having material attributes influencing the gross physical-body. Dravya-leshya could be associated with Nama- and Gotra—Karma and possibly with Ayush-karma, the respective determinants of the structure, environment, and life span of the physical body.
Attributes of a group (varganayen) of dravya-leshya in the presence of Raag–Dwesh (attachment-hatred) associated psycho-physical activities (yoga) induce bhava-leshya (reflecting and expressing the state of consciousness). Bhava-leshya based on the audayik bhava resulting from the fruition of the karma, blends again with kashaya and yoga to attract corresponding Karmic particles. Thus, the dynamics of this cyclic process continues leading to changes in bhava-leshya from time to time.
In other words, bhava-leshya at any given moment of time reflects the inner personality of the living-system and influences the pattern of the mental, verbal, or physical activities of the physical body, which in turn induce fresh inflow of the karmic matter (Asrava) and bondage of the Karmic-particles with the soul; the strength and duration of the bondage being determined by the type of the karma and intensities of primal instincts and emotions associated with these activities.
2.5. Colors of Leshya are Indicators of Behavior Dispositions
Behavior dispositions of living systems have been characterized by six different types of leshya, denoted by different colors: 1. Krsna (black), 2. Nila (blue), 3. Kapot (gray), 4. Taijas (red), 5. Padam (yellow) and 6. Sukla (white).
Behavior of persons with different leshyas has been illustrated by the story about six travelers, who were lost in a forest and felt hungry. On seeing a tree laden with fruits, they contemplated different actions to fulfill their desires to eat the fruits of the tree. The individual with the black leshya (black leshi) thought it appropriate to cut the tree from the very root, the blue leshi to chop off all the branches, the grey leshi to cut only the fruit bearing branches, the red leshi to pluck all the fruits, the yellow leshi to pluck only the ripe fruits and the person with the white leshya to collect only the ripe fruits which have fallen to the ground.
Individuals with the black leshya are the most destructive and those with the white leshya the least. The black, blue, and grey leshyas are inauspicious and are associated with intense cruel, wicked, revengeful, angry, and violent behavior lacking in self-control, while red, yellow, and white are auspicious and promote humane, forgiving, equanimous and helpful attitude and non-violent behavior free from evil deeds.
2.6. Leshya and Spiritual Evolution
It is believed that spiritual development signifies progress of the living-being (Sansarik Jeeva ) towards the highest goal of achieving Moksha, a state characterized by complete stoppage of the karmic-influx, elimination of all the existing karmic-bondage and perfect expression of all the attributes of the pure consciousness. In this pure state, the soul (Siddha-Jeeva) exists in eternal bliss and omniscience, free from the cycle of death and rebirth.
2.6.1. Behavioral and Spiritual Correlates of Leshya
The colors of lehsya can be related to the spiritual development from the impure to the pure state of consciousness. The path of purification of the soul leads from inauspicious leshyas (black, blue, and gray) through auspicious leshyas (red, yellow, white) to a stage without Leshya (Aleshi, where there is no Kashaya and Karmic influx does not occur), thus achieving the pure state of consciousness (Ayoga Kevali).
Stages of spiritual development in Jain system of thought are generally characterized on the basis of Gunsthanas. The journey of the soul from the impure to the pure state is based on Karma-Dynamics and described in 14 stages termed Gunsthanas. The Gunasthäna, varies from moment to moment depending on the activation (Uday), influx (Ashrav), dissolution and suppression (Nirjara) of Karma. The activities of the Karmic-body in turn are influenced by leshya or the stream of bhava (reflecting the type and intensity of kashaya and the psycho-physical activities).
The transition from one Gunasthäna to another is not linear and proceeds according to certain logical rules. The lowest stage, called Mithya-Drishti, prevails due to the activation of Darshana-Mohiniya-karma (Deluding-karma), and is characterized by false perception and perverse attitude about knowing the truth and reality. The soul achieves the highest state of purity and omniscience in the 14th Gunasthäna called the Ayoga Kevali Gunasthäna. Table 1 depicts the correlations between leshya, Kashaya, bhava, gunsthanas, dhyan and karma dynamics.
It can be seen from Table 1 that the crucial milestone in this long journey from ignorance to omniscience occurs at the transition from gray to red leshya where the moderate intensities of Kashaya enable the flow of Upashamic bhava (U); the raudra bhava is absent and practice of dharma dhyan enables the dissolution of karma to exceed the influx, thus reducing the karmic body. The behavioral disposition of the red leshi is upright and compassionate; the spiritual evolution reaching upto the 7th gunsthana. The path for further spiritual progress can now be continued with the transformation to yellow and white leshya. The further weakening of the kashaya intensities and gradual annihilation of the karmic body permit the natural attributes of the soul to be expressed more and more in the behavioral dispositions characterized by right knowledge and righteous conduct, forgiveness, equanimity, and non-violence.
Table 1: Behavioral and Spiritual Correlates of Leshya
|Kashaya Intensity||Behavioral Characteristics||Bhava||Dhyan||Karma Dynamics||Gunsthanas|
|A, P||Arta, Raudra,
|I >>> D||1 – 4|
|Blue||+++++||Greedy, lazy, deceitful||A, P||Arta, Raudra,
|I >> D||1 – 4|
|A, P||Arta, Raudra,
|I > D||1 – 4|
|Red||+++||Upright, kind, simple||A, P, U||Arta, Dharma||D > I||1 – 7|
|A, P, U||Dharma||D >> I||1 – 7|
|White||+||Non-violent, equanimous||A, P, U,
|Dharma, Shukla||D >>> I||1 – 13|
For classification of Bhava see sec. 2.3.; classification of Dhyana see sec. 220.127.116.11.;
I: denotes karmic Influx (ashrav); D: denotes Dissolution (nirjara) of Karmas
2.6.2. Leshya and Rebirth
Leshya is believed to be associated with every conscious being, Jeeva (except Ayoga Kevali and Siddha Jeeva). After the death of the physical body, the subtle body assumes a new life-form (Gati) in a new physical body. Leshya is considered to relate also to the next birth, since the type of Leshya at the time of death is an important determinant of the new life-form (plant, animal, human, hellish or celestial) and is supposed to persist in the reborn. A detailed description of this topic is provided in Gommatsaar Jeevkand.
3.Modification of Behavior through Transmutation of Leshya: Its Relevance Today
Some of the major challenges threatening human welfare today (for example: unsustainable economic disparity, deceit and fraud; increasing violent crimes and terrorism; environmental pollution and global warming) are outcomes of the highly consumptive and hedonistic lifestyles supported by egoistic attitudes resulting in unrestrained violent behaviors. These problems can be solved only by appropriate understanding and modifications of the fundamental psycho-physiological traits underlying the individual and collective human behaviors. The concept of lehya as an important agent linking the psychical domain with the physical body and its activities appears to be of great relevance in this context.
Equation 2 suggests that leshya could change by alterations in (a) the dynamic configurations of the karmons and/or (b) the induced complex of passions and emotions (kashaya). Stoppage of the influx of Karmic matter (ashrav) through self-restraint (sanyam) and destruction of the existing karmic bondage (nirjara) through the practice of austerities (tapasyas) leads to the weakening of the karmic envelope and purification of psychical states.
Table 1 indicates that kashaya-intensities are directly related to the type of leshya; the black leshi have the highest intensities while the white leshi have the lowest. Reduction in the intensities of the kashaya would, therefore, result in the conversion of inauspicious to auspicious leshyas. The actual spiritual transformation commences with the conversion of Kapota to Tejas i.e., grey to red. The index of Tejas leshya is bright red color of sunrise. With the above conversion, there is a remarkable drop in animal instincts, carnal desires, and associated emotions. Further progress will result from the change of Tejas Leshya to Padma Leshya and the final change of Padma to Sukla leshya will result in the total eradication of negative emotions such as anger, cruelty, and hatred.
This can be achieved in several ways based on self-realization through introspection, meditation, and contemplation on the nature of the pure state of the soul. Some of the important and effective practices and rituals recommended in the Jain way of life are mentioned below.
3.1. Six Essentials (avshyakas)
Six essential Practices/ Duties recommended to be performed daily are:
1) Equanimity (Sämäyika)
2) Worship the twenty-four Tirthankars (Chaturvimshati-stava)
3) Salutations to Ascetics (Vandanä)
4) Introspection and Repentance (Pratikraman)
5) Non-attachment to the Body (Käyotsarga)
6) Vows of Renunciation (Pratyäkhyäna / Pachchakhäna)
In the present context Samayik and Pratikraman are most important.
3.1.1. Equanimity (Samayik)
The concept of Samayik is unique to Jainism. Samayik has its origin from the word ‘sam’, meaning equal. It is also related to word ‘Samay’ (time) and has been used in jain scriptures to denote Soul. Thus, Samayik is a process of practicing equanimity for purifying the soul (eliminating karmic bondage) for a period of time. Important components of Samayik are the study of scriptures (Swadhyaya), contemplation (Anupreksha) and meditation (Dhyan), Samayik should be practiced for at least 48 minutes (1 muhurat) every day to eliminate feelings of affection and aversion (Rag and Dvesha) to cultivate a state of detachment and equanimity (Veetragata) free of passions (kashaya).
18.104.22.168. Twelve Contemplations (Barah Anupreksha / Bhavana)
Equanimity comes from non-attachment which, in turn, is cultivated through contemplation on the following twelve aspects of reality:
- Impermanence: Nothing in this universe is permanent; all worldly objects are subject to constant change. This reflection leads to the feeling of non-attachment.
- Helplessness: Nothing can protect against death which is unavoidable.
- Solitariness: Every soul comes alone to occupy its individual body. Every individual is born alone and dies alone. The self alone is responsible for one’s thoughts, actions and deeds
- Distinctness: The body and soul are entirely different, distinct, and separate entities.
- Rebirth: Souls bonded by karmic matter transmigrate to various bodies and thus revolve in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth in various life forms.
- Nature of the universe: The universe is eternal and is governed according to its own laws. It consists of entities that evolve continuously according to their intrinsic attributes. New forms appear (Utapada) and old ones disappear (Vyaya) but the basic entity remains unchanged (Dhrauvaya).
- Impurity of physical body: It is deep delusion to think of our bodies to be pure. The feeling of attachment to the impure body should be discarded since it is only a vehicle for spiritual advancement.
- Influx of karma: Activities of mind, speech and body associated with delusion, anger, pride, deceit, and greed, under the influence of past karmas, induce the influx of new karmas. The karmic influx is responsible for the continued mundane existence of the soul through the cycles of rebirth.
- Stoppage of karmic influx: karmic particles do not approach the soul in the absence of desire, attachment, and aversion. The twelve contemplations lead to stoppage of karmic influx.
- Dissolution of karma: Karmic body can be reduced through the practice of austerities and contemplation on the attributes and purity of the soul. Internal and external penances (tapa) are instrumental in intentional shedding of karma even before fruition.
- Righteous conduct: The following code of virtuous conduct reflects the natural attributes of the soul.
1) Forgiveness (Kshama)
2) Straightforwardness (Aarjav)
3) Humility, Modesty (Mardav)
4) Purity of thought, Contentment (Schauch)
5) Truth (Satya)
6) Self-Restraint (Sanyam)
7) Austerity, Penance (Tapa)
8) Renunciation (Tyag)
9) Non-attachment (Akinchanya)
10) Celibacy (Brahmcharya)
Adherence to the prescribed code of conduct and contemplation on the natural attributes of the pure soul enables weakening of passions, reducing the karmic-body and leading to the goal of self-realization. To celebrate these ten natural attributes of the soul, Jains every year observe Das Lakshan Maha Parva (Great Festival of Ten Virtues), also called Paryushan Parva during the months of August/September. Each day is devoted to the contemplation, study, practice and discussions of a single attribute.
12.Rarity of true enlightenment: Among all forms of living beings, humans alone have the greatest capacity for rational knowledge and can control their lives. Hence only humans have the ability to attain enlightenment. A healthy human life blessed with properly developed senses and highly evolved consciousness conducive to attain spiritual enlightenment is rare.
22.214.171.124. Virtuous Meditation (Dharam Dhyan)
Meditation (Dhyan) involves concentration of mind on a single topic. Meditations have been classified according to the subject/object of concentration into 4 types:
1) Sorrowful Meditation (Ärta Dhyan): relates to distress or pain
2) Inclement/Cruel Meditation (Roudra Dhyan) : relates to revenge, violence, deceit
3) Virtuous Meditation (Dharma Dhyan): on the real nature of the self and the universe
4) Spiritual Meditation (Shukla Dhyän): on the pure nature of self/soul/consciousness
The first two types of meditations are most common in inauspicious leshyas and induce karmic influx; however, endeavors to practice virtuous meditation (dharma dhyan) can help to destroy karma and thus transform into the auspicious leshyas (see table 1.).
3.1.2. Introspection and Repentance (Pratikraman)
Pratikraman meaning “introspection” is a process of repentance (prayaschit) and asking for forgiveness during daily activities. Pratikraman is the combination of two words, Pra meaning return and atikraman meaning violation. Jain householders are supposed to observe twelve minor vows. During Pratikraman any violations that may have occurred in the observation of these vows are reviewed.
Regular practice of Pratikraman helps to minimize the karmic bondage.
During the last several decades, Jain saints, notably, Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahaprajna have developed and established a system of meditation known as Preksha-dhyan, which is now being taught in several centers around the world, as an easy and practical way to affect a transmutation of leshya and thereby to modify behavior.
Effectiveness and several benefits of practice of Preksha-Dhyan at the physiological, mental, and spiritual levels in normal subjects and patients have been demonstrated.
The word Preksa is derived from the root iksa, which means ‘to see’. Preksa Dhyan is based on the perception of subtle internal and innate phenomena of consciousness. The main purpose of the practice of Preksa dhyana is to purify the mental states. Leshya-dhyan, representing meditation on psychic centers and psychic colors, forms an important component of Preksha-dhyan.
To bring about the desired transformations in behavior, leshya-dhyan or the perception of psychic color during meditation, could prove to be a practical means of emotional regulation. The practice of leshya-dhyan can successively diminish intensities of the malevolent leshyas from Krsna to Nila and from Nila to Kapota. and then progressively increase the intensities of the benevolent leshyas.
4.Possible Scientific Correlates and Areas of Leshya Research
The relationships of consciousness with the physical body and behavior have been explored by disciplines such as philosophy and psychology, behavioral and neurosciences, and more recently quantum physics, artificial intelligence, and computer sciences. Theories based on different epistemological assumptions employing known neuro-physiological mechanisms and concepts of quantum theory attempt to understand the empirical correlations between mental states (consciousness) and material states of the living systems/ the brain. Though, presently such theories are essentially speculative and unsatisfactory because of deficient formal basis, detailed description, and lack of empirical evidence, yet could be valuable since they present interesting ideas for future developments.
Approaches employing quantum theory (which is, at present, the most fundamental theory of matter) to understand consciousness have attracted attention, since quantum events introduce an element of uncertainty or randomness, which is fundamental rather than merely due to ignorance or missing information. The uncertainty of quantum events could provide room for “free will” or the possibility of conscious mental acts influencing brain/behavior. The concepts of complementarily and entanglement are additional features of quantum theory relevant to discussions about consciousness.
Leshya, meaning light or radiation, is considered to link the spiritual with the material domains; hence studies on the scientific correlates of leshya should be initiated. Quantum physics demonstrates the duality of light manifesting as particles or wave packets. Interpreting interactions of leshya with consciousness and the physical body using concepts and techniques of quantum physics could be very challenging and useful. Some promising research directions are mentioned in the following.
4.1. Leshya and Emission of Biophotons
Spontaneous emission of very low intensity of coherent light in the wavelength range of 200-900 nm by living organisms (termed ultraweak photon emission (UPE) or biophoton emission, measured by single photon counting equipment (though invisible to naked eye due to weak intensity) has been shown to be a universal characteristic of the living systems (Popp, FA et al., 1992). Biophoton emission from the human body is less than 100 photons of visual light/cm2 of human body surface (Van Wijk R, Van Wijk EP, 2004). The emission spectrum differs from that of black-body radiation, it is not a line spectrum but rather flat over the frequency range.
The origin and functions of biophotons are presently unknown , however, the biophoton radiation is emitted from an almost coherent field and demonstrates some very unusual properties, which constitute interesting topics for studies in quantum electrodynamics. Data showing the non-thermal nature and quantum coherence of the biophoton radiation have been presented. A remarkable feature of many biophoton signals is the non-decaying shape of the signal i.e., the average intensity remains constant for a long time, implying that a biophoton signal in a pure quantum state is long lived. According to quantum optics, measurements of the complex amplitude of the light field can deliver different values within the region of quantum uncertainty region. The constant average intensity is also a characteristic feature of coherent and squeezed states. Squeezed states of light (or squeezed light) are a kind of nonclassical light with noise below the standard quantum limit in one quadrature component.
4.1.1. Correlation of biophotons with the functional state of the living systems
From the biophysical point of view every living being and its internal and external interactions can also be described in terms of electric and electromagnetic interactions and relationships. Studies of the interaction of coherent electromagnetic fields with living systems and biological materials suggest that living systems produce a characteristic pattern of frequencies of electromagnetic radiations as an expression of their electrochemical activities. The coherent emission of biophotons is associated with the bioenergetic as well as the biocybernetic processes and thus closely correlated with the functioning of the living systems. Biophotons have been reported to correlate with the concentration of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), the products of breathing (Hideg E. 1993), and cell chromatin appears to be the most plausible source of biophotons. Erythrocytes, which lack chromatin do not emit biophotons and correlations between biophoton emission and the intercalation of inert substances like ethidium bromide into the DNA have been observed (M. Rattemeyer et al., 1981; Chwirot, 1986). Excited states of DNA have been investigated as possible sources and the emitted biophotons may be considered as the electromagnetic expression of the genetic information. According to a theory developed by Popp and colleagues, the coherent biphotonic field of the DNA provides the basic communication network that regulates the functioning of the living organism at all levels.
Highly dense coherent electromagnetic fields can be very efficient carriers of information since each molecule in the system has the capacity to get connected to every other one by the coherent fields. Electromagnetic radiations can be easily modulated and thus constitute excellent means for the transmission of information. Experimental evidence supporting the possibility of modulating biological functions and structures in a controlled way by applying electromagnetic fields has been presented. Electromagnetic fields can influence the communication between cells and within cells due to their ability to activate or change the motion of the electrical charges. In fact, specific variations in the configuration and temporal exposure patterns of extremely weak electromagnetic fields can produce highly specific biological responses, like pharmaceutical products.
The exact origin of biophotons remains unknown yet, however, this important discovery by Russian and European scientists may have many interesting implications in several areas including consciousness, mental and physical health. Preliminary studies (Van Wijk et al., 2006) have suggested that practice of meditation could change the pattern of biophoton emission.
4.1.3. Biophotons and Leshya May be Related
Dravya-leshya, the material form of leshya, is supposed to be associated with the Naam-Karma, the determinant of structure and form of the living being, analogous to the DNA, the carrier of genetic information according to modern biology. Experimental evidence pointing to DNA being an important source of biophotons and the coherent biphotonic field of the DNA providing the basic communication network regulating the functioning of the living organism have been discussed. Therefore, possible relation of biophotons with leshya (meaning light/radiation in Sanskrit) could be a fruitful area of research.
4.2. Leshya, Aura and Behavior Modification
The aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds not only every living organism but also every inanimate object. The aura of a living system represents a blend of 2 components: (1) leshya associated radiations emanating from consciousness and (2) electromagnetic radiations from the physical body. Since leshya and the state of consciousness change with time, the aura of a living system is liable to variations unlike the aura of a physical object, which is static. Under certain conditions the normally invisible aura can be made visible and photographed using special techniques such as Kirlian photography discovered in 1939 by Semyon Kirlian in Russia. It has been suggested that changes in the brightness and patterns of colors in Kirlian photographs of the living beings may correlate with the health and emotional changes.
The color of leshya can be considered as an index reflecting the spiritual development and behavior modification can be brought out by a transmutation of leshya. It is assumed that the aura of living beings is also influenced by leshya and emotions. Change in leshya can, therefore, induce a corresponding change in the color of aura. The cause-and-effect relation between leshyas and colors is reciprocal. In other words, just as any change in lesyas would result in the change in the color of aura, the change in the aura by the influence of the colors of the external environment would also bring about a change in the lesya. This principle has been utilized in leshya-dhyana employing the “perception of the psychic colors” to transform the malevolent leshya into benevolent ones.
In view of its implications for behavior modification, the cause-and-effect relation between leshyas and colors of the aura is a subject needing further research.
Leshya mediates between the psychic and physical domains of the living beings and constitutes an important determinant of their behavior. Transformation of Leshya from inauspicious (black, blue, and grey) to auspicious (red, yellow, and white) ones can be brought about by practices directed towards self-realization and soul purification as recommended in the Jain philosophy and way of life. In particular, regular study of scriptures, contemplations on the natural attributes of the pure soul, practice of virtuous meditation, daily introspection of one’s activities and repentance of wrong doings are very helpful in bringing out the innate goodness in human behavior. These methods will encourage development of emotional control, self-restraint, tolerance, equanimity, non-violence, and compassion as natural personality traits and could be effective in meeting the present challenges. In view of the great relevance of applications of leshya transmutation for enhancing personal and social well being, comprehensive and systematic research to study the correlations between the behavioral, spiritual, and scientific aspects of leshya are warranted.
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