The Third Doubt
Vayubhuti, the youngest brother of Indrabhuti, was the third scholar to reach Mahavira. Addressing him, as before, Mahavira said “Vayubhuti! You have a doubt whether the soul and body are one or different. You have this doubt because you have not understood Vedas properly. You believe that consciousness emerges from the combination of earth, water, fire, and air. As the property of intoxication is absent in the components of wine but is present in the wine similarly, the consciousness is absent in earth, water, fire and air but it emerges when these components combine (to produce the body) This new property remains in existence as long as the components stay together and disappears on their disintegration. So, consciousness is the property of bhutas (material existence) and consciousness and body are indifferent.”
Clarifying the doubt Mahavira said “Vayubhuti! Your doubt is not right. Consciousness cannot emerge from combination of material components as none of them individually possess this property. How can a property that is absent in components can be present in the product? Your assumption that the intoxication property is absent in the components of wine is not correct, each component has this property in some measure and therefore wine is intoxicating.”
Mahavira continued “Like the ingredients of wine, why can’t we assume the existence of consciousness in each component of the body? No, this is not right. We do not see any sign of consciousness in the components of the body. You may say that there is no need to assume intoxicating properties in each of the ingredients of wine. But in that case, anything like stone, clay etc. could become valid ingredients of wine, but in practice we find that this is not true. Hence each ingredient of wine necessarily possesses the intoxicating property.”
Consciousness is the property of the soul. Explaining this Mahavira Said. `There is an element different from senses (the material body), that has the property of consciousness, because the element that perceives the objects contacted by each of the senses must be different from the senses. That element, different from senses, is soul jiva or consciousness. You may again say why can’t we assume the senses to be the perceiver? Mind that, we continue to remember the object perceived by a particular sense organ even after that organ is destroyed or incapacitated. Sometimes we perceive a thing through a particular sense organ and remember it and sometimes forget it even if that sense organ is in order. Therefore, we must assume that the senses are not the perceiver, the perceiver is different from senses. This perceiver is soul.
Further, the same object can be perceived by more than one sense, so the perceiver must be different from senses. Sitting in a house you see the same object through two windows, so the observer is different from the windows. Similarly, the soul perceives an object through different senses, and is different from senses. Secondly, the object is perceived through one sense organ and its property is sensed through another sense organ for example, a lemon is seen by eye but is tasted by tongue. Therefore, the perceiver must be different from the senses. Thirdly, the perceiver remembers the objects perceived through all five senses, so he is different from the senses.
Vayubhuti- “Even if the soul is different from senses, it perishes with the body. What is the advantage in proving it different from body?”
Mahavira – “This is not a valid doubt. For someone who remembers his previous births, the body is destroyed but there is something (the soul) that is not destroyed. If the soul was also destroyed, then who remembers the previous birth? An old person remembers his childhood because the soul continues to live, so does the soul birth after birth and remembers his previous life. Soul remembering his past birth must not die.”
“If someone says that memories are stored in the brain then it is obvious that when the body dies brain does not if the memories are to be carried forward. Since the brain is destroyed with the body there is something else, the soul that retains the memory. One that is temporary cannot remember the past, and therefore the entity that remembers is permanent. The soul is eternal and has the attribute of knowledge and so it remembers the past. Memories can never part away from the soul.”
Vayubhuti – “If the soul is different from body why don’t we see it entering or leaving the body?”
Mahavira “There are two kinds of instances of non-availability or non-observability of a thing (1) A thing is like the horn of a mule, non-existent. (2) It exists but is very far away, or very near or very subtle. The soul is non-physical and the karman body attached it is also very subtle, so we don’t see the soul entering or leaving a body.”
Vayubhiti was satisfied and he along with his 500 disciples accepted the Order of Mahavira.
The Fourth Doubt
Next Vyakta and his disciples went to Mahavira. Mahavira said “Vyakta! You have doubt on the existence of bhutas, the material existence, because you have not properly followed Vedas. I shall remove your doubt. Vyakta! You believe that all visible worlds are like a dream and all invisible elements like soul merit (punya) demerit (papa) etc. are also an illusion, Thus the whole universe is really shunya, non-existent. You also think that all phenomena in the world are relative, small, or big, and therefore the existence of reality is not proved with respect to the self, others, or both. Hence the universe is non-existent. Similarly, no relation of existence, unity, diversity etc. can be proved for matter and so nothing exists. Hence, the universe must be assumed to be non-existent.”
Your doubts are wrong because if the world does not exist, then you cannot doubt it like the sky is a flower. You raise a doubt only when a thing exists, like a place or a person. So, your belief that everything is non-existent like sky – flower is not right. The existence of an object is proved by direct experience, inference, or Agama and therefore we have doubt only about those things whose existence is established by these means. Therefore, we have doubts about a place or person and not about a sky-flower. Secondly, doubt is a mode of jnana(knowledge) and knowledge is not possible without the knower. Hence for doubt to exist the existence of knower is essential.
Someone may say that if nothing exists still there can be doubt. For instance, a person may doubt in their dreams that he is an elephant or a mountain. Therefore, doubt can exist even if nothing exists in reality. This thinking is not right. A doubt in the dream is also based on memory of past experience. If nothing exists, you cannot doubt even in the dream.
You see a dream for the following reasons:
- Your past experiences like bathing etc.
- Your past observed objects like, dog, cow etc.
- Your mental thoughts like your spouse, son, etc.
- Things you have heard about like heaven, hell, etc.
- Physical disorders like disease, trauma etc.
- Favourable or adverse, pleasure and pain, conditions.
- Wet regions.
- Your merit (punya) and demerit (papa).
Dream is a reflection of your attributes and is a product of your creation. One of the shortcomings of the theory of non-existence is that it does not distinguish between dream and no-dream, true and false, main and auxiliary, goal and means, cause and action, speaker and speech, for and against argument, etc.
Saying that every action is relative, the existence of no object is established, is not correct. Let us consider the question whether our knowledge of something as big or small, is concurrent or progressive. If concurrent then we must agree that when we know that the middle finger is big at the same time, we also know that the ring finger is small. In this case we cannot say that big and small are relative. If the knowledge of big and small was progressive, then we first know that ring finger is small, and this perception is independent of the perception of bigness of the middle finger. So, we must believe that the perception of big and small is not a relative experience. For instance, when a baby opens his eyes for the first time, how does he perceive the size? If we know two things simultaneously our perception is not relative. In view of all these cases we must believe that our knowledge of a given object is not relative to another object. When we remember another object of contrast, then we realize that this object is small or big. Therefore, we must believe that the existence of objects is self-proven.
We can prove the existence of matter etc. If the existence of an object A is relative to the existence of another object B, then on destruction of object B the object A must be destroyed automatically, as A is dependent on B. But this does not happen. This proves that the attributes like size etc. of the object, are though relative, their existence is independent. Hence there should be no doubt about the existence of earth, water, fire etc. which are directly visible. Air and akasa are not visible and you may doubt their existence. But remember, the touch property is the attribute of some object. And since air has touch property its existence is established. Earth, water, fire and air are physical substances, and they require a space for existence, just like storage of water needs a pot. The substance that holds earth, water, fire and air is akasa.”
Clearing the doubts about the bhutas of Vyakta, Mahavira continued “These bhutas in natural state, until they are operated upon by some process, are sachetan i.e., they possess consciousness. They exhibit the properties of living beings. Akasa is non-physical; it accommodates jivas but is not jiva itself. Earth is living as it possesses the attributes of birth, aging, life, death, destruction, recovery, hunger, disease, treatment, etc. typical of living beings. `The plant Lajwanti Contracts on contact. Creepers grow towards tees to get support. The plant Shami has been found to have signs of sleep, awareness, and contraction. Vakul tree enjoys speech, Ashoka tree enjoys beauty, Kurubuck tree enjoys smell, Virahak tree enjoys taste, and Champaka tree enjoys touch. Water is living as it oozes out of earth like a frog and falls from the sky like a fish. Air travels in lateral direction like a cow and is therefore living. Fire is also living as it grows on feeding fuel wood just like humans who grow on consuming food.
The question is that if earth, plants, waters, air, and fire are living beings then their consumers are committing violence. How are the Sharmanas free from violence? This is because the processed earth, plants, water, air, and fire are no longer living, they become non-living. It is not right to think that a person is guilty of violence when he has killed some living beings and not guilty of violence because he has not killed other living beings. It is also not right to say that killing a few beings is not violence and violence occurs only on killing a large number of beings. The identifying sign of violence is ill feeling towards the beings even though no killing has taken place. A person having pure feelings is free of violence charge even if killing has taken place (inadvertently).
A monk observing five carefulness (samiti) and three restraints (gupti) is considered free from charge of violence, but persons living unrestrained life are not free from the charge of violence. A monk observing restraints in his life is not guilty of violence irrespective of whether violence has taken place or not because the basis of charge of violence is adhyavasaya, the emotions, of soul and not the act of violence. In effect, ill transformation of the soul is violence. Such ill transformation of soul may or may not be associated with killing of another life. Any killing that causes ill transformation of soul is surely violence but that killing which does not induce ill transformation of soul is not regarded as violence.”
Mahavira removed all doubts of Vyakta on the existence of bhutas and he along with his 500 disciples initiated the Order of Mahavira.
The Fifth Doubt
Sudharma went to Mahavira next. Mahavira addressed him “Sudharm! You have a doubt whether the next life of soul is similar to the present life. You have this doubt because you have no property that follows Vedas.”
“The Action following a cause also becomes a cause for future action. Agreeing that the cause decides the action, diversity in action is not ruled out. It cannot be said with certainty that a human being will be born as human being again in the next birth. The seed for the next life is karma and not the soul. As the karma of each soul is different there is diversity in the next birth for different souls. The karma is composed of pudgala karman vargana and its nature is determined by behaviour of the soul. The attachment and aversion qualities of the soul are the main reasons for diversity of karma.”
“You may say why karma should decide the next birth? But if karma is not the deciding factor, then there could be no next birth and all efforts by way of penance and religious practices for Moksa are likely to go to waste. Further in the absence of karma effect the diversity in life that we observe shall not exist. Thus, ignoring karma shall raise many problems.”
“You may also say that the next birth is decided by the nature of the soul and not karma. First think, what is the nature of the soul? Is it an object or absence of cause or is it its attributes? It is obvious that the soul being inaccessible is not an object. Even if it is inaccessible, it may still be assumed to inherit nature? If so, then what is the objection in assuming the existence of karma in the inaccessible soul? Further, we do not have a cause for the diversity of nature of beings and diversity of life except Karma. The absence of a cause option also presents many problems. Similarly, the third option of attributes of soul also does not offer any ground for diversity of life. When we try to explain the diversity with the help of the effect of matter, it converges to the concept of karma.
Satisfied by the arguments of Mahavira, Sudharma and his 500 disciples accepted the Order of Mahavira.
The Sixth Doubt
After Sudharma, Mandik went to Mahavira. Mahavira addressed – “Mardik! You have a doubt about bondage and Moksa. You think that association of karma with the soul is bondage then whether this bondage has a beginning or not. If it has a beginning, then whether the soul first existed and then karma was bound or karma existed first and then soul was born or whether both came into being simultaneously? All the three options are objectionable as follows:
- The soul cannot exist before karma because if the soul is assumed to be born without any valid reason, then it can also be destroyed without any valid reason.
- The karma cannot exist before the soul as the soul is the doer of karma. Karma also cannot bond without reason, since in that case it will have to be assumed that it can also be destroyed without reason. So, karma cannot exist before the soul.
- If both soul and karma are assumed to come into existence simultaneously, then the soul cannot be the doer and karma is not the action of the soul.
The association of soul and karma is also not permanent because in that case the soul cannot gain Moksha. Anything that is beginning less and endless is also infinite like the association of soul and akasa? Clearing these doubts Mahavira said “The association of soul and karma is beginning less because they have a cause and action relationship like a seed and sprout. As a sprout from seed and seed from sprout is produced and as this process is going on from beginning less time the offspring of both is also beginning less. Therefore, all the three options of karma are not true. The soul creates the body by karma, so he is the creator of the body, and creates karma by the body so he is the creator of karma. The association of body and karma is beginning less and so is the association of soul and karma. Therefore, bondage of soul and karma is beginning less.
One that is beginning less is also infinite (in future) is not logical. The seed and sprout have begun less association, but this association can come to an end. Similarly, the association between soul and karma can be ended. This is achieved by right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct. Mahavira then talked about Moksha and the state of bhavya (capable of Moksa) and abhavya (incapable of Moksa)”.
“The association of soul and karma is terminated by appropriate means. Any product obtained by artificial means is temporary, just like a pot. So Moksa, attained by employing (proper) means, is also temporary?” Mahavira clarified “This rule, that an artificial product is temporary, is forced. The pot, although produced artificially, has the property of transformation. If this ‘transformation property is temporary, then on loss of this (transformation) property a broken pot should again turn back to its original state. So, the transformation, although brought about by artificial means, is permanent. Similarly, though attained by adopted means, the Moksa is permanent.” Mahavira then explained the form of emancipated souls and cosmology.
All doubts of Mandik were cleared and he and his 350 disciples accepted the Order of Mahavira.