Jain Philosophy (2) 21- Punya and Päp (Virtuous Karma and Non_virtuous Karma)

Jain Philosophy (2) 21- Punya and Päp (Virtuous Karma and Non_virtuous Karma)

Chapter 21- Punya and Päp (Virtuous Karma and Non_virtuous Karma)


There are three types of inner aspects (Bhäva) – pure (Shuddha), virtuous (Shubha) and non_virtuous (Ashubha). The most desirable Bhäva is the pure one, which is devoid of any attachments or desire of accomplishment.  This Shuddha Bhäva can exist only when one is totally absorbed in one own self. It is very difficult for an aspirant to be always absorbed in one own self. Then the aspirant may get involved in some activities (physical, verbal or mental), which are performed with some attachments. When such activities are meritorious, it attracts virtuous karma, which are called Punya.  When such activities are sinful, it attracts non_virtuous karma, called Päp.  Hence, Punya Karma is acquired by meritorious or virtuous deeds and Päp Karma is acquired by evil or vicious acts.  It should be noted that Shuddha Bhäva does not attract any karma but stops the influx of new karma and/or eradicates the existing karma.

The manifestation of Punya brings material happiness and comforts such as wealth, fame and good health.  While the manifestation of Päp brings unhappiness, discomforts, poverty and an unhealthy body. However, both keep the soul in the material world (cycle of birth and death).

The concepts of Punya and Päp are more or less identical with most religions; however, they are more subtly treated by Indian philosophies.  They take into consideration not only the actual act but also the intention behind it.  They are unanimous in adoring meritorious intentions and activities and in condemning sinful ones. One may obtain material happiness and comforts as a result of virtuous Karma. However, material happiness does end and comfortable situations do not last forever. Then one has to undergo miseries unless one has in the meantime earned other Punya Karma while enjoying the fruits of past Punya Karma.

Many physical activities may be called either good or bad.  Organized societies endeavor to encourage beneficial or virtuous activities and to discourage the wicked or vicious ones. There may also be legal provisions to forbid some of the manifestly wicked activities to maintain peace and order within society. Some activities however cannot be clearly labeled as good or bad. In the spiritual sense, the intention behind performing them and the disposition in which an activity is performed, play an important role in deciding whether it would attract virtuous or non_virtuous Karma.  Thus, Päp and Punya are to be viewed in relative terms and they depend upon one’s mental attitude in a given situation.

Keeping equanimity in the mind with all_meritorious activities of life and with self_restrain one can practice to be in pure (Shuddha) Bhäva.

Punya (Virtuous Karma)

Punya is a meritorious deed done with a feeling of self_satisfaction and accomplishment (in other words with ego). However, the same deed done without the feeling of accomplishment and attachment (without ego) is not Punya, such action or deed is considered the true nature of a person (Shuddha Bhäva). Hence, Punya activity is considered Upädeya (desirable) in the beginning stages of spiritual development to progress towards liberation (for laymen). For those who are active aspirants of liberation it is considered Heya (non_desirable), because such aspirants should not have feelings of accomplishment and attachment to even meritorious deeds. A spiritually advanced person’s activities or deeds are always meritorious without feelings of attachment to the activities. No karma can attach to a person if his/her action is done without any attachments or feeling of accomplishments.

Some Jain scholars preach that Good Karma hinders the purity and freedom of soul. Punya Karma is like handcuffs made of gold, causing the soul to wander in the cycle of birth and death. The fruits of good Karma have to be borne, indicating that one should even give up meritorious deeds.  The fact is that a human being cannot remain without action unless he has reached the 14th stage of Gunasthänak (Ayogi Kevali).  Even the Tirthankar who is at the 13th stage of Gunasthäna does not remain without action (Yoga exists). In addition, the actions of any person are viewed as either good or bad.  However, the Karma philosophy teaches us that during meritorious action one should remain detached from the results of the action such as accomplishment, reward, fame, etc or in other words perform these actions with equanimity. The detachment will not cause any new Punya Karma.  Hence, the true message of Jain Karma philosophy is that during our entire life, we should not miss any opportunity to do meritorious deeds but we should try to remain detached from the result, or any expectation.

Ways of Acquiring Punya

There are nine ways mentioned in Sthänänga Sutra (a Jain Ägam) that result in Punya.

Anna Punya                 Offering of innocent, non_sentient, pure and vegetarian foods

Pän Punya                    Offering of non_sentient and pure water

Layan Punya                Offering shelter

Shayan Punya              Offering bed

Vastra Punya               Offering clothes

Mana Punya                 Good thinking

Vachan Punya              Good and kind words

Käya Punya                  Virtuous, noble and helpful activities

Namaskär Punya         Paying homage to Pancha Paramesthi

The term adopted by some Ächäryas is offerings to “deserving people” (Supätra). Right people include Jain ascetics as well as householders who are practicing self_restraints, are pursuing the path of liberation, and are in need of help.  There is no restriction against helping other living beings for the purpose of compassion (Jivadaya, Karunä and Anukampä) because our Tirthankars have preached about showing compassion to all living beings. Before initiation (Dikshä), Tirthankars donate to all living beings for one year without any such discretion.

Päp (Non_virtuous Karma)

Gautam Swämi asked Mahävir Swämi, “Bhante! How can one be free from Päp?” Mahävir Swämi replied, “Gautam! There are three ways to get free from Päp:

  • Knowledge of previous lives
  • Knowledge of the mystery behind the cycle of birth and death
  • Knowledge of what is conscious mind (Chitta) and how to purify it.”

Knowledge of Previous Lives:

If one can recollect one’s previous lives, including all the pain and pleasures one will automatically take the path of Punya and avoid the path of Päp. The person with the knowledge of previous life understands the mystery behind attaining the human life, including the spiritual efforts required to attain human life.  Knowledge of previous lives is called “Jäti_smaran Jnän”.

Knowledge of the Mystery behind the Cycle of Birth and Death:

Knowledge of causes of the cycle of birth and death, and fact that one is reborn in a good or a bad state because of his own good or bad Karmas.  He realizes that, “My Karma is the reason why I am trapped in the cycle of birth and death.” This realization makes one think to stop undesirable activities and makes him conscious of the importance of human life.

Knowing the Causes that Impure the Conscious Mind (Chitta):

Knowledge of why conscious mind has become impure and how one can purify it, then one will automatically begin to free oneself from sinful activities.  Unnecessary and sinful activities stain the Chitta, while practicing in accordance with the true religion purifies it.

Causes of Päp (Non_virtuous Karma or Sins)

There are eighteen causes of Päp known as Päpsthänak:

01 Pranatipat Violence 
02 Mrishavada Untruth 
03 Adattadana Theft
04 Maithuna Sensuality
05 Parigraha Possessiveness
06 Krodha Anger
07 Mana Ego
08 Maya Deceit
09 Lobha Greed
10 Raga Attachment 
11 Dvesha Hatred
12 Kalah Quarreling
13 Abhyakhyana Accusation
14 Paishunya Gossip
15 Par_Parivada Criticism
16 Rati_arati Liking and disliking
17 Maya_mrushavada Malice
18 Mithya_darshan Shalya Wrong beliefs 

Pränätipät (Violence or Himsä):

Pränätipät means to injure one or more of the ten Pränas (vitalities) of a living being. Great Ächärya Umäsväti defines – “Pramatta Yogät Präna Vyaparopanam Himsä.” To injure or to kill a living being because of non_vigilance or ignorance (Pramäda) is Himsä. One cannot find peace by pursuing a course of violence.  Injury with carelessness and passion is Himsä.

Every living being wants to live and no one wants to die.  Hurting or killing any living beings by physical means, words, or in thoughts is called Himsä. According to Bhagawän Mahävir, “one should behave the way he likes others to behave towards him”, and “that as we like to live comfortably, all other beings also like to live a comfortable life”. The message is ‘Live and help others live’.  Ahimsa holds the key position in the whole scheme of ethical discipline. Giving protection to living beings is the true religion.  The true religion is based on compassion. Compassion is the root of the tree of religion.  For householders, abstaining from intentionally injuring mobile living beings through mind, words, or body in any of the two ways, oneself or through others is called Sthul Pränätipät Viraman_Vrata or Ahimsa_Anu_vrata.

Himsä is of two forms:

Sukshma (minute) Himsä is hurting or taking life of any one sense living being. Sthul (gross) Himsä is hurting or taking life of living beings with two senses or more, known as Trasa (mobile) Jivas.

Himsä can also be divided as:

  • Inherent in one’s occupation
  • Unrelated to one’s occupation

The Himsä related to one’s profession is further divided into three categories: (1) Udyami, (2) Gruhärambhi and (3) Virodhi.


The householder, in order to support himself and his family, has to get involved in an occupation and his occupation may involve Himsä. Therefore, householders should undertake occupations that involve less forms of Himsä.


Some kind of Himsä is involved while carrying out the manifold domestic duties and other obligations.  Preparation of food, use of water in bathing and washing clothes, keeping animals for farming, maintenance of gardens, cutting fruits and flowers are some of such instances; and whatever Himsä involved in such household obligations is permissible with the thought of minimizing as much as possible.


It is committed generally in self_defense or in the protection of people or property of members of the family, relatives or friends.  In the ordinary course of life, one has to defend himself from thieves, robbers or enemies in battle.  If one is a soldier, defense of his country is an obligatory duty; but he is not expected to indulge in unnecessary Himsä as a matter of hostility or revenge.

Himsä can also be defined as Bhäva Himsä and Dravya Himsä:

  • Bhäva_himsä denotes the intention to cause injury or attempt to commit is a form of

Himsä whether it is actually carried out or not.

  • Dravya_himsä denotes causing actual injury.


Mrishäväda means to speak lies. To tell a lie is Päp. Lying is due to some form of passions; therefore, all lying is forbidden unless the truth is likely to result in greater Himsä. Spreading unkind rumors, character ass assination, deliberately misguiding, forgery, causing thoughtless defamation, using harsh language, giving wrong testimony, etc., has to be avoided. The honesty and reliability of Jain businesspersons is well known in the history. At one time more than 50% of money transactions passed through their hands.  The main reason of their success was their truthfulness. Use of words that inflict injury to living being is falsehood. However, the truth may have to be avoided at times, if it likely to cause loss of any life.

Any statement made through Pramäda (careless activity of body, mind or speech) is falsehood. The falsehood is of four kinds:

  • Denying the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and nature, when it actually exists.
  • Asserting the existence of a thing with reference to its position, time and place, when it does not exist at all.
  • Representation of an existing thing as something different from what it really is.
  • Utterance of condemnable, sinful or disagreeable words. Backbiting, harsh, unbecoming, non_sensible or unethical speech is condemnable.  That kind of speech which incites another to engage in piercing, cutting, beating etc., or which is likely to lead to destruction of life is sinful. Speech causing uneasiness, pain, hostility, misery or anguish etc., is sinful and forbidden.


Adattädäna means stealing. To take something, which is not given to you, is Adattädäna. Stealing also includes taking something not granted by its owner. The sense of stealing arises from greed (Lobha) and it causes Himsä.  Non_stealing includes the maintenance of quality, not buying stolen goods, not cheating on taxes, divulging confidences (Vishväsha_ghät), etc. It also includes not revealing someone’s secrets.  The person who steals causes pain to one whom he deprives of the objects and such deprivation may bring inconvenience, trouble and even death.

Seizing the property of another is like depriving him of his vitalities, for all objects belonging to one are his external vitalities. Hence, theft is Himsä. Taking with intent to steal objects, even of such things of trivial importance, which are in the possession of others is stealing. If we think deeply, accumulation of material objects beyond our necessities such as food, clothes and shelter also amounts to Adattädäna. If one accumulates more than his needs, he deprives others from getting their necessities.


Maithuna means being unchaste or engaging in sensuous pleasure. Forbidden for householders are sensual relationships with other men and women, going to a prostitute, gossiping about sensuous pleasure, wearing indecent dress and decorations; and taking intoxicating drugs. No one should have extramarital or premarital relationships.  Even within married life, it is strongly recommended to observe maximum possible restraint.


Parigraha means possessiveness or over collection of worldly objects. Greed is the root_cause of accumulation. For the householder absolute renunciation of Parigraha is not possible; he should set limits to its acquisition, possession and protection. Bhagawän Mahävir has explained two types of Parigrahas: external possessions and internal possessions.

Bhagawän Mahävir said, “Muchchhä Pariggaho Vutto.” Attachment is the possession (Parigraha). Attachments make the soul heavier with Karma.


Krodha means anger. Anger is the first of four passions (Kashäya). Spiritually, anger hurts all living beings.  Anger can become a reason for one’s destruction. Because of anger, one is unable to maintain the balane of mind. Anger destroys friendship and develops rivalry. Anger dissolves the fabric of family life.  Anger adversely affects health – causes adverse effects on the brain, heart, etc. Because of anger, one’s life becomes horrible.  Contrary to this, one can produce many positive results by the application of forgiveness, love and cooperation.


Mäna means ego – meaning the feeling of “I am something.” This is the second of the four passions (Kashäya). It is difficult for one to overcome his ego. Because of the ego, our history is full of bloodshed. Today’s political problems and violence are because of egotism. Egotism is one of the higher Päps. One’s ego can be overcome by cultivating the sense of humbleness.  Ego should distinguish from self_respect, which one should always cultivate.


Mäyä means to deceive, cheat or mislead.  When we cheat and succeed in doing so then it leads to ego.  The opposite of Mäyä is straightforwardness (Saralatä). One, who has unity of his thinking, speaking and deeds (he does what he says and he says what he thinks), is a straightforward person. This kind of person is well respected by all and lives in day_to_day happiness.  Because of his straightforwardness, his soul becomes lighter as he acquires less of Karma.


Lobha means greed. Greed is the root of all sins (and the other three passions). Four passions: anger, greed, ego, and deceit are the main culprits for the cycle of birth and death. They are difficult to control. If one conquers these four, then he can attain Moksha. One acquires a lot of Karma because of his greed.  Under the influence of greed, one forgets his duties, laws, ethics, morals, etc.  A subtle level of greed exists, even in the tenth Gunasthäna. That is why it is said, “Loho Savva Vinäsano”_ greed destroys all merits.  Greed can lead to all other passions.


Räga means attachment. One of the most popular words used in Jainism is “Vitaräga”_ one who has conquered Räga. However, there is no word like “Vitadvesha”_ one who has conquered aversion.  The reason is that one, who conquers Räga, automatically conquers Dvesha (aversion) since Räga is the root cause of Dvesha.  It is difficult to conquer “attachment” (Räga). It is even difficult to identify Räga. Cultivating the sense of detachment can control Räga. Räga can be for worldly pleasures, family and one’s own beliefs.


Dvesha means aversion. It includes hatred, enmity, jealousy etc. Where there is Räga, there is Dvesha.  One cannot tolerate the prosperity of his neighbors or his friends. Because of jealousy, one does not necessarily bring bad things to others, but he certainly spoils his own life. One’s hatred does more harm to himself.  Attachment or hatred occurs to us almost every moment. If somebody does something good to us, we like him and if somebody does not do what we like, we tend to hate him. We can overcome these two by cultivating the sense of equanimity in all situations, and we must if we want to attain liberation. We should have love and amity for all. Even if someone happens to be wicked, we should show compassion instead of hatred.


Kalah means dispute or quarrel.  Quarrel is more connected with the word. When we do not restrain what we say, we add fuel to the fire – we give momentum to quarreling. Because of quarreling, we have wars. Because of quarreling, we invite medical problems such as blood pressure, ulcers, etc. Not only do we hurt ourselves, we also hurt our dear ones. Many people quarrel over trivial matters. Sometimes it may seem that we win by fighting, but we lose in the end. One should therefore develop amity and friendliness.


Abhyäkhyäna means accusation or incrimination.  Because of jealousy, we make false accusations about others. This is one of the dangerous Päps. Abhyäkhyäna may get innocent people in trouble. Moreover, there is always a possibility to get in trouble when the truth becomes known.  One should therefore try to avoid making accusations and try to understand the truth of the matter.


Paishunya means calumny or slandering.  To slander someone in his absence is Paishunya. It is a bad habit to talk behind some one’s back or to spread rumors.  Such habits lead to unnecessary friction and quarrels.  Instead of indulging in gossip, one should cultivate the habit of appreciating others.


Par_pariväda means to criticize someone badly in his presence.


It also means taking pleasure in sinful activities and displeasure in religious activities.

Rati_arati also means not to pursue permanent happiness through self_restraint and to pursue temporary happiness.


Mäyä_mrushäväda means to lie with the intent of cheating. This binds double non_virtuous Karma – one for lying and one for deceit.  This type of activity will result in deluding (Mohaniya) Karma.  People do not like to maintain a friendship with such people. Nobody will trust them. One should be truthful and straightforward towards others.

Mithyätva Shalya

Mithyätva Shalya means false faith or to trust a false god, false guru, or false religion. Even though it is listed last, it is the most dangerous non_virtuous activity. False faith does not allow one to realize all other seventeen non_virtuous activities as a source of Päp karma. As a result, one does not feel remorse for that action nor does one turn away from it. This false faith is the root cause, which makes one wandering through the life cycle of birth and death.

Practical Aspects of Punya Karma and Päp Karma

From the practical point of view, people prefer Punya over Päp and therefore they engage themselves in such acts and thoughts that bring in Punya for the following reasons:

  • Good activities bring Punya, and bad activities Päp.
  • Happy and comfortable situations like handsome and strong or beautiful and graceful body, good health, loving spouse, children to be proud of, wealth, amenities, to be born in higher family, and longer lifespan are due to Punya. Non_virtuous Karma on the other hand result in unhappy and miserable situations like ugliness, illness, quarrelsome and wicked spouse, not having children, vicious children, poverty, to be born in lower family, shorter lifespan, etc.
  • The fruit of Punya is pleasure and the fruit of Päp is pain.

From a realistic point of view, both Punya and Päp lead the soul further into the Samsär because:

  • Both are caused by physical, verbal and mental activities
  • Both are karmic material in nature
  • Fruition of both is harmful to the real happiness of soul
  • Both lead towards the path of in flux and bondage.

As long as the soul is embodied, it does indulge in some or other activity.  This activity may be physical, verbal, or mental or all.  It is possible that a person may refrain from physical activity for some time.  His mental apparatus however never rests.  It functions even in sleeps. Every activity involves Karma and he has to bear consequences eventually. Because of the ever presence of the Karma (Kärman body), subtle vibration of the soul creates an Adhyavasäya (primal drive – subconscious  mind) that affects the thought process associated with colors (Leshyä).  These psychic colors depending upon their good or bad nature generate passionate thoughts that may translate into good or bad activities. These activities are responsible for influx and bondage of good or bad Karma.


Good as well bad bondage of Karma hinders the purity and freedom of soul. Punya bondage is like handcuffs made of gold and the Päp bondage are like iron handcuffs causing the soul to wander in the cycle of birth and death, because fruits of good or bad Karma have to be borne. Therefore, a true believer should treat Punya and Päp as an obstruction to attaining Moksha, the path of liberation and the true nature of the soul.  Thus, he should always be absorbed in the “self” (endeavor for the activities that stop and eradicate Karma). However, when Jiva is in the lower spiritual stages (Gunasthäna), and long continued self_absorption is not possible, he should resort to Punya – good deeds, such as, devotion to Pancha Paramesthi, services to Jain ascetics, and study of scriptures in order to keep away Pramäda. However, he should continue his efforts to attain the status of self_absorption.

Classification of Punya (Shubha) and Päp (Ashubha) Karma:

Out of the approximately hundred varieties of nature Bondage or Prakriti Bandha, some are considered as virtuous or Shubha Prakritis and some are termed as non_virtuous or Ashubha Prakritis. However, there are some minor differences in the exact classification. The following examples will illustrate the two categories:

Ghäti Karma

Kinds of Karma Virtuous and Shubha nature Non_virtutous and Ashubha nature
Knowledge obscuring (Jnanavaraniya) NIL All five subtypes
Perception obscuring (Darshanavaraniya) NIL All the nine subtypes
Deluding (Mohaniya) Faith deluding (Samyaktva) Laughter (Hasya) Attraction (Rati) Masculine (Purusha_ved) All other twenty four subtypes (Note- All 28 subtypes are considered non virtuous by some scholars)
Obstructing (Antaraya) NIL All five types

Aghäti Karma

Kinds of Karma Virtuous and Shubha nature Non_virtuous and Ashubha nature 
Feeling pertaining (Vedaniya) Pleasure producing (Shanta Vedaniya) Displeasure producing (Ashata Vedaniya)
Physique Determining (Nam) As stated earlier virtuous Physique Karma includes those categories out of 93 subcategories of this Karma which makes for happiness and satisfaction of the being  Example of virtuous Nam_karma – Celestial and human states of existence  The other are non_virtuous or Ashubha categories.  Examples – Animal and inferior states fall into non_virtuous group of Nam_karma categories. 
Status (Gotra)  High status (Uchcha) Low status (Neech)
Life Span (Ayu) Heavenly life span Human life span  Animal life span Hell life span

It may be added that when Karma Bondage occurs it is not compartmentalized in purely happy or purely unhappy types of Bondage.  It is combined accruals of Karma into the soul but the categorizations in happy (Shubha or Punya) or unhappy (Ashubha or Päp) types of Bondage are determined by the predominant nature of the Karma bondage. It further depends on the degree of actions (Yoga) and passions (Kashäya) in the soul at that time.  If the yoga is Shubha or good and Kashäya is also subdued, the Bondage occurring will be of a happy or Shubha category of Karma, while in the opposite conditions it will be unhappy or Ashubha Bondage.

This distinction and discussion is important, as misunderstanding of this subject has resulted in confusion, controversies and even schism in the Jain philosophy. The happy or Shubha Karma or Punya, though a bondage of the soul, cannot be shunned, but is generally preferable to the unhappy or Ashubha Karma or Päp in the conduct of the beings. These Shubha Karma can be avoided only after reaching a certain stage when they become a burden. They can be compared with a ladder, which has to used for going up, though once the top is reached the ladder is not needed and may be discarded; but only after the higher level is reached. It may be concluded that the saints and nuns who follow the five major vows and who are at an advanced stage of spiritual conduct need not care much for Shubha or happy Karma. However, the laymen and laywomen should not abjure (renounce) the Shubha Karma. This can be seen in daily life when Jain laymen are seen engaged in acts of pity and charity ranging from building hospitals and shelters (for men and animals alike) to feeding them in times of need. It is hoped the above clarification will, to some extent, neutralize or invalidate the charge against Jainism that it teaches selfishness and makes a man self_centered, caring for one’s own salvation only without any social commitment.

Four Fold Combinations of Punya & Päp

Päp and Punya are to be viewed in relative terms, and they depend upon one’s mental attitude in a given situation. Jainism says that every one of us continually enjoys the fruits of Punya or suffers from Päp Karma. During our enjoyment or suffering due to manifestation of Punya and Päp, we reflect either positively or negatively based on our understanding of reality.  This results in the following Four Fold Combinations of Punya & Päp.

Punyänubandhi Punya

All auspicious karma gives man means of happiness upon their fruition. He acquires wealth and other comforts because of the fruition of auspicious karma. However, in spite of that, some auspicious karma produces fruit that will not wean one away from cherishing right inclination or faith and performing good actions.  He takes an active effort in performing righteous activities. He does not indulge in sensory pleasures.  He spends his wealth on religious and philanthropic activities.  He is humble and does not hurt the feelings of others. He lives a virtuous life. Thus, these auspicious karma are related to auspicious, virtuous, and good activities, which again leads to influx and the bondage of the auspicious karma.  In this way, the auspicious karma of this type make our life happy, righteous, and auspicious.  The term ‘Punyänubandhi Punya’ means that auspicious karma which is related to religious practice and good activities, leading to good and auspicious Karma in the next life.  The earning of new Punya Karma while enjoying the fruits of earlier ones is known in Jain terminology as Punyänubandhi Punya.

In summary, while enjoying the fruits of virtuous Karma, one acquires further virtuous Karma. Very few people endeavor to earn Punyänubandhi Punya because most of the people are driven by hedonistic intentions. By virtue of infatuation, they indulge in non_virtuous activities.

Päpänubandhi Punya

As we have already stated, all auspicious karma give man means of happiness upon their fruition. They are such that it would lead man astray.  While experiencing happiness and comfort, he spends his wealth in luxuries and vice.  He indulges in sensory pleasures. He does not like religious and pure activities.  Auspicious karma of this type are called ‘Päpänubandhi Punya’ because on their rise they give man happiness or pleasure and at the same time, they degrade his life; they are related to vice that causes one’s next birth to occur in a lower form. As auspicious karma of this type are related to inauspicious activities, they cause through them the bondage of inauspicious karma.  Thus, auspicious karma of this type are ignoble. This type of Punya is known as Päpänubandhi Punya.  Misery is destined for them in the near future. How can one avoid this situation?  If the objective is to attain liberation, one has to avoid all sorts of Karma.

Punyänubandhi Päp

All inauspicious karma put man in miserable conditions upon their fruition. Because of their fruition, he becomes or remains poor; he cannot acquire means of material happiness. However, some inauspicious karma is such that its repercussions would not shake man’s faith in religion. He takes a positive attitude and performs righteous activities. That person realizes that his miseries are the consequence of his previous non_virtuous Karma; he may like to stay unaffected and bear the miseries with a sense of detachment and objectivity.  He may therefore undergo the pain of misery with equanimity and meanwhile try to undertake the best possible reflection and activities.  This attitude would earn him Punyas that is known as Punyänubandhi Päp. Though Karma cause miseries to men, they do not degrade his life. They do not obstruct virtuous activities that lead to good future birth.

Päpänubandhi Päp

As shown above, of all the inauspicious karma, only some are related to auspicious activities. However, others are related to inauspicious activities. Because of the fruition of the inauspicious karma of this type, man suffers from miseries.  However, at the same time, he does not refrain from indulging in vice; on the contrary, he remains engaged in it.  Most people who suffer from misery blame someone else or some extraneous factors for causing miseries. They indulge in anger, jealousy, and animosity and react violently or wrongly to pain and misery. Thus, they acquire new non_virtuous Karma or Päp.  This type of acquisition of inauspicious karma is therefore known as Päpänubandhi Päp or non_virtuous Karma leading to further accumulation of non_virtuous Karma. They cause misery to man and at the same time be associated with vice, which causes one’s next birth to occur at a lower place and bondage of inauspicious karma.


In short, those auspicious karma, accumulated through past births, which causes the bondage of new auspicious karma at the time when the soul is enjoying their sweet fruits, are called Punyänubandhi Punya. Those inauspicious karma accumulated through past birth, which cause bondage of auspicious karma through equanimity, peace, atonement and good activities at the time when the soul is experiencing their bitter fruits are called Punyänubandhi Päp. Those auspicious karma, accumulated through past births, which cause the bondage of inauspicious karma at the time when the soul is enjoying, with indulgence and infatuation, their sweet fruits, are called Päpänubandhi Punya.  In addition, those inauspicious karma, accumulated through past births, which cause the bondage of new inauspicious karma at the time when the soul is experiencing their bitter fruits, are called Päpänubandhi Päp.

Virtuous as well as non_virtuous Karma cause bondage in which the soul becomes enchained by these Karma. Both of them obstruct the soul’s liberation and are to be avoided. This can be done by cultivating a sense of detachment in all possible situations, favorable as well as unfavorable.  No situation lasts forever and every conceivable situation come to an end eventually.  Why then get infatuated or feel miserable  in a situation, which is ephemeral? If a person stays attuned to such a detached attitude and maintains equanimity, he does not attract new Karma.  His earlier Karma will steadily shade off as he bears their consequences, or he / she eradicates them by austerities. In due course, he / she will shed all Karma and proceed on the path of liberation.


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