Justice T.U.Mehta

‘Papa' and ‘Punya' : Both of Binding Nature

Let us discuss how ‘the self' progresses in its upward journey towards ultimate end. What is to be achieved is the divorce of the self from non-self called Pudgala which means to create the detached outlook towards worldly objects. In our worldly existence we engages our self in various types of activities and it necessarily comes in contact with more and more karmic forces, which are essentially of two types, namely those which are of vicious character and those which are of virtuous character called Papa and Punya respectively. Papa-vicious acts, resulting in sins, are caused mainly by mohaniya karmas, that is, by aversion, delusion and passions. Due to these self remains indulged in the activities which are purely selfish and materialistic. Anger, avarice, violence, indulgence in sex and apathy towards trials and tribulations of others generate the karmic forces of Papa and put the ‘self' in further bondages.

On the contrary, good and virtuous acts such as sympathy for others, willingness to help the poor and weak, right conduct, social awareness generated by pious attachment result in the karmic forces called Punya. These virtuous deeds bring in their train the feeling of pleasure, good and comfortable life and other favourable circumstances.

Both these types of karmic forces bind the self and work as shackles on the real freedom. The simple reason being that bad as well as good deeds necessarily imply a pre-disposition to do them and are prompted by motives, i.e., aversion or attachment (Dvesa or Raga). The ultimate aim of the self, that is, to get liberated from all kinds of shackles-good or bad- and to ultimately this vicious cycle of birth or death is hindered even by good deeds, binding the soul in golden chains of pleasure and comforts.

However, it must not be mistaken that Jainism equates good deeds with bad ones. It does recognise that good deeds are conducive to social order and these deeds also enable the self, put in pleasant and comfortable situation, to progress further. Hence, good deeds resulting in ‘Punya' are always more desirable than bad deeds resulting in Papa. But when Jainas point out that even good deeds result in bondage, their emphasis is on the metaphysical aspect of the good deeds. Therefore it is necessary to know the real character of the karmic forces generated by good deeds purely from philosophical point of views keeping aside social point of view. Punya karmas result in giving the self many worldly pleasures and comforts but not the bliss of salvation. The salvation is not possible if element of attachment (Moha) is left in them. And it is remarkable that most of the so called good deeds, performed for ‘social good', are the every aspirant for spiritual perfection is expected to do all his deeds-apparently good or bad-without attachment and should behave like a ‘Sthita' means ‘Steady' and ‘Prajna' means understanding. Thus, ‘Sthitaprajna' , a person with steady mind and understanding, acts without motives, in a natural way, just as the sun shines and gives light. To shine and to give light is natural and motiveless for the sun. The sun-light is helpful for good as well as bad actions, but the sun is not, in the least, concerned with that. Such unconcerned, motivless and natural actions in life do not bind the self even if they result in good or bad ends.