Monday, January 21, 2013


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Upayoga is a particular term used in Jainism to describe functioning of the soul. Consciousness is the basic quality of a soul. A substance without qualities is not possible to exist. There is indestructible relation between a substance and its essential qualities. Knowing is the function of consciousness and is only possible in the conscious substance. Such conscious substance is the soul. Thus the quality of knowing is only possible in the soul. No matter how tasty is the sweet but its taste cannot be known by the dish or the spoon. No matter how scented is the flower, its fragrance cannot be smelled by the vase. The functioning conscious that comprehends the special attributes of a substance is Knowledge and the functioning conscious that comprehends the general attributes of a substance is Perception.

Such knowing and perceiving capability can be found only soul substance. That is only thing which differentiates the soul from matter. If we see from evolutionary aspect then Perception occurs first and knowledge occurs second. From the perspective of importance, it’s knowledge that comes first.

The Jain definition of Perception is similar to the word ‘Pereehtein’ used in Psychology. After general comprehension of an object, what the soul knows later about the object’s color etc is knowledge. In short, Perception of an object is like appearance without any kind of other information whereas knowledge brings the rest of information like its color, odor, constituents, its position in space etc. Knowledge is the superior thing in knowing and perceiving because it is knowledge only that brings the real thing, like learning about the scriptures, realizing about the soul.

By which the soul comprehends or acts to gain information about objects is called Upayoga or Cognitive Function. Acharya Umaswati has defined Upayoga as the soul’s basic attribute. Knowledge and Perception are two types of Upayoga. When the Upayoga is with shape then it is called Knowledge and when it is without any shape then it is called Perception.

Our soul’s cognitive function is always functioning since beginningless time and it is always variable, i.e., it never remains fixed or focused on a single object. Keeping it focused on a single object means we have mastered over meditation. The mundane souls (trapped in the four destructive karma) can focus their Upayoga on a single object for maximum 48 minutes. For Arihantas or the Omniscient (who are free from the four destructive karma or from all the eight types of karma) have Gnanopayoga (the functioning consciousness as knowledge) at first Samaya and Darshanopayoga (the functioning consciousness as perception) at second Samaya. Samaya, according to Jainism is the smallest amount of time and its value is 1 -800 second. Both Darshanopayoga and Gnanopayoga for omniscient is always active on any object. They don’t need to concentrate, whereas the non-omniscient souls have to give up concentration at least after 48 minutes.

The cognitive function of a soul can be fixed on a single object at a tme. The Upayoga working on two different objects at a same time is never possible. It is because of the infinite energy attribute of the soul that Upayog functions. To operate infinite gnanopayoga and darshanopayoga, it requires infinite energy, and it  is one of the basic attributes of the soul. 

Here, for the worldly souls, the knowledge obscuring karma obsures the absolute knowledge attribute of the soul, and the perception obscuring karma obscures the absolute perception attribute of the soul. There are many circumstances that makes the functioning of the soul impure and causes the karmic atoms to bind. Also in the functioning of the soul in its fully extent the power obstructing karma obstructs the power (infinite vigor or infinite energy) attribute of the soul. Because the infinite energy is required to fully function the gnanopayoga and darshanopayoga.

The more the functioning soul stays away from attachment-aversion and delusion the more it gets closer to pure upayoga. In order to get rid of endless misery and the cycle of rebirths and deaths, the worldly soul should try to keep its upayoga in learning the scriptures, paying homage to the spiritual masters and meditation. Attachment-aversion, and delusion are the results of the delusion karma and that adds more dirt to the pure upayoga. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013



Knowledge is the basic attribute of a soul. To know the knowable is the attribute of knowledge. The soul knows the knowable objects not just by comprehension and knowledge but also by the functioning capacity of knowledge.

In Jainism, the cognitive function of a soul is translated as ‘Upayoga’. ‘Upa’ means to go near, and ‘yoga’ means the functioning of knowledge-perception. That means the functioning consciousness through which the soul gets oriented towards the act of knowing and perceiving is Upayoga. It is actually Upayoga through which the seeker realizes and differentiates the soul being independent from the body. That is why the Jain seers have said Upayoga as basic attribute of the soul.

Upayoga is of two types, Knowledge and Perception. Knowledge means by which the soul knows the special attributes of the subject. Perception means by which the soul knows the general attributes of the subject. The functioning consciousness with both knowledge and perception is known as ‘Gnanopyoga’ and ‘Darshanopayoga’ respectively. Here, Gnanopayoga can be translated as ‘the functioning consciousness as knowledge’ and Darshanopayoga can be translated as ‘the functioning consciousness as perception’.  Knowledge, Perception, Power and Bliss are the four basic qualities of a soul. Despite infinite energy (power), without Upayoga the soul is unable to comprehend the object. Infinite energy here operates the knowing, perceiving capacity as well as bliss of the soul. That is why the functioning consciousness with knowledge and perception is termed as Upayoga.

Upayoga is ever functioning attribute of a soul. Not any soul is without Upayoga for even a moment. Upayoga is always functioning in every soul, although the subject changes with time. The change of subject is regarded as Emergence, Cessation and Permanence of Upayoga. That means when Upayoga is functioning on some particular object then it is called Emergence, when it changes and functions towards a new object then the previous object’s functioning is called Cessation. The continuity of Upayoga between the changes is called Permanence. The maximum time of functioning of Upayoga on any object is 48 minutes for any mundane soul.  The alternate term of Upayoga is ‘Chitta’ or psyche.

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Friday, January 4, 2013


After the soul of king Nami had descended from the celestial world, and had been born as a man, he put an end to the influence of delusion, and remembered his previous birth.

Remembering his previous birth, king Nami became a self-initiated monk in the true Law, and placing his son on the throne he retired from the worldly life.

After having enjoyed, in the company of the beautiful ladies of his seraglio, excellent pleasures which match those of the heavens, king Nami became enlightened and gave up his pleasures. Having given up the town and country of Mithila, his army, seraglio, and all his retinue, the venerable man retired from the world and resorted to a lonely place seeking omniscience.

When the royal Seer Nami retired from the worldly life, at the occasion of his renunciation there was uproar in Mithila.

To the royal Seer who had reached the excellent stage of spiritual meditation, Indra, the celestial being dressed as a Brahmin, in order to examine monk Nami’s true abandonment addressed the following words:

“Why is now Mithila full of uproar? Dreadful noises are heard from palaces and houses?”

On hearing this, the monk Nami, pursuing his reasons and arguments, answered Indra thus:

“In Mithila is the sacred tree Manorama (Kind Nami), full of leaves, flowers, and fruits, which sheds a cool shadow; this tree is always a favorite resort of many birds (people of the town).”

“Now, as this sacred tree Manorama is shaken by the storm, the birds, suffering, destitute of refuge, and miserable, scream aloud.”

 On hearing this, Indra, pursuing his reasons and arguments, answered monk Nami thus:

"This is fire and storm, your palace is on fire! Reverend Sir, why do you not look after your seraglio?"

Nami answered

“Happy are we, happy live we who call nothing our own; when Mithila is on fire, nothing is burned that belongs to me.”

To a monk who has left his sons and wives, and who has ceased to act, nothing pleasant can occur, nor anything unpleasant.

“There is much happiness for the sage, for the houseless monk, who is free from all ties, and knows himself to be single and unconnected (with the rest of the world).”

Indra answered

"Erect a wall, gates, and battlements; dig a moat; then you will be called a true Kshatriya (the warrior)."

Nami answered

“Making Faith his fortress, Penance and Self-control the bolt (of its gate), Patience its strong wall, so that guarded in three ways  it is impregnable; making Zeal his bow, its string Carefulness in walking (iriya), and its top (where the string is fastened) Content, he should bend (this bow) with Truth, piercing with the arrow, Penance, (the foe's) mail, karma--(in this way) a sage will be the victor in battle and get rid of the cycle of birth and death.”

Indra answered

"Build palaces, excellent houses, and turrets; thus you will be a Kshatriya."

Nami answered

“He, who builds his house on the road, will certainly get into trouble; wherever he wants to go, there he may take up his lodgings.”

Indra answered

"Punishing thieves and robbers, cut-purses and burglars, you should establish public safety; thus you will be a true Kshatriya."

Nami answered

“Men frequently apply punishment wrongly: the innocent are put in prison, and the perpetrator of the crime is set at liberty.”

Indra answered

"O king, bring into subjection all princes who do not acknowledge you; thus you will be a true Kshatriya."

Nami answered

“Though a man should conquer thousands and thousands of valiant (foes), greater will be his victory if he conquers nobody but himself. Fight with your Self; why fight with external foes? He, who conquers himself through himself, will obtain happiness.”

“The five senses, anger, pride, delusion, and greed -- difficult to conquer is one's self; but when that is conquered, everything is conquered”

Indra answered

"Offer great sacrifices, feed Sramanas and Brhmanas, give alms, enjoy yourself, and offer sacrifices: thus you will be a true Kshatriya."

Nami answered

“Though a man should give, every month, thousands and thousands of cows, better will be he who controls himself, though he give no alms.”

Indra answered

"You have left the dreadful âsrama (that of the householder) and are wanting to enter another; (remain what you were), O king, and be content with observing the Pôsaha-days."

Nami answered

“If an ignorant man should eat but a blade of Kusa-grass every month, (the merit of his penance) will not equal the sixteenth part of his who possesses the Law as it has been taught.”

Indra answered

"Multiply your gold and silver, your jewels and pearls, your copper, fine robes, and carriages, and your treasury; then you will be a true Kshatriya."

Nami answered

“If there were numberless mountains of gold and silver, as big as Kailâsa, they would not satisfy a greedy man; for his avidity is boundless like space. Knowing that the earth with its crops of rice and barley, with its gold and cattle that all this put together will not satisfy one single man, one should practice austerities.”

Indra answered

"A miracle! O king, you give up those wonderful pleasures, in search of imaginary objects; your very hope will cause your ruin."

Nami answered

“Pleasures are the thorn that rankles, pleasures are poison, pleasures are like a venomous snake; he who is desirous of pleasures will not get them, and will come to a bad end at last. He will sink through anger; he will go down through pride; delusion will block up his path; through greed he will incur dangers in both worlds.”

Throwing off the guise of a Brahmin, and making visible his true form, Indra saluted him respectfully and praised him with these sweet words:

"Bravo! You have conquered anger; bravo! You have vanquished pride; bravo! You have banished delusion; bravo! You have subdued greed.

"Bravo for your simplicity, O saint! Bravo for your humility, O saint! Bravo for your perfect patience! Bravo for your perfect liberation!

"Here (on earth) you are the highest man, Reverend sir, and hereafter you will be the highest; exempt from all blemishes you will reach Perfection, a higher state than which there is none in this world."

Thus praising the monk, Indra in perfect faith kept his right side towards him and paid reverence to him, again and again.

Thus act the enlightened, the wise, the clever ones; they turn away from pleasures, as did Nami, the royal Seer.

Source: Shree Uttradhyayana Sootra
Translation By: Dr. Hermann Jacobi