Instincts play a significant role in our life. They affect our conduct
as well as behavior. They have been illustrated in Jain Canons from the
karmic philosophical point of view. One of the modern disciplines of
science is psychology of behavior which emphasizes the original
instinct in the form of natural tendencies and modes of living,
emotions, feelings. It corroborates the karmic explanations.
What is instinct?
First of all we should understand the concept of an instinct.
There are two meanings. One is an emotion which is called an
original instinct in the psychological term and the other is
consciousness. Whatever we do, is influenced by the impelling force of
these special types of emotions. In the other words instict (samjna)
means particular type of tendency of consciousness in which
conscious and subconscious minds are combined together and called
emotions. Internal and external causes activate them to arise. The
material cause of them is karmas. Simultaneously external environment
also affects in their production.
On the basis of the causes of generation we can divide them into
several types. Thanang Sutra one of the Agama describes ten types of
instincts. The first eight are emotional or sentimental instincts
whereas rest of the two are concerned with a special type of thought
Instinct of appetite Ahara samjna
Instinct of fear Bhaya samjna
Instinct of copulation Maithun samjna
Instinct of possession parigraha samjna
Instinct of anger Krodha samjna
Instinct of Pride Mana samjna
Instinct of deceit Maya samjna
Instinct of greed Lobha samjna
Instinct of collective mind Ogha samjna
Instinct of individual Loka samjna
The conduct and behavior are the outcome of deluding karma (Mohaniya
Karma). Due to the influence of instinct man changes his habits and
nature. Therefore the above stated classification may be clearly
understood in the light of karmas philosophy and psychological
Outcome of deluding karmas Original emotions
Disgust (jugupsa) Hatred
Feminine inclination (striveda) Sexuality
Masculine inclination (purusveda) Sexuality
Common inclination (napunskaveda) Sexuality
Pride superiority complex
Indulgence (Rati) attachment
dissatisfaction (Arati) sorrow
The similar division is given by the well-known psychologist Mac
Dowell in psychological terms as under :
Original tendencies Original emotions
Tendency of escapism Fear
Tendency of struggle Anger
Tendency of curiosity eagerness
Tendency of search of food Appetite
Tendency of paternity Affection
Tendency of disgust Hatred
Tendency of community feeling Community feeling
Tendency of copulation sex
Tendency of prejudice superiority
Tendency of inferiority complex Inferiority
Tendency of Earning Ownership
Tendency of Creation Creativity
Tendency of begging pity
Tendency of humor pleasure
The above given divisions can be concised in three categories.
They are :
In the first group : Instinct of appetite, fear, copulation and
possessiveness . These exist in every creature of the world. An
instinct of appetite is found in all. On account of this creature
feels hunger and searches for it. Really a big part of our life is
motivated by it. A number of behavior of a living being are activated
by fear. The feeling of getting hurt creates fear. All creatures have
the instinct of copulation. The fourth one is the instinct of
possessiveness exists in human beings as well as in animals. They
collect their requirements and want to get more and more things due to
The second group of instincts : Anger, pride, deceit and greed. This
group of instincts also exists in all living beings. But in man
they are well developed and expressed.
The first group of instincts is precursor of activating these
instincts. For example when a person gets hungry and if it is not
satisfies he becomes angry. To earn money people use deceive methods.
Once you start earning greed sets in which may become the cause of
violences, corruptions, eetc. In this way it can be said that the
former group of instincts activate the later or both are correlated
with each other.
The third group of instincts are:
Community feeling and individuality. The most living beings more or
less desire to live in a group. Anthropologist Maxmullar also accepts
this tendency. Not only in human beings but it exists in animals
also. The consciousness of individuality are found in all the
animates. Every creature has some sort of distinguished
Origin of instincts:
Now the question arises what is responsible of outpouring of
instincts? In this respect we illustrate internal and external causes.
Instinct of Appetite
Internal: due to the rising of feeling and deluding karmas.
External: due to Emptiness of stomach
thinking about food constantly
smelling the flavor
Instinct of fear
Internal: deluding karmas
External: Inferiority complex
Visualizing fearful events
Continuous thinking about fear.
Instinct of copulation
Internal: deluding karmas
External: Strengthening of muscles and organs of the body
Listening or reading the copulation connected
material. Constant thinking about it.
Instinct of possession :
Internal: deluding karmas
External: To have possession already
To listen about possession
To think about possession
In this way instincts of anger, pride etc., are also outpoured by
deluding karmas and activated by external situations.
Impressions of instincts:
They are not only connected with our feelings but with physical
and mental functioning structure also. They influence the external
as well as internal functioning of the body. Mental states and
feelings are also affected by them. We can understand them as
External changes : Facial expressions
: Vocal expressions
: Physical posture and gesture
Internal changes : States of the mind
: Feelings of the consciousness
: Psychological responses
: Nervous system
: Secretion of glands
: Chemistry of blood
The scientific approach:
For a long time it was believed that the brain was the source of
energy and the seat of impulses of man. Significant progresses in
endocrinology (branch of science dealing with endocrine system) in
the recent years has established that the passions and expressions
affect the endocrine system.
Endocrine system is the basis of habit formation in a person.
They manifest themselves in the Nervous system and becomes
behavioral pattern. Thus manifestation and behavior are the function
of the nervous system, but the birth place - the production centre of
the instincts is endocrine system. The endocrine glands control
through chemical regulators called hormones. They regulate the body
functions. These chemical messengers exert profound influence on
the mental states, emotions and behavioral patterns of an individual.
They are primary movers which generate the powerful forces, all the
instincts and urges, passions and emotions in man. These, in turn
generate feelings and results into action that satisfy the needs of
love, hate, fear etc. are endocrines expressions. Therefore it is said
that endocrine system is the seat of the instincts from the gross point
of view but actually the karmas are responsible for the producing of
How the instincts can be changed?
Now the most important task before us is how these instincts
and urges, impulses and feelings can be pacified? In this context
you can be benefited by the regular practice of special technique
of preksha meditation. There are various methods available in this
field. One of them is visualization of bright white color at the
centre of enlightenment, that is in the middle part of the
forehead. If a person practises it constantly, he can control his
anger and increase his power of tolerance to a great extent. The
another significant process of preksha meditation is perception of
deep breathing which helps to pacify the intensity of the instincts.
Therefore, regular practice of meditation develops balanced and an
integrated personality by decreasing the intensity of instincts.
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