The 1st Step to Moksha according to Jainism

January, 2024 by Sunil Gandhi
Jain Agamas and scriptures have shown the Moksha Path with distinct clarity. These scriptures have laid down the prerequisites for attaining Moksha.

To know what Samyak is, it is vital to know what Samyak is not. There is a word called Mithyatva for everything that is non-Samyak.

Mithyatva means wrong, untrue. Mithya Darshan is the opposite of Samyak Darshan.

Therefore, Samyak Darshan is about two things.

  • Non-Believing in the untrue (Mithyatva) and
  • Believing in the right, eternal truth (Samyak).

Unless these two are concepts are clear beyond doubt. Unless there is a complete belief in these concepts, Samyak Darshan is not possible.

We will discuss Mithyatva later in detail.

Here are a few quotes about Mithyatva and Samyak Darshan in select Jain scriptures:

Samaya Saar by Swami Kundkundacharya:

Which means: Samyak Darshan, Samyak Gyan, and Samyak Charitra are the Moksha Marg. The right belief in Jiva and Ajiva is Samyak Darshan, Right knowledge about Jiva and Ajiva is Samyak Gyan and Raga less conduct is Samyak Charitra.

Kartikeyanupreksha by Swami Kartikeya:

Moksha Marga Prakashak by Pandit Todermalji:

Mithya Darshan is the root cause of all suffering.

Ratnakaranda Shravakachar by Swami Sammatbhadra:

On the Moksha Path, Samyak Darshan is like Steersman.

Tattavarthasutra by Swami Umaswati:

Real Moksha starts when one achieves Samyak Darshan and ends with Omniscient i.e. Keval Gyan state.

Atma Siddhi Shastra by Shrimad Rajchandra:

Vairägyädi Safal To, Jo Sah Ätamjnän; Temaj Ätamjnänani, Präpti Tanä Nidän.

Which means: Detachment, etc. are meaningful if accompanied by the knowledge of Self. Moreover, they can serve as the means for attaining the Self-realization.

Like Samyak Darshan is the precondition to entering the Moksha Path, firm, and unwavering beliefs in 9 elements, 6 eternal truth, and real Gods, real Guru and real religious scriptures are the prerequisite to achieve Samyak Darshan.

As Mithyatva is the opposite of Samyak Darshan, it is pertinent to understand what Mithyatva is. Unless we understand Mithyatva in all its forms and disbelieve in it, we will remain Mithya Drishti and Samyak Darshan will elude us.

(A person having Samyak Darshan is called Samyak Drashti and a person with Mithyatva is called Mithya Drashti)

For the aspirants of Moksha, it is fundamentally necessary to understand about Mithyatva. Why it is so elementary to know is explained below after the explanation of all kinds of Mithyatva.

What are the types of Mithyatva?

  1. Non-belief or inadequate belief or Ignorance about 9 elements is Mithyatva:

9 Elements according to Samaya Saar and Tattavarthasutra are.

  • Jiva i.e. soul or living being (Consciousness)

Believing self as Jiva/Soul is the right belief. Believing body as self/Soul is the wrong belief. Unless this is clear whose Moksha the aspirant is trying to achieve?

  • Ajiva i.e. non-living substances

Believing all non-living beings as Ajiva is the right belief. Body is also Ajiva.

  • Asrava i.e. cause of the influx of karma.

Knowing and believing in how Karma is attached to the body is the right belief.

  • Bandh i.e. bondage of karma

Knowing and believing in how Soul gets bondage of Karma is bandh.

  • Punya i.e. virtue

Knowing and believing in what is Punya.

  • Papa i.e. sin

Knowing and believing in what is Papa.

  • Samvara i.e. arrest of the influx of karma.

Knowing and believing in how to arrest influx of Karma is the right belief.

  • Nirjara i.e. exhaustion of the accumulated karma

Knowing and believing in how Karma is exhausted is the right belief.

  • Moksha i.e. total liberation from karma

Knowing and believing in how Moksha is achieved by totally exhausting all the Karmas is the right belief.

Samyak Darshi has complete understanding and firm and unwavering belief in these 9 elements. Kundakundacharya in ‘Samaya Saar’ has explained these 9 elements in detail. Read with the commentary for better understanding.

  1. Belief in unreal Gods, Gurus and Religious Scriptures is Mithyatva.
  • Believing in non-Vitraga as a God. Vitraga means without Raga or Dwesha. Non-attached. Keval Gyani who have achieved Moksha.
  • Believing non-Atmagyani as Guru. Atmagyani is someone with self-knowledge. Self-means Soul.

Mohbhäv Kshay Hoy Jyän, Athavä Hoy Prashänt;

Te Kahie Jnäni Dashä, Bäki Kahie Bhränt.

Which means: The state, where the sense of attachment is either eradicated or is calmed down, is called the enlightened one; all else is a delusion. (Atma Siddhi Shastra)

Ratnakaranda Shravakachar; “Believing a person as a Guru, who is indulging in Parigraha, Projects, and activities where even minute violence is a possibility is Mithyatva.”

  • Believing in non-Agamas as religious scriptures are Mithyatva.

Most of the human beings are in stage 1 and that is Mithyatva Stage.

We must move to stage 4 and that is Samyak Stage in order to move up to the 14th stage.

What is the prerequisite to moving to the stage 4? A complete Mithyatva-less state.

Conclusion:

  • Samyak Darshan is the belief in Eternal Truths and real Gods, Guru and Scriptures, and non-belief in all kinds of Mithyatva — both with 100% conviction. The slightest of doubt in either keeps the Moksha Path away from us.
  • The 1st stage of Moksha Path is Samyak Darshan. All daily rituals, endless pilgrimage, and inconsiderate penance without the Samyak Darshan are the bogies of an engineless train. Everything without the Samyak Darshan is Mithya Darshan. Attach the engine of Samyak Darshan to all your religious activities to make it Samyak. This is the first step on the Moksha Path.

Hope this piece on Samyak Darshan helps the reader in getting some clarity about the subject. The purpose is to emphasise the importance of Samyak Darshan and to enlighten the readers about Mithya religious beliefs and activities.

There are several aspects of Mithyatva. It is pertinent to know about it to make our belief Samyak. The following scriptures will help.

Acknowledgement:
https://medium.com/jainism-simplified/the-1st-step-to-moksha-according-to-jainism-d6c2647759fe

About Author

Sunil Gandhi
Editor for Jainism Simplified.
Author / Blogger / Script Writer.

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