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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 2: Ekasminnasambhavadhikaranam: Topic 6 (Sutras 33-36)

Refutation of the Jaina Doctrine.

Naikasminnasambhavat II.2.33 (204)

On account of the impossibility (of contradictory attributes) in one and the same thing at the same time (the Jaina doctrine is) not (to be accepted).

Na: not; Ekasmin: in one; Asambhavat: on account of the impossibility.

After the refutation of the Buddhistic doctrine of momentariness, Vijnanavada and Nihilism, the Jaina doctrine is taken up for discussion and refutation.

The Jainas acknowledge seven categories or Tattvas, viz., soul(Jiva), non-soul (Ajiva), the issuing outward(Asrava), restraint (Samvara), destruction (Nirjara), bondage (Bandha), and release (Moksha). These categories can be mainly divided into two groups, the soul and the non-soul. The Jainas say also that there are five Astikayas viz., Jiva or soul, Pudgala (body, matter), Dharma (merit), Adharma (demerit) and Akasa (space).

Their chief doctrine is the Saptabhanginyaya. They predicate seven different views with reference to the reality of everything, i.e., it may exist, may not exist, may exist and may not exist, may be inexpressible, may exist and may be inexpressible, may not exist and may be inexpressible and may exist and may not exist and may be inexpressible.

Now this view about things cannot be accepted, because in one substance it is not possible that contradictory qualities should exist simultaneously. No one ever sees the same object to be hot and cold at the same time. Simultaneous existence of light and darkness in one place is impossible.

According to the Jaina doctrine, heaven and liberation may exist or may not exist. This world, heaven and even liberation will become doubtful. We cannot arrive at any definite knowledge. It would be useless to lay down rules of practice for the attainment of heaven, for the avoidance of hell or for emancipation because there is no certainty about anything. The heaven may as well be hell and final freedom not different from these. As everything is ambiguous, there would be nothing to distinguish heaven, hell and final liberation from each other.

Confusion will arise not only with regard to the object of the world, but of the world also. If things are indefinite, and if everything is "somehow it is, somehow it is not," then a man who wants water will take fire to quench his thirst and so on with everything else, because it may be that fire is hot, it may be that fire is cold.

If there is such doubt how can true knowledge result? How can the Jaina teachers teach anything with certainty if everything is doubtful? How can their followers act at all, learning such teachings?

Applying this Saptabhanginyaya to their five Astikayas, the five may become four or even less. If they are inexpressible, why do they talk about it?

We have already refuted the atomic theory on which is based the Jaina doctrine that Pudgala (matter) is due to atomic combination.

Hence the Jaina doctrine is untenable and inadmissible. Their logic is fragile as the thread of a spider and cannot stand the strain of reasoning.

Evam chatmakartsnyam II.2.34 (205)

And in the same way (there results from the Jaina doctrine) the non-universality of the soul.

Evam: thus, in the same way, as it is suggested by the Jaina theory; Cha: also, and; Atma-akartsnyam: non-universality of the soul.

Other defects of the Jaina theory are shown.

We have hitherto spoken about the objection resulting from the Syadvada of the Jainas, viz., that one thing cannot have contradictory attributes. We now turn to the objection that from their doctrine it would follow that the individual soul is not universal, i.e., not omnipresent.

The Jainas hold that the soul is of the size of the body. In that case it would be limited and with parts. Hence it cannot be eternal and omnipresent.

Moreover, as the bodies of different classes of creatures are of different sizes, the soul of a man taking the body of an elephant on account of its past deeds will not be able to fill up that body. The soul of an ant also will not be able to fill up the body of an elephant. The soul of an elephant will not have sufficient space in the body of an ant. A large portion of it will have to be outside that body. The soul of a child or a youth being smaller in size will not be able to fill completely the body of a grown-up man.

The stability of the dimensions of the soul is impaired. The Jaina theory itself falls to the ground.

The Jainas may give an answer that a Jiva has infinite limbs and therefore could expand or contract. But could those infinite limbs be in the same place or not? If they could not, how could they be compressed in a small space? If they could, then all the limbs must be in the same place and cannot expand into a big body. Moreover they have no right to assume that a Jiva has infinite limbs. What is there to justify the view that a body of limited size contains an infinite number of soul particles?

Well then, the Jainas may reply, let us assume that by turns whenever the soul enters a big body, some particles accede to it, while some withdraw from it, whenever it enters a small body.

To this hypothesis, the next Sutra gives a suitable answer.

Na cha paryayadapyavirodho vikaradibhyah II.2.35 (206)

Nor is non-contradiction to be derived from the succession (of parts according to and departing from the soul to such different bodies) on account of the change, etc., (of the soul).

Na: not; Cha: also, and; Paryayat: in turn, because of assuming by succession; Api: even; Avirodhah: no inconsistency; Vikaradibhyah: on account of change, etc.

Further defects of the Jaina doctrine are shown in this Sutra.

The Jaina may say that the soul is really indefinite in its size. Therefore when it animates the bodies of an infant or a youth it has that size, and when it occupies the bodies of horses or elephants it expands itself to that size. By successive expansion and dilation like the gas it fully occupies the entire body which animates for the time being. Then there is no objection to our theory that the soul is of the size of the body.

Even if you say that the limbs of the soul keep out or come in according as the body is small or big, you cannot get over the objection that in such a case the soul will be liable to change and consequently will not be eternal. Then any talk of bondage and emancipation would be meaningless. The futility of the question of release and of the philosophy that deals with it would result.

If the soul's limbs can come and go, how could it be different in nature from the body? So one of these limbs only can be the Atman. Who can fix it? Whence do the limbs of the soul come? Where do they take rest? They cannot spring from the material elements and re-enter the elements because the soul is immortal. The limbs come and go. The soul will be of an indefinite nature and stature.

The Jaina may say that although the soul's size successively changes it may yet be permanent. Just as the stream of water is permanent although the water continually changes.

Then the same objection as that urged against the Buddhists will arise. If such a continuity is not real but is only apparent, there will be no Atman at all. We are led back to the doctrine of a general void. If it is something real, the soul will be liable to change and hence not eternal. This will render the view of the Jaina impossible.

Antyavasthiteschobhayanityatvadavisesah II.2.36 (207)

And on account of the permanency of the final (size of the soul on release) and the resulting permanency of the two (preceding sizes), there is no difference (of size of the soul, at any time).

Antyavasthiteh: because of the permanency of the size at the end; Cha: and; Ubhayanityatvat: as both are permanent; Aviseshah: because there being no difference.

Discussion on the defects of the Jaina doctrine is concluded.

Further the Jainas themselves admit the permanency of the final size of the soul, which it has in the stage of release. From this it follows also that its initial size and its intervening size must be permanent. Therefore there is no difference between the three sizes. What is the speciality of the state of release? There is no peculiarity of difference, according to the Jainas, between the state of release and the mundane state. The different bodies of the soul have one and the same size and the soul cannot enter into bigger and smaller bodies. The soul must be regarded as being always of the same size, whether minute or infinite and not of the varying sizes of the bodies.

Therefore the Jaina doctrine that the soul varies according to the size of the body is untenable and inadmissible. It must be set aside as not in any way more rational than the doctrine of the Buddhas.