Cause of Sorrow : Ignorance

(This post a translated part of Acharya shree’s book sukh ka stotra kahan)

A group of students sat under the tutelage of an Acharya. Dashvaikalik Sutra was being studied.The group came upon a sentence- “पढमं नाणं तओ दया”  -first knowledge, then compassion/non-violence or in other words a righteous conduct. Hearing this, a student asked “Gurudev! We have heard ‘first dharm , or duty is conduct and Mahaveer  is giving importance to knowledge over conduct. How is the validity of both statements possible?”

Acharya replied that the darshan of Mahaveer is along this line -धम्मे दुविहै पण्णते सुय धम्मे चरित धम्मे, meaning the first kind of dharm  is to hear  and the other kind is to have the right conduct.

To explain further, in the absence of self-knowledge, conduct cannot be thought of. Jain darshan says ‘नाणस्स सारं आयरो.’ That is, the crux of knowledge is conduct. For lemon concentration to exist, lemon needs to exist in the first place. Similarly for a good conduct to truly exist, self-knowledge  needs to be present in the first place.

Sorrow and Ignorance

Ignorance is a huge trouble.All sorrows are caused by ignorance or agyana. If ignorance were absent from the world, sorrow could not have existed. Oldage and disease are two sorrows at the physical level. Stress, depression etc. are sorrows at the mental level.Pragyaparadh (literally translated as crime of awareness) is an emotional disease  which, according to Ayurveda, triggers the imbalance of vata , pitta and kapha; and thus, is one of the causes for diseases.It is defined as an inauspicious karma done by a person whose dhi (ie intellect), smriti (ie memory) and dhriti are destroyed.In other words, when rajoguna and tamoguna* veil a person’s innate self-knowledge, then he/she gets into the mode of pragyaparadh and this becomes instrumental for the birth of any kind of disease in the mind-body complex.

The simple question arises – what is ignorance?Who is the ignorant one?One definition of ignorance is – the one who is not fully established in knowledge.In other words, whoever is not enlightened is ignorant.

Another definition which comes from the teacher Yashovijayji is – ‘हेयोपादेयविज्ञानं नो चेेत् व्यर्थ : श्रम : श्रु तौ’ That is, if the discrimination between हेय (ie the changing) and उपादेय (ie the permanent) does not arise then it is useless to work hard on the heard (ie the heard knowledge from the masters).In other words, the one who does not realize what is changing(world, body and thoughts) and  what is  permanent is ignorant.

Aamantran & Nimantran

Aamantran (ie informal invitation) is a type of invitation which one can decline while a nimantran (ie formal invitation) makes it mandatory for the invitee to accept it.

Old age and disease are either informally invited or formally invited. Naturally occuring diseases and senility are results of informal invitations.Formal invitations are made when the knowledge of the changing and permanent is absent.Senility before seventy years of age is an example of a formally invited problem.

A sanskrit verse says it succinctly –

 निमंत्रित स्याद वार्घक्यं रोग अपि निमंत्रिता:                                                          अनिमंत्रण विज्ञानं ज्ञानं प्रहुर्बधा इदम् |

 Meaning, senility comes invited ;disease comes invited, too.            Uninvited science is called knowledge in the wise ones.

The question arises, why would someone invite senility and diseases?The answer is that the invitation happens unconsciously, due to the presence of ignorance. Even untimely death is a result of ignorance.Destiny decides birth but diseases, senility and death are decided by man, himself.Due to ignorance, these are formally invited into our lives.

Ignorance Of Proper Diet:A Cause Of Early Oldness

According to Agam, before seventy years of age, a man is not old.Till forty, a man is young.A man whose age is in between 40 to 70 years is considered as middle aged.The beginning of senility, thus, is 70 years.But we see even men of 50 getting old.

One of the reasons of early senility is ignorance of right diet and intake of excess food. Sthanag Sutra mentions excess intake of food as one of the causes of diseases and untimely death.When a person consumes excess food, the amount of enzymes available is less in proportion to the excess food ; thus causing putrefaction of it in the stomach, causing heaviness in the head, waning the intellect’s purity and dwindling of mental and physical strength.Old age, thus, comes sooner.

These days, ignorance of diet is speaking out loud.The ones who cook food and the ones who consume it, both are unaware of the principles of a healthy, proper diet.The wheat flatbread (ie phulke) is one example.People think a phulka should be soft and look good.The fibrous component of wheat is removed and then used for cooking despite the fact that this component has vitamin D.

Another example is of salt.According to nutrition science, 2 gms of common salt is sufficient.In a normal diet course this amount is provided for but  people consume more than this amount in the form of namkeen, kachori etc.How much salt will the kidney filter?Doctors say, daily intake of excess salt becomes an invitation to kidney disease and high blood pressure.If the essential organs such as heart, liver, kidney and lungs stay strong, a person can live a healthy life for a long time.Experts say that the ability of these organs to work is 300 years and a man due to his ignorance is not able to keep them working even for 100 years.

Ignorance Of Behavior or Conduct

Living a life of anger, stress, frustration and getting frustrated frequently are formal invitations to an untimely death.The reason many people live like this is because of ignorance of basic truths.

According to tarkshastra, there are three definitions of ignorance – doubt, viparya (or wrongly understood knowledge) and not knowing.A person can be forgiven if he does not know and does something wrong but wrong knowledge or viparya is very dangerous.It is well known that for good relations to be maintained, soft behaviour is necessary but people still behave bitterly.Speaking soft words can solve a problem but still bitter words are spoken.People have this false notion or viparya that the one who listens silently to bitter words is weak.When a reaction of a person to someone is like a stone thrown in response to a brick, then he/she will be celebrated.But if he/she listens quietly, people will ask him/her if they are devoid of sentiments or are they made of mud.

This is ignorance of behavior.Because of this one creates sorrow at every step.Root of all sorrows is considering the impermanent as permanent.The one who realizes that his situation in life, the world around him is just a coincidence and that all this is changing, is the one who becomes free of sorrows.When one doesn’t  realize this truth, he/she starts seeing the world around him/her as their own and then gets attached to it.In such a case, sorrow is inevitable as unreal objects are assumed to be real and the permanent, real soul is falsely assumed to be unreal.

A villager was travelling in a train.He had a box of ghee which he hung on the chain.The train stopped.The T.T came and asked who hung this box here.The villager replied- “this is not dalda, this is the miracle of desi ghee.”Everybody laughed.

The one who is ignorant, becomes an object of laughter.Only one who removes ignorance can save themselves from sorrow.The clearer this truth reigns in our heart, the possibility of sorrow will become lesser.


*Rajoguna is characterized by feverishness, restlessness, sadness and a lot of desires in the mind.Tamoguna is characterized as dullness, attachment and deluding or bad thoughts in the mind.Sattoguna is characterized state of balance , joy and knowledge





The Search For The Source

(This is a translated part of Acharya Shree’s hindi book sukh ka stotra kahan)

Matter – Source of Happiness & Sorrow?

In our world we attribute our happiness to external sources.Somethings or people seem to promise happiness while some seem to promise sorrow.Based on this notion, people put in their efforts to collect large amount of things of the  former category and ignore things of the latter category.Due to giving over importance to the mediums of our own karma, our attention has gone towards it.Therefore we are more attentive towards matter than our own selves.We consider those fortunate who have a lot of matter ( ie material good) in their hands.The question is -does the external world of matter really give us happiness or sorrow?If yes, then it can make anybody happy or sad – even the dead but this is not the case.From this we can infer that happiness & sorrow share a direct relation with our feeling consciousness, not with matter.A dull person cannot experience happiness , even by collecting material goods. Matter is not able to affect a dispassionate person either.Therefore their origin  is not matter.Their experience varies from person to person.

The Root Sources

There are two root sources – 1)Body, 2)Pure and impure consciousness

In our body, we have a vital force , biochemicals and glands.Release of certain biochemicals make us feel happy or sad.With every good or bad conduct, certain karma particles are collected.As these particles mature, the feeling of happiness or sorrow arises.Therefore, a person or a thing can give us comfort but not happiness as feeling is mind bound.Similarly a person can put us in a difficult situation but cannot give us sorrow.It is possible for a person to be calm and happy in a difficult situation and it is also possible for a person to be sad in a comfortable one.If we study the lives of man such as Mahaveer , Buddha ,Christ etc. we find that people putting in efforts to make them miserable have all failed.This is so because external situations are not able to affect the ones who undergo an inner transformation.

For inner transformation we cannot ignore the process of introspection and seeing the most basic truths of life.For example, we feel sad when a favorable situation/ person or thing moves away from us.In this case we need to wake up to the truth that everything in this world is perishable – the body, cheerful situation, tough situations, everything.Just as the feeling of happiness and sorrow is experienced from within, the ways to protect ourselves from these emotional rides is also within.

A person is bound to society at a behavioral / worldly level but in reality, is alone. At the level of the physical world , one has all necessary protective measures but at another level one has no real protection.(As strong past karmas can sprout anytime).At the worldly level, one is connected with people but at another level one is distinct from everyone.(since everybody has different karmas and therefore have different life journeys)These are truths which can save one from emotional rides and the consequent karmas.

Meaning of  Keval Gyan (Enlightenment)

There are two levels of our consciousness- 1)The level of feelings, 2)The level of awareness or knowledge .At the level of feelings, a circle of happiness and sorrow goes on.At the level of knowledge, this circle stops.In this state, natural joy wells up , which is beyond reasons.It is not bound by situations.The more one becomes established in witness consciousness (ie witnessing one’s emotions and feelings without getting involved) ,the more knowledge one develops.The process of gradually coming to this state can be done even in this time.Keval Gyan means knowledge devoid of feelings (coldness/roughness is also a feeling).

In conclusion, only after understanding oneself, one can understand the secrets of happiness and sorrow.




Source of Happiness

(The following is a translated part of Acharya shree’s book sukh ka stotra kahan)

In our world, there is no one who has not experienced happiness and sadness. People want the former.Nobody  wants  the latter. If we get a desirable thing or situation, then its okay but when we get an undesirable thing, sorrow comes up and the question arises – from where did it come forth? From where happiness comes , from there sorrow also comes.The source of both these is the same.The doorway is the same.From a single doorway, a man can also come.So can a dog.So can a donkey.Then the question arises that despite man’s best efforts to gain joy, he gets pain too.Why?

The answer to this question is one’s soul is the creator of both, happiness and sorrow.

There is no other who is creating these.There is no creator of the basis of existence.Neither soul nor  sumpreme soul/god.Happiness and sorrow are not the basis of existence.Nor is human body.These are just temporary states.The basis of existence or the root element is soul  and atom.There is no creator of an atom.But there are states of an atom.The doer/creator of these states is the atom itself.Similarly, there is no creator of the soul.There are just states of the soul which are created by itself.Soul is consciousness, knowledge.That is why, it creates happiness and sorrow when it desires to create them.Question would be – does anbody desire for the latter?According to jain darshan, someone wanting happiness is wanting sorrow as well.The one who desires to live, desires to die as well.Happiness and sorrow are twins.So are life-death.If there is a desire, both will come.

Gautam swami asked Mahaveer – dear, who creates sorrow ?God replied – Our soul.The whole responsibility of being in a certain state lies on ourselves.Nobody else is responsible.

It is seen that people do not take responsibility for a work gone wrong.They like to wear the responsibility of a good work – that is something they don’t like to give others.According to jain darshan for every work of either good or bad quality, the person him/her self is responsible.Nobody else.

In this state of knowledge, a new state of consciousness is developed. If everything is our doing, then who can be blamed?Instruments do exist.The universe provides ample of them for the manifestation of our own karma.For example, an unfavorable situation such as an illness comes up in life, the man becomes sad.Here the situation of illness is an instrument.But happiness or sorrow is not experienced by a situation.They are felt by a person.

The Doer of Happiness & Sorrow

Suppose an anger inducing incident occurs.You feel you should get angry.But there is a system in the brain which will direct you to not get angry.It will suggest that its is not the right time to get angry.If this controlling mechanism was not in place, man would lose himself.

The knowledge of such a controlling mechanism has been given to us by modern science.The science of karma suggests on a similar note- we have two types of karma in function – one is shata vedaniye karma* and the other is ashata vedaniye karma* .The former causes happiness.The latter causes sorrow.Both these opposing forces are not active together.When one is active, the other is silent and vice a versa.

In our consciousness, there is wakefulness and inertia both.Within us there is a tendency to be in delusion and the ability to silence it. When moha or delusion is silent, we live with a righteous conduct  while when it is active , we live with an unrighteous conduct.A good naam karma causes good particles to be experienced and a bad one causes bad particles to be experienced.We receive respect sometimes and we receive disrespect some other times. Sometimes a person is good to us and the same person is not good to us at some other time.A man has been a thief sometime and has been a saint some other time.This duality is within us. Therefore, we are the doers of both, happiness and sorrow.

The Rules Of Karma & Happiness

We have three mediums for expression – mind , speech and body.The way we express ourselves through these mediums decides the nature of karma particles we collect.These karma particles induce emotions of happiness or sorrow in us.Let us see how.

Science tells us that a certain biochemical is responsible for a certain emotion which in turn causes a certain type of conduct, which influences a person’s behavior. So a  person ‘s violent behavior is a result of a certain biochemical.This is exactly the kind of mechanism in place in our subtle bodies.The kind of impressions we form causes the creation of similar biochemicals in our body , which create emotions.This is a sequence.We have three bodies- a gross body which is visible to us (in which biochemicals are released), a subtle body which collects karma and the subtlest body which remains untainted.

So there exists rules but there is no ruler.Rain poured.Grass grew.This happened because of a law of nature.Who is the ruler here?No one.Our whole world is run by such laws.

Two kinds of laws exist – a universal law and a temporal law (based on a time frame) Temporal laws are made by humans and are temporary. Universal laws are applicable in all time frames.A child is born.He gets old.Who made him old?Nobody.Everything in the world gets old and finishes in accordance with time.This is a universal law. The meaning of finding the truth is  finding the laws. The development of science is attributed to discovery of laws.The development of a darshan  or branch of philosophy is also attributed to discovery of laws.Who ever has found out a law has unlocked a dimension of existential truth.

The supporting material for the workings of rules is the entire creation. Matter, space , time etc. become instruments. For example, the instrument for arousing anger can be many – somebody saying something bitter or something which does not fall in one’s framework of rightness , somebody not following your instructions.But the person getting angry is himself alone.He can either be a doer or a ruler. He can either get angry (and in the process spoil his happiness) or rule over his anger. According to jain darshana a person is him/her self responsible for his fate. So neither beg anyone nor blame anyone.Do not think that a certain person is going to build your life nor think a certain person has ruined it.When this principle is understood, a person stands on his/her own feet. His/her attention goes towards his/her conduct.Is my conduct and behavior making my life miserable? This is an important question.

It is essential to know that following certain rules can make one happy or sad. Meritful karma follows a rule.Unmeritful karma follows a rule.And so does liberation.

*Causes for Shätä  vedaniya – 1. To show compassion to two, three and four sense living beings, 2. To show compassion to “plant” living beings, 3. To show compassion five sense living beings, 4. To show compassion to other four one-sense living beings, 5. Not to make any living beings sad, 6. Not to cause sorrow to any living beings, 7. Not to harass any living beings, 8. Not to make anyone cry, 9. Not to hurt any living beings, and 10. Not to give hard time to anyone.

* Causes for Ashätä vedaniya: 1. sadness, 2. sorrow, 3. regretting, 4. crying, 5. violence and 6. causing hardship