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Mahavir Jayanti special: ABC of Karma doctrine of Jainism
Today, as we celebrate Mahavir Jayanti, there is a need to revisit the tenets of philosophy of life and Jain doctrine of living. Often, rituals and externalities of celebration of the event delude us further rather than liberating us from the Karmic bondages, many think.

My internet search on the topic informs that in Jainism, the Principle of Karma - the nature of human mental and physical actions - forms the basis of the perpetuation the birth-and-death cycles or transmigration of the soul to the temporal world called Samsara.

However, in Jainism, the ultimate aim of life is the liberation or Moksha to be achieved through a path of self-purification since Karma is thought of as 'a kind of pollution in the form of inequalities, sufferings, pain' leading to transmigration.

Various immoral or bad individual actions and deeds, as well as intentions behind them, lead to bondages, which can only be snapped through self-effort for acquiring right thoughts, actions and vision of reality. Thus, the Jain doctrine holds that it is possible for individuals to both modify their karma and obtain release from it through austerities and purity of conduct.

In Jainism, God or divine force has no role to play in an individual's destiny. In other words, one's personal destiny is not seen as a consequence of any system of reward/ divine grace or punishment/divine retribution, but rather as a result of one's own personal karma.

Thus, for humans, their destiny is in their own hands. We need to understand that any action committed, knowingly or unknowingly, has karmic repercussions; therefore, purification of mind or thoughts is equally important as the right actions. We need to have right thoughts or intent first.

The act of karma-purification consists of acquiring right world view or vision of reality; self-restraint; self-effort for spiritual growth with self-observation of activities of mind, speech and body. Jainism believes that these can be achieved through self-efforts of an individual.

Here an ABC verse to describe karmic theory of life in Jainism as I have understood.

A: Assumption is that Karma - mental and physical action - is the root of birth and death cycles or worldly bondage as well as liberation

B: Bondage by certain type of karma makes humans go round and round in the cycle of existence

C: Control on self for intent (mental actions) and deeds (physical actions) to be acquired through self-effort by ridding of four faulty or bad mental actions - anger, pride, deceit and greed first and foremost.

D: Deliverance is possible by purifying both mental and physical actions so that they are not hurtful to any one

E: Equal emphasis on the physical act as well as intent for binding of karmas

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