SIX FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS

 

Introduction:

 

The six fundamental truths (six fundamental aspects relating to the soul) are: (1) Soul exists, (2) Soul is eternal, (3) Soul is the author of its actions (Karma), (4) It therefore has to enjoy or suffer the consequences of its actions (Karma), (5) Such a Soul can be liberated, and (6) There is a definite process for Soul's Liberation and that is true religion.  A true religion liberates the Soul from the worldly cycle of birth and death. The entire Jain philosophy revolves around the right perception (also called: right faith, Samyag-darshan, Samyaktva, Samyagdrasti, Samakit). Right perception is in fact its basis. Without right perception, efforts to attain Moksha (Salvation) are in vain. No one has achieved, no one is achieving and no one will achieve Moksha without the right perception. Unconditional faith in these six fundamentals is helpful in attaining right perception. These six truths provide the field for the cultivation and stabilization of Right Faith in reality and its true nature. 

 

Of the 12 original Ägams, the last was Drishtiväd. It had five parts. One of them was called Purva. There were 14 Purvas in all. The 7th was named as Ätmapraväd. These six fundamentals were supposed to be part of that Purva. Those Purvas have of course been lost forever, but description of these six aspects is found in several Jain Scriptures including Sanmati-Tarka of  Ächärya Siddhasen Diwäkar, who lived most probably in the second century.

 

Great Jain Ächärya Shri Haribhadra wrote 1444 great Jain canonical books, and one of them is “Samyaktva Saptika”. In this book, he describes possible 67 characteristics of a person who has the right perception. Based on this canonical book, great Jain Upädhyäya Shri Yshovijaji, about 350 years ago, wrote “Samakit nä 67 bol ni Sajzäi” describing the same 67 characteristics in a poetry format and in Gujarati. The last six characteristics of these 67 characteristics describe the six fundamental truths. In addition, there are numerous works by great Jain saints and scholars on this subject.

 

Srimad Räjchandra, the well known religious philosopher of the last century and spiritual guide of Mahätmä Gändhi wrote one of the great Jain works in Gujarati, Ätmasiddhi which describes these six fundamental truths in a poetry format. Preceding to this, he wrote a letter explaining six fundamentals to his principal follower Laghuräjswämi (also know as Shri Lalluji Maharaj), which is included in this chapter.

 

These six truths also include a critical appreciation of the Six Systems of philosophy.  Buddhists believe that there is no soul at all or that if there is one then it is only a momentary soul.  Jains believe that soul exists and it is eternal. Samkhya System believes in the soul which is totally inactive and yet the enjoyer of all activities of Prakriti (nature). Jains believe that there cannot be enjoyment or suffering without any activities.  To the Vedäntins, who hold that the soul neither does anything nor it has to enjoy or suffer from actions. Jain believe that the soul does actions and therefore it cannot escape the results of the actions.  To other Vedäntins, who say that the soul was never bound and so no question of its achieving Liberation arises. Jains believe that since the soul is attached to actions from endless past, non‑attachment from them is a stage to be obtained by conscious effort for Liberation, which is significant. To the Chärväks who do not believe in a permanent soul nor into its actions and Liberation from them and hence not in the proper way to Liberation. Jains believe that since the first five truths are established the sixth also follows them.  If the Self‑Liberation is meaningful then the method for it or the way to it must be equally meaningful. 

 

From Jain Scripture:

 

If these are the attributes and characteristic of a soul, it is indeed very pertinent to ask what are the proofs of its existence. Bhagavati‑Sutra refers to Lord Mahavira as prescribing four means of true knowledge, namely‑ `Pratyaksha' (Direct perception), `Anumän' (Inference), `Upamän' (Analogy) and `Ägam' (Scriptures). All these four means are utilized, hereafter in proof of soul's existence.

 

Acarya Jinabhadra, a very learned and respected scholar saint, flourished in 5th century A.D. has written the classic named Vishesävasyaka‑bhäsya. It contains the dialogue, between Lord Mahavira and eleven leading Vedic Scholars on different aspects of self and other philosophical theories, which are basic to Jainism.

 

The Eleven Doubts of the eleven Vedic Scholars:

 

1. Indrabhuti Gautam had a doubt regarding the soul. His doubt was this: "In this universe, is there an entity called Ätmä (the Soul) which is independent and eternal?"

 

2. Agnibhuti Gautam, another scholar, had a doubt regarding Karma. His doubt was whether everything that happened was only the soul's doing or according to karma.  Is there such an entity as Karma?

 

3. Vayubhuti Gautam had this doubt: "Is this body itself the soul or is the soul different from the body?"

 

4. Vyakta had a doubt regarding the five elements. His doubt was this: "There are the five material elements, namely Prithvi (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Väyu (air) and Äkäsh (space). Are these real or unreal and illusory like a dream?"

 

5. Sudharma's doubt was this: "Is the soul in the next birth the same kind as in this birth or different?"

 

6. Mandit, another Brahmin, had a doubt regarding bondage. His doubt was this: "Is the soul forever pure, enlightened and free from that bondage by means of proper endeavors?"

 

7. Mauryaputra had a doubt regarding celestial beings. His doubt was this: "Is there a place called Heaven at all?"

 

8. In the same manner, Akampit had a doubt regarding the existence of hell. 

 

9.  Achalbhrata had a doubt regarding punya or good actions.  His doubt was this: "Why should we believe in both good d luck and bad luck? Let there be one."

 

10. Metarya had a doubt regarding the existence of the next birth and

 

11. The scholar by name Prabhas had a doubt regarding salvation, Moksha His doubt was this: "Is there a definite state called Moksha. Does the soul attain a state of eternal, boundless and pure happiness? Is the Jiva (soul) completely destroyed or annihilated after its samsär is completed?"

 

The doubts, which were completely resolved by Lord Mahavira, echo the subject relating to the six fundamental truths.

 

Indrabhuti Gautam, who subsequently become the chief disciple of Lord Mahavira, was a great Vedic Scholar, seeing many persons flocking to listen the first sermon of the Lord, he went to see him along with his own disciples. There the Lord himself disclosed to Indrabhuti, the nature of philosophical doubts regarding the existence of otherwise of `soul' which afflicted him. `Oh, Indrabhti' ! Lord Mahavira said, "I know that you have doubts about the existence of Jiva (soul). You believe that the existence of Jiva (soul) cannot be proved by any method, as it cannot be directly perceived by any sense‑organs. You further argue within yourself that even atoms cannot be seen by naked eyes, but they could be perceived as collectivities. But this cannot be said about the soul. You contend that if one wants to prove the existence of the soul by the process of inference, even that cannot solve the problem because every inference is based on some tangible experience. You say that even scriptural authority is of no use as even they are not uniform in accepting the existence of soul, and even otherwise, scriptural knowledge is nothing but inferential knowledge. According to you even the process of analogy is useless because there is no tangible thing, analogous to soul. Thus it is not possible to prove soul's existence through any of the means of Valid knowledge. So the only conclusion is that the soul does not exist."

 

Having thus formulated the opposite point of view, the Lord proceeded to resolve the doubts as under :

 

"Oh Gautam, your doubts about the soul's existence are out of place, and your contention that soul cannot be perceived by senses is also not correct because it can be perceived very directly."

 

"Sir, how that is so?" asked Gautam.

 

"Gautam, just consider what is `Soul'. It is nothing but pure consciousness or knowledge `Vijnänarupa'. If this consciousness exists, soul exists. This consciousness exists in you because, otherwise, there can not be any doubt in your mind about the existence of souls.  Hence the very fact of the existence of doubt is the proof of consciousness. Unconscious has no doubts. Thus, there is direct proof of consciousness and hence of soul. If it can thus be directly perceived, it does not require any further proof."

 

Gautam however, required further proof. He therefore asked : "May be that the  `Soul' can be directly perceived as you say, but still further proof is required, because there are some philosophers known as Sunyvadi, not recognizing the real existence of even the things which could be perceived by senses and insist upon their proof by other logical methods."

 

Lord Mahavira said : "We often say `I did' or `I am doing'  or `I shall do'. In all these statements of past, present and future, the subjects is `I' even though the action was over, or is being done in the present or is yet to be done in future. This suggests the continuity of `I' consciousness throughout past, present and future. The `ego consciousness' (Ahamrupa Jnäna), thus expressed by reference to a constant `I' is a further proof of the existence of soul because that `I' is the `soul' or the `self', is not destroyed by the past, exists in the present and projects existence in future also. This ego consciousness is not the subject matter of any inference, nor does it require any scriptural authority. Even those, ignorant of scriptures, experience this ego consciousness. So this is direct perception and hence direct proof of soul's existence."

 

"Moreover, Oh Gautam ! there cannot be any `knowledge' of the object having no existence at all. So if the `soul' does not exist, who has the consciousness or knowledge of `I', when one says `I did' etc. `I doubt' who is it who is it who doubts? Every doubt presupposes a doubter. That doubter, that `I', is your own self, your soul. `Ego consciousness' has soul as its object because the question is whose `consciousness'? Answer is consciousness of `I' which is the object of this consciousness."

 

Gautam : "Sir, this `ego consciousness' would not be rendered objectless if instead of believing that `soul' or `self' is its object, we take our body as its object. When I say `I am black' or `I am thin;, the ego consciousness `I' is used with reference to our body. So, what is objectionable if we take `I' as referring to our body and not to our `self'."

 

Lord Mahavira : "If ego consciousness expressed by the use of `I' has a reference to our body as its object, then even our dead body could be having that ego consciousness and could be referred to as `I'. But that is not so. It follows, therefore, that the object of ego consciousness is not the body. It cannot be said that the `doubter' of your body.

 

Moreover, consider what is a `doubt'. Every `doubt' is an attribute (Guna) of some object which is its substratum. Every substratum is known by its attributes because attributes and their substratum are mutually reciprocal so tat the existence of one can be known by the existence of the other. Therefore, even though the substratum cannot be perceived by our senses its existence can be mentally perceived through our knowledge of its attributes. A doubt can never be an attribute of your body because doubt is always an attribute of consciousness and the body has no consciousness of its own."

 

"Further, just consider who possesses the power of memory, who remembers the past and the present and who has a comprehension about future. This attribute of memory is not the attribute of body. It is the attribute of `I' consciousness. So when you are doubting the very existence of `I' you are doubting your own self, because, the moment you doubt your own self, you doubt exist. But you do exist because you are doubting. So, the doubter of your doubts is your `self', your `soul'. Soul exists because `I' exists and `I' exists because `doubt' exists."

 

"Again, it is many a times seen that the attributes such as memory, perception, sensation etc. are absent even when body is present and in a living condition. This proves that these attributes are not of body.'

 

"It is found that body gets consciousness only in association with soul and without soul, it is dead as wood. Hence consciousness is `soul'."

 

The dialogue which proceeded further left Indrabhuti Gautam fully convinced about the existence of soul and he became the principal disciple of Lord Mahavira.

 

Similarly, Lord Mahavira completely removed the doubts of other ten Brahmin scholars and they all became his disciples. These eleven are called Ganadharas as they were appointed as the first heads of different groups of monks. Lord Mahavira survived all of them except the first Ganadhara Indrabhuti Gautam and the fifth one Sudharma. It is significant that all these first principal disciples were Brahmins of great repute and learning which shows that the silent ideological revolution had already started in the intelligentsia of the time.

 

The letter by Shrimad Rajchandra on six fundamental truths explains the subject in a concise manner yet in simple language.

 

The Letter of Six Fundamentals by Shrimad Rajchandra:

 

Shri Lalluji Maharaj being sick in Surat requested Shrimadji for Samädhi (Yogic concentration, state of non-attachment, absorbed in Soul) Maran (death). In reply,  Shrimadji wrote the famous letter of six fundamental truths, and inspired Lalluji Maharaj not to fear death.  This letter is the theme, of which "Ätmasiddhi" is the development. Shri Lalluji Maharaj appreciates this letter as follows:

 

"This letter has helped us to remove all our stray ideas and wandering thoughts, it has removed our doubts, confirmed our faith in the fundamentals of Jainism and those of all religions in general, namely the nature and development of soul.”

 

The letter is as follows:

 

With intense devotion I bow to the true Guide, the bestower of unique refuge.

 

The enlightened, who have attained true knowledge of Self have described the following six fundamentals as the supreme abode of right perception.

 

First fundamental:- 'There is existence of soul.' As there is existence of physical objects like pot, cloth, etc. so is the existence of soul. As the properties of pot, cloth, etc. are the evidence of their existence, so the obvious property of consciousness to manifest itself as well as others, is the evidence of the existence of soul. 

 

Second fundamental:- 'Soul is eternal'. Pot, cloth, etc. stay as such for some time; but soul stays forever. Pot, cloth, etc. are composed of some materials, but soul is a substance on its own, because no composition can be visualized for producing soul. Consciousness cannot arise out of any composition, so it is not a product. Being incomposible, it is nonperishable; because what cannot be produced by any composition, can not merge in anything else. 

 

Third fundamental:- "Soul is Kartä'. All objects are associated with purposeful activity. All of them are seen with some or other process that causes alterations. Soul also is imbibed with activity. Having the actuation., it is Kartä. The omniscient Lords have described three types of such actuation. In absolute state when soul stays tuned to its pure nature, it is the Kartä of that nature; in normal practice (which can be experienced; which comes in close contact), it is the Kartä of material Karma; and nominally it is the Kartä of physical objects like buildings, towns, etc.                                             

 

Fourth fundamental:- 'Soul bears consequences'. All activities are fruitful; they are not futile. It is the obvious experience that whatever is done, has its consequences. Consumption of poison or sugar and contact with fire or snow do not fail to produce their respective consequences. Similarly, if soul indulges in defiled or undefiled state, that state too is bound to be fruitful and it produces consequences. Thus being Kartä, soul bears the consequences as well. 

 

Fifth fundamental:- 'There is liberation'. Soul has been described above as being Kartä of material Karmas and as such being subject to their consequences, Those Karmas can, however, be terminated as well; because even if prevailing defilement etc. are very acute, they can be reduced by discontinuance of practice, by avoiding contact and by calming them down. They are reducible and can be destroyed. The state of the bondage thus being destructible, pure state of soul devoid of all bondage, is the state of liberation. 

 

Sixth fundamental:- 'There are means to achieve liberation'. If bondage of Karma simply continues to occur, its cessation can never be visualized. There are, however, factors like knowledge, conviction, staying tuned to soul, detachment, devotion etc. that are manifestly opposites of the bondage of Karma. By the intensity of these means, the bondage gets loose, gets pacified and can be destroyed. Therefore knowledge, perception, restraint etc. are the means for attaining liberation. 

 

These six fundamentals, which are termed by the blessed enlightened as the supreme abode of right perception, have been narrated here in brief. Soul that is closer to liberation would easily find them accurate and entirely convincing. Consideration of these aspects in all perspectives would lead to the rise of discernment within. The supreme entity has pronounced these six fundamentals as beyond all doubts. Discernment arising from these six aspects can be helpful to the soul in comprehending its true Self.  

 

The enlightened entities have laid down the teaching of these six aspects for removing the sense of ego and attachment of the worldly soul that arises from its dreaming state which has been prevailing since the time without beginning. If the soul realizes that its true nature is beyond that state, it would easily gain awareness and obtain right perception. By gaining right perception, it would attain liberation in the sense of realizing its true Self. Sense of exultation, grief or other interaction would not occur to it from any perishable, impure or such other impact. That awareness would lead it to experience, from close proximity, its own natural purity, perfection, imperishability and boundless joy. 

 

It has been accustomed to identity itself with unnatural states. It would now gain clear, visible, vivid, manifest experience of being completely distinct from such states. The interaction with the perishable or such other objects would not be viewed by it with the sense of desirability or undesirability. It would feel gratified with the knowledge and experience of its own true Self as being the abode of perfect greatness, free from any affliction of birth, old age, death, disease etc. All the persons who are convinced of soul, by the appropriate description of these six fundamentals by the supreme entities, have realized their true state. In the past such persons have got free from worries, disease, afflictions and all other interactions; presently such persons do get free and the same will happen in future. 

 

Let our highly devoted obeisance be to the enlightened entities who have laid down to abide at ease within the true self, that can forever end the affliction of birth, old age and death. True nature of soul can arise by daily and continuous adoration of their innate compassion. Lotus like feet of such enlightened may always stay within our hearts. 

 

It is not possible to define the attributes of the enlightened, the adoption of whose instructions easily leads to the manifestation of true Self as evidenced by these six fundamentals. By such manifestation, soul gains fearlessness that arises from the attainment of everlasting bliss.

 

By their innate compassion, the enlightened entities have conferred the unrewardable supreme disposition without desiring any thing whatsoever and yet have never conceived that so and so is my pupil or is mine because he is my devotee. Repeated obeisance with intense devotion be to such enlightened entities.

 

Such entities have laid down devotion for true Guide solely for the benefit of Pupils. They have prescribed devotion so that the tendency of pupils may stay towards the state of Guide's soul, self indulgence may come to an end by witnessing their unprecedented attributes and true Self may be easily visualized. Our all time obeisance be to that devotion and to those enlightened entities. 

 

Omniscience has of course not been presently manifested. It has, however, been clearly known as a potentiality from the words of the enlightened entities. Omniscience exists as a matter of faith, as a state to be contemplated and a state to be aspired; and from the absolute point of view, it is prevalent within. Repeated obeisance with supreme devotion be to the benevolence of the enlightened entity by whose grace this soul easily got worthy of attaining omniscience, that manifests the unobstructed bliss. 

 

References:

 

  1. “Ätmasiddhi” by Shrimad Rajchandra, translation by Shri Brahmchariji
  2. “Ganadharväd” by Acharya Vijay Bhauvanbhanusuriji
  3. “Path of Arhat, A Religious Democracy” By T. U. Mehta
  4. “The Letter of Six Fundamentals” by Shrimad Rajchandra, translation by Shri Manibhai Doshi