14:01:13 LECTURE #13
Brahman (along with Atman, is a Hindu concept)
The ultimate reality makes existence existence. Gives life, breath, wind, pure
consciousness, bliss, eternity or as the infinite the subject by whom all
subjects are known. This is a positive description of the Brahman.
Upanishads talk about the Brahman in 2 ways: cosmically and acosmically.
o Cosmically (saguna: with characteristics in Sanskrit): Finest
essence of things in the world.
This doesn’t mean anything material, it’s actually not a
substance, it’s the hidden and sudden reality, which allows all
things to exist in the first place. It’s the being-ness of all things.
It transcends the limitations of language.
Not subject to categorization. “Cannot be heard nor touched, it
has no form and it is imperishable, it is eternal without
beginning or end…”
Self knowledge = defining element of the universe
o Acosmically (nirguna: without characteristics)
Jainism along with Buddhism is the two Vedic religions that have a specific
association with a single specific person.
Grew out of the renunciant movement
Elitist religion – Heart of Jainism is most radical but non-violent to creatures
both visible and invisible
They walk bare feet as not to step on anything
Religion and philosophy in India that came to be around the 6th century BCE
Mahavira: The Great Hero, is the title of the historical figure (he existed, real
person) is the founder of this movement, Jainism
Mahavira always renounced
It is radical because of its rejection of Vedic tradition
Enlightenment is what is to be worshipped
Jina or Ji = conqueror, conquer the world by renouncing it, not caring, giving
it up, therefore you become conqueror aka Mahavira
Time in Jainism is up and down like the shape of “W”
“Descending time” is when you renounce, and the Mahavira is the last to
renounce in a cycle of 24 people who renounce (takes billions of years)
On an ascending cycle more than 24 people can achieve Nirvana
24 JINA – seekers of salvation, through their example, individuals try to
escape from samsara. Rituals are centred around the 24 for this reason,
in particular the last one who happens to be Mahavira
The Jina appear from time to time to show us and teach us how to be a true
The Gods pay homage to the Jina
Mahavira is a bridge-maker over the samsara.
No ritualistic sacrifice, against the notion of taking a life. All Jain people do
not eat animals or animal by-products.
o Born 599 BCE, Died 527 BCE
o Age 28 he became a renunciant
o Practised yoga and meditation, control the body
o Enlightenment, attained nirvana
o Had followers and taught
o Physical body died in a pilgrimage site
o Mahavira’s followers divided into two due to problems about
Those who were willing to give up everything, the naked
The monks were naked, ate only what was given to them in
their hands once.
And those who weren’t, the not naked monks are called White
The naked monks did not allow women to enter the
monasteries, and thus they had to wait die and be reborn as a
This was different for the White Monks since they were
clothed, women could come in
Jainism goal: complete purification and perfection of the soul
When someone does something bad, a material speck of bad karma attaches
to their immaterial soul, impurifying it more and more every time and
bounds them to this torturous world of suffering
o The SOUL
o Not only humans but every animate entity has a jiva
o 3 Essential Characteristics
Consciousness: Aware of it self
Bliss: complete utter happiness
o Inhabits the world, lives in a samsaric existence.
o Formless and genderless. Cannot be perceived by the senses, only
through the mind in a sense. Immaterial.
o Salvation is to get your jiva out of the samsaric existence by purifying
it and keeping it completely detached from any desires.
o By definition each jiva is pure and has infinite knowledge.
o Kevala: complete knowledge, omniscience, it is necessary to attain
freedom from the karmic cycle
o You cannot liberate your jiva if you don’t experience, you have to
know the pure form in you
o To get the knowledge you need to train through Yoga that will
eventually give you kevala
o Yoga: renunciation and meditative discipline of the monk, you have to
be a monk
Ethical System, 3 Jewels, Ratnatraya
o 1) Right faith
o 2) Right knowledge
o 3) Right behaviour/conduct
o Abstain from violence
o Abstain from stealing
o Content with life
o Limit possessions
o Avoid meat, honey, etc
After 30 years of being a monk, they lay down on a straw bed, not drink and
eat and wait till death (ritual suicide)