Asrav means inflow and according to Jain philosophy defined as the
inflow of karmas to the soul. The influx of karmas occurs at every
second in life. It is this process that keeps our souls wandering in
this universe and prevents it from being free. Let us say that you
went boating and were having a good time. Suddenly, you noticed water
spurting from the floor of the boat. What would go through your mind?
What would you do? The first thing that would go through your mind is
that there is a hole, let me fix it before the boat sinks. You may be
lucky if it was just one hole, but there could be more than one. In the
same way, we know that karmas are accumulating in our souls through one
or more of our activities and unless we stop them they are going to
choke our souls.
Asrav can be described as two types.
1) Physical or Objective
2) Psychic or Subjective
The physical type refers to actual activities which lead to the inflow
of karmas. The psychic refers to mental engrossment in such activities.
There are forty-two ways through which the soul is exposed to the inflow
of karmas. Of the forty-two, five are senses, four are passions, five
are avratas, three are yogas, and twenty-five are activities. The first
seventeen of these are regarded as the major ones, while the other rest
twenty-five are the minor asrava.
These asrav can also be named in eighteen different forms (sins), such
as; violence, falsehood, stealing, sexual activity, possessiveness,
anger, ego, deceit, greed, attachment, hatred , quarrelsomeness, false
accusations, divulging someone's secrets, backbiting, taking delight in
committing sins, being unhappy with religious acts, lying maliciously,
trusting false belief, religious teachers, and religions.
In Jainism, karmas enter due to following five reasons:
1) Wrong Belief (Mithyatva),
2) Vowlessness (Avirati),
3) Passions (Kashayas),
4) Negligence (Pramad),
5) Psychophysical activities (Yoga).
1) Mithyatva (False Belief):
Mithyatva means wrong attitude, wrong taste, ignoble activity, and lack
of faith in the nine fundamentals (tattvas) expounded by the Jinas.
Mithyatva also means not having interest and faith in the path of
Moksha expounded by the Jina, but having interest and faith in a so
called path of Moksha expounded by ignorant and unenlightened people.
In other words, instead of having faith in the Arihants, great
spiritual heads, and a great dharma, those with mithyatva believe in a
false spiritual head and false dharma.
The false preceptor is one who does not act according to the great vows
such as non-violence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya), Non-stealing (Asteya),
Celibacy (Brahamcharya), and Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha). He keeps
wealth and woman, and approves of such actions. He does not abide by
the code of conduct of monks. Such a person is a false spiritual head.
The false religion, is that which is devoid of samyakdarshan (the right
faith), samyakjnan (the right knowledge), and samyakcharitra (the right
character). A false religion does not explain the true nature of jiva
and ajiva. A false religion deems it right to enjoy sensual pleasures,
to have passions, and to commit sins.
Having faith in such a false spiritual head and dharma; having
partiality for them and interest in them constitute false belief or
The five kinds of mithyatva:
1) The Anabhogik Mithyatva (Total ignorance):
This is a state of ignorance in which one cannot distinguish between
good and bad, or true and false doctrines. This state is also present
in all the jivas that do not have a mind. Such jivas range from the
Ekendriya up to the Asamjni Panchendriya (do not possess a mind).
2) The Abhigrahik Mithyatva (Fanatic false faith):
This refers to those having a fanatic faith and interest in a false
dharma (religion). In such a state one believes that their dharma is
the only right one, even though its propagator may have derogation like
attachments, hatred, and violence, etc.
3) The Anabhigrahik Mithyatva (Accepting other faiths without comparing
In this state people are simple; they are not extremists. People in this
state believe that all religions are equal even though other religions
may not be observing principles like Ahimsa and truthfulness. They do
not completely accept celibacy, non-possessiveness, or anything which
is not offered, etc. How can we consider them equal when they do not
follow these principles to the full extent?
4) The Abhiniveshik Mithyatva (Insistence in false faith):
State in which one knows that his or her religion is not right, but
continues to live in accord with that faith.
5) The Samshayik Mithyatva (Skepticism):
State in which there is doubt or skepticism about the dharma expounded
by the Jina.
False belief is the greatest enemy of the soul. Because of mithyatva,
one can not have faith in the fundamentals (tattvas), the path of
Moksha, Tirthankars, Arihants, spiritual heads and dharma. One will
have a strong interest in the sinful activities like violence and
sensual pleasures. As a result of this, man moves farther away from a
noble dharma. All the devotion and austerities carried out through
various previous lives become wasted on account of the excitement
caused by sins and sensual enjoyments. We should discard mithyatva
which is the basic cause of our distraction from true religion.
2) Avirati (Vowlessness)
Avirati means the stage of vowlessness during which one has no restraint
from doing or contemplating upon bad things. Unless we take a vow to
restrain or cut our association with any undesirable activities, all
such activities will bring bad karmas to our soul. By taking a vow, we
are saying that we will not have anything to do with these activities.
In this way, we will not accumulate any bad karmas related to such
3) Passions (Kashayas)
Kash means Samsar and Aya means gain. Therefore, kashayas means that
which helps to gain or keep the jiva in samsar. In other words,
kashayas are those things which keep Jivas in the cycle of birth and
death. Kashayas are also called passions and refer specially to anger,
ego, deception, and greed. These passions have many forms such as
attachments, hatred, enmity, hostility, arrogance, craftiness,
trickery, lust, greed, and possessive propensity, etc. While fun,
sorrow, delight, excitement, fear, disgust, abhorrence and sexual
craving, etc., provoke kashayas. They themselves are not kashayas, but
are rather referred to as nokashayas.
Anger, greed, deception, and ego are further subdivided into four types
depending upon their severity: The four types are:
a) Severe (Anantanubandhi Kashaya),
b) Moderate (Apratyakhyan Kashaya),
c) Mild (Pratyakhyan Kashaya),
d) Slight (Samjwalan Kashay).
a) Anantanubandhi Kashay
This kashay binds the soul to endless worldly lives (samsar). It adds
bondage and impels the cycle of life and death to go on forever. This
kashay dwells in person who lives in false belief or Mithyatva . The
jiva, under the influence of this kashay, commits very violent sins and
has very severe attachments and hatred towards others. On account of
the influence of this kashay, the jiva commits sins without realizing
what is right and what is wrong, and carries out evil actions without
any fear. This kashaya undermines righteousness or samyaktva which in
this context means faith in religious fundamentals, tattvas.
Therefore, it is necessary to realize that a sin is a sin and should be
considered an ignoble action. In this respect, when one destroys the
Anantanubandhi kashaya, one will develop the right faith in the tattvas
and will develop Samyaktva. If Anantanubandhi Kashaya arises it will
destroy the faith and will throw the jiva down from the level of
Samyaktva to Mithyatva or false belief.
b) Apratyakhyan Kashay
Sins like violence should not be committed. Though jivas know and
realize this truth, they have not developed the strength to discard
such sinful activities. In other words, the idea that a vow should be
taken or restraint should be used to discard these sins does not arise.
Even if one desires to take such vows, the apratyakhyan kashay would
paralyze such desires. When this kashaya surfaces, it even drags those
who are observing partial restraints to a level of no restraints
(vowlessness). Under the influence of this kashay, the jiva, in spite
of knowing it, becomes so inactive and apathetic that he or she cannot
even say, "I will take a vow to refrain from this sin of this
c) Pratyakhyan kashay
Pratyakhyan Kashaya does not oppose partial restraints, vows, or
pachchakhanas (accepting a vow to discard sins), but it eclipses the
idea of total vows. Even though the first two extreme kashayas are
gone, and faith and a desire to take total vows may appear, this
kashaya still proves harmful towards acceptance of the total vows.
During the effect of this kashaya, even though jiva may realize that
violence is a sin and would like to abstain totally from committing
such sins, he or she will only be able to restrain partially. Violence
towards the sthavar jivas may continue but when this kashaya is
destroyed, suppressed, or both one can totally restrain from causing
violence to all lives. Therefore, depending upon the effect of this
kashaya person may follow partial or total vows.
d) Samjwalan Kashay
At the point when this is the only kashaya left, the has dropped
passions greatly in severity to the level of slight passions. At this
level a person may either suppress this kashaya or destroy it
completely. When this kashaya is suppressed, it will appear as if the
jiva is devoid of any attachment or hatred, but such a state does not
always last for long. Within the next half antah muharat (twenty-eight
minutes), the jiva will fall prey to newly surfacing kashayas, and may
regress all the way back to the influence of anantanubandhi kashaya. On
the other hand, if this kashay is completely destroyed then, the soul
will arise to the true non-attached stage from which there is no
rolling back. Therefore, when all samjwalan kashayas are destroyed this
jiva will become a Kevali. Thus it can be seen that even a slight
kashayas holds the Vitragata (status of equanimity) as a hostage.
4) Pramad (Indolence)
Pramad means that soul is inactive in contemplating on its own form.
Pramad is caused by five things:
2) Sensual cravings,
5) Engaging in gossiping.
It may be described that the pramad is also caused by eight other
7) Harmful activities of the mind, body and voice
8) Not caring for, and not having enthusiasm for any religious
If there is slight indolence (pramad) when a person has discarded all
sinful activities and is initiated as a monk or a nun, then that monk
or nun is called a Pramatta (one who is under the impact of pramad).
When a monk or nun discards gross pramad he or she is an Apramatta monk
or nun. Even after one becomes an Apramatta, passions may arise, but
they will be very subtle. Thus, these passions can be destroyed or
controlled. At such a time, the jiva will be strongly awakened.
Therefore, a very small degree of passion is not called pramad. When
the jiva transcends from this state of spiritual awareness, the vitrag
state appears. Consequently, senses are the cause for passions and
passions lead to one’s downfall.
Senses are so slippery that if we are not vigilant, they get involved
into what is happening around us and provoke our passions. Passions in
turn may drag our souls from spiritual path. Let us understand how the
five senses can hinder our spiritual progress.
A person may become involved in listening to sensual songs, music or
talk and may spend so much time in it that he or she may not be able to
concentrate on doing the necessary things. One should listen to
religious sermons and devotional songs which help to improve our
conation, cognition, conduct, and ultimately lead us to liberation.
People spend so much time watching television that involves violence,
sensual or demoralizing episodes, or MTV which increase one's lust and
makes the mind more violent. Instead, one should spend time watching
moral episodes and sermons by monks and nuns if available which would,
in turn, also increase our conation, cognition, conduct and lead us to
We should not be engrossed in pleasures of perfumes and scents that will
increase our lust as well as other’s lust. Such engrossment will bring
the downfall of all parties involved. We should also be reminded that
there is a great deal of violence involved in the creation of such
products. Some people pluck flowers to smell, but they forget that they
have caused a death. Nonetheless, such is violence. For these reasons,
one should keep desires low, and stay away from such things.
Many people eat meat because they consider meat to be a tasty food.
Sometimes people overlook the violence involved in meat production. A
similar incident occurs when some one drinks liquor. Even though, some
may say we do not drink too much, we hear cries about driving while
intoxicated. Not only do these people harm themselves, but they cause
many innocent lives to be lost. There are many unwanted incidents
occurring in the society due to the influence of the sense of taste. In
order to prevent such occurrences, let us control our taste and stay
away from such things. Let us learn to live on simplistic tasteful
food so that austerity like Ayambil can easily be performed.
What do kissing, hugging, or even shaking hands bring to our mind? They
bring sensual pleasure and increase our lust and therefore, we should
avoid these things. We can greet a person by saying "Jai- Jinendra"
with folded hands.
5) Yoga (Psychophysical Activity)
In Jainism, yoga means psychophysical activities. In other words, the
thoughts, the words, and the physical activities of the jiva are called
yogas. There are fifteen types of activities. If these activities are
meritorious, the soul gathers auspicious karmas, and if they are
demeritorious, the soul gathers inauspicious karmas.
The Manoyoga (the activity of the mind) is divided into four subtypes:
1) Satyamanoyoga - thinking about an object or its condition for what
it is. For example: "Right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct
action, would lead to Moksha."
2) Asatyamanoyoga - thinking about a thing or its condition, in such a
way which is contrary to what it truly is. For example: "Right conduct
is not necessary for Moksha."
3) Satyashatyamanoyoga (mixed activities of the mind) - thinking that
something may have some truth, but not the whole truth, or may have
some untruth, but not totally so. For example: "Knowledge itself is
enough to attain Moksha".
4) Vyavaharmanoyoga - thinking about something which is of a general
nature. In this the truth or untruth, does not matter very much. For
example: "Let me tell Ramesh that it is nine o’clock because if he does
not get ready, he will be late." "Let me tell Bhavesh, it is lunch time
even though there is half hour more to go."
The Vachan yoga (the activity of the speech)is divide into four
1) Satyavachan yoga - speaking the truth about an object.
2) Asatyavachan yoga - telling lie about an object.
3) Satyashatyavachan yoga (mix vachan) - saying something that may
have some truth and some untruth.
4) Vyavaharvachan yoga - refers to casual words like; "You may go. You
may come in, etc."
The Kaya yoga (the activity of the body) is divided into seven
subtypes which are related to the following five types of bodies:
1) The human beings, animals and birds have the audarik body.
2) The heavenly beings and the inhabitants of hell have the vaikriya
3) The highly spiritual monks, who have mastered the shastras
(fourteen poorvas) go to Samavasaran when they need clarification of
their doubts where Lord Arihant is giving a sermon, by creating a
special extra body called the aharak sharir. Their real body stays with
them wherever they are.
4) The tejas body gives energy to the whole body.
5) The karman body carries the imprints of karmas to the next birth.
When the soul departs from the current body, at the time of death, the
tejas and karman bodies go with it to the next life.
Kaya yoga means the activities of these bodies, any organs, or any sense
organs of all jivas. The seven types of kaya yogas are divided into:
Two Audarik Kaya yoga - (1) Mishra Audarik, and (2) Pure Audarik,
Two Vaikriya Kaya yoga - (1) Mishra Vaikriya, and (2) Pure Vaikriya,
Two Aharak Kaya yoga - (1) Mishra aharak, and (2) Pure Aharak, and
One Karman Kaya yoga.
1) Mishra Audarik Kaya Yoga: As a jiva is reborn in the next life, a
new body is not ready at the very first moment, but the body is formed
with the help of the Karman sharir, a collection of karmas, and with
Audarik Pudgals. This activity is called the Mishra Audarik Kaya Yoga.
2) Pure Audarik Kaya yoga: Whatever activities that occur after the
body has been fully formed are called the Audarik Kaya Yoga.
The same is for:
3) Mishra Vaikriya Yoga, and 4) Pure Vaikriya Yoga,
5) Mishra Aharak Yoga, and 6) Pure Aharak Yoga.
7) Karman kaya Yoga: When the soul (jiva) travels to the next life, it
first goes straight up and then, it usually turns twice. When the soul
turns for the first time, it does not have any connection with a body
because it has just discarded its current body and has not reached its
next. At that time, the activity of the soul is due to the Karman body.
This activity is called the Karman Kaya Yoga.
All together there are 15 yogas. These activities could be the
auspicious ones or the inauspicious ones. Truthful activities relating
to religious principles are auspicious activities. Untruthful
activities relating to religious principles are inauspicious. We
attain punya (merit) by means of auspicious yogas and papa (demerit or
sin) by means of inauspicious yogas.
25 Different activities:
The following twenty-five activities cause influx of karmas, and one
should take care to avoid them:
1) Kayiki activity: When carefree physical activities cause injury.
2) Adhikarniki activity: When someone engages in the activity of
creating or supporting the instruments or weapons of violence.
3) Pradvesiki activity: When someone is causing injury due to anger.
4) Paritapaniki activity: When someone acts in grief and sorrow,
causing others grief or sorrow.
5) Pranatipatiki activity: When someone kills or injures any part of
6) Arambhiki activity: When someone begins activities which would
cause injury. For example: building a house, or tilting a farm, etc.
7) Parigrahiki activity: Activities which cause hoarding of grains,
cattle, wealth, and other material things.
8) Mayapratyayiki activity: When someone is causing injury by way of
9) Mithyadarshanapratyayiki activity: When someone acts contrary to
the path shown by the Jina and follows a false faith.
10) Apratyakhaniki activity: When one carries on activities without
taking their vows.
11) Dristiki activity: When one looks at someone else with lust, hatred
12) Spristiki activity: When one touches or hugs or kisses someone else
13) Pratityaki activity: When one reacts to unrelated matters.
14) Samantopanipatiki activity: When one enjoys praise for possessing
15) Naishastriki activity: When one causes injury or death on the job
due to compulsion or command from a superior.
16) Svahastiki activity: As an employer, when one commands an employee
to perform any action which may cause injury.
17) Ajnanpaniki activity: When one acts contrary to the Jina’s teaching
while thinking he or she is a wise person.
18) Vaidaraniki activity: When one unjustly speaks ill of another person
in order to defame others.
19) Anabhogiki activity: One should be very careful when voiding urine
or defecating bowel movements, etc.
20) Anavakanksapratyayiki activity: When one shows disregard to and
disbelief in the effectiveness of laws of life and conduct as
proclaimed by the Jina.
21) Prayogiki activity: When one does not control mind, speech, and
bodily movements as taught in the Jain Scriptures.
22) Samudayiki activity: When one acts with such wide implications that
all eight karmas become attracted. For example, many people go to see
acts of violence such as hanging, and have thoughts which make them
wonder why it is taking so long to hang someone.
23) Premiki activity: When a person does things under the influence of
deceit and greed.
24) Dvesiki activity: When a person does things under the influence of
pride and anger.
25) Iryapahiki activity: Any passionless movements or activities.
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