K A R M A A N D REBIRTH IN CLASSICAL I N D I A N T R A D I T I O N S Edited by W E N D Y D O N I G E R O FLAHERTY K a r m a is perhaps rhe most famous concept in Indian philosophy, but there is no comprehensive study of its various meanings or philosophical implications. Under the sponsorship of rhe American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, leading American Indologists met on several occasions to discuss their ideas about karma. The result is this volume. Exchanges of draft essays led to a harmony of approach and an underlying set of methodological assumptions: a corpus of definitions of karma, a dialectic between abstract theory and historical explanation, an awareness of logical oppositions in theories of karma. N o "solution" to the paradox of karma is offered, but the volume as a whole presents a consistent and encompassing approach to the many different, often conflicting, Indian statements of the problem. The particular value of the book lies in both its scope and its rich detail. Following an introductory essay, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty presents the Vedic and Puranic background to the theory of karma. There follow studies of karma in the Mababharata (J. Bruce Long), rhe DburmasJstras (Ludo Rocher), the medical textbooks < Mitchell G. Weiss), and the Tamil tradition (George L. Hart, 111). Buddhist and Jaina concepts, perhaps the most pervasive formulations of karma, are treated for early Buddhism with a hypothesis of the derivation of karma from tribal ideas ethicized by Buddhism (Gananath Obeysekere), Pali Ruddhism (James McDermott), and Tanrric Buddhism (William Stablein). Padmanabh S. Jaini contributes a new hypothesis of rhe interaction of linear and cyclical ideas of transmigration in Jainism, to which he attributes the origin of the karma theory. Karl H. Potter sets forth the philosophical implications of karma, challenging McKim Marriott; Gerald Ltrson attempts to resolve rhe two approaches, while Wilhclm Halbfass demonstrates the ways in which later Indian philosophy produced resolutions of its own. The various chapters


Spfinsored bv ilic

of rhi:

and the





Los Angeles



University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Luf.

London, England
© 1980 by The Regents of the University ot California Printed in the United States of America 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Library of Congress Cataii)£ing in Publication Data Main entry under title:

Karma and rebirth in classical Indian traditions,
Bibliography: p. Includes index. 1, K a r m a — A d d r e s s e s , essays, lectures. 2. Reinc a r n a t i o n — A d d r e s s e s , essays, lectures. I. O ' F l a h e r t y , W e n d y Doniger. BL20I5.K3K37 294 79-64475 I S B N 0-520-03923-8


List of C o n t r i b u t o r s Introduction P A R T 1. H I N D U I S M A N D ITS R O O T S WTNHY nONICER OTr AHFRTi' 2. The C o n c e p t s of H u m a n Action and Rebirth in the


vu ix



3. Karma and Rebirth in the Dharmasastras I II DO ROCHRR

4. Caraka Samhita on the Doctrine of Karma


5. The T h e o r y of Reincarnation among the Tamils

P A R T IT. B U D D H I S M A N D J A I N I S M 6. The Rebirth Eschatoiogy and Its Transformations: A C o n t r i b u t i o n t o the Sociology of Early Buddhism

137 [65

7. Karma and Rebirth in Early Buddhism

8. The Medical Soterioiogy of Karma
in. the .Buddhist. Tantric. Tradition WILLIAM STABLHiN 9. Karma and the Problem of Rebirth in Jainism

1.93 217

PART III. P H I L O S O P H I C A L T R A D I T I O N S 10. The Karma T h e o r y and Its Interpretation in Some Indian Philosophical Systems



Karma. ApHrva. Bibliography Index and G l o s s a r y .Societics-Social Science Research Council Karma Conferences.VI CONTENTS 11. and "Natural" Causes: Observations on the G r o w t h and Limits of the T h e o r y of Samsdra WII-HEIM HAI. K a r m a as a " S o c i o l o g y of K n o w l e d g e " o r "Social Psychology" of Process/Praxis GERALD 1AMES LAFTSON 303 List of Participants tn the First Two American Council of Learned.317 3J9 331 .BFASS 26K 12.

GI-. San Diego. University ol California. HART. III. Buffalo. 3966). H e is the a u t h o r of Descartes' Frag? nacb der Existent dcr Welt (1968). pp. A m o n g his most recent publications are "Life O u t of D e a t h : A Structural Analysis of the Myth of the ' C h u r n i n g of the Ocean of Milk. and of n u m e r o u s articles. Sin and Salvation in a Sociology ol Bud- . Nets Essays in the History of Religions. N e w York. " in the Indo-Iranian Journal. "Theodicy. 1976). is Associate Professor of Tamil at the University of California. and a u t h o r of The Jama Path nj Purification. University of California Press. and The Mahabhdrata. H e is the author of Land Tenure in Village Ceylon (Cambridge.' " in Hinduism. 1978. Santa Barbara. 171-207. California. edited by Bardwell L. 7_.KALH J A M E S L A R S O N is Professor of the H i s t o r y of Religions in the D e partment of Religious Studies. Cornell. 1974).nr Thame der Kastenordnung tVi der indischen Philosophic (1975). J. GEORGE L." both in die Journal of the American Oriental Soaety- G A N A N A T H OUI:YF-~SI-:KI. B R U C E L O N G is Director of the Blaisdell Institute in C l a r e m o n t . and is currently working on the Sahkhya and Yoga volumes for the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. and " T h e Kathavatthu Katmma D e b a t e s " and " K a m m a in the Milindapanha. 1974). Berkeley. JAMES Mt D F R M O T T I S Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Camslus College. Berkeley. " I s There G r o u p Karma in Theravada B u d d h i s m ? " in Nitmen.PU is Professor of A n t h r o p o l o g y at the University of California.Contributors WLLH£LM HALBRASS is Associate Professor of Indian Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. JAINI is Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of California. 1969) and editor of Myth in Indo-European An~ tujuity (Los Angeles. His b o o k The Poems of Ancient Tamil: Their Milieu and their Sanskrit Counterparts was published by the University ol California Press in 1975. He is the author of Classical Satnkbya: An Interpretation of Its History and Meaning (Delhi. PADMNABH S. Smith (Leiden. H i s previous articles on karma include " U n d e t e r m i n e d and Indeterminate K a n i m s . Art Annotated Bibliography (South Asia Occasional Papers and Theses.

An Interpretation of a Mother Goddess Cult in S r i Lanka a n d S o u t h India i n Its Historical a n d Institutional Setting. H e is the editor and translator of Sanskrit legal texts. pp. 7-40). 1968. 1980). and the LUDO ROCHER is P r o f e s s o r of S a n s k r i t a n d C h a i r m a n o i t h e D e p a r t m e n t of South Asia Regional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania." WENDY D O M G T R O ' F I AHFRTY is P r o f e s s o r of t h e H i s t o r y of R e l i g i o n s a n d Indian Studies at the LJniversity of Chicago and author of Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva (Oxford. Cambridge. Androgynes. and the author of a bibliography of classical H i n d u law. H e h a s p u b - lished a n u m b e r of articles on the healing traditions In Tibetan Buddhism. and Women.. and of over one hundred articles. W I L L I A M STABLEIN has taught in the Department of Religion at Columbia U n i v e r s i t y a n d t h e U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a at S a n t a C r u z .V111 CONTRIBUTORS dhisrn" (in E d m u n d R. 1975): The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (University of California Press. WEISS is a Sanskritist specializing in Ayurveda. H . Wife and . KARL. 1973). Hindu Myths (Penguin. and many articles on religion and social structure in Sri Lanka. MrrCHELt G .Mother. of a manual of Hindi. H e is the author of a cross-cultural study of mental disorders based on early Indian texts. H e lias just completed a monograph. and Other Mythical Beasts (University of Chicago Press. POTTER is P r o f e s s o r o i P h i l o s o p h y at t h e U n i v e r s i t y of W a s h i n g - ton. " T h e Goddess Pattini: Virgin. and is currently in training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Leach. ed. 1976). H e is the author of Presuppositions of India's Philosophies General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. Dialectic in Practical Religion. .

o n O c t o b e r 2 2 . early drafts ot six of the papers in this volume were presented and subjected to spirited and enthusiastic discussion. t o m a k e s u r e t h a t e v e r y t h i n g r a n s m o o t h l y . inspired in p a r t b y t h e g r e a t p a i n s t a k e n b y K a r l T o t t e r .Introduction WENDY DONIGER O'FLAHERTY These twelve essays are the first fruit {phala) of two conferences that took place as part of a project sponsored by the Joint C o m m i t t e e on South Asia of the American Counci! of Learned Societies—Social Science Research Council. 1977. until we exhaust the patience and the pocketbook of the A C L S . on the serene shores of Lake Wilderness near Seattle. a n d in p a r t b y t h e o p e n n e s s a n d relaxed i n t e l l i g e n c e of t h e p a r t i c i p a t i n g s c h o l a r s . 1978. I n s t e a d of w a s t i n g t i m e a n d e n e r g y o n t h e u n e a s y o n e .2 3 . e v e r y o n e s e e m e d g e n u i n e l y i n t e r e s t e d in l e a r n i n g S o m e t h i n g f r o m c o l l e a g u e s . t h e o r g a n i s e r o f t h e p r o j e c t ( t o g e t h e r w i t h D a v i d S z a n t o n of t h e S S R C ) .u p m a n s h i p t h a t so o f t e n p l a g u e s s u c h m e e t i n g s . At the second karma conference> in Pasadena on January 26-29. f u r t h e r questions arising out of the revised papers were argued and new plans made for further conferences — and on and on. in t r y i n g t o f i n d o u t w h a t w e w a n t e d t o k n o w a n d how w e might go about finding it out. 1976. There was a very special m o o d at all of these encounters. world without end.S S R C . At the Association for Asian Studies meeting o n March 25-27. preliminary problems were discussed and plans made to develop a series of publications and to hold f u r t h e r meetings. Although we left each meeting IX . At the first meeting.



with the feeling that we had raised more questions than we could answer, and perhaps had not even asked all the right questions, 1 think we f o u n d out a lot; the reader will judge for himself, (A list of the participants at the t w o conferences appears at the end of this volume.) I was also fortunate in finding a particularly sympathetic and intelligent student, William K. Mahony, to prepare the index for this v r olume. In reading over the papers for the final editing, I was struck b y the degree to which they draw upon one another and by the harmony, if not uniformity, of their approaches. To some extern this is the result of two scholars arriving at the same idea about a problem because it was a reasonable idea (one hesitates to say "the right idea"). But this harmony was further enhanced by the circulation of many of the papers (including some not included in this volume) before and after each conference; one by-product of this cross-fertilization is a kind ot leapfrog cross-referencing in the essays, paper A referring to an earlier draft of paper B, which, in turn, cites an earlier draft of A. Karl Porter and McKim Marriott are the t w o central and unifying forces in this volume, the hubs f r o m which all the other papers devolve like spokes: Karl an immanent presence, organizing and
suggesting and asking provocative questions, while Kim was m o r e t r a n s c e n d e n t , a n e m i n e n c e grise w h o s e r e v o l u t i o n a r y p e r c e p t i o n s of I n d i a n social i n t e r a c t i o n c r o p p e d u p again a n d again in o u r d i s c u s s i o n s , T h o u g h h e w r o t e n o e s s a y f o r this v o l u m e , s e v e r a l of t h e e s s a y s r e f e r t o a c o n c e p t c e n t r a l t o his p u b l i s h e d w o r k , a c o n c e p t t h a t will b e s u m m a r i z e d in t h e f o l l o w i n g p a g e s .

In preparing this introduction, 1 have tried to reconstruct something of the spirit of those exciting interactions, to point out the links and conflicts that came to light as we talked, to help the reader put the papers together and derive his o w n insights f r o m them a.s we did in Seattle and Pasadena. I have drawn heavily u p o n notes made during rhe final meetings and am indebted to my colleagues for their ideas and for allowing me to make m y own (often very different) sense of them, 1 have arranged the papers in three categories, each in a roughly chronological sequence: H i n d u i s m (beginning with the Vedas, through the Mahabharata, Dharmasastras, medical texts, and early Tamil texts), Buddhism and Jainism (beginning with the postulated sources of Buddhism, through Tberavada to Tantric Buddhism and Jainism), and philosophical texts (Potter's article in response to Marriott, then Halbfass on the development of the theory, and Larson in



response to Potter). F o r readers unfamiliar with the karma theory, it might be easiest to begin with the philosophical section, setting forth the basic ideas in rheir various abstract permutations; another logical starting point might be Gananath Obeyesekere's article, which is here used as the anchor picce for the section on Buddhism but which also provides a useful theoretical f r a m e w o r k in which to view both the historical and the logical development of the karma theory. The Definition of Karma Much of our time at the first conference at Lake Wilderness was devoted to a lively but ultimately vain attempt t o define what we meant by karrna and rebirth. The unspoken conclusion was that we had a sufficiently strong idea of the parameters of the topic to go ahead and study it, in the hope that perhaps then we would be able to see more clearly precisely what we bad studied (rather like the w o m a n who said to Abraham Lincoln, " H o w d o I k n o w what I think 'til 1 hear what i say?"). After all the papers were written and had been discussed at Pasadena, wre mustered our courage to attempt the definition again, and came up with several possible formulations, The general consensus that we were dealing with a theory of rebirth based on the moral quality of previous lives was further refined by A, K. Ramaniijan (A) and Charles Keyes (B): The three essential constituents of a karma theory are A: (1) causality (ethical or non-ethical, involving one life or several lives); (2) ethicization (the belief that good and bad acts lead to certain results in one life or several lives); (3) rebirth. B: (1) explanation of present circumstances with reference to previous actions, including (possibly) actions prior to birth; (2) orientation of present actions t o w a r d future ends, including (possibly) those occurring after death; (3) moral basis on which action past and present is predicated. T h o u g h there remain certain ambiguities and exceptions even in these careful summaries, it seemed a sufficiently solid basis on which to proceed to other problems. We had, at one point, hoped to be able to construct a typology of karma theories: "A differs from B in the following ways." This is still a desideratum and a task that might well be undertaken by making intelligent use of the data assembled in this volume, but it is a task that we found impossible to begin until we had surveyed the vast native literature, and one which even then presents m a j o r organizational and theoretical problems. Someday, perhaps, it



will be possible to present family trees of karma theories, grids of karma theories, a kind of police Identikit f o r ail theoretically possible as well as actually occurring karma theories. For the m o m e n t , h o w ever, it seemed wise to pause at this point and publish the fruits of our preliminary treasure-hunting; all you wanted to k n o w about karma and never dared (bothered?) to ask. Abstract Theory versus Historical Explanation As a result of an unresolved argument as to whether karma was a theory, a model, a paradigm, a metaphor, or a metaphysical stance, the question of o u r o w n approach to the subject was scrutinized: do w e seek to construct a purely theoretical model or to explain a historical process? in defense of the first view it was suggested that a historical approach is t o o narrow, depending on esoteric texts, while a typology would at least allow us to see the patterns that may underlie not only the extant texts but a broader Indian concept of karma; that although models as analogies d o not generate further knowledge, models as ideal types enable one to define terms. In favor of the second view it was argued that models cannot be arbitrary but must be predictive, that the}1 must attempt to explain what actually happened. Fully aware of the pitfalls inherent not only in each of the theoretical positions but, even more, in the attempt to apply either one to the karma material, we threw caution to the wind and tackled both. I should like to devote the rest of this introduction to a s u m mary of a few of the insights in these two areas derived f r o m the conferences and f r o m the papers in this volume.

The Historical Origins of the Karma T h e o r y Gananath Obeyesekere's essay suggests that we look tor the origins of the idea of karma in ancient Indian tribal religions in the Gangetic region where Buddhism and j a i n i s m , as well as the religion of the Ajivakas, flourished. H e argues that it is reasonable to suppose that a simple theory oi rebirth, not unlike those which occur in other parts of the world, u n d e r w e n t certain changes in order to develop into the specifically Indian theory of karma; that ethicization transformed rebirth into the Buddhist and jaina theories oi karma. (Similarly, the transactions implicit in the Vedic ritual of iraddba, when applied to



the equally amoral Vedic concept of entry into heaven, resulted in the H i n d u t h e o r y of karma,) O b e y e s e k e r e s h o w s the way that B u d d h i s m a p p r o a c h e d the potential conflict between layman-oriented a n d bhikktt-oriented religion (which has clear parallels in die H i n d u c o n flict b e t w e e n house holder and $anny<i$in, dharma and moksa), In fact, the o v e r w h e l m i n g acceptance of merit transfer in B u d d h i s m despite its doctrinal inappropriateness m a y be seen as a solution to this conflict: the bbikku's merit is transferred to the layman, as the layman transfers f o o d to t h e bbikku (a process that is seen n o t o n l y in the sraddhct transaction but in the svadharma basis of the caste system, w h e r e b y o n e g r o u p achieves merit f o r another g r o u p restricted to a less auspicious profession). It is clear f r o m O b e v e s e k e r e ' s presentation that the karma theory of rebirth is not a linear d e v e l o p m e n t f r o m Vedic and Upanisadic religion, b u t a composite s t r u c t u r e . At this p o i n t one might ask if it w o u l d be possible t o separate these strands and to determine the chronological o r d e r in which they developed. It seems implicit in O b e y e s e k e r e ' s a r g u m e n t that the " t r i b a l " s u b s t r a t u m came first, and indeed m a n y scholars have long s u p p o r t e d a theory that all three of the great ancient religions of India originated with n o n - Aryan tribal teachers in the Ganges valley. But since we k n o w virtually n o t h i n g a b o u t these hypothetical sages o t h e r than our o w n defining a s s u m p tion that they were not Vedic, it m i g h t be argued that " t r i b a l " is m e r e l y a scholarly w a y of saying " w e d o n o t k n o w w h o they w e r e , " T h e remaining candidates f o r historical primacy are the Vedic thinkers, the h e t e r o d o x thinkers (Jaina, Buddhist, and Ajivaka), and the Dravidians (ancestors of the Tamil speakers, or, hypothetical!)', inhabitants of the I n d u s Valley Civilization), Let us examine each of these witnesses in t u r n . T h e Vedic sacrifice was called " k a r m a " and the w o r d retains that meaning in the U p a n i s a d s (and even later), b u t with additional, superseding connotations. T h e Brhadarany oka Upaniuid (4.4,5—6) says that karma is what determines o n e ' s good or evil rebirth, karma surely designating action including b u t n o t limited t o sacrifice. T h e Svetasvatara Vpanisad begins with a discussion of the various causes f o r m a n ' s birth — time, inherent nature, necessity, chance, and so f o r t h — n o t including the w o r d " k a r m a , " which m a y be implicit in the others. O n e aspect of the karma theory, at least, seems firmly r o o t e d in the Vedic tradition, and that is the c o n c e p t of transfer of merit. Karl



Potter has formulated a possiblv historical contrast between theories of karma that assume a possibility of transfer of karma and those that do not. The first of these assumptions may he understood in terms of McKim Marriott's transactional model of H i n d u society; By Indian modes of thought, what goes on between actors are the same connected processes of mixing and separation thai go on within actors. Actors' particular natures are thought to be results as well as causes of their particular actions {karma). Varied codes of action or codes of conduct (idharma) are thought to be naturally embodied in actors and otherwise substantialized in the flow of things char pass among actors. Thus the assumption of the easy, proper separability of action from aetor, of code frorri suhstancc (stirtilar to the assumption of the separability of law from nature, norm from behavior, mind from body, spirit or energy from matter), that pervades both Western philosophy and Western common sense . . . is generally absent. 1 Marriott describes the manner in which various groups are defined in relationship to one another by the degree to which they do or do not accept f r o m one another what Marriott calls "code-substance" or "substance-code," though all transactions take place on a spectrum in which actor and action, substance and code, are one. These transactions arc classified as optimal, pessimal, maximal, and minimal. H e distinguishes paradigmatic approaches involving minimal transactions, with the emphasis on the actor (such as Jain ism}, f r o m syntagmatie approaches involving maximal transactions, with the emphasis on the action (Buddhism). T h e second assumption, that karma may not be transferred, underlies the Yoga and Advaita Vedantic philosophical models, in Potter's view. Gerald Larson, however, challenges this dichotomy and redefines the apparent conflict in terms provided by Sahkhya philosophy. A very different attempt to resolve the views of Marriott and Potter occurs in Ashok K. Gangadean's essay on karma.- f am grateful to Dr. Gangadean for allowing me to present some of his
1, MfiKim Marriott, "Hindu Transactions? Diversity without Dualism," iti Transaction and Meaning, ed. Bruce Kaptcrer, Institute for :he Study of ?iuman Issues (Philadelphia, !'J76), pp, 109-110. See also Marriott and Ronald Inden, "Caste Sys-

tems," Encyclopedia, Rmanmca (1973), vol. C, pp. 983 ff.
2. Ashok K. Gangadean, "Comparative Ontology and the Interpretation of ' K a r m a , ' " papeT presented at die Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy session on karma, Chicago, March 30, 1978, sn conjunction with the meeting of the Association for Asian Studies; and at the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, University of Wisconsin, \lilv. jukeo, April 15.1978. Revised

and published in the Indian Philosophical Quarterly, n.s. 6(January, 1979).



conclusions—Outside the context of his long and carefully reasoned a r g u m e n t — t o illuminate this particular point for us: Potter and Marriott are speaking on different levels. Marriott is developing a general conceptual model which applies to all existem entities in a sarrtsaric world. And in this world of qualification^ monism, where all existents .ire "dividual," existential transformations or transactions are possible or conceivable on all levels. But it is clear that dividual entities retain their identity through such transformations. Which specific constituent qualities (subStante-code) of an individual arc in fact transferred or transacted is open to differing interpretations. It is perfectly plausible for Yoga and Advsita to be analogically committed to the generic paradigm and nevertheless deny chat karmic residues are in fact transferred between different persons. But this does not mean that qualifications! transference (transaction of substance-code) in general muse be rejected, much less the rejection of the generic paradigm as a whole. On the contrary, both Yoga and Advaita are committed to the ontological features of the karma paradigm; to samsara, to transmigration, and to qualificationa; monism. . . . Again, if Yoga and Advaita are simply denying the specific case of karmic transference between persons, then the disagreement between Potter and Marriott is accommodated, indeed made possible, by the generic paradigm. For this paradigm in principle (and formally) allows for qualitative transference at all levels of existence. This makes it possible for a particular theory to deny that there is transfer of karma, while another Contrary rheory affirms this. . , . Such diversity at the level of specifies is to be expected and celebrated, rather than found problematic or to be explained away,3 We have, therefore, two different aspects o! a consistent ontology. The first element, the concept of transfer, seems very old in India, and very persistent, James M c D e r m o t t demonstrates that the idea of transferred karma continued t o plague the Buddhists, with whose canonical formulations it is demonstrably inconsistent, and he supports B. C. Law's suggestion that this idea was taken over f r o m the Brnhmanic sraddba rites. P. S. Jaini points out that the idea of transfer is even more repugnant t o the Jainas, who therefore adamantly refuse to allow it to influence their doctrine; the Jaina cosmology does not even allot any piace for the world of the ancestors (pitrs) to w h o m sraddba would be offered. Wilhelm Halbfass olfers evidence that the sraddba was a centra! target oi ridicule even among H i n d u s , an archaism, perhaps, that remained stubbornly in the way oi certain later developments. Further support for the sraddba as the basis of
J. G a n g a d e a n , p p . 3 0 - 3 1 . F u r t h e r c i t a t i o n s f r o m M a r r i o t t ' s article a p p e a r in Karl P o t t e r ' s and Gerald L a r s o n ' s articles in this v o l u m e .



the transactional karma model may be seen in some of the arguments presented in my essay in this volume. Finally, it is clear from material presented by Potter and Mitchell Weiss that food is the basic medium by which parental karma is transferred; the pinda offered to the ancestors is a primary' form of karma; might it not be the primary karmic transaction? If the transactional karma theory is indeed primary, and linked intimately with parental karma, it is surely significant that parental karma looms largest in non-philosophical, transaction-oriented contexts: in popular Buddhism (as reflected in certain theories described by M c D e r m o t t and Stablein), in Puranic Hinduism, and in the medical texts cited by Weiss and Stablein. Another reflection of the sraddha ritual in karma theory appears in the persistence of rice (the basic element of the sraddha offering of pinda) in the so-called non-transactional karma model: the grain of rice as the seed of causation (the heart of the karma problem), the Upanisadic suggestion that a man may be born as a grain of rice, the rice crop in the agricultural metaphor for karma cited by Potter, the likening of embryonic development to the separation of rice into sediment and water, and so forth. In contemporary Tamil thought, too, sexual union is likened to the hand of a mother feeding rice into a child's mouth, the woman opening as the child naturally opens his mouth, the man feeding seed as the mother feeds rice. 4 The metaphor works in the other direction, as well: the Tamils speak of ploughing as "mixing," a reference to the mixing of male and female to make a child; the paddy is an embryo that sprouts just as the human embryo " s p r o u t s " fingers and toes. The word pinda, which in Tamil as well as in Sanskrit (as we shall see) designates an embryo, is also used to refer to the paddy seed. T h e paddy plants are likened to children, cared for by women (after the men have ploughed and sown the seed); the harvest therefore produces considerable guilt. 5 The rice imagery raises several possible historical questions. If this is the earlier form of the theory of rebirth, why was rice chosen as the symbolic grain, rather than some other form of grain, such as wheat or barley? The prevalence of the rice imagery seems to exclude the
4. Margaret Trawick Egnor, "The Sacred Spell and Other Conceptions of Life in Tamil Culture," a dissertation submitted . . . for the degree of doctor of philosophy, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, March, 1978, p. 142. 5. Margaret Trawick Egnor, "The Symbolism of Paddy in Tamilnadu," paper presented at the Conference on Religion in South India at Martha's Vineyard, May 13, 1979.

Basham's thorough study of it. Though Jaini and M c D e r m o t t have shown that the idea of merit transfer is foreign (and repugnant) to these traditions. There was such constant interaction between Vedism and Bud6. it is a scholarly way of saying "somewhere else. Yet Jaini argues that the linear theory of samsara which is one component of the Jaina view comes from the Ajlvakas with their finite samsara. This brings us. even w h y the karma theory would arise among rice-growers rather than wheat-growers: rice is planted twice. for this was a wheatgrowing civilization. like that postulated for the ancient "tribals. rice is also harvested over and over in a year. . a non-ethical theory. L. moreover. first the seed and then the seedling that is replanted.. finally. and this is further substantiated by George Hart's argument that the Tamils did not believe in reincarnation at all until the Aryans came and that the karma theory reflects Buddhist and Jaina influence when it does appear in Tamil texts." Indeed. other elements of the karma theory may well have originated here. and it is easy to see why the rice imagery would be so persistent and. 6 This would lend support to Obeyesekere's theory of the primary role of tribal people in the karma theory. it is. among tribal peoples dwelling on the borderlands of South and Southeast Asia—tribes among whom an aboriginal idea of merit for the dead also occurs. rather than at a single harvest season. Personal communication f r o m Charles Keyes." O n c e again problems arise from the largely u n k n o w n nature of Ajlvaka thought. which may imply that they were the ones who first devoted their attention to certain aspects of that theory. By the third century A. hence it is a natural symbol for rebirth. despite A. the scholars who have examined each of the major traditions seek the source of the karma theory elsewhere. yet perhaps there is sufficient evidence to show that at least this one strand of the karma theory may be traced back to the Ajivakas.D.The rice evidence supports a tribal rather than an Indus Valley origin for the karma theory. the Jainas had by far the most copious karma literature. to the heterodox sources of the karma theory.INTRODUCTION Xlll Indus Valley as a source of the karma theory. To postulate an "Ajlvaka origin" or "Dravjdian origin" or "tribal origin" is to some extent a way of passing the buck away from the major religions which must be explained. perhaps. Rice was developed on the other side of the Gangctic plain.

the attempt t o distinguish various ancient influences is reduced to a logical problem: h o w many distinct factors can we differentiate in the karma theory? Looked at in this way. it would be better to picture the intellectual fountainhcad of ancient India as a watershed consisting oi many streams—each one an incalculably archaic source of contributing doctrines—Vedic. like Picasso and Braque (who were. O n e can. Dravidian. were Indo-Europeans par excellence. and that many Vedic doctrines continued to develop under Buddhist influence. To postulate sraddba as the " s o u r c e " ol transfer of merit in Buddhism is to ignore the stark chronological fact that the sraddba first appears in Grhya Sutras roughly contemporaneous with Buddhism. If we are forced to ignore chronology. after all. as well as in the minds of the scholars dealing with the material.XVill INTRODUCTION dhism in the early period that it is fruitless to attempt to sort out the earlier source ol many doctrines. or are we imposing a false logical model on a real historical system? Despite this caveat. of course. Jama. Ajivaka. and tribal. in contrast with the historical approach. To what extent these oppositions may be said to represent " i n d i g e n o u s conceptual schemes" and to what extent they are merely convenient fictions. it appears that none of us has been able to resist some sort of dialectic swipe at karma. after all. Rather than looking for one central "source" which was then embroidered by "secondary influences" like a river fed by tributary streams. find earlier traces of merit transfer in Vedic texts. shared period). Is nature mirroring art. w h o tend naturally to lapse into dialectic whenever faced with contradictions. but it is impossible to isolate them and fix them in time. Indo-Europeans. they lived in one another's pockets. but perhaps because there really are dialectic forces at work in the material itself. the ancient Indians. the various karma theories seem to be remarkably amenable ro a dialectic analysis—perhaps because all of the scholars looking at karma are. unable to say which of them had painted certain paintings f r o m their earlier. in later years. A summary of the major dialectic oppositions discussed in this volume appears in the accompanying . it is difficult to say. ways for us to explain karma to ourselves. Logical Oppositions in Theories of Karma This leads us back again to the logical or abstract approach to karma.

is not an integral part of a karmic eschatologv at all. on the karmic seesaw. the transfer is spiritualized: somehow. bhakti and the doctrines of the classical philosophical darsanas depart somewhat from Marriott's m o d e l — b u t in a consistent way. In Buddhism.) Similarly. or nirvana. as Obeyesekere has shown. (Indeed.il McDermott eternal ist existence of soul patent fatalistic fate non-material past reincarnation standpoint of dead keeping bo lindanes ethicized karma Buddhist o r j a i n a annihilationist denial of soul latent deed will karmic causation repen tance/exptatio n .INTRODUCTION X1K chart. which is difficult to fit into a conceptual graph of karma doctrine in any way. the more you have. bhakti emphasizing willing subordination and pessimal transactions. the darsanas emphasizing optimal transactions. empirical human action material present Hart rebirth in stones standpoint t>! living crossing boundaries Obeyesekere anwral rebirth Vedic or trib. however. as with love or cell division. McKim Marriott has distinguished paradigmatic approaches involving minimal transactions f r o m syntagmatic approaches involving maximal transactions. visualized as a thing — money or f o o d — i n a system of limited good: if one goes up. Similarly. fate karmic causation Weiss practical. and both of them exalt moksa. moksa. Some Basic Oppositions in Karma Theories O'Flaherty iraddha parental karma heaven reincarnation of the soul individual karma moksa Vedanta Long bhakti god man time. Another formulation of this doctrine appears when one realizes that karmic transfer in Hinduism is very materialistic. another must come down. McDermott sees a conflict between karma doctrine based on the existence of the soul (transactional) and Buddhist doctrine which is based on the non-existence of the soul. the more you give.

In this way. and the contrast between Vedic and Vedantic goals.XXIV INTRODUCTION Some Basic Oppositions in Karma Theories Stablein positive value of womb flesh body suffering contamination duality dull light entering the womb linear transactional Vedic pravrtti dharma physical cosmic cmpiricai karmic causation purusa consciousness freedom (kaivalya) hriga (continued) negative value of womb thought body awareness sunyata non-duality clear light fiuddhahood evolutionary philosophical Jaini Potter Vedanttc (Advaita. Karl Potter distinguishes basically between transactional and philosophical approaches to karma. dharma and moksa (central to almost all of our essays). dyads that recur in other essays in this v o | u m f j p r a y x t t i and nivrtti (which J. 1 of this I n t r o d u c t i o n . the physical and ethical . Wilhelm Halbfass then demonstrates the way in which other philosophical theories were able to incorporate the transactional model into the ""philosophical" mode! through the concept of omnipresent souls (useful also to Buddhist and Jaina thinkers). while noting other related dyads that can be built upon this opposition. Yogic) nivrtti moksa ethical Halbfass soteriological theoretical nort-karmic causation prakrti Larson awareness release and bondage bhaua Marriott"' diachronie transactions antecedent non-existence maximal transactions syntagmatii Buddhist synchronic transactions consequent non-existence minimal transactions paradigmatic Jaina *\From t h e articles cited in f n . Bruce Long sees as the underlying opposition of the diverse Mahabharata attitudes to karma).

Whether the karma theory is metaphysical or scientific or both (as one could well argue). Is the theory of karma purely formal. and therefore nor subject to empirical verification? O r . and N y a y a texts argue about memory of previous lives. Halbfass s^tesapurva as an escape clause. texts such as the Yoga Vasistba narrate tales involving material witnesses and physical proof of multiple lives. their scope of application merely changes. this is all the more true of metaphysical theories.INTRODUCTION X1K levels of karma. answering a Hindu need to establish a scientific basis of rebirth. . as Thomas Kuhn has demonstrated. Indeed. a far more elaborate example of this confrontation (perhaps because of a far more pervasive commitment to empiricism) appears in the medical 7. the karma theory itself is inspired (or at least invoked) precisely as a response to reversals of expectations on numerous occasions in the Mababharam. and raises again the point first illuminated by Karl Potter regarding the relevance of empirical evidence for the validation of a theory. This conflict may also be seen as an opposition between empirical and theoretical approaches to causation. such as the Western attempts to prove the existence of G o d . I am indebted to Allen Thrasher tor this reference. since it is off the chart). despite experimentation and growing eounterevidence.k a r m i c " or "natural" ideas of causation (a valid observation which cannot really be represented on a graph of karmic oppositions at ail. tO put it another way. Scientific and metaphysical paradigms never die. Halbfass states that reversals of expectations require that the theory be adjusted to fit the facts. a built-in foil against empirical evidence. 7 I'hc widening gap between theory and empirical evidence is highly relevant to the way in which many post-Vedantie or non-Vedantic Lhinkers dealt with the dialectics of karma. though Halbfass still sees a conflict between karmic and " n o n . indeed. as Bruce Long makes clear. from a paper on the Yoga VnsMha narratives that he presented at the December 1977 meeting of the American Academy of Religion. is the theory of karma a scientific theory or a metaphysical theory? Western scientific paradigms remain constant. until finally overthrown by overwhelming refutation. in San Francisco. are reconciled through the concepts of apurva and acirsta. it ought to be subject t o certain standards of verification and falsification—though it is likely to remain a viable theory even if faced with irrefutable counterevidenee. as well as the costnological and soteriological levels. which seem emotionally irrefutable.

Tibetan Buddhist soteriology emphasizes the ways in which karma may be altered by ritual. Stablein points out another. Epic. 1957). the problem of anatmari leads to elaborations of the karma theory. for ail its scars and patches. even more than in the H i n d u medical texts. to account for those occasions on which it does not work. karma is used not to invalidate a medical theory (with which it is clearly incompatible in some very basic ways) but rather to shore it up. Leon Fes ringer. though he is unwilling to say which is chronologically first. where it is contrasted with Buddhahood) and karma as the w o m b in the positive sense (in myth and ritual). /I Theory of Cognitive Dthsonance (Stanford. and Purana. and he shows h o w a shift from an emphasis on past karma to an emphasis on present karma leads to a shift f r o m abstract philosophy to practical empiricism.' it is almost certain to disagree with you sooner or later. as Mitchell Weiss's essay makes abundantly clear. j . it merely results in cognitive dissonance." the "sooner or later" perhaps corresponding to the karmic escape clause). related conflict which is relevant to many problems tackled by other essays in this volume. here. is expressed in a travesty of common sense reminiscent of Lewis Carrol] ("if you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison. 8 In Tibetan medical texts too.t r a n s a t t i o n I n d i a n thought. empirical attitude toward human enterprise. a psychologically useful theory is not discarded when its predictions fail to actualize. Thus. As Leon Festitiger suggests. discrete systems of karma m one Dharmasastra alone. Weiss demonstrates h o w the medical textbooks attempt to reconcile the fatalism of the indigenous concept of karma with a more practical. for example. there is a fairly clear logical development. empirical evidence is really not relevant after all.I NT R O D L ' C T J O N textbooks. the conflict between karma as the w o m b in the negative sense (in soterioiogy and philosophy. the latter f r o m Vedic and transactional levels. . L u d o Rocher isolates at least five different. Here again. The former may be derived from Vedantic. Moving f r o m philosophy and medicine to the realms of Dharrrcasastra. we encounter still more varied oppositions. as William Stablein demonstrates. H e sees an implicit conflict between the view of the atman (and hence of karma) as physical/materialist or as non-physical/non materialist. The conflict between inherited karma and fortuitous ingestion of poison. Bruce Long then points o u t that the Mahabharata introS. n 0 n . as Karl Potter points out. the theory Survives healthily in the face of all the facts.

The conflict may be viewed in terms of free will. according to karma. karma appears to mediate between responsibility and nonresponsibility: since the act regarded as the cause of present circumstances was committed by me. like a crime committed by someone temporarily insane or by someone who has subsequently developed amnesia. This shift of emphasis from active to passive responsibility is also manifest in the shift f r o m sin to evil: the karma theory may explain either why the actor acts as he does {why the thief steals. this . Here again.e. but Vedic or transactional in its belief that karma may be removed and that heaven is the reward for the devotee. why one sins) or why certain things are done to the actor (why the thief is caught. or daivam) are sometimes equated and sometimes explicitly contrasted. when karma is equated with either passively received fate (daivam) or actively pursued human action (purusakara). will and deed. the former is emphasized in Buddhist texts with their concern for the psychological genesis of sin. and one to be placed on the side of heaven-oriented Vedic views despite the theoretical emphasis on moksa that pervades the bhakti texts.. where previous sin (such as killing a Brahmin in a former life) is used as the starting point by which present evil (why the former Brahmin-killer now has leprosy) may be explained. we encounter further fascinating complications. myati. the forces of time and late appear in the Mahabharata as "non-karmic" elements (like the factors cited by Halbfass). he is not responsible. As is apparent f r o m the Puranic materials. achieved by means of the postulation of the further dichotomies between patent and latent action. but by me in a previous fife (i.INTRODUCTION XXIiJ duces bhakti as yet another alternative to the Vedantic view of karma. Perhaps bhakti could best he viewed as itself a mediation: Vedantic or philosophical in its belief that karma exists and that moksa is the highest desideratum. it is my fault and not my fault. karma may appear on one side of a dialectic or may function as a mediation between two sides. The contrast between active and passive karma appears in the medical texts. karma and fate {yidbi. When we turn to Buddhism and Jainism. with fate. McDermott describes a compromise between an eternalist and an annihilationist approach to the problem of human existence. and the latter occurs more often in Hindu texts. too. In other expressions of the theory. Like bhakti. surely a transactional alternative. why evil befalls the innocent). the individual is responsible for what happens to him. by a " m e " that I cannot know and for whom I cannot truly repent).

His emphasis on the powerful tension in Tamils between the need to build boundaries fas reflected in traditional caste ethics) and the need t o cross them (emphasized in the native system) is also strongly reminiscent of the interaction between transactional and lon-transactional models that interact in Sanskrit texts (and in the theories of Marriott and Potter).XXIV INTRODUCTION serves also to reconcile transmigration (a non -Buddhist theory based on the existence of the soul) with the Buddhist need to denv the existence of the soul. which one is really believed? Perhaps the most basic opposition of all is that between the assumptions held by philosophers and those held by hoi polloi. Jaini sees the jaina system as a reconciliation of yet another set of historical oppositions: a linear view of the life process and an evolutionary view. lip service is paid to karma. George H a r t points out an opposition that may well be present in other Indian systems. though. as L u d o Rocher made clear. one sees other syntheses taking place. between scholastic or sastraic ideas that are games and experiential folk attitudes that people use in their lives. but the emotional thrust of devotionalism negates the power of karma. expiation serves a similar function for H i n d u s . Jaini describes the manner in which several complexities of the jaina philosophy of karma (and complex it surely is) arise from the need to deny karmic transfer as well as to account for the presence of life in several of the elements used by other systems (Hindu and Buddhist) as inanimate vehicles for the karma of others. Among the Tamils. or used by those of higher status? When two theories conflict. The Indians themselves have developed highly . equally clearly. Clearly. H e further points out h o w repentance serves to negate karma. die most basic being m a t between an ancient Tamil view that the souls of the dead inhabit stones and a superimposed A r y a n view that the souls transmigrate. certain patterns of thought do emerge. as in so many of the systems under discussion. H e r e . and I seconded. one could not possibly reduce all of these concepts to " t h e " Indian theory of karma. though no one else seems to discuss it: a conflict between theories of afterlife composed from the standpoint of the living and those composed from the standpoint of the dead. Is there some way to construct a hierarchy of these various karma theories? Is there an indigenous measure to determine which text is more important? And important in what w a y — k n o w n by more people. the "inner logic" of one system may well be nonsense to the other.

often in competition and disagreement. For we too are actors. J u n e 9. . to explain how any group of Indoiogists will fight." The present collection of essays presents a variety of ideas about rebirth. indeed. 1977. f o r what makes Indian thought so fascinating is the constant rapprochement between opposed world views. they treat karma sometimes as a concept. sometimes they accept it.INTRODUCTION X1K sophisticated wavs of dealing with such differences of strata. hardly a true synthesis.A C L S Joint C o m m i t t e e on South Asia Seminar at the University of Chicago. " T h e Tool-box Approach of die Tamil to the Issues of Karma. one mediation giving rise to another. endlessly. See Sheryl Daniel. This volume might serve as a model of diversity to explain h o w any group of South Asians will fight (as Marriott has put i t ) — a n d . sometimes as a theory. Moral Responsibility. and H u m a n Destiny. but a cross-fertilization that seems to have no end. sometimes as a model." paper presented at the S S R C . but always in dialogue. each result becoming a new cause. and how can we tell the dancers f r o m the dance? 9. like karma itself. for thev do not hold assumptions in the same w a y on different levels. and sometimes they challenge it.

Part I. Hinduism and Its Roots .

unsophisticated Vedic desire to prevent the dissolution of an after-life for the deceased" may have prevailed. i shall use the term "merit transfer" to indicate the process by which one living creature willingly or accidentally gives to another a non-physical quality of his o w n . Rnipe has raised a number of points relevant to the question of the origin of the theory of karma. in which " t h e simpler. (Throughout this paper. Moreover.1 Karma and Rebirth in the Vedas and Puranas • WENDY DONIGER O 1 FLAHERTY T h e Vedic Background The theory of rebirth does not appear in the Vedas. a talent. not to move 3 . but the theory of r e-deatb appears at a very early stage indeed. or a p o w e r — o f t e n in exchange for a negative quality given by the recipient. H e suggests that even the earliest recorded forms of these rites may reflect yet an older level.) [n his analysis of the sraddha and sapindikarana rites. David M. It may be that ancient Indian ideas about death predate and indeed predetermine the later theory of birth. giving strong grounds f o r postulating Vedic origins of the karma theory. such as a virtue. the need to provide ritual f o o d for the deceased ancestors would then be based on the desire to keep them there in some sort of heaven. the idea of karma in its broader sense (including the concept of merit transfer) may well have preceded the idea of rebirth. credit f o r a religious achievement.

see Meena k n u s h i k . is destroyed by the birth of a son and the consequent ties to the world of iamsara. a man should 1. " in Contribu- tions to Indian Sociology. F o r a n o t h e r analysis oipmdA-dana as a symbolic recreation of the body. contradictions.24. pp. . Insights from the History and An- thropology of Religions. physical immortality. "You create progeny and that's your immortality. That these two goals are often equated is evident from the oft-quoted maxim.9. " pp. The Twiee-Borti ( B l o o m i n g t o n . " T h e Symbolic Representation ot D e a t h . w h o quoted the maxim defining a son as one who saves his father from hell (punftima-narak at travate tat putr) and explained it thus: " W h e n a man dies without a son he cannot attain nirvana or nmkhti [l/c]. 2>6-24. the desire to prevent them from suffering "repeated death ( p u n a r m r t y u ) " 1 This ambivalence in the very earliest texts may account for a number of the persistent paradoxes. Knipe's observation regarding the motivation underlying the Vedic funeral rites indicates that the tension is built in from the very beginning. J977). 222.!. 76-77.4 WFNm D O N I G H R O ' l LAHKRTY them on (as is the overt reason). . ill 124 ot Religious Encounters with Death. spiritual immortality.1. It is often specificallv related to the question of rebirth : one kind of immortality ("above the navel"). after his death there is no one to perform the funeral rites and f o r lack oi these rites he can't get nirvana"3 According to the: classical texts. O mortal/* 2 That they are actually confused is evident from the statement of one of Carstairs' informants. the other kind of immortality ("below the navel"). Because when he has no son. a simple tension between the desire to prevent rebirth and the desire to assure rebirth. 195S}. the son is necessary to assure that his father will be able to get another body. . Indiana. see Wendy D o n i g e r O T I a h e r t y . n. and inconsistencies in the various karma theories—paradoxical statements about whether karma can or cannot be overruled. . to be sure of b e i n g f r e e d from the body forever. 112. as interpreted bv the priests specializing in death rituals. Apast&mha DharmdsHtra 2. p. 2. David M. This ambivalence appears in many forms of Puranic Hinduism and is usually referred to as the tension between moksa and dharma or between Vedic and Upanisadic/Vedantic world views. Ascetuism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva (Oxlord. 1C (1976). p. Ms Carstairs. k n i p e . Waugb (Pennsylvania Siate University Press. 1973 ]. edited by F r a n k R e y n o l d s and F a d e H . contradictory statements about the interaction oi fate and human effort.s. G . and inconsistencies between various statements regarding the actual physical mechanism by which karma is transferred from one life to the next. "Sapindlkarana: T h e H i n d u Kite ot iintrv into H e a v e n . is assured by the birth of a son to perform sraddha rites. 3.

! 5. . 4 After citing various authorities for this process. 123. ft m a y well be the case. 5 Numerous peculiarities in the classical karma doctrine begin to make good sense when viewed as developments or inversions of the process of death and the view of afterlife implicit in the sraddha ritual. But this Hindu confuses the two. As Knipe describes the ritual. in his view.(or even and-) Upanisadic: it advocates thessiraddha in order to achieve rebirth. instead of stagnating forever in hell. on the tenth day of the offerings. a m o n g the s^mskaras ( V e d i c . Knipe remarks: Incidentally. each day of the riies results in a n e w p o r t i o n of the prcta's intermediate body. then. sesame. and. t h e p r c t a receives digestive p o w e r s so that the sufferings of h u n g e r and thirst n o w experienced by the " b o d y of n o u r i s h m e n t " d u l y created m a y be allayed by Continued offerings of pmdas and w a t e r f r o m the living. the sraddha saves the dead man from rebirth—perhaps by assuring that he will be reborn at least once in order to hnd his way to ultimate release. ten being a h o m o l o g y to the h u m a n gestation p e r i o d of ten (lunar) m o n t h s . More specifically.H i n d u rites of passage). then in succession the neck and shoulders. The Puranic attitude toward karma is basically Vedic. that the c o m p l e t i o n of the t e m p o r a r y b o d y o n the tenth day is an intentional rebirth e x p r e s s i o n . .c r e m a t i o n iraddhas and the rites at b i r t h (jatakarman). ritualistic view. it is interesting to note how precisely the death rituals foreshadow the model later set forth for the creation of the embryo. f o l l o w i n g the day of birth/death there are ten days of offerings of rice. p. probably equating the " t r a p " of samsara with the trap of the limbo to which the man without descendants is condemned. 6. Ibid... it is remarkable t o note the parallel structures of these p o s t . Most recently in their article on "Caste Systems" in the Et£0clopedia vol. etc.. In each case. together from an assumption of the primacy of death is a genuinely Brahmanie. 6 the initial unity of the model for the two processes. and non. C. pp. But enough Vedantic influence filters through to allow popular texts to equate the Vedic and Vedantic goals. That it can all be put. the head being created on the first day. all the karma texts on rebirth begin with death and then proceed to describe birth. Britannica% . Knipe. This view complements what McKim Marriott and Ronald Inden have been demonstrating in recent papers. . IS. that birth is the central symbol of Hinduism. however one prefers to grab hold oi it for a logical 4. 9S3 ff. p. f n . the genitals.KARMA AND REBIRTH IN TH lr VEDAS AND PL RAN AS have no son.

Satapatba Brabntana. Androgynes. Women.1.1. 8 The pinda is thus a food strongly symbolic of the commingled substances of human procreation. as in the horse-sacrifice. it is offered to the dead ancestors in limbo as a transitional food mediating between death and rebirth. 7 It is surely significant that in the pinda offering this seed is mixed with milk (the female creative fluid) and butter (which mediates between the female fluid from which it is derived and the male fluid into which it is symbolically transmuted by churning and distillation). and Other Mythical Beasts (Chicago. and honey. this mixture is repeated in the consecrated caru of rice boiled with milk and butter that is given to women to ensure conception (preferably of a male child). this very ceremony is directly connected with the pinda offerings: St is stated in the Grihya Sutra that during the ancestor-propitiation rituals die pinda offered to the grandfather of the householder should be eaten by his (householder's) wife if she is desirous of a son. pp.6 WENDY DO NIGER O'FLAHERTY beginning. 1964). 1977). O n e linguistic clue to the manner in which the Vedic sraddha system leads to the post-Vedic karma/rebirth model is the development of the word pinda. but generally it is not so. In some myths. where it appears in conjunction with other seed symbols (ghee and gold). This is explicit in some of the earliest texts dealing with impregnation by eating the offering of rice and milk: Aditi wished to have offspring. 9. milk. just as a woman w h o wishes to become pregnant may eat the remainder (the prasada) of the offerings to the gods. Structure And Cognition: Aspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual (Delhi. makes it possible to derive either one by rearranging the parts of the other. this is the case.'' It might be inferred that the very same substance eaten (invisibly) by the ancestors is simultaneously (visibly) eaten by the wife. and that the embryo that she conceives is in fact the new body of the deceased ancestor. 13. cited bv Veena Das. f o r what she eats is the remainder {ucchista) of the offering to the ancestors. and birth is the egg. and so she cooked a Brahmin's rice-offering to the Sadhya gods. Moreover. Indeed. When they gave the remains to her. 2 of Wendy Doniger O'FUherty. It is a chicken and-egg problem: sraddha is the chicken. butter. "Sexual Fluids in Vedic and Post-Vedic India. 101-102. as we shall see. 1980). Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series % (Benares. N o w . Grhya Sutras. 8." The pinda is a ball of cooked rice mixed with other ingredients such as sesame seeds. . she ate it and became 7.1—4." chap. this ball of ricc is often explicitly said to be symbolic of (a ball of) seed.

37C. she ate first. 1957) 369. Agni fttrana (Anandasrama Sanskrit Series 41. " especially in Susruta.31-J2. one of his two wives ate it and the second wife had intercourse with her in the manner of a man. H e r e we may merely note that what the woman eats is the same substance as what the gods (or ancestors) eat. while the female is called pesi. giving birth to the four Adityas.11-14. Then she cooked a second riceoffering. The woman's pregnancy is like the ancestors' rebirth.Satapatha Brahmaqa 3. critical edition (Poona.3-5 for another version of Adiri's miscarriage. A Puranic myth with strange Vedic resonances plays upon the unconscious correspondence between the ciirit given to the wife and th c pinda given to the ancestors: A childless king was given a consecrated earn of rice boiled with milk and butter to give to his wife.1. 1 2 The lack of male (not female) agency is deplored.ya. 12. as the modern Indian editor remarks on the abnormality of the child in the myth cited above.1. in traditional Hindu thought.she ate before the gods. it is not a part of that rebirth. like the lump that GandharT brings forth and that is later 10. edited by A soke Ghatterjee Sastri (All-India Kashiraj Trust. The Svargakhanda of the Padma Pfiyana.tu Sambita 1.11 The male/female elements of procreation are ingested. Mahabharata. 10 We will encounter other instances of the "miscarriage" of a pregnancy as a result of the eating of the rice offering in the wrong way. indeed.5.16-17. since there is no physiological involvement of the father (who is the one believed responsible for the formation of the bones.293. a ball of boneless flesh — the very word that is commonly used to designate the unshaped embryo in Hindu medical texts. 11. "This is the natural consequence of the mating of females.KARMA AND REBIRTH JN THfc V £DAS AND PUR A N AS 7 pregnant. 12. 4. 3972). but the child "born without male semen" tacked bones and was a mere ball [pinda) of flesh. The older wife became pregnant and give birth to a son." The abnormal child is a mere pinda.6. 1933-1960). and gave birth to an egg that miscarried. pinda is often used to refer to the male embryo. for unilateral creation by men is widely accepted in the mythology. but the child is abnormal..9. Susruta explicitly states that a child born as the result ol the mating of two females will lack bones). Cf. 16. " l u m p . instead of merely eating the remains. 19-20. TaitfirJya $a>nhitk 6. Maitra. More precisely. Vararlasi. and thinking that her children would be stronger if .2. but not actually the same portion of that substance. (Pesi may also describe the unformed embryo in a miscarriage.6. became pregnant. Poona. .

flesh.7. 1. the pes! of the intermediary stage). Karma is said to enter the body through the seed (cither the semen at the beginning of the process or. marrow. Skanda Purina (Bombay. a necessary vehicle tor the true creative force passing f r o m son to father) comes to mean the unshaped embryo. then of a lump {pest) which is identified with semen. may also represent male genitals. The text adds. 1 1 1 . is brought forth as a lump and then shaped into anthropomorphic f o r m . pinda may refer to the w o m b . .107 tor Gandhi ri. to the human f o r m — o f which the embrvo is the essential aspect. The first stage of the embryo is a dot (bindu ) between semen and blood. . I am indebted to Charles O r z e c h for this passage. then of a bubble called a pinda.17-19. (called pindas) to support hiigas. ) 1 3 Like the more common term for embryo (g arbha). 11. The H o k u s e i d o Press.1. so. the sun. it then takes the shape of urine. Thus a word whose primary meaning is seed-food for the dead ancestors (the milk element being regarded as subservient.3 for \lartan<j[a.20-22. by extension. The Sanivarodaya Tantra. Martanda. and finally the body which develops from seed. or.8 WENDY D O NIGER OTL.14-29. "ball-eggs" (dual). This metaphorical proccss is an exact parallel to the process by which the new body of the ancestor in the sraddha ritual is imagined to develop like an embryo. Satapathu Brahmana 3.1.3. A final.14 And pinda. that the aggregate of physical qualities (skin. the (globular) form of the body.1.8. and tendon. the w o m b that receives the embryo and the testicles that contain seed. too. But the term pinda is most significantly applied to the body in general. then of a mass (gbana) identified with menstrual blood. 14. variation on the theme of pinda appears in a Sanskrit and Tibetan T a n t r a . Mahabharata 1. by virtue of its shape. and embryo. less likely. l^f. and finally it takes the form of flesh. Hhuspinda in this text is contrasted with both semen and menstrual blood but used to designate the final product of the embryo resulting f r o m the combination of male and female elements. as in a myth in which Visnu and several women take the form of yonis. s Here the adept uses a meditation on the process of creation of the embryo as an explicit metaphor for his own "creation" of the visualized image of the deity with which he will identify himself. especially of horses. and highly significant. made out of ingested food transformed into seed. and semen from the father) is called pinda. refers to the testicles. 1974). 1.7) LI. Selected Chapters [text and iranstariijn by] Shinichi Tsuda (Tokyo. w o m b . however. pindSndau. and blood from the mother.AHLRTY divided into a hundred sons and a single female.

" T y p e s of Sexual U n i o n and T h e i r Implicit Meanings. to change it into immortality through the secret ritual. at the conference o n " R a d h a and the Divine C o n s o r t . 1978.1. 17—19. p p . as w e have seen. the Jamas refused 10 itidulge in sraddha ceremonies because they would not accept the illogical idea that one person's merit affects a n o t h e r — a basic component of the karma doctrine. and inverted. . the male and female participants take in their left hands balls of food (mixed with the four Tantrie " m " s j called ptndas. The metaphor of food in the world of the dead appears throughout the karma-vipaka literature in descriptions of punishments for bad deeds: sinners are forced to eat disgusting food in hell. Jainism provides a useful negative example to pinpoint the historical development from sraddba to karma. it is in itself precisely a metaphor for such seed transmuted into food — a transmutation which is symbolically valid (and which often occurs in myths. in Sanskrit ( O n y a script). As P. thus the pinda is replaced by literal human seed — though. It is worthy of note that the "cognitive assumption" underlying normal birth processes only becomes explicit in an abnormal circumstance.KARMA A N D R E B I R T H JN THfc V £ D A S A N D P U R A N AS 9 Another striking example of the manner in which the funeral pinda has been adapted. and they eat them in an action referred to as tarpana ("satisfaction. This inversion is introduced not in order to change re-death into re-birth but in order to reverse death altogether.' 7 paper presented at H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y ' s C e n t e r f o r World Religions.!i In this ceremony." the term also used to refer to the offerings oi pin das to the ancestors). Frederique Apffel Marglin. o w n e d and translated. Jaini points out. with commentary. A similar insight into normality through the distorted lens of abnormality may be gleaned from the Dharmasastra prohibition against fellatio: " H e who performs sexual intercourse in the mouth of his wife causes his ancestors to eat his seed for a m o n t h . by [be ritual specialist in Puri w h o perf o r m s this w o r s h i p . 17. " on J u n e 17. Bombay. Based on ati unpublished manuscript entitled Syimapitja Bulhi. S.2. " ' 7 The sexual act which diverts human seed from performing its essential dharmic function of procreation is regarded as reversing its normal direction. and KJ. into a sexual ritual appears in a Tantr'icpk]'a to the Goddess Ka!]. where women swallow seed to become pregnant) but which is explicitly denied as a permissible human practice in the Dharmasastras. . Vasistbadharmasastrd (Bombay Sanskrit Series 23. At this point. as in the case of the exclusion of the father (and the substitution of a second mother) from the utilization of the milk-rice earn. traveling back to feed the previous generation instead of forward to feed the coming generation. 1883} 12.

B. 10. For the descendants gave their ancestors part of their own religious merit (including the merit of having performed the sraddha !) along with the ball of seed-rice. a code-substance. 1904. found the sraddha hard to swallow: "If the sraddha produces gratification to beings who are dead. Transfer of Merit in Vedic Texts The concept of transferred merit in its broadest sense may be traced back even behind the sraddha ritual. 1858). 19. The Carviikas. it is needless to give provisions for the journey [because people at home could eat and satisfy the travelers' hunger]. translated bv £ . chap 1. C o w e l l ( L o n d o n . but more. Calcutta. p. The Buddhists adhered more closely to the Vedic model. or even before. Sarvadarianasaniiraha of \l. p. 1 think.1 It is at this point that the idea of transfer (originally of food. too.C. perhaps (as Jaini suggests) because they are too fastidious to go into the gorv details.ulhava (Bibliotheea Indica. the Buddhists and Upanisadic thinkers were developing theirs—at least as early as the time of the Buddha. It is no longer the case. because all other Indian explanations of rebirth are based on a ritual image of food transfer and an underlying concept of merit transfer which the Jainas reject. in Marriott's terminology) must have been introduced. 114. As Knipe points out.R : \ one with strong Vedic roots. but soon after of a combination of food and merit. too. In order to negotiate that passage he must have a proper body (or series of bodies) and regular nourishment. that a complete new body awaits the deceased in heaven. to pass from the d a n g e r o u s eondition of a disembodied spirit ( prcta ). as it was in Rgvedic eschatology. 4th ed.LO WENDY DONIGER O'FLAHI. the sixth century B. . then here. Knipe. rejecting sraddha but developing the idea of merit transfer far more strongly than the H i n d u s ever did themselves. in the case of travellers when they start. He requires exact assistance of the l i v i n g in order to emigrate !rom this world to that higher one. The jainas cannot explain the process of birth and rebirth at all.11. when rebirth in heaven was no longer a process that the individual could accomplish alone. roots that might already have sparked off a challenge among the early jainas. These various doctrines of karma may then have evolved at the point in history when the Jainas either anticipated or split off from the rest of Indian tradition. to the seen re role o f p i t r among his own pitarah." 1 8 Jainism may well have developed this distinctive non-Vedic eschatology at the same time as. this enabled the preta to move " u p " iii.).

sacrifices. Thus the sraddha represents an exchange of food and merit flowing in both directions: food to the preta (in the form of pinda) and to the unborn descendant (in the form of embryonic substance). and he is encouraged to speak a verse guaranteed to "take a w a y " (and transfer to himself? the text does not say) the breath.i.3 and 6. as the code-substance that transfers power (with which the semen is explicitly equated in diis text) f r o m a man to a woman or from a woman to a in an. An even earlier. though the word for "good deeds" and " m e r i t " here is sukrtam. . sons. A vols. 21. the de-emphasis on the role of the parents. H a n Raghtinath fthagavan. Knipe. and again an instance in which seed functions like karma. Usas.4. 1927) 6. wearing away his life-span as a cunning gambler carries oft the stakes. Rg Veda with the commentary of Sayana. is said to cause the mortal to age. again a reversal of the natural order. Between / take his o w n c» these two passages occurs a third in which seed is transferred from the woman to the man. Various forces that act very much like karma are transferred between sexual partners in the Brbadaranyaka Upanisad. (London. 1890-92). the unity of context clearly implies that the man will transfer to himself the lover's good deeds even as a woman may good deeds f r o m him. The first assistants that the dead man required were his male children. 22.4. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad (in Upanisads. to ihe mutual benefit of the preta (who could now get on with the task of rebirth) and the living descendant (would could no longer be haunted by the preta). Personal communication from David M. 2 1 A kind of merit transfer occurs in the Atbarva Veda ritual involving food in the form of ucchista. with the commentary of Sankar.KARMA A N D R l . as well as merit to the preta (accruing from the ritual) and to the descendant (from the same ritual). " G o o d deeds" are said to be taken from a man by his female partner if he has intercourse without knowing the proper mantra.92. 2 2 20. reference to a similar transfer may be seen in the Rg Vedic verse in which the goddess of dawn.DAS A N D P L ' R A N A S out of limbo. ed. P o o n a . only later was it believed that his parents also played a role in his rebirth. described as a seductive dancing-girl.12.10. 1. cattle. a ritual which may be the source of the sraddha offering. and good deeds of his wife's lover. B I R T H IN T H E VF. Thus the primacy of the Vedic model explains another puzzling aspect of the karma doctrine. not karma. so that the man will die "impotent and without merit." 2 0 Surely this is the beginning of the idea oi transfer of karma through sexual contact. though more problematic.

or coded substance.: The Vedit Ritual of the Fire Altar.W E N D Y D O N I G J i R. Agn. .4. Prasada in this sense is a recycling of powers. .1. no. J. the formula pronounced by the Yajamana at the lime of the oblation. 80-95. 26. pp. "Vratya and Sacrifice. The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (University of California Press. ecologically ethical exchange. Yet another aspect of merit transfer in the Vedic context has been suggested by Frits Staal: In all srauta rituals there are three basic elements: dravyam. J.' pp. S9-93. consecrated by the priest (the mediator). 1977). and analogously for the other deities). cf. I (1962): 1-37. C. edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (South Asia Books. Frits Staal. t o o : a dying father bequeaths his karma (among other things) to his sol). . and th e prasada is a form of power granted to the worshipper in return. or to a rival. 2 * The pinda of the embryo is an inversion of this transfer: the 23. C. 1980). T h e pinda offering is a simultaneous transfer of flesh and merit. and is advocated as the highest goal of life. pp. and tyaga. substance-code. Increasingly. The Agmcayatu Ritual (Berkeley. The tyaga formulas.TY Transfer of merit occurs in other Vedic rituals as well. 2 4 a rare hut perhaps significant instance of the transfer f r o m parent to child rather than (as in the Vedic ritual) trom child to parent. 137 and 141. The term was to have a great future in Hinduism. . Chandogya Upanitad 4. 1976). in which a gift is made to the god (transferring the worshipper's devotion to the god). 25. Cf. are of the form: "This is for Agnt. Heesterman has suggested that the sacrificer's evil was transferred t o his guest. Kaufttaki Upmisad 2. For Marriott's theory of code and substance. 24. or even to the officiating priest. 2 3 Instances of karma transfer occur in the Upanisads. nor for me" (agnaye idam na mama. Part I. the deity to whom the oblation is offered. devaui.15. In the Bbagavad GTtd. like the offerings to d e m o n s or the prasada offerings to malevolent gods. O'Flaherty (1976).-''* A similar ritual process may be seen in the institution of prasada in later Hinduism." in The Concept of Duty in South ^iia. This transfer is a practical. to give him the power to act. the offering is a food (the usual medium of merit transfer) given to the god to keep him "alive" in limbo. like a p r e t a . "Veda and Dharma. tyaga means abandoning and renouncing the fruits of all activity.Heesterman. uttered by the Yajamana. tyiga is seen as the essence of sacrifice." in Indo-lrartian Journal 6. by which he renounces the benefits or fruits of the ritual in favor of the deity. the substance of the oblation. see the introduction to this volume. O ' F L A H I K. to appease potentially angry or harmful ancestors. Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty. and then given back to the worshipper with added merit upon it (transferring the god's grace to the worshipper).

The Hindus and Buddhists were now forced to postulate a series of mediating elements to connect the body (given by the parents) with its karma (given. The householder (grbastba) is thus precariously balanced in the middle. In these various ways. it was superimposed upon the old system without superseding it. while the narrator in a tight spot hastily conjures up a previous incarnation to explain an otherwise awkward . Vedic ritual established the basic ground rules by which the Puranas were to play the karma game—and furnished several jokers for the classical deck with which it was to be played. Hence. supporting the male line of the past (his pinda -Consuming ancestors) and of the future (the sons who. to mediate between spirit and matter—disunited in the interim between death and birth. from the previous life). the substance is split off from the code. the narrative passages and in particular the glorifications of shrines and pilgrimage seem bent upon the very opposite goal: to show in how very many ways the workings of karma may be overcome. Although the Dharinasastra passages rejoice in long lists of hideous tortures inevitable for various sinners. the need for wind and breath. but the merit is attributed to the soul's previous existence(s). and though characters in tight spots often blame fate or karma. When the theorv of transmigration came to be accepted in India (whatever its source). hence all the bboga bodies and Gandhabbas and so forth. he hopes. Though the functions of karma and the mechanisms of rebirth are discussed at great length. too. the parents are said to retain their role in providing the substance. Karma in the Puranas The doctrine of karma is a straw man in the Puranas: it is set up in order to be knocked down. in one process. now that these had been split apart. w i t h specific causal l i n k s between karmic deeds and f r u i t s . At this point. thus the substance-code of karma mediates between two different. in the classical medical and philosophical texts. or reversed. or karma (as is clear from the mythological tests). and about to be reunited once again during the life-cycle after birth. will feed Aim after death. to mediate between fire and water in the interim between death and birth. contradictory theories. upset.KARMA AND REBIRTH JN THfc V £ DAS AND PUR A N AS 3 parents give the child both his substance (as is stated by the medical texts) and his merit. and whom he must nourish with his own bodily substance before their birth). so prominent in the descriptions of the birth process.

Poena. 374.31. Samba Parana (Bombay. Warkandeya Pimm a (with commentary. "The Origin and Development of the Doctrine of Transmigration in the Sanskrit Literature of the Hindus. . Mrs. Studies in the Upapuranas. di ssertation. 1973) 4. 229.2. where it is clearly manifest in the interactions between persons living or dead. Ph. 2. IS9Q) 14. University (it Bombay. 5. Skanda Parana 1. Hazra.51-52. 1893) 395-212. from Sartre.30. or the ripening of karma. Niirada Parana 1. sad tale that we know from Dante. p. Padma Parana (Calcutta.>4 V h N D Y DONIGr !< O'FLAHERTY twist of the plot or inconsistency of character. 1935) 2.JO. 1897) 10!. which are solemnly guaranteed to throw a monkey wrench in the karmie machine. 1964). Pin Jit. the basic hydraulic analogy implicit in the karma doctrine—the reifkation of mora! qualities into a transferable substance-—-is an assumption basic to the workings of Puranic mythology. Volume lb iakta and Sectarian Upapararias (Calcutta Sanskrit College Research Series 22.49-51. whatever it is. BbagdVata Parana with the commentary of SrTdhara (Rom bay. 1954) 216-217.6. 102. Brahmanda Parana (Delhi. l%Kj 12. J%3b p. cited by S. from Joyce.D. 1942) S4. Bombay. also Uttara Khanda 46-47. Varaha Parana (Calcutta. and it explains how people get to hell by committing sins. These passages simply use karma 27. These passages usually say nothing about the mechanism by which the sinner comes to hell or (he mechanism by which he is released. Garada Parana (Benares. 1972) 2. -. though some of the fiendish tortures display an Oriental ingenuity in making the punishment fit the crime. it is the old. C. as well as in the transition of an individual from one Me to another.There is nothing particularly Indian abour this set piece. Brahmavaivarta Parana (Anaadasrama Sanskrit Series. however. Kamawala. Calcutta.15-16. Visnu Parana with the commentary of Sndhara (Calcutta.32. -. there are stories in the Puranas that suggest the idea of evolutionary rebirth. Cultural History from the \1atsya Parana (Baroda. but it is worth noting that even here almost every chapter on hell is followed by a chapter on expiations. Brahma Parana (Calcutta. 1969) 104. 3957. -.245. Agm Parana 370.237. Vdmana Puran a (Varanasi.243. G. from our own nightmares. the major thrust of the texts is to exhort the worshipper to undertake remedial actions in order to swim like a salmon upstream against the current of karma. it is usually placed m the context of the cosmological description of the hells. p. viz. a system of reward tor the good acts and retribution of evil acts of an individual.15. 2S. Vayu Parana (Bombay. cited by R."27 On a deeper level. A set piece occurs in most of the early Puranas and is known as karma-vipaka. Rindu C. The contradictory and refractory nature of the Puranas has often been noted in this regard: "As against the most common interpretation of the doctrine of transmigration. Bbavisyotlara Parana 4. 16S. 1958) 1. JS32) 3.

Ibid.10. son or 29. so how could men understand it?"-™ Undaunted by this rhetorical question.94. "Who is the companion of a dying man.34.21. The sadness of death and the inability to accept it as final (sentiments which must lie very near the heart of the spirit that created the karma doctrine) are clearly reflected in several discussions of dying: The sages asked Vvasa.2-7. "Alone he is born.2).1-48. The course of karma in a breathing creature tied to a body is deep and mysterious.33 The content of these passages has been well summarized and discussed on several occasions. they tell us nothing about karma other than the fact that one's deeds in this life pursue one after death. One such chapter. Stxual Life in Anavrit India {New York. brother. the texts merely present the major theories of the classical darsanas at the Reader's Digest level characteristic of philosophical discourse in the Pur anas.10. who inflows him?" The sage Vyasa replied. Elsewhere it is said. some of the later Puranas go into considerable detail on the mechanism and function of karma. . emphasizing its inevitability.IilRTH IN THE VEDAS AND PUR ANAS ! ^ as a club with which to beat the listener into a suitably contrite frame of mind. 30.5-7: 4. called "The Glorification of Karma" {karma-rnabatmya-kathanam).29 explains that karma Is the cause of everything that happens in the universe. 1.19-28. Rtdma Parana 2. and goes into the world beyond. Devibbagavaia Parana (with commentary. hard even for the gods to comprehend. I960) 6. . The Process of Death Some Puranas discuss the processes of death and birth in great detail. 6. 359— 369. . 6. his father or mother or son or teacher. -Ala. in true Indian fashion. and alone he dies. a procedure which this essay will mimic. "The seers proclaim the karma process to be the very pedestal of the Pu ran as {purana-plthd).. -.20-30: 4.-12 for the most part.8-20. mother. 1930). Joiiann Jakob Meyer. 31. without the companionship of father. i e n i r e i . cf. pp. 4. 32.11. his crowd of friends and relations? When he leaves the body that has been his house as if it were a house of wood or mud. they begin with death and then proceed to birth. alone he crosses the dangerous thresholds. .KARMA AND KF.22a.2. The weapon thus constructed by the "ripening of karma" chapters is then reinforced by equally formulaic phrases and paragraphs stressing the inexorable nature of karma.

see also Knipe. It is not burnt or broken. Hrahma Parana 217. it is identical with the Ithga-sarira and is also called the 36 ativahika (or ativahika) body. together with them. or even by a fall from a very high place. 2. and the self (atmanj— these are the witnesses that watch constantly over the dharma of creatures that breathe on earth. When he leaves the dead body. nor by very sharp thorns or heated iron or stone. pp. citing P. . and another body to experience it in. dbarma alone follows him. however. which seek to distinguish between this material component of the human being and the immortal jiva: Earth. but if he has adharma he goes to hell.2 6 6 . This involves the world of thepreras. 2 6 5 . wind." The karmic chain does not end with the ativMhika body. t o r f u r t h e r references to the Puranas. light. but the karma he has done goes with him. . Markandeya Puraqa tO0b-5Q. 36.b-U. Garuda Parana. is the carrier of the karmic deposit. Visnudharrnottara Parana (Bombay. 371. The jiva has the form of a man the size of a thumb. flesh. Uttara Khanda. 6 3 b . When he leaves the body. a fid D l k s h i n a Ranjan Shasrn. water. 58 ff. mind. 1963). 21*2333.27—52. dbarma follows the jiva. without his crowd of friends and relations. IV ( P o o n a . the body "swifter than wind. . fire. n o date) 116. it is not destroyed in water. wind. Garuda Parana. . That subtle body does not turn to ashes even in the blazing fire in hell. History of Dharma&Strd.1-12. semen and blood leave the body when it is lifeless. and then lac turns his face away and departs. or by the embrace of a heated image [a common torture in hell]. St. bone. even after a long time. . Origin arid Development of the Rituals of Ancestor Worship in India (Calcutta. 2. This subtle body. it he has dbarma he goes to heaven. Kane. The body is burnt by fire. space. here called the jiva.i 6 WENDY DONIGER O'FLAHERTY teacher.the fruits of karma]."34 The five elements mentioned by Vyasa and coupled with three levels of cognition are more fully expounded in other texts. sky. Brahmavaivarta Puratla 232. but dharma follows him.7 2 . Uttara ffhanda. intelligence. nor by weapons. it is therefore not surprising that they 33. whom we have already encountered as central figures in the Vedic antecedents of the karma theory. but the33 jiva that has dharma prospers happily in this world and the world beyond/' Another version of this text rings a few minor changes: "His relatives turn away and depart.. Skin. 19. 35. V. 34.113-114. this subtle body is taken on in order to experience . 1953). and water— these are the seed of the body of all who have bodies. Agttt Parana 369. several texts posit yet another stage of development.1-lG. Earth. for a brief moment he weeps. The body made of thesefiveelements is an artificial and impermanent thing which turns to ashes.1-10.22-25. swords or missiles..

the very embodiment of kartnic ambivalence. then he is cast down. and when that body has been vaEi-n hi. Visnudbannottara Parana 2. if (only a little) merit remains. pp. literally hanging between life and death. and 38. and having experienced the evil he then experiences heaven afterwards. Asceticism Eroticism in the Mythology of Sivai (Oxford University Press. have added yet another body — the experience body. he tails from heaven. then he abandons that body and assumes a preta body and goes to the preta world for a year. and when Only a little karma remains. (In the first instance). and they go on to split the experience body itself into two: There are two forms of experience body. " Vimudbarmottara Purana 2. 39 N o t content with the preta b o d y mediation of the mediation. OTUherty (1976). Agm Parana 369.1-25. The duty of the living to offer oblations to the preta ancestors is a subject of major interest to the Brahmin authors of our texts. A man cannot be released from his ativahika body without the pinda f o r the preta. pp.15-19. 4G. and when there is only a little karma left.351 . By means of the experience body he experiences the good and bad accumulated according to the ties ot karma. and there he does not experience any evil. Whatever form he used to have when he was a man. then he experiences the evil (hrst). 1973). eating the pinda offered by his relatives. 3 7 An entire thirty-five-chapter portion of the Qaruda Purana. always eager to subdivide anything into two of anything else. one good and the other bad. 360-361. pure people. Then he leaves the experience body and goes to heaven. we shall see. the good one has the form of a god. see ako Wendy Duniger O'Flaherty.3-7. But even this does not satisfy them.takes a good form.113. then when he has experienced heaven he takes a second experience body tor evil.K A R M A A N D R E B I R T H IN THi.11-14. but the bad one is hideous to look upon. These deformed and hideous demons on earth eat that experience body when it has fallen from heaven. . the soul is released from hell and is born in an animal womb. b8-70. the dialectic Pauranikas. . the body resembles that form somewhat. 40 37. O t h e r texts take up the thread after the dead man has been judged by Yama: The dead man remains in that impure itivahika body. when he falls from heaven. . Agni Purana 369. he is born in the house of good. ft some evil remains. deals with nothing but the nature of these suspended souls.VEl>AS A N D P U R A N A S 17 remain central 10 the full Puranic efflorescence of that theory. But (in the second instance). but when the sapin- dtkarana rite has been performed a year after his death. Garuda Parana 2i7... which is disposed of in a way which. known as the Pretakalpa. is highly significant for Puranic mythology. and the night-wandering demons cat that (experience) body.113. 39. he gives up his preta body and obtains an experience body [bboga-deba\.

Markandeya Purana 10. or v. it is evident that the man of mixed karma has one experience body in heaven and another one in hell. The Process of Birth This brings us then to the mechanism of birth itself. and certain questions are raised: "Every dead person consumes both his good and bad deeds. if good predominates. and then f r o m heaven again t o a good birth among humans.) 4 2 But the Sanskrit text supplies a lengthy and serious answer to the naive question: When he has suffered through all the hells. Then he is born as a man. mosquitoes. pp. 273-281. the sinner. and so forth — and then he becomes a Brahmin. And then. its literal food. among elephants. but its own past karma — its spiritual food. a contemptible one hke a hunchback or a dwarf. he enters the classes in ascending order—Sudra. then how do they bear fruit for him? H o w is it that the little creature (the embryo) is not digested like a piece of food in the woman's belly where so many heavy foods are digested?" 4 1 The close historical connection between the transfer of merit-food to dead ancestors and t o u n b o r n d e s c e n d a n t s u n d e r l i e s t h e I n d i a n v a r i a n t of an anatomical misconception universal among children: that babies grow in the stomach. enters the animal creation. and an tndra. and so forth. among Candidas. king. and birds. O'Flaherty (1973). It is highly significant that the word translated throughout these selections as "experience" (n. through the ripening of his own karma that he committed even while inside another body. and then from hell to an animal w o m b . (This idea is further supported by the many H i n d u myths describing conception by mouth and male anal creation. among worms. Markandeya Parana 10. bhuj) also has the strong connotation of "eating" or "consuming. insects.4—6." T h u s the soul in limbo eats not only the pinda offering. Vaisya. and other evil and harmful creaturcs. pp. among wild animals. and so forth. then to heaven. (1976). then t o hell. and evil-doers fall down into hell-41 41.88-92. the process is merely described. 343-344.IS W ! NL)Y IJOMGLR O'hLAH t K'L i Although the sequence of action is not entirely clcar.: bhoga. and horses. a god. apparently he goes first to hell. accompanied by his remaining sins and merits. Pulkasas. 42. he goes first to heaven. . But sometimes he does it in descending order. not explained. if evil predominates. 334. trees [sic]. cattle. In early texts. 43.

At the time of the falling of the seed of the man. he takes birth in the womb of a woman.47-4H. The embryo is a mere bubble at first. a view upheld in most of the medical and legal texts. appendix U (sesadbamuprakaraHa).' 1H90} 8S. Ibid. n o w in the seed: "Leaving both heaven and hell.5 Here it is apparent that t h e j i v d is given by the man and nourished by the woman. and they have intercourse and play with one another. grows by union with women and is nourished by the blood of the woman.22-24. soon we have our dialectic.1. sediment and juice. .1969). for the semen of men. men and animals.1. 1. are bound by desire. though unfortunately without providing a link between the fiva in hell and the engendered embryo: Impregnation of a woman by a man takes place when the seed is placed in her blood. Garuda Purana 217. The embryo remembers its many transmigrations. lines 2929-29] 5." 4 7 Another text divides the embryo into a different pair. a portion of the fiva (jivamsa) grows in the pregnant womb..KARMA AND REU1KTH T H L V C D AS A N D PURANAS iy This text then goes on to describe the process of birth as determined by karma. Lihga Purana (Calcutta. by means of blood. it then subdivides each of these into twelve: the Secretions are separated into twelve forms of impur44. on the analogy of cooking rice which separates into solid and liquid in this way (and yet another echo of the rice-seed-food in the sraddha ritual). O t h e r Puranas indicate a more equal division of responsibility between man and w o m a n .4" Thar the actual mechanism of birth is the union of the man's seed and the woman's blood is never challenged in these texts: Ail creatures. In the union oi a woman and a man he is born. Harivamia (Poona. with all the remainders of his own karma?. taking the form of a pair of seeds situated at the navel. . 45. he is born in a womb made of a conjunction of semen and blood. -." 4 f t But of course things cannot remain so simple. causes the sperm to grow.1. it sets out. and it is distressed because of this one and that one. "If a person violates dharma. From the entry of the man's jJva into the womb* flesh accrues. but then blood is formed.6—7. . as soon as it is discharged from heaven or hell. . in the breast. and therefore it becomes depressed. 46.13. 47. in the seed. -. The blood of women.

Markandeya SI Visnudharmottara Purana 2. this one is short-lived. and at birth the jiva is deluded by the force of may a so that (unless he is a particularly talented yogi) he forgets his former lives. T h e n : Semen is born from food. it is blown by the wind and unites with the blood of the woman. The embryo then resolves to make a better job of it this time. the spirit (atman. S1 Here the wind IS explicitly identified with ihejiva. 48 The wind in the form of prana (sometimes subdivided i n t o a p a n a and u dan a) is said to be the seat of the jiva that leaves the bodv of the dying man in the form of a sigh. 42. as well: Wind. as well as between matter and substance. but like all N e w Year's resolutions. 50. 2 1 . pp. and the juice circulates in the form of twelve-fold blood which nourishes the body. Brahma Purana 217.2 6 . 49. impelled by karma. the embryo remembers his former lives and is thus subject to the twin tortures of chagrin for his past misdemeanors and Angst over the anticipated repetitions of his stupidity (in addition to the considerable physical discomfort of confinement inside the disgusting womb). Purana I0.9-11. fire and water.4S—72. to unite the elements of fire (seed) and Water (blood). the breath of life) that bridges the gap between the two primal elements of matter. the jiva united with the cause and enveloped and joined with its own karmas enters the womb. The belief in the consciousness of the embryo 48.112. 1959) 4. fire. Xisnadharmollara Purana IK. taking the form of wind. 52.4.. . O f t e n it is said that the jiva becomes deluded as the embryo develops inside the w o m b . abandoning all the experience bodies as it comes from heaven or hell or from an animal womb.3 6 . 3 5 .30 WF-NLn DONIGER O'FLAHERTY ity and expelled from the body. and Soma always develop the body of embodied creatures. When the flawless semen is placed in the womb at the fertile season. O ' F l a h e r t y (1973). p p . (1976). this t r i a d — w i n d joining fire and water — appears on the macrocosmic scale as the whirlwind between the doomsday conflagration and flood. and from semen the birth of the divine body takes place.23-32. enters into the embryo. The jiva.1-12. 4 ' J N o w it returns to blow life back into the body. The semen and blood in their united form become an embryo in one day. At the time of the ejaculation of the semen. Thus the jiva enters the embryo because of the power of the chain of karma. 5 0 T h e triad appears in other descriptions of the birth process. 5 ' While in the w o m b . Bhavisya Purana (Bombay.

Brabwdrtda Purana 2.70-72." 5 4 Another text repeats this list of five destined factors and then adds. Head down and feet up. animal. it is there nevertheless. .98. and by mixed deeds." When the embryo's foot actually kicks Brhaspati's semen out of the w o m b . 55. a ball of flesh (pinda) begins to grow in the belly.33-2!. and 1 was here first. the enraged rapist curses the child to be born blind. uncle. a mortal. 56. your seed always produces a child. A girl is born if there is a preponderance of blood. Garad a Parana. Uttara Kbanda. 5 3 Thus karma can be amassed even inside the womb. " H e y . Uttara Kbanda. 1959) 4. all of them devoid of knowledge and full of ignorance: the evil-doer bound for hell. Padma Parana 2.4. The Veda (sruti) is the authority tor the distinction between dharma and adharma. 58. 54. or immovable thing. "A creature in the mortal world is born because of his own karmas. Lthga Parana i. 22.74. the merit-maker who is bound for heaven.12.15-19.6-3.36-47. "By good deeds one becomes a god. a boy if there is a preponderance of semen: if semen and blood are equal. karma."36 But nothing is ever so simple. 36." 5 7 Yet another division—always into two opposed categories and one mediating one —raises more complicated issues: In the union of seed and blood. like the moon in the sky.KARMA A N D R E B I R T H IN T H E VEDAS A N D P U R A N A S 21 makes possible such episodes as the tale of Brhaspati's rape of his pregnant sister-in-law.3."5-'5 The categories into which one can be born may be determined by a number of influences more complex than the mere preponderance of good or bad karma. "By his own karmas a creature becomes a god. Consciousness (caitanya) is always inherent in semen which has the form of seed.94. and from birth the illusion of Visnu deludes the creature. the embryo gives forth a breath. by bad deeds a creature is born among the animals. wealth. learning. and death are born with the embodied creature in the womb. and then a man takes a material form in the womb of a woman. 57. his life-span. and the jiva with a mixture of these qualities. in the midst of the act. Although the newborn child is thus unaware of his accumulated karma. there isn't room enough for t w o here. and other texts prefer to subdivide the fate of the incarnate jiva in other ways: " T h e jiva endowed with material substance is of three sorts. bird. Bhavtsya Parana (Bombay. and semen become one.5® 53. man. desire. thought. together with other predetermined factors. the embryo is a eunuch. 22. Garxda Parana. the embryo called out. Mabdbbarata 1.6-18 (with insertions omitted bv critical edition).

fire.22 W E N L) Y D O M 1 G I.'water.5. 60.H O * F L A H E R T Y Mere the male/female opposition is added to the seed/bl^iod. Ultara Khan da. that determines this birth (just as. 64." 6 . good/evil. 59. 62. a creature born of such a nature (svabhava) will enter the womb. cf! O T l a l i m y (1976). 61. the embryo's physical makeup is contributed by both parents: the mother gives hair. 63. like wind and karma.1-35. O ' F l a h e r t y (1976). . pp. pranaf apdna. p p .1S: pitur matmca karmatab. 7 8 .4. flesh. skin. being frightened by demons at the moment of his death. it also places more emphasis upon the consciousness of the father himself: "Whatever a man has on his mind at the time of impregnation. Lihga Pu riina 1. 6 4 similarly. the Garuda Purana. thought. god/anima! dualisms—all of them subsumed under the most elementary of them all.17."' 1 " This is a variant of the widespread Indian belief that whatever one thinks of at the moment of death determines one's form of rebirth. not of the reborn jiva itself. in the Upanisads. a role that is implicitly excluded by most of the direct discussions of the karmic process m the Puranas (which do not mention parental karma) but is obviously central to many of the narratives in these very same texts. is unique in regarding consciousness as a significant element of semen. 6 1 T h e significant variant in the Garuda Purana is that it is the thought of the father. the link that explains but cannot be explained.9 3 . It is w o r t h y of note that man appears as rhe mediation between god and an ima! (as he does between gods and demons in the mythology). " D e m o n s ! " and was therefore reborn as a d e m o n . This text. a man is exhorted to meditate appropriately while begetting his offspring in order to get the kind he has m mind. heaven/hell.1. thus the tale is told of a virtuous man who. 5 " he is. P 6 . i 6 . 135-136.1-22. Padma Purana 2. There are even hints of it in some of the texts describing the karmic process: " T h e material substance of the embryo becomes completely dried up by karma and because of the nature of others [kala sarpsosaqi ayati karmananyasvabhavatah]. 22. Garuda Punma. nails. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 6. Agni Purana J51. juice/sediment.1 Who could these "others" be if not the parents? The Puranas state that the child's birth is affected by the karma of the father and the mother.") This brings up once more the question of the role of rhe karma of the parents in the process of rebirth.

68. Padma Parana 2. Thus it is said. edition with Prakrt c o m m e n t a r y by J a n a r d a n a c a r y a and A n a n t a c a r y a . with f a t e — t h a t is. dependent on karma. or even to be the same. cf. 127. Matsya Parana 30. 365-366. though the Lord himself is independent]. but the effect of it is certainly taken for granted. Karma and Fate O t h e r factors in addition to the karma of thejiva itself and the karma of the parents affect the child's birth. Bhagavata Parana 4. as we shall see. Vantima Parana. pp. Kantawala. Bhagavata Parana 3." 6 9 The interaction of forces is more clearly evident in a similar myth in which a sage tries to dissuade D h r u v a f r o m killing al! the Yaksas in order to avenge his brother's murder by them: " T h e Lord ordains the increase or decrease in the lifespan of a miserable creature [duhstha: Srtdhara glosses this as karmadhhuf. others that it is fate. iesadharmaprakarana (appendix II). 206. cf.12. of the 3-vol.29. 26. 6 8 They are clearly superimposed upon each other in a myth in which a sage tries to dissuade Parasara from killing all the demons in order to avenge his father's murder by them: " T h e demons did not hurt your father.KARMA AND REBIRTH JN T H E VtDAS AND PURANAS and the father gives bone. p. he enters. 69.29-33. W h o is killed by w h o m ? A man experiences (the fruits o f ) his o w n deeds. Harivamsa. D n - vibhagavaia Parana 6. the e m b r y o becomes a bubble made of a mixture of seed and blood.31. the transfer of karma in the opposite direction (from child to parent) takes place often during life and after the death of the parent. others that it is one's own nature. sinew. O'Flaherty (1976). and. 370. I. 6 5 In the many Puranic accounts of the wicked king Vena. "By karma impelled by fate a creature is born in the body.31-32. citing vol. lines 2795-2796. and marrow. taking refuge in a d r o p of the seed of a man he enters the belly of a w o m a n .10. 66. S. Agn.13.19-20. his evil nature is often attributed to his mother's sinful karma.1-2. 6 6 The actual mechanism of this karmic transfer during the process of birth is not explained in the Puranas." 6 7 Yet karma and fate are often said to work together. p. 324-328. " The commentator. O'Flaherty (1976). Puybia 369. others that it is time. Sridhara. it was fated to happen to him in this way. glosses it thus: " B y the karma that he has previously committed. and one of these is fate. 67. 65. Linga Parana . Isvara [ G o d l — as the leader or impeller. Some say this is karma. pp.

all are in the power of karma.17.3. Ibid. cf.73 [ndra is particularly susceptible to his back-logged karma. [ndra. Bhagavaia Pitrana 31. Visnu was under a curse.7. and kills it. but because he has no egoism. 75. Matsyii Purana 4. .21-25.38b." 7 f > These apparently conflicting 70. Brhaspati (who had committed the same act. 1867) 2. the cause of a man's birth and death is fate [daiva." 7 5 But elsewhere a clear distinction is made between the p o w e r of fate and the p o w e r of karma. O'FLAHERTY and others that it is desire. J.40 and 9. 73. -.52. Dev&bagavata Purana 4.6. " D o n ' t worry. All this universe is m the sway of karma. which etymologically should mean "that which pertains to the gods \devas]. and it is said that the gods are not only separate from fate but in its sway: In his various avatars. " T h e r e are no acts prescribed or f o r b i d d e n tor the gods. 17.IS-24. 71. demons.24 WENDY DONIGKK. ^ridhara glosses it as Isvara]. he is not affected by karmas or qualities The confusion is inherent in the very word for fate. were not the slayers of your brother.72 .10. Skatida Parana (Bombay. 6. Visnu.S-40." 7 5 The gods may also escape punishment for their sins by blaming this same p o w e r of karma: when Indra had raped a pregnant woman and hidden in shame.20." Srldhara glosses daiva as a word for G o d . Brahma. daiva. Devibhagavata Parana 6. .23. Yaksas and Gandhirvas.. " T h e immortals have become unhappy because of their own k a r m a . see O'Flaherty (1976). time and again. no acts which give good or bad fruits. Indra has reaped the fruit of his evil action. 7 4 O f t e n the poet remarks.17-19. 74. and even with the same w o m a n ) consoled Indra by saying. karma is invoked as an excuse f o r his weakness or failure: Bali was able to usurp Indra's throne because of the evil karma that Jndra had amassed by destroying the embryo in Diti's w o m b . in which case the text is saying that G o d is independent of karma and unaffected by it. otherwise how could they have bodies and experience happiness and sorrow as an embodied creature does? Krsna performed all h i s g r e a t manly deeds [paurusa] by the* power of p r e d e s t i nation [bbavivasat]. Vamana Parana 49-50. Cf. 1964) 2. 76. 72. and the other gods. . and he did his various actions always in the power of fate \daiva].20. The servants of Kubera.36-37.40. He creates this universe. Rudra. the Yaksas.70-91 for other examples of indra's karma.14. and keeps it. p. an attitude which we will see reflected in the bbakti texts. It is sometimes stated or implied that the gods are free of karma. Siva Parana (Benares.

who tried to dissuade her husband. and so it can be accomplished by us though we are mortal. When the wicked Kamsa learns that he is "fated" to be killed by a child of Devaki. no "mere mortal"). . and when Kanisa's scheme backfires he changes his tune. the very w o m a n whose child he was determined to destroy.' then all undertakings are without purpose. :intl if dit: authority is faSst".21. . and gifts? For the rites of expiation have been set forth in the Dbarmasastras composed by the noble (sages) in order to destroy the evils amassed in former (lives). • If you decide. why isn't dharma cur down? But in fact. Harivamsa 47. but can that not be worn away by pilgrimages.115. success is achieved. my little son. "This is a matter that concerns mere mortals. Devibbagdfata Parana 4. his fate does not turn out to be surmountable (for the child fated to kill him is Krsna. for although Vasudeva answers Devaki with a description of the inevitabil77. when an effort is made. 'What is to be.' then the medical books are in vain."77 Unfortunately for Kamsa. who are helpless against fate and karma. is vindicated by the plot. Other inconsistencies result from the narrator's freedom to select whatever theory best explains the present exigencies of his plot. who is regarded as being either above fate or identical with it. If this is so. the absolute.5-17. . It is known that people like me can overcome fate and turn it to advantage by the right combination of spells.KARMA AND REBIRTH IN THE VLiDAS AND PUR ANAS 51 attitudes to the fate and karma of the gods mav be somewhat clarified when one realizes that Srtdhara is talking about God. saying that it wis not he but fate that arranged events. and that the gods are controlled by it—manv texts argue that man himself can do nothing to battle these inexorable forces. that he could not overcome fate by mere human effort." This argument. unlike Kamsa's. and all effort is in vain. will be. he boasts. and constant effort. Devaki. 78. Yet the means that Kainsa set such store by must have been accepted by many people in ancient India— among them. and that the others are merely lower-case gods. Yet this argument is challenged as often as it is stated without challenge. if 'What will be. asceticism. In the light of these two beliefs—that God controls fate. right before your eyes. from landing over the fated child: "Men must experience the karma that was formerly made. II everything is brought about by fate. then the authority (of the Vcilas) is falsely proclaimed. will be. Vasudeva. Therefore you should investigate and determine what 78 is to be done to protect this little boy. and herbal medicines. and all the sacred recitations. even the sacrifices that are supposed to achieve heaven.

Prajapati. Agtu'Purana 225. and arrives at the penultimate solution: The creator.82 Similarly. fate and the activities of man. That he is saved by supernatural intervention. in contrast with the things that are done to him (i. the goal of the pre-Brahmanic world view that is preserved in the Puranic model of death and rebirth. 1 6 .1-4. An earlier variant of this text cites only the two factors. and the effects of the three times (past.. anti-karma. karma. One's own karma is called fare. By effort men obtain the fruit that they seek. DevakT calls upon the Vedie tradition to support her.1-12. men who have no manly energy believe in fate. and so all activity is based upon manly effort [paurusa].s creatures.81 the longer text then mediates between them with a third factor. this could not be. The argument that fate can be overcome is fully developed in other tests: All depends upon karma. Nevertheless. Caraka 2 5 . bv those who engage in ceremonies and strive to rise. the power of time (itseli a triad). is saved. An adverse fate may be overcome by effort. he would not have burdened them with miseries as if he were a bad 79. Krsna. since Prajapati wishes for the welfare of his creatures. and this eifort is successful: the child. for this is precisely the goal which David Knipe has shown to underly the iraddha ritual in its archaic form. it is thus by means of karma that a man overcomes fate. somewhat qualifies the value ot this episode as proof of the efficacy of "manly effort" against divine fate. .2 6 . 226. 80. one's own nature (svabhava). 8 ' Karma is here equated with the things that a man does. therefore wise men say that manly effort is more important. non-Upamsadic attitude to human experience. and future)—this triad hears fruit For a nuii. it is surely significant that in proclaiming her worldly. 2 2 .5-7. and that he himself is God.23-33.. 19-28. O ' E l a h e r t y (1976). 4. one is brought about by fate (or gods \daiva}) and the other by men [mantt$a\ hare cannot be fathomed. what a man does. the author rejects in turn the physical elements (dhatus). referring to "the sacrifices that are supposed to achieve heaven". made happiness and sorrow for hi. earned from another body. which enters into the karma evele at various points and is often cited as a cause for otherwise inexplicable action. But.e. he does make an effort to save the last son. p p . 8f. Cf. mother and father. fate). Ibid. present. Marsya Pufrn* 221.2 4 . Fate.21. objects the text. 82.26 WENDY DONIGER O'Fl AHFRTY ity of karma74 and hands over the first six children that she bears. There are two: destinies [vidhane]'. when the medical textbooks argue about the relative weights of various causal factors.

86. 59.K. Matsya Purana 181. 84. the Brahmin author of the text is asked by a desperately worried listener if this is. S6. and yet a man may try to break away. after setting up the inexorable karma process. . the Markandcya Parana proceeds to undermine it completely with a long chapter on the way that the practice of Yoga releases people from karma.17-18.S4 Meditation and renunciation are equally effective as karmic antidotes. The Puranas abound in stories in which the unrepentant sinner.83 As the doctrines oi Yoga entered the Puranic mainstream. In the oldest strain of Puranic writings on this subject.17-18. -. the Brahmin then proceeds to narrate several chapters laying out the types of gifts to Brahmins that are certain to protect the generous sinner from the slightest danger of going to hell. Siva replies that this evil is worn away when one enters the Avimukta shrine at Benares. and the texts insist that this is so. one abolishes rebirth. MtirkiVideya Pxmna 39. Yoga became another means of deliverance. In some texts. when bhakti is in full flower. one can certainly reverse karma.ARMA AND REBIRTH IN THE VFDAS AND PL'RANAS person (asadhnvatJ. 85. Thus when Parvati asks Siva how evil that has been accumulated in a thousand former births can be worn away.86 Finally. The Conquest of Karma If one can reverse fate. after the usual hair-raising description of the torments of hell. about to be dragged away by the minions of Yama. devotion to the god is a safe-conduct through the ranks of the soldiers of Yama. landing S3. Manya Purana 57. inevitable. really and truly. is saved at the last minute by the arrival of the chariot of the servants of the sectarian god. the Puranas narrate chapter after chapter of glorifications of shrines (tirthamahatmya)—bathing at any one of which is guaranteed to wipe out all one's past bad karma.15-21. as pilgrimage begins to usurp the Brahmin's monopoly on deliverance.85 and later.10.19: 206. Lmga Purina 1. a far less impersonal and more accessible force.27. The final solution to this expression of theodicy is the traditional Indian one: time (kala) is the source of a person and of his diseases. the karma theory is turned inside out against itself: by acquiring merit in certain ways. Thus time combines with fate and karma.

and the listeners object that they heard it differently. karma is conquered by those whom Krsna loves.~Samhita we find it said. C . S r i n u 4 fibagavatam (New York.74. " H i n d u Transactions: Diversity without Ejualism. are explained by reference to karma accumulated in unknowable previous lives — and this also gives the Pauramka a chance to drag in another good story. p p . often bet den Huarn. 9C. yet karma is invoked on almost every page. O ' F l a h e r t y (1976). pp. and sometimes he becomes a mosquito and sometimes Lord Brahma. Devighagavata Parana 9 . McKira Marriott. .1-2. karmani nirdahati [lit. 231-236."pp. he may retort that it happened to the man twice.J. 111-138.a on the Bbagavata Purana passage about karmarHL> "Under karma comments the laws of a living entity wanders within the universe under the rule of eternal time. To a sane man this business is not very fruitful.29—33l 4. page 472. p. B h a k t i v c d s n t ^ . in two different lives.3 0 . one must not underestimate the value of karma (and fate) as a plot device.92 The Transfer of Karma The karma doctrine is also put to a significant use as an expression of the identity of spirit and matter or "code and substance. 1975)r Third C a m o . 91. Institute (or the Study of H u m a n Issues. such as the sufferings of a good man. Varahu Pur'wn Brahmavaivdtia Parana 2.iS WEND 1 * D O NIGER G T L A I f E R T Y like the marines at the eleventh hour. . . 1976. O ' F l a h e r t y (1973)."93 Karma 87. Thus inconsistencies in character. 39. . Part Three. 109— 142 of Bruce Kapterer (ed.31. Why? In the first place. 92. But in the Brahma. O T l a h m y (1976). 2 9 . Philadelphia. Bbagav<m Pur'ana 3.md Symbolii Behavior. Transaction and Meaning: Direction* in the Anthropology of Exchange .67 By the worship of Visnu. or in experience.: "He burns away karmas"]: the Lord diminishes or vanquishes the reactions of devotees/'90 It is thus apparent that each of the major religious systems that appear in the Puranas has developed a sure-fire antidote to the disease of karma. 19. A.86 The constricting aspects of the doctrine of karma are particularly unacceptable to the positive-thinking and vigorous dev o t e e s of c o n t e m p o r a r y g u r u s : t h u s Swarni Bhakuvedanr. such as an inappropriately virtuous demon. 93. karma ex machina explains wrhat cannot otherwise be justified. one can "dispense" with karma. Si!.91 Karma and rebirth are even used to explain textual variants and muitiforms: when the sage tells one version of a story.

94 The most significant transfers take place within the family.KARMA A N D REBIRTH IM THE VF. 326. it is particularly likely to arise in relation to transactions involving food and sex. and back again. 1S2-184. Brabmavaivana Parana 2. p. pp.12.23-25. the two bases of Hindu social activity and caste interactions.DAS A \ r Ll I'LKANAS is a metaphor for the effects that human beings have upon one another. Siva Parana 4.. pp. Brahma Parana 35. in this life and even across the barrier of death. Indra and Siva wipe off their moral dirt on us. which he did.10" Like all karma transactions. 1884) +2.5-40-41. $tva Purana 2. 99. 100. O'Flaherty (1973). the chaste wife can release her husband from his sin. 96.1'7 In the war between the gods and demons.4(1 Other qualities like ascetic power and spiritual energy (tdpas and tejas) are also transferred on the karma analogy: Parvati transfers her tajms to Siva.31-60. you have killed my husband. 67-68.. The wife's chastity is an integral part of her husband's karma. O'Flaherty (1976). 95. Ibid. siblings. "By breaking my virtue. 2. Brahma says. between husbands and wives. she said.17. Jriana Samhita (Bombay. The concept of the transfer of good and evil occurs throughout Indian texts on various levels of religious experience.1'4 Although the transfer takes place between any two animate creatures {so that one may be polluted by contact with a total stranger or even an animal). Siva Pttratia. and parents and children. 186. and bad karma to one who does not. particularly Brahmins. 101.22. O'Flaherty (1976). pp. He commanded Visnu to take the form of Sahkhacuda and seduce her.26-27."101 94. 98. destroy his wife's chastity: Siva knew that he could not kill the demon Sankhacuda as long as the demon's wife remained faithful. . 110-113. this has a negative side as well: to destroy a man. when the good woman realized what had happened. pp.23-45.95 Thus good karma accrues to anyone who feeds guests. 2. Marriott. in particular. "One must never mistreat a guest. 97. 139-173. This function is based on the idea of merit transfer.16. the good qualities and virtues of one group are constantly being transferred to the other.. all evil on earth is regarded as a transfer of bad karma from the Creator to mankind.<)fi The feeding of a Brahmin guest is. for the guest then takes the good karma of the host and leaves his own bad karma behind. O'Flaherty (1973). a highly recommended way to get rid of one's bad karma. Matsya Purana 52. as we have seen. p. In one view.

and when we have eaten their evil nature. confusion of castes will arise. p.106 . She has a sagging belly and short buttocks and small breasts. Padma Parana 6." The king replied. as he neither enjoys me carnally nor eats me. they become virtuous.13 -14. those are other demons. 141-1*1 (esp. she told him her story." But the Brahmin insisted that he needed to protect his own wife. p. 182. The king came upon her in the forest and asked her how she got there. 1976). for I have been horn as a cruel demon. night-wanderer? For she is certain)v no beauty. with a big mouth. so why would we seek sexual pleasure among human women ?" The king said. "linough of her.21-24. . you could find many better wives. concluding. "I don't know why he did it. We have female demons who are as fascinating and beautiful as the nymphs in heaven. 153). the goddess of prosperity—often regarded as a "wife" of the victorious king and the incarnation of his virtues and powers—is transferred in the course of battle. The role of a wife in the transfer of karma may involve a n u m b e r of complex transactions: A demon carried off a Brahmin's wife and abandoned her in the forest. and 352. "Well. (And 1 can tell you all about the fruit of a bad deed. When we eat the patience of men. 102. "For if she is not protected." The king found die demon and questioned him about his behavior: "Why did vou bring the Brahmin's wife here. honestly.se my ancestors to rail from heaven.3° WENDY DON1GER O'l-'l A H FKTY The substantive nature of this interaction is dear from a similar myth E H which Siva destroys the chastity of the wite of the demon Jalandhara: when the demon an J his wife died. 103. pp. 323. And she is very harsh in speech. and not gentle in nature. But we eat the fruit of a good deed. with short arms and a chin face. 6S. the spiritual energy (tejas) of the wife emerged from her body and entered Parvati. she is really very uglv— I'm not blaming her. Alf Hiltebeitel. p. as well as in the entire corpus of myths in which Sri. "We do not eat men. The Brahmin approached die king and said that someone had carried off his wife while he slept. and that will cau. The Ritual of Battle: Krishna in the Mahabbarata (Cornell University Press. if yon brought her here to be your wife.5. Cf. ! will give you another wife. O'Flaherty (1973)." So (he king set out to rind her. and she has passed her prime. she has piercing eyes and is very tall. and the spiritual energy of jalandhara entered Siva. this is how 1 would describe my wife.) Being dishonored. we do not eat meat or devour living creatures.102 Alt Hiltebeitel has pointed out many similar instances in the Afahabharata. also O'Flaherty (1976). they become furious. and if you took her to eat her. Siva Purana 2. in myths in which a conqueror takes to himself some virtue or power of the man he conquers. The king asked him to describe her. we consume the very nature of men and women. and the Brahmin replied. This is my wife's appearance. then why haven't you eaten her?" The demon replied. She is awful to look at.

then why did von enter the Brahmin's house and take her away?" The demon said. which often refers to 104. and so we inflicted this defect upon him. Then take her to the house of her husband. l n s The word used for the "eating" of her nature is bhuj. she may bccome well behaved. "Because of the ripening of the fruits of my own karma.3—7.1-39. Visnudharmottara Parana 2. The fault is not his. for without a wife a man is not qualified to perform the ritual of sacrifice. . By doing this vou will have done everything for me who have come to your house. Because of this. Gatnda Parana 217. J was separated from my noble husband. and the demon has reached his evil circumstances as the fruits of his past misdeeds. for without legitimate children there can be no sruddba to protect the ancestors. the same word that we encountered as it was used to designate the "experiencing" of karma. and led her to the house of her husband. When the Brahmin's wife was entirely free of that fiercely evil disposition. 104 The first karmic transaction takes place when the Brahmin fears that a transier of negative karma will cause his ancestors to fall from heaven—a significant beginning. He used to expel me from sacrifice after sacrifice by reciting a spell that destroys demons. for in another birth I caused someone to become separated from another. The demon has done a good deed. The demon (a strict vegetarian) refuses to " e n j o y " the woman in either of the normal demonic ways (as a sexual object or a square m e a l — t h e two most heavily charged karmic transfer situations. Eat the evil disposition of this Brahmin's wife right away. 105. let me ask you to do something. The wife is ugly and evil because of the ripening of her own karma. and no one else's. whose evil disposition had been purified. and when you have eaten her evil disposition. What fault is there in the noble one?" And the demon took the Brahmin's wife. which is eaten or consumed in hell. at the king's command. This night-wanderer was (merely the proximate) cause. we bccame hungry. "Since you happened to mention that you eat the very nature of a person. 67." The king said.KARMA AMD REBIRTH IN THE VEDAS A N D P U R A N A S 31 "If she is to serve neither your bed nor your table. and this (separation from my husband) lias now fallen upon me. and then he went away. The sccond is implicit in the demon's wish to grant the desires of his guest (lest the slighted guest carry away the demon's good karma).113. and both described by the verb bhuj. the fault was mine alone. Mhrkandeya Parana 66. she said to the king. But the most striking transfer takes place when the demon eats the wife's evil nature (as demons eat the discarded experience-bodies of the sinners who have used them u p ) . "He is a very good Brahmin and knows the spells." Then the demon entered inside her by his own maya and ate her evil disposition by his own power.24-39. nor is it the fault of my noble husband.

But the Puranic expansion of this scene is far more explicit and complex: Eluring a brief visit to hetl. apparently. to expiate one brief lapse. by means of the cool breeze which his body gives off because of his virtue. in this case he does not eat the woman's ugliness. Cf. ". "Not in heaven nor in the World of Brahma do men find such ioy as arises from giving release [nirvana] to suffering creatures. Cambridge. 108. the evil karma ot the demon that ate the evil disposition of the Brahmin's wife allows him to eat evil food (though. " in Zalmoxis 1 (1938): i l >7-203. 78. This amounts to an ethicization of the actions ot demons. Dialectic in Practical Religion (Cambridge Papers iii Social Anthropology. Go and enjoy your deserts in the world of the immortals.Men are tortured by the thousands in hell. Leach (cd. where he too goes at last. and let them wear away the conse106. Another important karmic transfer takes place between brothers. "Only the sinner can come to harm [from demons]. He therefore wished to remain there to help them. and this amounts to a transfer of evil karma from the woman to the demon—who." Indra said. saying. p. They cry out to me. "Notes de t K m o n d o g i e . can easily absorb it. his brothers are in heaven. Mircea fcliade. . at length. here allows them to eat good food. being evil already."107 The good karma of demons. 1968). O'Flaherty (1976). and he is willing to lose something in return — heaven. the virtuous king Vipascit noticed that the air from bis body was relieving the suffering of the sinners there. as Mircea Eliade has pointed out. Sin and Salvation in a Sociology ot iiuddhiim. Mahkbbarata 18.W E N D Y D O M G E K O'FLAHERTY sexual enjoyment). Gananath Obeyesekere. In the Mababhdr4ias Yudhisthira refuses to go to heaven and wishes to remain in hell in order to give comfort (sukha) to his brothers suffering there. 5. p. O'Flahertv (1976). "The goddess Hariti is said to have obtained the right to eat children as a consequence of merits gained in a previous existence. cf." in Edmund R. 'Save me!' and so I will not go away." When India insisted on leading him to heaven. "Theodicy. 78. As Gananath Obeyesekere remarks of this process. accumulated in a previous life. pp. the king said. 7-40. "These men of very evil karma have reached hell because of their karma. and you must go to heaven because of your own good karma.1118 The merit transfer in this episode is minimal: Yudhijthira's virtue proves useful to his brothers. no. But he eats her karma directly.).2."106 This ethicization may even be read back into the previous lives of the demons. as her long-suffering husband might have wished). 107. Dharma tells him that the scene in hell was a mere illusion produced in order to test him and to serve as a moral instruction.

and he saves them all f r o m hell not by the awkward plot device of the Epic— which simply takes it all back by declaring it an illusion—-but by a very real transfer of merit in a very real hell. Even so. Indeed. as parents are "released" from hell. as determined by the fruits of their own karma. it is not surprising that the most significant transfers take place between parents and children. despite their evil karma. a Buddhist word for release (and set in a very Buddhist sentiment about the relief of suffering) in place ot the mere " c o m f o r t " that Yudhisthira gave to his brothers. but are merely given release from one phase of their redemptive reincarnation. In the classical system. T h e strange silence of the classical texts regarding the role of parents in rebirth is. 109 There is considerable Buddhist influence here. But Puranic texts tend to combine these t w o views. and Indra placed him in a celestial chariot and led him to heaven. To be sure. Markandcya Purina 15. as we have seen. some of the philosophical texts (some Vaisesika and 109. karma gets the last word: the sinners don't go to heaven with Vipascit (as they do with Yudhisthira in the Epic). according to some Systems. ." The king said. are released from hell. The virtuous king saves men who are his " b r o t h e r s " only in the sense that all men are brothers. "How can other men find delight in associating with me if these men do not become elevated in my presence? Therefore. partially explained by the post-Vedie rejection of the mode! which took the sraddha ritual as the basis of the birth theory." Then a ram of flowers fell upon that king. and partially explained by the inversion of the birth process implicit in that very model. And those who were there in hell were released from their punishments and entered other wombs. correspond precisely to the distinction between the parents' contribution and what we would regard as " o u r o w n " contribution to the karma bank. to be reborn after they have been given t h e p i n d a offering.KARMA AND REBIRTH IN THt : Vl I) AS AND I'URANAS 33 quences of their own karma by means of this hell. a ritual in which the child " m a k e s " the parents." Indra said. "By this you have achieved a higher place. the transmigration theory bypasses the parents altogether. he gives them nirV^tta. let these sinners who are undergoing punishment be freed from hell by means of whatever good deeds 1 have dont. and now you may see how these people. Parents and Children As karma's primary function and innovation is in the realm of rebirth. the various types of karma.57-80.

even Vedic. viewing parental karma transfer as prior to. 1 . chronological periods. let my priest be released. Set* James M c D e r m o t t ' s paper tn this volume. N u m e r o u s examples of karmic interaction between parent and child occur in the Mababharata. " N o one ever experiences the fruit of another's action. but the parents seem to play primarily a physical role. and after ten months they all had sons." But Dharma objected. he worried that this child might die. social interaction with one's future parents precedes the birth process. The myths preserve the pre-rebirth. For he is being cooked by the hre of hell for my sake. p p . Wiiham Dead and the Candamabarosana Tantra. Vedic model of birth.RTY Caraka texts. citing the Tibetan Book o) the . 365 ff. 1 1 " In this model. despite the protest of the wives. O king. moreover. and which thus provides a useful foil to the full Puranic myths: King Somaka had only one son. 1 This suggests that the birth process in some levels of Indian classical thought is even more complicated than our Sanskrit and Pali texts have led us to believe—unless we simplify the model by distinguishing discrete historical. Jantu. and asked him Why. Jantu was reborn as the eldest. i should like to poach once again on Bruce Long's territory (which is so temptingly adjacent to my own) to cite a myth which strikes me as particularly archaic.15. Somaka saw the priest boiling in a terrible hell. and an alternative to. "] caused you to sacrifice. and it is to the myths that we must now turn. "and this is the fruit of that karma. and perhaps even some of the Advaita) do tell us something about parents. If we look to mythology for some of the underlying. giving the stuff (blood and s e m e n | into which the unborn child's karma is to be infused. unexpressed beliefs and cognitive assumptions of all South Asians. I l l . more elaborate. a n d . O ' F l a h e r t y (1976). You see here your own fruits. interacts in classically Oedipal fashion with them and is born. The Buddhists. we find numerous examples in which the karma of the parents is transferred to the child — even as the karma of the child is transferred to the parent in the sraddha ceremony. "I will enter this (hell). however. by his original mother.' The king said. in its attitude to karma. The Tibetan texts. When Somaka and the priest died. so that they would conceive sons." said the priest. the concept of reincarnated karma. His priest advised him to sacrifice the child and let his one hundred wives inhale the smoke. citing V a s u b a n d h a ' s AbhidkarStablein. MO. make it clear that some parental karma is transferred to the child. Somaka did so.34 W r \ m DONIGERO'I LAHF." When the king continued to protest that his karma was the same makosa 3. suggest a primal scene which would have gladdened the heart of Sigmund F r e u d : the unborn child. witnessing his parents in intercourse.

116. pp. Mahabharata 3. as they d o in the Yudhisthifa episode. in this first episode.94-97.13-16. The solution in this case. 1 1 4 and. esp. with him. A series of karmic transfers f r o m children t o parents takes place between King Yayati and his sons and grandsons. and then afterwards you will both reach heaven. cf. in that episode. so in this second episode both of them l o s e — b o t h of them suffer the tortures of hell. The "virtue 1 ' of the single son is somehow transferred (by personal sacrifice. . 115. pp. pp. the most primitive form of transfer. In this way.29-33.1-19. 5.13. This view is reinforced by D h a r ma's objection to the king's wish to "sacrifice his good karma to get the priest out of hell — just as D h a r m a objects. that karma is inexhaustible. and is reborn as a leper. to Yudhisthira's wish to get his brothers out of hell. and in the Puranas.318-120. 26. as cited in footnote 23. 237-243. 5 5 5 In the myth of Vena. cf. 114. the text seems to emphasize that n o actual exchange need take place at all. however." And so it happened. n o one lost anything by the transfer. 324-328. Vamana Purana. O'Flaherty (1976). 128. Padma Purana 2. f r o m parents t o children. funeral smoke) to a hundred o t h e r s — b u r he is reborn among them. so that he is not truly sacrificed at all. that nothing need be lost by the one w h o "gives" merit. BhdgaVdla Purana 4. and by the ingestion of substance— significantly. experience the same fruit. Many conflicting attitudes to karma appear in this tale. See Heesterman. 128. O'Flaherty (1976). karma flows in both directions: the evil of Vena himself is the result of the direct transfer of negative karma f r o m his evil m o t h e r — w h o is evil because of the karma inherited f r o m her father. possibly composed at a period when the concept of merit transfer was still being developed. 53-54 and 6S-70.76-91. performing a ritual. the doctrine of karma is satisfied without any merit transfer—and yet ultimately everyone escapes to heaven. Elsewhere in the Mahabharata. death. in the Mahabharata. and trans112.127. less often. Dharma conceded. That the suggested transfers are to take place in the f o r m of a h u m a n sacrifice and in the transfer of merit between a king and his priest 1 1 3 are indications of the antiquity of thts myth. above. O'Flaherty (1973).1-20.KARMA A N D REBIRTH IN THE VLiDAS AND PUR ANAS 35 as die priest's. his good son Prthu saves him by going to a shrine. S. 1 1 6 but when Vena dies. w e find m y t h s illustrative of the karma flow in both directions: from living children to dead ancestors (as in the tale of a sage's ancestors hanging by their fingertips in a great pit). is the inverse of the solution to the sacrifice of the s o n : where. Mahabharata 3. Mababbarau 1. "If you wish this. 113. for an equal length of time.

271-273.337. pp. sweat. Harrvamta 5. Vena is saved simply by the birth of his good s o n .36.'trill M . 324-325. 1 .1. Vissiudharmattara Parana 1.4-S. J 3 6 . " like a stream of fresh water flowing back out into the ocean. O'FLaherty (1976).13.13-15.'pp.5-66. pp. to p i n p o i n t an individual's karma as distinct from that of everyone else. and occurs often in the Sanskrit texts.ihertv (10761. and that of husbands and wives. what flows is pollution (which flows up) and merit (which flows d o w n ) . Brahtna Parana 4. then. Visiitt Parana 1. Because of this fluidity in social interaction. in any social interaction.127-227. if not impossible. Brakmanda Parana 2.31.2 5 & Garuda Purana 6. OTI. through the heteropathic devotion ot the good child to the evil parent-—the ritual model of tiie sraddha offering. these are indeed maximal 117. The Flow of Karma The motif of personal devotion (bbakti) (lows against the current of impersonal karma and the "ocean of r e b i r t h . karma is transferred as by the action of a siphon when t w o vessels of unequal height are suddenly connected by a t u b e : things flow back and forth between them until they are equalized. phlegm. it is difficult. 324-328. O F I a h e r r f (1976). but good karma is transferred backwards into the past and into the f u t u r e . pp. 12(> This also explains the Indian's great emphasis on food. who draws the evil out of Vena in a direct transfer. 1 1 8 or. and so f o r t h . 120. homeopathic line. Skanda Parana 7. 9 as the evil d e m o n drew the evil nature out of the Brahmin's wife. Things flow in and our of the b o d y all the time in Vedic/Puranie H i n d u i s m . translated into bbakti mythology. Vamana Parana. O'Flaherty (1973). by the birth of an evil son. blood. IIS. 1 1 ' In o t h e r texts. ska/idti Pur.1-21.72-175.1V-46. in a more primitive process. for his father is so impure that he would transfer his o w n had karma to the shrine and thus defile it. 325-326. 9 5 . We have seen h o w the karma of parents and children merges. H e r e .3 6 WENDY DO NIGER D ' F L A H 1: R T Y ferring that merit to his father. The fluid analogy is apt.2S-122. explaining the existence of evil in the present. a complex hydraulic system. is the turning point in the chain of karma: evil karma is transferred f r o m parent to child in a direct. the karma model is a very fancy bit of plumbing. 119. In India.1-4.27.7-41. S 26. hence the great stress placed on bodily secretions as literally creative substances: semen. tears.106. Raima Parana 2. only the devotional sacrifice oi the son can save h i m . Bhagavata Parana 4. 6. .

124 Here is true relativity. the responsibility tor the death of Drona is diffused. 253 of his The Ritual of Battle: Krishna in The Mahabharata (Cornell liniversirv Press. without the basic sraddka model. Personal communication from McKim Marriott. even in the creation myths. all share the responsibility for evil. 124. and space itself. 44-46 and 316. as Alf Hiltebekel has pointed out. Visnu Purana 1. According to this aspect of the theory of karma. every act is the result of the karma of many people. and animals). the soul moves up. In Hinduism. pp.26-65. 1976). 123. and p. m which n o acts of any particular figure can have any uhimacy as evil. 261-270. November 19. see Wendy Dijuiiger O'f'lahertv. all body substances held in 1 2 2 ) and jainism. Prajapati alternates between the creation of physical entities (men. there can be no true exchange. matter and energy in constant fluid transformation. 1 3 1 In Jainism. karma means that we are punished not for our actions. Vedic or Puranic. 1977. See also pi 127. But in the Indian view. Personal communication from Alf Hiiiebeiiel. n. and hunger. 122. . 341. but by our actions. pp. Two great exceptions to this rule are the realms of Hindu asceticism (where all life processes are reversed. depending on the philosophy of the different heroes w h o examine its causes. Thus. O'Flibcrty (1973). (1976). indeed. where an extreme effort is made to reduce the flow and an almost obsessive concern with boundaries leads to a minimizing of transactions. the concept of joint karma functions as a cosmological as well as a sociological principle. March 1977.5. Karmic forces flow constantly between people (and between gods.KARMA AND REBIRTH IN THE V L i DAS AND PUR ANAS 37 exchange situations. spirit and matter (code and substance) constantly flow in and out of each other. beasts. 125 In this way. 1975). as a Tamil Brahmin woman said to me. 125. p.33. trees) and abstractions — the year. while karma pushes down. the retributive function of rebirth is of secondary significance. Hindu Myths (Penguin. though they all see it f r o m different perspectives.

A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy (Varanasi. C. I960). Information on karma and samsara in the Vedas. nor 1. A History of Indian Philosophy (Cambridge. 1. M.2 The Concepts of Human Action and Rebirth in the Mahabharata J. Mass. B. must be undertaken in medias res. adequacy or inadequacy of the principles of karma and samsara as a general hermeneutic of the human condition. I recognize that any discussion of this subject with regard to the MBh. pp. 1969).. 252 ff. The Essentials of Indian Philosophy (London. Edgerton. F. pp.. S. 1 3 shall also avoid the issue of the truth or lalsity. 67 ff. Mass.. S. 1926). pp. N\ Da. 1922—). 5S1-591. Advaita Yedanta. esp. Religion and Philosophy in the Vedas and Upamshads (Cambridge. 1925).. 29 ff. given the appreciable development of these notions prior to the epic period. vol. the enormity of the task of treating even this somewhat limited topic in the epic prohibits us from taking even a passing glance at the relevant materials in the pre-epic literature. A Constructive Survey of Upamsadic Philosophy (Poona.. Even so. Keith. Brahmanas and Upanisads may be found in the following sources: A. Hiriyanna. ftadhakrishnan. 3965). 454 ff.. pp. The Beginnings of Indian Philosophy (Cambridge.. 47 ff. pp. Sharma. . 1949). R 15. BRUCE LONG introduction The analysis of the variety of formulations of the concepts of karma and samsara in the Mahabharata will be the sole concern in this paper. 1953).sgupta. Ranade. and Eliot Deutscb. pp. 104-116. The Principal Vpanisads (London. /I Philosophical Reconstruction (Honolulu. 152 if.

4. Haridas Bhartachirya. 176-193. "Rta and the Law of Karma " All-India Oriental Conference. 1 " Indian Historical Quarterly 28 (1952): H7-9C. M."2 and in the voluminous writings of Ian Stevenson. Clukravartv. Hanyappa Mem. Inst. Narahari: "Karma and Reincarnation in the MBh. Smith. "Satmara. 10 (Tirupatjk 1940V A. "Vedic Antecedents of the Epic 'Sasarirasvarga. H. pp. 2 vols." 1 The passages discussed herein reflect among themselves a remarkable (and to those w r bo hanker after consistency. Gadgil. 1 (1965): 3-12. questions treated in a suggestive article by Eliot Deutsch on " k a r m a as a Convenient fiction." Quart. Ct. and even incongruity. XC'adia Commemoration Volume (Bangalore. "The Krahmanie. frustrating) degree of diversity. "Birth of Thought —III. 29-49.." ABORl 27 (1946): 102-113. V. Ronald M." Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (ABO HI) 48—49 (1967-68): 329-338. Transmigration and God. Va. G. which represent the published findings of extensive research into possible empirical evidence for rebirth. 3 The task before us here is at once more modest and m o r e ambitious than those reflected in other writings on karma and samsara... A. N. which speak to some aspect of the question of the nature of human action and its role in the formation of human ends. 27 (1971): 1-30.. 3. ]. "The Doe trine of the Colours of Souls in the MBh. 1966). more closely and in greater detail than has previously been attempted. R." Journal of Indian History 43 (1965): 119-142. 1963): 111-115. and die antecedents in pre-epie literature: V. H ." Philosophy East and Wen 15. . Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (New. "The idea of Fate and Freedom in [he MBh.il Concept of Karma. 1954). T h e modesty of the task rests on the intention to focus only on specific passages in the MBh. G. L Herman." journal of the Canganatha Jha Res." Munshi hi do logical Eel:citation Volume (Bombay. and at the same time exercised considerable freedom to recombine and modify those ideas according to individual and 2. no.York. Vol. Bedekar. of thought. "Poona Of ten taint 20 (1955) [The Dr. 1975). "Karma ami Reincarnation in Classical Sanskrit Literature.. L. T h e ambitious nature of the task is determined by the intention to scrutinize a great many passages scattered throughout the MBh. a fact that would appear to indicate that the various spokesmen on karma drew upon a common store of general notions. of the Mythic Society 47 (1946-47): 68-71.HUMAN ACTION AND REBIRTH [N TH1- MAHABHARATA 39 shall I attempt to compare this definitive Indian world view with that of other cultures. "Rebirth in Ancient Indian Thought. "Ideas About Karma in the Ramayana. At the same time." A. and Cases of the Reincarnation Type (Charlottesville. there are n u m e r o u s motifs that appear time and again m passages drawn irom every section of the MBh. other writings on karma and samsdja and related topics in the MBh." ABORl 35 (1954). "Karma as a 'Convenient Fiction' in the Advaita Veil am a. Eastern or Western.. Jour.



sectarian predilections. I shall make every attempt to maintain a balance in the emphasis on both parallels and discontinuities among the various passages presented in order to distinguish those assumptions that appear to be common to the entire epic f r o m those that are unique to specific passages. T h e focus oi the present paper, on specific formulations of the doctrines of karma and samsara in the MBh., necessarily neglects the notion of karma in its " d h a r m i c " form in the MBh. as a whole. 5 The Causal Determinants of Human Destiny In accord with its own svncreiistic nature and the general propensity of Indian sages and mythographers to appeal to a multivalent range of ideas in treating almost every doctrinal topic, the Mahabharata recognizes a number of different causa! factors at work in arranging both immediate results and ultimate destinies. Any summary of the factors which are cited at one point or another in this great storehouse of Indian cultural lore would necessarily include the following: providential acts of God (divya-kriya)^ divine ordinances (divya-vidht)>7 divine power or fate proper (daiva, distay niyati, bhagya)time 1 1 11 (kala), * death (mrtyus krtanta, antaka), nature (prakrti),11 and, finally, human action (karma). 12 T h e variegated nature of the palette of the ancient Indian intellectual tradition is exemplified in the initial chapter of the Svetdsvatara Upanisad (vss, 2 - 3 ) where the sage passes in review a series of concepts of causation. then en vogue within various schools of thought: time, inherent nature, necessity, chance, the elements, the womb, the person, a combination oi these, and the soul. He rejects all of these phenomena as being incapable of forming the causal basis of the
5. For this topic, see James I . Fitzgerald's "Two Brief Notes on 'Karma' Relative to the Mahabharata." Presented at the ACLS SSRC. joint Committee on South Asia sponsored seminar, "Person and Interpersonal Relations in South Asia: An Exploration of Indigenous Conceptual Systems" at the University ol Chicago, April 14, 1977. (,. Cf. 2.42.45 ff.; 3.2.6; 3.32.40; Bhagavad Glut 8.2I-3I; 10.4-5, 33-34. [Ail citations of the Mahabharata (MBh.) arc from the Poona Critical Edition, unless otherwise noted. \ 7. 3.31.3 ff. 8. 1.84.6-8; 1.89.9; 5.39.1; 2,41,1,4; 44.1; 2,17.3; 45.55 f.; 51,25-26; 56.17; 57.4; 58.18; 63.36; 64.5-6; 66.3: 67.3-4, 7; 67.7; 68.28; 72.10-11. 9. 2.40.5; 71.42; 72.8-1L 10. Brhadaranyaka Upanisad (BAU) 1.2.1 ff.; MBh. 13.1.50 ff. 11. MBh. 12,222,24 ff, (R C. ROY trans,; hereafter referred to as PCR). 12. Kaiha Upan. 2.2.7; Maitri (jpan, 4.2; MBh, LU8S-191; 3,148-154; 109,10II; 12.153.12-13 (PCR); 13,207,19 f,



A N D Rli B I R T H IN T H I




existence of conscious beings and contends, instead, that it is the " p o w e r of God himself, concealed in its own qualities" that controls all the forces mentioned, " f r o m time to the soul." The Importance of this passage lies in the fact that ir is both a synoptic history (perhaps the earliest) of the religious philosophies of India tip to the time of the late Upanisads (ca. 400 B . C . — ) and a kind of prospectus for philosophical reflection on questions of causation and human destiny for centuries to come. The durability of this set of ideas is demonstrated by the appearance of a comparable statement made by Yudhisthira in the $dnri-pari>an: Among the various groups of scholars (vipra), there are some who say th.it in the production of results, human effort (purttsakara) is primary. Some learned ones say that destiny (daiva) is primary and some that it is nature (svabhava) that is the motivating force. Others sav that acts flowing from effort (combined) with destiny, produce results, assisted by nature. Rather than taking any one of these (factors) as the sole cause ol results, others say that the three in conduction produce results. . , . These, of course, are the views of those who depend on acts with reference to goals. Those, however, whose view of things is established Up&tl the truth, know Brahman to be the (primary) cause (of everything).1-1 While the epic sages drew upon this set of ideas almost exclusively in characterizing the principle of causation, they manifested a remarkable lack ot consensus concerning the precise number and combination of causal factors which they believed to be operative in the world. The passage from the §anti—parvan above suggests that the various schools could be classified under t w o rubrics: those which were committed to a hie of action (pravrtti) in quest ot worldly goals and, perhaps, heaven after death, and those which were committed to the renunciation (niVTtti) of all worldly values (including heaven; in preference lor the libcrative knowledge of absolute truth (Brahtnavidya). The particular concept of causation and human action to which any person gave allegiance would have been dictated by the school of thought or lift-ethic to which he was committed. While the philosophies of Sankbya and Vedanta (both represented in a variety of subsets in the MBh.) provided the philosophical basis and framework for a majority of discourses on human action and destiny,
13. C o n s u l t t h e essay, " A c t i o n and R e b i r t h , ' by F. Ldgertori in his trans, of t h e Bhagavad Gda ( N e w Y o r k , ! % 4 ) , p p , 157 f f . ; " T h e N a t u r e of K a r m a Y o g a , " in E. D e u t s e h ' s trans, of the same text; and the w h o l e of B, G . T i l a k ' s irtmad Bhagavadgua-rabasyet ( P o o n a , 1965).


n u m e r o u s sectarian traditions (e.g., the N a r i y a n i y a s and the Pasupatas) also made a significant imprint upon epic t h o u g h t . O n e conclusion that we might draw f r o m this diversification of philosophical perspectives and the inclination TO intermingle ideas drawn f r o m a variety of schools of t h o u g h t evidenced t h r o u g h o u t the MBh. is that the sages and scholars failed to discover any single principle of causation that could account f o r all the exigencies of human life. O r , to state the matter affirmatively, like their Vcdic forebears, the epic writers were prepared to embrace (or, at least, to tolerate) a diverse array of doctrines, in the conviction that while reality is one, it can be designated by many names ( Rg Veda 1.164.46). A cursory survey of a select n u m b e r of passages in the MBh. which address some aspect of the topic of the nature of h u m a n action and its role in influencing h u m a n destiny will illuminate the range of ethicoreligious ideas to which the sages appealed and the nature of the existential situations in which such questions demanded a didactic response.

Generally speaking, the epic sages and storytellers take up their respective positions within the philosophical lineage of die Upanisads by accounting for the fashioning of human destiny t h r o u g h the medium of human action (karma). As one most succinct classical formulation ot the principle of karma has it: " E v e n as one acts, even as he behaves, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good, the doer of evil becomes evil . . . whatever deed he p e r f o r m s , that he becomes (or attains!" ( B A U 4.4.3), In a great many m y t h s , legends, and didactic passages m the MBh., the idea is propounded that a person reaps the results of his acts performed in previous lifetimes and conies to good- or ill-fortune as a result of his acts alone. According to one account provided by Vyasa himself, " T h e acts d o n e in f o r m e r births never abandon any creature. , , . | And] since man lives under the control of karma, he must always be alert t o ways of maintaining his equilibrium and of avoiding evil consequences." 1 4 In the Uttarayayati, after DevayanI has been rescued from certain death in a deep well by King Yavati, she Is admonished by her father, Sukra, that, "by their own faults people reap s o r r o w and happiness. Apparently you once did some w r o n g which has thus been a v e n g e d " (1.73.29). Shortly thereafter, he sounds a disturbing n o t e to Vrsapar[4. 3.207.P-20, Compare 12.232.19 ff.



van, the murderer of Kaca; " T h e promotion of unrighteousness does not, like a cow, yield results immediately, O King. But evil does bear sure fruit, like a heavy meal on the stomach; if you do nor see it ripen on yourself, it will on your sons or grandsons" (1.75.2). Along the same line, Yayati declares that the forest-dweller who has achieved liberation from his body conducts not only himself but the ten generations on either side of him to virtuous deeds (1.86.7). In the account of the conversation between the wicked fowler and the saintly GautamI, the question arises as to who or what is responsible for the death ot Gautami's young son, w h o had died as the result of a snake-bite. A series of possible culprits is passed in review in personified f o r m : the snake itself, death, time and fate. O n e by one, each of the accused denies any culpability with regard to the boy's death. In the end, Gautami, "invested with great patience and mental tranquility," divines the cause of her son's demise to be the boy's own karma in a previous lifetime and adds that she too "so acted [in the past] such that my son has died Las a consequence]." 1 5 This strong confidence that each person has the capacity to influence (if not determine) his own course by his own efforts, is counterpoised with an equally compelling skepticism about the effectiveness of human action. O n One occasion, Yudhisthira questions the efficacy of the Jaw of karma: " W h e t h e r there be an effect or not of good and evil actions . . . those are the mysteries of the gods (deva-gubyani)" (3.32.33). And, in numerous sections of the didactic portions of the MBh. (viz., the Amnyaka-, &anti- and .4 ri « sasa n a -pa rva ns), where the relative merits of the active life oi the worldling (pravrtti) and of the non-active life of the ascetic (nivrtti) are debated, the party which opts for the latter way denies categorically that human acts are in any way effective in conducting men to auspicious ends. 1 6 An exemplary account of this ascetic position with regard to human action is provided in the story of King Vicakhu's condemnation of the animal sacrifices of the Brahmanas and his assertion that non-injury
15. T h i s is o n e of the m e a g e r n u m b e r of i n s t a n c e s in the MBh. w h e r e t h e n o t i o n a p p e a r s t h a t o n e p e r s o n ' s k a r m a i n f l u e n c e s b o t h his o w n f u t u r e .and t h a t o i o t h e r s w h o are c l o s e l y related t o o r t e m p o r a l l y c o n t i g u o u s w i t h h i m . See 1.86.7 cited in the text a b o v e ,

16, See esp, the "Dialogue between the Brahmin Father and His Son," 12.169 and 12.278 (PGR 175 and |169]). This same dialogue is found in Jataka 509, gatba 4,;

Mark, Par., adhy. 10 ff. Compare also Dhammapada 4.47—48; and Uttaradkyayanasutra 14.21-23, For critical discussions of various aspects of this story, consult the following sources: "Critical Notes," in C. E. of MBh. on 12.169; j .

Charpentier, ZDMG 62 (190S): 725 ff.; and M. Wintemiiz, A History of Indian
Literature (Calcutta, 1933), vol. 1, pp. 419 ff,, 562 ff.



(abimsa) to all creatures and a lite of renunciation is tiie highest duty to which men can aspire (sarvebhyo dbarmcbbyo jyayasi mata). So p r o f o u n d is his distaste for the life of the worldling (grbastba), established as it is upon the sacrifice, that he says, " O n l y the avaricious are motivated by a desire f o r fruit [ot sacrifices]" (krpatiah pbalabetavab) and "the employment of these [sacrifices! is not prescribed in the Vedas" but "has been initiated bv rascals" (dhurtaih) (12.257). The most striking feature ot those passages in the MBh. which discuss the relative merits and d e m e n t s of human action is the lack of agreement concerning the effectiveness of human action in producing results. The belie! that human actions are effective stands in an unresolved state of tension with the claims that the acts of god or the machinations of blind fate are the primary causative forces at work in the world.

In the opening chapter of the Adi-parvatt, the bard, San jay a, consoles the grieving Dhrtarastra with the declaration that all creatures pass from birth to death and thence to rebirth through the irresistible operations of time (kala). It is kala, he says, that ripens the creatures and then rots them £'1.1.188—191; compare 12.220), In chap$sr three of the same parvan, in the course of undergoing a series of ordeals for the purpose of acquiring a pair of earrings tor his guru's wile, Uttabka is struck by a vision of two women weaving a piece of fabric composed of black and white strands and a gigantic wheel with 360 spokes being rotated by six boys and a handsome man — all representing the creative and destructive movements of time (1.3.130-131). So inflexible is the law of time believed to be that the sages proclaimed, "Death has been decreed f o r all created beings. When their hour (vidhi) comes r o u n d , all beings are removed by law (dbarmena)."17 In the dialogue between the vulture and the jackal concerning the possibility of restoring the dead to life and the relative efficacy of austerities in accomplishing that end, the Vulture asserts that " w h e t h e r friend or foe, no one ever comes back to lite having once succumbed to the power of time" (12.149.S—9). In the same passage, the fruits of karma, whether good or evil, are said to be nullified by the iron rule ot t i m e . l u
17, 7,54 ( P C R ) ; C . E . Appendix 1.8 ( 2 4 0 - 2 4 3 ) . Cf, 12.13^45-49. IS. Vss. 4 4 - 4 5 . Lot a lew of the m a n y o t h e r passages about k a l a as the primary causative force, eonsuli 1.3,148-175; 2,40,5; 69 44; 3,188,99; 189,25-26; 12.26.1 if.; 149.12-13, 4 4 - 4 5 ; 213.! ft'.; 232.1 ff.; I3.1.5C ff.; 13.6; 14.17.7 ff.








Out of the wealth of materials dealing with the concept of Fate {daiva, dista), 1 shall present only a select few that illustrate the use of this concept in accounting for human destiny.** Like all the other concepts under investigation, the notion of fate is rendered multiphasicallv, by identifying it with a variety of other factors—for example, divine providence, human acts in past time, circumstantial conditions, time, and so forth, Whatever the specific meaning attributed to the idea in any given context, the term fate consistently indicates certain external forces over which the individual exercises no control, either in actualizing or deactualizing any particular state of affairs. Yudhisthira rationalizes his compulsion to pursue ever-elusive success in the infamous dice-game by appealing to the invincible influence of fate. Though he knows that Duryodhana's challenge to the dicing will bring the entire family to a .state of ruination, he admits, "I cannot disobey his word/' because of the irresistible influence of fate (2.67,3—4). In the Uttaryaydti, Yayati says, "All living creatures depend upon fate (dista) and their acts are wasted: regardless of what one obtains, the wise one is not concerned, knowing as he does that his fate is stronger (distam batty ah). Whether it is good- or ill-fortune that comes to him, it is not he but fate that brings things to pass" (1.84.6-8)*' In many instances, fate is conceived as the instrument which the divine arranger (Dhatr) employs in working his (or its) will in the world and is frequently identified with the principle of kala. In reply to Sanjaya's prophesy of the fail of the family of Dhrtarastra in retribution for their crimes against the Pandavas, Dhrtarastra avows that it is the acts of the gods (not human deeds) that bring a person to defeat. The gods delude man's mind by distorting his vision of the true nature of things and the proper order of their interrelationship, with the result that the entire system ot socioreligious values is turned u p s i d e down. I n t h i s r e g a r d the old patriarch observes, "Time [or fate] does nor raise a stick and clobber a man's head; the power of
19. Consult E. K Hopkins, Epic Mythology (Sirassburg, 1915), pp. 73 if. for a resume of materials on fate in die MBh. 20. Compare 12.15; C, Drekmeier, Kingship and Community in Early India (Sunford, 1962}, pp. 150 iff.; H. Zirrmier, Philosophies of India, (New York, 1951), pp. 98 ff.; and J. A. B. van Buitencn, "Some Notes on the Uttaxajpaylta;" Adyar Library Bulletin 31-32 (1967-68): 617-63




time is just this up-ended view of tilings" (2.72.8—11. J. A. B. van Buitenen, trans.).21

The belief that both intermediate results and final destinies are predetermined by an omnipotent divine being (or principle) referred to as the "Arranger" (Dha.tr) is represented in stark and unsettling terms by Draupadl in her discourse to the grieving Yudhisthira (3.31,21-39). She declares that it is god alone who establishes everything for the creatures, both happiness (mkba) and unhappiness (ciiibkha), pleasure (priya), as well as pain (apriya), even before "ejaculating the seed." She represents this god as a kind of cosmic magician or "puppeteer" who "makes the body and limbs move," a "capricious blessed Lord" who "hiding behind a disguise, assembling and breaking the creatures, plays with them as a child plays with its toys." In turn, she likens men to wooden puppets who are "propelled by the Lord" to their several destinies. Because man ai no time is completely independent of the Controller's manipulative powers, he is the "master neither of himself nor of others." He knows nothing and exercises no influence whatsoever over Ins own happiness and misery. The entire human body, which is calkd a "field*3' (ksetra), is nothing but the instrument by which god propels human beings toward their actions and corresponding results—both good and evil. Draupadi continues by arguing that since god's relation to man is more like that of a capricious and belligerent taskmaster than a benevolent and sympathetic parent, his actions must be viewed as arising from the same sort of self-serving motivations as human actions. Consequently, god, like man, is pursued by the impure fruits of his own deeds and is, therefore, vulnerable to the Same mora] censureship as his creatures. (Compare Bhagavad-Gita 2.18—&1.) Yudhisthira, true to his nature as the "Son of Dharma," first congratulates Draupadi on the eloquence of her statement but then condemns it as utterly heretical.22 While it is admittedly often difficult to "justify the ways of god to man," he asserts, "those of pure mind and will recognize that neither dharma nor the gods should be dispar21. Consult the following passages for additional references to the concept of faic: 1.109,10—11; 43.32; 45.55 ff.; 71.35; 67.3-4; 3.176.26 tf.; 5.159.4 (PCR); 6.76.19; 7.135.1 ff. (PCR); 8.9.3; 12.23.18 ff.; 13.6.1 tf.
22. C o m p a r e 12.161.45-46 w h e r e Y u d h i s t h i r a Affirms precisely t h e s a m e view t h a t he has categorically denied here.

. " T h e r e f o r e . T h e r e is a variety of causal elements: h u m a n action. . designate first one then a n o t h e r factor as the cause of events would seem to indicate that they did n o t feel that the total complexity of forces at w o r k in the world could be accounted for by reference to a single principle or agent. extenuating circumstances. and soothsayers. An example ot the negative effects of such p o w e r s appears in the story of Bhima's e n c o u n t e r with the gigantic serpent. failing to discover a p r o p e r standard ot action elsewhere. MAHABHARATA JJ aged. man has n o recourse but to behave in strict c o n f o r m i t y to dharma and to recognize that "it is by the grace of the Supreme G o d that a devoted mortal becomes immortal" (3.176—177). the one maintains that god alone is responsible for e v e r y t h i n g that happens in the w o r l d . for " w h o e v e r d S u b t s dharma fails into bestiality . their appearance and disappearance. they are assured by a coterie of Brahmins that their (the Brahmins') presence in the forest would yield a beneficent effect u p o n the life of the Pandavas d u r i n g their . BhTsma inquires h o w he c a m e to this terrible end. prakrti. . that either man alone or man in concert with god is responsible f o r the occurrence of events. T h e fruition of acts. and even potent actions of extraordinary personages such as sages. t h e other. magicians. [and] is never truitless.29-33). . simply because the rewards [of h u m a n acts] are |sn m a n y cases] imperceptible. are the mysteries of the g o d s . thereby falling into hell himselt and bringing the w o r l d that much closer to bottomless d a r k n e s s . the inclination to revile god and dharma arises f r o m a false understanding of the true nature of b o t h . and N a h u s a . . This bi-polar model is o f t e n complicated all the m o r e by introducing o t h e r factors. such as time. resorts to using h i m self as the rule. This juxtaposition of the views of D r a u p a d i and Yudhisthira stands out as an illuminating m o m e n t 111 the epic treatment of karma and h u m a n destiny. hereditary traits.H U M A N A C T I O N A N D REBIRTH IN THF. fate. Viewing each position in its starkest f o r m . in serpentine guise. which. good as well as bad. divine influence. replies that the misfortune resulted both f r o m his o w n p r o u d and belligerent behavior toward B r a h m i n s and trom the curse of Agastya. . [and]. is King N a h u s a in a degraded f o r m of existence (1. T h e salutary effects of the presence of gifted persons appear in another s t o r y : As Yudhisthira and his kinsmen are entering the forest.32. . as it turns o u t . seers. " Yudhisthira c o n n cers D r a u p a d i ' s c o n d e m n a t i o n of G o d with essentially the same message as that delivered to J o b by the voice in the w h i r l w i n d : " D h a r m a always bears (appropriate) fruit . T h e fact that various s p o k e s m e n in the MBh." In o t h e r w o r d s .

Krsna asserts that he and he alone is the source.). the only actual actor within the entire universe.33. given K a m a ' s failure to master Bhima despite a courageous struggle" (7. BhTsma contends that without the assurance that all karma bears appropriate fruit. men would become idlers (13. ct. H e is deluded b y egoism that surmises. . 18. viewed specie sub aeternitatis.2C6. P C R ) . '1 am the a c t o r 1 " (3. F o r example. 3. O n the one h a n d . he declares that "all actions are performed by the strands (gu?ia$) alone. N o t infrequently. and cause of all events within the temporal order: "I am the source of everything: from me all things spring f o r t h " (BG !Q.20—21.4 8 J. Bhisma declares that it is "because of acts and bondage to lime (kala-yuktena. Krsna provides experiential confirmation of this contention by revealing his universal f o r m (visvariipa) to Arjuna. 14. In the course of instructing Arjuna concerning the nature and bases f o r moral action.21-31). Krsna invokes several different notions. Elsewhere.13).8. divine action and time arc seen as conspiring to create existing states of affairs (2.8— 11.ONC twelve-year exile. Indeed) numerous other passages champion the idea that multiple combinations of factors operate in the production of events.6.1. Krsna reveals himself to Arjuna on Kuruksetra as the all-creating and all-destroying p o w e r of time (BCl 10. B R p C f .72.17.7 ff.40). Again. compare 13.32) and. B his ma asserts that a combination of destiny (understood in this context to be the cumulative effects of previous acts) and individual effort (contemporaneous resolution and its concomitant action) directs each person's earthly career. and relying on destiny alone.15). [that] the self revolves through repeated r o u n d s 1 of birth [and death] * (12.135.2). all action would come to be viewed as meaningless. compare 9. he urges Arjuna to recognize " t h a t [ritual j action arises from Brahman and that Brahman arises f r o m the Impenisfiable (aksara)" (ibid. even though their exile is viewed as retribution for evil deeds in past time.27. Resolute effort is fruitless. Dhrtarastra rejects this view of causation in his lamentation over the repeated defeat of Kama at the hands of Bhima: " I ' m convinced that fate is sovereign. [Compare BG 9. 11.] In the course of his instruction of Yudhisthira in the Annsasana-parvan.8). t. T h e latitude to appeal to a n u m b e r oi different doctrines (some of which are ostensibly incompatible) in defining the causative forces operative within the world is exemplified nowhere more clearly than in the Bhagavad GJta. foundation. O n this occasion he presents himself as the living and ever-evolving divine embodiment of all the causative forces (and their effects) in the universe (10.8a.

or the failure to acquire some desired boon. MAHABHARATA JJ as the source and support of ah polarized forces (10. . 10. or a wandering mendicant. maintainor. which. 12-15.6. He assures them further that just as the current state of misfortune displaced happier states of an earlier time. the various activities (cesta). in time. even so these adversities will.4-5). will soon pass away. At the beginning of a rather lengthy discourse to Yudhisthira and his kinsmen on a wide range of ethico-rehgious topics (3.179—221. T h e crisis-event in the MBb. subjection to a terminal illness. calls forth instruction on the cause or causes ot human destiny is Yudhisthira^ experience ot debilitating grief over the misfortunes of the Pandavas and his personal guilt for precipitating their demise by witlessly pursuing the ill-fated dicing match long after all hopes for success had vanished. in the MBb. Finally. 7. instruments (karatia). appears to reassure him and his kinsmen that their present misfortunes are the natural consequence of previous acts (karmi'wi) and. more than any other. and as the creator. agent (kartr). 9. like everything else. a " c o m f o r t e r " in the form of a deity. a sage. a costly defeat in battle. when a certain unforeseen misfortune has disrupted normal life patterns.10. the hermeneutical significance of a piece can also be deciphered by taking note of its placement within the narrative and of the events or circumstances which frame it on either side. and destiny or divinity itself (daiva) —all this without reference to any extra-human agency (18.33-34). Karma and H u m a n Destiny according to Markandeya While textual scholars customarily interpret a particular text by focusing attention on the ideational contents or narrative structure of the material.13—15).HUMAN ACTION AND REBIRTH IN THF. a great many inquiries concerning the nature and destiny of man are introduced at moments of extreme distress. For example.8-10. he complicates the situation still further by representing human action as composed of five components: b o d y (adhistbana). At the moment of Yudhisthira's greatest despair. give place to more propitious conditions—all in strict conformity with the law ot just recompense and retribution for past deeds. and destroyer of the entire cosmos (4. Such crises may be precipitated by a variety of untoward e v e n t s discouragement in the face of an onerous task. H e counsels them to recognize that extended grieving over events resulting from one's own actions in past time is both a sign of ignorance and a wastage of vital energies which should be expended in more salutary ways.

5° j. became enslaved to avarice and delusion. As usual. But the Wise ones— those who have immersed themselves in sacred scripture. in the course of time. They lived for thousands of years and bore an equivalent n u m b e r of male offspring. and human beings. all persons were observant of holy vows.181. mistakenly believethat man's destiny is controlled by death (mrtyn). H R u c r LONG P C R 182-231). "following him like a shadow. lust and wrath (kama. truthful and godlike. Yudhisthira initiates the session by raising a n u m b e r of questions regarding the nature of human acts and of the causative force or forces that influence short. they enjoyed the capacity to migrate between heaven and earth at will and to perceive the multitudes of gods and seers tangibly and without the aid of any extraordinary powers of perception. Since the time of the "fall. all souls were implanted in pure (suddha) bodies. krodha)." and he is reborn with a good. for good or ill.or ill-fortune. do both acts and their effects result f r o m the acts of god? Is it true that the results of all human acts pursue the doer during this lifetime only. were "cooked by all sorts of transmigrations. accumulates large quantities of good and evil deeds. animals. and as a consequence of their mental confusion and moral corruption. At death." and were reborn innumerable times as demons. 3. The ignorant ones.181. here and hereafter? And where do the acts abide when a person is deceased (3. in his original. Because everyone existed in a state devoid of any kind of impurity. and are self-controlled — 23. or into another birth as well? By what means is the embodied soul pursued by its deeds and h o w is it conjoined with them. the sage Markandeya presents an elaborate formulation of rhe twin doctrines of karma and samsara. Being free f r o m physical weakness and moral ambiguity. are resolute in their vows. . and that each person reaps his o w n reward? O r . " w i t h o u t any time intervening. he inquires.23-24. are of pure birth. his soul abandons his deteriorating corpse and is instantly reborn in a w o m b . that man is the agent ol his deeds. god-created body.and long-fange " e n d s " in human existence." man.6—9)? Markandeya begins his discourse by delineating the history of mankind in terms of a twofold temporal schema. During the primal era. blinded bv their deluded views of the world and their mindless desire to perpetuate their existence on their own terms. But." 2 1 His past acts come to fruition. Is it a fact. they were overwhelmed by the twin vices.

in this world or whether the moral outcome of certain deeds will be actualized only at the moment of death or in a realm beyond this one. offer sacrificial oblations. (2) those who study the Veda. possesses the capacity to exercise a decisive influence over his fate by his own deeds in each present moment. by their own acts. good and evil. and obtain wealth acquire the rewards of both this world and the next. such as time. even in his "fallen" state. exercising self-control. According to Markandeya. fate or divine providence) provides a person with the courage to make a firm and enduring commitment to . practicing penances. and the Manes [with auspicious rites]. that those of pure mind and moral character. (4) those ignorant and immoral persons who disdain true knowledge. the law ot karma requires that each person at the end of a life-span go to one or another of four different destinies: (1) persons of great wealth whose life has been filled with hedonistic self-indulgence obtain the treasures of this world but not those of the next. fall to restrain their senses. all those w h o listen to or recite this discourse) that worldly events occur not randomly. fortuitously. and render aid to those who are in need earn the rewards ot the other world but not this. sustaining the gods. The answer to this question is formulated in the form of a "calculus" based on the relative degree of self-restraint and self-indulgence that marks any given lifetime. the sages. (3) persons w h o live according to the dictates oidharma as householders.HUMAN ACTION A N D R E B I R T H IN T H E MAHAfiHARATA know rather that the destiny of each person is determined by the "imprints" (laksanaib) created by his good and bad acts. and beget no offspring find happiness neither in this world nor in the next. or devoid of human meaning but in strict accord with the eternal principle of universal order (dharma or karma). In view of the fact that a person's acts follow him throughout this life and into the next and determine the quality of his rebirth. achieve the highest heaven where the souls of the blessed dwell. give no gifts. The realization that events are caused solely by human acts (or in concert with other aforementioned factors. control their senses. who take a wife. Markandeya concludes his homily on human destinies by declaring that "it is by performing magnanimous deeds. But the question remains whether a person can expect to reap the full harvest of his deeds. Yudhisthira is urged to recognize that man. practice austerities. by extension. adhere to Yoga." It is the primary purpose ot this lengthy colloquy to persuade Yudhisthira (and.

the acquisition of another body. This autobiographical sketch is meant to provide Kasyapa with an experiential basis for interpreting the more abstract teachings that are to follow. about a series of questions pertaining to the nature of human action and its effect or lack of effect on the process of birth and death. The Dialogue between Kasyapa and the Brahmin concerning Karma and Samsara In that section of the Aivamedba-parvan commonly known as the Anugiti (14. Kasyapa poses a number of queries: H o w does the body perish? H o w is another body constituted? H o w does one achieve emancipation after going through repeated rounds of rebirth? O n c e freed from the body. In quest of more information about the cause oi his "fall" from felicity and his subjection to repeated births and deaths. In addition. how does the jiva achieve another body? H o w does a person appropriate the fruits of bis own good and evil deeds? Where do the acts reside when one is devoid oi a body? It appears from the text that the Brahmin responds to no more than three of the inquiries (i. The Brahmin initiates the conversation by giving an account of his earlier life: his early years of fortune and felicity. and his transition through numerous painful births and deaths. the death of the body.. BRUCE ! LONG a life of action {karma-yoga) and to behave in the manner commensurate with the injunctions of the sacred texts. and the mechanism of rebirth). named Kasyapa. the assurance that the full range oi effects produced by a particular act or cluster of acts does not come to fruition immediately or even during the current lifetime and that even those results that are actualized may be imperceptible to all but the most prescient sages and seers is meant to restore confidence that any given period of misfortune (of the Pandavas. Krsna relates the story of a dialogue between an unidentified Brahmin and another Brahmin. We shall examine the sage's response to these questions in their natural order.46 J.e.). in this instance) may be nothing but the prelude to a more propitious condition still to come. beginning with the event of death and its aftermath and proceeding to the process of rebirth. his subsequent fall into alternating states of felicity and misery as the result ot certain sinful deeds.16 if. . one may expect to have maximized his chance of coming to a good death and a good rebirth (or to a final suspension of rebirth). By doing so.

engenders fright. .35-4. Nidanatthana. just prior to the moment of expiration the vital breaths Iprana) congregate within the body by moving toward the motionless center of the person. or fever) throughout the organism. 196 ff. But when.4. 12. Compart the account of the death process recorded in BAU 4. death./pitta.it in The Classical DtKirmv of Indian Meakine (Delhi. E. Relevant passages of both tails are translated bv j. provokes malformation.tjvara. ~s The wind disperses debilitating heat (Le.176-39. 4. As the intensity of his anxiety grows. Jn the course of time he develops an intestinal disorder that combines with the psychological infirmity to create a disruption of the balance among the three humors (tridosas). ultimately.. makes ii go on for too long a time. his mind becomes overwhelmed with fear. doubts* and despair. just prior to the moment of death. from which the epic writer obviously derived his bisk concept's. f o r 1 more technical treatment ot the physio cosmology of the wind. remaining within the body of A liberated person (muktaj hut abandoning the body of a bound person." I-illiozat.11-13. 1%4). haired completely. The reason that the excitation of vayu in the body creates intestinal disorders is that. It puts in tumuli the mind.ind Susruta. he develops poor eating habits. it inflicts on the bodv all sorts of derangements to the detrimental forces of color. U. he is diverted from die course of thought and action which he knows to be proper and conducive to a felicitous existence.8) "It f the wind] becomes the determining cause of the prolongation of life when it is not excited. or the lUman. if the degenerative process is not reversed..ll' The disequilibrium among the humors in the body provokes other severe psychosomatic infirmities and.2. of well-being and longevity. in truth. According to Caraka (ibid. ibid. the intestines and the rectum are the abodes of vayu. with the result that he eats on an irregular basis and partakes of improper types of food. either through the eye. throws down the embryos. tridosa = viyu.HUMAN ACTION AND RKBIRTH IN T H I UAH A Hit A RATA T3 THE PROCESS OF CORPOREAL DISSOLUTION A7 L")EA'IH24 Whenever a person is haunted by a sense of his own approaching death. }:iliioz. MBk.3 . See BAU 3. then all the sense organs are tused together into an indistinguishable mass. 20Q. bewilderment. pp. The free and natural movements of the vital breaths (prayjas) are first restrained and then. p.2. In the teachings of Yajnavalkya fBAU 3. or other apertures in the body. According to a more detailed account of this process that follows immediately in the same text.1 ff. consult Caraka. 12.3.). 26. chagrin. attacks ill die faculties. loquacity.g. or phlegrtj. Siitrasthana. I. and blocks the breaths. the head. sadness. 27. the wind-27 in the body becomes agitated in response to the combined disorders.37.S). or wind.29 24.3. 29. an^slesman or kapha. 4. or bill*. it is excited in the body.4. according to Susruta fflidanastkitna i.iS As a result.. .

15-27.Whenever those vital parts are pierced. endowed with spiritual knowledge and the resolutions of the scriptures. nonetheless. Even (hough it is n o w separated from the body. rising up. As a result. digests the nourishment and separates it into various substances. Compare BAU 3. 1 4 With the unification of the vital functions. sperm. See BAU 4. the internal wind. t. the jlva is agitated by the wind. The four breaths according to Susrtita {ibid. be is in a comatose state). products perspiration. 31. and diffuses ills throughout the body. and that In the fatty tissues can create ulcerous protuberances. According to Susruia (ibid. which transports the life-essence. 1. 30. 1. and (4) diffused breath (vyana). 32. T h e jlva (here identified with the eternal Brahman) attracts to itself the basic elements (dhatus or dosas) and fuses them together to form the vital organs (marmani). t h c j t v a . all perception ceases.4. Deserted by the jlva (or Brahman). B R U C E ! L O N G Excited bv another violent disorder.203.. the wind inflicts upon the body an immobilising chill and thereby dissolves the body into its five component elements.64) for a description of this state..17. 4.20. is surrounded on all sides by its deeds. (3) concentrated breath iitimana). leaving it destitute of warmth. 34. 14. the mind is overwhelmed with darkness (tamasa). 3 1 The channels through which the person once apprehended sense objects collapse with the loss of the support of the life breaths. which. and MBh.S3 Though still retaining the rudimentary faculty of consciousness. the wind residing within the prancr and apana frantically rushes upward and abandons the body. and menses.25). (2) downward breath fapana). and consciousness.. Deprived of all its life-supports.1-24. 3 0 In order to escape confinement within the tortured frame.4. the person is recognized as dead.e. The jlva is said to be imperceptible in its present condition to all except those Brahmins who. the frva.26.) Arc (1} upward breath (prima). breath. and the uncon scious body experiences a final shudder. Verses 24—28 of the same chapter provide additional information about the condition of the psychosomatic organism just prior to death. causes blood to circulate. 3. and xhs jiva. See Susruia (ibid. embryo. the wind that resides in the blood can create ulcers..2. . urine. beauty. which sustains the body and the other breaths and draws nourishment into the body.9. the person makes one long final exhalation. enters the heart and immediately represses the principle of cognition (sattva).ll ff. " m a r k e d " (ahkita) by auspicious and inauspicious deeds. the individual is not conscious of anything (i. 33.46 J. At this p o i n t . which governs the movements of excreta. that in the llesh can create painful nodes. in cooperation with fire.

t h e jiva a s e t e r n a l Brahman r e m a i n s u n a t t a c h e d t o t h e m i n d . with the c o n c e p t s of materialistic p h y s i o l o g y as a m e a n s o f a c c o m m o d a t i n g the c e n t r a l t h e i s t i c bias o f t h e Anngita a n d o f t h e MBb. ' B e c a u s e o f t h e s u b t l e t y of its n a t u r e a n d its u n m a n i f e s t e d c o n d i t i o n . A n o t h e r s i g n i f i c a n t f e a t u r e o f t h e a n t h r o p o l o g y t h a t i n f o r m s this p a s s a g e is t h e a b s e n c c o f a n y r e f e r e n c e t o a p r e t e r n a t u r a l b e i n g o r principle.1 Sb—19.HUMAN ACTION AND REBIRTH I N T H F . A t t h e m o m e n t o f c o n c e p t i o n . N e v e r t h e l e s s . H o w e v e r t h i s m a y b e . f r o m t h e " s u b t l e b o d y " t o t h e " g r o s s b o d y " ) . e n t e r s t h e w o m b by t h e f o l l o w i n g m e a n s : t h e s p e r m c o m b i n e s with t h e b l o o d of t h e f e m a l e a n d e n t e r s t h e w o m b t o f o r m t h e " f i e l d of g o o d a n d b a d actions. a n d s u c h r e f e r ences are juxtaposed.m o r t e m s t a t e . O n entering the 35. 36.1-13. Atoamedhaparvan 18. MAHABHARATA J J have t h e capacity t o perceive t h e moral a n d spiritual quality o f a person's deeds. t h e a s s e r t i o n is m a d e t h a t u n t i l t h a t t i m e w h e n t h e s o u l is f r e e d c o m p l e t e l y f r o m b o n d a g e t o e g o t i s m a n d r e b i r t h . o r t o a n y non-material factor connected with the deathprocess. r e f e r e n c e is m a d e t o t h e i n f l u e n c e s o f d i v i n e f o r c e s u p o n t h e h u m a n s i t u a t i o n e l s e w h e r e i n t h e Anugita. implicitly. b y deciphering the " s i g n s " that are left behind b y t h o s e d e e d s i n t h e p o s t . Mental anxiety arising f r o m t h e anticipation ot death appears t o b e t h e sole causal factor. n o d o u b t . t o that p o s t m o r t e m s t a t e o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s in w h i c h t h e jiva e x p e r i e n c e s r e w a r d s a n d p u n i s h m e n t s demanded b y acts in t h e p r e v i o u s l i f e t i m e . T h i s text appears t o d r a w directly u p o n the writings of either Caraka o r Susruta o r both.. b y the rapid transition f r o m o n e m o d e of b e i n g t o a n o t h e r (i. caused. m a r k e d w i t h all its acts a n d e n s l a v e d t o p a s s i o n a n d w r a t h . each a n d e v e r y l i f e t i m e will b e f r a m e d a n d s u i i u s e d b y s u f f e r i n g . thejiva. 14. t h e jiva " r e a p s a h a r v e s t o f b o t h h a p p i n e s s a n d sorrow" b y e n t e r i n g a n o t h e r w o m b . w i t h o u t being completely synthesized. 3 5 This latter s t a t e m e n t m a y refer. T h e s o u l o t t h e d e c e a s e d is said t o e x p e r i e n c e p a i n o f a n i d e n t i c a l n a t u r e at t h e t i m e o t b o t h d e a t h a n d rebirth.17. g e n e r a l l y .e. T h e text i n d i c a t e s u n a m b i g u o u s l y t h a t t h e m i n d 'manas) s e r v e s a s t h e a b o d e o f t h e karmaphala a n d c o m p e l s t h e jiva t o c o m m i t itself t o a d d i t i o n a l a c t s in q u e s t of l a s t i n g s a t i s f a c t i o n in o n e f o r m o r a n o t h e r . THE MEANS OF ACQUIRING ANOTHER &ODY IN THE W O M B 3 6 O w i n g to t h e c o n t i n u i n g influence of t h e results of p r e v i o u s acts.b o d y organism w h i c h houses and supports it. w h e r e t h e concept i o n o t m a n is d e l i n e a t e d in t h e t e r m s o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l m a t e r i a l i s m . .

cf: Ved<i1 10. is known by the sages to be the "chief" constituent of all phenomena. material. The Brahmin's explanation of the "initial incarnation" of the jivas is framed by a philosophical cosmology composed of id eas drawn from both Vedanta and Sahklwa — a procedure commonly followed in virtually every part of the MBh. 18. pradhana is used synonymously with prakrtt fl2."39 the question arises as to why the various jivas came under the sway of corporeality in the first place. fault.121. Ibid."37 FHE. 121.2. corporeal abode of the self is the perishable. 39.12. 18. when it is employed as one of a set of sixteen vikaras.10j. Johnston (Early Sarhkhya [London. In the Woksadharma and the Anuglta." and at 12..4. fyatapatha fahmana 7. 41. indicates that the twenty• tour principles of the universe are derived from svabhiiva." and. the life-force assumes the attribute of mind and bv abiding within the realm of prana supports the body* and quickens the lirtibs into animated activity. . p. Pradhana pervades and constitutes everything in the cosmos and. He then created pradbana41 {the material cause of the universe). Every creature has a dualistic nature: the invisible.238. contrary toj its true nature. Classical Sarhkhya (Delhi. That the embodied state of being (dehin) is thought to be an abnormal condition for IBS jtva is indicated by the standardized use of the term dosa (impurity . or "inherent nature. 1969)." the term is associated with svahhdva. According to E. ' achieves a true knowledge of the duties required by that contemplation which leads to liberation. During each lifetime the jiva continues to cancel old "debts'' and to create new ones until the embodied self (debin. Prajapati then created all the primal elements (or crea37.J. 67—65). therefore. 3B. Cf. 1 he jiva assumes whatever form is dictated by the person's previous acts. as such. the Grandfather of all the creatures (Brahma-Prajapati}40 first created a body for himself and then fashioned the three worlds with both moving and sril! creatures. or "derivative modifications.I6.19S. pp.24-34.5. MECHANISM OF KKBIR1 H3B Given the fact that the jiva is compelled to encounter the effects of its previous deeds and to assume a "mode ot being that is different from [i. the "unman it est" (avyakta).4. non-material. pollutant) in referring to the basic humors in the bod v.e. Pradhana means the "originator" or the "chief thing. Compare 12.298. According to this cosmology. G. Larson. Ibid.. hi.. 40. spiritual essence of the self is the imperishable: the visible. B K L C K LONG foetus and pervading it throughout. 19371.

supposedly. coursing along. The term mmsara means literally the act1 of going about. a perpetual fluctuation of forces or a coursing of energies through channels that pervade the body of the universe and the bodies of all the creatures who inhabit it. The latter section makes no mention whatever of the role of karma in the determination of human destiny. wandering through. not as a steady state but as a process. delivered by a single person. and the creatures of even' species. at the same rime. by attributing all primary causative action to god while. but of the law of transmigration as well. The General Ideological Basis of the Conceptions of Karma and Samsara The Indian sages conceived of lite. This is all the more remarkable given the fact that the two accounts are. Whereas the first account makes no mention of a supernatural agent in connection with the establishment of the cosmic-order. within both the micro.and macrocosmic spheres. the second credits a personal or quasi-personal divine being with the fashioning of not only the material basis of existence (pradhatid/. after which he ordained a temporal boundary as well as transmigrations (parvvrtti) and a returning (pttnarlwrtti) for all mortals.. MAHABHARATA J J tures — bhutani) and all the Immobile creatures. This account of the cosmology and the establishment of the law governing birth and death differs markedly from the version presented in the subsection "The Process of Corporeal Dissolution at Death" above. the primal elements. specifically the passage . a continual and protracted (if not interminable) fiow of life-powers. We might be justified in assuming that the idea of karma is the underlying assumption of every statement on human destiny in the MBb. but taking this text as it stands. with no contribution of any magnitude from man himself. or rebirth. identifying that Creator as Brahma-Prajapati rather than Krsna. That the world and the passage of the creatures from state to state is conceived to be a transmission of power from place to place through time is clearly articulated in the Sanskrit term for metempsychosis.H U M A N A C T I O N A N D R E B I R T H I N THF. the responsibility for the creation of the world-order and the actualization of human destiny lies with the divine being. This passage supports a position midway between philosophical Yed'anta and devotional Krsna-ism. or passing through a series of states or conditions.

Sup42. Kr.and macrocosmk bodies: e. Naray a n a. In the eleventh chapter of the Bbagavad Git a. Sri Ramanujacirva.45 This same cosmogony is represented in a drastically m o d i f i e d f o r m in the d i a l o g u e betw een the Brahmin and Kasyapa in the passage from the Ann git a discussed earlier. It shottid also he noted in this connection that the twelfth-century South Indian Paricaratfa theologian. pp. a horse." •44. J-'or . sakti) is a kind of elan vital. channel or water course (prartala) or canal (srota) of the narrative and medical literature. employs the same "body language" in speaking o) the universe as the psychophysiological abode of the eternal Godhead. supports. and rebirth. BRUCE LONG through successive states of birth. there also appear images of a more organic and even persionalistic nature. The lerm snwsara is derived from the Sanskrit root meaning "to llflw together. 90). for example. the realm of samsara is displayed as the parade of multitudinous creatures entering and leaving the thousand mouths of Visnu.43 Alongside these naturalistic. 45.. According to the pHrusasiikta (RV W. the nadlbartdhas or stisumnas of Tantrism. and (according to certain "schools of thought1') constitutes substantively all living things. the canal or trench (ktilya). a bird) or as the cosmic manifestation of a primal Superman (purusaj. the universe is conceived after the fashion of an animal (such as a goat. a cow.!7. the bearer oi the body no longer perceives them.. the imagery employed in both mythological and philosophical materials suggests the transmission of a fluid substance through channels or conduits running through the micro. death. with the various segments of the natural and social orders constituted of corresponding parts of his body. I he W'dic Experience (University ot California Press. On other occasions. abstract metaphors. Pankkar. It is the eternal fipa who creates in the body in those very channels the life-breaths that are generated by food.44 the cosmos was fashioned by the self-immolation ot this primordial creature. invested with all the physical and mental features of the primordial archetype. which creates. .g." or "pass through." "wander about.24: "By thosechannels (stotobhdir) through which he perceives sense objects. From the rime of the Rg Veda. This energy is conceived to be something on the order of an electrical current or a bundle of forces fluctuating within an electromagnetic Held (ksetra) with good and bad. meritorious and unmerirorious deeds acting as the positive and negative charges. 1V77). 14.sna reveals to Arjuna his universal form as the phenomenal manifestation of the manifold universe. consult K." 43.j.42 The basal universal energy (tejas> tapas.V i s n it.23-.in illuminating commentary on this h vmn. 72 ff. MHh.

sperm. I have found no passage that attempts to account for the exact means by which each soul finds its way into the w o m b and thence into the family whose moral and social standing is commensurate with the " m e r i t a l " status of the jiva.H U M A N ACTION AND REBIRTH IN THF. (4) According to the a n t h r o p o m o r p h i c view of the universe. these creatures either represent mierocosmic replications of the universal organism in the f o r m of the primal person or collectively f o r m the numerous parts ot his universal body. this vast reservoir of narrative tales and didactic materials leaves many of the more intellectually troublesome areas unexplored. but was the material stuff from which the universe was shaped. time. Prajapati was able to turn his creative powers to the task of making the creatures only after he had fashioned a body for himself. it has continued t o gyrate in a cyclical pattern f r o m death to rebirth. T h e universe will continue progressing in this fashion until that time when all forms of life return to perfect union with that primal entity f r o m which they originally sprang into being. either under the creator's influence or by the action of fate. it is quite likely that this body served not only as the residence of the creator and the instrument of his creative acts. The MBh. once this cosmic life-system with its multitudinous creatures was propelled into motion. . or human action. shaped. N o r is it stated h o w moral entities such as good and bad acts become attached to and are transported by physical entities such as wind. water. we are in a position t o draw a f e w tentative conclusions regarding the general ideational f r a m e w o r k within which the Indian sages formulated their views of the nature and cause or causes of human destiny: (1) T h e universe was created or evolved by a cosmogonic power. (3) That primal person or principle fashioned the creatures by projecting small quantities of his (or its) o w n life-essence into their bodies and investing them With his (or its) physical features and mental faculties. (5) Finally. tire. or by a combination of these factors. With this much material before us. JJ MAHABHARATA posedtly. (2) The cosmos exists in the f o r m of a gigantic living organism. addresses a number of provocative issues pertaining to the doctrines of karma and sumsc'ira and posits a wide diversity of answers to questions provoked by deep reflections on these ideas.and macrocosmic realms along channels or ducts. conceived as either a personal divine being or an abstract generative principle. breath. invigorated. At the same time. and supported by a gargantuan store ot life-energy circulating within both the micro. Although the text does not say so.

Perhaps the sages bypassed such issues because of their own lack of the necessary philosophical concepts or because of their recognition that discussions of a subtler and more abstract nature would exceed the limitations of their listeners' powers of comprehension." . or both. which demands the reiection of responsibilities for worldiy action and a single-minded quest for libcrative knowledge of the eternal. faith. Those w h o adhere to the latter discipline would expect to become endowed with intelligence.6o ). and to the accumulation of bad karma as the acquisition of a debt. some aspects ot the doctrine of karma and rebirth were developed rather curiously to function as a springboard. The silence of the Indian sages during the epic period concerning many aspects of problems relating to karma and sarnsara sets us to wondering why certain queries were raised but not answered and why others were riot formulated at all until later times. concerning these two doctrines is contained in the MoksadharmapMvan where the spotlight is focused u p o n the nature of the path to enlightenment and liberation. with the ultimate result that "even those who have an inauspicious birth. BHUCI. and then return to this world by means of a m o r e auspicious mode of existence. Yet another explanation might be that since the bulk of the materials in the MBh. The vocabulary adapted from the world of trade and commerce to refer to good deeds as merits or assets and evil deeds as demerits or liabilities. such as w o m e n . and the religion of inaction or renunciation (nivrtti). and rebirth as the result of the transmission of a quasi-physical substance on the "back of the w i n d " or in the blood stream. as though deeds were so many items on a financial ledger. Vaisyas. which entails the punctilious performance of sacrifices and religious observances. could reach the highest goal. appears to stand at odds with the description of life. Again. changeless Brahman. death. and Sudras. Those w h o adhere to the first discipline are promised that after death they may expect to go to the realm ot the gods and enjoy pleasures that are sweet but transitory. and courage. it is not specified in the epic whether the effects of human acts are believed to be of a moral or a physiological nature. to the more elaborate articulation of the nature of the state of liberation and the most efficacious way or ways of achieving that sublime state. so to speak. It would appear that the intellectual needs of the time were fulfilled by distinguishing between two primary life-ethics: the religion ot action (pravrtti).LONG and blood.

in order to reconstruct the theory of karma and rebirth as it appears in Dharmasastra literature. B.82ab: "All the results.2). Even though these translations are often susceptible to improvement. Gautama (Riihler). " M a n n I2. These tests will be abbreviated as Ap. Apartamba. in addition to Y for Yajriavalkya. respectively. I shall exclude from this study all data f r o m later commentaries. The following volumes of i 'BE ujjJl be referred to. Vasbtha. G. Bstudhayana (Buhler). 25 Manu (Buhler). again explicitly. thev are.1) or "the decision concerning this whole connection with actions" (M 12." I shall take the first of these passages in "the most important Dharmasastra" as the basis for the following discussion. Vlsmi (Jollv). Many citations in this article are from translations of Dharmasastras S E The Sacred Boohs of the East. concluded at 12. vol. vol. vol 7. reliable. I shall supplement it with data from other passages in Manu and compare Ehese with similar passages from other texts. H. Wherever 1 disagree with the existing translations.3 Karma and Rebirth in the Dharmasastras LUDO ROCHER The beginning ot the twelfth book of the Manusmrti is explicitly devoted to "the ultimate retribution for (their = the four castes 5) deeds" (M 12. 6I .82cd introduces a related but different topic: "those acts which secure supreme bliss to a Brahmana." which is concluded at 12. proceeding f r o m actions. O n the other hand. Va. and M. have been thus pointed o u t . [ shall either state so or replace theni with my own.107ab: " T h u s the acts which secure supreme bliss have been exactly and fully described. 1 This topic is. in general. In addition to the I. Vi. voi 2.

To be sure. to a first system of rebirth.134—136). it is not possible at this point to present a balanced picture even of the printed commentaries in the field of dharma. This procedure. on the other.* Both texts give the same examples f o r the three types of karma: Mental action: coveting the property of others thinking in one's heart of what is undesirable adherence to false (doctrines) 2. For the benefit of the non-Sanskrit reading masses." This threefold division of karma leads. Manu introduces a threefold origin of karma. and different systems of reincarnation.) . insofar as it relates to karma. the translations will give at least a general idea of the structure of the lists. Yet these have been used to elaborate several very different systems. The five tables in this article provide the Sanskrit terminology on karma and rebirth in the Dharriiasastras only.131: mind (mdnas) speech (v4c) body {deba (M) = kaya (Yj ) "Action. both in Manu (12. f r o m speech.3. and from the body. often without the slightest transition. (Editor's note: Though Professor Rocher is of course perfectly right :n his statement that one cannot accurately translate the names of many of the animals and things mentioned in these lists. one can translate most of them and make a guess at some of the others. corresponding to Yajriavalkva 3.1-82 exhibits a strange mixture of general considerations on karma and satnsara> on the one hand. which is not u n k n o w n elsewhere in M a n u — a n d in other Dharmasastras — should be a warning to us when we try to describe the theory of karma and rebirth as it emerges Irom Dharmaiastra literature. Maim 12. I shall first describe the systems and then discuss some of the general ideas. O n e gets the impression that passages which originally belonged to a variety of sources — or were independent units — have been collected by the compiler of the Manusmrti and put together in succession. there are a number of general underlying ideas and concepts. f have rushed in where Professor Rocher disdained to tread. which are mutually independent but all equally within the range of dharma. which springs f r o m the mind.5-9) and in Yajnavalkya (3. Translating many of the terms would require extensive notes.LUDO ROCHES fact that much of this literature. First System As early as 12. remains unpublished.

135a. stanza 12.DH ARMASASTRAS Verbal action. "complete success. passion. and tamas (goodness.41) further subdivides each of the three gunas into three levels. This is the only significant difference between M and 1'.39 introduces the transmigrations (samsarah) resulting from them. within each of the nine subtypes. M \1. After several stanzas dealing with aspects of the three gun as which are less relevant for our purpose.) Manu (12. which does not say that this type of karma is fourfold. and darkness). his speech.42-50) list. middling." The following nine stanzas (M 12. . ha spumso 'nrtavadi cj as one item in a threefold subdivision. and high. starting from the low subtype of ramus up to the high sub3. the three types of rebirth are not. Second System Manu 12. the text (M [2. such an individual attains siddhi.24 introduces the three gnn»s or inherent qualities oi all matter: sattva.10-11) concludes his description of the first system in an equally straightforward fashion: he w h o has full control over his mind." Y 3." which is normally interpreted as synonymous with moksa. which have been used on numerous occasions in the Dharmasastras: "low. a number of possible forms of rebirth. rajas.89/ KARMA AND REBIRTH IN THE. Before doing so.6a has pamsyam anrtam caiva as two separate items of the—explicitly — fourtold "verbal action. abusing (others) 1 (speaking) untruth detracting from the merits of all men talking idly Bodily action: taking what has not been given injuring (creatures) without the sanction of the law holding criminal intercourse with another man's wife An important point in this system is that each of the three types of karma uniformly leads to a specific form of rebirth: (sinful) mental action — a low caste (evil) verbal action —• a bird or a beast (wicked) bodily action — * something inanimate Even though the "actions" are further subdivided into nine (Y) or ten (M). (See Tables J and 2. and his body is called a Tridandin.

or an animal. Yajnavalkya (3. rajas.137-139). sattva —» the state o! gods rajas —*' the state of men tamas the f o n d i t i o r of beasts Differently from the first system. Also. Even as in the first system. J40) seems to suggest that only those who are subject to rajas and tamas enter into samsara.64 1 UDO ROCHE ft Table I <rcr (karma) types subtypes covering the p r o p e r t y of o t h e r s mental action t h i n k i n g in o n e ' s heart of what is undesirable a d h e r e n c e to false (doctrines) abusing (others) verbal action speaking (untruthJ d e t r a c t i n g f r o m the merits ot ail m e n talking idly t a k i n g what has n o t been given bodily action i n j u r i n g (creatures) w i t h o u t the sanction of t h e law committing adultery with another m a n ' s wife something inanimate a bird o r a beast a low caste result (phaLimi type of sattva. each o) the nine subtypes is associated with a variety of possible rebirths. (See Tables 3 and 4.) Here again.31-33 — with rebirth as a god. has a similar passage. and tamas—which are very similar to the ones mentioned at Manu 12. Yajnavalkya (3. a human. It connects directly the characteristics of sattva. each of the principal categories leads to a specific type of rebirth. . respectively. immediately after its discussion of the first system. but without the subdivision into nine subtypes. ranging from four to seven.

fools. see note 4] anrtam (M) puruso 'nriavadi (Y) paisunyam (M) pisunah purusati (Y) isambaddhapralapah (M) anibjddhapralapl (Y) adattanam upadanam (M) adattadananiratah (Y) yati paksimrgatam (M) van m ay-am mrgapaksisti javate (Y) vats sthavaratam (M) sthavaresv abhijayate (Y) sanrain bimsa avidhanarah (M) himsako 'vidhanena (Y) paradaropaseva (M) paradaropasevakah (Y) Third System T h e sequence Manu 12. reach the vilest births.52—58 again opens with two stanzas which might have served as an introduction to any treatment of karma and rebirth: In consequence of attachment to (the objects of) the senses. the lowest of men.D H A R M A S A S T R A S 91/ Table 2 act (karma) types subtypes result (phdlam) paradravyesv abhidhyanam (M) paradravyany abhidhyayan (Y) manisam vacy antyajatitam (M) jayate 'ntyasu yonisu (Y) martasa anisracintanam (M) aillStani esritayan (Y) vitathabhinivesab (M) vitathabhinivesi (Y) parusvam (M) [Y. and in consequence of the non-performance of their duties. . What wombs this individual soul enters in this world and in consequence of w^hat actions—learn the particulars of that at length and in due order.KARMA AND REBIRTH I N T H E .

66 LUDO ROCHER Tabic 3 realm of goodness first second become gods highest Ascetics Mendicants Priests Hosts in Heavenly Chariots Constellations Demons Sacrificers Seers Gods Vedas Lights Years Ancestors Realized ones realm oj passion B rah mas All-creators Dharma The Great The Unman ifest low middle become men high Prize-fighters Wrestlers Dancers Men who make their living with weapons Those addicted to gambling and drinking Kings Nobles Preceptors of kings Those Best in Wars of Words Celestial musicians Goblins Spirits of fertility Followers of the Gods Celestial nymphs realm of darkness low middle become beasts high Immovable (beings) Worms and Insects Fish Snakes Tortoises Domestic Beasts Wild Beasts Elephants Horses Servants Despised Foreigners Lions Tigers Boars Actors Birds Men who Cheat Murderous Demons Flesh-eating demons .

s(thavarah krmikitai.D H A R M A S A S T R A S 6 / Table 4 Sattviki gatib prathama devatvam dvitiya yanti uttama tapasah yatayah viprah vaimanika gaiiah naksatrani daily ah yajvanah rsayah devah vedah jyotims: vaisarah pitarah sadhyah rajasi gatth madhya ma manusyatvam yanti b rah ma visvasrjab dharmah mahan avvaktah iaghanya uttama jballah tnaJlah natah purusah sastravfttay ah dy uiap anapra s aktah /aghanya ra jan ah ksatriyah rajnam purohitah vaday uddhaprad h a nah gandharvab guhyakah yaksiih vibudhamacarah apsarasah tamasi gatib madbyama tiryaktvam yanti uttama. matsyah sarpah kacchapah pasavah inrgah hastinah curahgah sudrah mleccha garhitah simliah vvaghrah varahah caranah suparnah purusa dambhikah raksamsi pisacah .KARMA AND REBIRTH I N THE.

and to those guilty of offenses which are "equal t o " each of the f o u r mortal sins (M 11. and. First. also apply to those "associating with such (offenders)" (M 11. the system is very different f r o m the preceding ones. a few low types of h u m a n beings. and plants appear side by side indiscriminately. it deals with a very small and well-circumscribed n u m b e r of activities. enter into S&tnsaraS-—hundreds (M 12. Y 3. Manu 12.1.55: Killing a Brahmana dfinking (the spirituous liquor called) Sura stealing (the gold of a Brahmana) adultery with a Guru's wife The rules for these f o u r shall.213215). for each of the f o u r activities there is a list of possible rebirths in which h u m a n s . Y 3. thousands (M 12.58). in Visnu (44. and tw/Vij. also appear at Ap 2. Third. a Ksatriya." plants (Tables 5 and 6).6S EL" DO ROC HER However. .14-43) (Tables 7 and 8). There are corresponding passages in Yajnavalkya (3. and a Vaiiva. a comparison between Manu and Yajnavalkya s h o w s that. it confirms something we also know f r o m other sources: classical 4. listing several forms of rebirth for each mortal sin. animals. This rule is followed by f o u r stanzas (M 12.54 (cf. with the rebirths of all kinds of thieves. logically. cf.56-59). although the system as such was well established. it deals.* what follows refers exclusively to the rebirth of ''those who j committed mortal sins" (mahjpataka)t which have been enumerated at Manu 11.55). even more closely. and especially for " t h e violator of a G u r u ' s bed. Second.61-69) becomes even more specific.5. respectively. but as rebirths for "theft and Brahmana murder" (? stctio 'bbiwstab). Three of the "low types of human beings/' conditio paulkasa. at the end of that." 1 Fourth System T h e next set of stanzas in Manu (12.2.57). These include mainly animals. by a Brahmana. The third system is different f r o m the t w o previous ones in several respects. in great detail. First.206) lays down the general rule: all those guilty of "mortal sins" will spend large numbers of years in dreadful hells and.207-208). the specific f o r m s of rebirth were not: some forms of rebirth which both texts have in c o m m o n are related to one "mortal sin" in Manu and to a different o n e in Yajnavalkya. Again.55--58.

as a vulture. each of them related to one single type of rebirth. "or [one] who has eaten sacrificial food (of) which (no portion) had been offered." which means that it had a different origin in a sacrificial context and was only secondarily inserted at this place. and so is their relation to the objects stolen. As a result. why the thief of a cow (go) is reborn as an iguana (go^dha)." Next.l i c c " 5. members of arty varna who fall short of their specific duties. We can even imagine w h y a thief of drinking water is reborn as "a black-white cuckoo.70-72) approaches rebirth from the point of the specific duties of the four varr/as." f o r this bird is said to subsist on raindrops.44-45). names of animals in Sanskrit are often uncertain.95/ KARMA AND REBIRTH IN T H E . more specific rules are laid down for the four varnas separately: Brahmajfia — > (Jlkamukha Preta " w h o feeds on what has been vomited'' 1 Ksatriya —• Kataputana (Preta) " w h o eats impure substances and corpses" Vaisva —* M a i t r a k j a j y o t i k a Preta " w h o feeds on p u s " Sudra —* Cailasaka (Preta) " w h o feeds on m o t h s " or " b o d v . the three texts display a far greater uniformity than Manu and Yajriavalkva did in the preceding system. the first seems to summarize the whole section by stating that whoever steals something from someone else becomes an animal. more than thirty types of theft are enumerated. except in cases of emergency. Except for the fact that Yajnavalkya is less exhaustive than Manu and Visnu. in this kind of text. But. the Stanza only partly refers to the subject of theft. for very diflerem reasons. In reality.D H ARMASASTRAS India's preoccupation with theft. "migrate into despicable bodies" and "will become the servants of the Dasyus. together with the thief. or someone who steals meat. of aJj wrongdoings theft is. . In general. Of the two concluding stanzas in this sequence (M 12. invariably given the most exhaustive treatment. or the thief of molasses (guda) as "a flying-fox" (vagguda).68—69. one sequence (M 12. We may be able to appreciate. Does this mean anything for the particular relation between stealing object A and being reborn as animal B? There is no easy answer to this question. We might understand why a thief of grain will be reborn as a rat. 5 The second is interesting in that it specifically refers to the rebirth of women: women who are guilty of theft are reborn as the females of the animals listed in the preceding stanzas. Fifth System Finally. Vi 44. It lists. in general.

7° I.UDO ROCHER Table 5 Mortal miners Man u Rebirth Yajnavalkya Drahmin-killer Dog Pig Donkey Camel Cow Goat Sheep Deer Bird Untouchable Mixed-birth Tribal Worm Insect Moth Birds that eat excrement Vicious creatures Spiders Snakes Lizards Aquatic animals Vicious flesh-eat trig Demons grass shrub creeper carnivores beasts with fangs those doing cruel deeds Deer Dog Pig Camel Wine-drinker Donkey Mixed-birth tribal Musician/Magician Thief Worm Insect Moth Deiiicr of the Guru's bed (wife) grass shrub creepef ..

li krmih kitah patangah gurutalpagah trnam gulmah lata T h e criterion for rebirth in this fifth system is the lack of performance. "if they have fulfilled their duties." move up one varna in each future existence. "if they .5. of the specific duties assigned to that varna.11.KARMA AND RFJJlRTH IN T H E D H A R M AS A ST R AS 71 Table 6 Mortal sinners M. Apastamba £2.mn Rebirth Yajnavafjfyya b rah in ah a sva sfikarab kharah 1 1 st rah gauh aj ah avih mrgah paksi Candalah pukkasah krmih kitah patahgah vifibhujah paksmab hitnsrah sativaii luta ahih saratah tiryarico 'nibucarinah himsflh pisacab imam guimah lata kravyadah damstri nab krurakarmakrtah mrgah sva. on the contrary. sukarah u st rah surapah kharah pulkasah venah stena. by any m e m b e r of a varna.30—11) lays d o w n the general rule that members of any varna. T h e same criterion is also applied in other texts. but in very different ways.

dog dog ichneumon ichneumon vulture vulture vulture cormorant — cormorant oii-eater" bird cricket oil "oil-eater" bird salt cricket cricket sour milk crane crane silk partridge iguana flying fox partridge frog heron linen cotton cow molasses frog heron iguana f l y i n g fox iguana -—— .Table 7 Rebirth VIS»JH Object stolen Mann Ykjnavalkya grain goose rat mouse rat yellow metal goose water honey milk juice butter meat flesh fit lard 4. aquatic bird aquatic bird water bird stinging insect stinging insect stinging inscct crow crow crow doj.

muskrat muskrat peacock hedgehog fine perfume musk rat perfume leafy vegetables peacock various cooked food porcupine peacock porcupine crane "house-maker" wasp francolin partridge tortoise tiger monkey monkey bear • camel cooked food uncooked food porcupine fire crane crane household utensils "house-maker" wasp dyed cloth francolin partridge deer or elephant wolf elephant horse tiger fruit and roots monkey fruit fruit or flowers woman bear drinking water black-white cuckoo camel "house-maker" wasp vehicles camel cattle garment leper goat goat (vulture) .

h plavah damsali kakah sva iiakidah grdhrah plavah danisah kakah madgiih vasa rail am lavanam dadhi tailapakah khagah eTrivakah balaka sakunih kauseyam titiirih tittirih dardurah krauneah godha valgudah ksaumam dardurah karpasatantavatn gauh godlia gudah vaggudah krauritah godha .Table 8 Rebirth Visnu akliuh hamsah jalabhiplavah dams ah kakah sva sva nakulah grdhrah grdhrah madguh —eiri tadapay lkah cTrivak ba laka Object stolen Mann Yaptavalkya dhanyam ikhuh musakah kam.syaiTi jalam niadhu payah rasah ghrtam mairisaiTi palam vapa lianisa.

snh vari stokakah yanani ustrah ustrah pas avail ajah vastram -•• svitri .tjah asvah yyaghrah phalamulam markatah phalam pKalam pusparn va stri rk.chuccpiindari chucchundarih barhT — saiyakah bakah grhakari jTvajivakab kurmah yyaghrah kapih markatah rksah ustrah ajah (grdbrah) sedha suhha gandhah chucchundarih gandhah parrasakah barhinah sikhi krrannam vivid ham svavit krtannam akrtannam salyakah agnih bakah bakah upaskarali grhakari gfhakari raktani vasainsi jlvajTvakah mrgebhah vrkah g.

F o r instance. It is worth noticing that these t w o sutras have no connection whatever with the context in which they occur. others appear in very different contexts. which fail to inform us. They obviously represent nothing more than floating aphorisms of a very general nature.11): A Brahmana who begs from a Sudra for a sacrifice A Brahmana who. or a crow .76 ludoROCHER neglect their duties/ 1 they are each time reborn in the next lower varna. but also have no connection whatever with each other. Miscellaneous Rules In addition to the five systems described so far. Manu — and other d b a r m a texts—exhibit a number of isolated rules on karma and rebirth. Y 3. for instance. Some of these rules are inserted in the sections on karma and rebirth generally.59-60) which not only have nothing in common with the surrounding systems.24-26. in between M ami's third and fourth systems there are two stanzas (M 12. the following thre^ stanzas on rebirth (M 11. does not use the whole (for that purpose) — * a Candala for a hundred years a — * (vulture of the kind called) Bhasa.127. The first stanza enumerates four activities and four resulting forms of rebirth: men who delight in doing hurt — • carnivorous (animals) those who eat forbidden food — * worms thieves — * creatures consuming t h e i r own kimi [hose who have intercourse with women of the lowest castes • Pretas The second stanza (cf. Y 1. what happens upward after the Brahmanp or downward after the Sudra. without any introduction. having begged any property for a sacrifice.212) is structured differently. cf. Vi 59. listing three activities leading to the same result: he who is associated with outcastes he who has approached the wives of other men he who has stolen the property of a Brahmana Brahmaraksasas In the eleventh b o o k Manu inserts.

"the best possible destination." Two stanzas (M 5.a c c e s s t o t h t ." This sequence. Hence the opposition: unfaithful wife — * jackal faithful wife — the world of (her) husband T h e question whether the husband himself has lived the best of lives. Va 21." . (after death) she enters the w o m b of a jackal. or the property of B r u m anas —* feeds . through covetousness.29-30). is totally irrelevant. 6 . . and. in the "legal" section on the duties of husband and wife (M 9. p i i t i l o k t i ' ' c h q t w o m a n of t h e f i n i b m a n a caste who drinks spirituous liquor". seizes the property of the gods.S7) indicates the true meaning of Manu's "world of the husband". cf.30.14) is devoted to the fate of the unfaithful wife: she is "disgraced in this world.165 = 9. A similar stanza in Tfajriavalkya (1.164—166) refer to their rebirth. Va 21. whether he himself will move on to the best of worlds. clearly illustrates the nature of Dharimsastra rules on rebirth — and on many other subjects.K A R M A A N D R K B I R T H I N TMK DHARMASSSTRAS 77 Thai: sinful man. who. it holds out. on the leavings of vultures In the passage 111 Manu that deals with the duties of women. in the Dharmasastras^ the construction and description of various systems outweigh by far the attention given to theoretical considerations and analyzing the technique of karma and rebirth.166) deal with the faithful wife " w h o controls her thoughts. identically but in reversed order. and is tormented by diseases. Such a wife. O n e stanza (M 5. and 5. Theoretical Considerations O n e cannot help being struck by the fact that. The stress in this case is definitely on the need for wives to be faithful to their husbands. three stanzas (M 5. f o r the faithful wife." 6 O t h e r isolated ruies may very well have been part of similar minisystems. and b o d y " —a formula reminiscent of the first system. the first two appear.164 . speech. obtains "in the next (world) a place near her husband. therefore. instead.29. besides gaming renown in this world. . which forms a mini-system of its o w n . be "born again as a leech or a pearl-oystet.11 t h r e a t e n s w i t h n o n . (the punishment for) her sins.9. she will.

7. for the tvpical Dharmasastra. the principal fact is that "action produces results. he reaps its result in a (future) body endowed with the same quality. cf. For a similar enumeration. Y 3. A f t e r the long enumeration of possible consequences of "sinful acts. Yet.SI.61-64. the results of "sinful acts" are varied and complex. . the entire gamut f r o m very favorable to very unfavorable. Tamisra and the rest (that of) ihe forest with sword-leaved trees and the like (that of) being bound and mangled various torments the (pain of) being devoured by ravens and owls the heat of scorching sand the (torture of) being boiled in jars. which is hard to bear births in the wombs (of) despicable (beings) which cause constant misery afflictions horn cold and heat terrors of various kinds the (pain of) repeatedly iving in various wombs agonizing blTTnS imprisonment in fetters hard to bear the misery of being enslaved by other* separations from their relatives and dear ones the (pain of) dwelling together with the wicked (labor in) gaining wealth and its loss ( t r o u b l e m ) making f r i e n d s a n d ( t h e a p p e a r a n c e u I d a g e a g a i n s t w h i c h t h e r e is n o r e t r i e d j of) enemies the pangs of diseases afflictions of many various kinds and (finally) unconquerable death Although rebirth. see VI 6. . that is. Biihler's translation: "Action . p r o d u c e s good o r bad results. has to be viewed within a much larger f r a m e w o r k ." M a n u ' s conclusion (M 12. there is no d o u b t that.74-80) 7 lists them in the following o r d e r : gain here (below) in various births (the torture of) being tossed about in dreadful hells. therefore.UDO R0GHER The basic statement appears at the outset of Ma-ui's twelfth book (M 12." There is no d o u b t that.7* I. the real meaning of the Sanskrit text is that actions produce ' L more or less" favorable results.3): subbli'subhapbaLim karma. it ranked as the first and most important result ol action.131-132) refers to rebirth and rebirth only: But with whatever disposition of mind (a man) performs any act. for the compilers of the D h a r m a sastras." is misleading. . M a n u (12.

Those w h o have not fulfilled their own dbamia undergo a similar fate. his text reminds us of Manu 12. even though they d o not use the term.131." Yajnavalkya 3. going away. to a wheel (cakravat.23. When a man w h o has duly fulfilled his own dharma dies.131)." iesena ( G ) ur kai •mapbaLiscscna ( A p ) . " and so does Manu 6.124: the supreme being makes all created beings "revolve like the wheels (of a chariot)" (samsamyati Cakravat)." A f t e r w a r d s — b o t h texts explicitly say tatab — "on his return" (Ap: parivrTtau)." The texts give only the most elementary indications on what exactly "goes i o r t h . beauty. " Manu 12.1.KARMA AND REBIRTH IK TUP DHARMASASTKAS 79 Manu (12. Elsewhere the subject of "going" is "the inner self" (antaratman) (M 6. but in the opposite direction. makes this even more explicit by using the verbal f o r m p r a y a t i "goes forth. B o l d e r t r a n s l a t e s : " b y v i r t u e of a remnant of their (merit)" (G). and "by virtue of a remainder of merit" (Ap).61. Although Apastamba does not use the word samsara. Y 3. according to Gautama. The term sesa in Sanskrit always indicates an important and necessary complement to something which. he enjoys "supreme. would remain incomplete and imperfect.3 merely refers to " m e n . "he experiences the results of his actions. Important in both texts is the statement that rebirth occurs.3) also immediately introduces another concept: karmaja gatayo rirnam. which means that a man's actions determine his gati—in the plural. which also corresponds with Manu 12. parivrtti also involves the idea of rolling). Apastamba compares the individual's movement f r o m this world to a world of supreme happiness—or unhappiness— and back to this world. These translations are acceptable only with the proviso that " r e m n a n t " and "remainder" not be understood to mean mere unimportant and incidental additions to that which they are the " r e m n a n t " or "remainder" of.3 in other respects.73) or "the individual soul" (jiva) (M 12. he takes birth again under the best of circumstances— good family.29-30) exhibit an interesting parallel passage on the nature olgati. unlimited happiness". Hence rebirth takes . Apastamba (2.2. BCihler translates: "the(various) conditions." But it is clear from several contexts in which the term occurs thatgdf/ has to be taken far more literally: "going. after the intermediate period in which "he enjoys happiness" — or its o p p o s i t e — o r in which "he experiences the results of his actions.2) and Gautama (11. without it. wisdom. and so forth. according to Apastamba.

to the periods of time to be spent t h e r e — o n e kaipa. the various explanations by the Sanskrit commentators are reflected in Ruhier's unusually lengthy notes. U n f o r t u nately. Bhmatrnu — yah karoti karmam. the instigator of atman is called ksetrajna. subsequently." Hells and suffering in hell are very prominent in Dharmasastra literature. the most detailed treatment is exhibited by Visnu. after death.So LUDO ROCHER place ''by way of a necessary supplement to the result of actions. Another concept which is clearly expressed is that. This is obvious not only from most types of rebirth within the various systems described earlier. We have seen earlier that. T h e text clearly describes iitman or bbntatman as the author of actions. action produces a result. but also from the fact that the texts deal tar more elaborately with the intervening " w o r l d of unhappiness" than they do with the "world of supreme happiness.* It also introduces. " f o r m e d of particles (of the) Five (elements)". jiva "through which (the ksetrajna) becomes sensible of all pleasure and pain in (successive) births". one manvantara. one thousand years. another "strong b o d y " is produced. the text as we have it is susceptible to very different interpretations. as was indicated earlier. 1I9clI. as a rule. one caturynga." or "in order to bring the result of actions to completion. This text devotes an entire chapter (43) to the enumeration of twentyone hells. rffjrw hi jandyaty csam karmayog^tin sdririnam "for the Self produces the connection of (hese embodied r'spirst^fj with actions." ." after which it is again dissolved into its elements. to a most graphic description of terrible pains and suffering." and. this passage is one of those that attributes gati—-in the plural—-to jivfl. it is this body that is "destined to suffer the torments (in hell). Besides numerous shorter references in other texts. ksetrajiiaf} ~ yo'syattriiinjb khruyitii. " a great many y e a r s " — a n d ." The passages f r o m Apastamba and Gautama arc exceptional in that they actually describe the results of "good action. finally. T h e most revealing theoretical statement on the technique of transmigration is probably contained in Manu 12. Compare M 12. separately.12-23." In most cases attention is paid primarily—often u n i q u e l y — t o a person's gati as a result of "bad action" (karrnadosa). conclude with a brief note: " f r o m this you can also gather what happens to bad action. Any further interpretation at this point is likely to do injustice to the text. In most cases this result i s — u p w a r d or downward— samsara or $amS.

s the Tridandin. The idea expressed at Manu 6. for Brahmanas only." The criterion for reaching the latter state is true insight.73-74 returns in the second section Of the twelfth book (M 12. w h o has been referred to in the context of the first system. for." " t o gain true insight" lJ in the gati of the Inner Self (antaratman). " b y the practice of meditation. "being set free by actions. which is not mentioned here. Two of these are then singled out as superior to the others and. There are. the subjugation of the organs. and by rigorously practising austerities. (men) gain that state (even) in this (world).74. . There is no doubt . conversely. In other words. which. Y 3. by detaching the senses ( f r o m objects of enjoyment). is not fettered by his deeds. the ascetic is able (M 6. in fact. examines "those acts which secure supreme bliss. like gii/:. this term is often used In the plural. is drawn into the circle ol births and deaths. But. By not injuring any creatures.74.but he w h o is destitute of that insight. (the acquisition of true) knowledge. is b o u n d (with the fetters of the satnsara) by accepting (food given) in consequence of humble salutations.73.58): Let him disdain all (food) obtained in consequence of h u m b l e salutations.190) comes very close to that of the sixth book: Studying the Veda. the distinction is between "being tied down by actions" and its opposite. exceptions. The distinction is made at a more general level at Manu 6. cf.83.73). the preverb sum0 is often interpreted as synonymous with the adverb i ant yak." The list of these activities (M 12. (practising) austerities. and serving the G u r u are the best means for attaining supreme bliss.1 connection between Sdm~pdsyet at M b. by die rites prescribed in the Veda. the state of being "released while still alive" (jivanmukta-—the text uses the term mukta) can again be lost (M 6. however. T h e text a d d s ( M 6. in connection with the ascetic: H e who possesses true insight (into the nature of the world).82-107).KARMA A N D RFliiRTH IN THE DHARMASASTRAS Si saras. abstention f r o m doing injury. encompassing them all: "knowledge of the soul" and "(the per9.75) t h a t ascetics can reach t h a t level e v e n d u r i n g their lifetime. such a. Thus. (for) even an ascetic who has attained final liberation. and darsana"»t M 6.

according to Manu 12. or to have become the object of some theoretical discussion." and 2. in normal times. in all cases discussed so far his fate is the result of his actions." The remainder of the section is primarily devoted to praising the Veda. a short sequence in Manu (11. Irrespective of whether a person is "tied d o w n " in samsara or "set free" from it. In the first place. no result at all." The difference is that he who performs pravrttam karma "becomes equal to the gods. being able (to :ulfilJ) die original law. performance of what might be called non-Vedic action ( avaidikam karma -a term not used in the text) produces. that is the opinion (of the sages). who. who.28—30) deals in a very different way with the fate ot those w h o live. for they are declared to be founded on Darkness. the tradition unanimously equates this state with moksa.82 LUDO ROCHT: R formance of} the acts taught in the Veda." Although the term is not used here. pravrttam karma. a substitute was made tor the (principal) rule. without being in distress. performs liis duties according to the law for times of distress. preceded by (the acquisition) of (true) knowledge. reaps no reward for that after death. Similarly. obtains no reward for diem iti the next world. who were afraid of perishing in times of distress. and by the great sages (of the) Brahmana (easre). whereas the fifth system above lays d o w n Specific results for mem be rs of a-vaina who deviate from the duties of their varna. The text (M I2. 1 hat evil-minded man. I shall conclude this article by discussing a few situations in which the correlation "action —* result" seems either to have been denied. produce no reward after death. But a twice-born." whereas he w h o performs nivrttam karma "passes beyond (the reach o f ) the five elements. . nivrttam karma> "acts performed without any desire (tor a reward). which are not based on the Veda. "acts which secure (the fulfillment o f ) wishes in this world or in the next. lives according to the secondary rule.S8-9C) distinguishes two types of acts taught in the Veda: 1.95." Thus. All those traditions and all those despicable systems oJ philosophy. Yet there are a few elements in it that touch on the subject of rebirth. By the Visve-devas. by the Sadhyas. certain activities have explicitly been labeled " w i t h o u t result. according to the duties that shall apply to their varna in times of distress only. whereas the performance of the two types of Vedic action (vaidikam karma) produces the most excellent results.

O n e who knows the Veda is such a person.2-6). and "produce no reward" (M 12. According to a simile used by Manu (12. earing forbidden food. perish. And "the fire of the Veda. speaking what ought not to be spoken.247: jnanagnina) also occurs elsewhere as the destroyer of the results of one's—sinful—actions. during their lifetime." In the second place. T h e most excellent {opinion is). should not produce a " r e w a r d . man (in) this (world) is polluted by a vile action. that he shall p e r f o r m (a penanee). In other words. waste away. (Some) declare Lhat be shall n o t d o it. They are in doubt if he shall perform a penance for such (a deed) or if he shall not do it. practising what is forbidden. Vasistha (27. It is only normal that living by the wrong set of duties. It comes as no surprise that such an idea was widespread in Dharmasastra circles. it is possible for individuals—exceptional individuals! — to counteract and eliminate. and Baudhayana (3. except that he replaces "he who knows the Veda" (vedajriab) by " t h e fire of the Veda" (vedagttib).30) translates Sanskrit phalam. "action does not pass. he "burns d o w n " the evil results of action. The problem is raised in a passage which appears quasi-identically in three dbarmasiitras: Gautama (19.1-5). neglecting what is prescribed." or "the fire of knowledge" (M 11. the results of actions.2) has an identical stanza.101).95) renders Sanskrit nisphatab. the question was disputed whether expiation was at all a worthwhile enterprise.10.2-5). The idea of "burning d o w n " the results of actions during one's lifetime leads me to a final problem.28. " What is more surprising is that the text actually denies such acts a "result. and the performance of penances or expiations (prayascitta) on the other. because the d i e d does not perish.KARMA AND R E B I R T H IK TUP DHARMASASTKAS 83 Buhler's " r e w a r d " (M 11. for." understood: in this lifetime. This is Gautama's text: Now indeed. To be sure. according to one opinion. the protagonists of penance prevailed: there are numerous texts stating that the sin incurred by such or such action is cleared . even so he who knows the Veda burns out the taint of his soul which arises from (evil) acts. which appears to have been of concern to the compilers of Dharmasastras: the relation between karma and rebirth on the one hand. As a fire that has gained strength consumes even trees full of sap. such as sacrificing for men unworthy to offer a sacrifice. Vasistha (22. or according t o nonVedic prescriptions.

T h e intervening four stanzas (M 11. The whole passage is obviously meant to exhort people to undergo the required penances immediately.206-208) on the rebirths 10. for ?iesena. after the sequence we are now dealing with.133): Some actions ripen (vipaka) alter death.48) states the problem as follows: Some wicked men suffer a change of their (natural) appearance in consequence of crimes committed in this life. Biihler opts for the r e a d i n g aava$fcena. is an integral part of its sequence (Y 3. ( that it may be performed) even for an intentional (offence). differing views. on the evidence of the revealed texts. But the ambivalence remained. on whether to limit penance to sins committed unintentionally. Compare Mann's concluding stanzas (M 11. according to Manu (11. metri causa. The corresponding stanza in YajnaVklkya (3. on the other hand.§4 LUDO ROCMER by such or such penance. deaf. Penances. dumb. Either one is j . within the same texts. blind. must always be performed for the sake of purification. bceause those whose sins have not been expiated. therefore.49) are the four "mortal sins" (mabapataka) the rebirths for which are dealt with in Manu's twelfth b o o k — a n d the third system above—and which will only be introduced at Manu 11. are born (again) with disgraceful marks. in this life or In the preceding one. and deformed men. More important for our present purpose is another type of uncertainty in the texts. namely with regard to a long list of physical deficiencies which are believed to be the results of wrongdoings. Hence conflicting texts and. variant.53-54). Manu (11. some declare. others again either here or there. For instance.55.209).45): (All) sages prescribe a penance for a sin unintentional!® committed. others ripen in this world. the deciding iactor is the disposition (bbava). as in Yajnavalkya (3. w ho are (all) despised by the virtuous.49-52) exhibit sixteen specific cases of physical consequences of wrongdoings—according to the introductory stanza. Thus in consequence of a remnant 10 of (the guilt of former) crimes. and some in consequence of those committed in a former (existence). are born idiots. rather than "vis^ena. It is worth noticing that the first four offenses (M 11.

so much so that at least one Dharmasastra. For an u n k n o w n reason this type of "results of actions" was closely associated with exhortations to p e r f o r m penances. w e are dealing with yet another " s y s t e m " of karma and rebirth. and were (afterwards) born again.43-44) definitely relates the illnesses t o "mortal sins" committed in a previous existence.209-211. and having passed through the animal bodies. in reality. But even then the chapter concludes with two stanzas (Vi 45. "A thief will have deformed nails. the murderer of a Brahman a will be afflicted with white leprosy." Vasistha (20. and the violator of his Guru's bed will suffer from skin diseases. exhorting people that "penances must be performed by all means. the sinners are born as human beings wirh (the following) marks (indicating their crime). This text even establishes a time sequence for passage through hells. transferred it to its chapter on expiation. Y 3. In many ways it is similar to the lists of rebirths in animal form in Table 7. see Tables 9 and 10) contains at least a kernel that must have been widely accepted by the Hindu tradition. but he w h o has drunk spirituous liquor will have black teeth. N o w xhey quote also (the following verses): "Hear." Visnu (45.5 3 . But everything seems to indicate that. rebirths tn animal f o r m described in its chapter 4 4 — s e e the fourth system a b o v e — a n d subsequent rebirths in human f o r m : N o w after having undergone the torments inflicted in the hells.2-31.49-52.1) also leaves no d o u b t that the physical defects for "mortal s i n n e r s " — a n d many o t h e r s — o b t a i n in future existences only." The detailed list of offenses and resulting illnesses (M 11. are (marked)' 1 . 5 2 . .sinners.32-33) very similar to Manu 1 i .KARMA AND RrfSJRTH IN THE DH A R M A S A ST R AS of " m o r t a l . M a n u . Vi 45. (how) the bodies of those w h o having committed various crimes died a long time ago.

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lolajihvah unmattah apasmarT and hah andhah kanah andhah kanah vvadhibhuvastvam arogitvam tailapavn rajakah mrgavyadhah bhagasyah ghantikah bhramari vatagulmi khalvatah sllpadi daridrah dlrgharogT garadah agnidah guroh pratikulah goghnah dlpaharca dlpapaharakah nirvapakah dipanirvapakah himsa ahirnsa tailahrt trapucamaraslsakavikrayi ekasaphavikrayi kundasi stcnah vardhusikah mrstasy ckaki samayabhetta avaklrnah paravrttighnab parapidakarah .

As in the Puranas and elsewhere. WEISS The study of karma m the traditional Indian medical system. blood. these traditional ideas about karma lead to contradictions. Car. deals with karma in the context of t w o issues: as it relates to embryology and as it relates to the etiology of various diseases. as in the explanation of the coming together of semen. 9° . These are contrasted with actions in the present life (purusakara). Caraka Samhita (Car. and the adjustments made by Car. and the other components at the m o m e n t of conception. Consequently. and Car. To some extent each assumes a need for medical interventions. karma and fate (daiva) are equated and used interchangeably. shows h o w conilict between fatalistic aspects of an indigenous traditional concept m u s t he reconciled ivirh a practical s y s t e m which necessarily assumes that the course of many human ills is not predetermined. even useful. reflects that situation accordingly. Where interventions are not required. Ayurveda. substantial alterations of the traditional concepts are n o t required.4 Caraka Samhita on the * Doctrine of Karma MITCHELL G. Where interventions are suggested.) must cope with those aspects of the karma doctrine conflicting with preeminent claims of medical efficacy. will be discussed. Here they are adequate. including procedures to bring about the birth of a healthy male child or to restore a sick patient to health. refers to t h e m . and the flavor of the karma doctrine advanced in Car.

. one's acnon is impeded by preeminent fate. by Gahgasahayapandeya in 2 vols. fiarma-mUbhtmya-katbarrain in which "karma is the cause of everything" {Padma Purana 2. predate and foreshadow formalized Nyaya (Dasgupta: 373-392). i969). Ayurvedic Society (Jamnagar: Gulahkunverba. 1. T h e p r i n c i p l e of c a u s a l i t y a l s o i m p l i c i t l y e s t a b l i s h e s t h e v a l i d i t y of t h e e m p i r i c a l c o n t e x t o n w h i c h t h e clinical p r a c t i c e of m e d i c i n e is b a s e d . 3. 3. set also Qar.8.v." eh.30. three types of karma are observed: base. 4. Kashi Sanskrit Series. moderate. no. 4 . Sec Surendranath Dasgupta. 3. or b o t h .41.3..1. either in a past or the present life.31. Gujarati. 5 K a r m a is r e q u i r e d f o r all a s s o c i a t i o n s a n d s e p a r a t i o n s . 6. 1932).4 . Car. 3 . an action (karman) ol a prior incarnation. 6 vols. 4 a n d b o t h k a r m a a n d q u a l i t y (guna) are i n h e r e n t l y r e l a t e d t o s u b s t a n c e (dravya). see also 1: 213-217. pp. 2. Car. cited by Wendy O'Flalierty in this volume. and c a u s a l i t y s t a n d s as a f u n d a m e n t a l p r e c e p t . howCVtr. This eCQphasis on action.44. 4.i -with the Ayitrveda-Btpika Commentary o] Cakrapaniuathtij. are represented in Car. 3 K a r m a is d e f i n e d as an a c t i o n r e q u i r i n g s o m e e f f o r t . Actions are either powerful. lacking power.3. 3 . 2 Weak fate is impeded by individual action. or superior. The Carakit Sdrrihita. . in 5 vols. ed. in w h i c h t h e y a b i d e .49-56.3. Car. The term kannan is deal: with tirst 1 1 1 an elaboration of cause (karunaj srt the Nyaya-Vaiscsika context. 194 (Varanasi: Chowkhartiba. at the outset. C'tfr. 2. vol. (Cambridge University Press.2 .94). and English by Shrce Gulabkutjyerba. Concepts from all of the orthodox Indian philosophical systems. "Speculations in (he Medical Schools.24) is consistent with the Nyaya-Vaisesika metaphysics adopted by Car. 13. There is also a person's action that he does here.1. I949J. Car. at some point and in varying degrees of hdeli ty with the sources of their own traditions. Curaka Samhitit of Agnivei. 1 P r e c e d e n c e b y o n e o r t h e o t h e r d e p e n d s u p o n t h e i r relative s t r e n g t h . O n the other hand. 3 3 f i . 3. 2. Thus. G . and the rigid insistence that everything must proceed from a cause (q. C a u sality serves as a r a t i o n a l e f o r t h e k a r m a d o c t r i n e 6 a n d e x p l a i n s s e e m i n g l y u n e x p l a i n a b l e s i t u a t i o n s . 273-436 in History of Indian Philosophy. Sanskrit text with introduction and translations into Hindi. Dasgupta feels that the arguments on logic in Car.CARAKA SAM HIT A O N T H E D O C T R I N E O F K A R M A 91 Fate is to be regarded as self-inflicted.

K. is tacitly incorporated as a basic premise in Car." loe. and scory literature. is not explicit. cit. the deed one performs. has also been addressed elsewhere. gifts to Brahmins. to treat insanity unmada) associated with demons (bhiita).v. and they are often central. or time of maturation of karma. Despite the implications of fatalism of karma in the Puranas. and all the sacred recitations and all effort is in vain. q.33-34." 7 And " L a z y men and those who depend upon fate never obtain their goals. though especially salient in the medical context.i 2. .1-12. 4. 11.. employing the genitive inflection of karman. 4. and deed (karman) properly bound. word.e.' then the medical books are in vain.N4ITC H i LL G. The use ai karman in the active sense as a remedy is routine in the medical texts. have their analogues in Ayurveda. although there is a sense that the latter can prevail. daiva) and the active.47. "If you decide ' W h a t is to be.v. fruit.1. Reference to the passive sense usually specifies the result. Matfya Parana 221. 9." 8 This view. philosophical texts. namely. 6.32-37. numerous means by which n may be circumvented are included.2. See Cakrapiimdatta's Ayurveda-Dipika commentary (in Chowkhamba edition tsf Car.) 6. S»srnta Samhita (Sh.2 — 5. that since fare cannot be fathomed all effort is invested in human activity. Intent in his practice of austerities and knowledge — diseases do not hefali such a man as this.98. The relationship between the passive aspect of karma (i. 1 0 As a principle it is maintained: Thought.g. 11 O t h e r passages explain the onset of specific disorders as the result of inauspicious karma. u.. WendV O'Flaherty's discussion tif "Karma and Fate" and "The Conquest of Karma.2. The treatment of manv disorders includes bali sacrifices and other ritual observances in such detail as to resemble passages from Dharmasastra. especially for disorders attributed to exogenous (agantu) factors which are less susceptible to physiological interventions. 10. and so forth. and Car. Dharmasastras. ibid. Car. WEISS The essential conflict between the deterministic implications of the karma doctrine and the need to act. Dharmasastras. Wendy O* Flaherty refers to a didactic aspect of the Puranas which preaches. * The means of overcoming the effects of karma advanced in the Puranas. clear-headed with sparkling judgment.f>0. Garstda Parana.9. 7. and the rest. Yo^a practice. Wendy OTlaherty. will be. pilgrimage.) on Car. UUiira Khund.

l%3).). the remaining t w o of the so-called great three (brhattrayi). Gandharvas.. Pisacas. Varanasi: Chowkhamba. Seers. 1. According to the tradition delineated in Car. Drdhabala may also have worked on other chapters 12. Mitchell Weiss. and it lacks some that occur in Car. 1 4 Daiva here is more directly related to the Devas in contrast to Car. but some that are not. Diss. Car.6. and Pitrs. including Agnivesa.7. h o w ever. Car.289-90 indicate that the composition of Agnivesa was called the Agnivesa Tantra and that it was reconstructed by Caraka.) is more reluctant to cite karma as an etiologic factor. Su. And it is the result of improperly executed religious vows and promises. 6. and Astdngahrdaya Samhita (AHr.19-20. This and the emphasis on surgical procedures characteristic of the Dhanvantari tradition represented in Su.) 6. Car. and so forth. 30 (2nd ed...1. distinguish it f r o m the other early texts in the mainstream of Ayurveda. namely.7. 14. p. Su.24 is a chapter providing a detailed etiologic schema. 1. Yaksas. has no such chapter devoted exclusively to etiology and does n o t include such detail. daivabalapravrtta.9. Part of Caraka's revision was lost or never completed.16. finishing the last t w o of eight books and seventeen chapters of the sixth b o o k . 1945). 1977. on the other. The Susruta Samhita of Susruta.C ARAN A SAMHITA O N THE D O C T R I N E OF KARMA 93 Exogenous insanity (unmada) is caused by the assault of Gods. 12 Susruta Samhita (Su. cf. and lightning and natural disasters.. Bharadvaja. Indra was requested by a group of seers to deliver the medical doctrine to their representative. Bhela. vol. 1 3 It contains many ideas also found in Car. Raksasas. and f o u r others. The translation frequently incorporates material from Dalhana's commentary without notice and is otherwise unreliable.D. Su. ..4. and Drdhabala completed the adumbrated version. C o l o p h o n s of Car. on the one hand. and demonic wrath. Car. 3 vols. or karma in a previous life. w h o then taught it to the other seers. spells. and so forth. edited by Narayan Ram Acharya (Bombay: Nirnaya Sagara. and Vagbhata's^jfiiwgd- hrdaya Samhita (AHr.30. Ph. Agnivesa was the principal a m o n g these and the first to compose an instructional text to preserve the doctrine of Atreya. English Translation of The Susbruta Samhita Based on Original Sanskrit Text. where daiva is often s y n o n y m o u s with karma.24.. University of Pennsylvania. Critical Study of Unmada in the Early Sanskrit Medical Literature. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Studies. among them Atreya Punarvasu. does not include karma. 2. 1. Atreya trained six disciples. A category of supernormal factors. and so forth. refers to curses. 13. 62. and 6.

E . medicines and the like. I. N. Mtdicin. can modify or arrest the ordinary 15. bharadvaja KumarasTra is specified in Car. For here it is only the fruits of extremely bad actions that cannot be arrested by the normal efforts ot good conduct. pp. This implies that our ordinary non-moral actions in the proper care of health. Car.[_>. Car. (1949) claims to have settled the issue of determining Drdhabala's contribution. Grundriss der Indoanschen Philologie und Altertumskunde. 3. vol. 1. vol.g. *s facility in dealing with conflict between an immutable karma doctrine and medical efficacy.8 in which a group of contemporaries oi Atreya dispute the number of ra$af. [Nowhere else] do wc find die sort of com man-sense eclecticism that we find in Caraka. The Gulabkutiverba edition of G'tir. some of which may he surviving the Agmvcsa Tantra. (Leiden: Brill. The organization of Car. on which chapters remains problematic. translated by C. An adequate elucidation of the relationship of Car.3.d. and if so. The Madhavanidarm and Its Chief Commentary: (.b. 4. In large measure Car. Kasbikar. Indian Mcdicinc (Poona: Kashikar. andl the question of whether he did. 500. Meulenbeid. 1 5 It shouid be noted that whereas is generally considered to be essentially the composition oi its namesake. Reasons for assigning tins date' and discussion of status nf the controversies surrounding Drdhabala's contribution to Car. See also Julius jolly.94 MITCHELL G."' In addition to elaborations of the Atreya doctrine by a iater author(s). and Nates.15. contains the pronouncements of Atreya frequently offered m response to questions posed by Agnivesa and the other disciples. pp.26. 's c o m p o nent sources as they contribute to the text requires further study. See Gulabkunverba's discussion. not Atreya's teacher. 96— 106.1. 1. 40-44 . see alsu pp. F. G. at the time of Drdhabala is also uncertain. introduction.4. The fruits of all ordinary actions can be arrested by normal physical ways of welLbalanced conduct. and others.d. J.H. taking proper tonics. 1974). 403-406. and the revision by Drdhabala at approximately A. 1. 195!).26. WKISS as well. Caraka is believed to be the reviser rather than author of the w o r k bearing his name. & Trans. 10.it [he Bharidvija participating in these dialogues in the text could be identified as the Bharadvaja held to have deliv ered the corpus of Ayurveda til Atreya in Car. Bid.II is uniike'v rh. 1. 410-413. the administration of proper medicines and the like.19—27 after receiving it from Indra. pp. in G. and sometimes in response to challenges made by a Bharadvaja. one finds verses. P r e d e t e r m i n e d Life Span Dasgupta has commented on Car.hapten I—10. Translation.. and so the matter of which seventeen chapters of the sixth book are indeed the last seventeen is unsettled. The date of composition arid revision by Caraka is estimated to fall within the first 300 years A. 16.

Dasgupta. 403. no kingly wrath. According to other theories the laws of karma are immutable. horses. w h o r e s p o n d s t o t h e d e t e r m i n a t i v e i m p l i c a t i o n s . ferocious. 5 above). Thus. life is l o n g a n d h a p p y . elephants. b u t s o m e is n o t f i x e d t o a t i m e a n d is a r o u s e d o n l y b y m o t i v a t i n g f a c t o r s . p u r u s d k a r a . a n d t h e o t h e r . and the great seers together with the lords of the gods w h o know all that is to be known could not see. the iear of untimely death would not beset those creatures w h o did not practice the means for fending off fear of untimely death. A f t e r d i s c o u r s i n g o n t h e i n c r e a s i n g i m m o r a l i t y and d e c r e a s i n g life s p a n o v e r t h e c o u r s e of t h e f o u r w o r l d ages l e a d i n g t o t h e p r e s e n t Kali Y u g a . " I s t h e life s p a n a l w a y s f i x e d o r is it n o t ? " h e asks. according to the effects of my ordinary karma E may have fallen ill. Undertaking to employ the stories and thoughts of the great seers regarding the prolongation of life would be senseless. halt offerings. N o anxiety about falling from mountains or rough impassable waters. A t r e y a c o n f r o n t s t h e essential issue. W h e n b o t h are n o b l e . I may avoid such effects and may still be in good health. H e elaborates: It all life spans were fixed. benedictions. amulets. stones. herbs. fasting. expiations. if I take due care. it is our power of observation that is first and foremost of all 17. or ill-mannered cattle. Even lndra eould not slay with his thunderbolt an enemy whose life span was fixed. a n d w h e n t h e y are m o d e r a t e . op ck. A c t i o n (k arm an) p e r f o r m e d in a p r i o r e x i s t e n c e is f a t e .CARAKA SAMHITA ON THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA 95 course of the fruition of our karma. Also. donkeys. the great seers could not attain their desired life span by means of austerities. insane. but. 3 . it is o t h e r w i s e . and nothing such as polluted winds to be avoided. teach. ill-mannered. is w h a t is d o n e h e r e . 3 o n c a t a s t r o p h i c e p i d e m i c s . A t r e y a is q u e s t i o n e d b y A g n i v e s a . observances. avaricious. I n Car. For the occurrence of these and the like would not cause death if the term ol all life were fixed and predetermined. (n. oblations. then in search of good health none would employ efficacious remedies or verses. disturbed. S. p. buffalos and the like. and lowborn. it causes t h e life to be m o d e r a t e . There would be no disturbed. nor perform in full measure. camels. . Car. and none of the various poisonous creepers and snakes. d o c t r i n e as m u t a b l e . fierce. no violent acts. e f f e c t i v e l y r e d e f i n e s a s p e c t s of an i m m u t a b l e karma. no actions out of place or untimely. and none whose minds were negligent. even the Asvins [divine physicians] could not comfort with their medicines one who suffers. foolish. and prostrations. H e e x p l a i n s t h a t s o m e k a r m a r i p e n s in a fixed a m o u n t of t i m e a n d is p o w e r f u l . no raging fires. no enemies. furthermore. A t r e y a replies t h a t life s p a n a n d o n e ' s p o w e r o r w e a k n e s s d e p e n d o n b o t h f a t e (daiva) a n d h u m a n e f f o r t (purusakara). w h e n b o t h are b a s e . 1 7 B y s h i f t i n g t h e e m p h a s i s of e t i o l o g y f r o m p r e v i o u s lives t o t h e p r e s e n t .

38. There is also a discrepancy in the life span of those who imbibe poison and those who do not. WEISS that is known.similarly for those who treat every medical condition that may arise versus those who don't.3.28. f r o m a deteriorated condition of the body. consequently. We also observe untimely death among those who are improperly treated for an illness such as fever. and the same is true tor a man's lite span. On ihe one hand we observe it and on the other we teach it. or the wrong use of all things. all m i g h t bring this a b o u t . from restraining intense urges and from not restraining intense urges that shouid be restrained. . A g n i vesa asks Atreya what is meant by the distinction of timely and u n t i m e l y death if there is n o fixed length of l i f e . keeping ail over-indulgence in check and doing away with lack of restraint. and one's own characteristics. from relationships with evil men.3.3. Car.36. see note 86 below. and the health of a m a n ' s b o d y remains until his original m e a s u r e of strength expires in d u e course and he dies. drugs. Car. T h a t is a timely d e a t h . avoiding over-indulgence. . or eating bad food. abstinence. ' ' 1 Atreya answers by c o m p a r i n g the life span ot a m a n and that of an axle. and from shunning food and treatment. dealing with karma and spoiled loods. . p o o r m a i n t e n a n c e and handling. tathJyub sarlropagatav^ baLivatprakrtyti yathuvad upacarygmarUtm SVJpramanjkfayMwavasanjrrt gacchati sa rrfftyuh kale H . 4. not iust w i t h respect to maintaining health and IS. s [n response t o this refutation of physiological determinism. 3.6. Car. . dealing in the appropriate manner with adverse geographic locale.question of thi. and it is by observing that we percetve the following: over the course of a great many bin lies. p o o r roads. duration oi life is based on salutary practices. and from the antithesis there is death.-' Embryology: Promoting Conception Recognition of the value of k n o w l e d g e a b l e intervention p r e d o m i n a t e s t h r o u g h o u t Car. from excessive sexual intercourse. 3. 3. Also. .37. He c o m e s to his end as a result of an undertaking not in accord with his Strength. 20. season. 3. 2 0 Various p r o b l e m s affecting the axle will cause it to w r ear o u t prematurely. T h e load in the w a g o n may be excessive. avoiding vagabonds and haste—we perceive that proper regard for these will bring about freedom from disease. from the pain brought on by spirits. 19. This also raises the. A n axle will function p r o p e r l y in a carriage until it wears o u t . Such is untimely death. a n d so f o r t h .3. This view is reiterated 111 Car. wind. . clumsy drivers or draft animals. Cur.9 6 MITCHELL G.38-V 21. from eating beyond his digestive capacity. . jugs for drinking water and ornamental jugs do not last the same amount of time.. and fire: from 3 besting.position of Dharmasasira with regard to malpractice. the life span of the thousands of men who fight compared with those who don't is not the same.

2 2 T h i s is also the mechanism specified by P atari jali in the Yoga Sutras. that determines the sex and characteristics of the child.3.6. 23 In Car. Both the man and the w o m a n should be neither too old n o r too y o u n g . 4. disrespect." in this volume. and there is a manifestation of the residues" (WJ^M Sutra 4.S).. 2S.8. See Karl Putter on "The Process of Rebirth in Some Indian Philosophical Systems. 4.in accordance with its qualities. in which k a r m a produces certain residues (-vasana). are generally cited is valaypitta. life span.2S A w o m a n ' s overeating. T h e last of these details clinical applications and is presented as the culmination of the t h e o r y discussed in the first seven. 2b. n o t the activities of the parents. Car. 27. 2 S Preliminary p r o c e d u r e s f o r purification and cleansing with emetics. ' 25.8. Car. but also with detailed directives f o r p r o m o t i n g fertility and the birth of a healthy. 4. The three ciosas. This is inconsistent with m o r e rigid interpretations of the karma d o c t r i n e h o l d i n g that it is the karma of the fetus remaining f r o m previous lives. or else her o f f s p r i n g will be lacking in qualities..4.7)] ripens solely . purgatives. 23. Karl P o t t e r discusses Sankara's f o r m u l a t i o n . k is these karmic residues that c o n d i t i o n the kind of birth.e. excessive hunger or thirst.S. and enemas are suggested. b u t in either case t h e y should abstain until three d a y s f o l l o w i n g that o n s e t . 's l o u r t h b o o k deals w i t h " e m b o d i m e n t " (Sarirasthdna) and is c o m p o s e d of eight chapters. anger. or ardent passion will render her unable to conceive. desire f o r sexual congress w i t h a n o t h e r man. and kapha.iklir zthanam "Consequently [karma (YS 4. and they should be well suited t o each 22. Car. and t h e nature of the experience that t h e jtva will e n c o u n t e r in the next i n c a r n a t i o n . C h a p t e r 8 begins with p r o c e d u r e s tor dealing with infertility and establishing a p r e g n a n c y in difficult cases. pathogenic bodily elements.4.CARAKA SAM HIT A O N T H E D O C TRIMS Of- KARMA 97 staving oft d e a t h .8. 4.41. as a practical matter the influence of the parents is m o r e i m p o r t a n t . depression. 24. intelligent male child. Slesman is commonly Substituted tor kapha. nor unhealthy. 4. Car. Car. such preliminary treatment is eomtrionlv prescribed for many conditions. T h e r e are directions " t o r the explicit p u r p o s e of establishing p r e g n a n c y and i m p e d i n g obstacles to p r e g n a n c y " 2 4 Car.5. 2 h To p r o d u c e a son t h e parents are t o copulate on even days after t h e onset of m e n s t r u a t i o n and f o r a d a u g h t e r on o d d days. i. tatas tad vipakdn«gitnurltitti L'vabhuy. fear. 2 7 T h e w o m a n is cautioned n o t to lie p r o n e or on either side lest the phlegm (slesman) o b s t r u c t the passage of semen to the w o m b or the semen and blood be b u r n e d by bile (pitta). .

13. 4. 3 3 Ef these procedures are followed. the theory of conception should first be reviewed. . With regard to this usage of sattva. 4. 4. Car.MITCH Li I. traditional karmic influences inherent in the individual himself are also involved. Then they cohabit for eight davs and will thus conceive the desired son. 3 1 For a Sudra. sport. 3 0 A priest (rtvij) may be hired. WEISS o t h e r . G. and she i. H e places specified articles in their proper place." She receives water for her general usage from the priest. circumambulates the hre three times. 3 4 With regard to intellectual endowments. 4. and the two receive the blessing of those attending. an antelope or billy goat for a Vaisya..-32 For a woman desiring a specific type of son having certain physical and mental features.e.8.s instructed regarding the diet. 4 . a white stallion or bull is to be gazed upon by her.6-7. .2.8. 35. 32. adjustments in the ritual can be made.. and Various other measures and techniques of a ritualistic nature in the character of Dharmasastra are described. mental character).N. respectful salutation (rmmaskara) to the authorities is sufficient.27. w h o selects a spot at the northeast of the dwelling. and prepares the oblation while well-born members of the appropriate varna (i. Car.K>r Sec also Car. For a Brahmin he sits on the skin of a white bull.. special preparations of rice and barley are to be eaten.s E m b r y o l o g y : T h e Viable H m b r y o To understand the elaboration of personality types which result from permutations of the constituents of sattva (i.e.S. Present mental character is a function of the nature of the intellect in all former lives.9 . 4. Brahmin. 31. 4.8. what is heard at the moment leading to pregnancy. Car. 8 . and eats the remains of the sacrificial ghee with her husband. 34. see note 65.12. 33. Car. Car. conception is certain. and one's own proper behavior. a tiger or bull for a Ksatriva. however. 8 . 30. Car. where he strews eowdung and water about and fixes an altar. Car. The woman and her husband make oblations and propitiate Prajapati and Visnu: " M a y Visnu cause this w o m b to be fertilized. and occupation of the kind of child she desires. R e c i t a t i o n of charms is suggested. the parents' intellect.17.S. It is believed that thegi irbba (the term for embryo and fetus) develops as a result of 29. etc. 4. lights the fire. as above) are seated all about.JO-11.14.

16.2. and each is attributed to a specific cause. movements of the w o m a n ' s left limbs. wind (vata). milk f r o m the left breast." 3 9 After conception.2. the semen-menstrual complex in which there is excessive wind (vata) — That many parts is the number of offspring that she shall bear. and so forth. 4 0 It was believed that through the p e r f o r m a n c e of certain pumsavana rites the sex of the newly conceived garbba could be changed to male. indicate that a female fetus will develop. foods.2. including hermaphroditism. desire f o r men. artava. and when the semen splits. 37 As a result of karma there is unequal division of the semen-blood complex as it develops in the womb. and water after 36. and the opposite indicates a male.). bile (pitta). development.2. When blood predominates in the garbba. character. Car. milk. complications involving the three doias — that is. and phlegm (kapha)—-or the result of problems with achieving satisfactory coitus. 4. O n e preparation of rice and flour was to be ingested through the right nostril. in accordance with their karma.14. and movements. 4. curds. and behavior are enumerated. OF KARMA 99 the successful union of semen (sukra) and menstrual blood (sonita. karma is also mentioned. she might also drink t w o handfuis of a mixture of curds. a girl results. and so among the twins one is distinctly larger. foods. a boy. 40. there are twins. rakta. Various combinations of herbs. impotence. and so forth. drinks.21. infertility. ectopic testis.CARAKA SAM HIT A ON TH t DOCTRINF. " T h e above eight types of abnormalities are to be regarded as dependent upon karma. Car. etc. T h e importance of her thoughts at the time of conception in shaping her coming child is also emphasized. not her will.12. Car. and so forth. . Car. 4.•lli Eight abnormalities pertaining to sexual identity. 38. 3 6 Karma is invoked to explain the occurrence of a multiple birth: Into as many parts as it shall split. pathogenic bodily elements. 4. however.24-25.2. At the conclusion of the list. feminine dreams. with semen. 4. Car. such as abnormal mixture of sperm and blood. and m s e c t s were employed at the proper time in a prescribed manner. O n e is larger and the second is smaller. 37. feeling the garbba on the left side. 39.

19. dyspnea and very shaggy hair. a woman who eats the meat ot the large lizards to one with kidney stones. she gives birth to insane offspring. one who inflicts great injury or w ho is idle. a woman who eats boar meat to one who has red eyes. a woman always earing bitter foods to one who is dehydrated. Ibid. silver. 4 4 Although parental behavior d u r i n g — a n d possibly prior to pregnancy. and according to Cakrapanidatta's commentary. a mute or one who is very stout.4. the father's semen could also be responsible for defects in the offspring. constipated or sickly — a pregnant woman. a woman always taking astringents to one who is dark complected.17 represents another view when it is needed to explain observed events.. 43. . a woman who is always asleep to a sleepyhead. a tool or a dyspeptic. 4 1 In either case.21. the same indiscretions (apacara) prior to conception are implicated. Measures to insure a healthy pregnancy and precautions to avoid miscarriage were advocated.42 Thus. Car.30. a woman always eating sweets to one with urinary disorder. see also Car. 4. deficient in semen or without children. there are defects in the semen engendered by the father along with defects produced by the mother. or iron figures of men. or short-lived child.&. a cheat or a malcontent. is jealous or effeminate. These are the conditions which are said to cause defects in the garbba. urinary retention or polyuria. for the f a t h e r — i s an itn41. a woman who always eats fish to one who blinks infrequently or whose eyes are fixed. a thief ro a drudge. Sleeping stretched but on her hack might cause the umbilicus to wind around the throat of tine fetus. sleeping without a cover and going about in the nude. a longing woman to one who causes pain to others. 42. will often hear a child with a disease causing those symptoms.4. without strength or poorly developed. Furthermore. one who has a short memory or who is mentally disturbed. 4 1 O t h e r procedures are also described.IOC MITCHELL G WIMSS tossing in miniature gold. an impatient woman to one who is fierce. Certain behaviors and habits of the expectant m o t h e r were said to be responsible for specified defects in the offspring. a shrewish quarrelsome character gives birth to an epileptic. a lustful woman to an ugly and shameless or effeminate son. 4. a drunk to a big drinker. this wide variety of afflictions results f r o m parental activities with n o mention of the child's karma. 4. a woman always eating pungent foods to a son who is weak. emaciated. Cakrapanidatta's commentary on ibid. Car. see also Car. a woman always eating sour foods to one who has blood-bile sickness (raktapitta) or disease of skin and eyes: a woman always eating salt to one who soon becomes wrinkled and grey or bald.3. Car.8. a woman who is perpetually upset to a fearful. 4. 4. being devoted to such practices associated with the ills described above.30-31. 44.

navel. as we shall see. and one's own deeds. 5. 47. the infant's life expectancy could be ascertained from various signs. The various. karma and atman are construed in terms of the four elements. as well as the mother's food and activities. food.1. Car.4. 4. Car. These were not necessarily present at birth. . which is denied a physical basis in the elements. These included the quality of hair on the head. 147 paternal semen. Additional data contribute to an explanation of such discrepancies as the failure in the integration of concepts from diverse sources.26-27. excreta. 45.2. and so f o r t h . while the mental condition is also influenced by karma from his previous incarnations. bhilta) — namely. however. fire. and other facial features. qualities of the skin. the relative proportion of paternal semen and maternal blood determines the sex. For karma. which in turn contribute the components of the garbba. the relative size of the head. These are also constituents of maternal blood. As was already noted. 4. wind. 4 5 O t h e r features were indicators of subsequent pathology that would develop and were attributed to fate (daiva)46 and thus to karma.™ Contributions f r o m karma and the parents thus have a physical basis.CARAKA SAM HIT A O N TH E D O C T R I N E OF KARMA 10 I portam determinant of the condition of the offspring. 4. polluted dosas produce malformations manifest in complexion and the senses. various anatomical relationships. Car. karma is explicitly inherent in atman. other components of the garbha also play a major role.7. Car. here. eyes. Just as excited waters flowing in the streams during the rainy season pound with sticks and stones and May deform a tree. earth. but were latent and might appear at any time. eyebrows. There. and other conditions of the fetus. both through a material transfer of the four elements. 46.3. multiplicity. Car. Car. 's analysis of the viable embryo elucidates the relationships between specified c o m p o n e n t s and accounts for a variety of stereotypical character types. 4. 4. At birth.2.8. the dosas do the same to the garbha in the womb.51. the residue of one's own karma (atma~karma-"saya) and the season. and w a t e r — a n d six types of nourishment (rasa). this will raise a problem as the theory is developed further in the next chapter. Car. earlobes. The garbha is made up of the four elements (prabhava.2 states: Due to defects of the seed. 48.3. The parental contributions to the garbha influence its physical and mental nature.

ihe mental faculty nor will. It is the afflicted rtund (manas) and the force of karma that is the reputed cause of the activities and growth of the t w o fi. wherein there is rajas and tarn as. rajas and tamas].2. the mind (manas) is of the character of its own karma. 1 he blood and semen are swollen with those elements.102 M I T C H E L L G. (our elements from each of four sources. Which then splits to form the intellectual-judgmental faculty ibitddhi). and nutrient elements are added.29-38. Since f o r m is attained from its prior f o r m . 4 4 The four come to rest there in the atman and. . it is aff karma and all form. it is forever fixed and imminent. N o t by karma. WEISS That which is borne fleet as thought goes from body to body with the four elements and the subtle body.e. its form is unseen without divine vision. Since the mind is restricted by rajas and tamas. The elements (bb»t4) (contained 111 its nourishment. Gikrapanidatta embellishes with an extensive discussion of the metaphysics. They say the elements (bhuta) of the mother and father in the uterine blood and semen are the garbba. the atman m those four. It is consciousness. th §4tman. A function of the nature of his karma.. 4. and the constituent clement (cibatu).. Car. 50. and in the absence of knowledge all the dosaS are there. mother. f o r m is never separated from Mman — not by the imperceptibles or subtle forms. they each enter into the atman of the other body. I.** 49. but beyond the senses. and father) are known to number Sixteen in the b o d y . correspondingly. S i n c e t h e d b a r m i t s o f d i e s e e d u r c all d i f f e r e n t . illness. There are also four elements engendered bv his karma which cling to the atman and enter the garbba. it is fust that.e. not by one's sense of identity (abamkara). Karma is the cause. It pervades everything and supports all bodies. nor the ciosas.

however. op cir. satmya. there is some confusion about whether demons are the cause of insanity or the manifestation of it: cf. See M. atman.3. namely. 5 1 The text is a mixture of prose and various types of verse. T h e role of sattva becomes complex and more significant. and die possibility that some are citations from supportive non-medical works should also be considered. elaborates and contradicts the preceding chapter and specifies an additional component in the constitution of the garbha.e. as in Car. Sperm and blood come together and settle in the womb. pp. the last word on the matter. It was suggested earlier that some of these verses may be survivors from earlier medical texts. (2) the father.. . 4.7. Weiss. and (4) the atman through which karma exerts its critical influence.® To this Bharadvaja objects. constitutional integrity). quoting the views of Atreya. 5 4 arguing that the garbha cannot be said to be born of these components because no single one of them can 51. and nourishment (rasa). There is also the sattva. following conjunction with sattva. 4. Car.. I : or example.10. the most highly sophisticated passages are frequently in prose. usually slokas but also more complex epic meters. quoting Atreya. 52. father. not an externally contributed component like the others]. is not without textual-critical problems. 53. 2. This schema outlined in the preceding sink a verses is not. it produces the garbha. See note 15. which is self-produced (aupapaditka) [i. and they may also make up major portions ol or even entire chapters. either in the middle of a chapter or at the end.e. the surviving redaction of Car. 4.2-3. Summary slokas commonly appear at the end of a discussion. and there are notable substantive inconsistencies to support an argument that the text is a conglomeration of strata from several sources. This garbha is engendered bv mother. As was indicated earlier.2. From a medical perspective.CARAKA SAA1HITA ON THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA 103 There are four components of the viable embryo: contributions f r o m (1) the mother. 72-73.11-15 and 2. Car. ihe jiv a descends and. 68-70.19-23. 5 2 The prose discussion of Car. See note 16. in Qir..3.7. 7S-81. (3) nutrients (rasa) ingested by the pregnant mother. 54. satmya (i. This would serve to explain the inconsistencies and the occasionally tenuous links between some of these passages and the surrounding context. its particular nature (now) dependent upon five components of th e garbha.

the required balance oi all the constitutional c o m p o n e n t s . lungs. stomach. and from none but that. W i t h atman and the first two an i m p o r t a n t triad is made that receives additional discussion. kidneys. atman. seed. motion.15 if. and release is atman.rc4 MITCH HI I. beard. M 55. sinews. and so forth. sense of self (ahamkara). 4. blood vessels. bladder.is a stimulant to Atreya's discourse.3. Car.4. and effort. Bhiradvaja's objections serve . nails. the power of vision. flesh. urges. F r o m the maternal contribution to the garbha is derived blood. sometimes not. bones. 4. mind (manas). there is sufficient power for producing a fetus as desired. .9. the senses. father. The shoot does not sprout without a seed.3. This also offers an o p p o r t u n i t y for Atreya t o expound u p o n the nature of the five and sattva. 57. 4. liver.3. and penile erection. rectum.11. G..3. and greed desist. F r o m Irs contribution sickness. controls. see 4. fat. umbilicus. F r o m the father's contribution comes hair. Where sattva and the rest are successfully made. life s p a n . voice. 6C.6-13. 4. spleen. Various features. concentration.3. WEISS itself p r o d u c e a g a r b b a . 3 9 self-knowledge. Car. 58."* C o n t r i b u t i o n s derived from atman include the fact of arising in a particular w o m b . intellectual-judgmental faculty (buddhi). features. lethargy. other physiological channels. the atman is not the cause. Some produce a garbha by their own choice. 4. According to those who know the atman. acquisition of good voice.e.JO. the womb. teeth. Some by force of karma. but it certainly wit] not without the maternal and paternal contributions. 3 6 and that w i t h o u t any o n e of t h e m n o garbha can possibly result. is the garbha made and does the garbha itself produce. that it is the c o m b i n a t i o n of the hve that is required. breathing. Otherwise there is not. Every instance of atman may not necessarily produce the desired garbha. When there is a failure in generating a garbha because of defective means. s s Atreva explains that this objection misses the point.5. pleasure and pain. Car. also Car. Car. 57 Alreva argues that there can be no conception in the absence of mother. heart. desire and hate. Car. is also required.3. sometimes there IS power to bring it about. and semen.3. It provides clarity of the senses. 61. and below. "predetermined" only insofar as timely death.' 1 " S7itmya. and complexion. I. Car. m e m o r y . and t h e o t h e r gastrointestinal organs. 4. Nothing else can produce pleasure and suffering. sec above. 59. consciousness.

66. 64. he shall meet that in the next birth. character. trust is toppled. Rajas and tamas occur in Car. this man is called " o n e w h o remembers past life (jatismara).34 compares the debilitating effects of rajas and tamas on the mind (sattva) with the effects of the do MI on the bod v. seriousness.4. and so forth. It is theperceiver of the senses and is called manas.CARAKA SAMHtTA O N THE DOCTRIN'F. impulsive.6-1 As the link between the spiritual and physical. and lethitgip(suddha. This is a variation on the traditional Sihkhva triad inasmuch as this suggests that rajas and tamas here are modifications of the "pure" sattva. If A. thriving. mdtamasa). F u r t h e r m o r e . jealousy.36-39. and perhaps also in its role as the starting point for the individuation process producing the various mental evolutes and resulting character types. 4. maintenance of life. U p o n c o n f r o n t i n g death. we have three types of sattva instead of sattva as one of the three gutias constituting prakrti. The above traits are not all active at the same 62. These are considered evolutes of sattva as it undergoes a differentiation process (te sattva-vikara yan uttarakalam sattim-bbedam). Car. foolishness. B. Car. diseases abound. perSeverence. fear. all the senses are afflicted. heroism.4. though the exact nature of that role is somewhat elusive. gentleness.6-'' Its usage in Car. 4. . memory. 4. lassitude. as in the discussion which follows. apostasy. more detail below. Car. 6 4 it resembles the Sahkhya concept of baddhi. Car. rajasa. hate. Van Buitenen.12. sattva binds it to the body. It provides for the formation and growth of the body. and strength/' 2 That sattva plays an important role is clear.37-39. personality (Sila) leaves it.3. fickleness.3. fierceness. he remembers even the previous incarnation. O F K A KM A IOJ Proper nourishment (rasa) is necessary for theg urbba as well as for the health of the mother. In Car. In contact with the jiva. see also Car. 4. Whatever shall indeed predominate in mands.4.4 as the term for personality indicates an application broader than the cognitive function associated with manas. 65. 4. however." Journal of the American Oriental Society (JA OS) 77 (1957): 88-107. strength is discharged. 63. pure. as a dyad. since awareness of memory is connected with the manas of that atman and follows.3. 4. satiety. While it carries a connotation of mental efficacy here. or with the form of saliva termed snddha. Consequently."*''' The contributions of the sattva to the garbba include trust. a passage on the nature of sattva identifies it with matias: T h e sattva is indeed self-produced (atipapdduka). when he has that pure type. rage. 4. We teach that there are three types.33. and because it is destroyed the life-breath departs. purity. singly. "Studies in Sshkhya (111): Saitva. it is not the sattva of the gttna triad. Thus.

and the individual at a given point may be characterized by one or another. Therefore the children of senseless ones. According to AHr. see Yoga SUtras 2. sudd he sukramve satvah svakaraklesaeoditah / garhhali sampadyate vukiivasadagnirivaranaw "In accordance with its own karma and the hindrances. pttrja. 7 1 In the developing garbha feelings and desires arise.38. 70.MITCHELL G.3. Karma shapes satva directly arid is not mediated by the atman. For a different view see notes 42-44. 4. WEISS rime. products whose integral function depends upon the proper mutual relationships of their component p a r t s S a t t v a influences manifestations of tfre atman in the next birth and in its pure form may admit memory of a past birth. and destiny (daivaj is the cause of their development or failure to develop. As described. tatva arises in the pure semen-menstrual blood combination. 4. Car. See Car. 71. apparently by means of a present interaction of the sattva with atman capable of detecting the effects o n atman of the prior incarnate sattva — which is equated to manas in the above account. 2.3. these are the five components from external sources (matrja. 70 Embryology: Character In Car.1). Car. it is attributed to desires carried forth from another existence. 4. satmyaja. and their locus is the heart. f>9.!7. The senses are always derived oi atman. The garbha results. With regard to kleia.14." (AHr. Sattva receives greater emphasis than before as the process of individuation is Scrutinized. and in this condition it is said to feel t>7. as surely as fire in a kindling stick. that is.1. When the natural throbbing of the fetus is first perceived. 3. do not resemble their father. which is derived from atman.1 J the combination of semen and biood only is sufficient to produce satva (sic). 2. ]n Car. Atreya refers to this relationship to explain why the mental attributes of children differ from their parents.4 there is a detailed account of the development of the garbha and the characteristic changes observable in the Ictus and the mother 1 1 1 the progressive stages from conception onward through the pregnancy. The influence of karma is manifest in the atman and secondarily in the sattva. 4.4. and so forth.4 sattva is included with status equivalent to the other five in a list of . dtmaja. hi his commentary Arunadatta glosses sattm by jtva.3-9.3. rasaja) and the sattva which arises spontaneously in a given birth and departs at death/ 1 7 Atreya again offers the analogy of a man and a cart 6 8 and adds another with a tent. 68.

The Varani category especially is comparable to the so-called anal-compulsive character. 2. and concerned with his own righteousness. Kernberg." Psychoanalytic Study of the Child.suddha. which are currently the focus of much psychoanalytic theoretical interest: H.7. "Contrasting Viewpoints Regarding the Nature and Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personalities: A Preliminary Communication. and free of desire. 76 The Kubera type commands honor. Since many of the parameters of human behavior are invariant. oj the Amcr. kohut. vows.15. a maternally engendered organ. and sattva among these. Car. possessions.4. 7 5 For the suddha type. Car. and they may also be associated with certain body types. 4. 360-400. The garbha heart. The Yama type follows what is prescribed. fastidious in the performance of sacrifices. Cf. while the suddha is desirable. T h e rsi type is devoted to sacrifices.6. does not right. Various personality types are derived from each of these. Car. 76. The tamasa type is also faulty and represents the foolish aspect. and pleasures. the components of rhe garbha. categories are named after deities. "Jour. Psychoanalytic Assoc. 72. intolerant of filth.4.. "Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage.32 also includes faults stemming from the nutrients. 4. 4. defects in the maternal or paternal contributions to the garbha are responsible for defects in the offspring. attendants.4. according to Car. Car. a related classification of "demonic" (bhiita) types that produce stereotypic mental disorders in specified individuals. pp.4. The suddha type is considered faultless and represents the auspicious aspect. wise.33. and pleasures. rajasa. Note also the prominence of hypomanic traits in those that follow. 7 3 Of the three types of sattva. however. 73. and nutrients are transmitted through the connecting channels.12. op. and is in control of his anger and tranquility. 4. are not described. 4. and tamasa. study.CARAKA SAM HI TA ON THE DOCTRINE OI- KARMA with two hearts (dvaihrdaya). and so forth. satmya.. 27 (1972). . 7 2 As was discussed. does what is proper. 75.8. and so forth. The Brahma type is pure. it is not surprising that in many of these eases the essentia! features are recognizable in many present-day formulations of personality type. truthful. cit. The Varuna type is resolute. but defects in atman are not allowed.37-39. 112-133. O. acquisitive. Rajasa types are comparable to various forms of narcissistic personality.20-2U see Weiss. The Indra type is powerful. heroic. 74. clean. The rajasa type is faulty and represents the impassioned aspect.9. Car.4. and similar concerns. and has a good memory. anger.36. which. 22 (1974): 255-267 Such 3 study of comparative personality theory is of course beyond the scope of the present study. There are three types dtsattv&i viz . 4. Car. greed. virile. rajasa and tamasa are undesirable. is linked to the mother's heart.

3. N. his diet and behavior are despicable. he is often laity. For him food and sport come first. since the others are for the most part reasonably normal. The Matsya type is cowardly and dull. jealous. The interchange there of manas and sattva may be a remnant of such a philosophically rather than medically oriented context. The three tamasa categories represent the fatuous aspect of sattva.B. 4. each manifesting some degree ot antisocial and otherwise undesirable behavior. T h e Sakuna type is forever preoccupied with pleasure. he is without compassion and self-serving. etc. has a morbid personality. E I I. and he covets food. living from moment to moment. unstable. he is faultfinding. and given to bad habits and diet. and bereft of all mental faculties. 4. 77. H e is a somnolent character for whom sexual intercourse is foremost. and likes to be alone with women. and lazy. It is more probable that Car. solitary. The Raksasa type is intolerant and always enraged. types. the f o r m e r passage from a more grandiose scheme. dancing. H e is iond of water.13 and 4. with the Brahma type at the top. The Pasu type is obstructive and stupid. The Vanaspati type is idle. intent on food. They are the Pasu (animal). the account in Car. and is contented. T h e Pisaca type is gluttonous. he frightens others in the area and considers his o w n food and sport above all else. and the empirical strain on a theory holding that such an extraordinary capability was widespread would have been intolerable.81. 4. music. H e also likes garlands. misanthropic. is jealous and selfish. cowardly. satisfied one moment and angry the next. 1.13. he is unstable and impatient.-16—22. fond of meat. and Vanaspati (tree) types. deceitful. The Gandharva type is fond of laughter.3. a hierarchy is indicated. The Asura type is fierce.4. Although all seven of these are considered suddha-sattva. 78. 7 S There are six rajasa types. lordlv. G .37 represent different theoretical formulations culled from different sources. Car. a bully. effeminate. and is well versed in Itihasa and Purana. The Sarpa (snake) type is powerful when angry and otherwise cowardly. he is filthy.1 of the differentiation of manas into the senses findriya). leisure activities. . women.M I T C H . especially• 4-. and given to rage. V C HISS he is emotional and enjoys his leisure. cruel. and stories. in sloka verse. gluttonous. T h e Preta type likes food. Matsya (fish). The claim of being able to remember previous lives {made for the jatismam^ w h o is defined by his suddha-sattva)77 seems consistent theoretically for the Brahmin type only.

Can 4. depression.1. 1. op. see also Car. divides all disease into two categories: nija (endogenous). 84.7. 4.6. 85. however. reaching the time when karma is manifest. fire. The Agantu conditions. 72).53-54. p. always attributable to an imbalance of the three dosast™ and agantu (exogenous). recognizing implications of geography. Car.!.7. SO. Car. Jolly commented on this "escape clause" feature provided the tnedica! theory by the karma doctrine. and one's o w n nature. 8 0 Nija disorders are treated by restoring the proper physiological balance. wind. Car. fear.1. Diseases produced by karma resist treatment until that fruit is gone. vanity. calming the senses. J. admits karma as a causative factor in the etiology of disease.2. then they subside. resolve. 82. cit. 4. 83. fn 1901 J. see also Car. 4.7. !5 above). it tends to be included in verses of a general. for which there appears no visible cause and which resist the usual curing methods" (Jolly. and memory. theoretical nature rather than in passages with more direct clinical applicability. but even those disorders that d o fit the patterns are. season. N o t only does it provide an explanation for those diseases that do not fit the recognizable dosa patterns. 81 Loss ot concentration. and battle injuries. caused by demons.Sf Karma serves a dual function.CA§AM SAMtilTA O N T H E D O C T R I N T O F KARMA 109 Etiology of Disease Car.154 And For there is no significant karma whatsoever whose fruit is not consumed. 8 2 While Car. "From the standpoint of the principle of rebirth. [n. .1.49-50. i. Car. Car.116-117. 81.39-4C. And the arrival of that which is unhealthy — know these to be causes oi suffering. reciassifiable as karmaja.. proceeding from the misdeeds in a previous birth.51-52.98. 8 1 and agantu disorders by giving upprajnd-'paradba. and behaving in a manner consistent with them. reduce f p prajrid-'parddha (culpable insight. 1. The medical system thus copes with the characteris79. and hate are caused by it. All of the undesirable mental states (. when resistant to treatment.5-11.39-43. those diseases are considered as karmaja. 4. i. poison. Car i.7.e. violations of good sense).e.. since that resistance is itself pathognomonic.mano-vikdra) including jealousy. anger.

' p a r a d b a . The system then compensates by incorporating whatever philosophical and spiritual modes of solace are available from the culture at large in order to cope with its failure.29-30. Cf. adds force to its own advocacy of a salutary life stvlc. Atreya affirms: In this age the life span is one hundred years.viig-vastH-matram etaa vadam r$ayv tti&nyante nakalc mrtyur astiti. 1. In doing this with the concept o f p T a j n a . in some cases the shift from karma and demonic possession to prajna-'paradba is incomplete or altogether lacking. . The discussion of prapia-'paradha emphasises the importance of abandoning bad habits and establishing good ones. from an etic perspective it manifests an abandoning of empirical medical methodology in the face of insurmountable illness. O n e finds a greater willingness on the part of Car. The seers consiirar this doctrine. Car.37-38. 4.n o MITCHKLL Ci. Consider the analogous situation of the present day. to venture farther from the doctrinal escape hatch — karma — than those later texts in which medical and speculative notions became more highly intertwined in their clinical application. that there is no untimely dcaih. and quickly 8b.6. After refuting the proposal that the life span of every individual is predetermined. \\ I-:SS tically Indian drive tor completeness in formulating theoretical foundations and thereby justifies an essential premise (i.28). Car. das& theory) which can survive intact despite instances of its admitted ineffectiveness in healing certain patients.6.7. produce high fever. to be nothing but a matter of words'" (Car. 's shift f r o m the etiologic perspective dependent upon karma and Spirit -possession is especially significant because the trend was moving toward a less rather than a more secular approach to medicine. perfecting one's own constitution and merits and attending to good health brings this about. shifting the emphasis from past lives to present behavior in such a way as to make it clinically germane. physicians may none the less refer to the Will of God with impunity upon reaching the periphery of their clinical competence.e. Childhood diseases have a sudden onset. Car. .45. . . Although Christian Science and Western medicine are doubtlessly incompatible.'/ " . has in effect redefined the concept of karma. Notwithstanding this success of Ayurveda in assimilating a karma doctrine. and hospital architecture commonly includes a chapel. the logical inference from a more fundamentalist interpretation of the karma doctrine.. . See also Car. thus manifesting similar deference to the dominant cultural values. discusses the salutary effects of such behavior when fatalism and medicine are at odds. Although Car. 4. . Car.

appeals to karma and demons to explain one form of insanity. classes of demons (bhuta). In Car. In the case of disease born of his own karma. They were considered independent ot the dosa theory and "brought on by the anger of the gods and the rest. Piers. 2. Raksasas.9. 38. Rsis. Regarding those who turn on him who is afflicted by his own karma.7. but here we discern a distinction between more and less sophisticated formulations of the medical theory. and those worthy of honor. Pisacas. Pius. Summary slokas at the end of Car. and thereby behaves improperly. but the individual w h o was the source of his illness: Neither Devas nor Gandharvas nor Pisacas nor RaksasiS Nor the others afflict the man who is not self-afflicted. Car. to a personalized account in early Ayurveda— despite the tact that this view seems to have lost ground in the later Ayurvedic texts. Acaryas.6.16. Gandharvas. . prajna-'paradha is reallv the cause. Car." that is. 87. In the Nidana section ("Pathology") this view is distinguished from and then rationalized with that of Atreya: Some seek its [aganm-urtmada] cause in the effect of unpraiseworthy karma committed in a previous life.1. since they did not bring on his apostasy. as in the demonic accounts represented in the earlier Atharva Veda. the assaulting gods and the rest render him insane (unmatta). cold. Yaksas. For it is because of this prajria-'paradba that one is contemptuous toward die Devas. or Raksasas. or warm objects. 2. . 4. The wise man does not blame the Devas.CARAKA SAM it IT A O N THK DOCTRINE OF KARMA abate. 6.27. but it is significant that the locus of etiologic cause had clearly shifted from outside the individual. Car 4. agantu-unmada. His distress is not caused by them. the result of praina-'paradha. quoted earlier. Once he is stricken by htm self. but according to the great Atreya Punarvasu.127 the bhutas arc associated with improper contact with unctuous. old people. or else he undertakes some equally unpraiseworthy activity. Gurus.^ The point may be obscured in other passages of G i r . S:ddhas.10.7 make it clear that it was not the demons.The exogenous mental disorders were conceived in similar terms.

and (3) f r o m a mixture of the first two. it shall all reach htm in the atman.60. some from prior culpability (aparadha).19-23. 89. and may launch an attack against the physician and patient. S«. C o m p a r e . (2) f r o m karma. Unlike Car.5. Atharva Veda 6. . which the individual is actually no m o r e able to affect in a medical context than he can a fickle d e m o n . D e m o n i c possession was redefined so that the problem here is not to appease the demon (cf. WEISS He should regard only himself as the cause of his happiness and misery.55 which is also repeated in AHr. 6. The dosa disorders are associated with actions in this life and the karma disorders with a previous life. Car. resulting (1) f r o m the dosas.112 MITCHELL G. From a mixture of these there is another. Some arise from transgressions which are experienced.S<J These slokas emphasize the weight given m early Ayurveda t o the shift f r o m external to internal etiology. 600). each Contain one or m o r e separate chapters on demons (bhuta-vidya) which m o r e clearly accept the position diat it is the demon rather than the individual w h o causes these maladies. for example.49: One should not move against the affliction of the Pisaca in other than the proper manner. (and Bhela Sam hit a}. the above verses with the following admonition f r o m Su. 6. Honoring the Devas and the rest and devoting himself to what is wholesome— Whether doing these or their opposite.7. without prajna. 2. Car. and AHr. very powerful. he should keep to a salutary path and nor falter. T h e icrm npxradha is used in AHr. 's shift in emphasis from karma t o prajna-'paradba similarly serves t o define the root of the problem in terms oi behavior pertinent to the present situation instead of previous incarnations. They are resolute. posits three categories of disease.D. Therefore.111) but to put one's own life in order. These texts also lack a concept of prajna-'paradha and tend to see karma in more traditional rather than medical terms. angry. thereby stripping the concept of its technical usage and transforming it into the violation of a m o r e traditional moral imperative. Yagbhata. (approximately A. author of AHr. and dius disease is known to be three-fold.

A malady with an intense onset when there is slight cause is the result of dosas and karma. compiled by E. 1967).$$kiAY(t consists of a dialogue between Surva and his charioteer on the evils of human existence and a host of diseases—all attributed to karma. Bruce Long notes that during times of misfortune and mental anguish the karma doctrine served as a source of meaning. Vagbhata's jistahgahrdaya Samhita (Bombay: Sahara. but therapeutics are confined to expiatory procedures. Ill. 3. Car. Descriptions of pathology are extensive. The zenith in the rising impact on Ayurveda ol more traditional ideas about karma is best represented in an obscure monograph surviving from the later middle ages. Windisch and J. O. however. Winternitz. The first desists after treatment counteracting [the dofds]. 1887—1935). In such times normal 90. from approximately A. 1939). Jha (Delhi: Mo tiki.D. such a s vata. 92. Kirfei (Leiden. 1941).. 638. Though unrepresentative in the extreme to which its position is taken. (London: Secretary ol Stare for India. Lggeiin^ in 2 vols. #2719 (2030). traditional Ayurvedic topics are included. History of Indian Literature: vol. and kapha disorders. London. 9 1 It was.3.12. Brill. Mss. Jnanabh. 's chapter on catastrophic epidemics (Car. J. Personal communication from Jeremy Nobel. . janapado'ddvamsana) addresses itself to situations in which one might therefore expect the role of karma to be significant. Within the scope of that presentation.57-59. See also M. and so interesting for the same reason.CARAKA SAM HIT A O N T H E D O C T R I N E Of KARMA Arising from the dosas it has the corresponding pathology. pitta. Jong before this point that Ayurveda had begun to allow its garden of empirically derived clinical insights to be invaded by weeds spreading from the more supernaturallv oriented popular culture. HHgenberg and W. any malady is cured when the influences of both the dosas and karma are dissipated. W. arising f r o m karma it is without basis | in the present lifej. the karma t y p e after dissipating karma. ^ Epidemics In his analysis of karma in the Mahabhdrata. p. 1. 4 pts. 962-964. translated inio German by L. AHr. however. pan II (Scientific Literature). translated by S. and consolation. 91. encouragement. 1500 described in Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Library of the India Office. And the disease arising f r o m both desists after the eradication of the dosas and karma/ 0 Thus. pp.

to the agantu category. might produce epidemic illness. Car.13. Atreya makes no such speculation. These conditions are consistent with epidemic outbreaks of cholera from contaminated water supply. Atreya responds: The cause of them all. WEISS medical practices and expectations are frustrated by indiscriminate and high rates of morbidity. 3. and either ad barm a or some other transgressions cause the Raksasas and the other demonic 93. Atreya observed that even though a diverse population may be stricken by an epidemic. 9 3 The etiologic explanation consequently shifted from the nija category. 3. The list here is in descending order of significance.10. hadbarma (unrighteousness) or else previously committed bad karma i'asat-kar"tan). H e seems to allow. although such fatalities are attributed to karma. v.6-7. so were the fatalities. and the nature of his discussion argues against it. and an intelligent physician was well advised to gather the appropriate medicinal provisions while he could upon observing the natural signs of impending disaster. "Most do not die. herbal remedies being especially useful. f o r the effects of a group's karma. Then the deities forsake the community. namely. 3. According to this view.5. season. Car.3. . It is nothing but prajna-'paradha that nurtures them both. most are not of that karma. 3. winds." H e cites the widespread adharrna accruing f r o m corrupt leaders and spiraling d o w n the social order. Cases that did not respond to treatment and ended in fatality were attributed to karma. 95 Specific cases were said to respond well to treatment. such as burning a village or murder. 9 4 Aberrations in any of these. and the population devastated. Car. but potentially somebody else in the region that is ultimately responsible.3. malaria from Anopheles mosquito infestation. water. In answering a question p u t to him by Agnivesa. such as windstorms.19.114 MITCH EI L G. etc.3. 94. Adharrna is the cause of war. and unseasonable weather.3. landscape. and waters are disturbed. and wind. Car. 95. He surmises that because such events were rare. Agnivesa. the seasons. q. putrid water. 96.3. changes in the wildlife or complexion of the landscape. the misfortune that arises from the winds and the rest. it is not necessarily the karma of the victim.'" M Cakrapanidatta's commentary on this passage explains that only some karma will produce deadly illness when it matures. 97. there are several c o m m o n denominators. Car. 3. which may be implied by his use oi adharrna. however. which could not account for these events.

13. elucidates the nature of prajna.1. intoxication.103-109. Tor sawa-dosa. lacking in c o n c e n tration. fear. anger. drawn from Car. and what is contrary to one's beliefs roaming about at improper times and in improper places friendship with those who wreak havoc ignoring what one's senses tell him and valid experience jealousy. Adbarma may be either mediated or manifest by improper actions. resolve and m e m o r y . The curses of gurus. vanity. 4. unique in Ayurveda.9H Prajna-'paradha is the source of both adbarma and asat-karman. 4. C&krap&nidatta includes rajas and tarwas with vata. and may simply refer to asat-karman en masse. elders.3. Prajna-'paradha is considered to refer to t h a i deed w h i c h . they in fact belie Atreya's predilection tor addressing more mundane activities in the world of the present over obtuse speculation on karma rooted in the distant past. It p r o v o k e s all the d a a s . faciliated Atreya 's unparalleled emphasis on clinical empiricism over dogmatism and his subordination of supernatural etiology. Car. greed. 4. and kapha.3. ". 99.20-23. which lead to catastrophy. and confusion or a blameworthy deed (karman) derived from these a blameworthy bodily activity or any other such deed (karman) produced by passion or fatuation— The learned call these prajria-parddha. accomplished ones. 3.3.CARAKA SAMHITA ON THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA hordes to strike.'parddha. While village burning and a murder committed in a prior life readily came to mind tor Cakrapiinidatta in the eleventh century as he sought to understand the significance of the term barman in Car. and they bring on distress. pitta. in psychotropic drugs. They are known as prajna-'paradha because they are in the field relating to mind (manas).3. and they are the cause of disease. Among these "violations of good sense" are the following: forcing and suppressing the natural excretory urge reckless behavior and too much attention to women doing something either too late or something that should not be done (mdhyd-karman) violating social custom and insulting venerable men indulging in what one knows to be unhealthy. 102. Car.ft This formulation of prajna-'paradha. These are defective discriminations of the judgmental faculty (buddhi). causes h a r m . . The following. and others are also caused by improper behavior rooted in adbarma. 99. 100. i. fatuation. Car.

a n d a c o r p u s o f c o n c e p t i o n s a b o u t d e a t h . Indeed. III T h e c u l t u r e of T a m i l n a d c o m e s n o t f r o m t h e A r y a n s o f t h e N o r t h . kings. t h e p o w e r o f w o m a n . 1975}. III. the Tamils believed that any taking of life was dangerous.5 The Theory of Reincarnation among the Tamils G E O R G E L. Rather. like many archaic peoples. of c o u r s e . ii6 . HART. they had shadowy and inconsistent ideas of what happens to the spirits of the dead. satis -—where the spirits could actually reside and be propitiated. To this end. 1 W h i l e there are. as it released the spirits I. the Tamils did not believe in reincarnation. Before the coming of the Aryan ideas. w e m a y discern t h r e e basic f e a t u r e s of t h e c u l t u r e of T a m i l n a d b e f o r e N o r t h e r n i n f l u e n c e . T h r o u g h t h e o l d e s t e x t a n t T a m i l p o e m s it is p o s s i b l e t o g a i n a f a i r l y c l e a r p i c t u r e o f just w h a t T a m i l c u l t u r e w a s l i k e b e f o r e t h e i n c u r s i o n of A r y a n elem e n t s . See George L. T h e y a r e t h e c u l t o f t h e k i n g . b u t f r o m t h e megalithic citlturc o f t h e D e c c a n . stones called natiikah were erected to the spirits of especially powerful figures — heroes. Their oldest belief appears to be that the spirit of the dead remains in the world ready to work mischief if it is not somehow contained and controlled. t h o u g h m a n y e l e m e n t s from t h a t c u l t u r e w e r e s u p e r i m p o s e d o n T a m i l culture. Hart. The Poems of Ancient Tamil Their Milieu and Their Sanskrit Counterparts (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. I t is t h i s t h i r d a r e a t h a t t h i s p a p e r will d i s c u s s . m a n y d i f f e r e n t e l e m e n t s that g o t o m a k e u p a c u l t u r e .

with head covered by matted wits of hair and presenting a hideous appearance. . and he was then exercising his art over the terrified woman in attempting to drive away the malignant spirit that had possessed her> and had thereby rendered her childless. Today. barbers). . he was told that the woman was the matron oi a respectable Hindu family. lying motionless as death on the stone pavement. Thus. bearded to the knee. The figure hold a naked sword in one hand and a bunch of margosa leaves in the other. 120. . A approached the temple wall. Aiyappan. there are many verses that show that a despondent woman was thought to be possessed by the god MurUgan. . . N o t only are there many Very low castes with w h o m contact is regulated (drummers. a gaunt and spectral object. Whitehead described a Westerner who inadvertently witnessed a possession: A was a stranger to the country and its ways. In the Sangam poems. j Upon asking a policeman the significance of what he had seen]. J It is important to note that these beliefs survive quite strongly even to the present.O R Y O F R L I N C A R N A T I O N A M O N G T H t T A Ml LS of the things that were killed. and looking over it. as she was credited with the power oi making women fertile. saw the prostrate form of a young and handsome female. The grotesque figure which had so terrified A was the village piijari. w h o . 3. . 4. there is even a low caste m Kerala called the Navatis who erect stones to their ancestors. and a noted exorciser of evil spirits. 13—85. 3 Another important consequence of the indigenous Tamil notions regarding death is belief in possession. He was returning home late one night. whom they believe to inhabit the stones. all w h o dealt with the dead or with dead substances f r o m the body were considered to be charged with the power of death and were thought to be dangerous. of the better class of Hindus. general section 1930-37. 1921). "Social and Physical Anthropology oi the Nayadisof Malabar. p. he strayed towards the shrine of the village goddess. . and when passing the low walk of the temple his attention was suddenly arrested by a heart-rending moan.T H H. . having had n o children since her marriage. seemingly uttered by someone in great distress. Impelled by thoughts of rendering help to a fellow creature in distress. The Village Gods oj South India (Calcutta: Oxford University Press. the Tamils had groups that were considered low and dangerous and with w h o m contact was closely regulated. Henrv Whitehead. long before the coming of the Aryans with their notion of v&rna. leatherwofkers. 119-133. Ibid. Quick as lightning. See A. by the advice of her elders. .4 2." in Madras Government Museum Bulletin. almost nude. to invoke the assistance of the goddess. . pp. emerged from the deep shadows around. .. there are possession cults all over South India and N o r t h e r n Ceylon. . inside the wailed enclosure. . had c o m e . Missing his way. pp. Likewise.

In o r d e r to contain these p o w e r f u l spirits. as well is the spirit of a n y o n e u n j u s t l y killed." Ethnology. I93-2DS. a m a n ' s spirit b e c o m e s cxistcutially s o alien to life that there is n o use a t t e m p t i n g t o describe the world he experiences.GEORGE L. The Cult of Vithoba (Poena. January. HART. vol. It is significant that there is n o t h ing in these beliefs that takes the view of the dead p e r s o n . the spirit of a king. or of a w o m a n w h o c o m m i t t e d suttee. but one of t h e i r most dangero u s manifestations was possession. > hero named Kitta^a. Even in the oldest Tamil p o e m s . H o w e v e r . I960). 5 T h e fact is that b o t h the spirits of the dead and gods m a y possess people. "The Sir: Myth and Rituah A Mass Possession Cult of South Tndia. pp. of a great h e r o w h o died in battle. 47-58. it is believed that there are m a n y spirits of men and w o m e n long dead w h o possess people and w h o m u s t be propitiated in the b o d y t h e y have possessed. demon women whose forms are bright with color d a n c e t o the slow r h y t h m of t h e parai drum. M a n y p o e m s depict a sort of Valhalla o r warriors 1 paradise to which a man w o u l d go it he died m battler H o W can battle rage n o w . I n d e e d . w o u l d lurk in the w o r l d . It is as it once dead. there is evidence that the belief m possession t h r o u g h the spirits of the dead is older than the belief in possession by g o d s . . 6 T h e Tamils believe that the spirit of a dead man or w o m a n remains in the w o r l d and able to act in Some m y s t e r i o u s way. the so-called Sangam p o e m s ." Man in India 53 (1973): 231-242. XIV. T h e s e spirits might act in m a n y w a y s . f>. "Possession. there are verses describing a life after death in t e r m s o t h e r than the above. Peter Claus. Protection and Punishment as Attributes of the Deities in a Souifi Indian Village. See G. Ml In T u l u n a d . no. Deleurv argues persuasively that the temple to Vithoba at Pandharpiir arose around the memorial stone originally erected to . Dcleurv. 1. Peter Clans. eager to d o h a r m or wreak vengeance. A. T h e r e is relatively little to fear f r o m spirits that have not been w r o n g e d or that are n o t especially p o w e r f u l because of the circumstances of their life and death. 1975. stones were constructed w h e r e the spirit might be contained and propitiated. 5. h o w can w a r r i o r s hold back advancing ranks? Touching the wounds of men who have died fighting there and s m e a r i n g their hair w i t h their b l o o d y red h a n d s . and the t w o kings w h o f o u g h t f u r i o u s l y b u t justly have perished. The armies are being eaten up by vultures. pp.

Those who have fragrant food." and would have cut them with the sword. have guests as the world hard to get fills. Brahmins of the four Vedas and fust principles would have laid them out on green grass ritually prepared and would have said. F o r a n o t h e r . . whose garlands are unwithering. May the fame [of the t w o of] you be resplendent! 7 A n o t h e r p o e m d e s c r i b e s t h e t r e a t m e n t of m e n w h o d i d n o t die o n the field of b a t t l e : The mean kings there died and so escaped the rite that would have rid them of their infamy: if they had died in bed. T h e r e are several p o e m s that d e s c r i b e r e i n c a r n a t i o n . to purge them of their evil. Purananuru t>2. are ruined. and. a p r a c t i c e that is clearly o l d e r t h a n the S a n g a m p o e m s . like t h e u n w i n k i n g g o d s w i t h u n f a d i n g g a r l a n d s in t h e first p o e m q u o t e d a b o v e . the n o t i o n of a warriors* p a r a d i s e s i m p l y d o e s n o t a c c o r d w i t h the practice of e r e c t i n g s t o n e s t h o u g h t t o be i n h a b i t e d by the spirits of the d e a d . I n Purananiiru 134. whose eyes are unwinking. and so the clamor of fighting has ceased suddenly. See also Pitranarjiiru 241. of w h i c h s o m e indicate t h a t the belief is n o t well a c c e p t e d . F o r o n e t h i n g . fearfully. t o r 7. Purananuru 93.THEORY OFRL:. acclaimed for their greatness. B J d o n o t believe that this n o t i o n o f a w a r r i o r s ' p a r a d i s e w a s native t o S o u t h I n d i a . Women do not eat green leaves. several p o e m s o n this t h e m e associate this idea w i t h e l e m e n t s t h a t are clearly A r y a n . do not bathe in cool water. In the large camp. 8. where hundreds from different places were gathered so there was no space.iNCARN ATION AMONG THE TAMILS 121 Their parasols droop d o w n and their drums. but lie there embracing the chests of their men. all love for t h e m forgotten. " G o to where warriors with renowned anklets go who have died in battle with their manliness their support. there is no one fit to capture the field. their bodies would have been taken.

and Ste also pHttinanurH HI. O r if there is n o living in e n j o y m e n t t h e r e . f o r t h o s e high ones w h o h u n t the highest t h e r e is reward f o r acts they d o . " N o .1' In Narrinai 397. "Shall w e d o g o o d acts?" v o u t h i n k . P r e s u m a b l y the elephant is e n t r y t o paradise o r release f r o m the cycle ot transmigration. Yet even if they are not born again. A h u n t e r of elephants may get an elephant. i n d e e d . one thing is vital: they m u s t die with a faultless b o d y establishing their fame like a towering peak of the Himalayas. for she is afraid that "if 1 die. a f t e r he died. t h e y m a y not have to be r e b o r n . because it is the w a y of g o o d m e n . stones were erected t o him and those of his followers w h o sat and died with h i m . First. Second. and if there is a n o t h e r b i r t h . t h e y m a y enjoy their r e c o m p e n s e 111 an eternal w o r l d . .T 2 0 GKORCE 1 .' In PurananitrU 2 H . O you w h o d o not ccasc y o u r d o u b t i n g . a king gives the m o s t detailed description in all the anthologies of the t h e o r y of reincarnation. If. even t h o u g h h e r lover is away. while the bird is r e m a i n i n g alive and experiencing earthly pleasures. T h e king is a b o u t to c o m m i t suicide by sitting t o w a r d s the n o r t h and starving himself (an ancient c u s t o m evidently not related to any N o r t h Indian practice). he docs n o t chink. T w o points need t o be m a d e . the poet U r a i y u r F. a p o e m that appears to have been influenced by Jainism. y o u r m i n d s unclean. " W h a t [ d o in this h i n h I get back in t h e n e x t . H e says. HART. a h u n t e r of little birds m a y c o m e back with e m p t y h a n d s . to gain release f r o m samsaru. t h e heroine tells her friend that she will n o t die. his giving is the w a y it is. 1 m i g h t forget m y lover.nicceri M u t a m o c i v a r sings a b o u t the king Ay': H e is n o t a m e r c h a n t dealing in the price of virtue. III example. y o u r hearts w i t h o u t resolve. but r a t h e r because his t w o sons are c o m i n g against h i m in battle and he is disgraced. the king is n o t starving himself to death as a Jain ascetic w o u l d .

Gather your grieving families and come. he says." With such words you banished me from here. who no more leaves you than your shadow. "Mourning rests on the wide world. manly. but not in the usual mechanistic sense. has home a glorious son. Life is so mysterious. Death is nothing new. Evil and good come not from others.i NCARN ATION AMONG THE TAMILS 121 those stones were thought to he inhabited by the spirits of the dead. our protector. all men kin. He had steadfast love extolled by the able. He was a refuge for the high ones of the faultless revelation. loveless one. But Death. addresses the stone of the king upon his return: "After she who loves you. took away his sweet life. you who yearn for fame? O n e of the finest pieces in Indian literature on the theory of reincarnation occurs in the Purananiiru (592). has become a stone. we do not rejoice thinking life sweet. Surely you will not remain silent. Pottiyar. that even though a man is responsible for what happens to him he must show compassion to others: All lands home. made eloquently by Pitrananiiru 221: He had the ample fame of giving to singers. putting on good fame. We will abuse Death and say. nor do pain and its abating. w h o was told to go away and return to join the king in fasting to death only after his pregnant wife had borne a son. come. a point. . To women he was gentle. unmindful of me." So strong was the belief that the stones were inhabited by the spirits of the dead that. He had the great love to give to dancers. whose body is bright with ornaments radiant as fire. Which place is mine.THEORY OF RL:. The poet accepts the theory. caring nothing for his greatness and scorning his worth. for he. in Purananiiru 222. He had a iust sceptre praised by the righteous. poets of true speech. to men.

even less d o we find it cause f o r grief. the seed in the strychnine tree does not grow into a coconut. Poem 122 speaks of those w h o imprison birds: Their legs hound with iron. These poems of the Sangam anthologies can be dated to the second and third centuries A. a Jaina W o r k . they will work in black-earthed fields who bring and keep in cages partridges and quails that live in forests resounding with bees. T h e Tirtikkural. which many believe was written b y a fain. The . slaves of strange kings. too. have entered paradise. Like waking after sleep is birth. The two actions. says. Verse 5 says. in which a sati whose husband was unjustly killed becomes a s t o n e that must be propitiated and worshipped. Verse 339. and the literature shows a growing acceptance of the doctrine of reincarnation. Poem 243 is also interesting: Whatever soil you plant it in. HART. In the Ctlappatikaram the theory of karma has been grafted o n t o an older story. filled with darkness do not attach to those 'who love the fame of God's truth. Through the seeing of the able ones we have come to know that hard life takes its course as if it were a raft upon the waters of a mighty river ever roaring and beating on rocks after cold drops pour from flashing skies. the influence of the Jainas and the Buddhists had g r o w n . In the northern land too. for example. many many men are worthless. sections of the Nalatiyat.I 22 GEORGE L. Like sleeping is death. III If there is hurt. By about the fifth century. also speaks of reincarnation. and so we do not wonder at those big w-ith greatness and still less do we despise the small. F o r example. good and had. Men of the southern land.D. describe the fate of sinners in the next birth. The next birth depends on one's efforts.

that while devotional Hinduism pays lip service to the doctrine of reincarnation. he took a mattock and killed his 10. n o matter howinconsistent the t w o may seem. works that appeal to the mass of Tamilians emphasize the older beliefs. and o n e day. the old ideas conccrn the fate of the living. we can discern the Indian tendency to incorporate new ideas into a system by grafting them on the old.i N C A R N A T I O N AMONG THE TAMILS 121 author of this w o r k . Han. Thus the theory of reincarnation did not in any sense displace the older beliefs about the dangerous spirits of the dead and possession. It appears that the indigenous notions ot life after death were so unclear and inchoate that the theory of reincarnation. cit. w o m a n . It is important that in the history of the theory of reincarnation in Tamilnad. Thus the Cilappatikaram does not deny the older elements of rhe story — that Knnnaki became a stone rhar was worshipped — but rather adds to that version the idea that she becomes a goddess in paradise. The history of religion in Tamilnad in the next few centuries is that of the emergence ot devotional H i n d u i s m and the disappearance of Buddhism and Jainism. op. I gave argued that one of the most important reasons f o r this course of events was that H i n d u i s m was able to adapt itself to native South Indian ideas regarding the king. immense in its delusive power. spoils the tragic effect of the poem by attributing all the misfortunes of the hero and heroine to acts in a previous life.T H E O R Y OF RL:. comparatively well-defined and clear. and death. these different viewpoints of the t w o systems were at least partly responsible for their not being perceived as contradictory. I believe. was n o t felt to conflict with them. while Buddhism and Jainism were n o t .i pp. a sinner was born "like a ship loaded full with m u r d e r and other cruel sins/* W h e n he had grown iiuu a y o u t h . die bad deeds [of former births] and lust. H j In this regard. To a pious Brahmin and his good wife. it is quite important. its popular manifestations never make very much of that theory. Very likely. rather than by discarding the old ideas. H e began to sleep with his mother. attracted him and overcame his strength of will so that he desired her who had carried him and borne him from her womb. while the theory of reincarnation describes the late of the dead soul. Moreover. llahko. 71-72. A good example is the story of the great sinner f r o m the Tiruvtfaiyatdrpuriinam. caught in the act of violating his mother by his father. . Rather.

his sin dwindled and d w i n d l e d . Help! Help!" Shaking its hands. i n father. " G o d . and Siva asked him w h y he was so distressed. to be uttered by his tongue. appeared b e f o r e him as a h u n t e r and huntress. 11 went before him and behind him. he and his m o t h e r left the village f o r the wilderness. and by rolling a r o u n d the temple ICS times three times a day. tormented by helplessness. ft took hold of his garment and pulled htm on. T h a t night. this wicked man has committed such a sin that he would not escape even il he fell for measureless time into 28 crores of hells. tormented him. it kepi him far from good men. Finally. how afterwards that sin had eaught him. it would follow after him. " M y lord. Siva tells him that he can atone f o r his sin b y p e r f o r m i n g d e v o t i o n s to the god C u n t a r a r (a f o r m ol Siva) at M a d u r a i . and. and had not gone away no matter where he went. and he d r e w near Mad is r a h " Siva and his wife. A f t e r the sinner departs.124 G E O R G E L. H A R T . wretched is the punishment jtor murder]. "Siva showed his grace. Siva's wife asks h i m . With his great sin he wandered. "Who will go with my son now that robbers have taken isis mother? Now I shall be his companion. [The sin] would weep "Alas!" It would cry out. He stood pitifully and told how he had been born as the evil deeds he had done |in former births] bore fruit. It would not let him comc near a sacred tank or place holy to Siva. w h o t o o k a w a y the sinner's m o t h e r and money. god. N o r would it allow the praise or the name of Siva to come to his ears. it would dash them on the earth. T h e r e t h e y w e r e s u r r o u n d e d by h u n t e r s . how he had cuckolded his father and then killed him." his father came and held fast to him in the form of his great! sin. and how fie had entered this city. . As if he thought. A lone he went all over the earth. terrified and suffering. wretched. overcome by anguish. to come into his heart. like a shadow. A h k a y a r k a n n i .

Such is the play of your grace. 19f>5}. and consumption.11 It is immediately apparent that in this story. KtiiarkunUtrn (Madras. his ministers. leprosy. If it can do this. and the gods in the sky were amazed. others on the earth. indeed. pp 123-141. a more appropriate object of Siva's grace than some other person with better karma. I N C A R N A T I O N AMONG T H b T A M I L S !3I Why. wondering. the people of the city. Siva w o r k s outside the system of reincarnation. The religion described in this story is most emphatically not the devotion of the Bhagavadglta. irrelevant to the religion of devotion in Tamilnad. Here. The piece concludes: It dispelled the sir of killing his Brahmin father and guru after loving his own mother. dropsy. Tirunelvilit Tenniritiys Caivaeittama Nurpatippuk Kalakam. in some mysterious fashion." The sinner performs the devotions he has been instructed to do and finally merges with Siva. where one becomes unencumbered by one's acts by laying their fruits at the feet of G o d . and it gave salvation. did you show him how he might escape?" And the one who rides on the red-eyed bull that is Visnu spoke: "Even though a man is despicable. praised the Lord of four-towered Madurai.THEORY O F RF. not even frightened of the sin of murder. When they found out that the great sin of the fallen Brahmin had been dispelled. The theory of reincarnation is. no effort is required of the man who is saved. and were transported with bliss. "It you wish it." said he whose very iorm is compassion. a sin so terrible that men are frightened even to think of it— saving such a man is indeed saving. I suggest that the notion of sin that is so prominent in the practice 11. T h e escape f r o m his karma is a gift given spontaneously by Siva as a part of His play. in a real sense. bound by a sin he did without fear. even though he deserves to perish with no support and no way of freeing himself. the king. H e gives salvation without any regard to a man's karma. "What is the reason that grace beyond telling and thought was shown to this wicked one?" They shed tears. then how much more can bathing in this water cure diabetes. His wife replies. Thruvilaiy%farpwranam. then. then no matter what acts he has done a man can be saved. the heinousness of the sins of the Brahmin make him. Parancotimunivar. .

existcritially the same as the spirit of the dead. Hart. fit of religion in Tamilnad was a complex phenomenon with roots in indigenous religious ideas. ol course. Pati Company. Castei 4ad Tribet of Southern India (Madras. and the like. one can understand the taste system. the state of being charged with dangerous p o w e r is equated in the mind of the devotee with a state of sinfulness. to understand caste. that clings to one because he has become vulnerable to it through some act. edited by Madhav M. Dr. G. when you say a faise word. 1 3 O n e possible response to this condition is to attempt to insulate oneself in an extreme manner. . Venkatacbari tells mc chat when ho attempted to enter the huts of some Harijans in his village. when you speak in accord with sinners. And what is more. leaving Samskaras that must bear fruit. VI: 88 ff. That is shown clearly in the story of the great sinner. See George L. no matter h o w careful lie is in insulating himself from the dangerous forces carried by Harijans. menstruous women. is charged with some dangerous p o w e r that will produce negative results at some time in the future. and that if one understands the attitudes of the higher castes. It is a real force in the world.Moreover. one must understand the culture and the ethos of the Harijans. (brom Srirarika Muhatmiyam [Madras. This. "Ranga!" then no danger will befall you. Thurston.d. I feel thai the apposite is true. K. K. then if with cleanliness of the three organs — the body.. when a disease happens to your bcidy. .126 GFORGI t. 1 . pp. See Edgar T. A sin is not simply an act that one has done in the past. he would cause their houses to burn down ot some other misfortune to occur. and speech J — y o u say with concentration. Because dangerous power has erroneously been called "pollution" by most students of caste i it has been assumed that caste is imposed from tin. elaborately ordering every act one docs in order 12. 13. when you cou^h. where the sin actually takes the f o r m of the ghost of the dead father and torments the future devotee. Caste is a social institution necessitated by the need to insulate oneself from dangerous power. being a brahmin. 11—12. when you yawn. Hence. It is interesting thai the P^jiahs also have a notion of power that is dajlgerous to them. holds only for Lhe high castes. That sins are tangible things that can suddenly cling to a person when his condition becomes disordered is shown bv an excerpt from a Tamil version of Sriraiigarrtahatipyartt. if he thinks ol thai holy place. n. Something no one has done to my knowledge. Hi. Deshpande and Peter Edwin Hooti.]. A. [the rmnd. al! the sins they did in former births having departed. even if someone is a thousand fa/anas away." in Aryan NonAryan in India. when you spit. iWJ). HART.) . when you associate with sinners. University ot Michigan. Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia. that ^reat man and the ancestors in his line going back to the 21st generation will become persons ol merit \pttnmyavankal]. T h e ancient notions about death described above have far-reaching consequences: no one is so pure that he can protect himself f r o m taint completely. When you sneeze. they begged him not to because. Those who perform the task of insulating are the Harijans.top downwards. R. Every man. "The Nature of Tamil Devotion. 1979.

von did not use your sword whose edge cuts apart. because you have heard and understood that except for those whose fame here spreads over the broad earth. becomes tainted: There is nothing more bitter than death. f o r then he cannot show generosity and love to others. lies down on a flower-covered table. as big around as a concert drum. Before they brought it back from its bath I climbed on its bed unknowing. so much insulation f r o m other human beings. and tfiev are splendid with golden shoots of ulinai. Thus there is much literature in Tamil and allied languages disparaging narrow. They shine with a garland woven of long. Indeed. Yet you were not angry. they involve so much boundary-making. Iving in the covering of soft flowers that was like a froth of oil poured down. . A good example is Purananuru 50. I N C A R N A T I O N AMONG TH b TAMILS to escape the disorder of dangerous forces. Such is the royal drum. and you made me cool. even assuming that such extreme attempts to create order could be successful. Thus he. ungenerous behavior. full peacock feathers. you fanned me. blue-sapphire dark. Yet. mighty lord. you raised your strong arm. not realizing that he is desecrating the table of the king's d r u m : its black sides glisten. in which a wandering poet has entered the king's paUce and. You came near me. Surelv that was enough for all of Tamd land to learn of it. no one can stay there in the world of high estate? It is not enough for a high-caste person to insulate himself from dangerous forces. vet even that is sweet when one cannot give. that they appear antisocial and unethical to others in the society. iJ 14. a man who lives an excessively insulated lite is a sinner in a worse sense than hi:. because he is exhausted. But you did not stop with that. such attempts were and are m a d e by many high-caste people. hungry for blood. Did you do that act. Indeed. counterpart who docs not o bs erve restrictions adequately. long Straps fastened to them faultlessly. too. with bright spots. Tirnkkura! >3C. for he is responsible for the suffering of others.!3I T H E O R Y O F RF.

Generosity means riot only distributing wealth to the less fortunate. 124. HART. 1 5 The native system produces two:dilemmas. The solution to this cthical dilemma was. 1952). 1 7 Again and again the poems invoke the king's parasoj as a symbolic agent that shields those in his kingdom f r o m the destroying heat of the sun while emitting the cooling rays of the m o o n . 3S6. 60. then. Purtwanurit 35. Many in the past have written on the restrictions one must observe to attain respectability in South Indian society. N . M.. . 17. while auspicious safe things are cool. to understand the importance attributed to generosity in South India. 384. 117. 395. I feel. Sec also fittranawru 20. and a crosser of boundaries to be accorded respect. n o matter h o w one tries. Ifi. 6S. and especially those who were devoted to the king and were willing to 15. Some will argue char there is no conflict between the need TO insukte oneself from taint and the moral imperative to be generous and compassionate. 204. a high-caste man must both be insulated f r o m dangerous power and be generous and compassionate. 105. in the indigenous culture. > f the unnatural should appear in mens* affairs. more than anything else. to elevate the king to a position in which he could d o what other human beings could not. Thus those in the kingdom. See especially pHTOffiiftHTH 35. generous. 397.n 8 GEORGI L. An ideal fife. First. 1. 1 bus the king had the1 power to shield those who followed him and who lived in his kingdom from the taint of death incurred by killing in battle and in the course of daily life: If the rains s h o u l d fail.1 What has not been sufficiently emphasized is the corollary of tins doctrine: a man must also be compassionate. involves a careful balance between building boundaries and crossing them: one must remain insulated from dangerous forces while helping other human beings regardless of their position in society. a man must be generous and compassionate in addition lo being insulated from taint. ' 8 The significance of this figure is that charged dangerous p o w e r is considered hot. 229. To take such a position is. Second. he cannot entirely insulate himself from taint. it is k i n g s w h o are b l a m e d b y this w o r l d . 389. Srinivasi ftijbligion and Society among the Co orgs of South India (Oxford. but eating with then) as well. 3SR. It is significant that fating is both the most dangerous act One d o e s every day and the act which. one must share with others. if the harvest should diminish. IS. 1)1 In order to escape from sin.

the practice of worshipping specific gods." . not to imitate the Brahmins. like the king. there is a story of a Pandyan king who inadvertently kills a Brahmin. The SanskritizatiOn and Rrahmanizatlon that some anthropologists have seen 1 1 1 South Indian society is an erroneous interpretation of the tendency indigenous to Sourh Indian society to raise one's position by observing a delicate balance between building boundaries for insulation and being generous. Thus they had to devote themselves excessively to building boundaries and remaining insulated. op. often conceived in strikingly concrete terms. as a result of which they were regarded with considerable ambivalence by others in the society throughout history. was able to banish sin. 19. unable to be warriors and beholden to northern gods and ideals. 20 they were likened to the king. The sin that was removed by the god was none other than the taint of murder. conclusive. arose and spread rapidly. Since there were ho indigenous gods upon whom these imported deities could be modeled. It may be remarked that the difficulty oi the Brahmins throughout Tamil history has been that. that one manifest utter devotion and commitment. in my view. in the oldest time. such as Siva and Visnu. Indeed. making it inhere in something else. they do so because of ideas that have been present in South India since before the coming of the Brahmins. "The king's brahmabatya still stands.!3I T H E O R Y O F RF. Srimvas. For example. propitiated by a iow-tasie man called a Vekn with dancing and with sacrifices. I N C A R N A T I O N AMONG T H b TAMILS sacrifice themselves for him. cited by Shulman.' 1 In the new system that arose. a t . The only requirement was that one be a true subject of the god. in the Tiruvanaikkappuranam. were in a naturally protected condition and could devote themselves to generosity.11> If men insulate themselves from dangerous power tor the prestige they attain. With the coming of North Indian ideas in the centuries after Christ. they could not model them on M u r u k a n . as in the story of the great sinner above. 20. who by their peculiar history have to build boundaries in a way that appears extreme even to others high in society. but that god was. in his devotees. The evidence for this is extensive and. or taint. Rather. There was 3 cult of the god Murukan before the coming of the Aryans. it was thought that sin was unable even to enter the god's temple. they did not submit to the king and his powers as did others in the society. As the Brahmins wished to be the priests of the new gods. 1 have treated this at some length in the forthcoming "The Nature of Tamil Devotion. 2). he transferred it. Nor could the new god destroy sin. the god.

1 4 5 n. I he ultimate goai of devotional religion differs with its adherents. and other restrictions whose ultimate purpose is to insulate from taint— often clash with personal desires or with a sense of what is ethical and 22. U. cit. where it receives offerings of salt and . like the indigenous gods and the spirits of the dead. 24. is associated with blood sacrifice.spices. the sin of the king is clearly identified with the spirit of the man whom he has lulled. H I ." 23 One ot the most popular stories of devotion in South India is that of Kannappar. Shulman cites a story about Kamaksi. p. cit. were sometimes capricious. 23. See Hart. pressure to conform in undesired ways. Ibid. op. Shulman." For the story of Kannappan. 25. like the spirits ot the dead. see G. It was not only the live king that the new deities were modeled upon. The new gods were not above being capricious or demanding blood sacrifice. :f1 and were able to possess the living.GEORGE 1 HART. III waiting for him. 25 Whatever the case.. An important aspect ot this function has been discussed above: the god's power to remove the taint of death. First."22 Here again. they also derived some of their character from indigenous spirits and gods that were propitiated and contained to keep them under control. The Tiruvasugdm (Oxford. 385. 62. . and is able to possess. the new gods. p. 432. 1900).Pope.. Peter Claus has suggested that some cults in Tulunad are based upon worship of a king's ancestors. See Shutman. and second the god is capricious. the god is able to banish all dead spirits and taint of death from his domain and die hearts of his devotees. It is thus in two ways that indigenous notions about the dead come into the religion of devotion. Complete safety exists only inside the shrine. the sacrifice of a woman pregnant with her first child induced Kamaksi to make the chariot move again. It must be stressed that South Indian society is one in which social exigencies—caste restric tions. op. 24 It is possible that this aspect of the new gods was modeled upon the cult of the ancestors of kings. 26. "The Nature of Tamil Devotion. the goddess at Karici: "When the chariot of the Pajlis was arrested at Karici. worship of a god provides a way out of the dilemmas and itnpasses created by the extremely rigid social Structure of South India. Neither of these has any connection with reincarnation.. at the eastern gate [of the temple]. family structure. who tears out his eyes and places them on the liiiga to gratify Siva. were associated with blood sacrifice. In general. p. it should be noted. pp.

where the Bhagavadgita solves the dilemma by an appeal to duty over everything else. inescapable so long as one has $am$kiiras produced bv past deeds that must come to fruition. For the sins of the devotee are conceived in ancient terms: they are ultimately made ot the same stuff as the ghosts of the dead that possess. The Bfiagjuadgtla uses the ascetic Tradition c» justify the adherence to duty in die face of an ethical dilemma. it is under control and can help the devotee). spread havoc. At this level. it is actually to merge with the god. this is true even of North Indian society. if not carefully controlled by devotion. inchoate power. in its most coherent formulations in North Indian texts. The cycle of rebirth is. and some Sthalapuranas. a relief that is psychologically effective because of the Commitment and abasement shown to the god. The way out of samsara involves either the cessation ol action (jainism. since it belongs to the god. J believe that the jack cit emphasis on ethical subjects in ancient North Indian literature is at least partly occasioned by the ascetic traditions that flourished there. however. Ramanuja's commentaries. I N C A R N A T I O N AMONG TH b TAMILS !3I moral. tor in its society from the earliest rimes. the aim of worship is not mainly to provide peace of mind for people caught in a difficult social system.. The power to remove such sins must be of the same substance (though. no easy solution was possible.THEORY OF RF. Indeed. and create disorder. the system of rebirth is a mechanical one. like the Tirukkural. and family life. it is true that these expressions of bhakti appropriated the N o r t h Indian system of reincarnation. of course. too. a more sophisticated level at which devotional religion operates. There is. 252). There is no ancient work of North India thai 1 know of that. ethical notions such as generosity and compassion received an emphasis that they did not have in North India with its ascetic traditions. In Tamilnad. but not merely a generalized. The channel for relief is power. of course. is a power that can possess and that can. . is based upon such ethical subjects as love. Ii is significant that the tWo poems froni Sangam literature thai describe the life of an ascetic censer about the great tragedy char must have happened to the ascetic to make him leave family life (Pnrnriariurn 251. forbearance. a level reflected by such works as the Caiva Cittanta treatises. in Tamil society guilt plays a predominant role: few are able to escape totally a sense of their own inadequacy at being unable to reconcile themselves^to the rule that society demands of them. they have done so in such a way that it remains essentially extraneous. the acts one does inevitably determining what happens m the future. the Ajlvikas) or a realization of the true nature of existence 27. Thus it. cause havoc.7 As a result. Tt is the function of the god of devotion to provide relief tor such people.

k. his heart disposed to grace. but rather to attain Appar sings. What that First One granted me who can receive?28 The system of transmigration has been irremediably tainted condition of man. the bhakti poets exclaim again and again: I struggled in the great whirlpool of birth and d e a t h . While it could be argued that in all but the first of these movements. verse 3685. Rather. By the time ot the Bhagavadglta the solution to the dilemma of samsara is to transfer (sannyas) the fruits of one's actions to G o d . Cuppira- maniyamutaiiyar (Coimbatore. 29. 1953). For the bhakti movement this is not so. The truth of the Upanisads and the Buddhists. Even though he may pay lip service to the system of transmigration. That Lord who rides the bull. II.^" The universe is G o d ' s play for the devotee. poem 5C7K. the system of reincarnation is basically foreign. not a result of his past actions. 195. God hears of the devotee's piety and decides to test him. Buddhism). H A R T . for example. you must grant that I hoid your feet firmly in mind. adopted as an evidence of the God exists outside of it as an One's efforts are made not to G o d . came from his mountain as a fearful ascetic. O kind one [ pUtiniya ]. and the God of the Bbagavadgiu. Ill (the Upamsads. f xvamm Atankanmur$i (Madras. it is nonetheless undeniable that it has been incorporated in a basic way into all of them. so that they are no longer binding. O v e r c o m e b y d e s i r e . 1 fell i n t o uniting with ornamented women. The Lord who has a woman for part of him made roe join his feet. . all include in their operations the system ot transmigration. he realty believes that suffering is a test sent by God.1). C. T h e relation of C o d to the system of transmigration is not made clear (except in a few abstruse treatises).GEORGE L. in order to experience his love that never fails. escape totally independent of samsara.-10 28 Tiruwicakitm 51. vol. In the story of the Little Devotee. much as the God of the Old Testament tested j o b : In those days his [the devoree'sj deeds of service went and attained the venerable feet of the Lord who dwells on Kailasa mountain.8. 30. Tiruttontar Pttranarn Erjrittrn Periyapuranum. comm. escape from rebirth. Even if i am born a worm. Thus in a famous verse.

indeed. Finally. Even where such works expressed indigenous religious concepts. is clearly not an indispensable part of the religion of bbakti. but rather as a nightmarish condition from which the only release is G o d . As Sankara is supposed to have said. lying in a mother's womb again and again. There are many other stories in this vein. N o t only did it base the concept of sin upon the idea of the spirit of the dead. Suffering conceived as the result of one's past actions. cook him. Samsara itself is conceived not as an intricate mechanism for the recompense of one's acts. based itself upon the vague indigenous ideas concerning death and the fate of the dead. without end. very wide. O n the other hand. I N C A R N A T I O N AMONG TH b TAMILS !3I As part of his vow. as when the stone for Kannaki is brought from the Himalayas in the Cilappatikaram. His grace is freely given. it also derived many important characteristics of the god himself from this idea. who has been brought back to life by the G o d . In this samsara. o u t oi c o m p a s s i o n save m e . the Little Devotee and his wife kill their only son. and serve him. H e acts in inscrutable ways and is not predictable. devotional Hinduism paid lip service to the doctrine of rebirth. Birth again. but incorporated into itself and. as is shown by such Tamil works as the Jaina Cilappatikoram and the Nalatiyar and the Buddhist Manimekalm. lord Murari. the Little Devotee must feed the disguised Siva. When it turns out that the ascetic will accept only the meat of a first-born human male child. The heterodox religions put great stress upon the theory of transmigration. The southern religion of devotion was indeed a radically new religion in South Asia. while mentioned on occasion (as in the story of the Great Sinner). the devotee is merged with Siva along with his wife and his son. the p u r p o r t of which is that life is a test to be passed through total and unswerving loyalty to God. they are not made part of the Jaina or Buddhist religion. .THEORY O F RF. We have been able to delineate one element that helped devotional Hinduism defeat Buddhism and jainism in Tamilnad. his devotion established. N o r can G o d be bought by action or even devotion. death again.

Part II. Buddhism and Jainism .

and Ajivikaisrri) as products of the Gangetic rather than the Indus area or the Brahmavarta. preliminary section entitled "The Gangetie Religious Tradition. the region of Last Punjab which was the locus classicus of early Vedism and Brahmimstri.6 The Rebirth Eschatology and Its Transformations: A Contribution to the Sociology of Early Buddhism GANANATH OBEYESEKERE Introduction This paper will inquire into the origins of the karma theory in a somewhat unorthodox manner hv ignoring the Hindu-Buddhist texts in which that theory is presented and describing instead the hypothetical and ideal typical manner in which the karma-rebirth theory probably evolved. and ihe tribal traditions of the Ganges region) into the great religions of the sixth century B. I submit. less hazardous and more rewarding than attempting to hnd the origin of the theory on the basis either of texts which have little or no reference to it (e. T h t simana$ were speculative thinkers who systematized diverse existing philosophical and popular religious traditions (ideas from Mohenjodaro and Harappa. If my procedure seems outrageous it is. 1 Many of the discussions of karma1. included a ionj. i 'iuddhism.t I am grateful to ['rank t37 . The first version ot this paper. written in 1975." Basically my thesis here favors ideas developed by scholars like Kosambi and others who viewed the santamc religions (Jain ism. Vedism.g. the Vedas and Upanisads) or of texts where the theory is in lull bloom.. elaborated by the speculative thought of H i n d u Buddhist-jama philosophers.

whereas the evidence I shall submit will show that rebirth theories are very widespread. and Salvation in a Sociology of Buddhism. 1 use the rerrri "heterodox" advisedly.. in an admittedly speculative but logically rigorous manner. a Buddhist saint." Even here the Hindu-Buddhist-Jaina thinkers had competition from the Greeks of 600 B. These religions were the orthotics traditions of the Gangetic region. It should be noted that the Rings of Magadha and Kosala were simply continuing the practice of the region when they patronized the Gangeiic religions: it was a connluting religious tradition held in high regard by the people of the region. ed. E. both in fantasy. Yet. Madevi became a Buddhist. and her daughter. jainism. the process whereby the rebirth eschatology is transformed into the karmic eschatologv Reynolds and A. the kings were personally committed to the ascetic religions. !%8}. and A j i v i k a i s m — i s again expectable.' T h e Indian religious philosophers can be credited. chey have been skeptical about the Jama view that Chandragupta became a jaina ascetic in his old age. Kannaki's lather became an AjTvika. after it became the Maurva Empire under Chandragupta.I>. In fact. notably Pythagoras and the Orphics. The author of this epic is a jaina. That persons within the same family should give preference to one of the three religions — Buddhism. "Theodicy. but rather with transforming the "rebirth eschatologv" into the "karmie eschatology.geh. This essay then attempts to view rebirth theories in comparative perspective and thereby to derive. In all likelihood. my thesis is that the great samatiic religions were heterodox only vis-a-vis Brahman ism. rebirth theories were found in ancient Indian tribal religions. as Stevenson has shown.\soka became a Buddhist. who produced an eschatological scheme remarkably similar to the karma theory. or that Bindusara was an Ajlvika." through a process of speculative activity which 1 label "ethicization. the protagonists Kovalan and Kailrtaki arc also Jflina. 2 and in the institutionalized eschatologv of tribal peoples in different parts o l the world. I lie Silappadikaram composed in South India sometime between the fifth and eighth centuries A. not with the invention of the rebirth theory.manda Bharati tor comments on earlier versions of this paper. The tradition of shifting allegiance from one Sdtthlnic religion to another or extending special patronage to one seemed to have Continued till very much later." ih Dialedtic in Practical Religion.j 2. R. The same tradition was followed in the later history of Magadha. . deals with urban merchant groups w h o belonged to the Gangetif religions. probably in the Gangetic region where the great " h e t e r o d o x " religions flourished..C.GANANATH O B E Y E S E K ERE rebirth assume that it was invented by Indian thinkers. Many scholars have had to justify the fact that . These accounts certainly fit in with our preceding discussion. Va. 1974). since they were all part of an overall tradition of ascetic samanas indigenous to the region. though Brahman ism was becoming increasingly important for state ritual. I an Stevenson. [Ed: The reader will find other related discussions of karma m Obcvesekere's article. Leach (Cambridge University Press. Twenty Casta Suggestive of Reincarnation (Charlottesville..

or Nagarjuna. Mahayira. Buddhism and later Hinduism are individual religions which nevertheless share the following common set of eschatological features: A theory of rebirth that postulates a cyclical theory of continuity. and their views* are constrained by the political and social circumstances of the periods in which they lived and. The Rebirth Eschatology and Its Transformations I shall construct a model of a simple rebirth eschatology and show how this mode! gets transformed into the more complex eschatologies of the great Gaitgetic religions. and eschatology. Jainism. and jainism — have many features.RF BIRTH ESCHATOLOGY AND ITS TRANSFORMATIONS r 39 through the operation of the crucial causal variable known as ethiclzation. A theory of salvation (nirvana). Jainism. and AjTvikaism. the salient characteristic of which is the view that salvation must involve the cessation of rebirth. so that death is merely a temporary state in a continuing process of births and rebirths. A theory of the nature of existence known as samsara. My assumption here is that religious eschatologies are not unique creations of individual religious geniuses. but are also collective representations—socially shared ideational systems—which have their genesis in the social structure and the collective historical experience of a particular social group. ] shall then examine the kind of speculative activity in early Buddhist-Jaina thinkers that produced this transformation. or . they are themselves products of their times. psychology. which in turn will lead us to a discussion of some key features of the sociology of early Buddhism. A theory of karma that postulates that one's present existence is determined for the most part by the ethical nature of one's past actions. which includes all living things in the cycle of endless continuity. above all. by their own prior cultural (ideological) heritage. and must therefore occur outside of the whole cycle of continuity. Religious geniuses. H i n duism. The three great indigenous religions of South Asia—Buddhism. however. which clearly express the views of religious geniuses like the Buddha. I suggest that the hypothetical processes we delineate in the model will help us to clarify actual processes that w'ould have occurred in history. particularly in the realm of ethics. did not speculate in a sdcio-cultural vacuum.

we find that there are many primitive or preliterate societies that possess theories of rebirth but lack any idea o) karma or nirvana in their eschatologies. Thus. or soul. ol the three religions on which are built their respective ideological variations and doctrinal elaborations. 37-49. or base.83 (1953). We shall assume that Indian society also had a rebirth theory of a "primitive kind. . the Hindu view of the atman. nirvana (salvation). We then construct a model of a rebirth eschatology which can be applicable to any society that holds a doctrine of rebirth. minus those substantive and cross-societally variable features found in any empirical case. The term karmic eschatology refers to the first three characteristics of the eschatology. simpler or primitive eschatological scheme. The term "transformation" as I use it is a sociological notion more in the tradition of Max Weber than of Levi-Strauss or transformational linguistics. von I'urcr-Haimendorf. and 1 agree with Furer-Haimendorf that it evolved out of a prior. and rebirth—the critical feature is rebirth. Each religion may emphasize different aspects of this eschatology. Having constructed a primitive rebirth eschatology. : The After-life in Indian Tribal Belief "Journal of the Royal Anthropological ImutuU. the model contains the fundamental structural features essential to any rebirth doctrine. it can be presumed. we then perform certain operations which show how this model is transformed into the more complex karmic eschatology. constitutes the common core. The question that I pose is as follows: What is the genesis of the karmic eschatology and how did it evolve into its present form? 1 assume that the karmic eschatology did not emerge out of nothing. Such preliterate rebirth eschatologies occur in societies as different and geographically remote from each other as the Trobriand Islands and the Igbo of South East Nigeria.g. . Why? When we look at eschatologies cross-culturally. Existent rebirth eschatologies like other empirically manifest cultural structures show structural similarities as 4.. and some even differ radically from others (e. C . The karmic eschatology. or unatta). but the main eschatological outlines are common to these three religions of South Asia. I will show how the introduction of a single causal variable —in this case a process known as ethicization—transforms the simple rebirth theory into the karmic eschatology. and that the karmic eschatology is a later development from this primitive base." of the same type as that of Trobriand or Igbo. 4 When we examine the karmic eschatology we feel that among its three features—karma.140 G A N A N A T H OH El ESLKERI samsara. and the Buddhist view of the absence of soul.

one cannot ever kill a spirit with evil magic or accident as in the human world (where sorcery is [he classic interpretation of death). was previously enjoyed by all humanity before it was lost through inadvertence and ill will. Evil sorcery is frequently practised and can reach a spirit and make him weak. There are different versions as to how this occurs. NON-INDIAN REBIRTH ESCHATOLOGY. or little preincarnated babies. he simply sloughs off the old and takes on a new appearance—black locks. They said that in Tuma. Transformational studies cannot be performed by cbe use of concrete existent cases with their substantive variations. which is preserved by bodily rejuvenation." Here in Tuma the individual leads a pleasant life. According to Trobriand. then he will go back to the human world." he may want to come back to life on earth. or soul (baloma). a model that draws out the structural features common to a variety of empirically existent systems must be constructed so as to show the transformational process.spirit child itself. However. sick. The main facts have always been "that all . no bodily hair. Some of Malinowski's informants explained why the spirits become tired of their heavenly abode. When a spirit becomes tired of constant rejuvenation after a long spell "underneath. The power of rejuvenation. enjoyed by spirits in Tuma (the nether world). or spirit children. but no controversy abou[ its actual occurrence." These rejuvenated spirits. there are sorcerers. T H E TROESRIANI) Trobriand have an inverted version of the conventional eschatologv. are the only source from which humanity draws its supplies of life. u n b o r n infant. that his skin is getting wrinkled. sees that bodily hair is covering his skin. When die spirit. moves to Tuma.r RF B I R T H ESCHATOLOGY A N D ITS TRANSFORMATIONS 39 well as differences. analogous to the terrestrial life but much happier. Therefore let me present the empirical cases that helped us construct the idea! rebirth eschatology. since "his end will always mean merely a new beginning. or his hair grey. Life in the other world is characterized by perpetual youth. The spirit tmds its way back to the Trobriands and there into the w o m b of some woman—-but always a woman of the same clan and subclan as the . for the Trobriand heaven is located in the nether world. when his spirit. To do this. smooth skin. and tired of life. a new life begins at the death of the individual. But the ideal model has to be contracted on our knowledge ol existent systems. the Island of the Dead located "underneath. as on earth. or baloma. the spirit leaps far back in age and becomes a small.

In any rebirth theory the problem of the identity 5. a m a n has a c h a n c e to achieve his objectives. Its fchieij role is t o give h o p e t o those w h o feel they have failed to achieve their status goal. p. it is s t r o n g l y believed. 52. ancestors. as described by Uchendu. 55. Victor C. "The Status Implications of Igbo Religious Beliefs. Igbo have a polytheistic pantheon with various nature spirits. Unlike Trobriand. 6 In addition to all this is a theory of rebirth. 6. The absence of either of these t w o agents renders conception impossible. 1965). the murderer. a mother goddess. " b u t other factors are also involved in pregnancy and are much more important: the consent of the deities and willingness of dead lineage members and other friendly spirits to reincarnate themselves. The Father in Primitive Psychology ( N e w York. that every child born in this world has come into existence (ibubuli) in Tuma through the metamorphosis of a spirit: that the main reason and the real cause of every birth lies in nothing else but in the spiritual action. Uchendu. p. On it is blamed one's failures. 7. 34.! 4 2 G A N A N ATH O 0 E Y E S EKE R E the spirits have ultimately to end their life in Tuma and turn into unborn infants. Uchendu." The Nigerian Field 29:27-37 (196-4). . Igbo views on conception and birth are based on an assumption of rebirth. Irt the next reincarnation. though the evidence is not clear o n this point). and it is one's Chi who leads him in the exercise of this choice. the Igbo are fully aware of the biological facts of conception. There is also a very important guardian spirit. and the w i t c h . Transmigration. There are certain elements in the Igbo model that resemble the karmic eschatology. 8. Victor C. God gives man choice. Malinowski. Ibid. the Igbo say. and a creator G o d w h o is dens jpftiosus. o n the other hand. 7 Let me present briefly the outlines of the Igbo rebirth eschatology. the ancestral soul is reincarnated in the w o m b of a woman (probably of the same lineage as that of the dead man. R e i n c a r n a t i o n is c a r d i a l in the religious belief of the Igbo. Chi determines one's fate on earth." 3 NON-INDIAN REBIRTH ESCHATOLOGV: THE IGBO Igbo have a more complex eschatology. 1966). Chi: a persona! god whose role approximates to that of a guardian spirit." 8 Thus.. which I shall discuss later. The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria ( N e w York. is c o n c e i v e d as the greatest p u n i s h m e n t f o r the i n c e s t u o u s . ' 7 l o d i g h nwa rut mrnadu" — " m a y y o u not reincarnate in h u m a n f o r m " — i s a great curse f o r the I g b o . It is Chi who guides one to fortune or misfortune. ii.

11. the world of the 'dead' is a world full of activities. p. p. or w^ith teeth. The soul joins the world of the ancestors. In Trobriand. 'having mouth. they are organized in lineages with patrilineal emphasis iust as those on earth. the power of oratory and wisdom Those who fail to make the right choice by bargaining with the c r e a t o r need n o t despair.. Thus." 1 5 Thus the Igbo afterworld is a reihed version of the mundane social structure. ." 10 Furthermore. The c r e a t o r presents the soul with t w o parccls.' I he dead continue their lineage system. except for those who have violated taboos. Substantive and cross-societaliy 9.S OF A PRE LITER A "PiE REBIRTH ESCHATOLOGY I shall now construct a simplified ideal model of a rebirth eschatology typical of preliterate societies. unless he has violated a taboo the Igbo need not fear the other world. Chi. il he has made a poor bargain with the creator. At death the Igbo soul. one of which contains "the desired social positions that the individual predicted during his Ebibi (prereincamation social position that the individual predicts during his lifetime on earth)/' The bargain with god includes such things as long life on earth. where there is a perfectly closed cycle. the identity problem is relatively clear: One is born in the same lineage and clan.. confronts the c r e a t o r . After a sojourn in the afterworld the dead are reborn in the earthlv social structure. "In the Igbo conception. 12... But the exact kinship relationship is impossible to determine by normal human cognition. or as members of a twin set — all of which are in themselves taboo. The latter have an inferior rebirth. p. the capacity for precognition is the gift of special virtuosi. wealth. Ibid. its inhabitants manifest in their behavior and their thought processes that they are 'living. Ibid. p.* that is. for they c a n be reborn o n earth again "and hope for better luck during the next cycle. What is the nature of the Igbo afterlife? fundamental to the Igbo (and Trobriand) is the absence of a notion of heaven and hell as a means of retribution or reward. since Igbo have no conception of hell. Ibid." 1 2 FORMAL FEATURF. 10. they "are born feet first. 102. Ibid. the diviner helps to identify the exact kin relation of the neonate in his previous incarnation. guided by his guardian spirit. 12.RF B I R T H E S C H A T O L O G Y A N D ITS TRANSFORMATIONS r 39 of the newborn in his previous birth is difficult 10 determine. In the South Asian religions. 17. In Igbo. so that the invisible society is simply a continuation of the lineage structure of the earthly society. 16. he can well afford to wait another lifetime. "intelligence.

Need ham. Especially critical are so-called life-crises. and other techniques help him cope with the p r o b lem of suffering. Robert Hen?. as Hertz puts it. there is a perfectly closed cycle: a limited pool of souls moving round and round through time in a circle. The model can be represented as follows: Birth transfers the individual f r o m some otherworld (the invisible world) to the visible human world. It is indeed possible that the o t h e r w o r l d — i n the sense of a sacred place where souls sojourn — may hardly exist or may be bypassed altogether. as an exclusion followed by an inclusion in a new status. Each transition tends to be viewed as a symbolic death and rebirth or. soon after release f r o m the body. i960). . N e w York. where the individual is transferred f r o m one social status to another. as in the figure sketched above. magical. In some eschatologies the soul stays in the other world permanently.. Death and the Right Hand (translated by R. and C. The human world into which the individual is transferred at birth is a world of suffering—in Weber's and Parson's sense of the term.144 GANANATH O K I Y ! S £ K ]. funeral rituals serve to transfer the individual once again to the invisible world of the dead. for he has t o be reborn in the h u m a n world at some time or other. 13. During the individual's life in the human world. in this case the soul. but in a rebirth eschatology by definition the soul's stay m the other world is temporary.K ! THF OTHIR WORLD Bftih Dearh PubtTt M striate TVilS W O R L D variable cultural features are eliminated from the model. Rites of passage at birth assist in this perilous transition. 1 3 When real death occurs. seeks reincarnation in a new corporeal body in another earthly existence. so that it is a culture-free representation of t h e rebirth eschatology. In the ideal model of the rebirth eschatology. religious.

A rebirth theory. Ibid. . and it must be reborn on earth. must involve a cultural belief in rebirth in the world of humans.." says Hertz. since the soul's stay there is temporary. and how is it structured? In order to construct another world human beings must perforce draw upon their experience of the earthly society in which they live. the otherworid need not be a replica of this one. Since it is a product of the mind.. This is particularly true of small-scale preliterate societies where the experience of individuals is generally limited to their own group. on the em14. What is the nature of that otherworid. human beings c o u l d express through it their fantasies of a U t o p i a or a paradise. Transmigration. 79. The perfectly closed cycle of the preliterate rebirth model (empirical approximation: Trobriand) is broken up when. The Structure of the Otherworid.g. which is conditioned by "suffering. such as the existence of sorcerers in th eir El vsium or plain boredom with paradise. p. "It is or can be the realm of the ideal. Yet. for if the otherworid is one of bliss. The otherworid does not exist.r RF B I R T H ESCHATOLOGY A N D ITS TRANSFORMATIONS 39 Let us now sketch in more detail the formal features of a rebirth eschatology. Once the soul has surmounted death it may stay temporarily in some otherworid. as H e r t z points out. in my usage. a real problem of explanation is involved in such eschatologies." Moreover. dnd A1 etempsyebosis. it should be realized that these logical possibilities are empirically realized in actual rebirth eschatologies. In all of the foregoing there could be a special evil otherworid where violators of taboos. where suffering is eliminated. In a rebirth eschatology the paradisal or Elysium notion of the otherworid cannot be a permanent state of bliss or non-suffering. three logical possibilities regarding the structure of the otherworid s h o u l d be a d d e d to our model. sorcery) are punished. 1 4 Thus. The otherworid is more or less a duplicate of the social structure of this world (as among the Igbo). The image of the otherworid is based on this world. what motivates the individual to be reborn on earth?1 Malinowski's Trobriand informants realized this problem and gave him various different interpretations. or those who commit specially heinous crimes (e. or is a vague unstructured zone. Rebirth. The otherworid is a paradise or Elysium or an idealized version of the mundane social structure (as among the Trobriand).

II the preliterate rebirth model is ethicized it must transform itself into the karmic eschatology. Morality deals with the evaluation of social action in terms of " g o o d " and "bad. are never duplicated in reality. the rebirth eschatology is associated with a doctrine of transmigration. morality and religion are separate spheres ot action. as Weber realized.K I Rfc pirieal level. or "ethicization. The analytical distinction between ethics and religion is maintained in the ideal model. where the soul sojourns in other spheres of existence outside oi the human. sin. sin and merit. Sin and merit. In order to show how this occurs it is necessary to spell out in more detail the concept of ethicization. only type approximation is possible. presupposes an ethicization of the religious life. Thus. "merit? is the conformity to an ethical norm which is also a religious norm. This is what we propose doing. Using ethical terminology from the great religions." I suggest that in the ideal rebirth eschatology there is no ethicization: morally wrong actions are not religiously wrong actions. but in the preliterate model such normative sanction is dependent on a secular father than a religious morality. and ethically good actions are not religiously good actions. in the sense in which we have defined it. are absent from the rebirth eschatology. to deal with causal variables that transform the model into another type. Igbo have an addition to the rebirth eschatology. should not be confused with a rebirth eschatology. A transmigration theory. is the presence of ethicization in the latter. The utility of the ideal model is that it permits us. The Absence of "Ethicization. What are the causal variables that transform the preliterate rebirth eschatology into the karmic eschatology of the three great South Asian religions? The critical variable. among other things.146 G A N A N A T H D B F : Y FSF." Analytically viewed. . the otherworld is for saint and sinner alike. Both are religious assessments of mora! action absent from the ideal rebirth eschatology. that is. I postulate. "Sin" is defined as the violation of an ethical norm. without rebirth. which is ipso facto a religious norm. we noted. At death the individual is transferred to the otherworld irrespective of the nature of the good and bad done by him in this World." Let me add another feature to the rebirth model sketched above: the absence of the religious evaluation of mora! and ethical action. There is no notion of ethical compensation or reward. Social action is always normatively sanctioned. Ideal models or types. For example. a transmigration theory to account for a class of individuals barred from human reincarnation.

the rebirth eschatology must be logically transformed into a karmic eschatology in the following manner: Since ethicization implies the religious evaluation of moral action. As far as the South Asian tradition is concerned. it may be due to ethical prophecy. religious rewards and punishments must extend to the whole eschatological sphere. But in what manner? A purely social morality ts concerned only with the earthly existence of humans. actions that are morally good or bad are transformed into actions that are also religiously good or bad. But when this system is ethicized. but it does not follow from this that he has violated a religious norm. the intellectual climate from the period of the Upanisads until the time of the Buddha was conducive to religious and ethical speculation. Literacy per se is probably of tittle consequence except in facilitating the process of ethicization. so a religious morality must also reward and punish. This implies that the religion has been eihicized. the ethical life is systematically implicated in the religion so that any violation of an ethical or moral tenet involves simultaneously a violation of a religious tenet.r RF B I R T H ESCHATOLOGY AND ITS TRANSFORMATIONS 39 it is always the ease that an adulterer has violated a moral norm. that is. but the systematic ethicization of religion is a product of evolution from a "primitive" base. a rebirth eschatology entails other existences after death. entry to the other- . as in Buddhism. converted into an ethical system. or. or ethical asceticism may be operative. It is likely that on the empirical level there is no religion devoid of ethical implications. H o w does the systematic ethicization of the religious life arise in the evolution of religion? This. Inasmuch as any social morality must punish (with negative sanctions) those who violate moral norms and reward those who conform. Since. by contrast. THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE PRELITERATE REBIRTH ESCHATOLOGY "When ethicization occurs."1 In the primitive rebirth eschatology the otherworid is for all. This consequence of ethicization could be called "the principle of the conditionally or contingency of reward. the notions of sin and religious merit must develop. that is. is fundamentally due to the activities of a highly specialized priesthood engaged in speculative activity. as in the case of the biblical tradition. the transfer to the otherworid depends on the proper performance of the funeral rites. In the great historical religions of literate civilizations. it seems to me.

If status and wealth are allocated as rebirth rewards and punishments. where the individual is reborn in the very '. When a religion is ethicized. in all prior lifetimes). The earthly social structure into which the soul arrives is a place where the ideas of sin. the human world itself must become a world of retribution and reward: a proto -karmic theory. while retribution would involve their undesirable opposites. But note: The earth in which the soul is reborn lias already been ethicized. so to speak. which inevitably must be actions during his previous lifetime. prior to the soul's arrival. What is the logical effect of the principle of the contingency of reward on the structure of the otherworid? The otherworid must be transformed into a world of retribution and reward. f i F world must be contingent.ame lineage he occupied in his previous lifetime on earth (and. V F . there are multiple stratified mythical worlds of retribution and reward. In other words. merit. and high status (all culturally defined). by definition. What are the nature and content of these good and bad rebirths? These cannot be predicted by the manipulation of the model. on the empirical level. with its social structure of caste. the operation of the principle of the contingency of reward must result in a good rebirth and a bad rebirth based on she quality of an individual's actions in this world. Thus. In every case heaven and hell are the just compensations for merit and sin in any ethicized religious system. as in Trobriand. but one would guess that. he must be . as in Igbo—it must minimally split into two. rebirth rewards would pertain to health. notions such as heaven and hell must be invented. Therefore. a world ol retribution (hell) and a world of reward (heaven). wealth.[48 GANANATH 0 1 5 i. These types of rewards and punishments — especially status and wealth —inevitably upset the scheme found in both Trobriand and Igbo. notions of heaven and hell art' a part of the architecture of the otherworid where retribution and reward are meted out on the basis of an individual's this-worldly actions. The minimal logically expectable consequence of ethicization is the splitting of the otherworid into two. The soul's stay in the otherworid is by definition temporary. for example. or it may be bypassed altogether and the soul be reborn in a human world. In Hinduism. and contingency of reward have already developed as consequences of ethicization. li the rebirth eschatology possesses any concept of the otherworid—-be it a paradisal one. or a replica of this W o r l d . depending on the ethical nature ot a person's this-worldly actions. S F k F . the actual number of mythic worlds will usually depend on the nature of the earthly social system.

the form that striving for salvation takes is entirely determined by the ethicization process described here. It is the ultimate status a human being achieves and the final goal ol human endeavor. 1963). Ail these three religions 15. O n the other hand. But the crucial concept of nirvana or salvation is not entailed by the ethicization of the rebirth model. Buddhism is exclusively a doctrine of salvation". Thus. pushed to its logical extreme." Pure bliss results from this state. a world of retribution and reward influenced by the nature of his actions in a previous lifetime. p. Thus. I define "salvation" as "a state in which suffering has been eliminated. of Religion (translated by E. Confucianism is a religious ethic but it knows nothing at all of a need for salvation. logically. We have deduced an eschatology where the karma-bound "soul" wanders in satnsara in a cycle of births and rebirths: compensation for good and bad is meted out in the otherworld or the next rebirth or both. later Hinduism and jainism too have clearly developed notions of salvation. N e w . but nor the concept of nirvana. his previous lifetime has been in turn influenced by a still earlier lifetime. and so on. Thus far we have seen how the ideal primitive rebirth model logically produces several elements of the karmic eschatology when the notion of ethicization is introduced into it. 146. The doctrines of karma and samsara have developed. as a result of ethicization. Some of the religious virtuosi of sixth century India certainly were. Ethicization results in a powerful "ontologies!" explanation for the necessity and nature of rebirth. We noted above that the world in which the individual is reborn is. one might add. However. The Sociology York. a type of explanation absent in a simple rebirth eschatology. Says Weber: " N o t every rational religious ethic is necessarily an ethic of salvation.RF B I R T H E S C H A T O L O G Y AND ITS T R A N S F O R M A T I O N S r 39 reborn in a position commensurate with bis load of sin and merit rather than his lineage affiliations. the kind of religious specialists interested in ethicization would also be interested in pushing speculation further by concerning themselves with salvation. Max Weber. 55 and. therefore.phraim Fischoff. Nirvana. links one lifetime with another in a continuing series of ethical links: which simply means that the South Asian theory of samsara and karma has fully developed. cannot be derived from the ethicization of the rebirth eschatology. If and when this occurs. But. ethicization of a rebirth eschatology.

since it is entailed by the logical structure of any rebirth theory. In a rebirth eschatology this equation is falsified by ihe fact that the souls* sojourn in heaven must perforce be temporary (not a permanent state of bliss). In many non-rebirth eschatologies suffering is eliminated in the hereafter and the soul enjoys permanent bliss." but is an inevitable logical consequence of the ethicization of a preliterate rebirth eschatologv. Empirically. Both Pythagoreans and Orphics believed in rebirth. if nirvana." lor this very reason. in these systems the following equation obtains: heaven or paradise = salvation = elimination of suitering. or salvation. I shall demonstrate that the Indian idea of salvation outside of the rebirth cycle Is not particularly unique or "original. logically the one cannot occur within the other. If so. This is not simply an idea that religious leaders have invented: they must invent it. more positively.C. Buddhism. and rebirth clearly implies its presence. though the details of their eschatological doctrines: . or salvation. There can be no other way of achieving nirvana exccpt outside of the rebirth cycle. Let me briefly discuss two Greek eschatologies which clearly had karma-type beliefs. One must abolish rebirth in order to achieve salvation. is the abolition of rebirth and samsara. never its elimination. defines nirvana as a "cessation of rebirth. and by the presence of suffering in the next human rebirth." "elimination of karma. for example. Nirvana. In other words. but these definitions have one thing in common: nirvana has to be sought outside ot samsara or the whole scheme of births and rebirths. Heaven at best is an alleviation of suffering. salvation must logically and inevitably occur outside of the karmic and samsaric (rebirth) process. though of course not the term itselt.G V A N A T H ODE VESEKERE may define liirvana differently. PYTHAGORAS AND THE ORPHIC MYSTERIES: T H E GKEtK EVIDENCE The preceding discussion could be clarified further if we move away once again from the Indian context to a comparative perspective. is the elimination of suffering. as a state of pure bliss). Nirvana. this time to highly developed and ethicized rebirth theories from the Greeks of the sixth century B. is defined as a state where suffering has been ehmmated (or. then it is logically impossible to achieve salvation within any rebirth theory. and after. and it must result in the cessation of rebirth and karma.

p. the purified soul. Pollard. . Burnet Says "that there was an interval of seven generations between each rebirth." 1 7 though the Pythagorean taboos were more elaborate. in Hastings' Encyclopedia "f Religion and Ethics (New York. may become incarnate in the philosopher and religious teacher w h o then raises the level of Others. Pythagoras. 526." l r i According to Aristotle.3 7b. p. were spent in purgatory. 100. Shrines and Sirens (London.ewis Richard Farneil. The Pythagoreans were a tight ascetic order. This is also evident in Pythagoras' positive relationship to the Apollonian cultus (he was k n o w n as "the son of Apollo"). i ! 3 ~ ! ! 4 : I. 96. 17. though. could remember his past incarnations and maintained that in his very last incarnation he had been Euphorbus the Dardanian. especially "meat eating and the spread of pollution through the medium of animal skins. Seers. in Pythagorean theory. IS. vol. wounded Patroclus. Pollard. and in view of the founder's own contributions to Greek science and mathematics. Like the Buddha himself. Creek Hero Cults and ideas of Immortality (Oxford. Pollard says: "The O r p h i c priests explained that punishments in this life were awarded for transgressions in a previous one. which. The Orphics in particular saw the soul as the prisoner of the body. 3921). pp. they probably had a more intellectual religion than that of the Orphic?. a series of purgative punishments whereby the soul is purified: "I have paid the penalty for unrighteous deeds. "Pythagoras and Pychngoriantsm". 20. John Pollard. as a purified being." H o w e v e r there is no extant statement on Pythagorean ethics. 10." 2 1 Farneil refers to an inscription attributed to the Orphics where a notion like that of kamw-vipaka is expressed. " b o d y was the t o m b of the soul. who. if we regard the myths which Plato puts in the mouth of Socrates as Pythagorean. with Apollo's help. 19. 1 6 Both practiced elaborate food taboos. 1%1 j. 1 9 Again utilizing the evidence in Plato's Phaedo. 2S. Ibid. whereas O r p h i s m was rooted in the Dionysian mysteries. that both had doctrines of ift. John Burnett. 1%5). though it would be surprising if one of the great speculative philosophers of all time did not develop a sophisticated ethic.r RF B I R T H E S C H A T O L O G Y AND ITS TRANSFORMATIONS 39 have not survived. Ibid. pp. 3 7 4 . Both believed in the purification of the soul through successive births." 2 0 Regarding conceptions of ethical compensation and reward in these Greek rebirth theories. It is clear. p.

1968). I shall n o w c o n s i d e r these unitwo v e r s e . In the preceding a c c o u n t w e have seen h o w under the pressure o f a social process k n o w n the ideal m o d e l o f a one The as e t h i c i z a t i o n . b i r t h s a n d r e b i r t h s ." A similar formula is p r e s e r v e d by Proclu. b u t t h e O r p h i c e v i d e n c e clearly c o n f i r m s o u r expectation* Farnell refers to an inscription the C o m p a g n o Tablet f o u n d near N a p l e s w h i c h reads like a s t a t e m e n t b y the B u d d h a h i m s e l f : "I have lied f o r t h f r o m t h e w h e e l o f bitter and sorrowful existence. it m a y be objected is too gross that the m o d e l of the prchterate a violation of empirical reality rebirth to be eschatology m e t h o d o l o g i c a l l y u s e f u l a s a n i d e a l m o d e l . Swansea. it m a y b e a r g u e d t h a t m y c r u c i a l c o n c e p t o f e t h i c i z a t i o n as a f e a t u r e o f r e l i g i o u s e v o l u t i o n has n o e m p i r i c a l v a l i d i t y s i n c e r e c e n t studies2-1 h a v e a t t e m p t e d t o s h o w t h a t p r e l i t e r a t e r e l i g i o n s are t r u l y i m p l i c a t e d i n a m o r a l t y p e o f an a m o r a l r e l i g i o u s s y s t e m . objections together. p r o b a b l y the result o f the ethical s p e c u l a t i o n o f relig i o n s g r o u p s like the P y t h a g o r e a n s and the Q r p h i c s .t y p e t h e o r y is a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a rebirth theory. p. First. T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s p r e d i c a t e d b y o u r m o d e l are f o u n d i n O r p h i c P y t h a g o r e a n e s c h a t o l o g y . G u y E. Michigan. a m y s t i c a l u n i o n o f a n a b s t r a c t s o r t in t h e f o r m e r . 377. S e c o n d .s' C o m m e n t a r y o n t h e TimaeUs: " T o be released f r o m the w h e e l and t o g a i n r e s p i t e f r o m e v i l . Farnell. e m p i r i c a l c a s e s d o n o t a p p r o x i m a t e t o o u r i d e a l preliterate rebirth e s c h a t o l o g y d e v e l o p s logically m t o a karnuc 22. In o t h e r w o r d s . according t o the prediction m a d e f r o m our m o d e l . Both Orphism a n d P y t h a g o r e a n is m h a v e a c o n c e p t o f s a l v a t i o n . The [firth of the Gods (Anil Arbor. " 2 2 It is t h e r e f o r e c l e a r t h a t t h e G r e e k s h a d n o t o n l y a t h e o r y o f ethical c o m p e n s a t i o n a n d r e w a r d iike dial o f k a r m a .G A N A N ATM O B£ Y ES E K E R E Salvation which had little resemblance to the early Buddhist notion of nirvana but were no! unlike more abstract conceptions like Nagarji^n a \ or the Hindu mystical notions of identity with G o d . o r samsara. . H o w e v e r . EMPIRICAL OBJECTIONS I shall n o w raise t w o s e r i o u s o b j e c t i o n s to t h e t h e o r y stated a b o v e . teschatologies Is t h e r e a n y e v i d e n c e in t h e salvaGreek t i o n in a r e b i r t h e s c h a t o l o g y m u s t l o g i c a l l y o c c u r o u t s i d e t h e c y c l e o f t h a t t h i s i n f a c t w a s i h e c a s e ? T h e r e is n o e v i d e n c e as t a r on as E c o u l d g a t h e r f r o m P y t h a g o r e a n r e l i g i o n . but also a c o n c e p t of salvation occurring Outside t h e samsartc process. 23. a n d a m o r e p e r s o n a l u n i o n in t h e l a t t e r . A k a r m a .

ethicization evolves w h e n t h e r e are s p e c i a l i z e d p r i e s t h o o d s . but 1 s h o u l d like to c o n s i d e r s o m e of the empirical e v i d e n c e . First. in p r i m i t i v e s o c i e t i e s at m o s t s o m e s p e c i a l a c t s o f i m m o r a l i t y .K f . For e x a m p l e . f r o m the p o i n t o f v i e w of m y a n a l y s i s . t a b o o is a " p r o t o religious ethic" which may coincidentally involve morality. but not i n t r i n s i c a l l y . H o w e v e r . o n e w o u l d a r g u e t h a t . n o t b y s o m e supernatural a u t h o r i t y . in simple societies violations of the moral code are p u n i s h e d in t h i s w o r l d b y t h e l e g i t i m a t e l y s a n c t i o n e d s e c u l a r a u t h o r ity. productive of ethical speculative t h i n k i n g . H o w e v e r . whereas ethicization. g h o s t . is the a b s e n c e o f e t h i c i z a t i o n a n d the i d e a s o f sin a n d m e r i t d e r i v e d t h e r e f r o m . w h e n t a b o o s a n d o t h e r ritual o b l i g a t i o n s are v i o l a t e d there m a y be i m m e d i a t e o r a u tomatic p u n i s h m e n t (disease. c o n t r a r y t o S w a n s o n . t h o u g h in relation to i h a v e u s e d p r e l i t c r a t e a n d p r i m i t i v e as c o n v e n i e n t oon-ethicized eschatology is rebirth eschatologies. I s u s p e c t t h a t i t is t h e s e f o r t u i t o u s a s s o c i a t i o n s o f m o r a l ity w i t h t a b o o t h a t led S w a n s o n t o c o n c l u d e that m o r a l i t y and relig i o n are i n t e r w o v e n in p r i m i t i v e s o c i e t i e s . N o w .BIRTH ESCHATOLOGY A N D ITS T R A N S F O R M A T I O N ' S 153 crucial characteristic of the ideal m o d e l . and the validity of the m o d e l "nature" how depends on actual p r i m i t i v e e s c h a t o l o g i e s v a r y f r o m the m o d e l . or the action of an a n g r y a n c e s - t o r . they w o u l d e n d up with a religion [ike Buddhism. II a rebirth t e r m s . p r i m i t i v e relig i o n s are c h a r a c t e r i z e d b y a r e l a t i v e l a c k o f e t h i c a l s y s t e m a t i z a t i o n o f religion. Hinduism. A t best. death. t h e c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n is b e t w e e n e t h i e i z e d a n d e t h i e i z e d . i f T r o b r i a n d e r s c o n v e r t e d their e s c h a t o l o g y into a moral s y s t e m . T h u s . I h a v e not tested this h y p o t h e s i s for a s a m p l e of primitive societies. it w i l l p r o d u c e a k a r m i c e s c h a t o l o g y . i d e a l m o d e l s are n e v e r f o u n d in (empirical reality). prophecy. and Jainism o c c u r near the other (total ethicization) e n d . R u t all m o r a l l a w s ' — t h o s e e t h i c a l n o r m s g o v e r n i n g s o c i a l a c t i o n — are n o t t a b o o s . t h o u g h s o m e t a b o o s m a y i n v o l v e violation o f the moral c o d e . It is irrelevant whether they are technologically primitive or civilized. b u t i n c e s t o f t e n d o e s a n d is also a v i o l a t i o n of the c o m m o n m o r a l i t y . M y v i e w is that the rebirth e s c h a t o l o g i e s of p r e l i t e r a t e s o c i e t i e s o c c u r B u d d h i s m . a d u l t e r y r a r e l y i n v o l v e s t a b o o . I n actual life t h e r e will be d e g r e e s of ethicization ranging b e t w e e n t w o ideal e x t r e m e s . and other social institutions speculative activity. i n s o f a r as s u c h i n s t i t u t i o n s a r e r e l a t i v e l y a b s e n t in s i m p l e s o c i e t i e s . f r o m n o e t h i c i z a t i o n ( z e r o value) t o c o m p l e t e o r total near the " n o ethicization" end of the scale. Second. o r d e i t y ) o r d e l a y e d p u n i s h m e n t o r b o t h . T h i r d .

S i m i l a r l y . with concerned t h e m s e l v e s w i t h t h e w a y s in w h i c h t h e B u d d h i s t s c o n v e r t e d Kg V e d i c a n d i n d i g e n o u s d e i t i e s i n t o m o r a l b e i n g s . been n e g l e c t e d b y historians o f religion w h o have. b u t I b e l i e v e that t h e f o r m e r p r o c e s s is t h e m o r e i m p o r t a n t o n e .e. h e h a s t w o p a c k a g e s — o n e c o n t a i n i n g h i s s t a t u s e s in h i s p r e v i o u s ( f u s t e n d e d ) l i f e . PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ETHICIZATION In t h e p r e v i o u s s e c t i o n s i h a v e dealt o n l y w i t h the c o n v e r s i o n of a social and secular morality (i. t h e r e Is t h e Un- c o n c e p t i o n of the dead m a n c o n f r o n t i n g Yama. in m y t e r m i n o l o g y . T h i s latter p r o c e s s o c c u r s in e v e r y great r e l i g i o n . gave the Vcdic sacrifice ethical and s y m b o l i c m e a n i n g . social n o r m s g o v e r n i n g behavior and c o n d u c t ) into a religious one. w h e r e a s t h e b a d are c o n s i g n e d helL I n ail o f these religions those who to ot have violated the k i n d e v e r v d a v m o r a l i t v listed earlier are p u n i s h e d in a p p r o p r i a t e p i a c c s of hellish torment. theft. like murder or s o r c e r y in I g b o . Religions e t h i c i z a t i o n o c c u r r e d in the T h e Ethicization of Indian In t h i s p r e s e n t s e c t i o n 1 shall e x a m i n e h o w early Indian religion. demeanor punishment are in almost most lying. by contrast. In Buddhist peasant societies. drutikeness. This aspect of ethicization has. In o r d e r t o h i g h l i g h t i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e f o r m e r p r o c e s s I s h a l l c a l l it p r i m a r y the ethicization. u p h o l d e r s of righteousness. and s o forth. a n d a n o t h e r . the L o r d ot the d e r w o r l d . a c c o m p a n i e d b y his g u a r d i a n s p i r i t . in general.G A N A N A T H PBEYESEKfcRE may be singled out tor o t h e r w o r l d l y punishment. i n Z o r o a s t r i a n i s m the g o o d s o u l s at d e a t h a r e g u i d e d o v e r t h e B r i d g e o f t h e R e q u i t e r b y t h e p r o p h e t h i m s e l f a n d are r e w a r d e d . B u t t h e r e i s n o s y s t e m a t i c a t t e m p t t o i n c o r p o r a t e t h e secular m o r a l c o d e into a religious o n e . s e c o n d a r y ethicization. for example. though e t h i c i z e d i n d i e g r e a t h i s t o r i c a l r e l i g i o n s . W h a t h e u l t i m a t e l y o b t a i n s at r e b i r t h is d e p e n d e n t o n a " m a r k e t mentality"—haggling contemporary and b a r g a i n i n g — r a t h e r than o n morality. w h o has a pair of scales to w e i g h the g o o d and bad a c t i o n s o i the dead man in h i s e a r t h l y l i f e . s o that pertain k i n d s of moral deeds like slander. f o c u s e d o n the i n v e s t m e n t of preexisting religious beliefs and practices ethical and symbolic values. if . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o n o t e t h a t w h e n the I g b o m e e t s his m a k e r at d e a t h .. h i s a s pi r a t i o n a l s t a t u s e s f o r t h e n e x t l i f e . They have. t h e I m p o s i t i o n o f s y m b o l i c e t h i c a l m e a n i n g o n p r e e x i s t i n g b e l i e f s is. I s h a l l d e a l w i t h t h r e e p r o b l e m s : F i r s t . with and sexual immis- never invested delayed they supernatural are always small-scale societies. I think.

28. Regarding the C h e n c h u s : "Supernatural tions. . p."2l) S o m e tribes. . t h o u g h n o t easily evaluated. .. c a m e t o play a c o m p a r a t i v e l y small part in p r o m o t i n g c o n f o r m i t y t o t h e a c c e p t e d m o r a l s t a n d a r d s . 69. p. t h e y c o u l d s u r e l y h a v e l a c k e d it t h e n . p. 27. t h e r e is o t h e r w i s e n o s u g g e s t i o n t h a t g o d s a n d s p i r i t s are c o n c e r n e d w i t h the m o r a l c o n d u c t o f h u m a n b e i n g s . 43. Ibid. have n o t i o n s of sin. t h e r e is n o d i v i n e r e t r i b u tion o f c r i m e or r e w a r d f o r v i r t u o u s behavior. p. i%7). . n o s e n s e o f \ s i n ! a n d n o c o r r e s p o n d i n g d e s i r e t o a c q u i r e 'merit' in a s y s t e m o f supernatural r e w a r d s . that simple s o c i e t i e s lack e t h i c a l r e l i g i o n s in o u r s e n s e o l t h e t e r m . T h e r e is. " 2 7 The D a f l a s : " W h i l e a n a p p e a l t o s u p e r n a t u r a l p o w e r s is u s e d t o s t r e n g t h e n a p e a c e . like the G o n d s . Ibid.B u d d h i s t V e d i e t r a d i t i o n s of I n d i a in o r d e r t o s e e w h e t h e r these w e r e ethical religions or not. . 79. p. servance of certain t a b o o s . .. T h e r e is l i t t l e t o s u g g e s t t h a t m o r a l l a p s e s are s u b j e c t t o s u p e r n a t u r a l sanction. Ibid.. contrary to Swanson and most anthropologists. . 1 s h a l l t h e n c o n s i d e r t h e p r e . 23.p a c t . G. a n d t h e f e a r o f b e i n g ' s h a m e d ' is a p o w e r f u l i n c e n t i v e t o c o n f o r m i t y . since s e c o n d a r y ethicizat i o n o f t h e s e b e l i e f s t o o k p l a c e in B u d d h i s m . " 2 * " The Apa T a n i s are s e n s i t i v e t o s o c i a l a p p r o v a l o r d i s a p p r o v a l . ."-5 The Reddis: " . CONTEMPORARY TRIBAL RELIGIONS W i t h r e f e r e n c e t o c o n t e m p o r a r y tribal r e l i g i o n s . [ D a f l a r and Tanisl d o n o t ascribe t o their g o d s a general interest in the c o n d u c t of man.Kf. . von Fufer-Haimendorf. 2 4 H a i m e n d o r f s a y s t h a t those groups that are least influenced by Hindu culture have sanc"amoral" religions.. 29. but H a i m e n d o r f t h i n k s t h e s e are n e w l y i n t r o d u c e d 24. w e a r e f o r t u n a t e m h a v i n g t h e f o r e m o s t e t h n o l o g i s t of tribal India d e a l i n g w i t h p r o b l e m s o f " m o r a l s a n d m e r i t " in a r e c e n t b o o k ."'*1 " T h e Kamars' a t t i t u d e t o a d u l t e r y is m u c h the s a m e as t h a t o f t h e R e d d i s . Ibid. a l a c k o f e t h i c i z a t i o n in t h e s e r e l i g i o n s w o u l d s u b s t a n t i a t e o u r g e n e r a l view. BIRTH ESCHATOLOGY A N D ITS TRANSFORMATION ' S 179 karmic eschatology system was indeed derived from an a b o r i g i n a l belief t h a t w a s r e l a t i v e l y U i i e t h i c i z e d . notions. Apa moral and Merit (London. . 2b.. t h e n it w i l t b e worthwhile e x a m i n i n g c o n t e m p o r a r y tribal r e l i g i o n s o f I n d i a . F u r t h e r m o r e . It t h e y lack e t h i c i z a t i o n n o w . T h e n I s h a l l d e a l w i t h e t h i c i z a t i o n as a c i v i l i z a t i o n a l p r o c e s s w i t h s p e c i a l e m p h a s i s o n how that p r o c e s s o c c u r r e d i n t h e t i m e o f t h e g r e a t G a n g e t i c r e l i g i o n s . Ibid. . the deities d e m a n d f r o m m a n the o b but the relations b e t w e e n man and m a n a r e t o t h e m a m a t t e r o f i n d i f f e r e n c e . 45. Morals 25. o n t h e o t h e r ha m l .

U r d u or Marathi.s I."^ 2 jjjQ. 1 " W e h a v e s h o w n t h a t e t h i c i z a t i o n . . b u t it s e e m s v e r y l i k e l y that t h e y lacked e t h i c i z a t i o n . T h e n o t i o n o f h e a v e n is a p a r a d i s a l o n e : " T h e r e is l i g h t . In t h e R g V e d a t h e c h i e f p l a c e f o r t h e d e a d is h e a v e n . and a celestial fig tree w h e r e Yama drinks with 31. w h i c h is at o n c e t h e f o o d o f t h e s p i r i t s a n d t h e p o w e r w h i c h t h e y w i n b y tt. honey. " 1 1 T h e spirits e n j o y material luxury.B u d d h i s t V e d i c t r a d i t i o n w a s in r e s p e c t t o p r i mary and secondary ethicization. ' but s o r t i s as f o r e i g n t o t h e R g V e d a as t o e a r l y Jran. the m a g i c a l i d e a s o f t h e A t h a r v a v e d i c t r a d i t i o n . i s n o t s i m p l y a feature o f o u r ideal m o d e l . as w e l l as t h e d e l i g h t s o f l o v e . w h i c h in several A r y a n languages means " s i n . " T h e r e is n o G o n d equivalent t o this w o r d l o a n e d f r o m H i n d i . 102S). 138. b u t is a l s o a f e a t u r e o f at l e a s t some p r i m i t i v e tribal r e l i g i o n s o f I n d i a . ghee. p. It w i l l t h u s b e i m p o r t a n t t o s e e w h a t t h e p r e . w h o s o m e t i m e s m a y a p p e a r as e t h i c a l d e i t i e s . M. milk.in o f f e n s e against the a c c e p t e d moral o r d e r the G o n d s u s e the w o r d pap.. W e h a v e n o i d e a w h a t t h e tribal o r a b o r i g i n a l r e l i g i o n s w e r e l i k e in B u d d h a ' s o w n t i m e .d e t e r m i n a t i o n .10 gam AN ATH OB t r r. their s e l f . PRL . t h e s u n f o r t h e h i g h e s t w a t e r s . and this situation s u g g e s t s that G o n d i i d e o l o g y originally lacked the c o n c e p t "sin. o r r a t h e r its l a c k . saya. one. d r i v e n b y a c h a r i o t o r o n w i n g s . g r a n t a k i n d of u n c o n d i t i o n a l p a r d o n : " t h e i d e a o f a j u d g e m e n t o l a n y soma.K i.R I. and the gods. also h e l p e d ethicize p o p u l a r B r a h m a n i c religious ideas prev a i l i n g in t h e G a n g e s r e g i o n .iSMehusctts. e v e r y f o r m o f h a p p i n e s s . T h i s e s c h a t o l o g y is a p a r a d i s a l . 407. Arthur BerricdaJe Keith. if n o t o t h e r samana g r o u p s . like their c o n t e m p o r a r y represent a t i v e s . T h e r e is also m u s i c and singing. The Religion and Philosophy of the Vedas and UpJnishadi (Cambridge. 3 ' as distinct f r o m an o f f e n s e against the c u s t o m a r y law u p h e l d by the n o t i o n of village and tribal c o u n c i l s but u n f o r t i f i e d by any supernatural s a n c t i o n . a n d . as the evidence of Brahmajald Sutta and Tcvijja Sutta indicates. t h e g o d s . T h e s o u l at d e a t h .B U D D H I S T V E D I C T R A D I T I O N When w e e x a m i n e t h e e s c h a t o l o g y of t h e K g V e d a w e a r e con- f r o n t e d w i t h an u n e t h i c i z e d r e l i g i o n . rather E v e n Y a m a a n d V a r u n a . Ibid. takes the route of the fathers and reaches a place of eternal rest. W h e n talking of such . n o t a r e t r i b u t i v e ( e t b i e i z e d ) d o n o t " p u n i s h the dead or judge t h e m for their s i n s . B u t it s h o u l d b e n o t e d t h a t t h e B u d d h a . t h e S v a d h a . s u c h as t h e s a c r i f i c e . p .

. and murderers are confined. pp. the former is a blind. 242.REBIRTH hSCHATOt OC^ AND ITS TK ANSI OKM A t l O N S 157 The notion of hell " w a s present in g e r m " in the Rg Veda. It is based on violations of taboo and on ritual interdictions. of the ritual. p. sorceresses. I shall later discuss the reasons for this lack. p. rather than on the moral nature of one's this-worldly actions. History and Doctrine of the Ajivikjs (London. . 410. the otherworld is for saint and sinner alike. n o t general categorical ones as in the later religions. 3 6 Yet they prove that a sophisticated speculative religion need not concern itself with morality o r ethics. we are dealing with taboo violation rather than with religious ethics or morality. black place where female goblins. 409. Ibid. H e r e persons who injure Brahmins sit in streams of blood eating their hair. on the basis of later historical religions. E n t r y to the otherworld is dependent on the performance of the correct ritual. The Atharva Veda has the word narakaloka. ." in contrast with svarga. Ibid. 33. 474." 3 4 It is true that at death a man is weighed in a balance to test the good and the bad. Basham. The Upanisads while belonging to the Vedic tradition were influenced by the speculative asceticism of the Gangetic region. 36. Ibid. p. Ibid. as among the present-day Sinhala-Buddhists. This absence of ethical concern has dismayed scholars w h o .. 3 3 It is a place under the earth into which Indra and Soma are to burl evildoers. are conditioned to think that a 32. This comes out clearly in the vision of Bhrgu in the 5 atapatha and Jaiminiya Brahmanas. Regarding the later Brahmanas. 3 5 Clearly. 34. In the Kaufitaki Brahmana the animals take revenge upon a man in the next world unless he performs the correct ritual. except for special cases of d e m o n s and criminals.. . There the persons punished in hell are those w h o cut wood without offering the agnihotra and those who kill and eat animals and even herbs without performing the correct ritual. "evil place. This is an unethieized eschatology. There seems to be hardly any ethical view underlying these notions: special offenses are listed. Persons in hell are those w h o have committed specially heinous crimes. I. robbers or demons. 35. " h e a v e n " . these being the enemy. Keith has this to say: " T h e most convincing evidence of ail regarding the almost purely ritual character of goodness in the view of the Brahmanas is that their concept of torment is inextricably b o u n d up with the correct practice . A. but this is not based on a social morality... p. 474-475.

[London. in the form in which it existed in the Gangetic valley. even above such heinous deeds as the slaying of an embryo and the murder of a father or a mother. in his exhaustive discussion of the Upanisads. New York.e. His explanation is naive: "Lack of generalization. and he w h o associates with them as the fifth. while the Vedic religion. who wras concerned with isolating general social processes from the flow of history. 39. since European religious traditions emphasize external.. . p. J S But he forgets that both Jainism and Buddhism had an externa! (i. 585. " T h e r e is n o attempt to make the theoretical philosophy a ground of morality ot any sort. p. 1906. I write in the sociological tradition of Max Weber.1 7 H e also states that ethics have no objective or external work to do in the Upanisads. the murderer of a Brahmin. O n e can therefore accept Keith's characterization of the Upanisads. Paul Deussen. and the spirit drinker. The fact is that the Upanisadic seeker of salvation is above and beyond common everyday morality. I shall deal with t w o fundamental and contrasting modes of ethicization of the ancient Indo-lranian religious tradition common to both Iran and Northwestern India. Ibid. It was also the religion that was subject to the Zoroastrian reform. social) morality radically different from the subjective internal "ethics" of the Upanisads." 3 9 ETHICIZATION AS A C1V1L1ZATiONAL PROCESS In this section I propose to examine the nature of the institutions that promote ethicization. was ethicized by religious reformers like the Buddha. 1 assume with most scholars that the type of religion characteristic of the Rg Veda also extended to Iran. points out moral injunctions contained there: " T h e thief of gold. as well as the rarity of such warnings in Upanisad literature. The Philosophy o) the Upunishacb 1966). Keith." But Deussen is puzzled that only special cases are cited here.". The 37. 365-366. pp. non-subjective ethics. and defiler of his teacher's bed: these four perish. proves that offenses of this character were not common. PJ-E-l 1 Deussen.G ANANATH O B E Y E S E K ER F speculative soteriology must also entail an ethical soteriology. 38. rather than a systematic ethicization. In the Kausitaki Upanisad the man who attains Brahman after passing by the river of immortality casts away his good and evil deeds. misjudging their ethical nature. 7'hus. he is above all morality. 366..

for want oi a better term. Zaehner." It should be noted that all asceticism is not ethical. in India at the Buddha's time as well as in ours. very often this rationalization converts the religion into a moral system. The Zoroastrian reform of the older Indo-lranian religion is the typical case of ethical prophecy. it was not an ethical religious tradition. did ( realize that thou wast holy when I saw thee at the beginningj at the birth of existence. Zaehner shows how the preexisterit religion is rationalized to constitute a unified religious world view entirely ethical in nature. I label "ethical asceticism. Mazdah. when thou didst ordain a (just) requital for deeds and words. if the preceding interpretation of the Vedic religion is correct.REBIRTH KSCHATOLOCY A N D ITS TRANSFORMATIONS 159 Buddha not ordy ethicized the rebirth eschatology but also gave a radical secondary ethical interpretation to popular Brahmanic beliefs and institutions that prevailed in the middle Ganges. involving a rationalization of religion. which transported him back in time to the beginning of the world: " T h e n . and in India through ethical asceticism. The Indo-lranian religion can be seen as belonging to a single tradition. . R. A fine example of this ethical orientation is a hymn that describes Zoroaster's vision of God." 4 0 In India the rationalization and ethicization of the preexisting religious beliefs—Vedic and non-Vedic—was through a radically different process which. However. Ethical asceticism like prophecy is speculative. one can have rationalization of religion without ethicization but not ethicization without rationalization. A rational speculative religious ideology can exist w i t h o u t a s y s t e m a t i c m o r a l c o n c e r n . b u t in b o t h e t h i c a l p r o p h e c y a n d ethical asceticism these two factors are inextricably interconnected. we are interested now not in the content of ethicization but in its vehicle and the mechanisms by which ethicization is expressed. much of it involving magical attempts t o gain power and control over man and nature. The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrimiim p. an evil lot for evil (done) and a good one for a good (deed). furthermore. 44. In short. 40. C. (New York. 1961). The ethicization of Indo-lranian religion took place in two radically different directions: in Iran through ethical prophecy as it was manifest in Zoroaster's reform. which was part of the speculative asceticism of the samanas and wanderers of the Gangetic region.

For example. 4 1 The substance and content of these debates are sometimes listed in Jaina and Buddhists suttas. As D u r k h e i m said in a classic essay.RF. vol. and Jainism." presumably during the rainy season. The Collation of the Middle Length Sayings. in w o m e n . Horner (translator). had the general support of laymen. Ma ha Sakuhidayt Sutta refers to a debating hall " w h e r e diverse members of other sects. In contrast. T h e secret esoteric nature of Upanisadic knowledge is t o o well known to require any documentation here. p. the individual cannot be 41. V I S I K F. Yet. B. and in audras. Let me spell this out with regard to the contrasting ethical orientations in Buddhism and the Upanisads. or in a park donated by a rich devotee. as any ascetic c o m m u n i t y w o u l d . The seeker of salvation goes to a guru and learns the secret knowledge: I suspect this orientation is true of many ot the wanderer sects of the time. . 2 (London. In Buddhism and Jainism. that is. speculation is different f r o m ethicization: the Upanisads p r o d u c e d a great speculative soteriology but not an ethical religion. In reading the Buddhist and Jaina suttas one is struck by the fact that the Jaina and Buddhist m o n k s often congregated during vas. or at resting places during their wanderings. including the Upanisadic ascetics. t h e y were not interested in lay soteriology. 1957). the Buddhists and Jainas had a lay congregation which specially supported their o w n g r o u p : there were lay converts to the religion. in a larger lay community. 206. The spirit of the times indicates constant argument and debate among and between groups of wanderers ahdsaraanas." and Deussen agrees with this interpretation. 1. recluses and Brahmins were gathered together. by contrast. Buddhism. renounced the world to seek salvation.i6o G A N A N A T H O K I . 1 suggest that it is only in relation to a lay community that a systematic ethicization of a religion occurs." "secret. but were n o t interested in lay conversion. It is out of this kind of cultural background chat the great speculative religions of India e m e r g e d — t h e Upanisads. In other words. Indian writers usually explain " itpanisad" as "rdbasyam. Perhaps the real difference between samanas and wanderers may precisely have been this: the latter were concerned with the individual ascetic who ha?. there was an interest in the c o m m o n m a n . which constituted the catalyst for speculation and religious rationalization. T h e tffttos are full of references to these debates. the other groups of wanderers. It is an esoteric secret doctrine that the guru imparts to his pupils questing for salvation.

Egoism and morality are fundamentally opposed. 203-219. and in some instances it is a hindrance insofar as a social morality links a person to his group. as Basham has shown.S U B I R T H E S C H A T O L O G Y A N D ITS T R A N S F O R M A T I O N S 161 a moral object to himself. but that they lack systematic ethicization. Such a stance constitutes the rationale for ascetic withdrawal f r o m the world. This was obviously one of the goals of early Buddhism. But after Brahma interceded he opted for the "welfare and happiness of 42." The Buddha's own dilemma comes out in the early sermon. H o m e r (1957). not that ethics are absent in these doctrines. the ground ot morality is established in a social network. 132-13N. This is to say. vanavasins—gramavasin (forest dwellers—community dwellers). proselvtization. and the establishment of a lay community. O n e could assume that retreat from the world must surely be related to personal striving for salvation." 1 . 44. Sociology and Philosophy 43. While there have always been problems in reconciling the goal of the ascetic renunciation with the demands of the laity. But the ascetic withdrawal from the world with its goal ot personal salvation must be reconciled with the establishment of communication between laity and m o n k . fcmile Durkheim. The first category is associated with individual salvation. Nevertheless. O n e answer was the classic differentiation of monks into certain categories: vipas$ana dhura—graritha dura (calling of meditation—calling of study).This condition hardly obtains in the Upanisads. Social morality is at best irrelevant f o r salvation.44 There he recognized that his doctrine was difficult and f o r the few. whereas salvation for the Upanisadic ascetic is the removal of himself f r o m the group. there is not the slightest doubt that Buddhism was never an exclusive " m o n k s ' religion. . pp. and perhaps the most important one. Basham. pp. Ariyapariyesatia Sutta. This has been a major dilemma in Buddhism and Jainism and also. (NL-W York. the latter is involved in the lay c o m m u n i t y . By not preaching he would have opted for the goal of personal salvation-—in the Buddha mythology that ot apacceka Buddha. where the emphasis is on the individual's quest f o r his o w n salvation rather than the welfare of the group. morality is established only in our relationship with others. in Ajivikaism 4 3 —the reconciliation ot personal striving for salvation with the welfare of the neighbor. 1953). Weber was wrong when he stated that in Buddhism the personal certitudu salutis rather than the welfare of the neighbor was the issue. another goal was conversion. and he was reluctant to preach it to the world.

It s h o u l d b e r e m e m b e r e d t h a t t h e term tists bhikku have is n o t a l w a y s t o b e t r a n s l a t e d as " m o n k . as ethical p r o p h e c y stemhuge of op- ming f r o m Islam.K E the m a n y . pp. Weber. Preaching to the w o r l d and the establishment of c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h the lay c o m m u n i t y — n o t o n l y t o obtain recruits for the order but also to establish a lay f o l l o w ing. T h e s e public s e r m o n s w e r e o p e n t o all. the m o n k s Furthermore. w h i c h h a s r e m a i n e d t o this d a y as a v e h i c l e f o r t h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n o f the doctrinal tradition to the u n m u s i c a l masses. question. " D i f f i c u l t i e s in t r a n s l a t i o n s h o u l d n o t b l i n d u s t o the sociological realities u n d e r l y i n g the role of bbikku in the early period of the establishment of Buddhism. T h i s is a it. d e v e l o p i n g W e b e r ' s 45. a city. . O n c e t h e o r d e r w a s established there w e r e c o m m u n i t i e s of m o n k s in various parts o f the m i d d l e G a n g e s . ethical p r o p h e c y . Thus. u n l i k e t h e c l o s e e s o t e r i c w o r l d o f t h e Upanisadic guru and his pupil. who the Buddha meet w e r e already there gathered to rain-retreat during (vassa) monks resided already in the his c l o s e t o h u m a n s e t t l e m e n t s . T h e texts have m a n y references to lay disciples they assembled several places w h e r e B u d d h a preached. a crucial feature of early B u d d h i s m was the public sermon. W h e n the visited him. 4f>-59. Social links between monks and l a y m e n were e s t a b l i s h e d v e r y e a r l y in B u d d h i s m . Thus. " T h e fact for both suttas monks a r e r e p l e t e w i t h s t a t e m e n t s t h a t t h e r e l i g i o n is i n and laymen. Indeed. and s e r m o n s w e r e uttered d u r i n g a g o o d part o f the n i g h t . to hear t e a c h i n g . and and 1 shall o n l y deal w i t h a f e w salient characteristics argument. w h e r e lay s u p p o r t e r s a l s o w e r e established. English-speaking Buddhists translate it g e n e r a l l y as " p r i e s t . Zoroasirianisin. it seems to me to a to be incontrovertible that early Buddhism and Jainism and lesser extent Ajlvikaistfi i n v o l v e d the f o l l o w i n g . c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h the laity facilitated by the d e v e l o p m e n t of m o n a s t i c i s m . It h a s a l s o s e t a d e c i s i v e s t a m p o n the South much Asian religious traditions that were influenced by influenced the religious traditions Christianity.. " a s s o c i a l s c i e n shown. It seems clear that the laymen were part of the prosclytization yoals of early Buddhism.45 e t h i c a l a s c e t i c i s m as t h e y e m e r g e w h e n c o n t r a s t e d w i t h its p o l a r p o s i t e . T H E CONTRASTING O R I E N T A T I O N S Oh" ETHICAL PROPHECY ANt> ETHICAL ASCETICISM T h e e t h i c a l a s c e t i c i s m t h a t I h a v e d e s c r i b e d is n o t s i m p l y a p h e n o m e n o n o f a n c i e n t G a n g e t i c r e l i g i o n .CJANAN ATH O B E Y t S E K I.

r e g a r d e d as t h e w o r s h i p of sticks and s t o n e s . as in I s l a m o r Zoroastrianism and in m a n y sectarian traditions of Protestantism. i n t h e e x t r e m e c a s e n o m e r c y o r q u a r t e r is s h o w n . Z o r o a s t e r s e e s h i s o p p o n e n t s as evil i n c a r n a t e . r e f l e c t i v e . v i e w e d as f o l l y r a t h e r t h a n as e v i l . . c o n t e m p l a t i v e validate speculation. The in basic early contrast texts is t h a t such as the the p r e e x i s t i n g ( o r alien) r e l i g i o n s are evil f o r t h e o n e . T h e d i s t i n c tion b e t w e e n c o m m a n d m e n t and p r e c e p t are crucial to the respective religious traditions in w h i c h ethical p r o p h e c y and asceticism are institutionalized. e m o t i o n a l l y c h a r g e d . b y contrast. T h e p r e e x i s t i n g r e l i g i o n is v i e w e d w i t h i n t o l e r a n c e . B u d d h i s m d o e s n o t c o n t a i n a t h e o r y o f evil s t r i c t l y parallel other. T h e ethical ascetic. F l o w i n g f r o m t h e f o r e g o i n g is t h e n a t u r e o f t h e p r o p h e t ' s m e s s a g e : It c o m e s f r o m G o d . T h e p r o p h e t ' s m e s s a g e is i n t e n s e . derived f r o m his o w n inward. Z o r o a s t e r d e n o u n c e s t h e the priests evilly d e l u d e the p e o p l e / ' 4 6 In e t h i c a l a s c e t i c i s m t h e e t h i c a l m e s s a g e . C o n t r a r y t o t h e o p i n i o n o f r e c e n t s c h o l a r s . Zaehner. ethical p r o p h e c y has an u n c o m p r o m i s i n g a t t i t u d e t o t h e w o r l d . a n d e x p r e s s e d in simile. to This the monotheistic attitude one. and f o l l y f o r t h e latter emerges Brahmajala Sutta These and Tevijja Sutta in t h o s e s e c t i o n s t h a t d e a l w i t h t h e religious " b a s e arts" of the A t h a r v a Veda and p o p u l a r " s u p e r s t i t i o n . rules o f the m o n k s ' o r d e r w e r e c o n s t a n t l y b e i n g revised: the from The by soma d r i n k e r s . s o t e r i o l o g i c a l m e s s a g e . " W i l t t h o u s t r i k e d o w n t h i s filthy d r u n k e n n e s s w i t h w h i c h suras c o n t r a s t c a n n e v e r b e r e v i s e d . T h e p r o p h e t i c ethics that e n s u e c o n s t i t u t e a c o m m a n d m e n t . a n d is t h e r e f o r e a p r o c l a m a t i o n o f t h e d i v i n e w i l l . unitary ethical deity w h o s e message he c o m m u n i c a t e s to the w o r l d . h i s command b r o o k s n o c o m p r o m i s e . u r g i n g its e s t a b l i s h m e n t i n t h e w o r l d . a n d e x p r e s s e d in c o n d e n s e d p o e t i c l a n g u a g e a n d m e t a p h o r . 38. T h u s . is v u l n e r a b l e t o c o m p r o m i s e a n d r e v i s i o n . Deities are e x t e r n a l agents who at best f o r m u l a t e s his or sanction own the m e s s a g e . p. S i n c e t h e p r o p h e t i c m e s s a g e is f r o m G o d h i m s e l f .RF filRTH HSCHA'I OLOGY A N D ITS TRANSFORMATIONS [63 T h e c r u x o f e t h i c a l p r o p h e c y is chat t h e p r o p h e t is t h e v e h i c l e o f a transcendental. " respective attitudes characterize the t o n e of the m e s s a g e . T h e a t t i t u d e t o l a y r e l i g i o n is t o l e r a n t . i n s o f a r as it c o m e s i n w a r d s p e c u l a t i o n . it is a p r e c e p t t o b e f o l l o w e d b e c a u s e o f its i n h e r e n t T i g h t n e s s . w h e r e a s t h e d o c t r i n e o f e t h i c a l a s c e t i c i s m is i r o n i c . T h u s . 46. t h e a s c e t i c ' s e t h i c a l m e s s a g e d o e s n o t c o m e f r o m G o d . B y c o n t r a s t . s k e p t i c a l .

ethical asceticism. 1964). The King's dilemmas center around three basic issues. 2 vols. T h e prophet ethicizcs a preexistent religion. It is neutral to that order. Milindafi Questions. t. for it is dialectical! y open.164 G'ANA N ATH O B E Y KSF K E R E The u n c o m p r o m i s i n g attitude of the ethical p r o p h e t often brings him into conflict with the secular order. lacking an uncompromising posture. in this case the Buddhist doctrinal position. h o w to reconcile popular non-Buddhist lay views with doctrinal B u d d h i s m . while Nagasena represents the dhamma. h o w to reconcile certain features of popular lay Buddhism. the interests of the world. does not threaten the secular order. Milinda. The sociological significance of Milinda Pariba (The Questions of King Milinda) is precisely this. represents artba. T h e dialectical problem of trying to reconcile difficult doctrinal concepts with lay understandings was an ongoing historical process. and this o f t e n brings him into conflict. By contrast. . This was true of Jesus and also of M o h a m m e d and Zoroaster.. Sacred Books of the Fast (London. Nagasena's achievement is in tact their reconciliation. at least in the initial period of their reforms. the key doctrines are rendered intelligible to lay understanding and experience. with the established priesthood and the secular authority which is legitimated by that priesthood and religion. the King. 47. Third. such as partitas already accepted at the time. Second. B. how to reconcile certain doctrinal concepts like karma and nirvana with the realities of mundane experience. First. with doctrinal ideas. 4 7 It shows this process going on five centuries after the death of the Buddha. Horner (translator).

23. as he passed through a series of states of higher consciousness. ugly."1 Men are heirs to what they d o .7 Karma and Rebirth in Early Buddhism JAMES P. aiJ citations of the Pali texts refer to the editions oi the Pali Text Society (PTS). 165 . and the way in which they pass from existence to existence. f o r the khandhas are subject to continual change. the Buddha came to recognize that beings pass from existence to existence in accordance with the nature of their deeds (karnmu). These are the material body. The refrain is frequently repeated: " T h u s With divine. man is made of five aggregates. M c D E R M O T T O n the night ot his enlightenment. or khandhas. T h e Buddhists deny that any of the aggregates individually or in combina) Majjhima-Njkaya (M) 3. feelings. perception. At any given time man is but A temporary combination of these aggregates. superhuman eye he sees beings passing away and being reborn (upaptyjamane). C f . ill-faring according to (the consequences of) their kamtna. beautiful. Unless otherwise noted. purified.183. If we are fully to understand the sense in which men are considered heirs to their kamma. and consciousness. etc. 3. and at others ic is descriptive o) him. exalted. A person does not remain the same for any two consecutive instants. According to the Pali canon. brief consideration must first be given to the Buddha's understanding of the nature of man himself.99. predispositions. well-faring. U S 2 .3!. Sometimes the formula is placed in the mouth of the Buddha. M 1. 2. H e knows that beings are inferior.

name and form depending on consciousness.19 the former of these two extremes is asserted to be the view of the eternalist (sassata). attachment. Then Vacchagotta asks whether this means that there is no self. the Buddha teaches the doctrine of pattccasamuppada (dependent co-origination) as the middle way between them. The other extreme is the view that he w h o does the deed is another individual than he w h o experiences the fruit. At S 2. in order to draw people away from their egoistic attachments. the six organs of sense (ayatitTtA) depending on name and form. the Buddha takes the middle view and remains silent. Thus. 4 0 0 401. The Buddha taught that belief in a self behind the kbandhas results in egoism. the doctrine that there is n o permanent self. Vacchagotta asks whether there is a self (atta). the denial of the self would only tend to confuse the uneducated. Nonetheless. self. that is. Indeed. In response to his questions. consciousness depending on aggregation. As opposed to either of the two extremes. Here the interlocutor is a certain Brahmin. Thus he taught the doctrine of anatta. it is erroneous to postulate any real. he would be open to the charge of siding with the eternalists. under certain circumstances Gotama was not so ready to deny the existence of th eatui.166 J A M E S P. Gotama points out the two extremes chat are to be avoided: the belief that he w h o does the deed is he w h o experiences the result — this is one extreme.76. in Sdmyutta-Nikaya (S) 4 . an encounter between the Buddha and Vacchagotta is described. The Buddha remains silent. The middle way which the Tatbagata treads is spelled out in greater detail at 5 2. aggregation (sdnkhara} depending on ignorance. To say that there is a self does not fit with the Buddha's teaching of impermanence (anicca). w h o rejected any idea of rebirth as untenable. Since the Buddha himself professes a concept of rebirth. Thus. The being w h o is reborn is neither the same as nor different from the being w h o dies in a previous existence. and hence in suffering. contact depending on the . McDtRMOTT tion may be considered to be an ego. O n the other hand. to say that there is no self is to side with the annihilationists. lasting unity behind the elements that make up an individual. or soul fattaj. the latter being the view of the annihilationist (ucchcda). Again the Buddha remains silent. craving. Later the Buddha explains his silence to his disciple Ananda as follows: If he had said there is a self. The implication of the Buddha's re sponse is that the being who experiences the fruits of a deed in one life is neither the same as nor different from the being w h o performed that deed in a previous existence. According to this teaching.

see David M. the process of becoming (bhava) depending on grasping. 5. Other illustrations of the poim are at Miln. 40-41. a l t h o u g h there is 2. old age and death depending on birth. 5 T h u s .20 for classical interpretations of the pOpccasa?nuppada. 2 T h r o u g h this causal chain a c o n n e c t i o n is made between the doing of deeds and the later experiencing of their fruits. 2. on the one hand. suffering.) is particularly concerned t o emphasize this view. and eventually to ghee. Indeed. H e holds that the process is like that u n d e r g o n e by fresh milk f r o m a cow. the butter.7 and 9 (Varanasi: Bauddha Bharati. rather than a p e r m a n e n t entity of any sort w h i c h could be said t o transmigrate. The full printed text of the patitXasXrnitppada to be found at VYwi^ Pitakam r'Viji. Bauddha Bharati Series.) 3. Harvard Oriental Series 41 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. grief. 1950). The second link in the formula is understood by the commentators to refer to rebirth-producing volitions (cvtana). 4 vols. "The Translation and Interpretation ot die Twelve Terms in the Paticcasamupp'ida. using a series of similes to illustrate the p o i n t . Williams. 46-4S and 72. or "karmaformations. Here and in what follows references to Vism. then t o butter.1-2..k ARM A A N D REBIRTH IN EARL1! BUDDHISM 167 six organs of sense.2 ft. and rebirth. Rebirth thus conditions rebirth. and despair arise." 3.. nos. References to Kosa and its self-commentary will be by chapter and verse. of Xearya Yasomitra. I have employed the edition of Swami Dwarkidas Shastri. For detailed treatment of the formula. Just as there is no sweet milk Left to be f o u n d in the ghee. will be by chapter and paragraph. . yet they are produced o u t of it. in the traditional interpretation the f o r mula of d e p e n d e n t co-origination is taken to cover three successive existences. on the other. It would be w r o n g t o say that the milk was the same as the curds. birth (jati) depending on the process of becoming. or the ghee. the formula is abbreviated ai $amyntiir-Nikaya (S. After a time it turns to curds. so there is no being (satta) that passes f r o m this life to a n o t h e r . 3 But what is posited is a locus of points in a changing causal stream. Abhidhamiakosa and Bh. between ignorance and craving. 1970-1973). T h e post-canonical but nonetheless authoritative Milindapanbo (Miln. desire depending on sensation. edited by Henry Clarke Warren and revised by Dbarmananda Kosambi. sorrow.19 and 2. 4. grasping depending on desire. This example is taken from Mtln. 1. 5 . l or the Kosa. 4 Let us cite b u t one example of the Way in which Nagasena deals w i t h the question of w h e t h e r o n e remains the same or becomes a n o t h e r t h r o u g h a series of rebirths. 72." \ n m e n 21 (197-1): 35—63. MM.iiyci of AcharyA Vasiiburidhu with apbutartha Cartfmem4ry. See Viinddbimagga (Vism) 17. In the PTS edition.7b. sensation depending on contact. following Visitddhimagta of Buddbagbosdcariyti. Thus is the origin of all this aggregation of suffering. and Abbtdharmakoia (Kosd.

repeatedly presses f o r further clarification. it m a y be considered to follow a man like an unshakable shadow. saying: 'These acts are here or there. the puggala. But since its potential cannot be prevented f r o m actualizing itself in due time. In order to avoid being accused of belief in an atta. Does this mean that in some sense kamma itself may he said to pass f r o m one life to the next? This is the thrust of a question which King Milinda poses to the monk Nagasena. 7. As T h o m a s Dowllng notes: The wide agreement on the principle of karmic fruition for morally qualihable deeds stands out in marked contrast to the disagreement that characterizes the various sectarian treatments of the mechanism whereby this principle is effected. 8. Louis. it cannot be said to exist here or there. on O c t ." "Just so. IffS. The Visuddbimagga is explicit in stating that "the kamma that is the condition f o r the fruit does n o t pass on there (to where the fruit is). while applauding Nagasena's illustrations. . I. . saying: 'The fruit is here or there'?" " N o indeed. p. Rather. The wider doctrinal positions of several of the Schools can often he understood in Itght of the schools' unique approaches to the explanation of the link up between deed and fruit. great King. it is not possible to point to these acts. . s The Puggalavadins. great King? Is it possible to point to the fruit of trees which have not vet produced fruit. believed that a personal entity. venerable Sir. The act (kamma) itself does not pass f r o m one state to the next. kamma continues to he effective within the locus which defines individual existence. however. Missouri. Afihz. 1976. exists. they further maintained that this puggala was neither identical with nor different from the five aggregates.192 JAMES P. for example. . O n c e again Nagasena's response takes the form of a simile: "What do you think about this. they considered the 6. while the continuity (of life) is uninterrupted. Vkm. Even Milinda. The translation is that of Bhikkhu Nvsnamolu The Path of Purification (Colombo: A. -Karma Doctrine ^ s Sectarian Earmark."' Similes sudi as those employed by Nagasena to explain the rebirth process were not fully convincing." unpublished paper read ai the American Acadenoy of Religion Annual Meeting at St. Semage. l % 4 j . McD t RMOTT no transmigration in the strict sense of the w o r d .'" tl The implication of Nagasena's illustration seems to be that once done. 17. 72. deeds continue to exist only t h r o u g h their potential to m o d i f y the continuity of life. 8 Thorn a i Dowlmg.

N o t being carried over from the previous life. and a 9. Again the matter is considered ineffable.ISO—161.). the body gradually withers away like a green leaf in the sun. tb e pttggala does not undergo constant change. Buddhaghosa's discussion of rebirth-linking and its ramifications is to be found at Vism. That is. " T h e Kathavatthu Kamma Debates "Journal of the American Onemal Society [JAOS) 95 (1975): -(24-425. Its existence is not a momentary state. Moreover. the sense faculties cease. this rebirth-linking consciousness newly arises at the precise m o m e n t of conception. 17. see James P. In other words. the conjunction of three factors is necessary for conception to take place: there must be sexual intercourse between the parents. Buddhaghosa speaks of the rebirth-linking (patisandbi) of the present state with the immediately preceding state of existence—or. 1. no transmigration of consciousness is being posited here. dying and being reborn in each m o m e n t of consciousness. Buddhaghosa likens the relationship between cuti vinnana and patisandbi vinnana to that between a sound and its echo. 10. M c D e r m o t t . Immediately on its cessation.i conceptions of the link between deed and fruit. !t provides the connecting link between one life and the next. See below for a discussion of the Vaibhasika and Samrantik. It is known as the rebirth-linking consciousness (patisandbi vinnana). contingent upon some kamma. and the consciousness that remains is supported by the heart-basis alone. thereby defining individual continuity. or a signature-seal and its impression.198 and 1.158-173. without which the principle of kamma could n o t operate. conditioned by the cuti vinnana. the mother must be in the proper phase of her menstrual cycle. it was their opinion that the puggala transmigrates f r o m existence to existence. In the normal state of human death. 1 0 According to the Mabatanbasahkbayasutta of the Majjhima Nikaya. state of becoming. better." In lieu of the personal entity of the Puggalavadins. This last moment of consciousness before death is k n o w n as the cuti vinnana. See Kvu. there arises in the mother's w o m b the first stirring of consciousness of the succeeding birth. . Yet it is nonetheless incorrect to hold that it remains the same f r o m instant to instant. The concept of the puggala is attacked by the Theravadin in the Kathavatthu (Kvu. For f u r t h e r elaboration of both the Poggaiavadin and Theravadin positions.k A R M A A N D R E B I R T H I N E A R L 1 ! B U D D H I S M 193 relationship between the pttggala and the aggregates to be ineffable (avaktavya). but rather a causally linked stream (sota) of discrete moments of consciousness. and driven by craving and ignorance not yet abandoned.

pp. 8. 1 7 The antara bbava is further said to have " t h e configuration of what is to be the configuration of the future being. See AVw. the Vatsiputrivas. on the one hand. 15. . Mahassihghikas. 17') (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Buddhaghosa explains gi andbabba as the being about to enter the w o m b (tatrupakasatta). 3). p. . 17. Vasubandhu argues the case tor the affirmative in some detail.113-114." 1 3 Theravada was vocal in Its denial of an intermediate-state being existing between death and rebirth. 3. See Bareau. on the other. being 12 driven on by kdrrilHi(.* 5 A m o n g others. The Psychological Aspect of Buddhism. the antara bbava is a being which is to be foUnd between t w o destinies (gati). The Wheel Publication no. 1972). 12. for elsewhere Buddhaghosa writes that it is the person who is confused about death and rebirth who considers it to involve a "being's transmigration to another incarnation.10. ^ In the Abbulbarmako'sa and its Bbasya (chap. 14. a lasting being's manifestation in a new body. and the Sammatlyas disputed the Theravadin denial of an intermediate-state being (antara bbava) between death and r e b i r t h . 20. for a discussion of the overall controversy. 1 1 In his commentary on this passage. McDtRMOTT gandhabba must bo present. The Theravadins were joined in [his view by the Vibhajvavadins.266. Piyadassi Thera's analysis would seem to be consistent not only with the text but also with Buddhaghosa's understanding of the matter. Kosa. being bracketed by the five aggregates (skandha) of the moment of death. however. . . 283. . it exists between the moment of death and the moment of birth. 227-237. As he defines it in the Bbasya. 1955). 13. 8. The intermediate-state being itself is made up of five skandbas which proceed to the place of rebirth.310. p. ReiJci." Buddhist Studies in Hon our of !. Piyadassi Thera maintains that gandbabba is simply a term for the rebirth-linking consciousness (patisandbi vinnana). M 1. Pflpancasudam MujibimanakayMlhakatha MA) 2. This interpretation is not to be taken as implying the existence of an intermediate-state being (antara bbava). Than is.2. and Mahis'asakas. . Piyadassi Thera. Les Secces. 1974). Vism. and the five aggregates of the moment of birth. See Andre Bateau. rather than for a discarnate spirit of any kind. Homer (Dordrecht: D . . the Sarvastivadins. It is seen by the pure divine eye befong11.cole Franfaise d*Extreme-Orient. ready to exist (paccupattbito boti). Also note Alex Wayman. 1 4 This being the case. 17.170 J A M E S P. 16. 283. These groups offered no clear positive alternative to the concept of antarli bhava. "The Intermediate-State Dispute in Buddhism. Les Sectcs Bottddhiques du Pent Vehicule (Paris: P. p.

it is smitten with desire for its mother. If female.13-14. "^Intermediate-State Dispute.40. This part of the Kcsa has been translated into English by Theodore Stcherbatskm The Soul Theory of the Buddhists fVaranasi. 3. it hates either mother or 18. The term gandhatyd is the Sanskrit equivalent of the Pali gandbitbbu. it is seized with desire for its father. 9) of the Koia. 3. the antara bhava being instead the access (sdgamana) through which a being reaches its proper course of existence (gati). k cannot be impeded or turned back. Finding the scene hospitable. 1970). H (sometimes cited as chap. Vasubandhu's antara bhava is itself a karmically determined combination of skandbas. . mrvrtti. as we have seen. Vasubandhu proceeds to an explanation of how rebirth (pratisamdhi) takes place. 3. Koia." 1 " Vasubandhu goes on to suggest that it is this intermediate-state being to which the Buddha referred with the terms manomayA. Spatially.4. 3. Kosa. no matter how distant.22 By way of contrast. 3. Koia. 3. Cf. the antara bhava arises in the place where death takes place. If male. 231. it is able to see the place of its birth. Koia. Kola. Its sense organs are perfect. 23. 3. The atman is considered to be an entity which abandons the aggregates (skandha) of one existence. exchanging them for the aggregates of another. 2 3 The Oedipal character of his analysis would do justice to Freud: driven by karma. its passions are stirred. It has the force of magical p o w e r or act. Bharatiya Vidva Pi akasana. and which exists independently of the causal relationship between the dharmas. Possessing the divine eye by virtue of its karma.20The intermediate-state being itself is not to be classed as a destiny on the level of the fivegrtiis.18. The name gandharva is explained as applying to the antara bhava because of its pattern of feeding on odors (gandhabhuk). 2 1 Vasubandhu is careful to maintain that the intermediate-state being which he posits is not the same as the atman. the existence of which he denies. sam~ bbavaisin. And inversely. Given the existence of such an intermediate-state being. 20.KARMA AND REBIRTH ! \ i' ARLY BUDDHISM ing to beings of Us class.40-41. is a detailed refutation of th epudgaU and atman theories. united in intercourse. The translation is that of Wavman. Koia. and gandharva. The appendix to chap. the intermediate-state being goes to the location where rebirth is to take place. 19. 2 l Koia. 22." p.14. There it sees its father and its mother to be.15.

when feminine. I n t h i s v i e w . Ahgtittara-Nikaya (A) 4. masculine or feminine. in a crouching position. M 1. T h u s d o arise in t h e w o m b . the world of the shades. T h i s is t h e c y c l e o f The usual position of the Pah Nikayas. that of the asuras is added between the shades and mankind. the gods. or destinies—as the term is often translated—are listed in ascending order as (1) niraya. T h e y h a r d e n . in the attitude in which the intermediate-state being envisions itself as making love. 25 In some passages (e. purgatory or hell. 25. etc. when sexless. T a k i n g p l e a s u r e in t h e i m p u r i t y of t h e s e m e n a n d b l o o d in the w o m b . the asuras are usually conceived as denizens of the world of the shades. (3) pcttivisaya. back forward.73. When the embryo thus formed is masculine. Cuianiddesa (Niddesa I) 550. T h e s e five gatit are listed at Digba Nikaya (D) 3. D 3. accepted by Vasubandhu. into which sentient beings may be born. O f t h e s e c o u r s e s o f e x i s t e n c e . S t i r r e d b y t h e s e w r o n g t h o u g h t s . !n effect. is reserved for the particular class of put as who are distinguished by their perpetual hunger. human existence. and holds on as suits its sex.196 JAMES P. It enters then. t h e skandbas the antara bbava e s t a b l i s h e s i t s e l f t h e r e . a n d t h e i n t e r m e d i a t e - s t a t e b e i n g p e r i s h e s . brute creation.. of pro- d u c e d in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e a c t i o n o f k a r m a . o r duggati). (5) deva. men. as in t h e m o r e p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y o r i e n t e d c o n c e p t r e b i r t h c o n s c i o u s n e s s . a n d asuras a r e c o n s i d e r e d u n h a p p y r e a l m s o f e x i s t e n c e (dpay a. " the usual translation for peta. Developing after it thus takes rebirth in the womb. to the left of the womb. t o be r e p l a c e d i m m e d i a t e l y b y t h e b i r t h e x i s t e n c e (pratiiamdbi). it clings to the right of the womb. In c o n t r a s t t o t h e 24. it a t t a c h e s itself t o d i e p l a c e w h e r e t h e s e x u a l o r g a n s o f t h e p a r e n t s are u n i t e d .459. t h e r e is a s t r e a m o t r e n e w e d e x i s t e n c e s sum sara.g. . M c D t R M O T T f a t h e r . is that there are five possible courses. The term " h u n g r y g h o s t . 2 4 (4) manussa. heavenly existence. s h a d e s . the realm of animals. When but five courses of existence are enumerated. stomach forward.234. (2) tiracchanayorti. O n l y h u m a n a n d h e a v e n l y e x i s t e n c e a r e c o n s i d e r e d r e l a t i v e l y d e s i r a b l e c o u r s e s (sugati).264) a sixth category. the embryo then loses its mature sexual characteristics. niraya a n d t h e r e a l m s o t a n i m a l s . C o n c u p i s c e n c e a n d h a t r e d t h u s arise in the gandbarva as its d r i v i n g p a s s i o n s . w h i c h it c o m e s t o r e g a r d as a r i v a l . the intermediate-state being is possessed of a fully developed set ot sexual organs. These five courses. or realms of existence (gati). i m a g i n i n g t h a t it is t h e r e j o i n e d w i t h t h e o b j e c t o f its p a s s i o n .

17—18 gives an account of the beginning of a Cosmic period in terms of kammic effect. . S3. are almost exclusively states of enjoyment. . are ones who attain existence in the realm of the shades. with the dissolution of each world system. and Tokyo: Charles E. observes in passing that "man and woman alone are usually regarded as being capable of sin or good deeds. as do the numerous instances of good performed by the Bodhisatta in previous animal existences recorded in the Jatakas. of mind. after the breaking tip of the body after death. the creator—are not immune to rebirth in lower stares of existence. acquiring for themselves the kamma (which is the consequence) of the wrong view.178-179. that world begins to revolve. who are of wrong views. in an animal womb (tiracchanayoni). destruction (znnipata). Whatever Brahma does not do harm (abhyapajjba)." 2 8 Dtgba Nikaya 1. Indeed." M 2. hells and paradises. they are ones who attain existence among men. The Buddhist Philosophy of Assimilation {'Rutland. M 3. .. a miserable course 'duggali). that Brahma returns to the present state of becoming (ttthatta). p. acquiring for themselves the kamma (which is the consequence) of the right view. when the Buddha sees men passing from this life in accordance with their kamma. the common view of the Sanskrit texts is that the asuras occupy the lowest desirable state of existence (sugati). who do not abuse noble ones (ariyaj. Eventually "some being because of the passing of his span of years. . 27. that Brahma does not return to the present state of becoming. p. . a heaven world (saggam lokam) .2b The course into which an individual is to be born is largely determined by the nature of his acts (kammc1). these venerable beings who are endowed with good conduct of body. After a long time.132 proves exception to this generalization. of reward or punishment. Ananda explains to King Pasenadi of Kosala that even devas of the heaven of the thirty-three are subject to rebirth. . they. who abuse noble ones. he thinks: Indeed.k ARM A A N D REBIRTH IN EARL1! BUDDHISM 173 Theravada analysis on this point. and . after the breaking up of the body after death. . 51. or because of the 26. Vt. most beings are reborn in a world of radiance. Tuttfe. Thus.132. 1917). who attain a state of loss (apaya). see Alicia Matsunaga. sugati). of speech. of speech. According to this account. . . Louis de la Vallee-Poussin. n tray a. . of mind. who are of right view. and . .27 The gods too — and even Brahma. 1969). On the asuras and their position in the Buddhist scheme of existence. Thus. they are the ones who attain happiness (or a good course. . these Venerable beings who are endowed with misconduct of body. 2S. The other states of existence. . The Way to Nirvana (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. M 2. and "whatever Brahma does harm (savyapajjba).

30. The beginning of the round of rebirth and. men of little wisdom are seen. Sir Gotania. they erroneously con sider him to be their creator. and ones free from illness are seen. What now. 1 If>-I42. health. according to the Buddha. and long-lived ones arc seen. " O n e becomes neither a Brahmin n o r a nonBrahmin by birth. 31. H o w e v e r . weak men ate seen. Todeyya's son. But what about one's caste? In the Sutta Ntpata. . Sir Gotama. men with many illnesses are seen."31 In this passage the term kamma is used 29. Harvard Oriental Series 37 (Harvard Llniversity Press. T h u s . is reborn (lipapajjati) in the uninhabited Palace of Brahma. is the cause. The idea expressed is similar to that at Vr. It is like a dog on a leash running a r o u n d the stake to which it is tied. firing the Sntta-Mtpata or Discourse Collection. by lowness and excellence. having passed f r o m the radiant body. what the reason that lowness and excellence are seen among men. ? Tor. and influence are all the result of one's past deeds. . Since Brahma preceded them chronologically.17. it is related that Subha. There is n o end to its circling.149-150. and 5 2. beings are heir to kamma. men ot high families are seen. . young Brahmin. is the cause. and mighty are seen. 1932). men oi lowly families are seen. of the cycle of cosmic periods is incalculable." Appearance. is crucially affected by the nature oi one's kamma. Cf. then. a view which he also accepts because they appeared in this world system only after he had wished for company. Sir Gotama. short-lived men are seen. ugly rnen are seen. S 3. .'74 | A M E S P. Kamma distinguishes beings. 3 " The course of one's existence.) Edited by Lord Ghalitier^ in B/tddha*s Teachings. asked: "What now. . hence. wealth. differences of name and clan are pronounced to be mere designations (samanna) settled by convention. that is to say. D 1. 2 0 2 . Su tta NipaLt (Sfi. and beautiful are seen. MtDKRMOTT waning of his merit (pumiakkhdya). o t h e r beings eventually fall f r o m the world of radiance. appears here. kamma is operative not only in determining which of t h e g « f « an individual will be born into but also as a causa! factor with respect to certain differences between individuals. The rare form ka>nma»at based on the consonantal stem. .186. what the reason that lowness and excellence are seen among men even while they are in human form?" "Possessed of their own kamma.178f. at M 3 ." 2 9 Similarly. and ones possessed of insight. o n e becomes a non-Brahmin bv kamm#. . .2 0 3 . O n l y the ignorant declare that one is a Brahmin by birth. ./ O n e becomes a Brahmin by kamma. S Z.

M c D e r m o t t .T h a t is t o s a y . samuppada). G o t a m a is s a y i n g t h a t c a s t e d i s t i n c t i o n is m e a n i n g l e s s apart f r o m t h e w a y a p e r s o n a c t s . E v e n a p o o r m a n w h o is f r e e f r o m e a r t h l y a t t a c h m e n t s i s . a m a n is a B r a h m i n in t h i s l i f e b e c a u s e o f c e r t a i n g o o d w o r k s in a p r e v i o u s e x i s t e n c e . 3 .360.) 1. T h a t is. s u c h as in the Vidudabhavatthu of the Dbammapada Commentary. B i r t h o r . It is s e e n as b u t o n e e l e m e n t a m o n g m a n y i n t h e l o c u s o f i n s t a n t s in t h e r o u n d o f as is b o r n e o u t b y t h e f o r m u l a of d e p e n d e n t c o . . but o f the c o n f l u e n c e of the kamma of b o t h t h e p a r e n t s w i t h t h a t o f b o t h t h e i r s o n s . 33. T h e e f f e c t s o f kamnia are h e r e c a r e f u l l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e d f r o m b i r t h . See James P. t h e r i p e n i n g o f his kamma h a s c o n s e q u e n c e s t h a t r e a c h b e y o n d h i m s e l f .8 0 . It is a m a t t e r n o t s i m p l y o f t h e kamma o f the o n e son leading t o his o w n death. arise 32. 1950).33 it is o n l y in t h i s s e n s e o f t h e c o n f l u e n c e o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l k a m m i c r e w a r d a n d p u n i s h m e n t o f t h o s e i n v o l v e d in a g i v e n s i t u a t i o n t h a t it is p o s s i ble t o speak of " g r o u p kamma" in t h e c l a s s i c a l Pali t e x t s . a fratricide c o u l d o n l y b e b o r n of par- kamma d e s e r v e d t h e s u f f e r i n g that r e s u l t s f r o m t h e v i o l e n t l o s s o f a c h i l d .A s e c o n d l e v e l at w h i c h I w o u l d i n t e r p r e t the m e a n i n g of the term kamma i n t h e v e r s e just q u o t e d f r o m the Sutta Nipata is as a r e f e r e n c e t o p a s t d e e d s w o r k i n g t h e m s e l v e s o u t in t h e p r e s e n t ( o r f u t u r e ) . . T h u s . n o t t h r o u g h b i r t h . In r e s p o n s e t o a q u e s t i o n raised b y o n e STvaka Moliya. This idea is clearly expressed a: Dbammapada (Db. b u t r a t h e r b e c a u s e o f h i s p a s t a c t s . r e b i r t h is h e n c e b u t o n e o f t h e e f f e c t s o t kamma. Dha m ma pa da ttbakatba (DhA. "Is There G r o u p Karma in Theravada Buddhism?" Nutnm 23 (1976): 6 7 .) 393 and 396. especially 1. Edited and translated by S. (vedayita) . 34.337-361. p a i n . . a B r a h m i n . A l t h o u g h e a c h i n d i v i d u a l is h e i r t o his d e e d s a l o n e . O n e b e c o m e s w h a t h e is. O n t h e o n e h a n d .o r i g i n a t i o n samsara.KARMA A N D REBIRTH IN i ARLV BUDDHISM I 7 f w i t h t w o l e v e l s p f m e a n i n g . Gotama r e p l i e s t h a t in a d d i t i o n "certain experiences to the e f f e c t o f kamma here (kammavipaka). 3 4 N o t all p l e a s u r e . rather. in t r u t h . (paticca- It is l o g i c a l l y n o m o r e i m p o r t a n t t h a n a n y o t h e r m o m e n t o f e x i s t e n c e . Oxford University Press. a n d m e n t a l s t a t e s t h a t m e n e x p e r i e n c e are d u e t o p r e v i o u s a c t s . W i t h rare e x c e p t i o n s . H e a l o n e d e s e r v e s t o b e c a l l e d a B r a h m i n in w h o m t h e r e is t r u t h a n d r i g h t e o u s n e s s . w h o in t u r n d e s e r v e d t o s u f f e r s u c h a d e a t h at t h e h a n d s o f h i s b r o t h e r as p u n i s h m e n t f o r h i s o w n p a s t d e e d s . Radhakrishnan (London. in a n y g i v e n s i t u a t i o n t h e kamma of each individual involved the m u s t b e in c o n f l u e n c e w i t h t h a t o f e v e r y o t h e r p a r t i c i p a n t in ents w h o because of their past situation. f o r e x a m p l e .

it comes back to haunt him. A 5. 40. 3 7 That kamma should not w o r k itself out is as much an impossibility as that the mortal should not die. . The general principle is stated at A 1. Similarly. The canon is also full of specific examples of the operation of this principle. T h u s the effect of a comparatively weak deed (dubbaiakamma) may be superseded by the effect of a comparatively strong deed (balavakamnia) or by the accumulated effects of a series of deeds. a liar. from wind. . and again at M 3. evil deeds bringing unpleasant or painful results.292 strongly denies that intentional (sancetanika) deeds can be wiped out once accumulated. 39.28-30. . A U 7 2 . . . . M 3.110. and 300. res lilting f r o m the humors of the body. N o t even Brahma.176 JAMES P. The sutta goes on to explain how this view can be reconciled with belief in the inevitable working out of the effects of kamma: practical experience shows us that in their lifetimes individuals are capable of doing both good and evil deeds. Moreover. good deeds bringing results that are in some sense conceived to be good or pleasant. not everyone w h o refrains f r o m immoral acts will be reborn in a good course. steals.S 8 .297. 38. Similar Statements occur at A 5. Cf.. and Mara. . and so forth will be reborn in an undesirable state. . . 3. . . A 2 . depending on the circumstances. lies. unless their result is first experienced. A 2. $ 4. . on death he may nonetheless arise in a pleasant state if the effects of his accumulated 35.™ T h e reward (or punishment) fits the deed.S1-S2 as but examples. S 1. . he holds that some such individuals may even be reborn in a heavenly realm. 299. . f r o m phlegm. A m o n g the many.230-231. their fruition in time is inexorable. of spasmodic attacks.388.131. This means that although an individual may have been a murderer. are able to delay the inexorable fruition of deeds in due time. born of the changes of the seasons. 3<J T h e MabakammavibbangaSHtta provides further definition of the way in which kamma inevitably works itself o u t .207—215. 3 6 In a similar vein. in either this state of existence or another. and so forth. Tbentgacka 143-144. 3 7 .85. 4 0 In this sutta. Cf.66-67. . ." 3 5 Yet where deeds are performed intentionally. of being attacked by adversities. . 36. actions may come to fruition either here and now or in some future state. M c D t R M O T T originating Irorn bile. and 5. on the one hand. one might note M 1. Indeed. on the other. . 37. Sutta Nipata 666 declares that man's kamma is never lost (na nassati}. Gbtama rejects the view that everyone who kills.

302. it is called "operative. 5 vols. An act of s t r o n g ethical force is called " b o t h operative a n d apparently o p e r a t i v e " when it bears fruit as expected. a man's final outlook is given extra weight. Helmuth von Glasenapp. 42. apparently i n o p e r a t i v e " if it nonetheless comes to f r u i t i o n . A deed. Payne (Calcutta: Susil G u p t a India. atthi kamm. . (4) operative.215. vol. finally.im abhabbam abhabbabhasam. apparently inoperative. T h e fruits of the deeds which have thus been superseded will then be experienced once the fruits of the deeds which have superseded them have been exhausted. the effect of which is expected. albeit t e m porarily. atthi kammam bhabbam abhabbabhSsan ti. p. T h u s . 20. 1922-1938). It is in this sense that w e must interpret the B u d d h a ' s analysis of kamma inro the following f o u r categories: (i) inoperative. atthi kammam bhabban e'eva bhabbabhasan ca. edited bv I. Von Glasenapp regards this view as parallel to certain ideas expressed in the Bbagavad Gita. the full force of ac41. namely. atxnl k a m m a m abhabbam bhabbiibfusani. is not expected to bear its fruit because of the existence of previous deeds of a different ethical character. M 3.k ARM A A N D R E B I R T H IN EARL 1 ! B U D D H I S M 177 good deeds are sufficient to supersede the results of his w r o n g doing. apparently operative. Iffimortality and Salvation m Indian Religions. this idea is not to s u g g e s t — as von G l a s e n a p p d o e s — t h a t the final t h o u g h t s of a d y i n g man " a r e able f u n d a m e n t a l l y to alter the value of the karma h e a p e d up d u r i n g his whole lite. 43. and 400. p." 4 4 In the balancing of accounts. 44. apparently operative" when its fruition is prevented by the cultivation of a n o t h e r deed of the o p p o site character w h e n one is on the p o i n t ot death.214. Cf. This interpretation follows liuddhaghosacariya. in explaining h o w an individual w h o has broken o n e of the five precepts m a y nonetheless c o m e to be reborn in a desirable course. although cultivated when one is near death. is called "inoperative. the belief that deeds d o n e or ideas seized at the m o m e n t of death are particularly significant. S 4. 50. if a deed. apparently inoperative" when its f r u i t i o n is superseded. 4 2 This interpretation points to a n o t h e r element in the canonical T h e r a v a d a view of kamma. H o r n e r ei al. (J) operative. 4 1 A deed that is clearly of slight ethical significance is called "inoperative. G o t a m a suggests that it may be because at the time of his death he had secured the p r o p e r o u t l o o k . (2) inoperative. b y a deed of greater ethical force. 1963).168. M 3. ( L o n d o n : H u m p h r e y MiSfora f o r P T S . to be sure. translated by E. N o n e t h e l e s s . 4 3 H o w e v e r . 5. R J . apparently operative. apparently inoperative. B. A n d . PapancasudatU Majjbimanikayatthakatha.

'. This duration oi rewards and punishments is stressed in Buddhist sermons and tales largely as a deterrent against evil. In a section on the punishment of deeds (kammakarana) in the AhgHttiira Nik ay a. S 1. T h e time at which the fruit of a deed ripens is thus dependent upon the circumstances. 4? A man's character as a whole is a most significant element in determining h o w the effects of any given act wiii be experienced.) 12 -14.150.38-39. word. That is to say. T h e latter class is composed of those offenses of body. .I82 J A M E S P. is an example of the former class of fault*. also note Vtn. whereas in the case ol the Utter. two classes of faults (vajja) are delineated: those which have their result in the present existence (dntadhamnuka). McDERMOTT cumulated! kamma is not left out of consideration. A 1. See Itivuttaka (It. is captured by the authorities. A man who commits a thett. any deed may lie quiescent for lung periods of time before it ripens. Cf. and is tortured for his crime. it is also to be noted that the fruit of a deed may bud without actually ripening until much later. these lead to hellish existence in the immediately following rebirth. Such a deed mav drag the former d o w n to a hellish existence. and causing a <iehisjn within t h e S ^ m g h a . In at least one passage. it may work Itself out entirely in this life.193. A liberal almsgiver thus becomes dear to many and gains a great reputation in this life. intentional shedding of a liuddha's b l o o d . the Buddha seems to take the nature of the individual's thoughts at the m o m e n t of death merely as indicative of that person's general moral character throughout his life. 46. 5. With the exception of these five. 47. and thought which are rewarded through appropriate rebirth. a given deed may have both visible and future results. arhallcidt. A trifling deed done by an individual who is generally unscrupulous in his actions will have different consequences than wilt a similar deed done by one w h o is more scrupulous about what he does. Sec Vin.128. 45. and those which have their result in a future state (sarnpiwayiku}. the results m this life being but a foretaste of what is to come.^ Regardless of whatever other k&tnma may have been accumulated. These are triatricidcj pltricide. 2. and as an inducement toward good. 4 7 The great periods oi time over which the rewards of a deed are said to be experienced is significant. Among these are five deeds thai find retribution without delay (kamma andntarika). Practical experience shows that the wicked do not always suffer for their deeds in this very life. yet the results oi his generosity come to full fruition only following his death when he is reborn in a heavenly realm.

48. The account oi Mara as plowman makes this point. Man's present situation derives f r o m old kamma. i 14-316. on the one hand. T h u s we might well ask whether anv r o o m is left f o r individual f r e e d o m . The action which one performs n o w — n a v a k a m m a — stands in contrast to past action. H i is distinction is made at 5 4. must eventually fall into his clutches. S 5 . men are under his sway. not even excluding the Buddha himself.4 / 5 . and that this attachment frequently results in impurity. 51. by and large. or past. a type of living. 5 2 The eye and the other sense organs. The Buddha agreed that the senses do indeed belong to Mara. and insofar as they do.JJ2. 4 7 4 . H e n c e all men. which is beyond the power of all sensibility and discrimination and hence Iree f r o m Mara's power. Thus the series of suttas in t h e S a m y u t t a Nikaya to the effect that as the earth is greater than a speck of dust. Ihtddhist . people are stronglv attached to life and the sense pleasures. as Winston King stresses. 511 The evil one. understood as a base for feeling. appeared before Gotama in the guise of a plowman. For these t w o reasons it is concluded that it is difficult to be reborn as a human being. the state of existence in which an individual finds himself is largely determined by the nature of his past acts. deeds (pwanakamma). 5 1. the Buddha "claims that there is a way. H e declared that each of the senses and their corresponding sense objects belongs to him. and at the same time an observation that those who regularly act selfless!y are truly few in number. Nonetheless. O r . In the Hope 0} Nibbana: An Essay on Thcravada Ethics (LaSalle. and new deeds (navakamma). King. is a man completely predestined in what he does? Does belief in kamma inevitably lead to fatalism? This is in part to raise the question of human nature. it is recounted.. 52. Kamma is also active in determining the individual's moral status. are what is called puriznakamma. Ills O p e n C o u r t .KARMA A N D K [ BIRTH IN EARLY BUDDHISM 179 As we have already seen. so the n u m b e r of those reborn in lower lives outnumbers those reborn as m e n . 187. 4 * O n e of the observations that Gotama made is that. Dh. First. 24. 1964). was t o a certain extent based on the observation of things as they are. 4 3 is at once a recognition that other creatures are indeed more n u m e r o u s than men. 50. on the other. p. it is to be noted that G o t a m a ' s understanding of existence^ and hence of kamma."-* 1 What is to be distinguished here is the difference between old. Winston L. 49.

L So J A M E S P. or pure. T h e f o u r categories are (1) k a m m a k a n h a kanbavipaka. however. and M 1. They lead to an existence of unmitigated pain. . \MM:KMOTT but he remains free to make what he will of his present. (4) The fourth category of deeds is called "neither dark nor bright with neither result. This category of action involves 53.229 f . (3) Both dark and bright with mixed results. Rather. or a specific rebirth. that violate one or another of the precepts. They result in states oi existence which. an idea which is closely connected with the whole Buddhist concept of kamma. the Buddha also speaks of kammanirodha (literallv cessation of action). from stealing. then. abstention from evil under such circumstances does lead to favorable rebirth. Four categories of deeds are delineated in this m a n n e r . it is held. Also n o t e their appearance at D 3. These are deeds that are harmful. indeed. What is predetermined. it is man himself who chooses among the options for present action which are presented to him. and the avoidance of further. they are done with a view toward attaining sensual enjoyment in this life. nonetheless. Such action is harmless. (2) Bright. like human existence." Deeds of this final category lead to the consumption of past kamma. (4) kirnina s k a n h a m a s u kka akanha—astikkavipaka. (2) k a m m a sukka sukkavipiika. . kamma is also classed according to the result it produces. Past kamma must always burn itself out. And. is a clear indication of the recognition of human free will. That is.389 f. even though the past may belong to Mara. ( 1 ) Dark with dark result. action which may prove deleterious in the long run. A significant feature of these first three categories of kamma is that they are each purposive. The question ot free will is not one that is explicitly asked in the Pali canon. These arc delineated several times at A 2. The fact that such a way to kaynmanirodha exists. when these are d o n e with a view toward obtaining a favorable rebirth. In addition to present and past kamma. Kammanirodha involves both the exhaustion of past deleterious kamma. is an individual's opportunity for certain modes of behavior. know both pleasure and pain. (3) k a m m a k a n h a s u k k a k a n h a s u k k a v i p a k a . Included in this category is abstention from taking life. The way that is said to lead to such cessation of action is the noble eightfold path.230—237. belief in the existence of free will is implicit in the notion of human responsibility. and the like. Such deeds are those which are at once harmful and beneficial. with bright result. rather than either his inner moral tendencies or what he actually does. In addition to being classed as old or new.

128-130. each with their own characteristic fruit. it alone is to be pursued. this is referred to as mixed black and-white karma. O n the one hand.206. having intended (cetayitva). unlike the first three categories. This twofold schema has the advantage of stressing the centrality to the early Buddhist understanding of kamma of what has often been translated as "volition. there is volition. It. as a stimulus arousing persistent mass activity. 4. Rather. there is no such thing as a black-and-white act. 57. A 3. yet f r o m the Buddhist point of view. refers not to the character of individual acts but rather to the series of acts which defines an individual life. Guenther: Cetana. or thought. or drive. Even a thought which is unaccompanied by outward action. .415. In the AbhiMtafmakosa Vasubandhu accepts this fourfold categorization of acts. S 4 O n e of the most common classifications of kamma is into acts of body (kayakamma). This division is f o u n d jt M 1. even so much as the moving of a muscle. Kamma is virtually defined as cetana. C f ." 5 7 In the words of Herbert V. That is to say. When such a situation exists. to state it plainly. in the same mental series some good acts are mixed with some bad acts. mental or spiritual action. cetana. and A 3. even the latter is wrong. is selfless. what a person does after having willed—-namely. 56.415. nor retribution which is mixed. KoU. Such action. monks.KARMA A N D REBIRTH IN I . bodily and vocal action. On the other. motive. word. 55. there is what is born from volition. for example. 4. one does a deed by body. whether painful or pleasant. "I say. Hence. whether good or bad. w o r d . Especially this latter concept of drive. and acts of mind (manokarnma).ss Each of these produces results. However.1. Cf. Actual murder no doubt has greater effect than the mere thought of murder unaccompanied by any action. A R n BUDDHISM giving up all behavior conducive of further rebirth. lie notes that the third category. that of mixed karma. is considered to produce kammic effects.415." namely. 15. from the Buddhist point of view. acts of speech (vaakamma). is something that corresponds to our idea of stimulus. that cerana is kamma. and thought is further reduced into a twofold classification at A 3. according to Vasubandhu. This classification of kamma into deeds of body. That would imply a contradiction. assists in explaining the origin of 54. Kosa.

Deliberate intention to do a deed plays an essential role in determining the ethical quality ol that deed. vocal. the actual physical act is something other than intention. Guenther. however. Likewise. La Morale N o u v e l l e Librairie N a t i o n a l s . For example. 4. Vasubandhu goes on to clarify this threefold analysis in a way that is counter to the Theravadin understanding." It further accepts the suttanta's threefold classification of kamma into bodily. In the same vein. 1957). 60. 1927). i this point. p A m o n g the more significant additions made by the Vaibhasikas to the conception of karma is their analysis of acts into vijnapti (patent. But the actual murder involves something more than simply the motive or drive behind the act. literally informative) and avijnapti (latent. It also involves a certain motion or displacement of the body by means of which some living being is deprived of its life. 39. a person who commits accidental manslaughter is not subject to kammic consequences as serious as those suffered by the perpetrator of a premeditated murder. Kosa. That which is aroused to activity is the sum total of all potentialities." Bodily and vocal acts arise f r o m it. 66. Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma B u d d h a Vihara. Bouddhique (Paris: . the Pali schools consider all kamma to be merely ceta?ia. In contrast to the Sarvastivadin opinion on this point. and mental acts. throughout the Vinaya Pitaka the penalties which are laid down for intentional violations of the monastic rules are more severe than those exacted for violations committed unwittingly. T h u s .2. 0 . temporary insanity is considered a mitigating circumstance by the Vinaya. there is no murder without a will to kill. McDERMOTT activity as well as that which ii cscitated and is forthwith active.415 in defining ''karmart" as "intentional impulse (cetana) and the act which follows upon it. while acts of body and voice are intentional impulses which put the body and voice in motion. literally non>S. The Abhidharmakosa follows A 3. p . Herbert V. Mental acts are pure intentional impulse. s g Although any physical act supposes an intentional impulse. but also involves the impulse or drive to carrv through with what is intended. 324-125.^8 In other words. p p . cetana is not a matter of will alone. not simply the actions ensuant upon such i m p u l s e s .I8 2 J A M E S P. (Luc know. H e notes that the intentional impulse (cetana) itself is that which is termed "mental act. see L o u t s de la VaJiee-Poussin.

Guenther. A History of Indian Philosophy. 1 (Cambridge. the Vaibhasikas describe it as a kind of appearance or condition ($timstbana) which issues from the intentional impulse and informs others of it. 1932). the physical act of decapitating a man with an ax informs others of the murderous intention thai initiated die murder. 19 (1%2). i am indebted to Surendranath Ua. In some respects the Vaibhasika concept of avijnapti karma is similar t o the concept: of apitrva developed 61.inL-.se). Corporal vijriapti karma is manifest physical action.iviplnpti karma signifies "i t a n n i c energy which ii not perceived by the five senses or j u d c k n o w n io another" (Yamakami Sogen. p p . Speech issues from an intentional impulse and informs others of it. 63. 124. p. avijnapti karma is "a serial continuity" 6 3 set up immediately after a patent ( 'vijriapti) act has been performed. 62. 6 2 Thus.sgupta. Thus. To use Herbert Guenther's terminology. rather than speaking of patent bodily karma as movement. Their transitory existence is not sufficiently long to allow f o r the possibility of movement. 6 1 According to the Vaibhasika position as described by Vasubandhu. Kosa. and would be classed as corporal vijriapti. It is an unseen efficacy capable of producing results at some later m o m e n t of time. Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies (Tokyo). pp. In other words. This distinction arose out of their concern to explain how the effects of an action can sometimes become manifested only long after the completion of the overt activity. or m o v e m e n t fgati). Philosophy and Psychology in the Ahhidhanna. it is a latent potential impressed on the psycho-physical stream of the individual w h o initiates an ethically significant action. 349—354. f o r example. For example. vol. For the translation of vijriapti and avijnapti JS "patent" and "latent" respectively. Yamsda. From the Vaibhasika viewpoint this would be an improper interpretation. for all conditioned (mmskrta) elements oi existence are held to be momentary. Cambridge University Press. while . Vasubandhu notes that the Vaisipuiriyjs held the counter view that corporal vijnapii is displacement. acts of body and voice can be further divided into patent and latent. Systems of Buddhistic Thought [Calcutta: University of Calcutta Press. Patent vocal action consists of the pronunciation of syllables. Vijnapti karma is auuion whii.KARMA A N D fc I: BIRTH I N FAR1V BUDDHISM informative). 4. In Western though: ic is what might be loosely termed physical movement.4. 149-150J. 248. p. vol. however. an order to commit a murder proceeds from a murderous intention and makes that intention manifest (vijriapti). 1962]. Also see K. "Oti tin.1) makes itself k n o w n to others.Idea of a/vijnaptikarwfc in Abhidharma Buddhiim" tin Jjp. .

I am not yet a murderer. sec S u r a m a Das^upta. Latent karma is said to be either corporal or v ocal depending on whether it proceeds f r o m a bodily or a vocally patent act. A second example: Let us suppose that I hire someone to commit a murder. In the Vaibhasika theory there was created within me a latent (avijnapti) karma which by continually reproducing itself provides the connecting link between my murderous intent. which cannot be perceived by the five senses. At that precise moment. namely.. 8 0 . 65. the prospective novice accomplishes a patent act. 4. It is never neutral or undefined (avyakrta). patent (vtjnapti) karma and 64. This inner disposition is an example of avijnapti (i. gven though no one else may become aware of my participation in the foul deed. it cannot be born of retribution. the intent (cetana) to kill continues latent within me. however. 1965). 6 4 As a means to greater understanding of the concept of avijnapti karma. 1 become a murderer along with my accomplice. Insofar as it involves his presence and coming forward. It is an internal karma.28. latent) karma. on the one hand. it is a corpora! act.*" Since avijnapti karma is never undefined. Avijnapti karma is either good (kusala) or bad (akusala). With the performance of these patent acts. a new disposition toward self-discipline is born within the initiate. a murder. 6 6 In contrast to latent action. Development of MpralPhilosophy in India ( N e w York: Frederick U n g a j . M c D I KMOTT by MTmarpsa to explain the interval between sacrificial action and its fruits. 66. for an undefined intentional impulse (cetana) Is weak. F o r a brief discussion ot apurva in Mimamsa. In giving him Ids orders. p p .e. the actual recitation of the vows is vocally patent. regardless of how i am occupied. In presenting himself before the monastic community and taking the monastic vows. In obeying my orders my accomplice commits a patent corporal action of his o w n . Kosa.8 2 . on the other. Kosa. and the actual murder and its eventual retribution. 4. Similarly. However. but which nonetheless continues to reproduce itself beyond the actual moment when the vows are recited and the accompanying ritual is performed. incapable of engendering a powerful act such as latent karma must be in order to reproduce itself after its initial cause has disappeared. . since no death has occurred. let L I S consider two examples. I commit a patent (vijnapn) vocal act.J A M E S P. Nonetheless.30.

The Karmasiddhipfi&karana is ascribed t o Vasybandbu. 69. as well as good or bad.3. it too must be a gratuitous concept if considered distinct from cetana. indeed. Thus the acts of everyday existence are undefined. 207-263. Intentional impulses which thus bear on bodily movement and the emission of sounds are capable of 67. A translation of the treatise is to be found on pp. (3) the motor impulse. vijriapti karma as defined by the Vaibhasikas is merely a gratuitous concept. is undefined. It is these two types of motor impulse which are loosely termed corporal and vocal acts. (2) decision. See Lamotte. Bu-ston considers it an exposition of karma from the Yogaeara point of view. Etienne Lamotte concludes on the basts of internal evidence thai the text is really Satilrantika. since latent karma is alleged to derive from patent karma.ARn BUDDHISM its corresponding intentional impulse (cetana) may be undefined or neutral (avyakrta). 68. . Koia. whether corporal or vocal. The Buddha is taken as the final authority in this matter. The Sautrantika position is outlined at Kos<. Any act of which the Buddha did not say that it was either good or bad. Vasubandhu goes beyond any of the texts of the Theravada Tipitaka in making clear in practical terms which acts fall into the undefined category. 4. namely. " L e Traite de I'Aete de Vasubandhu Karmasiddbiprakarana. the Sautrantikas denied that patent karma. The third is the act after having willed. Since there is no act beyond the intentional impulse.106. or volition (cetanakarman). however. And. so long as they arc done without grasping (trsna). Furthermore. writes Vasubandhu. is distinct from cetana." Melanges Chhwis et Honddhiaues. the text does include treatment of a notion closely resembling the Yogacara alayu vijnanu. Remaining closer to the position of Theravada in this particular instance.*7 This means that any act done without grasping and which was neither specifically enjoined nor prohibited by the Buddha may be classed as avyakrta. 4 (1935-1936). vol. the intentional impulse which moves the body and that which produces speech. pp. In spite of all this. or ethically neutral (avyakrta). The motor impulse is twofold. The Sautrantikas knew and refuted the Vaibhasika theory of vijnapti and avijnapti karma.KARMA A N D REBIRTH IN I. 176 ff. The first two of these constitute the act of intention. The theory with which the Sautrantikas replaced the Vaibhasika understanding of vijriapti and avijnapti karma may be found in the Karmasicidhiprakarana (Treatise on KarmaIn brief their view is as follows: The Sautrantikas began with the suttanta principle that karma consists of the intentional impulse plus the act after having willed. They defined three such types of impulse: (1) resolution. +.

As Thomas Dowlmg notes. The question is how an act can bear fruit. 7 ' During its present existence. However. a corresponding possession is created by every thought or desire. By the time the potential. that is to say. The existence of the prapti is momentary. the act becomes the cause of the fruit. m the psycho-phvsical series which constitutes an individual there exist certain immaterial entities (dharma).i H J A M E S P. p. 71. Scarcely having been born. the fruit. "Traite de I'Acre.5 0 . prapti "is said to be the cause that originates (utpatti-hetH) a specific nature in a given stream of consciousness at a given m o m e n t . Lamotte. 7. past. S above). . " 7 2 Every act creates in him who does it the possession (prapti) of that act. which are called prapti (possessions). The generation of 70. Since the act still exists. unassociated with thought. At thai moment a potential is established which only actualizes itself much later. it should be noted that the Vaibhasikas maintained that the past and future exist. I It3s exposition of the Sautrantika theory summarizes some of the material f r o m Karmasiddhiprakarana. Kosa. it engenders a possession (prapti) similar to itself. 72. we continue to possess our acts even long after the actual moment of their accomplishment. sees. Let us turn first t o the Vaibhasika answer. M c D E R M O T T producing sui generis further impulses which the Sautrantikas term avijnapti. and future. present. Through a continuing process ol generation of this type. that act has changed its mode ot existence from present to past. 5." pp. an act projects its fruit of retribution. D o f t l m g . Moreover.5S. it perishes. T h u s the act is held to exist in its o w n nature (svabhava) in all times. " K a r m a Doctrine as Sectarian E a r m a r k " (n. This is the moment at which the fruit is experienced as pleasure or suffering. 7(1 Further differences between the Sautrantika and Vaibhasika conceptions of karma arise in their respective understandings of the mechanism of reward and retribution. Only the mode of its existence varies. D u r i n g the interim. So. it provides the energy which makes the potential fruit enter into the present m o d e as an actuality at rhe appropriate time. at the moment it is actuallv accomplished. 256-263. how a man can be heir to his own deeds. albeit in a past mode. too. By way of background. Thus an act projects its fruit-potential at some moment in a psycho-physical series and causes that fruit to be experienced at a later moment in that series. however. the act has already entered into its past mode. is ready to actualize itself. 4 1 . if the individual is defined as a constantly changing series of aggregates. In projecting this potential in this way.

2 0 .296. cannot be considered efficacious in actualizing the potential fruits projected when the acts were being done. a good or a bad act perl times (vasanaj the complex psycho-physical series which in popular parlance is termed the individual.63. Cf. contrary to the Vaibhasikas. is termed the bija (seed). of lire School of Oriental and African Studies. held that all acts are momentary. perishing as soon as they are born without generating new intermediary karma. the Vaibhasikas posit an intermediary form of karma— avijnapti karma—operating through a process of the continuous generation of karma-possession as the means by which merit and demerit are rewarded. 153-154. 7 3 A different mechanism is posited by the Sautrantikas. patent karma become effective. 1l is no more valid a conception than is the Vaibhasika notion of latent karma as distinct from the intentional impulse. However. 2 3 2 . Neither possession nor avijnapti are things in themselves. . 158-160. pp.2 3 9 in Lamotte. They disagreed with the Vaibhasikas first of all in maintaining that neither the past nor the future exists. 2. See Kosa. 22. or power. and 9. 15-17. 74. All this simply means that the Sautrantikas c o n s i d e r p r a p t i as defined b y the Vaibhasikas to be one more purely gratuitous philosophical invention. See Kosa. Thus past acts d o not exist and. It is thus through the mechanism of possession that latent and. If a former act bears fruit. Cf. Also see Karmasiddhiprakarana." Also see Padmanahh S. sees. jaini.KARMA AND RE BIRTH 1 \ r EARLY BUDDHISM the possession iprapti) of any act In this way can be interrupted only bv the actualization into the present of the fruit which was projected with the doing of the act. 196-199. la Valtee-Poussin. hence. Though a full-blown theory of this sort was never developed in the Pali Nikayas. as a result. pp. the culminating term of which is a state of retribution called the " f r u i t . 2." p p . 236-249. It creates a special potentiality (saktiviiesa) which causes the perfumed series to undergo an evolutionary process. In short. it is because it operates. Karmasiddhtprakarana. pp. Lamotte. and 2 2 4 . 5. 166-168. Morale Boudctbique. he intended only to affirm the inevitability of retribution. When the Buddha affirmed the persistence of past karma.179-195.2 3 0 . certain precursors of such a 73. Cf." Bulieur.2 6 . vol. University of London. sees. an act is considered present or past according to whether it operates or has ceased to operate. The Sautrantikas. and thus it is to be considered a present rather than a past act. 74 In the Abbidbarmakasa we find a fully developed theory of what constitutes complete karma. ''Traite de I'Aete. "The Sautrantika Theory of Bija. " This potentiality. "Traite de I'Aete. In effect.1S5 and 272.

It also includes the latent action that arises at the precise moment of death.141. In brief they are as follows: First there was the notion that for an act to have kammic consequences. to be complete and really fruitful a deed must consist ot three parts. T h e illustration is f r o m Kosa. MeDcrmutt. 4. it must be stressed that the term karmapatha (course ot action) does not apply to trifling acts. as well as succeeding moments in the avijnapti. They constitute the prayoga. not casually. where he buys a cow or a goat. T h e p r s t h a consists of consequent actions that follow upon the principal action. on the one hand. whether good or bad. The second element necessary for a complete act is the principal action. it tOO is twofold. Developments in the Early Buddhist Concept of 69-72.JAMES R. namely. the principal action is the death-dealing blow itself. To continue with our illustration. P h . it consists ot the patent action at the moment ot the animal's death. This clement of an action is called the back (prstha). This part is called iheprayogn. McDKRMOTT theory are to be found in the Tipitaka. or the intention to do the act. H e then takes a knife and prepares to deal the beast a blow. For example. and goes to market. the ethical potential of a deed. . the prstha ot the butchering would include a satisfied attitude. 4. p p 7(i. Finally. it had to be done with consideration. All these actions are preparatory to the actual killing of the beast. 7 7 Before we proceed further. i ' n n c c i o n University. Thus the foregoing analysis is applicable only to ethically significant acts. Finally. 77. it had to be d o n e intentionally. to be complete the principal action must be backed up. Related to this was the idea that for a deed to have the greatest possible effect. To continue with o u r illustration. 7 * First. and such acts as preparing and cutting up the carcass and selling the meat. Like th£p?ttyog4. on the other. a complete act requires preparation. dissertation. can be counteracted by repentance. to a certain extent. These are delineated at Aoiif.(40 -141. the knife stroke. 7 5 According to the formulation of the Abbidharmakosa. consisting of premeditation. KatHmalKarrfta. With this fact in mind. a man desiring to butcher a domestic animal rises from his bed. It is twofold. D . called the mania karmapatha. 1971. those which if complete may be expected to produce karmic fruits. namely. there was the idea that. takes some money. and the actual preparatory steps (samantaka) requisite to the carrying out of the act. we are in a position to raise the question 7See James P.

T h e Sarvastivadins held that ii an individual repented of an act immediately after committing the principal course of action. the absence of regret or any counteraction. See Kosa.242. We have already noted the Theravadin belief that the force of an act can be counteracted to some extent by repentance. depending on whether or not they are carried out while in a state of great passion. and finally its reward or retribution.™ In dius considering action one thing and its accumulation something else. its completion. The Sarvastivadin theory of complete acts tended to reinforce this latter belief. the consequences ol that act are vitiated. 4. However. or consequential acts (prstba). It is patent as well only when one continues to commit acts analogous. See KVH. 80. Such a belief tended to dilute belief in the inevitability of karinic retribution. These preparations may or may not also include latent (avijnapti) elements. Kosa. once an act has been carried through to its completion. whether by consequent actions or an approving mind-set. In contrast. 79. The Vaibhasikas maintain that in the sensual world (kamadhatu) the preliminaries (samantdka) that prepare for a course of action (karmapatba) will always be patent (vijriapti). to the principle course of action. while at the same time allowing a role for repentance. . Vasubandhu is in accord with the Andhakas in their disagreement with the Theravadins. This definition of what constitutes a complete act is of particular significance in the Sarvastivadin understanding ot the torce of repentance as a factor that may modify the consequences of any given action. Also see M c D e r m o t t . necessarily involves latent elements. 15. " K a t h a v a t l h u Kamma D e b a t e s " (n. An act is said to be accumulated by virtue of its intentional character. 761 Vasubanclhu makes a further distinction between the act done (krta) arid the act accumulated (upaata). the two must be viewed as but different aspects of one and the same thing. 9 above). 430. In such a case the back (prstba) is lacking.KARMA AND It! B I R T H I N E A R L Y BUDDHISM OI the broader implications o l this theory for the principle of karma. 78.140. once it has been backed up. it is too late for meaningful repentance. 4. the back.11. p. Being incomplete. or secondarily related. that act must be considered incomplete. 8 0 who held that since the accumulation (upacaya) of kamma is the automatic c o n c o m i t t a n t of action.

O n the one hand. a doctrine of transfer of m e r i t — a p parently a popular development traceable to the Brahmanic %raddba rites — finds expression in several places in the canon.42.229. for example.3 3 9 . S . 87.11. C . With slight variations msigmhcartt for the question at h a n d . C . " K h u d d a k a I ' a t h a " (Kb. 6 {1914). T h e connection with sraddha rites is spelled o u t in B. 82. working out his own salvation.J 8. and. (3) sila—moral practice." 2 Merit can be built up and accumulated. Through being ascribed to thepeta. T h e s e are listed at it. the act of giving becomes his in actuality. they revere him. revered. These are (I) dana—liberality or munificence.218: and A 4. 83. Law. H h In the Petavattbu. But is it possible to transfer merit from one account to another. Honored. 8 4 Meritorious action well laid up is a treasure " n o t shared with others.) K'> and Vin\ 1. 85. Mi[)l:RMOTT There arc three qualities which are conceived as especially contributing to the accumulation of merit. N . the Mahaparinihbana Sdtta exhorts: In whatever place the wise mart shall make his home. A 1. I hence having fed the virtuous.5 0 . Kdited by K. vol. O n e ' s kamma is said to be his own. In a similar vein. D 2. pp. these same lines appear it Udana (Ud." 8 ^ O n the other hand.229. Whatever devatas may be there. I'536). meditation.. S 3. 87 A n o t h e r example of merit transference can be seen at A 4. The Buddhist Conception of Spirits ( L o n d o n : L u z a c ." My . the text of w h i c h reads: " Y a tattha devata asum [or assu] ra<vam d a k k h i n a m adise. in this way. 8 -' N o sponsor (patibhoga)— whether Brahmin or recluse. " T h e Buddhist D o c t r i n e of Reversible Merit.63 ff. Each being must be an island unto himself. 4 ( 1 8 1 % 3 0 9 . etc. 1. whether Brahma or Mara—can protect a man against the fruit of his evil deeds. throughout much of the Pali canon there is a strong emphasis 011 the personal nature of kamma. they honor him. self-controlled Brahma larers. H o r n e r renders these lines quite differently in her tr. 8ft. 3 8 . let him declare the gift theirs. SI: D 3.J A M E S P. O n transfer of merit in the Tipitaka. This particularly refers to almsgiving. thepeta acquires merit f r o m the gift. see especially L. C h i l d e ^ in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.172.88. 5 1 (2) bhavaria— contemplation. W o o d w a r d . (. 84.241. a c o m m o n theme is that of the benefactor w h o gives a gift to the samgha and declares the act of charity to be a peta's.inflation ol Vlft. as it were? Taken as a whole the Tipitaka is not fully consistent on this point." The Buddhist Review ( L o n d o n ) . T h e crucial differences relate to line 3.9. where N a n d a ' s mother dines an order of monks in the name of the deva HI.

p>. they ate a meal. $. gave the river spirit the profit (patti)"m Twice in the course of the Jataka it is stated that the river spirit immediately benefited from the Bodhisatta's gift to the fish. Reverend Sir. 8 3 . and especially p.4 3 . or rituals of other sorts. 5th series. pp. "Sadbina Jataka: A Case Against the Transfer ol Merit. FausbolLjkfrfjfw no.' 80 O t h e r means for aiding the departed continued to he denied. he who performs a bad deed (kamma) Is freed from bad kamma by a water-ablution."" Prayers for the dead will nor alter the effects of their kamma. Thus when Punnika encounters a Brahmin performing ritual ahlufions in the middle of winter. you ask One who doing a good deed (kamma). M c D e r m o t t . 9 1 A man becomes cleansed only once he has abandoned the various ways of evil action. -12? 89. " T h e Bodhisatta. see H e i n z Fit-chert. sacrifices. S8. note 1. vol. pp.t-ldeen im Theravadaftuddhismus C e y l o n s . (238) Whether old or young." Scattered expressions of such a doctrine are also to be found in t h c f a t a k a s . H e answers: "Knowing the answer. N o more than prayers can raise a roek sunk in the water can they speed a man heavenward who has sunk to a lower state of existence because of his own evil actions... Thus in the Macchaddana ] dtaka we read that as the Bodhisatta and his brother waited on the banks of the Ganges for a boat." For a Kilter discussion of the issues and alternatives. vol. 89.KARMA AND REBIRTH IN I. See James I1." (239) interpretation of the. it is worth noting that the Sadbina Jataka seems to provide evidence that acceptance of the practice of merit transference within Theravada at times came grudgingly.8 4 .311 1. " Acadcmie Royatc de Bclgique Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Science? Morales et Poltttques. "Buddha-Feld u n d VeldienSlubertragung: Mahayan. which glosses dakkbinam adisv with pbttim dadeyya. N o r can one alter his own lot by prayers." JAOS 94 (1974): 385-387. f>2 (1976). having thrown the left-over food to the fish. see McDermocti Developments (n. let it be bcneficial tor the well-being ol the great king Vessavana. honorable Punuika. declaring: "Whatever merit {punria) is in this gift. 75 above). The thiipci cult is an exception to the general rule. is restraining bad kamma. 88. . Purificatory rites are of no avail. she asks him what fears lead him thus to endure the cold waters. or "give merit. 2. 90. 91. hi light of the apparent conflict of opinion in the texts concerning the possibility of merit transference.ARn BUDDHISM Maharaja Vessavana. For a conflicting interpretation. 88. 4.passage as a reference to transfer of merit is supported by the commentary to Ud. 4 2 .

See James R McDerroort. " /AO. Offerings where no goars and sheep arc slain are alone acceptable. 34! are exceptional in viewing Nibbana as a possible reward for kamma. Do not let the cold destroy your skin. tortoises. Snakes. In his o w n quest for enlightenment. fishermen.76. Kh. 92.S 93 (1973): 344-347. . you always descend to water— That do no! do. as well as whatever is distinctive In these interpretations. that One is certainly freed from bad kamma by a water-ablution? (240) Is it then that all Irogs." 3 Such offerings are to be in the form of gifts to the deserving. and as a way to Nibbana. "Mibbana as a Reward for K a m m a . In their stead he came to favor a middle path between self-mortification and the life devoted to sensual pleasures. 94. The Buddha also rejected self-mortification as a means to acquiring good kamma. (243) That afraid of which. it remains to suggest that both the variety of early Buddhist interpretations of the karmic mechanism and the rebirth process. can be seen ultimately to derive from the Buddha's denial of a permanent personal entity (attaiatman). M c D E R M O f T To this she responds: "Who in ignorance told you. the way to Nibbana. Similarly.3') the Buddha himself denies the usefulness of ritual ablution for washing away wicked decds. executioners. at M 1. O Brahmin." (244)*2 The effectiveness of Vedic sacrifice is also denied.2 4 4 . he declares that such rites d o not bring results. and whatever others do bad deeds— Even they are freed from bad kamma by a water-ablution? (242) It these streams could carry away evil formerly done by you. butchers of swine. For all the attention given to kamma in early Buddhist thought. Tkcrigatba 2 3 8 . 93. By this means you would become an outsider.^ In conclusion. the ultimate goal. who did riot know. deer hunters. Animal sacrifices are rejected as harmf ul. S 1. he came to realize that austerities can be more of a hindrance than an aid.192 JAMES P. Thus. for they bear great fruit. 8 and fttiln. Thieves. when Gotama learns of King Pasenadi's preparations for a great animal sacrifice. crocodiles. remained—as ordinarily conceived—precisely the cessation of kamma (kammanirodba). And whatever else passes through water shall go to heaven? (241) Butchers of sheep. They also could carry away your merit.

Since karma is the complex f r o m which the devotee desires to be liberated.. Tantric) Buddhism to such a large extent that it is impossible to overlook its interlocking semantic structures. the interdisciplinary nature of this essay is based on the seeming disparity between the genres of source texts chosen for this study. either through techniques of salvation or techniques of healing. Set1 Robert B. Ekvall. 1977).e. 1 The most popular medical classic Still t. The meaning conveyed by the hierarchy of interdisciplinary textual material dictates the ceremonial face and inner logic of Vajrayarta (i." in Himalayan Anthropology (The Hague: M o u t o n . Karma cannot be understood merely by locating all the occurrences of the word karma (or las. From a superficial point of view.8 The Medical Soteriology of Karma in the Buddhist Tantric Tradition WILLIAM STABLEIN Introduction and Sources South Asian ceremony and meditative disciplines are conditioned by a dogma of soteriology based on the idea of karma and rebirth which accommodates all possibilities for living yet dying human beings. it is reasonable to assume that the medical and salvifk traditions contain structures that will provide some meaningful assumptions about karma. " C o r r e l a t i o n of C o n t r a d i c t i o n s : A Tibetan Semantic D e vice. in Tibetan) in a particular text. 193 .

194 WILLIAM STABLhlN studied and practiced a m o n g Tibetan-speaking peoples is the Seventeenth-century commentary on The Four Tantras. "Tantric Medicine and Ritual Blessings. L a J h a k : S.). ri. " T h e Buddhist Wheel of Life from a N e w Source. This is a PL 4KQ acquisition.puhi. N e w Haven. 4 6 3 . Since the Lapis Lazuli is a standard medical treatise. bstan.gsuL bat. it is interesting to find similar ideas and linguistic structures in other genres of literature. "Textual Criticism and Tibetan Medicine. byhiht. Tibetan Medicine (Berkeley: University of California Press. " T h e Mahakala Tantra: A Theory of Ritual Blessings and Tantric Medicine.ishigan^pa. Columbia University. p o .iinent. Reproduced f r o m a print of the 1888— IS blocks preserved in the Lha. Sde. constitute a synthesis of the healing arts as f o u n d in the Lapis Lazuli and the various traditions of meditational and devotional practices. William Siablein. Candamabarosaritt Tantra (Tibetans dpaldtum. rig .4 (Autumn 1976). See also Louis de la Vallee Pousssn.khro. ba.W I 6 2 ." P h . For an edition and translation of the first eight chapters. Among the priestly class of Buddhist Newars in Kathmandu Valley.chen. ma. The Tantras. dissertation. published by the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives: Special Issue. A Living Tradition. I Tib. Some of the Tantras form quasi-medical traditions of their o w n with a number of healing formulas that bear a structural resemblance to similar phrases in the Lapis Lazuli.." in The Tibet JournalAn International Publication for the Study of Tibet. 1897.F u r t h e r references will use the abbreviation tfatsngon See also Rcchung Rinpoche Jampal Kunzang. Dhanvantari. hgro. the deity Can darn aharosana presides over and protects the medicinal arts with prestige equal to that of the Hindu god of medicine. 1976. such as texts in the Tantric section of the Tibetan Buddhist canon.pal):. the jitrui. section nga. pp. D . T . phan-shtig. rgyan. which has an embryological model of karma c o m m o n to the sacramenranes and the meditational texts of Tantric Buddhism.4 7 0 .rgyas. by ed. belongs to the set of Mahakala practices attributed to the Bkah Brgyud 2. .bo. then. 1973. blahi-dgongs." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Nt>n Series). see Christopher George.il exposition of Tibetan Ayurvedic Medicine.sngon. Lhasa edition of the BkahJjgyur (abbreviated as Cauda) Rgyud.hzhi. dur." vol.po. 7 3 . smatl.dnr. chosen for its succinctness. O u r meditational source.rgyud. 1. " T i b e t . srid." in The Tibet Society Bulletin•.po: Being (he text of Gso .llika. the Tibetan Tripitaka in the collection in the Harvard University Library. William Stablein. The Candamabarusaita and Mabakala Tantras are particularly useful f o r the topic of karma and rebirth. Chapters 1 — \ ' I H . pp. 56.sangs. 3 . rgyud. 1973). vol. 1974. Biti. bcos.ffitsho's detailed synthetic [realise on the Rgyud. The Candamttharofana Tantra: A Critical Edition and English Translation.sa. Nepal.sngort. nos.6 9 . William Siablein. and the sixteenth chapter of the Catidamaharosana Tantra reiterates and interprets the dependent origination process which has bearing on the 2 s t r u c t u r e of karma. Left. called the Blue Lapis Lazuli. American Oriental Series.poht. ri g. Icags. folio 431.rgya. W. 5 5 .

5. (Abbreviated Bar. Grub. which can be detected at various stages of sophistication in Ehe myths and medical theories of most cultures.zbes. Zab.do) See also the two available translations into English: Franc esc a Fremantle and Chosvam Trungpa. Hence the Book of the Dead assumes this structure as operative for the afterdeath being or ''inbetween-state-being" (bar.MKDICAI SOTIKIOLOCY Ol KAII. Y.h For the vajra-body and the three channels.) 4. 6 Any discussion of the three channels or the channel-wind-drop structure (rtsa.snyan.sgrifb.sgptb.5 This inner structure. Gangiok: Sikkim. 1%0). Andrfeas Lomtnel. .bya.bskyed.gi.dahi. 1975). hence our sources are limited to those which are basic to an understanding of this process. demonstrating its affinity with medical and meditational texts. rim).don.rje. and W.rim) and perfection (rdzogs. Kalsang Lhundup (editor).don. Mahakaia. trans.<o: The Tibetan Hook of the Dead ( Varan asi: E.rdo.4 Indeed. O n e aim of this essay is to restrict the discussion ot karma to its flow through the continuum of the afterdeath state into the flesh and blood of an earthly being.tagso: This JJ the Oral Tradition without ic-ords in the Higher explanation oj Karma Paksbil the guiding commentary with directions for the conjugal practice oj the protector Mahakaia and bis mistress. Kalsan^.ean).nang.: Mgon.ge. See Stablein.brgyud.gY.serns.babi.ngag..yi. mgon. 1S0-I8I. Evans Went/.MA JN BUDDH 1ST TANTRA pa lineage..bahi. Sikkim).pahi.inan.hugs. bns.lus). pp.gium).rned. the After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane. Buddhist temple). [Abbreviated Nang.paksbtbi. which has structural similarities to the Tibetan Book oj the Dead.rlung. dealing with perfection or way of completion.hung.bzbugs: The Text called the Deep Inner Meaning (Gangtok.rim das.rim.tihjng. . ma. The Tibetan Book oj the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo (Boulder: Shambala".chen.mcb'id. the Book of the Dead maintains that one's success in attaining liberation after death depends on previous practice not only in devotional observances but in the specific ways of generation (bskyed.zin.byung. Herein are the complete sacrificial practices of generation.mo.mu.karma.don.tbig. Shamanism: The Beginnings of Art (New York: McGraw Hill.cba.la.rje.nang.sbyQr. which is important for the Tantric explanation oi rebirth as well as salvation. ngag. man. khriJ.gi.ngag. This text is concerned primarily with the inner body referred to as the three channels (rtsa. such as the Zab. Bdr. according to Lama fiazt Dawa-Satffdup's English Rendering (New York: Galaxy. and perfection.dohithoigrol bs.yod. which the Mahakaia Tantra calls the Vajra body (rdo.rdzogs. 3. (Abbreviated as in the Ms. 1967). has parallels in H i n d u Tantra and yoga and offers a fully developed model of the inner body.zhal. (>. by Rang.ids. hdi.le) is necessarily both Tantric and medical. 1 T h e passages quoted from the meditational text are aJI from the third and las: part of the book. The Tibetan Book of the Dead. tshogs.

yet this study will not go beyond the texts themselves or make comparisons with Western theories of rebirth. The body iius) and the more philosophical idea of the person will be touched upon only in the discussion of the beginnings of the body in embryological development and in meditation. and.WILLIAM STABLEIN 1 he Setting. on the popular and cultural levels it is an assumption that rarely takes the form of philosophical discussion and inquiry. and the Terminology It is not surprising that a Tantric (Vajrayana) priest may know a considerable number oi medical techniques. The only maior difference between Buddhists living in either a Tibetan. In no place in the literature is karma defined in such a complete and intercontextual sense. However. the Problem. O u r approach will be to locate "natural structures.or a Ncpalese-speakmg community — both of which fall under the aegis of the Buddhist Tantric tradition — and the Buddhists of other parts of South Asia is that the former have a definite and formal i zed conception oi an afterdeath (or in-betwcen-being) that can be verified by canonical sources. we may refer to the seed of enlightenment as it is related to the formation of karma. although we shall nor discuss the bodhisatlva doctrine. Karma is a very general notion that is applied to all phases of Buddhist praxis." that is. Reference to dependent origination (rten. The fluidity of the literary structures certainly reflects the interplay of epistemologv and empiricism that takes place in the Tantric rite itself. they are structurally akin to texts known t h r o u g h o u t South Asia. as we can see from the other articles in this volume. but we shall discuss the concepts of suffering and disease. We shall not be concerned with the Buddhist eightfold path. where the three channels form a dominant structure. The problem is to simplify the notion of karma ar least to the point where we can delineate a karmic structure—in relief—in the Buddhist Tantric tradition. or that the healer may also function as a priest. The above texts are all read and practiced in the Himalayan regions from Ladhak and Northern India to the borders of China.sbyor) . structures that are natural to the meaning of karma in its most radical formation. karma is a very specific notion in certain contexts and defies any simple definition because it includes the various literary and cultural contexts mentioned above. T h e idea of conjugal union (kba. For example.hbrel) will be limited to the C a n d a m a harofatia's interpretations.

e. 227-239. M e t h o d o l o g y of O p p o s i t i o n s : Suffering-Salvation Karma implies a radical o p p o s i t i o n between g o o d (bzang) and evil (ngan) and all of their m e t a p h o r s . L Cousins.bkhrul). such as clear light and dull light.iiid) will not be considered except in the context of the wandering consciousness's a t t e m p t t o become aware of its o w n nature and in the liturgical discourse w h e r e it f o r m s an opposition with purity (dag. but on the popular and cultural level these are certainly the prevailing ways of viewing the subject of b i r t h . It is s o m e w h a t misleading to say that k a r m a moves f r o m one place t o a n o t h e r . the w a n d e r e r is beset w i t h karmic error (las. Kun. An awareness of karma could not exist w i t h o u t a lucidity of con7. H e n c e the word " w a n d e r e r ' designates that being w h o s e b o d y has died and w h o is battling with the foes in his o w n karma in order to reach salvation. Reidel. virtue and non-virtue. " E r r o r " is preferable to "illusion. like a mirage. see Atex Wayman. t r a n s f o r m s or stands still. the w a n d e r e r is faced not with an illusion in the sense that it is simply n o t w h a t he thinks it is. T h e term bkbyam means one who w a n ders with n o p u r p o s e .MEDICAL SOTLRIOl OGY (>t : KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA *97 provides a model f o r the purification of k a r m a t h r o u g h the language of the procreative-embryological metaphor. I n d e e d .. N o r m a n . rebirth. The concept of snnyatd (stong. A. eds. .pa).st. ostensibly a book about salvation (i. and K. p r o vides us with a panorama of descriptions of karma and r e b i r t h . is something else. the in-between-state is an imagined state oi wandering. Karma and rebirth merit little attention outside the d o m a i n of soteriology. and it is this w a n d e r i n g that d o o m s one to another rebirth. O n e of the controversies in B u d d h i s t circles t h r o u g h o u t the centuries has been the significance of the afterdeath or in-betweenstate-being." in Buddhist |i tidies in Honour of 1. pp. the certain attainment of c o m p l e t e and perfect R u d d h a h o o d ) . For a review of the arguments between those w h o adhere to the theory of intermediate state and those who d o not. I9741). K.pa. a contingency of sunyata that is brought about through a lack of awareness. 7 In the Tantras. Holland: D. it is no accident that the Tibetan Book of the Dead. but with a force that. A n y differentiation between the in-between-state and the wanderer itself is purely semantic. " T h e Intermediate State Dispute in Buddhism." f o r " e r r o r " denotes a more causal connection with rebirth. B Homer. ( D o r d r e c h t . and death. awareness and fear.

m i n d " is then not a plus and minus but a natural structure projected to assist the listener or reader in understanding the problem at hand. .yid. . just before rebirth.b o d y and the bodv-of-sensation.do. ins means not " b o d y " but rather "that which is contaminated". which is expressed in the first intermediate state by the phrase "disclosing die face of the clear light in the rnoment-of-deathintermediate-state. the key terminology for carnality is the word flesh (sha). now that which is defined as 'my death' has arrived. " T h o u g h t . This is also true for blood (khrag) and semen (khn. the body of flesh (sba. . T h e in-betwedn-state-being in the second part of the dyingmoments-stage is able to see the setting it has come f r o m .e. Contamination. which are the common denominator between flesh and thought." Since the intermediate state is characterized by both the t h o u g h t . or a better rebirth. You yourself have not transcended the wandering in the world. In a strict sense. liberation. " b o d y of thought impression.!<-)S WILLIAM STABLE IN sciousness." dosa) naturally pairs with "flesh and blood. Hence we have the term bug. even though you have been dessicated and slaughtered. contamination (skyon) is operational not in the body per se but in blood and semen and even more radically in the five aggregates that define the in-between-being. despite its dualistic contrast with the thought-body (yidJus). " but each pair is in turn organically related to the other. you have not at all died! 8." and " p o i s o n s " with " m i n d .b o d y t h r o u g h karmie impressions (bag. is interlocked in polarity with the t h o u g h t . p.chugs).ba) used in explanations of pfocreative embryonic development and disease etiology.kyi. Since the term " b o d y " occurs in correlations concerning the carnal as well as the mental." s And at another moment in the rite. as we shall see later.do. W h e n the texts speak of humors they are referring to the body of flesh.b o d y ' * suggests impressions f r o m previous lives. Bar.chugs. IS.ius). traces karma. p. lucidity encom • passes both. . therefore. Ins. whether it be of the humors or of the five poisons. the wanderer. n o t b o d y (Ins). Bar. the priest then says: " O h noble son. 81. the wanderer is told: "Because you are a thought-body. which is man's suffering and liberation. The carnal body. and. T h e term dug (poison) is used to describe the contamination left in the yogi in his highest contemplations. Hence " c o n tamination" (i. but when the thought-body is discussed the texts refer to the poisons which serve as the main barrier to health. "fault." The opposition " b o d y .. 9.

d u a l i t y (gnis. the flesh-kinship set that the w a n d e r e r first perceives w h e n he leaves t h e flesh. " we can conclude that death is the ability of the w a n d e r e r to distinguish a n e w set of karmic appearances.R I O L O G V O F KARMA IN B U D D H I S T TANTRA [99 We mighr conclude that there is n o death in Tibetan Tantric B u d d h i s m .tned) 7.sbes) Sunyata (stong. sambboga-. snnyatd and its equivalents on the right-hand side).M E D I C A L SOTF.nyid) D bar ma-. 2. Dull light (bkrag. Altogether there are f o u r sets.kbahi.. the w o r l d at large. instead of regarding the above o p p o s i t i o n s as p h e n o m e n a . the dull lights of t h e six realms and the karmic errors. however.med) 6.lns) Awareness (rigo. we take advantage of the built-in z e r o degree (i.gsalf K a r m a takes on value f r o m the language expressing t h e s y n d r o m e of suffering and t r o m salvific expressions.bar. we have a p u r e value s y s t e m w h e r e the meaning and value of karma are decided f r o m both sides of the chart. that is. but this redeath occurs only if the wanderer is not aware of the m e t a p h o r "You are a t h o u g h t .bngal) C o n t a m i n a t i o n (skyon) Impressions (bag.e. In the second q u o t e . t h e term bsad ( " s l a u g h t e r " o r "kill") does riot mean death { bchi. used in the . especially in the light of t h e c o n t i n u u m of r e b i r t h .bjiig) 1.gsal) 7. " t h a t m o m e n t when the consciousness is able to see where it has c o m e f r o m . the opposite of death is not life but the clear light (hod. If we take the Book of the Dead's example of death.do). Flesh b o d y (sba.lus) Suffering (sdug. D e a t h implies redeath. T h o u g h t b o d y (ytd. & nirmdna-kdyas 5. 3. is the inbetween-state-death (bcbi. Entering the w o m b (mngal. 2.ba).b o d y . 3.rgyas) and If. and (if o n e is r e b o r n ) the flesh-kinship set once again. O u r main concern. I n t r o d u c t i o n to the Iii-Between-States (Book of the Dead) T h e texts that are consulted o r called t o m e m o r y at the time of death vary. D u a l i t y (gnis) 6. N o n . but the d o m i n a n t themes and paradigms that indicate the projection of consciousness and its contingent karma are presented in the Book of the Dead and in a text called the Utkramayoga. 4. " In salvific terms. or that death and n o . or that the concept of death is not an absolute. Clear tight (bod.cbags) Poisons (dug) 5. n o w with a new appearance. 4. B u d d l u h o o d (sangs. T h e setting of karma can be delineated in the following general w a y : 1.pa.d e a t h are equally beside the point.

This entails the wandering of the consciousness principle through the inbetween-states (bar. the one w h o is of bar.ba. It is a state where consciousness is thrust up and d o w n between one's former and ensuing birth by karmic power (las. and so on (the humors).do has the fundamental sense of those in-between states in the passage of life and consciousness that determine the individual's future pleasure and pain and redeath-rebirth experiences. and the bar.do.dohi.dbang). semen).do aggregate (bar. Consciousness as detached from the flesh and blood may not be contingent on f o r m . but for the purposes of re-entry into the corporeal world where the semi-deceased maintains his individualized 10. aggregates. Then. This implies that the wandering being of consciousness has the qualities of f o r m . (That is to say.chosdag's Tibetan Dictionary defines bar.2 DC W i l l i A M STABLE IN Nepalese communities.do is a seeker of life and is thrust up and down by karmic power. brought into confluence. 1 0 Both texts offer instructions for raising the consciousness up f r o m the corporeal self and liberating it or.. Bai.do consciousness constituting one's former devotions and dependencies are by k a r m a .do) until it chooses or falls into a particular rebirth. female wood that it is rubbed against (i. f I. dry timber. directing it to the best possible rebirth. the father's semen. The term bar.. and the energies of man (i.she. pleasure-pain feelings.do consciousness wanders without any corporeal state with its body of flesh and blood.po).. .e. blood).sngfin. 11 "In the same w a y " refers to the example in which fire is the result of the proper combination of male rubbing wood (i.) While we think of karma in the language of flesh and blood. karma is akin to the compelling of the energies which are the ultimate cause of the fire.e. the wandering consciousness has momentarily lost its opportunity for complete and perfect Buddhahood and is seeking a new rebirth. folio 93. failing short of liberation. and consciousness. the bar.do consciousness). conception. Even though the bar.e. as Gc. . it is precisely that state of wandering that is called the bar. the mother's blood with unimpaired wind. . T h e Utkramayoga is the standard procedure for performing the death rite in Nepalese society. pbung. the Lapis Lazuli unequivocally views the corporeal as contingent on karma: In the same way.

.do aggregates have evolved arid there is unimpaired (semen and blood)—as mentioned before—as well as the karmic causes for maturation (las. The Hook of the Dead Structure The three main divisions of the in-between state-—the moments-ofdeath ( hcbi. Hence. Here liberation is referred to as "the basicclear-light-experience which is the unborn-Vertically-penetratingdharma-body with-no-£ur.do could occur before the resetting in of nescience. as such. For example. The first phase of the moments-of-death bar. accept the theory of karma. . and that which is the blood in the womb is called seed. the bar. which is the last opportunity to attain complete liberation without going through the ensuing phases. Bai. Because of that. .rms. 14." H If this "basic-clear-light . he gets a chance at the second bar. accept the in-between state of being as an intrinsic part of their medical lore and.nid). .do clear-light-experience. and presumably the rest of the Tibetan medical tradition. then.do reflects the theory of liberation as maintained by the earlier Theravadin texts.MKDJCAl SOTLRlOLUC'i OF KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA 20 f karma. Bai. " The Lapis Lazuli. This phase is the interim when the wheel turns to the touch of nescience.do consciousness.sngon. the semen and blood of the mother and father are said to be the seed.13 And . The physiological space of the bar. since the bar.do aggregates will enter the w o m b . the in-between-state aggregates are necessary.kyi.kyi.do is applied to this very beginning phase.do has not developed.rkven). it is necessary to understand ihe method of re-entry for the bar. folio 109. in its general discussion of the signs of procreation. death as the Book of the Dead defines it has not yet occurred. . the semen falls into the secret flower. The philosophical and ritual Tantras assume the bar." is not disclosed to the dying person. pp. Bar.sngon.pa). When the term bar.£fo. 13.do. at 1 2. The text now mentions for the first time the force of karma (las. The omission of this expression in the discussion of the basic-clear-light-experience stage that has no bar. H o w they believe it works we shall see in the next few paragraphs. folio I 10. That is to say. 6-7. states: Since the two organs are united. the re-recognition of the world (ebos. and reentry to the world (srid.do consciousness as necessary for their praxis.pa) — are roughly analogous to the dependent origination process.kha). the Lapis Lazuli.

after the three and one-half days when o n e has realized the reality ol death and is on the way back to rebirth. is able t o re-recognize its f o r m e r immediate worldly surroundings. having departed f r o m the body. O n each day comes a light f r o m one of the realms ol rebirth. The lack oi awareness of each light is p r o p o r t i o n a t e to the wanderer's desire for the dull lights that emanate f r o m the six realms of rebirth. p. he is told bv the officiating priest to request to be saved f r o m the " p a t h of the dreadful bar. does not discuss the consciousness principle but speaks rather of the inner wind (rlung). In the re-recognition in-between-state phase. such as the wailing of relatives and so on.do. Bar.d y i n g . In the second phase of the m o m c n t s ." 1 6 During the fourteen-day period of this re-recognized bar. p.do. BarJo. w o n d e r i n g . the basic-clear-light-experience.'* f o r the first six days. even though the Hook of the Dead discusses the initial phase of liberation in terms of the latent escape of what most people think of as the consciousness principle.bkhrnLsnang). 19. p."17 Indeed. C a n we make an axiom for the rite? Can we say that fear ot salvation and lust for fleshly attachment m a k e up the crucial opposition 15. there is the appearance of karmic errors 'las. the consciousness principle departs to the o u t side. Bar. The" officiating priest reads: "You are now a body ot t h o u g h t impressions. and desire are the dominant forces ot karma that constitute the obstacles blocking the path of liberation.do. the deceased.o f . wages a battle with karma. At this time of the subliminal dying experience. " A m I dead or not dead?" 1 5 T h e Book of the Dead clarifies this phase of reaffirming the departed consciousness not as a corporeal being but as an emotional being plagued by the vicissitudes ot his Own karma. IS. the description of die first phase. This is a dominant polarity throughout the rite. the former Buddha lights are called the knowledge lights. through the medium of the ritual specialist.do. 16. complete and perfect Buddhahood may be directly attained with no contingencies. 16. N o w the consciousness principle. .202 W I L L I A M S T A H L L IN Ellis very point the possibility of a rebirth as explained in Theravadin texts becomes feasible. Bar. 12. attachment. 18. p. and rhe latter. the salvation of the wanderer depends on his awareness of the six lights associated with the six Buddhas. dull lights. 17. That is.do. dread.kyi.

Since the re-recognition bar. moreover.do. except in the specific boundaries where the textual opposition occurs.MEDICAL SOTERIOLOGY OF KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA 203 for the whole of the rite's praxis? N o t exactly. Bar.do is called the wrathful bar. in this phase there is still the opportunity tor liberation before entering a womb. H e can see those beings and they can see him: "Even the Complexion of lits o w n b o d y will take 011 the color oi the light of whatever birth (he is destined for).do. knowledge-holding-divmity-realm'beast-realm. In the multidimensional realms of diversified codes. the sign is understood as the sacrament on a theological and mystical plane. In a literal sense. Bar. it can be said to span the categories on the wheel of life u p through indulgence. the implication is that the in-between states and their configurations.do. 20. if the consciousness principle has not yet been liberated from samsdra the peaceful deities re-emerge in the form of the black Protector. 2 0 The wanderer at this point takes on the characteristics of the kind of being he will be in his next birth.bphrtil. the wanderer is endowed with karmic miraculous p o w e r (las.shugs) which the Book of the Dead further qualifies by stating that it is not at all a miracle of samddbi. and the wrathful deities in the form of Yama. Curiously. and you will never be liberated from the great ocean of swirling suffering. king of the dead and of dbarma." 2 ' So far. then.rdzu. as we shall see. are structurally related to the dependent origination process. p. It has little salvific meaning ior one who understood the sign "the basic-clear-Itght" in the mornents-of-death. The Book of the Dead states: If you are frightened of the pure wisdom tights and attracted to the impure lights of the six worlds. and then from the eighth through the fourteenth day the re-recognition bar. S8. 37. 74.do. O n the fourteenth day. Since the Canda reflects 19. though having a logic of their own. . the wanderer's karma functions in terms of a semiotic system: a language. p. Bar. p. 2i.do constitutes the qualities of the six sense bases. unreliable for the ordinary wanderer who does not see it in terms of radical oppositions.kyi. the body of (one of) the six classes of these worlds will be acquired. but is from the power of karma. but on another plane it is nor understood.1'1 O n the seventh day one experiences the polarity. for at this time all the wrathful divinities in this rite make their appearance.

n o s e . T h e r e f o r e t h e r e a r e six bases of t h e s e n s e : e y e . b e c a u s e of f e t t e r i n g t h e m i n d o v e r a n d o v e r a g a i n t h e r e will be d i s c o n t e n t . t o n g u e . T h e y see. It is infrastructural because it extends the meaning of the original natural structure as represented by the original formula. the re-entry to birth phase when one cannot see his own reflection in a mirror. p p . a n d m i n d . and f r o m that t h e r e is i n d u l g e n c e . T h e n . ' 3 The Book of the Dead can then be viewed as a partly subliminal infrastructural dependent origination cycle that is repeated in the dying and after-death m o m e n t s . t h i n k i n g . a n d t h e r e a l m of t h e d h a r m a is c o m p l e t e l y a t t a i n e d . s m e l l . T h e n b i r t h c a u s e s t h e a p p e a r a n c e ot t h e five a g g r e g a t e s of i n d u l g e n c e . there occurs the expression: " P r o l o n g a s s i d u o u s l y t h e e m a n a t i o n s of g o o d k a r m a (mang po. which in the Book of the Dead designates the wanderer's entrance into the w o m b and in the Lapis Lazuli designates the proper psycho-physical conditions f o r birth. The goal of the praxis is to understand this formation. See also the' Sanskrit text. Cauda. a n d c o n t r a c t i o n / e x p a n s i o n . T h e Karmic Cycle and Sign [n the last bar. taste. Buddhist Wheel. " [ will n o t find t h e p r o p e r b i r t h b e c a u s e o i t h e o b s t a c l e s of d i s e a s e and so o n . Vet. tiui w h e n t h e arising d e a t h l i k e t h o u g h t s and t h e i r o b j e c t s a r e s u p p r e s s e d . fire w h i c h has t h e q u a l i t y of h e a t . arid w i n d w h i c h h a s t h e q u a l i t i e s ot m o v e m e n t . Karma is o b tained after indulgence.2O4 WII I 1AM STAUL. t h e o b j e c t of t o u c h . A n d b e c a u s e of c r a v i n g o n e d e s i r e s h a p p i n e s s . procreation. s o u n d .4 6 9 . l i g h t n e s s .El\ r the theory ot the Book of the Dead. f o r m . and any metaphor is permissible as long as it promulgates an understanding. w a t e r w h i c h h a s t h e q u a l i t y of m o i s t u r e . the possibility of salvation is inherent in the very formation of the sign.do. " h e w i l l s u i t e r . folios 407-409. There are certain discrepancies between the Tibetan and Sanskrit texts. if ( a f t e r t h e c o n s c i o u s p r i n c i p l e is) r e l e a s e d it l a m e n t s . . a n d s o t h e r e is t o u c h .lasf. w h i c h a r e then b o r n f r o m t h e w o m b . Indeed. interpretation: we shall look briefly at its F o r m is e n d o w e d w i t h t h e f o u r e l e m e n t s : t h e e a r t h w h i c h has t h e q u a l i t y oi h e a v i n e s s . . 4 6 8 . h e w h o is d i s c o n t e n t a n d c r e a t e s o b s t a c l e s is a n g u i s h e d . Cultivate the priest as father and m o t h e r and 22. b o d y . a n d s o o n . and death. . . K a r m a is o b t a i n e d a n d a b e i n g e n t e r s t h e w o m b . c o n s i d e r a t i o n of o l d age a n d d e a t h are w i t h o u t s u f f e r i n g a n d a n g u i s h . for it is the " k n o w l e d g e being itself" that accommodates the sign. I n d e e d . ear. where the primary metaphors are based on the vicissitudes ot emotions.

p. From a psychological and religious (and maybe ethical) point of view. Ideally. f-or a more detailed system explaining the channels. T h e c l e a r light of t h e p a t h d e f e a t s the p o w e r of d a r k n e s s a n d t h e r e is l i b e r a t i o n . p. Bar. The Book of the Dead docs not explain this in detail but simply states: A f t e r the good and bad karma moves the w i n d into o n e or the other right a n d left c h a n n e l . the dying stage. Bar. it will c o m e o u t f r o m o n e o r t h e o t h e r a p e r t u r e s ."24 As we shall see shortly. the wanderer. 23. 24.folio 2b. 13. This technique with its concommitant system of channels has a salvific as well as a medical value. for the lower the wind descends. see . if the technique is successful at this dying moment.do. 5. as in the Utpattikramayoga of the Nepal ese. In the Book oj the Dead. a n d t h e n t h e r e will be t h e e n t e r i n g o n t h e p a t h of clear k n o w l e d g e . the more bad karma it bears in the future. the five poisons are a dominant set of emotions in the process of completion yoga. They stand consistently in relation to wandering. p. this is probably the most important structure of karma for the focus of our attention. it is like t h e light of t h e sun that dispels t h e d a r k n e s s . 38.OG Y Ol KARMA IN B U D D H I S T TANTRA 2C5 abandon Jealousy. p. cannot distinguish between happiness and misery. the karmic errors.. k a r m a is w i t h o u t its b r i d l i n g p o w e r . 12. " As the passage suggests and as the Book of the Dead briefly relates in earlier passages. Bar.3 Jealousy and the other contaminations appear as the primary expressions of bad karma (lasMgan). 2 6 When liberation is not imminent and the signs have not been understood. in fleeing from them. that is.do. karma acts On the "wind principle" in such a way as to direct it through the inner nerve system and out one of the orifices of the body. they arise in the first six days of the re-recognition phase. The Book of the Dead states in the re-recognition phase: "Alas! Through the force of the five poisons.' 1 . 38. The signs.MEDICAL SOTLR1 Ol.don. This is important. this is the time of wandering in samsara. In the second phase of the Hrst bar.do. as the Book of the Dead states. the movement of the wind is a concern which entails the knowledge of specialized techniques. Nan. 25. in a similar structure.do.ao. Bar. b o r e x a m p l e . the wind is to be directed through a spot (mastaka) in the top of the head.

MahSkala Tarttra.do.Ia>h. where does karma receive the value " g o o d " ? The Book of the Dead is explicit in stating how the wanderer should fasten himself to the flow of good karma.bmii. p.: and after everything melts there evolves ambrosia. 2 * and it should perform prostrations and make offerings with the mind. in the first method the emphasis is placed on perseverance. >9." 1 0 T h e sign. Bar.tih. it the wanderer is still unsuccessful in closing the door to the w o m b .ram. p.kharii. brain m a r r o w .11 For the fifth method — the other four failing—-the wanderer should cultivate the thought that "all this is the manifestation of its own mind and that the mind itself is like may a— from the beginning. In the fourth method.I. it is to regard all substance as false and untrue. o n t o p . 91. define good karma.I A M S T A B LET N seem to take on a life of their o w n and to function in the thought of the wanderer as a kind of trickster. p. although perseverance is again mentioned. 96. includes the appearance of devotional exercises and any indication of perseverance or of an attitude that regards all substances as false. Since the goal of the rite is to receive 17. 92. in the Mahakala rite. .. ambrosia is realized through a series of signs: F r o m t h e o w n n a t u r e of surivata is a t h r e e .do.206 W J I. the wanderer m a y still be released and is urged by the priest to fasten himself to the flow of good karma. 28. in the second it should cultivate the copulating male and female as one's guru in the mate and female aspects without entering between them. In the third method. nothing. then. the emphasis is on the nullification of the lust and hatred that the wanderer feels for the copulating parents. t h e r e is a j e w e l l e d s k u l l vessel f r o m t h e ( s v l l a b l e j it a n d f r o m t h e ( s y l l a b l e s ) yai>i. 31. Theoretically..do. p.27 But what is the good karma? Or. c o n t e m p l a t e t h e t h r e e seed s y l l a b l e s (ath. Bar. That is to say. Bar.a»i (issues) bile.c o r n e r e d c a u l d r o n f r o m t h e ( s y l l a b i c ) rm. to put it in a more precise way. as such. p. These methods define not only the way to link up with good karma but. T h e n . i l e s h a n d b o n e t h a t d e s i g n a t e t h e five p o i s o n s . 3n this drama of will and fate. For example. every Buddhist rite is a karma signstructure with salvific possibilities. b l o o d . Stiblein. At the time it is tempted by the copulating parents it is offered five methods by which it will not enter the w o m b . 3Q. 95. Bar.do. 51." The above quote is a short version of a common paradigm that reoccurs in the MahakaJa rite.

If she a c c u m u l a t i n g m e r i t o r i o u s k a r m a is t h e s a m e k i n d as t h e k a r m a 3J. plays an important role in explaining the inability to reproduce. etc. MtihiikaLi Ttirilra. speech-. 70-71. W h e n t h e five e l e m e n t s w i t h t h e s e m e n . blood. b y n e s c i e n c e a n d t h e r e m a i n i n g o b s c u r i t i e s . etc. karma can be altered through the medium of rituai. on the key sign-structure of karma. pp. and mind-power (kayasiadhi. 33.body-. and. The Lapis Lazuli. Returning now to the Boak of the Dead. The Lapis Lazuli says: A f t e r the w a n d e r i n g bar.. a n d it is t h e c a u s e of a c q u i r i n g a h u m a n b o d y . put in the form of a series: mind aggregates = hatred. Bai. if we assume thai the wanderer fails in the five methods of closing the w o m b door. a n d t h o u g h t a c c u m u l a t e t o g e t h e r a n d are s u i t a b l y a g g r e g a t e d . folio 94.MEDICAL SOTl-RIOLOGY OI KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA 101 tlie powers of body. .) = images (cauldron. speech. which recommends curing ceremonies to purify each of the impairments.e. Bai.) = syllables (yam. biotsd. etc. all substance is false) . a basis is f o r m e d in t h e c o p u l a t i n g p a r e n t s . lust. Karma. a n d . blood. as we might expect. the Lapis Lazuli quotes the commentary on the Astarigabrdayasambira. 3 2 we have focused.) = bile.bum [Buddha's body. S u b l e i n . folios 94 and 95. The wanderer receives a value of indulgence from the sign of the Populating parents who in turn are grasping because of the fundamentally identical karma.do c o n s c i o u s n e s s is set in m o t i o n b y the w i n d s of k a r m a w i t h w h a t e v e r m e r i t o r d e m e r i t it m a y h a v e . 1 1 In the case of serious impairments of the semen. he will choose or be driven to rebirth. and mind. states: T h a t w h i c h is k a r m a is s u b s t a n c e a r i s i n g f r o m t h e a g g r e g a t e s of u n p r e d i c t able m e r i t s and d e m e r i t s w h i c h c o n s t i t u t e the s e n t i e n t b e i n g w h o w a n d e r s in t h e r e . and mental contusion = sunyata (i. which calls attention to the condition that. albeit briefly. 34. 3 4 Presumably these ceremonies are thought effective.fngon.sngon. also. The nature of the value is the extension of flesh. = the five poisons = om. at this point. provides us with a theory of transgenetics that allows considerable scope for philosophical explanation. and thought which cause sterility. speech. and mind) — melting (peak moment of transsignifying) = ambrosia (amrta) . this time quoting the sutfa literature. we must turn to the Lapis Lazuli in order to complete the picture.e n t r y i n t e r m e d i a t e s t a t e . etc. in effect. a. etc.ah.). it is the c a u s e of t h e f o r m a t i o n of t h e child in t h e w o m b . as such.syllables (rru.

After the storehouse-consciousness is drawn. the question arises: does the wanderer create substance because of its own lack of awareness and inability to see the apparitions as sunyata? The question is not answered. the substantive explanation seems inevitable. the mind of defiled impressions. 38. folio 9£L 37.do consciousness.WILLIAM STA&LE1N ot r h e m o t b j f a n d f a t h e r it will e n t e r t h i s w o m b . T h e Lapis Lazuli quotes the Garland of Vajfa Tantra In the following way: The cause is thebar. but the wind concretizes the obscurities into a unity. The form zlub is not clear to me. Then the impressions themselves control the consciousness and the blood-semen drops become mixed together with rhe storehouseconsciousness. or defiled impressions. In this case. Even though karma does not have the status of a permanent being ot any kind.nid. This must be the reason why the texts are careful not to confuse consciousness with karma. The structural connections between the Book of the Dead and the Lapis Lazuli become clear in the embryology which encompasses the same radical structure of signs that are expressed in terms j f v B j i ingon. Seen as another form. karma. indeed.srtgon. B u t t h e k a r m a drat is n o t r e c i p r o c a l means t h a t t h e c o n s c i o u s n e s s will n o t b e d e p o s i t e d irt r h e p a r - ents' w o m b . a problem that seems to be taken as a m o o t point in the Buddhist Tantric literature. the impressions are conducted to enter the Womb. mgc>n. its value. so that it is not only non-self that becomes a heurism but. what we are confronted with in our study of karma is a genetic concept of the aggregates. folios 109 and 110. dbang. I he above passage could be evidence that karma is a metaphor for genetics. it is just like one who is intoxicated with the taste of spirits.btsan'.-17 The meaning is not known lor certain. for such an attempt in the dialogue may produce a more embarrassing question concerning the existence of self (atman). a value of having mighty p o w e r (las. even good karma. but ill the effort to explain the reasons for a consciousness not entering the womb. also. folio Bat.**1 which c o n t r o l s and directs the consciousness at least in certain phases—almost betrays the no-permanent sell concept as being a mere heuristic device.3 5 Karma is seldom termed substance (dngos). it is like an expanding bubble. . Bat.

T h e w o o d d o e s n o t a p p e a r 10 t o u c h t h e m a g n i f y i n g c r y s t a l . . . in Tantric 39. Bai. it b u r n s . even t h o u g h t h e m a g n i f y i n g cvvsta! d o e s n o t a p p e a r to t o u c h t h e w o o d . In the s a m e w a y . to be the ultimate cause of disease (as secondary growths of ignorance) confirms our position that not only is there a common structure to both Tibetan medicine and Buddhist Tantra but that their underlying conception of mental oppositions is a natural structure of karma.utg). there first of all arise two kinds of mental oppositions. fire is c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e light r a y s of t h e s u n a n d m e e t s w i t h t h e j e w e l called m a g n i f y i n g c r y s t a l . This is an important term in the philosophical literature designating duality. . Because t h e s e n t i e n t b e i n g e n t e r i n g t h e W o m b is i n v i s i b l e it is c o n s i d e r e d n o t t o be a f o u n d a t i o n . . The Lapis Lazuli. karma takes its Value from the concept of mental oppositions. Reaching that ( w o o d ) . folio 42. This is said to be similar to t h e place in t h e w o m b of s e n t i e m b e i n g s . These texts make transgenetic sense our of the birthrebirth process. it r e a d i e s t h e place of t h e w o m b ..MEDICAL SOTF. 4C. and f u r t h e r . we read: f[ is like t h e light r a y s of t h e sun t h a t burn w o o d a n d grass t h r o u g h t h e p o w e r o l a m a g n i f y i n g c r y s t a l . even t h o u g h t h e light m a y b e o b s c u r e d . the c o n s c i o u s n e s s e n t e r s t h e inside of t h e w o m b . . lust will be generated for the mother and hatred for the father.e n t r y c o n s c i o u s n e s s is invisible.do consciousness. that is to say. fiai. f t e n t e r s t h a t placc*. lust is generated for the father and hatred lor the mother.a. t h e p e n e t r a t i o n is invisible. folio 310. F o r e x a m p l e . for example." 4 2 Hence. even t h o u g h t h e b e i n g of t h e r e . hatred and lust. Alter the consciousness aggregates come to the womb.sfigoti. If the wanderer is to be a female.sngnrt.sngon. . 41. In t h e s a m e w a y . fblio 119. which hence constitute a transgenetic unit of the bar. 41 Karma is given the status of bringing together the first channels (or nerves) after the being of the re-entry consciousness enters the womb: LL The paths of the right and left channels of the semen and the w o m b (ovaries?) are connected by the power of karma. When w e come to the actual moment of conception. s u d i as auraaive-unattractive: (phyin.RIOLOG Y OI KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA 20<> of oppositions. states: drawing upon the sutra literature. 39 What are the two? If at the time of copulation the wanderer is to be born as a male. it s p r e a d s t o the w o o d t h r o u g h d i e place of t h e c r y s t a l .4'1 That the medical tradition deems the poisons. a n d so it is said t h a t it e n t e r s I r o m invisible d o o r s . Bat.

the own-nature of the thickness comes into bcin>. just like milk when it is churned into curds. rhe right and left channels. but not central to the point of the present essay. In the thud week. semen. it becomes a slightly oblong form which is a little thick.dbang) is employed in such a way as to focus on a hypothetical embryological structure (i. hut with (he understanding that karma takes its value f r o m the poisons and that the poisons are sitnyata. take their value from karma. especially up through the third week of the developing embryo. Bai.sngori. 43. bv means of the power of karma there evolves a life-wind from the storehouse-consciousness. like the actual formation of curd. foliu 122. 44. in turn. One half of the life-wind becomes thoroughly mixed with all of the elements of the blood and semen. and thought are massed together (i.4-1 Karma is vulnerable. folio 122. after the evolution of that which is called the completely amalgamated karmic wind. in the second week. we should be curious as to how karma or expressions closely contingent on the idea ot karma. the body reduced to the three channels as a basis for a karmic being. tttti. through the first month. . after the evolution ot the wind-treasury karma..e. was partly based on a reductive conception of the body. at which time the sex of the foetus is said to be subject to change through the process of center-altering.2 lO WILLIAM STALSLMX meditation when it is said that the right and left channels must fuse into the middle channel it is tantamount to a purification of the power ot karma.srigon. that is. the original channels) which not only explains the embryo's earliest formation but provides the Tibetan Buddhist with a path to salvation in his very being. conception). The same phrase is used in the description oi the embryo's continuing development from the moment of conception: prom the moment when the blood.kyi. are used in relation to the new array of signs w e have learned f r o m the embryological process. We will see further h o w this sign-structure of karma accommodates the terminology utilized in the ritual-meditative tradition which.. In the same way. The signs.e. the details ot which are not without interest. 44 N o w that we have followed karma through the bat-do with its satvihe possibilities into the very flesh and blood. This is a ritual. T h e expression " p o w e r of karma" (las. such as the five poisons.

secondary cause. the one that generates bile and so on. the Lapis Lazuli. Bai. and because phlegm is produced from delusion. The channels. not so much in the development of the physiological body. possessing the wind principle. the cause of the fire principle. are not only significant for an understanding of csoteric meditation. They help our process of understanding. the cards are stacked against him in favor of the poisons—especially hatred and l u s t — t h e karmic nexus of the flow of suffering and disease. clearly. 47 . at least f o r the moment when the wanderer succumbs to the enticement of the copulating parents. but form an important structure in the Tibetan medical tradition. . The brain constitutes delusion as well as phlegm. 47. popularly related to cakras.RIOLOG Y OI KARMA IN B U D D H I S T TANTRA 20<> The Etiology of Corporeal Karma and Salvation as "Great T i m e " When the Book oj the Dead. 46. and result are found in the top part of the body. and the Cauda elaborate the wanderer's lust and hatred for its future parents. the cause of the water principle. folios 128 and 129. to a very large extent. d e l u s i o n is based on the brain. 4 6 Let us turn again to the Lapis Lazuli: The channel that generates the humors such as phlegm. but rather in the conception of the emotional body constituting what the Buddhist Tantric tradition deems the five poisons. therefore cause. folios 151 and 152. it is observed that depression and obscurity arise from the head. the wandering consciousness. The Lapis Lazuli in the section on physiology formulates the syndrome in terminology that enables us to extend further the sign structure of karma into blood and tlesh: the structure itself is the formation of the channels. . and the channel that generates wind and so on. or the aggregates of consciousness. the causc of the fire principle and related to the right 4S. that is. 45 The channels are not completely explained but are nonetheless mentioned as if they were a necessary step in the formation of the e m b r y o . it is not incorrect to think of this as a secondary extension of the primordial karmic body.sngan. as well as wind and d r o p (sperm essence). is b e l o w the stomach.sttgon. is the right one. . Blood. folio 128. Bai sngon.MEDICAL SOTF. is the left one. which is formed gradually with the navel and produces the other channels (in the fifth week). and especially when the Book of the Dead describes karma as a force that we may liken to a trickster. And since. As such. litu. The basis of these channels is the life channel.

the thought-consciousness 48. Because this is the birth where the wanderer sees the (erotic) delights of his mother and father. It then issues from the father's vajra (genitalia) by means of the middle channel and is established in the womb-channel through its channel of the Vajraprinciple queen who exists within the opening of the padrna (the woman's geiiitalia). and result arc found in die middle part of the body. and his most intense lustful thought will arise for his mother as well as a thought possessing great hatred for his father. guides properly the body's breath.sngori. the con seiousness reali7e-. See also \'ang. one will be born there. When hatred suddenly arises. constitutes lust and wind. we should recall the three poisons of the mind aggregates in the dependent origination process and turn again to the Canda. the lust traces become one taste with the semen by means of great lust.rtung). then. he will sec his own form as a baby boy.las. thinking that bv joining in tins conjugality he will share m the delight—even though there may be no feelings of particular suffering or bliss—the wanderer through his former lives will return (to samsartc existence). the wanderer's thought. he feels their touching. its cause. Bai. in the manner of a shooting star. lust is observed to appear in the hidden places (genitalia) oi the mother and father. . Then. constitutes hatred and bite.2!2 WILLIAM STAB L E W channel. and to see karma in the light of its salvific dimensions. if the wanderer is going to be a male.. ." Then. Then. which reiterates in a slightly different way the process of rebirth. it also sees the lust traces of its (potential) mother and father. rhe Sanskrit ievt adds). One extremity of the wind reaching below the navel causes the principle of bliss and forms the hidden place (genitalia). If the wanderer is to be born a girl. ir^rlf yen ruing for bliss (for t h e m o t h e r . and then there is birth. the cause. wind. hatred is based on blood and the black left channel. enters from the path of the father's head and establishes the semen. We should keep in mind that the 1 ol lowing passage is part of the Can da's interpretation of the dependent origination process: Alter the bar. having considered that if born a male he would desire his own mother.semen). Then. Through lust and hatred there will be feelings of bliss as well as suffering. in the manner of trickling thought (. Hence the cause of bliss is incorporated (in this process). Then. folios J S3—155. and result arc found in the lower part of the body. Moreover. secondary cause. . Since wind arises from lust. Because bile is produced from hatred.gyi. die thought arises.kyi.do being acquires the basis of the six senses with nescience (and the remaining links) and sees the three worlds.4® To clarify the structure a little more. spasms can be observed to arise m the middle part of the bod v. Because the thought is established (in the father's semen). because of the great thirst which catapults the wanderer by means of the winds of its former karma (Sngon. secondarv cause. folio 17. Having been catapulted by one's karma of previous births.tion. . "I should make myself happy. The semeq. the cause of the knowledge principle.

(See n. The nature of the burned seed syllables are: in the head.K A R M A IN B U D D H I S T TANTRA " 3 will have iust traces for the father and hatred for the mother. and on the thirtv-two petals. the live sacred knowledges (including the dichotomy of) knowledge-ignorance. 3 above. denote the salvific "perfect (or completed) w a y " (rdzogi. This is the sense immediately grasped by a trained ritual specialist oi Vajrayana Buddhism. reflects a ritual-meditative tradition beginning (in Buddhism) with the many accounts of Sakyamuni's meditation on dependent origination. heart. a white coupling Mahakaia and consort symbolical of body. 49. death-redeath.I. the white orh. The latter. So it is horn according to its former birth (i. which is.. . (similarly. the green ham. are unified without exception. . dropping into the padma from the way in the mother's head and coalescing with the father's semen.Ml D I C A L S O T 1 K I O I . The five poisons of sentient beings and oneself are raised from everywhere through the flowing light rays (i. and salvation. In the neck. white Dakinis holding choppers and skuil bowls. Buddhist 50. Canda. These five poisons. the nature of envy. the nature of hatred. the advanced stage of Tantric yoga. and. rebirth. the nature of pride. When the breath is held because it burns down by means of the sacred knowledge. the bam of the genitalia region will burn. and salvation. They are a focus which introduces the psychophysical function of karma in four dimensions: embryology. karma. having burned the other four seed syllables. 469. Mgon. the nature of lust.1 4 . and in the genitalia region. The best written example of this structure that I have seen is in an explanatory text to the Mahakaia rite: In the middle of the five channel complexes there are: in the head. folios 4 0 9 . the sacred knowledge light rays). 49 T h e three channels are a natural structure. See also ihc Sanskrit text. folios 1 3 . the defilements of the five poisons are cultivated as pure and the breath is revived and suppressed. establishes the channel of its birth and sees itself in the form of a woman. and genitals). navel. but specifically according to the moment of lust traces for the father).4 1 0 . . O G Y Ol. . in turn. melting into the five seed syllables. repeated in the Cauda. the nature of confusion. A Buddhist attempts to be mindful of an existence based on nescience. p.. in the navel. After it burns upward. the blue-blackish bum.e.e. in essence.) Wheel. The consciousness. the red hrib. the yellow ram. couples in neck. The channels lend absolute value to karma. as such. death. they absorb all the obscurations and defilements. in the heart.5" The structural connections between the medical and meditative traditions suggest a universe of signs and discourse based on the radical concepts of birth-rebirth.rim.

T h e suppression of karma in Tantra.. without resorting to a mindonly interpretation of our subject it is clear enough that the implied theory of karma in the Tantras rests upon the procreative and embryological metaphorical models. Tantra removes karma f r o m the possibility of heresy by relegating it to a structural metaphor which is a means and an end at the same time. In the world.214 WILLIAM STABLE1N and he aspires to the suppression of existence as leading to the suppression of nescience which is t a n t a m o u n t to the suppression of karma fkarmanirodha). is n o t just the suppression of each link of the chain of dependent origination but the suppression of ordinary meditation by means of the cultivation of the body. speech. further. The process is similar in all of the Buddhist Tantra meditation cycles. then. T h e Mahakala cycle is of particular significance because of its relation to time: " O n l y he whose b o d y possesses Great T i m e is k n o w n as Mahakala. 109. with the Mahakala yoga where the poisons are given absolute value as designated by the deities coupling with their consorts. and mind of the mythical perfect body-—the Vajra body. The sign of suppression in the yogic context is holding the breath. Conclusion: Pure W o m b . Although we have not clearly demonstrated that the I'antras regard all things as a language. which creates the heat that burns the poisons. T h e language f o r m s its o w n struc51. cultivate nui having mental configuration. such polarities are not liable to generate systems of meaning reflective of the intention of the Tantras. p. semen. The Mahakala Tantra puts it this way: Even he who propounds nihilism would be making the karma ol nonexistence and existence. there is no (conceived) seed without method T h e procreative and embryological metaphors f o r karma are clear." 5 1 A goal of the praxis is to become Great Time through the yogic process. 52. Idem. When coupling according to one's capacity. Muhakalatantra. Pure Karma In the Tantras there is no end to the equivalencies of the world of flesh and absolute value. Stablein. . Yet on the level of praxis these relationships are unstable. and h u m o r s are specifically interlocked with the dependent-origination process and. We have seen h o w the more biological aspects of existence such as blood. Even on the levei of sentence analysis.

The five stages of Tantric self-yoga 5 5 are called the pure dwellings." in Spirit Possession irt the Nepal Himalayas. p. of spontaneously appearing substructures according to the nature of the practitioner. p. J o h n H i t c h c o c k and Rex J o h n s ..MEDICAL SOTF. that is to say. not only in the embryological context but also in the discourse of mythos. 3 6 1 . speech. That this is the space where the Lord lives and where the sacred dialogue between him and the Goddess is recorded is also the mind of enlightenment. The Mahakaia Tantra. indeed a w o m b . but in particular it is used in the fulfillment and healing ritual p e r f o r m e d o n the t w e n t y . body. Stablein. when he constructs his mandala. speech. begins with: " T h u s I have heard: at one time the Lord was dwelling in a desireless manner within the genetrix of the Goddess. 107. See William Stablein. Hence." 5 3 Thus we have from the beginning a procreative metaphor that is as poetic and mythic as it is psychological or religious. pp. not into annihilation but into one's w o m b -mandala." 5 4 The problem of karma. and mind. where they take on or begin to take on an absolute value. " M a h a k a i a N e o . Since the value of karma in Tantra is derived from oppositions inextricably interlocked with the w o m b and what it represents.3 7 5 .. Mahakalatantra. Ratiocination. Ibid. it is the man Jala as the w o m b which is being projected with all of its generative possibilities. speech. and mind) of the Goddess. This self-yoga is implicit in every Mahakaia rite. we must present what is at the very heart of Tantra and is. another version of the first chapter of the Mahakaia Tantra states: "Thus 1 have heard: at one time the Lord was dwelling in the tripartite principle (i.n i n t h day of every lunar m o n t h .e.S h a m a n : Master of the Ritual. 54. . The outward construction and delineation of the rite makes possible the momentary establishment of a circumference which enables the practitioner to focus on body. the most enigmatic of Tantric sentences—the opening line of numerous Tantric texts. The body is generated as the mandala (and womb-semen) and is constituted of body. (England: Aris & Phillips. For the practitioner w h o follows the Tantras it is this w o m b that is sought. in some sense. breathing. and the poisons as the accumulations are released from their dependence. 55. regardless of the deities involved.RIOLOG Y OI KARMA IN BUDDHIST TANTRA 20<> tare with its own transcendent value disclosing a universe. H i . and hence. is to understand the absolute value by means of the corporeal sign which is incorporated by the projection of the divine conjugal couple. for example. eds. and mind as pure substance. 53. 1975). the mandala is also the semen. then.

the w o m b where the Lord dwells: a dwelling of pure semen. in essence. they present quite succinctly the soteriological dimension of karma that is. in turn. semen. . has an even deeper layer of science. consciousness. The science is not only the observations and knowledge of this corporeal edifice but the manner in which it is incorporated in the dharmic rite which enables the Tantric Buddhist to experience the edifice as snnyata. and the w o m b . The fiction is the conventional world of karma with its edifice of flesh. pure consciousness. and complex of emotions.WILLIAM STABLE IN or foundations. purity. p u r e blood. This is a metaphorical structure of oppositions that disclose an underlying fiction which. blood. and the principle source for the projection of absolute value.

200).Wri and published :n seven volumes by (he Bharatiya Vidyapitha (Benares. it comprises 6. In terms of the level of interest shown In such development — a level best measured by the amount of sacred and scholastic works devoted to it — one tradition. For a complete bibliography of the Svetamhara Karma-gmntba literature. and their commentaries. 1939 59.' Portions of the latter I. a wide divergence exists in the extent to which various schools have developed this idea into a coherent system of doctrine. Digambaras possess some thirty-eight volumes ol the Satkbandagama. 816).VI) 200). which has been edited by Hiralal Jain and published in sixteen volumes by the Jain a Sahitvoddharaka F u n d . T h e Sflfitfc'J ndagama is said to li. This text.000 aphorisms {sutrasl in Prakrit and is divided into six parts.t). T h e first five parts have a commentary called Dhavala by Virasena (. ca. Amaravan. 1942). that ol the Jainas. stands clearly apart from all others.9 Karma and the Problem of Rebirth in Jainism P A D M A N A B H S.ivi1 been composed by P u s p a d n n t j atu} Rhulabali (circa . I h e Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy $ Bombay. pp. it lias been edited bv Phool Chandra Sidbhantas.x x . the K&saya-prSbbrta . is better known by the alternate tit lc Mahadhai ala. J A I N I Although nearly every religious or philosophical tradition of India has accepted the idea of karma as valid. x i . The sixth part of the Sit$khandagama. see Glasenapp. 1947—58). called Mababandha. A second important scriptural work belonging to the same genre is the KasayapfabhrtJ of Gimabhadra (A.\ n. together with its commentary Jayadhavala by Virasena and his discipfe Jinasena 217 . In addition to the large number of Kdrrtia-grantba texts found among the Svetamhara scriptures.

. p P . evam v u t t e . p u h b e papakarnmani katarn. In any case. ayatitp an. All of these materials deal in great detail with various problems relating to karma in its f o u r aspects. indicating that these theories were even then seen as fundamental to the overall Jain a world-view.2 Jainas seem to have been preoccupied with these problems from the earliest times. Jain. d u k k h a k k h a v a vedanakk h a y o . . 93 (PTS]}. to a lesser extent. J A I N I art1 said to represent the only surviving examples of the ancient Purva texts. N i g a n t h i . which Digambaras suggest may even predate MahavTra himself. iti p u r a n a n a m kammatiain u p a s a b y a n f t b h a v a . f%0).218 PADMANABH S. the social ramifications of these views. in contract to such relatively abstract concepts as satnskara of the Rrahmamcal schools and bJ'j ol the Buddhists. avatim anavassava k a m m a k k h a y o . tarn imay. which are of epic p r o p o r t i o n s (comprising altogether s o m e [72. influx (asrava). see N . k a m m a k k h a v a d u k k h a k k h a v o . All oi these D i g a m b a r a w o r k s . but certain Buddhist writings in Pali attempt to discredit Jain a theories of karma. as we shall see. 80C-870). Stud mitt Jaina Philosophy (Benares. Reality ( C a l c u t t a . by those of the Buddhists) relative to their Brahmantcal counterparts. Jaina views on the process and possibilities of rebirth are distinctively nonH i n d u . F o r a lucid presentation of t h e comprehensive [aina teaching of the karmic process. 3. p. have been b r o u g h t t o light o n l y in the last thirty years and have n o t been fully studied even in India outside a small circle ol Jaina scholars. but rather may have developed as p a n of the indigenous Ganged c tradition from which the various Sramana movements arose. . (A. 3 We arc not yet in a position to explain definitively the earlier and more intense interest in karma shown by Jaina thinkers (and. 2. have been profound. . . Perhaps the entire concept that a person's situation and experiences are in fact the results of deeds committed in various lives may be not of Aryan origin at all. navan3ttt k a n u n a n a m akarana.[J ca. moreover. has been edited by P h o o l C h a n d r a Siddhantasastri and published in fifteen volumes by the Bharatiya D i g a m b a r a Jaina G r a n t h a m ala [Marhura. a v u s o . . " (\Lijj m t a n i k a y a I. .a kanifiaya d « k k a r a k a r i k a y a nifjiretha. so evam aha: "atthi k h o vo. Tana. . 1951). T h e fact that Jainas regard karma as material (paudgalika). . and fruition (anubhaga). Umasvnti's Tattvarthasutra and P u j v a p a d a ' s cornmenrarv thereon called Sarvarthaiiddhi are tin t w o most p o p u l a r )rks studied in t h e Jaina schools. duration (stbiti). not only do their own scriptures pay a great deal of attention to such matters. is too well k n o w n to require discussion here. . bondage (bandhaj. varn pan" ettha etarahi kavena sairivuta vacaya samvuta manasa samvuta :aui ayaritji pap ass a kaittmassa akarannns.2 6 0 . v e d a n a k k h a y a sabbatri d u k k h a m ntjjinnam bhavissati ti . namely. see S. 194275). 1 N i g a n t h o . te N i g a n t h j m a m e t a d avocuirt. ISataputto sabbaiifiu p b b a d a s s a v i apariscsam nanadassanam panianati' 1 . A .tvassavo. 2 2 0 . For a translation of the latter w o r k .000 " s l o k a s " 11 sloka = 32 syllables}).

could have been seen as vibhu without in any way contradicting the Jaina position of the interdependence of soul and body. Siirvarthaiiddhi. Hence we have a doctrine in which the emancipated soul. riai. 5. yadi sariranuvadhayi jivah. .i\:::yi <?ditfd by J. as we have noted above. edited by Phool Chandra Siddhantaiastri (Benares. An all-pervasive sou! would of course be free f r o m spatial limitation by the body. even in jaina terms.. has some difficulty in explaining the limitation of a soul's experiences.]'' :. omnipresent. tat kadik-itkam {SM. T h e jainas allow the possibility of a soul spreading t h r o u g h o u t the lokakaiu (without abandoning its body) iust prior to attaining itaduh-hood.sa dosah. pp. indeed. . p.4 (henceforth referred to as SS). is said by the Jainas to retain the shape and size of that body which it occupied at the time moksa was attained. Jainas. 9. Jain (Bombay. since. SS 9. I or .1 Jaina critiquc tjf CIui vibhu theory. .KJasayarn arhatanam ap: . This is called k&vali' ^ m u d g h a t a : yat punar aslasamayasadhyakevalisamndghat. ditnensionless soul stands as the only orthodox exception to this view. 1970).4 Even a fully liberated soul (siddha). though said to be forever free of former influences. That is. 5 This latter doctrine is certainly a rather unexpected one. 6 7 . having completely transcended contact with the material realm. senses. how does it come to 4. The liberated soul. sec Vi^ 'M". if the soul is in tact at all times everywhere. in other words. ititanantarasafirakaratvit. the very idea of "dimensions" cannot be applied to such an entity at all. 1971). seems to display through its shape a sort of shadowy association with the embodied state. 6. however. arguing that since a soul cannot experience the sorrow or happiness resulting from its karma except in the context of mind. anakaratvan muktanatn abhava n ten na. total freedom from karmic bonds eliminated the necessity for any limitation upon the extent ol the soul. 6 O n e can only conclude that the idea of this interdependence so dominated the minds of Jaina thinkers that they were somehow reluctant to dispense with the body completely even in the case of moksa. C . have consistently rejected the vibhu theory. and body.4. kutah? karan7ibhavai. This line of thought leads directly to the basic Jaina doctrine that a soul is exactly coterminous with the b o d y of its current state of bondage (svadehaparimana).7 5 (henceforth referred to as 5M). Virtually all the Vedic daruinas assert that the soul is vibhu. any existence of the soul outside that context becomes incompatible with the function of the karmic mechanism. 75}. Ramanuja's theory of an atomic. syan ma tarn. lokavyzpitvena&nanah sarvayyipafkatvam. tad abhavat svabhavikalokakasaparimanatvat tavad visarpananj prapnotiti. The H i n d u doctrine of vibhu.!>':.KARMA A N D THF PROBLEM OF REBIRTH IN JAIN ISM 219 A significant issue in Indian philosophy concerns the actual size of the soul.

S. in other words. The subtle body is. soul) cannot change.. whether sentient (jiva) or insentient (ajiva). the total material of wrhich is the same whether it is folded or spread out flat. sat dravvaUksananv ntp. the subtle body inhabits one life-matrix (human. to expand or contract into various shapes. whereas for the jaina-s. Now. manifest) state of embodiment. " m o d e s " ) at every m o m e n t . J A I M undergo the experience of only one individual being at a time? This problem is dealt with by pustulation ol the so-called subtle body {suksma-sarlra). an entity said generally to be composed of eighteen 7 subtle elements and to provide the link whereby a soul m a y — a n d must—-be associated with a particular " g r o s s " (i. animal. T h e answer to this question lies in what is perhaps the most fundamental point of disagreement separating Brahmanical and Jaina philosophies. For the Brahmanical schools. whereby its total number of space-points (pradesa) remains unchanged regardless of the area into which these points must be accommodated.220 FA D M A \ A B H S. and so forth. "substance") and at the same time subject to change (as paryiiya. then.g. can it be said to be eternal? Because. the Jainas suggest. every existent (sat) possesses a quality called agMrnlagbutva ("undergoing neither gain nor loss"). while the latter "stands still " as it were. atam mahadadisuksmaparyantain sarnsarat! nirupabhogam bhavair adbivasitam lingam. It might be asked why the Brahmanical thinkers bothered to introduce the notion of vibbu in the first place.. piirvotpannam asaktam Hi. in each case associating the soul with the experiences of that matrix. since the soul can experience nothing except in this limited way. it is an attribute which certainly seems to have no practical effect upon the experiences of the soul. H o w . or whatever) after another.idav vavadhrauvy avuktam sat tadbhavavyayam nnyam LittvarthasHtrj 5. ail existents. a sort of "agent" for the soul.29-31 . This is described as analogous to a piece of cloth. Bearing in mind the Brahmanical and Jaina views on the nature of the soul." Sahkbyakimka of Iswrakrsna. 40. We are told that after severing its connection with the human 7. The most widely accepted Brahmanical description of this mechanism is strongly biological in tone. are eternal (as dravya. 8 Thus It is possible for a soul in the Jama system to move. w e are n o w ready to compare the actual mechanisms of rebirth that these traditions have proposed.e. that which is eternal (e.

ihe tradition of seven days' " s e a r c h " for new parents has perhaps been most widely .KARMA A N D THE PROEi LF\i OF RtRIRTH IN" JA1N1SM 211 body. See also note 29. ekasamayl 'vigraha/ (Tattvarthttfiilra 2. . it travels upward to the "realm of the f a t h e r " (pitr-loka). 3. much less any attempt at refutation.29). . " t r a y a n a m sthananam satlimukhTbhavat matuh kuksau garbhasyavakrantirbhav. enters the food chain through absorption b y a plant. and the entire process begins o n c e more. N e w York. P. . iti upap. only speculating here: ail that can be said with certainty is that the issue of the soul's physical entry into the w o m b is simply ignored. 10. . mata kafya pi bhavati. . Thereafter. The force of karma operates here in determining which potential father will eat which plant. there was no unanimity of opinion a m o n g Vaibhasika teachers as to the precise amount of time spent in the gartdhartsa state. rtumatTca. 357-39S. T o the contrary. riiMapiiarau raktau sannipaotau ea. We are. freed f r o m this limbo through ritual offerings (sraddha) by the son of the deceased. however. no mention. ed. is m a d e with regard either to the Brahmanical notions already discussed o r to the Vaibhasika theory that the transmigratory consciousness (referred to as gandbarva)'1 9. y The act o* intercourse thus " i n t r o d u c e s " this soul into the w o m b where its new body will grow.inno bhavati ( Abhidharrrukosiibbasyj. gan • dharvas ca praiyupasthito bhavati" in. however.12-15). Given their emphasis on the role of the body. pp. api tti matiir yomdvarena.tam desain aslisya . The System of the Vedartta. naiva tantarabhavikah kuksim bhitva pravisate. there t o remain for an indeterminate period. For details. It is also possible that jaina acitryas may have simply been reluctant to include sexual references in their discussions. antarabhavani hitva ko' nyo gandharvah. we might have expected the Jainas IU provide an account even m o r e heavily oriented towards the physiological than the one given above. Jama texts make absolutely no mention whatsoever of how a soul actually enters the body of the mother-to-be. For some reason. . Indeed.iti. As the following quote suggests. the sou! dwells f o r some twelve days in a transitional ghostly form (preta). Pradhan [Parna. l % 7 | . i9?3. l u Perhaps this doctrinal assertion of so brief a period between births precluded the detailed elaboration of what actually look place during that period. Jainas even seem to have been unaware of the theories put forth by their rivals. and finally becomes associated with the seed of a male who has eaten the fruit of that plant. this was not the case. Eventually it is brought back to earth with the rain. It is said only that the soul moves into a new e m b r y o withm a single moment (tamaya) alter the death of the previous b o d y . 11. thus guaranteeing the soul a set of circumstances appropriate to its prior experiences. . see Paul Deussen. .

g. For the Jainas. not to mention plant life. in their view even the raindrops. . since it will bring into focus certain of the beliefs most central to the Jaina conception of life in the universe. 3. it is by no means impossible to infer. act as "vehicles" whereby a soul makes its way to its ultimate destination. In this context it is possible for a soul to be reborn as a " w a t e r . For an example of the belief in a seven-week period. This may well prove to be an instructive exercise. constitute examples of embodied souls. saptaham dsthattti Bhadanta Vasumitrah . To see how this is so. since critical discussions of others' views would have forced both the parties criticized and the Jainas themselves to develop their positions in a more rigorous manner. h o w ever. however. men. Consider. gods above them in the devalokas.222 PA DM A NAB H S.b o d y " (ap-kayika) or as a plant (vanaspati-kdyika). . let us look in more detail at the various kinds of destinies in which the Jainas believe a soul may find itself. the sorts of objections that Jainas would have voiced had they chosen to do so. . hell-beings. for example. . a suggestion which violates Jaina rules pertaining to the operation of karma. as will be seen below. . (The case of the tiryancas is somewhat more complex. I960). they have postulated a class of emancipated souls. In c o m m o n with other Indian schools. alpam kalam in Vatbhasikah.W e n u ( N e w York. E v a n s . Ibid. on doctrinal grounds. Even in the absence of such discussions. and hell-beings below in the various infernal regions. saptahamty apart ." e. therefore. Their silence here is unfortunate. dwell in the centrally located madhyaloka. the realm of sentient existence is far t o o wide and diverse for such a thing to be possible. Each of these categories is generally associated writh a particular vertically ordered tier of the threedimensional universe. the Brahmanical schema in which first rain. see The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Y. jainas affirm the birthcategories Of gods. JAINI enters the vagina at the moment of intercourse and is thus trapped therein. 14. O n the one hand. the "liberated ones" or accepted: kiyantarp kalam avaiisthatc? nasu niyams iti Hhadantah . and tiryaricas ("those going horizontally. for example. but not for these latter entities to function simply as insentient props in the life of a soul on its way to a human existence. . men. would in Jaina terms entail at least two intermediate births in extremely lowlevel destinies Igati). animals). then plants. have extended this system in t w o ways. . The general Brahmanical explanation of the human rebirth process. edited by W..) The Jainas.

The addition of this analysis. Finally. See G u n a b h a d r a ' s Uttarapurana. Whereas the higher tiryancas are of a limited n u m b e r and dwell in the madhyaloka. we are told of creatures with four. (Benares. reflect a scale of "awareness" (upayoga) on the part of the soul. As we shall see. single-sense beings whose whole awareness is limited to the tactile mode. To make this point clear. transforms the standard " f o u r destinies" model f r o m a rather simplistic description of the range of life into what is. closer examination reveals that what we have here is a doctrinally.significant analysis of the lower reaches of existence. gods have a wider range of knowledge than do men. and so on. At the top of this group stand those animals. ekendriyas are too numerous to count and may be found in every part oi the universe. It is believed that Samfiti animals are capable of receiving religious instruction and also ihat Mahavira himself was awakened to the spiritual life while existing as a lion. 1963). Sec A p p e n d i x 1 to this chapter for a diagrammatic representation ot t h e Jaina universe. and t w o senses. They consist. there may well be implicit in the Jaina system what can only be called a theory of evolution. 13. hence the liberated soul is omniscient (sarvajna). let us consider more closely the specific manner in which the various tiryancas have been described. they have broken down the tiryaAca into n u m e r o u s carefully defined subcategories. 1 3 which are said to possess five sense-faculties (indriya)f plus a certain capacity f o r reflection (satnjrii). together with that of the siddha theory referred to above.KARMA AND THE PROBLEM OF REBIRTH IN JAIN1SM 12 5 suidhas referred to earlier. 1 2 O n the other hand. moreover. moreover. of five distinct types: prtbvi-kdyika ("earth-bodies"). such as the lion. respectively. The same system of ordering obtains within the tiryanca category itself. f o r the Jamas. who are said to have gone beyond samsara altogether and remain forever at the very apex of the universe. 74. While this latter move may at first glance seem to be a mere scholastic exercise. their own texts seem to provide justification for such an inference. While the Jainas themselves subscribe to the notion of a cyclic. It should first be noted that "levels of existence. N e x t are those which have five senses but lack the reflective capacity (asamjm)l Moving d o w n the list. .167-220. dp-kdyika ("water12." in the Jaina view. and m o s t important to the present discussion. are the ekendriyas. three. a truly comprehensive statement of the possibilities available t o the soul. beginningless universe and so d o not accept any such theory.

ginger.224 PADMANABH S JA!\:I bodies"). Souls in such clusters. again. o r nigada.. Jaina Yoga ( L o n d o n . carrot. and finally. but rather exist as part of a cluster or "ball" (golaka) of organisms of the same type. doomed his soul to just such a fate by propounding what must have been for the Jainas the ultimate heresy. 14. higher souls. . It is further believed that these tiny creatures tend to become especially concentrated in the flesh of human beings and animals as well as in certain roots and bulbs. In the only known reference t o this problem we are told how Makkhah Gosala. F o r details. each one a rudimentary body for some soul. Willi Jim*. and the "element bodies" referred to above d o not harbor t h e m . tejo-kayika ("fire-bodies"). thereby achieving an almost parasitic mode of existence.e. Such likely " h o s t s " are therefore banned as f o o d for the devout Jaina. b a n y a n . pp. of t w o kinds: those c a l l e d p r a t y e k a . moreover. te p u n a duviha jlva b a d a r a s u h u m a t t i vinneya/J s a h a r a n a m a h a r o saharanamanapan^gahanam ca/ saharanajivanam saharanai a k k h a n a m bhaniyarn> jatthekka marai jivo tattha du m a r a n a m have a n a m t a n a m bakkamai jartha ckko b a k k a t n a n a m tattha ' n a m i a n a m GotntnatdSira ifivakandx > 191-193 (A gas. namely. 1059) 16. leader of the AjTvika sect. for example). that knowledge was in no w^ay efficacious in terms of prthivyaptejovayuvactaspatiyah sthavarah (TattvarthasHtra 2. saharanodavena nigodasarira havanti samanna. which have an entire plant-body "to themselves" (i. see R. 1963). those which are at so low a level that they do not even possess an individual body. tamarind. b a m b o o . onlv the bodies of gods. b e e t r o o t . hell-beings. 15. Nigodas are said to be found in virtually every corner of the universe. the lirst four of these are little more than single "molecules" of the various iundamentai elements. the sadharana. 1 4 As the names suggest. T h e following plants are a m o n g those forbidden as food for a jaina: turmeric. one plant/one soul). c a r d a m o m . since their consumption would involve t h e death of an unacceptable large number ot souls.13). T h e vanaspati are. garlic. but the clusters in which they dwell may in turn occupy the bodies of other. 11C-116. supposedly attaining rebirth in the same state eighteen times within the space of a single human breath. must live and die as a group. radish. margosa. vaytt-kayika ("air-bodies"). 1 5 N o t onlv are the nigodas "colonial" (in the sense that this term is applied to algae. atX^vartaspati ("vegetable life"). 1 6 It may well be asked what sort of deeds (karmas) one must commit in order to deserve rebirth in a state so debased as that of the nigodas.

tatra ye mgodavasthata u d v f t y a prthivikavikadibhedesu vartante te lokes-u drstipathamagatah jamah . July S976).1. dvividha |iva sitrpvyavaharika asaipvyavaharikas ceti. See A. at some time." Members of the itara group are of course also without individual bodies. See my article. te ca yadv api b h u y o 'pi nigodavastham upavanti talbapi te s'amvyavahariki eva. Puggalapannaii-Auhakatbd 7. nos. at least entered the system wherein such bodies are obtained. 121-131. those employed by the Svetambaras are very similar in meaning. 246. p. along with all higher beings. These are Digambara terms. D . U p a d h v e . " O n the Sautramika Theory of tJija. hhavakalariikasupaura nigodavasarp tja muiieant: Cjommatasara (Jivakanda). Also my article. 3 . but they have. but for such a person there could be no possibility of enlightenment even in the future. vynvaharika ucyante. " n o t susceptible ol specific designation. then the whole notion of placement within a given destiny on the basis of 17. atthi anamtS jiva jehim na patto tasana parinamo. while the itara-nigoda receive. 22. their texts suggest ihar not only must he have gone to hell. 197. pi 259. for example. samvyavahare patitatvat. then. Institute of Indology (Ahmedabad." 1 1 1 the Annals of the Bbandarkar Oriental Research Institute. L . N . "specifiable. .4 . Makkhali-gosaladavo viya h e u h a narakagginam veva a h i r a lionti ti. 1 4 N o w . n.K A R M A A N D T H E P R O B L E M O F R E B I R T H IN JAIMSM tlif possibility of attaining moksa. as Gosala did. pp. having no individual forms. " T h e Jainas and the Western Scholar.) . that only some shockingly evil act could send a soul to the nigoda realm. ( Q u o t e d from the firajnapanatika in SM. the label of vydvahdnka. part 2. . IS. itara means simply "those other t h a n " the members of the nitya class. This idea seems to present no difficulties until we consider one f u r t h e r — a n d little-known—aspect of jaina doctrine concerning the nigodas. U p a d h y e C o m m e m o r a t i o n Volume). 1959). "Darsanasara of Devasena: Critical text. "sakim nimuygo nimuggo va hoti ti" . and those which have never yet been out of nigoda existence. . ye punar anadikalad arabhya nigodivas* tbirn upagata eVavatistbame it vyavahaeipathatMtvad asamvyavaharikah. The riitya-nigoda are. what can it mean to say that there are certain souls which have always been nigodas? If such were indeed the case. called by them avyavabarika. N . 19. A." that is. etassa hi puna bhavato vutthanam nama natthi ti vadami. Nitya here had the sense not of "forever" but of "always up to n o w " . . This states that there are in fact two distinct types of souls in nigoda: those which have at some time been in higher states but have fallen back. T h e souls in question are referred to as itara-nigoda and nitya-nigoda respectively. 15.) 1 * It is clear. 1 ' in Samhodhi (Prof. (London.'17 (Buddhists seem to have been equally offended by Gosala's views. 2." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies vol. 198-206.

said to be infinite (anantananta) in number. Furthermore. 1977. In fact. the question is raised as to how it is that the steady " d e p a r t u r e " of souls through the attainment o i m o k s a does not eventually deplete the universe of all sentient existence. in karmic terms. Bombay.2i that can never attain moksa. just as are the siddhas at the opposite extreme. for the situation of the nitya-nigoda. Given [hat for jainas the number of beings in the realm oi vyavahara is finite (albeit " u n c o u n t a b l e " ) . 259).suggestion diat the nitya-nigodaS are in some sense beyond the operation of karma. and that a soul's progress f r o m the f o r m e r to the latter seems in many respects to mirror the very evolution ot consciousness itself. 302. Anni- . See my Article.) 21. (Such an attainment is possible only from the human condition. The key point here is that no reasonable explanation has been given. supports tlx. These beings are. ( Q u o t e d f r o m rhe Commatasara (Jivakanda) (196) in SMr p .zi6 PADMANABH 5. . 95-111. the rate at which members of the nitya-nogoda class leave their dismal condition and enier higher states for the hrst time is either equal to or greater than that at which human beings in various parts ot the universe attain siddha-hood. but it leaves the Jaina position open to the kind of interpretation referred to earlier. At least one hundred and eight souls become emancipated in each period oi six m o n t h s and eight moments. as w e might suspect. moreover. The Jainas deal with this p r o b l e m by means ol the mtya-mgoda. while the Jainas have asserted that there exists a class oi souls. this apparent connection between the high and low points of existence is by no means accidental. |A1NI previous deed*) (karmas) would be undermined. unlike those of any other category. since these beings would clearly have had no prior o p p o r t u n i t y to p e r f o r m any karmically meaningful actions whatsoever.' " in Bhagawan Mahavira and His Teachings (2500 A i r a w versary Volume).idinigodfl-vanasni^oda-jTvanantva*k a m n a k j a y a m krtva Keuiva-vamififea D o c t r i n e of 'Pre- destination. na ca tavata tasva kaeit parihanir yaksayatvat (SM. the abhavya. and thus to provide an inexhaustible reservoir of souls. pp. C f . . The very term avyavahurika.) 2 " This makes a convenient system. that there is in fact a definite beginning and end to sarnsdra. namely. they have not suggested an analogous si |jhanti jattiya khalu tha samvyavaharajlVarasiOi enti anaivanaiiip raslo t a u n : tammi iti vacarud y a v a n t a i ca y a t o f h u k t i n i gacdiarui jlvls tavartto patirasts u t r a g a e e h a i i t i . " B h a v y a t v a and A b h a v v a t v a : A Jaina 'n. p. nanu a s p s a m a y k l h i k a s a n m a s a h h y a n t a r c : astottaralatajTvesu s i d d n e s a satsu .

.) . descended f r o m primitive micro-organisms which inhabited the ancient seas. how it is that these very notions. 31S [Bharatiya Jrianapitha Publications. flies in the face of their cherished belief in cyclic. II. . Is it possible that. therefore. it seems to have been anticipated as a potential problem. The former notion. For several scriptural passages on this point. Adding to this the fact that every soul is said to exist along a virtual continuum of consciousness. Varanasi. of course. are according to o u r analysis readily inferable from some of their oldest and most basic doctrinal materials. tapo grhltva . .RI R T H fN JAINISM 227 group whose members never dwelt within the nitya-mgoda realm. . . 23. p.-udgh7ititii~jnana)22 possessed by the nigoda to the omniscience (ananta-. the doctrine of karma represents a relatively late (albeit prehistorical) accretion.3-1 (This sort of " e x a m p l e " is not really useful to the Jaina argument here. it is clear that souls are in general imagined to make slow hut definite progress from minimal to maximal awareness. 197iJ. trom what might be called "proto-samsura" to a state beyond uimsara altogether. anadimithyadrso 5pi trayovimsatyadhikanavasatapanmanas te ca nitvanigodavasinah . we have here a model which is both linear and evolutionary in its conception. moreover. Tana. p. f r o m which. a set of ideas imposed u p o n 22. Jainas will reject o u t of hand any suggestion that a soul's progress in the universe is either linear or evolutionary. hence we find certain Jaina stories claiming that groups of souls sometimes leave nigoda existence and proceed directly to the human destiny. As we have indicated previously. stokakalena moksam gatah. (Quoied in jinendra Varni's Jiiinettdra-siddhanta-ko'sa. nor their assertion that the abbavyas can proceed no higher than the devalokas. a rather ingenuous but interesting parallel to the m o d e r n view that the highest forms of life o n o u r planet are. 240. i. we m a y not be w r o n g in inferring that such could be the case for all souls.e. Even under the restrictions noted. from the minimal but ineradicable trace of awareness (nitya. is incompatible with this model. Bharataputra pitas te . for the jainas. Studies in Jaina Philosophy.) It should be asked. Given the jaina admission that some souls begin their existence in this rather primordial and undifferentiated state. beginningless operation of karma. . We may find in this kind of speculation. kevaUjnana) of the siddha. see N. since it denies only gradual evolution.KARMA AND THE I'ROBLEM OF RF. which Jainas are at such pains to deny. with no f u r t h e r rebirths.. Neither the j a m a s ' doctrine that souls frequently regress to lower states. As lor the latter. they attain to siddhtz-hood. ultimately.

tadbhedai caturaSiUg^pahaSrasamkhya agamato veditavyah. the sum total of conceivable birth-situations (yom) (i. R. Evidence that such an ancient framework did in fact exist is to be found through examination of a tradition closely associated with jainism. yaru bale ca psnJiti. ibid. . 1.25 That the Jamas may have originally subscribed to a similar doctrine is suggested not only by the evidence already set forth. F. I.32 .2^ Again. l^st). that these t w o sramana sects interacted to a large extent.. .. ca saadhiyitva sams|Fitva dukkhass' ant am karissanii (Dighawkaya. 26. although in a significantly altered context. 14.) in which souls may find themselves. The important thing. that of the Ajtvikas.g. sub-sub-categories. we seem to have a fragmentary holdover f r o m an earlier doctrine. This number is. the case of the nitya-mgoda).4 In any case. It is we] 1 known that Gosala. with each soul passing through exactly 8. Basham and others have maintained. A.32). A. pp. again and again.400. but by the fact that the number 8. p.PADMANABH S J A I M what was already a well-developed theoretical framework describing the operation of the universe? This framework* of course. as they circle through samsara.. in which the soul's posi24. would have been the linear-evolutionary one to which we have referred.300 mahakalpas ("great aeons") before reaching moksg. is that in Jainism the model of a karmicaliy ordered universe. 259-26$. L Bjsh. f o r our purposes. 25.iin's History and Doctrines of the Ajtvikas (London. vol. This issue need not be pursued further here. one scholar has even suggested (probably erroneously) that the Ajlvikas were ultimately absorbed into the D i gambara jama community..400.53-^4 [PTS] See Basbani.000 has been retained in their system to the present day. for Jainas. the point has been made that certain apparent anomalies in Jaina thought on karma can perhaps be best understood if we consider the possibility of a c o m m o n background with the Apvika tradition. was a contemporary of MahavTra. satirtaBusanivrtah setari misras uaikasas tail vonayali {TatttHttbtfiUtTd 2. uktairi ca: niccidaradhadu sana ya laru dasa viyaiiindiyesu chacceva suranifayatiriva caurn ctkldasa manue saJasahissa:' $S Z. . " Ajivakas." in fri cyclopedic of Rchgtuti and Ethics. ciillasiu mahjlcappuno sstasahassani. remnants of which are discernible even now as certain seeming "inconsistencies" within jaina doctrine (e. what few references to the Ajivikas have survived indicate the school's belief in definite limits to samsarat.e. Hoernlc. the four destinies divided into all their sub-categories. etc. the most famous teacher of this school. moreover.










tion c o u l d b e i m p r o v e d o r w o r s e n e d b y a c t i o n , did prevail o v e r the kind o f fatalistic d e t e r m i n i s m accepted by t h e Ajivikas.

O u r d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e ekendriyas

h a s , it s e e m s , led u s r a t h e r f a r the

a f i e l d . T h e r e a d e r will recall t h e p o i n t t h a t J a i n a e m p h a s i s o n

s e n t i e n t n a t u r e of s u c h s i m p l e b e i n g s m a k e s it i m p o s s i b l e f o r t h e m t o a c c e p t a n y n o t i o n of r e b i r t h s i m i l a r t o t h a t p r o p o s e d b y B r a h m a n i c a ! s c h o o l s . A s f o r t h e V a i b h a s i k a t h e o r y of t h e gundharva referred to a b o v e , t h i s t o o s t a n d s in d i r e c t c o n t r a d i c t i o n t o a f u n d a m e n t a l J a i n a premise, namely, that the inter-birth period constitutes only a single m o m e n t in t i m e . T h e f a c t t h a t t h e gandbarva s t a t e is s a i d t o p e r s i s t f o r as l o n g as s e v e n w e e k s ( s e e n o t e 11) r e n d e r s i t , f o r J a m a s , n o t a s t a g e of t r a n s i t i o n at all b u t a w h o l e s e p a r a t e d e s t i n y , in m a n y w a y s r e m i n i s c e n t o l t h e preta-Ioka ( r e a l m of s p i r i t s ) . I n d e e d , t h i s s a m e " t o o m u c h time between b i r t h s " objection could apply equally well t o t h e i d e a of s l o w t r a n s m i g r a t i o n t h r o u g h r a i n a n d p l a n t s , e v e n if t h i s idea w e r e not u n a c c e p t a b l e f o r t h e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t reasons that d o c t r i n e of a m o m e n t a r y t r a n s i t i o n ? 3 7 T o a n s w e r t h i s q u e s t i o n , m u s t n o w e x a m i n e t h e i r d i s c u s s i o n of r e b i r t h in s o m e d e t a i l . B y c o n c e i v i n g of t h e s o u l as vibhtt, Brahmanical thinkers effecwc we have discussed. W h y did the J a m a s place so m u c h e m p h a s i s on t h e

27. While TheraVadtn and Sautrantika Writings have set forth a doctrine of instantaneous rebirth analogous to cho appearance of an image in a mirror (bimbapratibimba), mis doctrine seems never to have gained so wide an acceptance among Buddhists as did theg andharva theory. F'.ven it i: had become the standard Buddhist view, Jainas would have reiected it on the grounds [hat a thing which arises and perishes within the same moment cannot undergo motion. (Recall chat in the jaina system three moments are actually involved: those of death, movement of the soul, and rebirth, respectively.) Indeed, the Vaibhasikas* awareness of this problem very likely led them to the notion of an extended transition-stale in the first place. Certain Sankhya and Yoga thinkers also proposed a rebirth process occurring instantaneously or in a very short period. It must be asked, however, whether such views ever had any meaningful impact on Hindu society; even in those cases where they might have been accepted in theory, we have no evidence that the practice of sramha (rendered meaningless within such a framework) was actually abandoned. Because only one instant (samaya) intervenes between death and the following rebirth, it is possible lor a person dying in the act of copulation to be born as his own child. The idea that a man is in some sense identical with his son is well known to Hindu literature. Thus, for example, Afanusmrti defines a wife as follows: "The husband, entering into the wife, becoming an embryo, is born here. For that is why the wife is called wife (jaya), because he is born (jayate) again in her" (9.8). On the other hand, it is only in ihe Jaina literature that this belief is made literal. In fact, such an occurrence is attested to in a Jama Purana, the source of which I have unfortunately lost.






civeiy avoided the question of a soul's movement from one body to another. Such a sou! of course pervades the physical space of all bodies and therefore need not " g o t o " one or another of them; only the mechanism of its experiential association with a particular body needs to be explained. In Jainism, however, the movement of the sou! itself is fundamental to the operation of the rebirth process. We might first ask how it is that a soul, momentarily separated from a gross body, is able to undergo any motion at all. To this the Jaina will reply that movement is an inherent property of every soul. In its purest form, this movement proceeds directly upwards, like that of a flame; hence the siddba, free oi all restraints, shoots like an arrow to the very top oi the inhabited universe (lokakasa),2a When still under karmic influence, the soul will dart in a similar manner to its next embodiment. In both cases, the speed involved is so great that, according to the Jainas, the distance between any two points connectiv e by a straight line will be traversed in a single m o m e n t . (Given the multidimensional structure of the Jaina universe, certain circumstances of rebirth will require as many as two changes of direction before the appropriate loka and spot within it are reached. Motion along a curve is not admitted; therefore, as many as three moments may occasionally be necessary before the soul can enter its new state.) 2 y It is important to recognize here that karma is not in any sense considered to impel the soul; it functions, rather, to channel or direct the motive force which is already present, much as a system of pipes might be used to " s e n d " upwardly gushing water to a desired location. N o w , it should be clear that as a soul moves between two gross physical bodies, that is, during the state called vigraba-gati,30 it cannot be accurately described as "totally free of e m b o d i m e n t " ; if such were the case, it would simply fly upwards as the siddba does. For the system to work, in other words, the karmic "channel" must exist in
28. tad anifltaram tirdhvam gaccbaty a Iokin tat/ purvaprayogad assngatvad bandhaCchedat tathagatiparinamac ca/ (Tattoartbasutra 10,5—6}. . . , tathagjiiparinamat. yatha . . . pradipaiikha svabhavad utpatati tatha mukratma L pi nanagativakarakaranakatpian i va ran £ saiy ttrdh vagatisvabhavad tirdhvam evarohati (SS 10.7). Beyond ibis point there is said to be only empty space (aIo)$kusa), where matter and even the principles of motion, rest, and time art' absent. Sec Tattvarthaiutra 10,8.

29. This lakes place only when there is movement to or from those realms inhabited exclusively by ekendriyas. See S. A. Jain, Reality, p. n. 1, 30. vigjraho dehah. vigrahariha ga.tir vinrahagatih (55 2.25).



J A I N I S M 255

some manifest, if subtle, form in which the soul is contained. This is in fact exactly what the Jainas have claimed; the transmigrating soul is said to be housed by a "karmic b o d y " (karmana-sarira), as well as by a so-called luminous body (taijasa-sarira).31 The former is composed of the sum total of one's karma at a given moment; the latter acts as a substratum for this karmic matter during the vigraha-gati and also functions to maintain body temperature during gross physical existence. Both of these invisible bodies are said to suffuse the gross and visible one during life; thus they not only " c o n v e y " the soul from one birth state to the next but constitute a real physical link between these states as well. Committed as they were to the doctrine that the vigraha-gati typically occupies only a single moment, Jaina thinkers faced one major difficulty, namely, explaining h o w the "choice" of exactly appropriate circumstances for the next birth could possibly be made in so short a time. (Recall, in this connection, the gantihari'a's lengthy "search" for a proper birth-environment.) They have dealt with this problem by positing the existence of a unique factor, the so-called ayuh- ("longevity") karma. To understand the function of this factor, we must first examine certain general points of Jama doctrine concerning the types and modes of operation of karmic matter. In addition to the four major "vitiating" (ghatiya) karmas,- 12 which effectively keep a soul in bondage, Jainas have delineated four minor categories said to be responsible f o r the mechanism of rebirth and embodiment. Among this latter group, known as agbdtiya, we find the following: (1) nama-karma, a cover term for the collection of karmic material whose fruition determines some ninety-eight different aspects of the future body, for example, its destiny or class of existence (human, animal, etc.), its sex, color, number of senses, conformation of limbs, and the like; 1 3 (2) gotra-karma, controlling
31. yat tejonimittam tejasi va bhavam tat taijasam. karmanarn karyam karmanam . . . ayahpinde lejo 'nupravesavat taiiasakannanavor vajrapataladisu . . . lokantat sarvatra nasti pratighatah. . . . nityasambandhini hi te a samsaraksayat niravesasasya satnsarino jTvasya tc dve api sarin; bhavata ity arthah (S5 2.36-42). 32. The four ghatiyd karmas are (1) mobanlya (engendering "false views" and preventing "pure conduct"; (2) jnanavarantya ("knowledge-obscuring"); (3) darsanavaraniya ("perception-obscuring"); (4) anta raya ("restrictor of the quality of energy (virya)"). 33. gatijatisarirarigopahganirmanabandhanasarnsthanasamhanana sparsarasagandhavarnanupurvyagurulaghupaghatatapodyotocchvasavihayogatayah pratyekasariratrasasubhagasusvarasubhasuksmaparyapiisthiradeyayasahkTrttisetarani urthakaratvam ea' (Tattvarthasiitra 8.11),

2568p a d m a . n a b h s. j a i n i

whether the environment into which dine falls is or is not conducive to the leading oi a spiritual life; 14 (3) vedaniya-karrna, producing either pleasant or unpleasant feelings in response to the environment, hence the level of happiness or unhappitiess which characterizes an indi vidua!; (4) uypth-karma, whereby the cxact duration of life (ostensibly measured, among human beings, by the number oi breaths to be taken) is established. White this classification appears at first to be a simple one, it is complicated by the fact that ayuh-karnyi, as w e have indicated above, functions in a most unusual manner. Every other sort of karma in the jaina system is said to be in a constant bondage (bandba) and fruition (anubhaga) relationship with the soul; some nama-karma* for example, is at every m o m e n t being b o u n d , to come to fruition at some future time, while another is at every moment producing its result and falling away (nirjara) from the soul. Ayah-karma, however, is bound only once in a given lifetime, and its fruition will apply only to the very next life."* This specificity of application effectively places aynh-karma in a position of primacy relative to the other aghiitiya karmas, since these must "fall into place" in conformity with the life-perioa that has been fixed. Given an ay its of seventy years, lor example, only chose rtama-harmas generating rebirth in a destiny where such a life-span is appropriate could conceivably conic into play. T h u s it is that the "selection" of the particular aghatiya karmas determinative oi the next existence occurs before the moment of death. There need be no "search" during the vtgrabagati, since a!J "choices" have already been made.™ The peculiar characteristics attributed to ayuh-kdrmd not only bring greater consistency to the jaina theory of a momentary t'lgrabd-gatif but have implications on the level of conduct as well.
34. ['his interpretation (supported by scripture) run;; contrary to jthe popular Jaina understanding of gor^i as "caste," etc. Jaina doctrine, of course, does not accept tbe notion ot a caste status fixed by birth. 35. See Jama JnaHakosa (in Marathi), Part 1, by Afrfata (Aurattgabad, t972), p. (aytt). 36. Svetambara texts (Jacobs, Jaina Siitrjs, Pan 2, p. 225) contain the well%nown story that the embryonic Mahavirn underwent a transference from the w o m b of a Brahmana woman to that of a Ksatnya one, the latter becoming his actual "mother." Docs this suggest some breakdown in the determinative process begun by the fixing of ayuh karma t If so, ii may explain the Digatnbara refusal to accept any Mich talc as valid. Svetambaras, for their part, have simply labeled this event as one of the inexplicable miracles which may occur in a given aeon of time (anamtena kaiena). See Stiyin^nga siitrd, #107-1,







This second aspect relates particularly to prevailing ideas concerning when the ayuh-karma may be fixed, jaina teachers have agreed that this event cannot take place until some moment during the final third of the present lifetime, and that indeed it will often not occur until death is very nearly at hand. The determination of one's ayuh-karma, moreover, is held to be extremely susceptible to the effects of one's recent volitional activities. Thus the devout Jaina is encouraged to pay ever more strict attention to his religious vows and duties as he grows older. Activities during the first two-thirds of life are not irrelevant in this context, however, since these will have created the habits which largely define a person's behavioral tendencies as the end of his life approaches. It must be emphasized here that one is not aware of the moment at which the ayuh-karma is fixed; thus it will behoove him to live until his last breath as if it were still possible to influence the specific outcome of this event. This orientation is most vividly expressed in the Jaina practice of saliekhanain which a mendicant of advanced age may undertake a ritual fast ending only in death. It is hoped that he will thus be enabled to face his final moments in a state of absolute tranquillity, free of the fears, desires, or other strong volitions which characterize the consciousness of the average person at this time. The fixing of ayuh-karma under such controlled and peaceful conditions is held to be extremely auspicious; not only will rebirth in lower existences be effectively precluded in this way, but the individual in question is deemed likely to find himself in an environment conducive to rapid spiritual development . Although emphasis on the religious significance of the last moments of life is by no means unique to the Jainas (similar notions prevail among Hindus, Buddhists, and certain non-Indian communities as well), it might be said that the idea of ayuh-karma, on the basis of which Jainas rationalize this emphasis, is unique. But this idea itself is not a fundamental one; it seems to function, as we have seen, mainly as an explanatory adjunct to the distinctive Jaina doctrine pertaining to rebirth, namely, the momentariness of vigrahagati. The significance of this doctrine goes far beyond the context of mere scholastic dispute. Indeed, it is not unreasonable to say that the basic social distinction between Jainas and their Hindu neighbors derives mainly from the disagreement of these communities over the period of time required for transmigration to occur. Whereas jainas
37. See Willi urns, Jaina Yoga, pp. 166-172.



P A D M A N A B H S. J A I N I

have a d o p t e d m a n y H i n d u c u s t o m s and ceremonies pertaining t o such things as marriage, the c o m i n g of the new year, childbirth, and so f o r t h , they have never taken up what is p e r h a p s the m o s t i m p o r tant of all rituals in H i n d u society, namely, sraddha, the o f f e r i n g of f o o d by a son to the spirit of his dead p a r e n t . We have n o t e d the belief that this o f f e r i n g is essential if the parent is to obtain a b o d y suitable f o r entrance into the pitr-loka, and hence to gain the chance f o r eventual rebirth, It is f u r t h e r believed that failure of a son to p e r f o r m this ritual will result in the loss of inheritance and in his wife's being rendered b a r r e n b y the curse of the spirits thus stranded in the disembodied state, T h e sraddha ritual not o n l y represents a significant expression of the u n d e r l y i n g parent-child tensions characteristic of the Indian f a m i l y 3 6 b u t also provides p e r h a p s the m o s t i m p o r t a n t f u n c t i o n of the Brahmanical castes. T h e latter point is m a d e in refer ence to the Brahmins' m o n o p o l i z a t i o n of the role of i n t e r m e d i a r y between the d o n o r and the d e p a r t e d ; only i( Brahmins c o n s u m e the o f f e r i n g s can these be " c o n v e r t e d " into the material f r o m w h i c h the new b o d y of the spirit is built up. It will be apparent that f o r Jainas the very idea of sraddha is doctrinally invalid; a soul which goes to its next b o d y in o n e m o m e n t c a n n o t be led, p r o p i t i a t e d , or dealt with in any o t h e r way by t h o s e left b e h i n d . F o r this a n d o t h e r m o r e " c o m m o n s e n s e " reasons, we find such writers as the t h i r t e e n t h - c e n t u r y c o m m e n t a t o r Mallisena making light of the entire sraddha ritual: Even through the performance of sraddha, increase in posterity Is in the case
of most people riot found; and . . . in the case of some, as in that of donkeys,

pigs, goats, etc,, even without performance thereof we see it still more. , . , And . . . "If even to dead beings the sraddha is the cause of satisfaction, Then oil might increase the flame of an extinguished lain p."
38. It is tempting to read Freudian symbolism into this belief system: the son, though perhaps desiring to "kill" his father (by preventing his rebirth), nevertheless performs his filial duty out of fear of "castration" (the loss of property and offspring). Perhaps more to the point, however, is the fact that in Indian society the parent seems fundamentally tin willing to relinquish his control over the son, to recognize the latter's adult status; through the institution of sraddha, some semblance of parental control is maintained even in death. It would be interesting to investigate whether Jainas, lacking the institutionalization of filial responsibility that sraddha represents, have created some substitute ritual or social form which functions in an analogous manner.

k a r m a a n d t h e p r o t i l e m o f r e b i r t h i n j a i n i s m 259

If it is said that "What is enjoyed by the Brahman accrues to them (i.e., [.he ancestors)^'1 whoever is to agree to that? Since only ill the Brahman do we see ibe fattened bellies; ant! transference ot these into theirs (the ancestors') cannot be espied; and because only on tht part of the Brahmans is satisfaction witnessed.

There is one other tenet of the jaina system pertaining to rebirth which must be mentioned here, as it provides a further basis for the unacceptability oi the practice of sraddha. Whereas this practice clearly assumes that the actions of one person can affect the destiny of another, Jaina tradition has always held that an individual soul can experience results accruing only to actions which it has itself performed, The Eenth century acarya Amicagati has provided us with a forceful statement of the adamant position taken by Jainas on this matter: Whatever karma a sou! has accjuircd through its own prior deeds, it will obtain the good and bsci results thereof. If One could obtain results from the deeds of Others, then surely his own deeds would be meaningless. Except for karma earned for oneself by oneself, no one gives anything to anyone. Reflecting upon tins fact, therefore, let every person, unwaveringly, abandon the perverse notion that another being can provide him with anything at alt.41' This emphasis on reaping the fruits only of one's own karma was not restricted to the Jainas; both Hindu and Buddhist writers have produced doctrinal materials stressing the same point. Each of the latter traditions, however, developed practices in basic contradiction to such a belief, In addition to sraddha, we find among the H i n d u s widespread adherence to the notion of divine intervention in one's fate, while Buddhists eventually came to propound such theories as 39. SM XI (tr. by E W. Thomas, pp. 69-70).
40. svayam krtam karma yad armana pura phalam tadiyam Sabhate subhasubnam/ parens d a t u m yadjt labhyate sphuram svayam krtam karma nirarthakam tada niiarjitam karma vihaya Jehino na ko 'pi kasyapi dadati kincana.' vicarayann evam ananyamanasah paro dadstfti virnuncya semuslm (Dvatrimiika) Nitya-nmmittika-pa\havaGt

Karanja, 1956, p. 22,

World consists of innumerable concentric island-continents with Jambudvlpa in the center. or Celestial. In this discussion we have examined various aspects of the jaina approach to rebirth. the nitya-nigoda. This emphasis. whether during ordinary existence. however. The description of the possible states of rebirth includes one category. (A) The Lower World consists of seven layers and is the abode of infernal beings f naraki) as well as certain demigods (demons. The Jamas. This is the abode of humans and animals.PA D M A N A B H S. By way of conclusion. Only the Jainas have been absolutely unwilling to allow such ideas to penetrate their community. first of all. (B) The Middle. it is to be hoped that future researches will move in these directions. are found the abodes of heavenly beings (devas). despite the fact that there must have been a tremendous amount of social pressure on them to do so. together with the less unusual but Very strictly applied belief in non-transference of karma. T h e d e e p e r r a m i f i c a t i o n s o i t h e s e i s s u e s . definitely require further exploration. . no biological explanation of the mechanism whereby a soul enters its new environment has been offered. etc. particularly the final one. or even after the attainment of suidbu-hood. the nature of which suggests a more primitive and possibly linear concept of existence underlying the set of beliefs n o w taken as orthodox. show a remarkable tendency to associate the soul with some sort of bodily influence. and the like. Jaina views on rebirth are unique in their emphasis on the single moment involved in movement of a soul from one embodiment to the next. has been reflected in the complete absence from the Jaina community of certain ritual forms typical o f BrahmaniCLiI s o c i e t y . transmigration. the Higher. titan. JAIN! the boon-granting bodhisattvas. In spite of this tendency. transfer of merit.* Appendix 1 THE JAINA UNIVERSE (LOKAKA'SA) The Jaina "universe" (loka) is a three-dimensional structure divided into five parts. or Terrestrial. In (C).). H u m a n beings are not found beyond the third "continent" from the center. we might reiterate the important points raised thereby. (D) Beyond the border of the Celestial I should like to acknowledge the assistants of Joseph Clack in the preparation of this paper. World.

is the permanent abode of the Liberated Souls (siddbas). marked by the crescent. hence we find only ekendriyas here. i. This region is the apex o f " W o r l d . what k n o w n scientific elements could hypothetical!}' possess these three properties? . infinitfesimally). N o w . which is devoid of souls. h should have at least three properties: (1) it travels very fast (instantaneously? or as mathematicians put it. PROFESSOR OF A G R O N O M Y A N D RANGE S C I E N C E S .beings having two or more senses] are restricted to areas A-G. Appendix 2 C O M M U N I C A T I O N R E G A R D I N G THE PROCESS O F REBIRTH FROM SY-BODH K. in as short a time as you please. and (3) it allows very specific individuality in that a person's karmas are specifically attached and transfuse with the zygote of the newborn (zygote is the first cell resulting f r o m the union of two parental germ cells). the place of birth (conception). DAVIS In the theory of rebirth we assume the karmas to he somehow transmitted with the soul from one life to the next after rebirth.s p a c e " (lokaakasa). (2) it has a specific destination. (E) Contains abodes restricted to inhabitation by ekendriyas. trasas (. matter.) The area surrounding this entire structure is known as "Space without Worlds" (alvka-akasa).k a r m a a n d t h e protil em o f r e b i r t h in jainism 237 World. This entity of life that is transmitted we shall call '^Entity" for convenience. JATN. U N I V E R S I T Y OF C A L I F O R N I A . It should be noted that there is no provision for a pitr-loka (World oi Ancestors) in the Jaina cosmology. (While these single-sense organisms occupy all parts Oidie lokakdSrt.e. and time..

but are presented here in relation to some specific facts. released as " e n e r g y " at the time of death.23 8 PADMA. Thus. and scientists think that the complexity of these compounds can allow many specific signals. Very small quantities are needed. is quite feasible. . and carry a specific message (or karmas). of transmission. Both of these ideas are speculative in large part. which leave odor trails by individuals to inform their social groups about their position. Now. Birth defects or inherited diseases. which when decoded during the newborn's lifetime would bring about predestined changes. for instance. H o w does a zygote receive its proper karmast H o w do parents of a child provide for receiving it? H o w this entity is maintained in a zygote to unfold the consequences poses a second difficulty. and so forth. W a t s o n . We need to understand the physical or metaphysical features of these processors of information. Wilson. of mutations and expression in a suitable environment. see E. distance. D . at least higher animals including men are capable of communicating during their lifetime or at the time of death very specific individualized signals. Specificity. With the present thesis. bees. the great amount of variation among individuals transmitted through an equal diversity of pheromones (one individual—one pheromone relationship).. and provide some entity. The Molecular Biology of the Gene. Harvard University Press. 1975) that this "energy" received by the zygote could induce changes in D M A . 2nd ed. the chemical c o m p o u n d s identified in the study of animal communications. one could argue that their origin is due in part to parental genetic materials and in part to the " e n t i t y " received from the previous life. The most serious difficulty in formulating these ideas lies in our ignorance about the precise mechanism by which "destination" or "receiving station" is determined. Sociohiology. These substances are known to be produced by ants. which are not to be misconstrued as proofs but are merely suggestions of feasible. that is. conceivably. (For a discussion of pheromones. have the capacity of being received by a specific destination. the o d o r is very rapidly disseminated. which would travel at high speed. consider the pheromones. A second form of this entity could be in radioinaves. and so forth. one could easily postulate within the realm of current ideas about the origin of mutation (in genetics) ( s e e J . 1975. JAINI First. Columbia University Press.NABH S. the genetic code of life. at this time we are only speculating about the details of these theses. scientifically permissible theses. path of travel.) Thus. are now attributed to chance origin. O .

Philosophical Traditions .Part III.

since it purports to develop an a c c o u n t — a set of hypotheses—to explain the behavior of bodies in a manner involving postulation of particles too small to be observed. An interpretation. that is purported to make intelligible the workings of a theory. P O T T E R When reference is made to the Indian theory of karma and rebirth it is not usually clear what is being referred to. or otherwise explain processes in the world. A theory. involving postulation of unobservable or uncommonscnsical items. for instance. as I shall use the term. is an attempt to reconstruct what must be assumed to be working in the minds of a person or 241 . Thus. I wish to begin with some possibly tedious distinctions. that purports to predict.10 The Karma Theory and Its Interpretation in Some Indian Philosophical Systems KARL H . Since it will be important for my purposes to be as clear as possible about what h being referred to under such a rubric. is an extended metaphor. as understood here. drawn from common sense or from accepted scientific understanding. A model. we speak of particle physics as a theory. is a set of connected hypotheses. as spoken of here. Thus one finds models using billiard balls or facsimiles thereof to illustrate the interaction through impact among the submicroscopic particles postulated in the theory just mentioned. postdict.

is a second-order t h e o r y — o n e may produce counterexamples. and interpretations m a y be criticized. and propose as an interpretation of their thought that the structure ot the Indo-European language (say) preittdices them to think in terms of solid lumps of matter having qualities and motions. (2) it is recognized explicitly by all members of C as explanatory of their behavior or thought. an indigenous theory or model is one which is developed by the persons who are alleged to think in accordance with them. rather than in terms of some other possible model. Thus an interpretation is a second-order theory about the assumptions operative in the thinking of those who. Interpretations may be comparatively explicit or comparatively implicit. models. for example. that the pis analogies Outweigh the analogies between the model and the theory This is a matter of degree. in the sense that those persons whose thought patterns are being reconstructed may be to a greater or a lesser extent aware of the assumptions suggested in an interpretation. An interpretation or a scheme may be termed "indigenous" to community C if (t) it is attributed by someone not in C to the members of C and it is the behavior or thought of C which the interpretation is intended to explain. as it is frequently said. where C is the group whose behavior or thought is alleged to be explained by the interpretation. A very comprehensive interpretation may be termed a concept kg! scheme. without explanatory force. To criticize a t h e o r y — o r an interpretation. especially in considering an indigenous interpretation or a conceptual scheme.242 k a r 1 . since everything resembles every other thing in one respect or another. But there is room f o r ambiguity here. and. O n e point of making these distinctions is to alert readers to the diiiering manners in which theories. To criticize a model one shows that the implications of the model run counter to the theory in crucial ways. Generally.h. propose a first-Order theory. models. or that the theory is emptv. and interpretations may be either indigenous or not. every analogy has its limits. . one may demonstrate inconsistency. which. Theories. Thus one might speculate on the conceptual assumptions which lead physicists to develop a theory of submicroscopic particles. (3) it is attributed by some members of C to all the members of C . potter persons in order to understand or explain their behavior and thought. These senses do not exhaust the possibilities. as w e saw. one may show that the theoretical constructs introduced are redundant.

reprinted MatiiaS Banar^ip&ss: Delhi.k a r m a t h e o r y in s o m k i n d i a n p h i l o s o p h i c a l systf. Mass. they may have to be unpacked. My starting point is the thesis that in the philosophical writings which constitute classical Yoga and Advaita Vedanta and related systems. These klesas are erroneous conceptions which characterize the thinking of those engaged in purposive activI. arguing that though it is no better as theory than the non-indigenous one under discussion. produces certain afflictions (klesa). 1927. The sketch is based on the YogaSMtraS of Patanjali and the basic eommentarial literature thereon. O n e may. one kind which. the other which. namely. As we have just seen. either meritorious (dharma) or unmerirorious (adharnia) depending on the quality of the act." . since interpretations (unlike other theories) may be largely implicit. if and when it is activated. References to this work in subsequent footnotes are indicated by "Woods. with purposive intent and passion-—creates (kr) a karmic residue (karmafayq). the karma theory. and then attempts (as 1 shall below) to unpack the suggestions into an interpretation of a certain theory. All three works are conveniently translated under one cover by James Haughton Woods in Harvard Oriental Series \7 (Cambridge. N o w ro apply some of these distinctions in the case of karma and rebirth. produces a memory of the originating act. This karnuc residue has or is accompanied by dispositional tendencies (samskara) of more than one sort. its very indigenousness makes it a superior candidate as an explanatory device. 1 An act (karman) performed under normal circumstances—that is.: Harvard University Press. and in the process the unpacking may d o injustice to the interpretation. 19!4. interpretations may be criticized according to the same canons as other theories. Where the interpretation to be criticized is not indigenous (in one or another of the senses discriminated above) one may also criticize it by certain techniques other than the general ones applicable to theories in general. O r one may try to make explicit an implicit indigenous interpretation. including at least two kinds of traces (vasana). 1966). which 1 shall proceed to sketch. This appears most evident in the formulation found in the Patahjala Yoga system. the Yogabhufya oi Yyasa interpreted with the aid of Vacaspsti Misra's jattvapatiaradi.m5 243 I shall be most interested here in the criticism of an interpretation. for instance. il and when it is activated. karma and rebirth appears as a theory in the sense here specified. However. This is especially the case if one is provided with general suggestions about an entire conceptual scheme. point to indigenous linguistic usage as suggesting counterexamples to an interpretation.

and it is tbey whicdi are primarily responsible for die agent being in bondage. Within a given lifetime. a karmic residue may mature (vipaka) in one of the three lorms mentioned — as birth. composed of the three gunas. and m so acting he will lay down another karmic residue with associated v asanas. willing. length of life.244 KAR1. and feeling of sentient beings. T h e foetus grows and is born as a baby complete with karmic residues and vasanas. cat or human). and those which are not thus limited and so may mature in another life (adrstajahman). the citta associated with the purusa which fiad "inhabited" the just-deceased body immediately passes on to a new b o d y — p r e s u m a b l y a f o e t u s — a n d "fills i n " (apiiraj this new body with citta appropriate to the kind of bodv that it is (il it's a cat. Citta is Yoga's term for that prakrti. " b a d " ones producing painful experiences. that is. the length of its life (ayn$) under normal circumstances. may be divided into t w o sorts—those whose maturation will occur (niyatavipaka) in the present lifetime (drstajanman). or tone of experience. he will act in various ways as a part of his response to these experiences. The theorv is worked out in some detail. continually creating karmic residues. therefore. the (unction oi karmic residues is to provide the affective tone of experience. and that in dreams the kle'savasfflas activate experiences relating to the originating actions. whether his experiences will be pleasurable or painful. for example. if . As the occasion makes possible. likewise. whose fluctuations (vrtti) constitute the thinking. Given that the person having these experiences is a purposive agent. if a human. That is to say. that is. But it is also the case that frequently an experience will be the outcome of vasanas laid down in karmic residues produced by acts in long-past lives. most waking experience is the direct outcome of the maturation of residues accrued in this very lifetime. H. that is. It is generally accepted that memory activates the smrtivaSanas within the same lifetime. when appropriate kinds of sense-objects are presented or other conditions are confronted. POTTER ity. When a person dies his unactivated karmic residues including his vasanas gather together within that individual's citta. feline citta fills it in. human citta). some actions produce residues whose maturation will occur in the same lifetime as that in which they were produced. The karmic residues operate within this new body to determine three things: the kind of body it is (its " b i r t h " [jati\. and the affective tone of experiences (bkoga) the person will have. or substance. " g o o d " residues producing pleasurable experiences. In the Yoga view. For example. Karmic residues.

so that those residues and their associated vasanas cannot bring about any results.2. is reborn in other types of bodies in L> to Linu. length of life. is that it provides a way to he liberated from this karmic mechanism. and then is reborn as a cat again in Lmi. But it is also evident that the explanation. dreams. the Yoga texts liken the karmic process to various stages in rice farming. At this point. as any theory in our sense must. a kind of devolution of the manifest state of citta into its causal state.KARMA THEORY IN S O M k I N D I A N PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTf. birth. In the commentaries on 2. asaya. This. is the Yoga theory. When the klesas are attenuated a certain kind of meditation (prasamkhyana) can make them no longer operative. The model is agricultural. goes beyond common knowledge to postulate various processes and constituents unfamiliar to the ordinary person. a number of postulated entities. then. culminates in its returning to the unmanifest (avyakta) state o f p r a k r t i . To provide the ordinary person with a basis for understanding the theory of karma and rebirth Yoga authors invoke a model. and so on are alleged to be explained by the theory. with the result that they do not produce any more karmic residues. It involves. theoretical constructs which are not directly observable and not part of the everyday vocabulary of experience. which is not surprising given that India has always been an agrarian society by and large. Furthermore. The point of Yoga. vas$na. the sutra in which the attenuation of . I shall not try to describe the whole process. this meditation is said to make them subtle and so no longer able to provide the necessarv condition f o r maturation. and several other items in the above account. the pleasurable and painful qualities of daily experience. Specifically. Such constructs include citta. since the very occasion for the maturation of those residues already produced requires the operation of the klesas. There are then n o further fluctuations of citta associated with that puritsa. producing feline experiences. those klesavasanas which were laid down in L t and have remained stored up until now may now be activated. like any scientific theory. but the relevant aspect of it for our purposes is that the yogin through practice (kriyayoga) tries to attenuate (tariukr) the kleSds through cultivation of practices opposed to them (pratipaksabbavana). The ma|Or passages appear in Books 2 and 4 of the Yogasutrds and its commentaries by Vyasa and Vacaspati Misra.M5 268 one is a cat in lifetime L ( . That the account is intended to explain commonly known processes in the world is evident—memory. kh'sa. as understood bv Patanjali. a process called pratiprasava.

another passage runs as follows: Just as the rice-grams (ialit&ndula) encased within the ejhjaff (tusat/artaddha) when they are not b u r n e d seeds are fit for growth (prarohasamartha). If the klesas are not attenuated. which arc like burned seeds (dagdkablja) of winter rice (kalama). what can meditation ( prasarnkhyana) accomplish?" In answer it is said: Prasamkhy&na makes barren (vandkya) the attenuated klesas. M y translation Woods. or sustained (hdiva). attenuated (tanu). The siitra says that avidya is the " h e l d " (ksetra). Dormancy is explained as being the "merely potential" (saktimatra) state in the mind (cetas) which tends toward the condition of being a seed. is related to the other four. T h e same point is echoed in Vacaspati's comment on the tenth intra and bhasya. lib. p. the klesas. but the winnowed chaff (apanitatiisa) and the burned seed are not so tit. Bui when the klesas arc thinned out they can be made barren. and a burned seed cannot germinate. exist.13 contains the most material for o u r purpose.246 KAR1. Book 2. and kind of affective experience. but the winnowed klesas f apamtakle'sa) and the seeds burned by prasaynkhyjna are not tit. that is. A questioner asks: why doesn't the person w h o has attained discrimination (viveka) still have d o r m a n t klesas? T h e answer is that in such a person the seeds are burned by prasamkhyana meditation. much less make the klesas barren. pp. Th us in the d isc rim mating person wc must recognize a fifth state in addition to the f o u r mentioned in the siitra. the "propagative g r o u n d " (prasavabbumi) of the other four when those are either dormant iprasupta). intercepted (vicchinna). discrimination between sattva and pttrusa cannot even arise. the seeds will mature in the three forms of birth. 122-I2. H .4 it is explained how avidya.-1 2." means pleasure (sukba) and pain (dubkha) he says: So die soil oi the self (atrrtabkiimi) sprinkled (vifikta) with the water ol the klesas becomes a field (ksetra) producing (prasavaj the karma-fruits (phala). It is the sittra which declares that as long as the roots (mula). an objector is made to ask: "If kriyayoga produces attenuation of the klesas. in the Bhasya. POTTER the klesas is explained. length of life. that is." or "experience. . Later. In this state the kle'sa is awakened when a sense-object of the appropriate sort is confronted.V My translation. one of the five klesas. WcrtMJs. similarly the karmic residues when encased in th&klesas (klesavanaddba) arc the subject of growth toward maturation [vipaktiprarobin). In 2. As Vacaspati is explaining that "bboga.

In this series of connections we can perhaps explain what seems otherwise odd.3. that in Vacaspati's simile about the soil of the self being sprinkled with the water of the klesas. one of which is erroneous awareness (viparyaya). so that th e prakrti then flows natural!v into its appropriate new form (vikdra). recalling the other passage about the farmer cutting the barrier separating the fields. . the klesas are likened to something liquid rather than (as we might expect) to Some soiling dirty solid. The stream toward objects (visaya) is dammed (khttikriyate) by nonattachment (vairagya). Likewise. commentators explain that this occurs in dependence on merit (dharma). There also one gets the idea that these streams are subject to obstruction. The analogy is developed even further: perhaps.) In 4.3 the idea is developed: the occasion (nimitta) ol this filling in is no direct overt act. thins out.2 it is explained that this takes place through the filling in (apura) of prakrti. and so forth. A prominent feature of that prakrti which functions as citta in Yoga is its fluidity. sattva). In 4. "like the farmer (ksetrikavat). demerit (adbarma). j u s t so theyogiVj attenuates. he will remove some of the seeds. flowing (incessantly active. the other toward samsdra. the farmer may have trouble getting water to the roots of his plants because there are too many sprouts in the field. SYSTEMS *47 The agricultural analogy is once again made startlingly explicit in 4. The sutras are discussing how evolution (parinama) f r o m one birth into another can occur. but cuts the barrier separating the two plots. This citta is composed of the three gunas.KARMA THEORY IN SOME I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H TC A l ." Vyasa explains: when the farmer wants to get water from one plot to another. of which the klesas are instances. or rather as two streams.12 it is explicitly referred to as a river (nadiri) or stream. then. one flowing toward liberation. is cut by merit. Citta is also subject to "fluctuations" (vrtti). it is suggested. rather. says Vyasa. (The context seems to be th esiddbis. in Yogabhdsya on 1. and they liken it to the way in which a spark landing on some dry grass produces a conflagration. the karmic residues so that he may exhaust them through experiencing their fruits. we know. Indeed. he does not take it there with his hands. the barrier to prakrti's flow. but the explanation appears to be applicable to the general p h e n o m e n o n wherever it occurs. which are constantly changing in their relative domination of each other. and the stream toward discrimination is opened up (udghatyate) by yogic practice (abhyasa). says Patarijali. namely. Water is by nature cool (pure. it happens naturally when a difference in the obstruction (varana) of prakrti occurs.

t h u s adharma to sense-objects. F u r t h e r m o r e .j's subcommer. I n 2 . M a r c h . w h i c h is madeavailable t o the n o n p h i l o s o p h e r t h r o u g h appeal t o the m o d e l of n c e f a r m i n g . Margaret Trawiek F.a t t a c h m e n t m a y d a m its p a s s a g e t o w a r d t h e o r y c o n c e r n i n g t h e m e c h a n i c s o f k a r m a a n d r e b i r t h . " P h . f r o m t h e U p a n i s a d s o n . H o w e v e r . " T h e Sagged Spell and O t h e r C o n c e p t i o n s of Lite in Tamil C u l t u r e . t h e n as m o r e s t a b l e s t a b i l i z a t i o n o r h a r d e n i n g o f t h e s t u f f . dissertation. his Brahmstarabhasya. Bf^avadgltakhapa. this p r o cess toward the establishment of stable configuration cally w i l l p r o c e e d by the h a r d e n i n g of the "exterior4 part w h i c h h o l d s t h e c o n f i g u r a t i o n . W e h a v e . T h u s . d e v e l o p s an a c c o u n t w h i c h c o i n c i d e s t o s o m e degree with the Yoga account important respects. as E g n o r r e p o r t s . configurations characteristiw h i c h maintain t h e m s e l v e s for a longer time. process involves. in w h i c h citta fishnet (matsyajaia) a beginninglessly the klesas. at f i r s t t h r o u g h e d d i e s i n t h e caused by obstructions. t o w a r d . 1978. N o t a b l y . as a n y t y p e o f c o n t r o l d o e s . stream w e m a y s u p p o s e . 1 3 a s i g n i f i c a n t a n a l o g y a p p e a r s ." rigid form fits (sammiirchita) fixed is l i k e n e d t o a having vasanas from my the into form (samshow by the h a v i n g " d i f f e r e n t s h a p e s i n all p l a c e s a n d o f t h e m a t u r a t i o n o f barman also help us to understand c a u s e d b y e x p e r i e n c e (anabhava) This simile paragraph. T h i s literature s e e m s t o m e a m o n g classical Indian s y s t e m s t h e m o s t r i g o r o u s in its t r e a t m e n t o f t h e s e m a t t e r s . t h e n . b u t it is n o t t h e o n l y s y s t e m w h i c h d e a l s w i t h it e x t e n s i v e l y . I*he following account of Advaitiia's views on karma and rebirth has been reconstructed f r o m Sahkaracarya's c o m m e n t a r i e s tin several Upanisads. 5. and to a s % b t extent f r o m Suresv. as w e s a w . D . from the That a p o i n t o f v i e w o f a f a r m e r . . w h i l e n o n . libattraction O b s t r u c t i o n s m a y h e g o o d o r b a d d e p e n d i n g o n w h e r e t h e s t r e a m is h e a d i n g .ir.taries on the Upamsadbbisyas. University of Chicago. T h e c a u s e of t h e " h a r d e n i n g " configurations (seeds) kara) in t h e w a t e r w h i r l p o o l s b e c a u s e of o b s t r u c t i o n s o r b e c a u s e o f d i s p o s i t i o n s occasioned by previous o b s t r u c t i o n s upstream.5 b u t d i v e r g e s f r o m it in c e r t a i n 4. in t h e Y o g a a c c o u n t a r a t h e r c a r e f u l l y worked-out m a y o b s t r u c t t h e p a s s a g e o f citta e r a t i o n . tamas).2 4 3 KARL H POTTKR rajas) a n d e d d y i n g ( s u b j e c t t o s t a g n a t i o n . w h e n t r e a t e d i n c e r t a i n w a y s it b e c o m e s t h e s o u r c e o f nutrition and so o f life and o t h e r t y p e s o f energy. 4 I n d i a n s (at l e a s t T a m i l i a n s ) take t h e i n s i d e s o f things t o be fluid w h i l e the o u t s i d e s are solid. o r s h a p e .^nor. and previous s a m e klesas may t h e s k e t c h of t h e l i q u i d s m o d e l in w h i c h a r e l i q u i d m a y a l s o b e l i k e n e d in o t h e r r e s p e c t s t o is t h e t e n d e n c y of w a t e r to e d d y and r o o t s o r e v e n t o c h a f f . A d v a i t a V e d a n t a .

which will mature in some subsequent lifetime in the normal course oi events. op. and the future karmic residues which will be laid down bv the acts so determined.® As karmic residues mature they cooperate with what are called "traces" or "impressions" foa$arta) to determine the way in which the karmic potentials will m fact be worked out. "Ethical Aspcct of the Vedama. "The Nature and Etestiny ol the Individual Sou] in Advaita. These vasanas appear to be decisions arrived at by the internal organ to seek certain kinds of outcomes." construed in Indian thought as one's having lived through his allotted years as determined by his karma. made up of material substances.M5 249 Death may be due either to "natural causes.:. Iyer. K. 11-12. Hor instance. In either case. excretion. These include his gross body. Yuezhinathart. but which remain latent during this present life. N. the kind of experience (bhoga) which will accrue to the agent in consequence. called sanciyamana or dgamin karma." journal of the Madrm University 47. which have not as yet produced their results. ritualism). he has stored up in the form of tendencies (samskara) the residues (anttsaya) of acts he has performed in the life just ending. Iyer divides vasanas into impure and pure types. arid his internal organ (baddhi or antabkArdtni). locomotion. (2) those residues which were produced by acts performed in a previous life. calied sa&citakarman. no. k . and subdivides the impure into those. Vijezhinathart.* b. S. understands s atiata to includeprarabdb^ kanna. which relate to worldly pride. 5." Vedattta Kcsan 3 (1916-17)}39-41. or to violence. those which relate to Overintellectualizing (addiction to study. 2 (1975): 19-20. c it. use of cosmetics to beautify or medicine to remove blemishes f r o m one's body). as well as residues of acts performed in previous lives which have not as yet come to "fruition" or "maturation" (vipaku). calledprdrdbdhak&rman. (3) the results oi acts performed during this just-ending lifetime. however. . which interrupts the natural working out of karma. These karmic residues are of three kinds: (1) those residues which were determined at birth to work themselves out during the present life (the one just ending). that is. in addition. 7. his sense organs and "action" organs (organs of speech. sex. pp.KARMA THEORY IN S O M k I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H I C A L SYSTf. his intellectual organ (manas). and those which relate to one's body (taking the body to be one's true Self. 8. which is the basis of his ability to engage in intentional awareness and consequent activity. his sense of ego( abamkum). and grasping). a man comes to the point of death endowed with several relevant bits of equipment. which develop into desires (kanta). for example. 7 At any m o m e n t in one's conscious lifetime he is guided in acting by Vasanas.

It is not altogether easy to rationalize all these into a consistent account. Indian philosophers use this term to mean the place within the body where feeling willing. These are hve in number. that is. just as the gross body did during life. O n e must keep in mind that a sense-organ. 10. The speech-fuftction becomes absorbed into the intellectual organ. karmic residues." 1 * 1 Th<" jiva arrives replete with awareness (both true and false). joins the subtle elements (tanmat fa). breath so endowed merges with the individual self (jiva). and akasa. 4. . Then the manas.The process goes as folio ws: 1. or power of thought (matid. T h e man stops breathing. so it is perfectly capable of consciousness. is completely controlled by past karma. thinking. Sankara emphasizes that it is only the functions which merge. is not to be confused with its physical locus—the visual organ is different from the eyeball. Next. corresponding to the five gross elements—air. arabmasiitrabhasya 4. T h u s at this " m o m e n t of death" the jiva is caused by its karma to develop a vasana which determines the 9.1-21. and internal organs. since the external organs have stopped functioning. desires. like consciousness in dreams. It does not necessarily denote the physical organ which goes by that name in Indian anatomy. take place. . vasanas. not the organs themselves. What 1 provide is a reconstruction which follows Sankara where there are disagreements. These " s u b t l e " elements are apparently conceived of as minute particles which form the seeds from which their gross counterparts grow. water. earth. POTTER The Upanisads offer several accounts of what happens to these various things at the time of death. has its own functions absorbed into breath ( prana). and •>() forth. Sankara. 2. N o w the/Tiw. 6.2. That this is so is evidenced by the tact that dying persons—and for that matter those asleep and not dreaming—are seen to breathe although their senses and mind are not functioning. karmic residues. The cluster of the five subtle elements provides a (material) "subtle b o d y " (suks?naiarira) which n o w encloses the jii>4 with its appurtenances. All these factors collect in the "heart. thus encumbered.KARL H. However. The dying man stops speaking. for example. and pasanas present at this moment.jtj. 3. It is followed by the functions of all the other organs. with the internal organ as limited by the awarenesses. 5. its consciousness at this point. having absorbed these various functions. tire.

or else they are immediately reborn as small animals. This is one of the points of divergence among the texts.KARMA THEORY IN SOMk INDIAN P H I L O S O P H I C A LS Y S T f . Those who neither fulfilled their ritual obligations nor have knowledge follow a third path which leads to Yama's world or city. by what path. the jlva-controlled subtle body leaves the " h e a r t " by one or another of the many veins and arteries. as in a dream. It is thus exhausting some of its stored-up karmic residues as it proceeds. perhaps plants.. translated by C. eventually gaining egress from the dead gross body by one or another aperture. Sahkara tells us that it is those w h o observe ritual obligations but do not have knowledge of God (i.. leading through smoke to the moon. 1973). Johnston (Chicago: Open Court. or Samyamana) at which it in due course arrives. Sahkara comments that the idea is that the self creates a fink from the old body to the new by means of its vasanas.!. moon. 12.J f or one thing. that lies through fire or light and leads to the sun. and continues doing so in the "heaven" or "hell" (sun. those who know God follow the northern path. Brahmasiim 4. determined by its karmic residues. and is forming plans and following them out as it goes along. and to what kind of birth it will eventually proceed. The System of tin. Brahman with qualities. Basically." the "way of the fathers" (pitryana). Thus decided. insects. 20. A second is the "southern path. Paul Deusitn. chaps.e. Cf. O n e of these is referred to as the "northern path. 23. n This serves to remind us that as the seli encased in its subtle b o d y moves along its path it is not unconscious — i t is having experiences. called Samyamana. To this point. the Upanisadic sources appear relatively consistent in their implications. 13.1. commenting On the same paswge m the Upanisad. When they turn to the account of what happens immediately after death the versions diverge slightly. 1 1 H o w does the passage along these paths take place? In the Brhadaranyaka Up am sad we are told that the self proceeds f r o m this body to the next like a leech or a caterpillar. Also in the Brakniusitlnibhasya on 3." the "way ot the gods" (devayana).Vcdatita. Sahkara argues that by having 11. . reprinted New York.3. Some details of the states along the northern path are discussed m the Brahmasutras. saguna Brahman) that follow the southern path. 1912. the texts distinguish three paths for the subtle bodies to follow. Dover. Cf. and so forth. 7. M 5274 direction in which the subtle body will go as it leaves the " h e a r t " — by which veins and point of egress.

t h a t t h e s e are r e f e r e n c e s t o d i v i n i t i e s w h i c h c o n d u c t Lhe s e l f a l o n g t h e p a t h . s i n c e in h i s s t a t e h e is n o t c a p a b l e o f f i n d i n g h i s o w n The Chandogya a l s o g i v e s us a n a c c o u n t o f t h e d e t a i l s o f t h e s o u t h - ern p a t h . " w h i c h Sankara explains m e a n s not t h a t t h e y are a c t u a l l y e a t e n b y t h e g o d s b u t r a t h e r t h a t t h e y s t i v e t h e g o d s . . T h o s e w h o have arrived there e x p e r i e n c e their just rewards in h e a v e n f o r r i t u a l o b s e r v a n c e s p r a c t i c e d in t h e p r e c e d i n g worldly hfe. Only o n e "northern and another other things. t h e six m o n t h s w h e n t h e s u n i s g o i n g n o r t h . ail t h e w h i l e e x p e r i e n c i n g a p p r o p r i into the f o o d of h u m a n s and s o get i n t o b l o o d 14.1-2. T h e y are a l s o s a i d t o t a k e o n a w a t e r y " b o d y " w h i c h s u p p o r t s t h e o r g a n s and allows them to generate experiences. T h e y d o so until a small a m o u n t of k a r m i c residue r e m a i n s . Chandngyti UpiViisad S. t h e s e are i d e n t i f i e d b y those who follow the "third path'' — t o in Yama's and the S a n k a r a as d e i t i e s w h o a c t as g u i d e s f o r t h e t r a n s m i g r a t i n g s e l f . t h e s o j o u r n in t h e m o o n is a p e r i o d d u r i n g w h i c h t h e m e r i t o r i o u s r e s i d u e s are e x h a u s t e d ." The Chandogya. t o t h e r e a l m o f t h e f a t h e r s . 10.3-4.e n c l o s e d sell m a y m o v e o n a t e p a i n s " a s i n a d r e a m . dkasa of a n d t h u s t o t h e m o o n . potter meditated on certain s y m b o l s o n e person m a y experience things appropriate to those s y m b o l s . c o n s i d e r i n g t h e v i o l e n t c h a n g e s w r o u g h t o n t h e m as t h e g r a i n s a r e p r e p a r e d f o r u s e in meals to be consumed by animals and human beings. Qbmidogya Upanisad 5. 1 5 h leads f r o m s m o k e t h r o u g h night.S. a n d "hellish" experiences they earn—ascribed sometimes to instruments o f t o r t u r e c o n t r o l l e d b y Y a m a — a r e m o r e p l a u s i b l y c o n s t r u e d as t h e n a t u r a l c o n c o m i t a n t s o f e x i s t i n g in s u c h a s t a t e . still t h e r e tells us is the path. soon course and f r o m o n e b o d y t o v a r i o u s o t h e r s . T h e y r e t a i n c o n s c i o u s n e s s all t h e w h i l e . a n d it i s t h u s b a s i c a l l y a h a p p y interim. A c t u a l l y .kari h.b o d y . A s f o r t h o s e w h o a r r i v e at t h e m o o n . t h e L ' p a n i s a d s tell u s t h a t t h e y b e c o m e the " f o o d of the g o d s . d a y . These e m b o d i m e n t s — s u c h as p l a n t s a n d g r a i n s — b e i n g d e t e r m i n e d b y t h e k a r m i c r e s i d u e s o f t h e s e l v e s w h i c h i n h a b i t t h e m . selves perhaps—are "reborn" almost immediately grains o t h e r s u c h t h i n g s . are r a t h e r q u i c k l y lived t h r o u g h . the m o n t h s w h e n t h e s u n is m o v i n g s o u t h . Upanisad that t h e s e t r a n s m i g r a t i n g s e l v e s g o t o l i g h t . thence to The world. 1 4 W h a t s o r t o f t r a v e l is t h i s ? S a n k a r a e x p l a i n s way.10. the dark fortnight. m o o n . A d i t y a . a n d the s u b t l e . t h e w a x i n g half o f the m o o n . " If t h e y a r e l u c k v t h e y m a y i n d u e find their w a y s e m e n a n d e v e n t u a l l y gain a n e w h u m a n birth. I. A g a i n . t h e y e a r . l i g h t n i n g .

he argues that the texts saying that the selves do not return from Brahmaloka mean that they do not return to rebirth in this world. t h e y w i l l a r r i v e at an a p p r o p r i a t e k i n d o i h e a v e n l y p l a c e . Madras Government Oriental Manuscript Series 4 (Madras. they do.IC. however. ChandpSyd UpiXnha. since the Highest Brahman cannot be literally "reached. 123-124. The solution Sankara finds is rather complex. but not liberation. C I Brahmasutrai 4. presumably on some divine plane. 18.2. O n the Other hand. T h e n o n . b u t t h a t a f t e r t h a t t h e y r e t u r n t o b o n d a g e in t h e n e x t c y c l i c a l universe. Sankara. since he claims Brahman to be quite unrelated to any second thing. tbhasya 4.d 7 liberally illustrates the kinds of rewards intended.r e t u r n 1 n g m a y b e o n l y r e l a t i v e : it m i g h t m e a n t h a t t h o s e w h o g o t o t h e B r a h m a l o k a remain t h e r e until t h e n e x t r e a b s o r p t i o n . 1937). F r o m t h e r e t h e y are c o n d u c t e d to the realm ol that w h i c h they have w o r s h i p p e d and m e d i t a t e d o n . p p . meditated on some they will be led t o the If t h e y symbolic manifestation." and that this is what is meant by "progressive liberation" (kramamukti). and so he is forced to interpret the Brahmaloka as a highest heaven. 17 Either he must reject Badarayana's and the Upanisads' teaching on the point.M5 253 T h o s e traveling the northern path or " w a y o f the g o d s " proceed. 17. provided they have in the meantime attained knowledge of the Highest Brahman.KARMA THEORY IN SOMk INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTf. cannot allow that one can literally "arrive at" the higher (tiirguna) Brahman.3.10 tells us that such selves proceed. along with the god (Hiranyagatbha) w h o rules the Brahmaloka. T h e Upanisadie text asserts that they do nor return — presumably once again speaking of liberated ones—and Sankara is caught in a dilemma. Brabmaloka. thought that the Brabmaloka amounted to the state of liberation. return to other forms of existence." Mandana Misra suggests still a n o t h e r w a y of resolving the dil e m m a . will be liberated at the time of reabsofption (pralaya). M-iiicbna Miliffi Brabmasiddhi with Sabkhjpani's commentary. edited by S. though. O n the one hand. Brah mtsiitr. If t h a t t h i n g i s G o d .15 and Sahkara's comments thereon. That raises the question whether the selves who go there return to be reborn. h o w e v e r . author of the Brabmasiitras. or he must accept the Brahmaloka as liberation and so capitulate to the view that one can obtain liberation without knowing the nature of the Highest Brahman. 22.18 Iff. 1 ® It seems likely that Badarayana. kuppuswami Sastn. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 6. he is willing to admit that those attaining the Brahmaloka. to "the pure highest place of Visnu. t h r o u g h t h e s u n ( A d i t y a ) t o l i g h t n i n g . as w e h a v e s e e n . .3.

occasionally into the ocean.POTTI-. d o w n again in ratn. c o o k e d . back u p into clouds.i. both in the fact that St is a human child and not some other kind of animal.inikar. " Instead.6. this means that it enters the ovum in semen. t h r o u g h the food eaten by the parent.ID. and the self is not conscious during this period. into mist and cloud. S. It does not get reborn in the plants. depending o n the kind of animal it is. including h u m a n s . that is. and so on.3. the subtle body eventually attaches itself to a plant — a grain of rice. this is w h y the child w h e n born resembles its parents. to s m o k e . In the case of many animals. s e m e n — a n d . 2 " In each case there is influence of the parent on the new gross body. . passing through various bodies. T h r o u g h o u t all this the attached subtle bodies remain unconscious (fortunately for them). during its stay on the m o o n dissolves. as wrel! as in its facial features. just as o n e loses consciousness when falling f r o m a tree (according to one account) or because the karmic residues which remain do not become Operative again until they determine the next birth. and so forth. and eaten and digested by an animal. Eventually. and then to the earth's surface in the rain. 1 be Aitarcya (Jpunisad notes that the fiva is in a sense b o r n t w i c e — t h e first time in the semen when it enters the o v u m . the second when it leaves the mother's body. as it was said. and so f o r t h . gets involved in the reproductive process. or it m a y be carried around in the ecological cycle for a long time. it does not experience the pains of plant existence as do those w h o follow the "third p a t h . It is said t o descend inversely through the stages which it ascended-—through akasa to air.2. which interacts with the elements in the subtle b o d y .2^4 KAKI H. s a y — w h i c h is ground up. and the subtle body with its remainder of bad karma begins to fall back toward the earth. Chindogy0p4tiiSdd}!fha^ya L > n 5. 2G. It is pointed out by Sahkara that this part of the cycle is subject to multifarious accidenr$$ . This process does not take long. Airareya Upanisad 4. the subtle body finds its way into an animal's vital juices—-blood.K Returning t o those in the m o o n — eventually the time comes w h e n they have exhausted their good karmic residues. the subtle b o d y finds its way into plants. At this p o i n t the watery body which had supported the organs. Having arrived in the rain.w a subtle body might spend a long time stuek in some inaccessible place w h e r e the rainwater had carried it and then evaporated.

then. Aicareyopanisad with Sri Sankarachirya's Bhasya. l i k e o t h e r a u t h o r s . A n interesting story. for h e w a s n o t l i b e r a t e d w h e n h e first g o t t h e r e . 1974). a n d it d e v e l o p s i t s o r g a n s as t h e g r o s s p o r t i o n s o f its b o d y c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o t h e m g r o w . w e m u s t s u p p o s e that his p u r i t y 21. 2 : A l t h o u g h w e a r e n o t e x p l i c i t l y t o l d s o . pp. d w e l l s o n t h e m i s e r y o f th e m a k e u p t h e n e w b o d y . tr. If s o . 106-110. pp. Tbid.1B1—186. and s o w i l l be b o r n f r o m the right p a r e n t s . rather than getting a l o w e r birth a m o n g h u m a n s o r e v e n o t h e r a n i m a l s . say.21 S u r e s v a r a . 162-165. 23. It is p e r h a p s n o t a l t o g e t h e r s p e c u l a t i v e t o s u g g e s t that this m a y h a v e a g o o d deal t o d o w i t h the i m p o r t a n c e Indians place o n the i o o d t h e y eat. . w h o g o t liberated w h i l e in his m o t h e r ' s w o m b . 158-160.katramiah (Bangalore: Bangalore Press.b o r a caste status. t h e f o o d e a t e n b y t h e m o t h e r d u r i n g g e s t a t i o n becomes which d o w n t h e n a t u r a l o r d e r . D. it w o u l d s e e m a jiva's k a r m a b e g i n s a g a i n a t l e a s t at it e n t e r s t h e w o m b . concerning V a m a d e v a . it s e e m s ) .189-200.K A R M A T H E O R Y I N S O M k I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H I C A LS Y S T f . pp. a n d h e i m m e d i a t e l y g o t r e l e a s e t h e r e . Ver. T h e i d e a is t h a t V a m a d e v a w a s s o p u r e a n d s o c l o s e to enlightenment in his previous life that his liberation was acc o m p l i s h e d b e f o r e his next birth. as d e t e r m i n e d b y t h e r e l e v a n t a s p e c t s c a r r i e d jiva as it l i e s in t h e w o m b . getting into the b o d i l y fluids of the right kind o f parents. 2. something must have happened to Vamadeva while in the w o m b . 1934). s i n c e t h i s c o u l d h a r d l y h a v e b e e n h e a r i n g the w o r d s of scripture or of a teacher (the immediate c a u s e o f liberation n o r m a l l y ) . SufL'svira. T h i s suggests several things. is p r o v i d e d in t h e Aitareya Upanisad a n d its Bhasya b y Sahkara. if n o t b e f o r e . c o r r o b o r a t i n g s o m e of the speculations d u l g e d i n a b o v e . 22. T h e purer jivas find their w a y into on p u r e r f o o d s t u f f s ( a l t h o u g h e x a c t l y h o w o r w h y is still a m y s t e r y . edited and translated by R BaSasubramaniam (Madras: Centre for Advanced Study in Philosophy. First. it w o u l d a p p e a r t h a t t h i s d e v e l o p m e n t t a k e s p l a c e as d e t e r m i n e d b y k a r m i c through the mechanism of p r o c e s s of maturation of residues that the the time in- vasanas. In a n y c a s e . since the higher castes eat the purer f o o d s . 2. h e r e o n c e a g a i n it h a s r e g a i n e d c o n s c i o u s n e s s . 2 1 V a m a d e v a is s a i d t o h a v e r e a l i z e d t h e i d e n t i t y o f h i s s e l f w i t h t h e H i g h e s t S e l f w h i l e in t h e w o m b . Ihittiriyoparusadbh'ttyavjrttika. M 5278 N o t w e l l e x p l a i n e d i n t h i s a c c o u n t is w h a t is r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a fiva d e s t i n e d f o r h i g h . it w i l l o r d i n a r i l y w o r k o u t t h a t t h e r i g h t / T l w t r a n s f o r m e d into the various physical and mental substances by the subtle body..

viewed in karmic perspective. if any. endowed with the three kinds of karmic residues noted earlier— prarabdha. like premature death due to violence or other unnatural causes. So it is the same balance of karma of this sort which determines the length of his normal life and the type of experience he will have during that lifetime. lies in distinguishing karmic residues from vasanas. N o w such a determination is an effect of one's karmic residues—one's vasanas 24. Ramaswarojr Sasmilu & Sons. since Vamadeva is said to have subsequently been born and lived through a life determined by his prarabdhakarman. it suggests that the distinction between V a m a d e v a p r a r a b d h a k a r m a n and his other karmic residues was already fixed prior to this "first birth. This means. translated by A. we must assume thai the determination of his length of life and his experiences was in tact fixed prior to his liberation in the w o m b . All of which brings us to what we ordinarily call the birth of the child.k A H J. andagamitl karma. H POTTER naturally resulted iri removal of ignorance without any other special cause. that what the Aitareya called the "first birth. is the point at which the operation of karmic residues through vasanas is resumed. Third. and have been for about nine months in the case of a normal child. is a man's determination to aim for certain objectives. though for obvious reasons it is a critical occasion viewed from the perspective of human society. Maludeva Sastn (Madras: V. 2 4 Likewise. saih. This child is. the child as he lives through the present life will experience the ripening of the residues oi prarabdhakarman unless something obstructs it. Second. p. as we saw. The key to the puzzle. the "second birth" of the Aitareya." where the subtle body enters the ovum in the semen." It seems to me that there is little cause for any such problem in the context of Advaita theory. along with the jtva's consciousness. 1897. A vasana. since it lies at the center of supposed problems over the fatalistic or at least deterministic implications of the " L a w of Karma. 365. Sankara likens prarabdhakarman to an arrow already in flight—it will continue until its energy is exhausted. . It would seem from the foregoing that. The process by which karmic residues affect experience needs to be discussed. The Bhagavad-Gita with [lie commentary of Sri Sankaraeharya. this is a relatively unimportant event. I infer." since presumably at the point oi liberation all the other residues became inoperative. unless something obstructs it. All the karmic processes are already under way. 1972).ita. then.

to be performed at a certain point in the life-cycle. on balance. Cf. Actions may be classified in various ways according to Indian traditions. heaven. . for example. at best. in this one. on balance. acts which are prescribed for one who wishes to ohtain a certain result. may perform yo^d. S. the case that a certain act x in some past life specifically determines a certain event of experiencing.. (2) occasional rites ( nairnittikakarman). y. Much may interfere. while pursuing impure determinations will get one. tit. x generates a determination on the agent's part to pursue a life-plan or -style which leads him to develop a desire to do something which will produce y if nothing interferes. experiencing appropriate results—but he may remain. and mental (ntanasa) acts. K. succoring the ancestors. Iyer. In living one's life-plans one necessarily performs actions. observances for particular occasions. In this second-order attitude of nonattachment lies the key to liberation. Further. happier experiences. Indeed. say. Ritual acts may be divided in turn into those which are enjoined (vidhi) and those which are proscribed (mscdba). acts performed to purify oneself because one has failed to d o certain prescribed acts either in this life or in past lives. the primary meaning of the word "karman** is action. It is not. as it were. This is not another life-plan. aloof from involvement in the process. to counteract the influence of his vasanas.' 5 O n Sahkara's view all these kinds of acts are equally capable of producing karmic residues which in turn will condition the type of 25.KARMA THEORY IT N I SOME INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS 7 will bo purer the purer one's karma. a man must live some life and follow some style or plan. Vedanta Kesart 1 (1914-15): 278. Furthermore. they may be divided into bodily (kayika). Then again. pursuing a purer determination wilt get one. one can divide actions into ritual and non-ritual acts. op. and so on. Ol the enjoined acts there are said to be four kinds. For example. less happy or indeed painful experiences. the agent. (1) regular daily rites (nityakarmansuch as the baths prescribed for the Brahmana each day. {4} expiatory actions (prayascitta). (3) desired acts (kamyakarman). for instance. Thus the agent aware of the relation between his life-plans and his type of experience may decide to take a certain attitude toward his life as a whole. but a way of looking at life-plans. But this is a very loose relation. The karmic residues must keep working themselves o u t — that is. vocal (vacika). It is in this sense that past actions determine future experience. such as investiture. once aware of the danger of following his instincts.

length of life. this dpitrva constitutes in a literal manner the "karmic residue" and works itself o u t automatically in lifetime B. It will. (2) although there is something like an apHrva {as we have seen). is that (1) it is clear that the act itself cannot p r o d u c e the experience in lifetime B. but that the general rule here is subject to m a n y exceptions because there are incompatibilities among several residues which have equal claim but only one of which can mature at a given timeH o w does maturation actually come about? O n e performs an act in lifetime A at time t. be appreciated that bringing in God in this fashion in no w a y commits Badarayana or Sankara to such a strong determinism as to stifle freedom of will on the part of agents. like a piece of w o o d . As a result. present experience. it cannot by itself produce the experience which constitutes its maturation. In Bfabmas«trabbasya 3. since it is an unintelligent thing. The relation between future act. Indeed.2. which somehow reflects the act and presages the eventual o u t c o m e . since an act is a short lived event. 1 trust. and past karma is very loose. that A should d o x in lifetime A . as Sankara interprets it.z. that the karmic residue should breed a vasana in lifetime B which leads him to do an act y. and this act is supposed to have something to do with the experience the same agent has in lifetime B at time t + n . tend to mature first. Et is possible. The Mimamsa view of Jaimini is that the act produces at time f something called an aptirua. POTTER birth.ARI H. having been passed along with the o t h e r elements of the subtle body. w h e t h e r sinful o r meritorious. Some of them. indeed. and so it cannot pick out the appropriate time and place for the pleasure or pain which constitutes the experience in question.8 K. according t o the theory. not only is . may p r o d u c e results in the same lifetime in which they are performed. Badarayana's view. Which karmic residues work themselves out sooner? And which ones constitute t h e p Y d t a b d h a h a t i n d t t for a given lifetime as opposed to others which are sancita — stored up for later fruition? Sankara seems to think that in general the m o r e intense and proximate residues. which is productive of great sin but immediately accompanied by pleasant experience z. and kind of experience the jiva will have in the next life. the correct v i e w — a c c e p t e d by Sankara as well as by B a d a r a y a n a — m u s t be that G o d arranges things so that the resulting experiences match the merit or demerit characterizing the agent's past acts.38—41 Sankara explains the difference between the views of Jaimini and Badarayana on this score.

I am not sure how important it is to push this contrast very far. therefore. although Sahkara is very fond of offering similes to explain particular points. however. however. . and this is no metaphor but a literal claim about the rainwater.KARMA THEORY I N S O M k I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H I C A LS Y S T f . The Advaita theory.m o m e n t processes involved in death and rebirth. no comparably consistent use made oi any model in Advaita. one might say that the model is built around the ecological cycle. There is. involves postulation of certain items not present in Yoga. as far as I can tell. Tn discussing Yoga 1 pointed out that the texts make consistent use of the model of rice-farming to explicate the theory. it is not at all clear to me that they are any worse off with respect to the kinds of criticisms of theories sketched earlier than are theories deemed successful in Western science. M 5282 that possible but presumably it happens all the time. but similar criticisms can be made of theories in physics. there is an important contrast between the two on the question of an intermediate state between death and the next birth. the Yoga account is particularly strong and rigorous with respect to the karmic mechanism. At best. God does not ordinarily march experience to act on the ground of the merit-value of that act. that in the rainwater there are subtle bodies embodying jhas returning from sojourns in the moon. but rather on the ground of the merit-value of past acts. O t h e r accounts differ in various ways from these two. notably the subtle body. while Advaita goes into some detail about what happens during this time. this is not really a model but an integral parr of the theory itself.t o . while the Advaita account concentrates more fully on the actual m o m e n t . Furthermore. for example those affected by the exigencies of quantum jumps or those which come under the restrictions suggested by Heisenberg's indeterminacy principle. and so on. The major criticism of the karma theory is that it is untcstable. Furthermore. The Yoga and the Advaita accounts are the two most thoroughly worked out of the theories of karma and rebirth in classical Indian philosophy. As has been seen. but are not anywhere nearly so fully developed. for example. it seems to me clear f r o m the care with which the accounts arc presented that their authors intended them tjuite literally as theories. The theory involves the hypothesis. Although scientifically minded (mostly Western) critics have tended to view the accounts reviewed above as either very poor theories or else as myths or models themselves. Defenders of the theories in question respond that these difficulties are technical or technological. Yoga denies any such intermediate state.

109. and likewise we may eventually discover ways of identifying karmic residues and vasanas and so of re-identifying them in another bodv at a later time. the parallel complaint may be recorded against the physicist who postulates unobservable microparticles. proceeds from the axiom that the pervasive indigenous assumptions of any society. In both cases it is clear enough that what is to be explained is observable. It is not in principle untestable." in B. H. nvrrr. provide bases on which an anthropologist may construct his models of cultural behavior in that society. It then proceeds to a wider review of the typical transactional tactics and strategics of groups and persons tn India's varied moral. The difficulties arise from our inability to determine with precision which person now alive inherits which past person's karmic residues. Transaction and Meaning (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study oi Human Issues. he says. though in practice it is because of technical difficulties. instrumental. •f Although because of their untestabilitv the karma theories of Yoga and Advaita may properly be viewed with an attitude ol suspended judgment about their truth or falsity. See also the introduction to this volume for a further discussion of Marriott's theory. fitting this model first to die most accessible data. Technological advances may in time make possible testing of both types of theories — we may build bigger and better microscopes. which art1 on the interrelations and ranking of castes. and affective systems of action. or find theoretical ways of controlling the effects of q u a n t u m jumps or indeterminacy." His major essay on the topic. p.R that in principle the theories are testable at least within broad limits. It applies that axiom by constructing a monistic. But surely the same can be said of the karma theory. Marriott interprets Indian thinking as "transactional. It is this connection which 1 wish to explore now. diyiduilistic genera! model of Indian transactions. The most substantial effort at characterizing the Indian conceptual scheme to date is that of the anthropologist Me Kim Marriott. 1976). such as Indian notions of the identic v of actor and action and of the divisibility of the person. T h u s they arc surely relevant to attempts to provide an interpretation which captures the essential character of the (or an) Indian conceptual scheme. Kipferer (ed. Mc Kim Marriott. If one complains that it is precisely the responsibility of the karma theorist to convince us that rebirth takes place at alh that there are any karmic residues. Diversity without Dualism.i6c KARI.). . in both cases the explanation involves postulatiqB of unobserva. "Hindu Transactions.bles. it seems undeniable that they do represent influential and careful statements which relate to indigenous Indian thinking about life and death.3f* 2(y.

" e n t i t i e s .c o d e . notably nonreceivings and receivings as well as initiations of action.M5 284 Marriott's interpretation features what he terms "substance-code. t h a t i s . and so o n . Ibid. it m a y b e r e l a t i v e l y g r o s s o r s u b t l e . It i s n o t e w o r t h y t h a t n o t o n l y is w h a t w e ( W e s t e r n e r s ) t h i n k of a s " m a t e r i a l s t u f f " s o c o n s t i t u t e d . Ibid. one . . substance-code.inseparably "code-substance" or "substance-code. It is " p a r t i c u l a t e . in t h i s s c h e m e . . and "substance-code. substance and c o d e . " d i v i d u a l " rather t h a n " i n d i v i d u a l .KARMA THEORY IN S O M k I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H I C A L SYSTf. I n M a r r i o t t ' s v i e w t h e I n d i a n c o n c e p t u a l s c h e m e is t h e r e is b a s i c a l l y o n e kind of stuff. and Marriott goes o n about caste that t o p r o v i d e an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f distinguishes castes according Indian to the thinking s t r a t e g i e s t h e i r m e m b e r s a d o p t in t r a n s a c t i n g s u c h s t u f f . Marriott's t e r m i n o l o g y . needs firmly to understand that those who transact as well as what and how they transact are thought to be. T h e c o n n e c t i o n of this general a c c o u n t t o the interpretation of castc b e h a v i o r is s u g g e s t e d b y t h e f o l l o w i n g : Transactions. appearances. spirit and matter. T h e s c h e m e is " p a r t i c u l a r i s t i c " : s u b s t a n c e . d i v e r s e . it c o n s t i t u t e s "all highly natural and transformed "by combinations separations of their substance-codes.c o d e s are b a s i c a l l y p a r ticles w h i c h are c o n s t a n t l y moving from one aggregate ( b o d y ) to a n o t h e r . m o r e o r Jess c a p a b l e o f t r a n s f o r m a tion. p. distributive events are assumed to be general: one actor and his 27. and their nature is c o n s t a n t l y words.c o d e r a n g e in s i z e f r o m g r o s s t o e x c e e d i n g l y s u b t l e . and so f o r t h " are also t y p e s of of various kinds." Before one begins to think oi Hindu transactions. a r e a g g r e g a t e s o f p a r t i c l e s o f s u b s t a n c e . T h e s e p a r t i c l e s o f s u b s t a n c e . changing.il rankings through what are thought to be the actors' biomoral losses and gains. " and t h e y are c o n s t a n t l y e x c h a n g i n g s o m e o f t h e m s e l v e s w i t h w h a t is in t h e i r e n v i r o n ment."2:s A characteristic and fundam e n t a l a s p e c t o f I n d i a n l i f e c o n s i s t s in t h e e x c h a n g i n g o f s u b s t a n c e code. such transformations conceived o n analogy with the heating or c o o k i n g o f f o o d s t u f f s . called "monistic"." I n d i a n t h o u g h t is n o t c h a r a c t e r i s e d b y s e p a r a t i o n s b e t w e e n l a w a n d nature. m i n d and b o d y . . 28.". " it " c o n s t a n t l y c i r c u l a t e s . P e r s o n s are t h u s . both demonstrate and bring about natural or substanii.c o d e to gain and loss of t h e s e particles. A pattern of distributions or communications is also implied. 110. a n d in v a l u e f r o m n e g a t i v e ( e v i l ) t o p o s i t i v e ( g o o d o r p u r e ) . in owing P e r s o n s . including other persons. " w h i c h are i n e v i t a b l y and therefore divisible. b u t l i k e w i s e " p e r c e i v e d ideas. Such communicative.7 M a r r i o t t d e l i n e a t e s a n u m b e r o f f e a t u r e s o f s u b s t a n c e ..

p. 134. the householder (grbasibin) with the maximal tactic." asymmetrical exchange in which I give more than 1 get. and renunciation (samnyasa) with the minimal tactic. or whether we must find a different interpretation for them.. forest-dwelling (vanaprasthya) with the optimal tactic. But actors and their interactions are never to be separated from each other. 39 Marriott gucs on with great skill to develop an analysis .superior in explanatory p o w e r to previous accounts of caste behavior. POTTER action are never for long quite like another actor and his action. and "minimal. artha. Ibid. However. identifying the student (brahmacarift) with the pessimal tactic. I shall try to show that getting clear about this may well provide the basis for much more incisive analyses of the history-' of Indian thought and related Indologica) matters. The question 1 want to raise now is whether it also rationalizes the karma and rebirth theories ! sketched earlier. "maximal. or asramas. It will be my reluctant conclusion that the latter is required."' symmetrical exchange in which 1 try to maximize transactions. I shall not summarize that analysis here. 29. p. . 30. and kama triad of values spoken of in Dharmasastras and other influential classical texts. and they all change constantly through recombinations of their parts.262 KARI. 3 0 The reconstruction of the Indian conceptual scheme which Marriott provides. This is accomplished largely through exploring what were termed "moral. H e is also able to relate the four strategies to the classical account of life stages. he also spends a good deal of time developing its connection with and implications for the so-called great tradition of H i n d u i s m . II. "pessimal. Marriott thinks of this triad as corresponding respectively to the dbarma.. is conceived in broad terms and is clearly intended to provide a rationalization for a great deal of Indian thought and behavior. Ibid. The four tactics are ''optimal. 112. Marriott in his interpretation not only promises to make sense of the behavior reported in the data from village studies." symmetrical exchange in which I try to minimize transactions." which involves asymmetrical exchange in which I get more than J give. instrumental. and affective" aspects of transactions from a broader perspcotivc. except to report that the account features a distinction of four extreme tactics which is then used to construct matrices in which an indefinite variety of behavior can be mapped. then. they change together.

k a r m a t h e o r y in somk i n d i a n p h i l o s o p h i c a l systf. We saw that in Yoga this means. The texts sometimes comment on the untenabilitv of any view which implies that one person might experience the results of another person's actions. sancita acts. of activities motivated by concern for liberation." these residues certainly can. that discovery "burns the seeds" of the past. practically by definition. That leaves only the prarabdhakarman. though on Marriott's account one's self is a function of one's substance-code. roughly. he acquires no new residues. even to G o d . Relating to this fundamental point are several corollaries which are likewise significant. Karmic residues are construed as substance in these theories. which is composed of the three gun as. and once the liberated man has experienced the results of that karma he will not be reborn. in Yoga and Advaita (as well as all other Hindu philosophical systems) one's self is precisely not substance-code. In either system one's bondage or liberation is something he himself has to earn. Indian philosophy consists. following practices which will result in one J s acts not producing seeds of future results. according to Sahkara. composed of the g unas). not transferable. Yet it seems to me we must infer that this kind of substance-code is not transferable. In Advaita one accomplishes the same end by discovering that one doesn't really act at all.m5 263 The fundamental reason why Marriott's interpretation will not fit the karma theories expounded in Yoga and Advaita is that those theories do not allow for transfer of karma. he cannot give away his karma to someone else. Liberation is understood as release f r o m bondage to the cycle of rebirth through rendering the karmic process inoperative. and so forth. The point of these theories. The Sankhva account of bondage is that it is due to the confusion on the part of the buddbi stemming f r o m its failure to discriminate the self (purusa) f r o m the substance-code (prakrti. Por one thing. while the interpretation that one naturally derives from Marriott is that they should. "We hear nothing about transacting or transferring karmic residues in Yoga and Advaita. It is the purusa which is dynamic. the motivation for developing them. and so forth. In Yoga and its sister system Saiikhya the self is called purum and is carefully distinguished from the stuff (prakrti) which makes up citta. Indeed. and Advaita accounts ignorance (avidya) about the relation between the self and what is not the self is the root-cause of . which has already begun to bear fruit. derives from the philosophical concern for liberation. and if anything can be said to be "code. intelligent. O n Sahkhya. and since one no longer acts. Advaita's view is similar. Yoga.

He thus increases his actual independence. he achieves a subtler. but uses this tactic to reduce his attachment to any intake. reality being contrasted with the phenomenal world of ignorance. p. Ksatrivas. he characteristically gives away all his possessions. In all the Hindu systems it is the appreciation of the distinction between the self and other things which is of the essence—this is even true in Advaita. ASA mendicant. . POTTER bondage. is never really b o u n d . Another corollary relates to the nature of the renunciate. and transaction. but only through ignorance appears to do so. action. Ibid. as we noted. his freedom from external influence. 32.H." which 31. but of each previous stage that he has visited in sequence. If he [the samtwasin] is sometimes respected much more than his current minimal transactions would justify—more than the comparable Vaisya among the vamas — this seems due to an assumption of a cumulative effect. explicit in the texts: the renounce!1 should have achieved the virtues not of a single strategic position alone. Ji N o w it is true that the sarpnyasin is expected to withdraw from transaction of worldly materials. though professedly a monism. w h o m . and Sudras) it is the Vaisyas w h o are the minimizers ideally. Marriott tries to explain as representing the attitude of minimal transacting. He sinks from the mora! perfection of the forest-dweller by accepting alms in low-ranking media from all persons. That something is amiss 1 1 1 this is suggested by the fact that in Marriott's reconstruction of the classical f o u r varnas (Brahmanas. especially through developing inner powers of thought. Marriott explicitly notes: This stage [of renunciation| requires the tactic of minimal transaction in gross substance that typifies the Vaisya. To the extent that the living renouncer succeeds in minimizing his transactions. But most of the rest of the passages just quoted are hard to verify from the texts.264 RARl. 3n Advaita the true Self. which. T h e account offered seems to describe someone w h o wishes to become a samnydsin and chooses to demonstrate his intent by "reducing his attachment to any intake. celebrates the discovery that there is nothing else in reality except the self. Ibid. Realization of this fact is all that is required to end the karmic process. never really acts. 132. Vaisyas. 31 Marriott himself seems to have doubts about this aspect of his analysis: he feels himself required to offer a few words of explanation about the parallel between sarttnydsift and Vaisya. or samnyasin. thus more perfect substance-code. the dtman which is brahman. the idtnnyasirt can no longer gain by gross and lavish giving..

does not fit well when applied to matters having to do with bondage and liberation.EvAKMA T H E O R Y IN SOME INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL SYSTEMS 265 was preceded ideally b y his having achieved the virtues of student. eating. are taking place at all. It must be clear that this model of two streams meeting. the positive approach of action (pravrtti) and the negative approach of withdrawal f r o m action (nivrtti). then. and performing natural bodily functions. Marriott's interpretation. What seems to have happened here is that Marriott is describing the external analogue to the behavior of the sdmnyd&n. to "withdraw from the world" in the sense of losing interest in worldly transactions. and indeed it seems from the texts that one who tries to become a sartmyasin merely by attempting to withdraw From transactions will not necessarily succeed. indeed. H e has gotten this way because he has realized that transactions and worldly affairs generally are merely projections of ignorance. the Ksarriya's maximizing. and forest-dweller respectively. it represents an entirely different indigenous interpretation. or even the Sudra's pessimizing. and eventually being straightened out again is relevant if the streams are one person's experience. In Sanskrit parlance we find philosophers speaking of two approaches to things. O n Sahkara's account. eddying. it is clear that what are from a transactional perspective actions or failures to act are nothing of the sort: they are at best the last vestiges of the ignorance that he has now dispelled. H e does not promise to stop moving. bur has missed the inner logic. The samnyasin is one who takes the latter approach. a liberated person. in him only pt &rabdhakarman is still impelling his body. which mean nothing at all to him now. But a would-be sumnyasin and the real thing are quite different. speaking. sleeping. such as the Braiimana's optimizing. The philosophical tradition is not the " p u r e " side of the transactional interpretation. If the streams are lost in a vast ocean of . When . that in fact nothing like that really happens. and likewise that one w h o employs other tactics of transacting. What he promises to do is to stop thinking transactional!y. a samnyas'm is a jivanmnkta. but no actions. properly speaking. which is the exact opposite of transactional. householder. but makes no sense if the context is interpersonal. With this realization that he has never acted and cannot do so now or in the future. This is suggested by a moment's consideration of the Yoga model w e explored earlier. may be able to achieve samnyasa more easily than bv the Vaisya's minimising.1 sanmyasin takes his vows he promises to adopt that kind of attitude.

. Yet s u c h a n o t i o n is a l l u d e d t o in v a r i o u s p l a c e s e a r l y a n d l a t e r in H i n d u and Buddhist texts. d o n o t a l l o w t r a n s f e r of k a r m a . b e l o v e d o f I n d i a n s t h r o u g h t h e c e n t u r i e s . a t t e m p t s w h i c h b e g a n as e a r l y as the karma t h e o r y w a s r e c o g n i z e d and accepted and w h i c h have lasted until the present. T h e textual e v i d e n c e itself s t r o n g l y s u g g e s t s that there w e r e f r o m v e r y e a r l y o n in I n d i a t w o t r a d i t i o n s (at l e a s t ) w h i c h h a d l i k e l y t h a t t h e c h a n g i n g o f t h e trivarga of liberation t o a caturvarga—the dissimilar adding — traditions. in e x p o u n d i n g t h e t h e o r y o f k a r m a a n d r e b i r t h . it is (moksa) t o t h e t r i a d o f dharma. and to straighten t h e m out d o e s n ' t necessarily bring liberation to anyone. better. w ho pointed out the connection when a draft of the present paper was read to a seminar at the University of Chicago in 1977. T h e q u e s t i o n is. b u t that in represent traditions requiring reconciliation satisfactory world-view. does not k n o w to heaven. i am indebted for this point to James L. POTTLR o t h e r s t r e a m s . T h e Bbagavadgita. from two which appears of l i b e r a t i o n a n d t r e a t s dbarma the ultimate end as the for s u p e r i o r w a y a m a n s h o u l d c h o o s e t o o r i e n t his life. 3 3 That the theory of k a r m a a n d r e b i r t h c a m e l a t e t o t h e V e d i c c o r p u s is s u g g e s t e d b y a p a s s a g e in o n e o f t h e U p a n i s a d s w h e r e Y a j n a v a l k y a s e e m s t o s u g g e s t t h a t k a r m a is a s e c r e t d o c t r i n e n o t t o b e e x p l a i n e d t o j u s t a n y o n e . f e a t u r e s — t h e t r a n s a c t i o n a l a n d t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l . 34.266 KARL. O t h e r e s s a y s in this collection constant r e p o r t s u c h p a s s a g e s . t h e e d d i e s w i l l d i s s i p a t e into t h e s e a a n d b e n o b o d y ' s in particular t o experience the results o l . w h o s e origins m u s t g o back into Vedic times themselves. a n d kama represented s o m e kind of a t t e m p t to s y n t h e s i z e the t w o Q u i t e p o s s i b l y t h e a d d i t i o n o f t h e samnyastn t o t h e o t h e r t h r e e ds- ramas r e p r e s e n t s a s i m i l a r a t t e m p t at s y n t h e s i s . m a y h a v e w o n its p o p u l a r i t y p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e it is s u c h a s e n s i t i v e a t t e m p t t o r e s o l v e o r t r a n scend the t e n s i o n s between the t w o t r a d i t i o n s . Fitzgerald. w h a t d o t h e y r e p r e s e n t ? M y n o t i o n is t h a t t h e y a r e t h e n a t u r a l o u t c o m e o f t h e attempt b y I n d i a n s to r e c o n c i l e the t e n s i o n s b e t w e e n the transactional a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . 3 4 T h e M l m a m s a exogetics. artba.2. distinct or vice versa. P r o b a b l y the single m o s t i m p o r t a n t line of r e c o n ciliation was religious. H. F o r e x a m p l e . theistic. If one can give one's 33. T h e f u n d a m e n t a l p o i n t in all t h i s is t h a t t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l systems. All o f t h e s e t h i n g s s u g g e s t that t h e k a r m a t h e o r y d i d n o t arise the transactional o n e . Brhadkran\(lka Upaniiad 3.13. a w a y to be leading conceivable they any m a n .

the conceptual scheme governing Indian thought and behavior. dharma versus moksa-—the more insightful will be our understanding of the historical development of Indian thought. That is the line of resolution developed in the Bhugavadgita and rehearsed in medieval literature. It is the basis of the Hinduism of the last half century or more. one may escape the necessity of having to choose between pravrtti and niir'rtti. By developing iii detail the transactional interpretation which Marriott has pioneered. pravrtti versus nivrtti. . by understanding more thoroughly the philosophical theories of karma and rebirth. is that the more incisive and rigorous our understanding becomes of the nature of the tensions between the t w o traditions—transactional versus philosophical. Other papers in this Volume will explore the ramifications of and alternatives to the devotional synthesis. and to a large extent still is. the historian of ideas should be able to grasp in depth much of what has been. M 5290 k a r m a — o n e ' s substance-cod <«—to God and thus he liberated from its fruition. though. by thus seeing more clearly just what are the points of contrast and what they may have meant to Indians of various walks of life at various points in history. What seems likely.KARMa THEORY IN SOMk I N D I A N P H I L O S O P H I C A LS Y S T f .

obviously one of the most basic and most commonly accepted premises of this tradition. Apurva. "There is no trace of transmigration i n the hymns of the Vedas. 451-499. (London.nd carly developments. 1967)." "dying ag:lin": provincd there i. .11 Karma. "f:tude sur I'origine de 1a doctrine du s.al A. p. N. is nOt found in its most ancicnt and venerable documents. On the prehistory and the elrlit'SI dewlopmems oi the doctrine of k3nna and sa'tlsara. 2). d.� a The available sources seem to indicate that the doctrine of rebirth. 1."1 We cannot and need not discuss here in detail the complex and con­ troversial question of ils origins J. e. and Sa1�I!ara was preceded by the idea of pllll(/rm�'ry/j. a few re­ minders may be sufficient. cominll:ltion of ollr t'. "re­ death. and "Natura]" Causes: Observations on the Growth and Limits of the Theory of Samsara WILHELM HALBFASS Introduction [t is one of the familiar paradoxes of the Indian religious and philosophical tradition that the theory and mythology of transmigra­ tion and karma.. Boyer. pp. A" Oulli'I(' of the Religious Literalure of !lIdi.lmsara. 33. M.g.iai'lfu(' 9:IS (1901.. 2 karma. f'uquh. J.)(is- 1. 1920. A.." jou". \'01. only in the Brahmaryas are there to be found a few traces of th(O lines of thought from which the doctrim' arose.1r. repro Delhi.

. pp. 1953-1956. Scheftelowitz. 1940. in the retributive. pp. O n l y t h e C a r v a k a s "materialists" critics p r e m i s e s ' — t h e belief in a c o n t i n u e d e x i s t e n c e b e y o n d d e a t h . in c y cles of death and birth. A n n o 320 (1923. A History of Indian Philosophy. 1929). 6. " r e t u r n " i n t o an e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e . Cf.v i e w . 1961). " k a r m a and Reincarnation in the Mahabharata/Mttflrt/j of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute 27 (1946). illustrated And by a f a m o u s passage of the c o m p l e t e a n d c o m p r e h e n s i v e w o r l d . 2 1 5 226). a n d it w i n s a l m o s t u n i v e r sal a c c e p t a n c e i n s u b s e q u e n t l i t e r a t u r e . as far as t h e y are k n o w n t o u s f r o m t h e r e p o r t s a n d r e f e r e n c e s o f t h e i r o p p o n e n t s . Brbadaranyaka degree even Upanisad w h i c h t e l l s us h o w A r t a b h a g a r e c e i v e d t h i s not o n l y here. APQRVA. t h e becomes idea of c y c l e s of death and birth. Accademia Nazitinalc dei Lincei (Roma). H o w e v e r . that i s .K A R M A . 512-550. where they are associated with the heretic teacher Ajita KesakasnbalF.. those of kdla and nvyati. 2). Delhi. " C a r v a k a " is used with more or less specific reference to a particular school. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 3. N . repr. pp. Narahari. " d e a t h . F o r t h e m a t e r i a l i s t s . cf. its f o r m u l a t i o n s i n t h e o l d e r U p a n i s a d s are still t e n t a t i v e a n d p a r t i a l . C f .. 5. A n n o 323 (1929.v i e w in c l a s s i c a l a n d l a t e r I n d i a n t h o u g h t . Digbanikaya 2. Frauwallner.burg. 4. 2 vols. Die /. cl.g. e.4 I n c o n t r a s t w i t h its a b s e n c e in t h e V e d i c h y m n s a n d w i t h its still controversial Upanisads.eit ah Schick\a!sgottheit in der indischen stttd traniichen Religion (Stuttgart. 667-713. Mem. Mem. T h e r e is a n e l e m e n t o f c o n troversy. G. Qasgupta. 3 (Cambridge. pp. of t h e lasting and retributive efficacy of our d e e d s m o r e a n d m o r e p r e v a l e n t i n t h e U p a n i s a d s . 17). oi t r a n s m i g r a t i o n s t h r o u g h lives. Geschichte der indischen Philosopbie (2 vols. T h e r e is n o i n h e r e n t 3.3 Mahdbbarata. Redekar: History of Indian Philosophy.2. t o o ? W h a t is t h e n a t u r e o f t h i s e n d ? Is it u n a v o i d a b l e ? — t h e n o t i o n leads to that of of punarmrtyu many punaravrtti. for example. t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f o u r p h y s i c a l b o d y . often interchangeably with th<? m(»re general term " L n k a y a t a . 242-310. Ser. " L i n e e d: una Stona del mate rial is m o m d i i n o . Ser. F. " Atti delta R. AND "NATURAL" CAUStS 269 t e n c e a f t e r t h i s e a r t h l y d e a t h — d o e s it c o m e t o an e n d . 1973). it is still o p e n basic to questions and d o u b t s . . ethically c o m m i t t e d causali t y o f o u r a c t i o n s . 5.ng.13. is t h e e n d . 102-113. j . it a p p e a r s still in c o m p e t i t i o n w i t h other theories and c o n c e p t s .23 ft. Tucci. trans. 2 9 5 .. pp. Sah. novelty. but to a certain in s u c h t e x t s as t h e teaching from Yajnavalkya.3 0 9 (trans. not organized and universalized into o n e secrecy. " T h e basic teachings usually attributed to the Carvakas are also mentioned in the Buddhist Canon. S. established and other 5 and somewhat tentative karma and status in as the a most ancient fully the doctrine o f and almost samsdra seems to be universally appear as accepted rigorous comprehensive of its basic w o r l d . G. E. also H . by V. vol.

T h e i r criticism oi t h e o r y o f k a r m a . the Prabodbacdfcdrodaya. K. are ridiculed. T h e i r p o s i t i o n is far f r o m b e i n g a l i v i n g sophical challenge to the authors of later t i m e s . w h i c h are basic p r e m i s e s o f the much m o r e t h a n a relic f r o m the d i s t a n t p a s t . Madhava. 9.4 1 (v. Sarvadarsarrasamgrabti {Poona. T h e e l e m e n t s d e a t h . 5. f i r e . this materialistic is t o a c e r t a i n e x t e n t k e p t a l i v e b\ r t h e t r a d i t i o n s o f t h e H i n d u s as w e l l as o f the jainas and Haribhadra's Buddhists. ' H o w e v e r . 1 1 It i s t h i s c r i t i c i s m o f d o c t r i n e s a n d p r a c t i c e s o f t h e V e d a s a n d 7. W e a l t h a n d p l e a s u r e are t h e s o l e a i m s o f m a n . pp. " * " A s l o n g as w e l i v e . 1906). 4 0 . Krsnamisra. 8. v." nobody sraddhu c e r e m o n y : T h e r e is n o " o t h e r activities m i g h t be i n it f o r w h o m o u r sacrificial u s e f u l . 21 J.r-vcisiddhantasamgraha world-views the !t Madhava's S<irv&diirsanasdma t t r i b u t e d t o Sahkara. E m a n c i p a t i o n is a w a r e n e s s o f this basically different approach. in p a r t i c u l a r i n falsely doxographic 9 move good The and t h r o u g h o r i g i n a l i m p u l s e . This is also q u o t e d in various o t h e r texts. is p r e s e r v e d b y t h e t r a d i t i o n . and so forth. which relate to samsarq as s u c h . T h e r e is n o philorather the "dialogue" b e t w e e n the materialists and their o p p o n e n t s . 10. p p . w a t e r . t h e r e is n o r e s u l t o f a n d b a d a c t i o n s . " hedonistic denial of the f o u n d a t i o n s of the karma theory. l'. C f . T h e r e is n o g o a l o r v a l u e b e y o n d e a r t h l y p l e a s u r e . S.. SC. but rather t h e b e l i e f in i m m o r t a l i t y a n d r e t r i b u t i o n in g e n e r a l o r in its the "other world" (paraloka). " T h e e l e m e n t s are e a r t h . j n d air. H a n b h a d r i . Saddaridtiasamxccayti. A c c o r d i n g to the Carvakas. " 7 " D h a r m a a n d ad h a r m a d o n ' t e x i s t . . p p . w h a t t h e d o x o g r a p h i c a c c o u n t s p r e s e n t as t h e e x p l i c i t t a r g e t o f t h i s c r i t i c i s m is in m o s t i n s t a n c e s n o t t h e t h e o r y o f k a r m a a n d older forms. Vcdic sacrifices. 4 0 . t h e d o x o g r a p h i c p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e C a r v a k a s is u s u a l l y h i g h l y s t e r e o t y p e d . the §addar$anasamuccaya. Sarvadjrsznasamgrjha.. l'vabodhacandrodaya. 2. literature. and trans.g. l e t ' s h a v e a p l e a s a n t l i f e . to a c o n t i n u e d existence of o u r ancestors. $j. it a p p e a r s f o s s i l i z e d i n its c o n t e n t s a n d a r g u m e n t a t i o n . sacrificial p e r f o r m a n c e s are n o t h i n g but a means of livelihood for the p e r f o r m i n g priests. p. 5: yavaj jivet sukham jivet. A n a n d a i r a m a Sanskrit Series [ASSJ.4 1 {act II). N a m b i a r (Delhi. ed. 11.WILHELM HALBFASS p o w e r o f r e t r i b u t i o n a t t a c h e d t o o u r d e e d s . b u t it is n o t ideas o f i m m o r t a l i t y and r e t r i b u t i o n . 1971). grahd. particularly the world. A s a m a t t e r of fact. PrabodbuLandtodayu. a n d darsana\ and v a r i o u s o t h e r w o r k s o f t h i s t y p e all p r e s e n t t h e C a r v a k a v i e w as o n e of the traditional other texts a n d as a f u l l y e s t a b l i s h e d influence of deplore growing materialistic hedonistic ways of thinking. T h e r e is n o o t h e r w o r l d .

1 4 it is always taken as their indispensable background and presupposition. Daiva. See notes 111—114 below. in its earlier phases. 1951). 1861 ft. 21 ff. Bonn). headed by Makkhah Gosala. kdla. with Kamalasila's Pancika). in a specific sense. L. G. no longer represent an impersonal cosmic "fate. B Gilford (Bombay.27 (Vamadeva in the womb). H. The Doctrine of Kaphart in Jaina Phibiophy. J. Diss. 1942). Ifi." is no longer seen as an independent ordaining principle. K a r m a explains the causes of our present fate1® by means of what has been regarded as "one underlying fundamental intuition.g. ed. [4." 1 7 But although it may be argued that karma is directed toward a single all-comprehensive world-view. p. AND "NATURAL. are accommodated to or identified with it. Transmigration and Karma (London and Madras. (German original: Leipzig. p. Scheftefowitz (see n. 36: ' Thus Karma or Adrishta becomes the one and only law of the universe." 17. von Gtasenapp. to later developments of the doctrine of karma and samsara are very rare. 14. The doctrine of karma and sa?nsdra is protected into the most ancient texts. and which. 4). also Sri Aurobindo. vv. Concepts and theories which were initially used independently of and without reference to the karma theory. 1969j. but becomes a function of k a r m a . e. and so forth. appear side bv side with it and as its possible rivals. H. GacWad's Oriental Series [GQS]. "time. l f l we cannot disregard the concrete historical varieties 12.K A R M A . JO. including the Vedic hymns." 1 3 virtually nobody in rhe classical and later traditions of Indian religion and philosophy has questioned the basic principles of the theory of karma. on the U niters a! ization of karma. A specilie criticism of the transfer of a jiva from one body into a new one is found :n the Lokavata chapter of Sinriraksita's Tattvasamgraha. cf. The most notorious fatalists in the Indian tradition are the Ajivikas. iiasham." but are constituted by one's own past actions. Krishnainacharva (liaroda. I'anikkar. "The Law of Karman and the Historical Dimension of Man. p. trans. History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (London.. The problem of Rebirth (Pondicherry. There seems to be no explicit awareness and hardly any reflection of the initial absence of the theory in the oldest period of thought. Veda 4. Cf." Philosophy East and West 22 (1972): 26. niyati." CAUSES Ifl Brahma nas which is carried through the centuries by the doxographic tradition. 16. R. Christian and other critics have often emphasized the all-inclusive character of karmic causality. APURVA. 1926. 1S9K). 1915. "materialistic" arguments which relate. In a negative perspective. 15. A. Cf. 13. T. . although the texts which document this absence are carefully preserved. E. Cf. pp. are reinterpreted in the light of the karma theory. 1 2 Apart from the Carvakas and certain other "materialists" and "fatalists. Slater.

have inevitably Been futile. in popular mythology as well as in philosophical thought. 1 shall try to describe and to analyze some of the basic and exemplary problems which arise from the encounter and juxtaposition of karma and other contexts of causation. or that natural processes are necessarily governed by or subordinate to retributive causality. The theory of karma and samsara is not. and certainly has not always been. they do not form a simple and unquestioned unity. See the introduction to this volume for a survey of these varieties. In its various contexts and applications. power. . it has at least three basically different functions and dimensions: karma is (1) a principle of causal explanation (of factual occurrences). that is. the understanding of the karma theory has often been hampered by an exclusive and thus misleading search for Qne basic principle or pattern of thought. 20. one "underlying intuition. The realm of cosmology and even that of biology is not eo ipso coextensive with the realm oi samsara. the doctrine of karma and samsara is a very complex p h e n o m e n o n . It is by no means simply taken for granted that the whole world is just a stage for ethically committed or soteriologically meaningful events. There are various ways of specifying and delimiting karma and samsara and of relating karmic causality to other contexts of causality. Attempts Eo categorize karma definitively "as such" as a law. of retribution and of possible soteriological progression. (2) a guideline of ethical orientation. It does not represent one basically unquestioned pattern and premise of thought. one essential meaning. etc.272 WII." by an exclusive interest in its core and its essence. In the following. These three functions are balanced. (3) the counterpart and stepping-stone of final liberation. and integrated in various manners. 1 9 There are symptomatic border problems. belief.Hri M HALBFASS and deep-rooted tensions and ambiguities which remain with the theory even in its fully developed "classical" versions. both historically and systematically. and it would be quite inadequate to try to find one master key. disregarding its perimeter and its limits. reconciled. The perspec19. theory.. principle. its conflicts and its tensions. It functions at various levels of understanding and interpretation. 3 0 In its concrete totality. the Indian way of thinking. as an unquestioned presupposition as well as an explicit theory. one single hermeneutic device which would allow us to understand it all at once and once and for all. As a matter of fact. "grey zones." questions and ambiguities concerning the scope and limits of karmic causality.

moksa. specifically its interpretation by Rumania. "yogic perception" (yogipratyaksa). A short "epilogue" will refer to Sahkara's retrospective consummation of the theory of karma. Sahara's Bhasya. and which exemplify the processes of adjustment of pre-karmic and extra-karmic ways of thinking to the theory of karma and samsara. and they do not refer to or presuppose any general theory of an ethically committed. O n the other hand. and reinterpretations. It carries with it a set of pre-Upanisadic notions and ways of thinking which may appear obsolete ill the new atmosphere. the founder of the Arya Samij. Karma and the MTmamsa Concept of Apitrva The MTmamsa. then I shall deal with some basic problems of the Vaisesika concept of adrsta. Wc do not here consider later. 1 shall focus on cases which reflect historical changes in this area. Divided into various schools. the following is of peculiar significance: the Mimamsa carries the heritage of the "prekarmic" past of the Indian tradition into an epoch for which karma and samsara have become basic premises. commonly accepted as a leading theme or even as the basic concern of philosophical thought. the " L o r d " (tivara). I shall first discuss the MTmamsa concept of apilrva. A N D " N A T U R A L " " CAUSES tive will be historical. presents itself as the advocate of the Vedic foundations against criticisms.ss. irreversible liberation is itill reflected in the teachings of Dayananda Sarasvati. more properly Purvamimamsa or KarmamTmamsa. Mimamsa deals with dharma.). changes. which illustrate the differences and tensions between older and later levels of thought. not with moksa. .. These texts d o not deal with " w o r k s " or "deeds" in general. the concepts of karma and samsara do not play any role in the Mimarnia$Utra and remain negligi ble m its oldest e x t a n t commentary.21 Familiar ideas like the cyclical destruction of the world (ma bapralaya). Final liberation (moksa. syncreristic tendencies. does nor play any role in the older literature of the system." or state* oj hli. remain excluded even in its later literature. retributive causality inherent in 21. The MTmaipsa neglect of the idea of final.2 For our present discussion.K A R M A . it disregards or rejects ideas or doctrines which have become basic premises for the other systems. Ai'C'UVA. he recognizes only temporary "paradises. As well as their counterpart. it carries the exegesis and defense of the Vedic sacrihcial dbarma into the period of the classical philosophical systems. into their framework of methods and presuppositions. and so forth. 22.

" p r o t o karmic") causality. become m o r e significant and manifest in its t h o u g h t and argumentation. which are considered to be the core of dbarma. There is no explicit reference to aphrva in J a [mini's Mlmdmsdsutra. henceforth abbreviated SV). "Previous births" ( janmantara) are aiso accepted by Sahara on Jaimini's AflmamsiiiHtra (MS) 1. Tailanga (Benares. The discussion of these problems centers around the concept of apiirva. for Rumania that particular " p o t e n c y " which gathers and stores the efficacy of the Vedic rituals and makes it possible for transitory sacrificial performances to have lasting effects in the distant future. Kumarila. the encounter of this type of causality with the wider causal context of karma and samsara leads to symptomatic questions of correspondence and mutual adjustment. but as tacitly accepted presuppositions or as points of reference and orientation. where he speaks about the non-remembrance of what has been experienced in a previous lift*. Kumarila's basic concern in this connection is to explicate and to justify the specific Mimamsa ideas a b o u t the efficacy of the Vedic rituals. 1899. Kumarila's procedure presents a remarkable example of a highly specialized and idiosyncratic line of thinking which nevertheless illustrates some of the m o s t basic problems of the functioning of karma and of causality in general.3. 1 1 This is exemplified in a very peculiar and complex manner b y the writings of Kumarila. H e has to do this in the context and atmosphere of ways of thinking for which karma and samsara have not only become basic premises but which have also developed sophisticated theoretical models and a keen sense of problems in this area and with reference to causality in general. as well as muksa. karma and samsara. Cf. not so much as explicit themes. Mhnamsaslokavarttika with Nyayaratnakam of Parihasarathitnisra. We cannot discuss here the background and prehistory of the Mimamsa usage of this concept (in particular its role in Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya. or the question whether or to what extent it relates to its 23. Choivkhamba Sanskrit Series [CCS1. They deal only with the specific efficacy of the Vedic sacrificial works. Sambandhaksepaparihara. However. a text with which Kumarila is well acquainted).2. The efficiency of the Vedic rituals entails its own special and " t r a n s . We find it only in Sahara's Bhasya and its commentaries and subcommentaries. ed. K S. the most successful systematizer of the Mimamsa tradition. . fully developed philosophical system. with the transformation of Mimamsa into a comprehensive. ICS tf.k a r m i e " (or father. w .2 74 VHLHELM H ALBLASS such deeds.


A N D "SI A T U R A I "


usage in grammatical literature, as characterizing the "prescriptive rules" (vidhi), which teach something "new," not said before. The way in which it is discussed by Sahara and his commentators leaves n o doubt that, even within Mimamsa, it is a very controversial concept. It is presented in basically different interpretations and at various levels of thematizatton and reification. Sahara's brief remarks are commented upon in two widely divergent sections in Prabhakara's Brhati and in Kumarila's Tantravarttika,2i Prabhakara's comments are even shorter than Sahara's own remarks; in their brevity, they remain cryptic and deliberately elusive as far as the ontological status oi apitrva is concerned; for more explicit statements we have to refer to the writings of Prabhakara's follower and commentator Salikanathamisra. 2 5 Kumarila's commentary, on the other hand, is very elaborate, and it goes far beyond Sahara's own statements; the apurviidhikarana of the Tantravarttika is the most important and most comprehensive discussion of the topic in classical Mimamsa. At the beginning of this section, a lengthy piirvapaksa is presented, according t o which the assumption of apitrva is quite unnecessary and unfounded, Kumarila's refutation is a special application of the epistemological device of arthapatti, "circumstantial inference" or "negative implication": Vedic injunctions would be meaningless or misleading if the connection between the sacrificial acts and their future results were not established; apitrva is this indispensable connecting link. Apitrva is a potency produced by the sacrifice which makes it possible that its fruits be reaped at a later time; it is a bridge between the actions and their promised results. In this context, apitrva appears as a specific device to account for a specific exegetic problem. Yet Kumarila himself leaves no doubt that it has wider and
24. The decisive section is on MS 2,1.5, It relates to an objection already discussed by Sahara on MS i.1,5—that as long as the sacrifice takes place, it does not produce its fruit, and when the fruit occurs, the sacrifice is no longer there. Another relevant section is found in the Vyakaraniidhikaratia of Kumarila's Tantravarttika (henceforth TV), in Xfimamsadarsana (jaimrni, Sahara, Kumarila), ed. K. V. Abhvankara and G. S. josi (Part i, on 1.2.1-2.1.49, Poona, ASS, 1927, Poona=, 1970) on MS 1.3.2429. On the use of apitrva in grammar, cf. Pataniali, ti&ahabhasya on Panini 1.4.3. Bhanrhari's Vaftpapadiya uses the word in 2.!i l J (quoted by Kumarila, TV 241 ff); 3.7.34:3.1.69. 25. Cf. his commentary, RjuvimalapaAcika, on Prabhakara's Brhaii (Brh) (Part 3, ed. S. Sub ram any a Sastri, Madras, 1962) and his systematic monograph Prakardtm&ancika. In Prabhakara's interpretation, the word arambha used in Jaimini's Sutra is much more important. O n the contrasting interpretations, cf. G. jha (Jha), Purva-mbnamsa in Its Sources (Benares,- 1964), pp. 226 ff.




more general implications and ramifications: basically, [lie same problem for which the concept o! apurva is supposed to provide a solution exists also in the case oi ordinary, "secular" activities such as farming, eating, studying: 2 ' 1 the results cannot be expected right after the completion of the acts, but onlv some time in the future. A certain storable " p o w e r " (sakti) is necessary as a connecting and mediating principle between act and result. This is a rule which applies to all cases of instrumentality and to the causal efficiency of actions in general. 2 7 The actions as such are sequences of vanishing moments. They can gain totality, coherence, and future efficacy only if, in spite of their temporal disparity and constant disintegration, their causal power is accumulated and integrated and remains present up to the completion of the appropriate results. This is even more obvious in the case of complex activities which combine various actual performances at various times and occasions; a favourite example in the sacrificial field is the new and full m o o n sacrifice, darsapurnamasa.28 We cannot and need not enlarge here on the technical details and scholastic developments of the theory of apurva. O n e of the main issues is h o w subdivisions in the realm of apiirva are supposed to correspond to the complexities of the rituals and the Vedic pronouncements by which they are enjoined, how certain subordinate, auxiliary actions have or produce their own specific units of apiirva, and how these contribute to the final and comprehensive apiirva of the complete sacrifice, which in turn corresponds to the unity and totality of the result, for example, heaven, svarga.Basically, apiirva comes in " u n i t s " of higher and lower order; incomplete acts do not produce any apurva at all; and the subordinate apurvas of the auxiliary parts of the sacrifice d o not accomplish anything independently, if the whole sacrifice is not completed.-™ O n the other hand, the distinguishability of the various apurvas or " u n i t s " of apurva accounts for the multiplicity and variety of the results.- 11
26. TV, p. 365. 27, TV, p, 366: sarvasadhananam istaphalapr.tvritav aruaralikavyapiiravasyabhavitvat. 2H. TV, pp. 364-365. 29 Cf. Jlia, pp. 240 ff. The most familiar handbook of the later period is Apadeva, Mimamsanyiyapfakasa (Apddt-vt), ed. and trans. F. Edgerton (New Haven. 1929). 30. On the structural analogy between apurva and the concept of sphoia as used isi speculative grammar, cf., e.g., Mandana, Sphotasiddhi, v, 10(tranv. M. Biardeau, ed. N. ft. Bhati, Pondicherry, 1958), pp. 29, 83. 31. TV, p. 367: yasya tv apiirvam kriyante, tasya pratskarma pratiyogam ca tad bhedad upapanne phalatianatvavaicitrye.

K A R M a , APCliVA,




27 7

In trying to locate optima, to account lor its lasting presence after the disappearance of the sacrificial act as a physical act, Kumarila ultimately resorts to the soul of the sacrificer—although apitrva remains for him a potency (yogyata) generated by, and in a sense belonging t o , not the sacrificing person, but the principal sacrifice (pradhanakarmati) itself. The causal potencies created and left behind by the sacrificial acts remain present as traces or dispositions (isjmikara} in the person who has performed them; according to Kumarila, there is no other possible substratum in which they could inhere.- 12 Throughout his discussion* Kumarila takes it for granted that in its basic dimensions his discussion of apitrva responds to problems which concern acting in general, in particular the relationship of acts to such results that occur only in the distant future. In a sense, it appears as a case study on the causal efficiency of acts in general. Yet the dividing line which separates apitrva f r o m other types of causal potency remains clear and irreducible. Apitn'd is unique insofar as it results exclusively f r o m the execution of Vedic injunctions; and its separation f r o m and juxtaposition with other, "secular" types of act ing and of causal potency leads to peculiar though mostly implicit problems of coordination and of possible interference. There seems to be a basic assumption that if Vedic rites, including all subsidiary acts, are performed in strict accordance With the Vedic rules, they will not fail to produce their proper results. Sacrificial, "aptirvic" causality seems to operate within a finite and well-defined set of conditions, a kind of closed system, in which it seems to be secure from outside interference: in bringing about its assigned result, the power of the sacrifice, that is, apitrva, will prevail over Other possible influences, including those wdiich might arise from the general karmic status of the sacrificer. 33 The standard example of a sacrificial result 111 Kumarila's discussion is the attainment of heaven (svarga); in tins case it is obviously impossible to challenge empirically the efficacy of the sacrifice, that is, its power to produce the result. However, there are other cases where the actual occurrence of the result is not relegated to a future life or a transempirical state of being, T h e most notable among these is the
32. TV, p. 3f)9: yadi svaSamaVtta-eva saktir isyeta karmanam, tad viols e tato 11a syat, kartrstha m na nasyati. 33. On the other hand, it is held that if a particular result is assigned to a particular sacrifice by the Veda, only this, and no other results, wtf) he accomplished; cf. SV, Citraksepaparihara, v. tfo


Vi'Il H i I M H A L B F A S 5

citra c e r e m o n y , 3 4 w h i c h is s u p p o s e d t o lead to the a t t a i n m e n t of cattle (pasu) and thus presents itself as an easy target of criticism and ridicule, already referred t o and discussed in Sahara's B h a s y a . 3 5 R u m a n i a devotes o n e c h a p t e r of his Shkavarttika to presenting the a r g u m e n t s against the citra c e r e m o n y (Citraksepa) and a n o t h e r one to r e f u t i n g these a r g u m e n t s (Citraksepaparibara). In his r e f u t a t i o n , he does n o t resort to any extra -apiirvic factors, such as the bad k a r m a of the sacriiicer, to account f o r the o b v i o u s irregularities in the appearance of the assigned result. It is simply the nature of the citra sacrifice that there is no specified and exactly predictable temporal sequence between its p e r f o r m a n c e and t h e occurrence of the result. T h e desired result, the a t t a i n m e n t of cattle, may very well occur n o t in this but in a f u t u r e life; on the other hand, cases of t h e acquisition of cattle which are not preceded by empirically ascertainable citra p e r f o r mances should be seen < 3 S results and indicators of p e r f o r m a n c e s of this ritual in a previous existence, and the invisible causal agency of apurva should be taken as directing the visible sequence of events;. 36 In the case of the " t a i n - p r o d u c i n g " harm sacrifice, h o w e v e r , relegation of the result to an indefinite f u t u r e seems to be m u c h less acceptable, since what is at stake here is the production of rain in the immediate f u t u r e . In this case, R u m a n i a c a n n o t avoid referring t o adverse apiiri?ic influences, to the c o u n t e r p r o d u c t i v e efficacy of o t h e r Vedic actions, which, ar least temporarily, prevent the result of the IcarirT c e r e m o n y (rain) f r o m appearing. R u m a n i a ' s c o m m e n t a t o r Parthasarathi adds that we are dealing here with acts p r o h i b i t e d by the Veda, t h e result of which stands in o p p o s i t i o n to the p r o d u c t i o n of rain; at any rate, the obstructive influence should itself be rooted in specific acts enjoined or prohibited b y the Veda, not in any general k a r m i e circumstances.- 1 7 R u m a n i a ' s discussion of apiirva remains f o r the most part restricted to " o p t i o n a l r i t e s " (katiiyakarman) and rites f o r specific occasions, which are aimed at the fulfillment of specific desires and needs and presented in t e r m s ol positive injunctions (vidhi). The question w h e t h e r there is an apurva c o r r e s p o n d i n g to the violation of 34. The defense of the citra sacrifice is one of the most symptomatic cases of Mlmiimsa apologetics, an J it became one of ihe starring points of Ml mam sst (_*pistemologv. 35. On MS 1,1.5. 36. Cf, §V, Ciiraksepaparihara, vv. 11—12. 37. v. 26; cf. PSrthasarati in $V, p, 6SS,






p r o h i b i t i o n s (pratisedbd% t h a t is, r e s u l t i n g f r o m such a c t i o n s w h i c h a c c o r d i n g t o t h e Veda will lead t o p u n i s h m e n t s o r u n d e s i r a b l e c o n s e q u e n c e s , is o n l y briefly r e f e r r e d t o b y R u m a n i a . ™ Basically, h e is r e a d y t o accept s u c h a n e g a t i v e c o u n t e r p a r t of t h e p o s i t i v e p o t e n t i a l r e s u l t i n g f r o m p r o p e r sacrificial e n a c t m e n t s ; t h e r e is a n t t p i i r v a r e s u l t ing f r o m v i o l a t i n g t h e p r o h i b i t i o n t o kill a B r a h m i n , and it will acc o m p l i s h the p u n i s h m e n t of the violator in hell (naraka). Yet it is n o t s u r p r i s i n g t h a t R u m a n i a d o e s n o t f u r t h e r enlarge o n this p o i n t . H e has o b v i o u s l y reached a r a t h e r delicate b o r d e r area of his t h e o r y of apurva w h i c h w o u l d m a k e it d i f f i c u l t f o r h i m t o avoid v a r i o u s c o n ceptual e n t a n g l e m e n t s a n d t o k e e p his d i s c u s s i o n w i t h i n t h e limits of a Specifically Vedic c o n t e x t of c a u s a l i t y a n d f r o m lapsing i n t o t h e g e n eral held of " k a r m i c , " t h a t is, r e t r i b u t i v e c a u s a l i t y : w h a t , f o r e x a m p l e , is t h e m e c h a n i s m g o v e r n i n g a v i o l a t o r of a Vedic p r o h i b i t i o n w h o is n o t entitled t o t h e s t u d y of the Veda a n d t h u s c a n n o t d e r i v e a n y apurva f r o m it? W h a t h a p p e n s t o a S u d r a killing a B r a h m i n ? A n o t h e r p o i n t w h i c h is n o t realty clarified is t h e apitrvic s t a t u s of t h e " p e r m a n e n t r i t e s " (nityakarman), regular p e r f o r m a n c e s w h i c h are n o t d e s i g n e d f o r the a t t a i n m e n t of specific results. I n t h e Slokavcirttika,39 R u m a n i a m e n t i o n s t h e m casually in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e t h e m e of final l i b e r a t i o n , w h i c h is n o t really his o w n c o n c e r n ; t h e i r value c o n s i s t s in their c o n t r i b u t i o n t o e l i m i n a t i n g p a s t d e m e r i t a n d t o k e e p i n g off such d e m e r i t w h i c h w o u l d result if t h e y w e r e n o t p e r f o r m e d . T h e s y s t e m a t i c i m p l i c a t i o n s of these s u g g e s t i o n s are n o t pursued. Apurva is a c o n c e p t u a l device d e s i g n e d t o k e e p o f f o r c i r c u m v e n t e m p i r i c a l l y o r i e n t e d criticism of t h e efficacy of sacrifices, to establish a causal nexus n o t s u b j e c t t o t h e c r i t e r i o n of d i r e c t , o b s e r v a b l e seq u e n c e , Yet, in t r y i n g t o s a f e g u a r d m e t a p h y s i c a l l y t h e apuruic sanct u a r y of sacrificial causality, R u n w i l a r e p e a t e d l y e m p h a s i z e s t h a t its basic p r o b l e m s are parallel t o t h o s e of " o r d i n a r y , " " s e c u l a r " causality and a c t i o n : t h e " e m p i r i c i s t s " are n o t safe o n t h e i r o w n g r o u n d ; even t h e r e t h e y c a n n o t get a l o n g w i t h o u t s o m e d u r a b l e a n d c o o r d i n a t i n g " p o t e n c y " (sakti), w h i c h m u s t be a n a l o g o u s t o t h a t of apurvfo*0 K u m a r i l a c o m m i t s himself m u c h m o r e d e e p l y to d e v e l o p i n g a
38. TV, pp. 368-369; ct. Somesvarn, Nyayaiudba (on TV), eel. Muivtnda Sastri (Benares, CSS, 1909), p. 604. 39. Sv, Sambandhaksepaparihara, w . 110 if.; cf. also M. Hiriyanna, Outlines of Indian Philosophy (London,'- 1967), p. 330. 40. See above, p, 274.


H A I . B ! ASS

c o m p r e h e n s i v e m e t a p h y s i c s ] theory of apurva t h a n his rival P r a b h a kara, and he goes m u c h m o r e clearly and r e s o l u t e l y b e y o n d Sahara's s t a t e m e n t s . In p r e s e n t i n g the atman as t h e " s u b s t r a t u m " (asraya) of apurva, w h i c h i n h e r e s in It as a samskara, h e o p e n s h i m s e l f , as I shall d i s c u s s later, t o t h e i n f l u e n c e of m o d e l s of t h o u g h t d e v e l o p e d in N y a y a and Vaisesika and p r e s e n t e d in V a t s y a v a n a ' s Nyayabhasya and e l s e w h e r e . P r a b b a k a r a n o t o n l y a v o i d s l o c a t i n g apurva as a satpskara in t h e sacriricer; h e also a v o i d s a n y c o m p a r a b l e t h e o r e t i c a l c o m m i t m e n t . F o r h i m , t h e basic q u e s t i o n raised b y the c o n c e p t of apurva is n o t that of a causal m e c h a n i s m f u n c t i o n i n g t o w a r d t h e a c c o m p l i s h m e n t of a d e s i r e d result (phala), b u t t h a t of t h e u n c o n d i t i o n a l a u t h o r ity and i m p e r a t i v e p o w e r of t h e V e d a : w h a t is " t o be d o n e " ( k a r y a ) a c c o r d i n g t o the Vedic i n j u n c t i o n s h a s n o t m e r e l y and n o t even p r i m a r i l y an i n s t r u m e n t a l v a l u e , a n d it n e e d n o t be e x p l a i n e d o r justified in t e r m s ot a c o h e r e n t t h e o r y of its causal e f f i c a c y ; n o r d o e s t h e Veda have t o d e r i v e a n y a d d i t i o n a l m o t i v a t i n g p o w e r f r o m s u c h a t h e o r y . 4 1 As R a m a n u j a c a r y a ' s Tantrarabasya e x p l a i n s in an e l o q u e n t s u m m a r y of the P r a b h a k a r a v i e w s o n this m a t t e r , " d u t y " (karyafg) and " i n s t r u m e n t a l i t y " (sadbanata) are essentially d i f f e r e n t , and t h e f u l f i l l m e n t of t h e Vedic i n j u n c t i o n s (vidbi) is a p u r p o s e in i t s e l f . 4 2 H e r e , t h e " o p t i o n a l r i t e s " a r e t h e m s e l v e s i n t e r p r e t e d in t h e light of t h e " p e r m a n e n t r i t e s , " w h i c h a r e n o t m o t i v a t e d b y the e x p e c t a t i o n of a d e s i r e d result. As w e n o t e d earlier, K u m a r i l a , t h o u g h e m p h a s i z i n g t h e parallels b e t w e e n apurva a n d o t h e r " s t o r e d e f f e c t s " of a c t i o n s , d o e s n o t integ r a t e his n o t i o n of apurva i n t o t h e general c o n t e x t ot the t h e o r y of k a r m a , n o r d o e s he discuss p r o b l e m s of i n t e r a c t i o n , o v e r l a p p i n g , or c o n f l i c t b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o t y p e s a n d c o n t e x t s of causality. T h e r e can be n o d o u b t that K u m a r i l a is f u l l J y a w a r e of she k a r m a t h e o ry y and, m o r e o v e r , that he r e c o g n i z e s it as a generally a c c e p t e d and basically a c c e p t a b l e p r e s u p p o s i t i o n of p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h o u g h t , 4 3 Yet his w a y of d e a l i n g w i t h it r e m a i n s , in spite of a few r explicit s t a t e m e n t s , casual and elusive. W h i l e K u m a r i l a is f a r f r o m q u e s t i o n i n g the b a s i c validity of the t h e o r y in g e n e r a l , h e d o e s reject certain s y m p t o m a t i c a p p l i c a t i o n s , specifically in t h e field o f c o s m o l o g y , and h e p o i n t s o u t s o m e f u n d a 41. Cf. Brfl, pp. 319 ff; Hiriyanna, pp. 328 f{. 42. Ramanujauarva, Tantrar.thasya (I'R), cd. R. Shania Shastry. 2nd ed. bv K. S. Ramaswami Sastri (tiaroda, GOS, >956), pp. 57, 59. 43. Cf. SV, Sambanifhaksepaparilffra, vv. lJ4 tf.





m e n t a l difficulties w h i c h arise in this c o n t e x t . In a c c o r d a n c e w i t h the M i m a m s a refusal t o a c c e p t t h e d o c t r i n e of p e r i o d i c w o r l d d e s t r u c t i o n s and s u b s e q u e n t r e g e n e r a t i o n s * h e rejects t h e a t t e m p t of t h e Vaisesika s c h o o l t o explain these c o s m i c p r o c e s s e s b y p r e s e n t i n g t h e r e t r i b u t i v e p o w e r of past d e e d s , t o g e t h e r w i t h the c o n t r o l l i n g a g e n c y of t h e "Lord, 1 * as t h e i r e f f i c i e n t c a u s e : 4 4 k a r m a c a n n o t b e the m o v i n g f o r c e b e h i n d the w h o l e w o r l d p r o c e s s In the theistic Vaisesika o r in the "atheistic" Sahkhya context. O n the o t h e r h a n d , it is o b v i o u s that the w a y of t h i n k i n g w h i c h is e x e m p l i f i e d b y t h e Vaisesika c o n c e p t of adrsta— t h e r e t r i b u t i v e potency of past d e e d s s t o r e d as a q u a l i t y of the soul (atman)— has served as a m o d e l f o r the explication of apiirva b y R u m a n i a and b y s u b s e q u e n t a u t h o r s . Apiirva a n d adrsta are o f t e n f o u n d in close relat i o n s h i p . T h e y m a y be u s e d a l m o s t i n t e r c h a n g e a b l y , o r adrsta m a y f u n c t i o n in specifically sacrificial c o n t e x t s as a c o n c e p t w h i c h i n c l u d e s apiirva.** W e m a y also refer h e r e t o S a h k a r a w h o uses apurva in s u c h a way that it relates to k a r m a , that is, w h a t is called adrsta in Vaisesika, in g e n e r a l , 4 6 . H o w e v e r , in this c o n t e x t K u m a r i l a himself uses n o t t h e t e r m adrtfa b u t samskara, w h i c h in Vaisesika is restricted t o o t h e r f u n c t i o n s . A p o s s i b l e s o u r c e f o r t h e use of sanaskafa in R u m a n ia's d i s c u s s i o n of apiirva w o u l d b e the " e x a m i n a t i o n oi the f r u i t " (phatapar'iksa) in t h e Nyayabhasya.47 T h i s section r e s p o n d s d i r e c t l y to t h e baste c o n c e r n of t h e apiirva d i s c u s s i o n : h o w can a c t i o n s , specifically sacrificial p e r f o r m a n c e s b u t also actions in a general sense, p r o d u c e results w h i c h o c c u r a l o n g time a f t e r t h e c o m p l e t i o n a n d d i s a p p e a r a n c e of t h e a c t i o n s ? T h e Ny&yabhasya. a n s w e r s t h a t the act i o n s leave c e r t a i n d i s p o s i t i o n s (safrtskata), n a m e l y , dbarma and adharma, in the soul and t h a t t h e s e m a k e it possible t h a t the f r u i t , s u c h as h e a v e n (svarga), is r e a p e d at a m u c h later t i m e . E v e n in t h e c h o i c e of its e x a m p l e s , t h e Nyayabhasya s o m e t i m e s c o m e s close to R u m a n i a ' s p r e s e n t a t i o n . It is n o t e w o r t h y t h a t t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of SdstraJlpika, e d . I , . S . D r a v i d ( B c - n a r e s , CSS, pp. 320 ff, ?>27 ff. Although iheSankhyj is more in the focus of rhin argumentation, it seems that the idea which is rejected here was not originally at home in Sahkhya; see bdow, n, 71. 45. Cf. Slandana, Sphofnttidiibi (see n. 30), ^• II (p. 84); Parch as ambi, Sastradipikd, p. f4; also the "Glossariai Index" in F;, Et&g&iXQtisApade'ui (see above, n, 29), 46. On Badarayana's Brab»ia$iit*<t (B$) 3.1.6; 3.2.38 ft. 47. On Gautama's NySij/asiiira (NS) 4.1,44 ff., in The Nyayasiitras ivith Vatayayatufe Bhasya, eJ. G. S. Taihrtga (Benares, Viiianagram Sanskrit Series. 18%). On SaMskara cf, also Yogditttra 3.9 ff; 4.8 ff. (vasaita),
44. [ b i d . , vv, 70 f f . C f . P S n h . i s a r . i t h i ,

in Prasastapadabhasyam . n o real quality or potency can inhere in or belong to an action. Seltt by Padmanabha Misra. with comm. activated during the actual performance of the sacrifice. which precedes the Taritravantika and deals with apurva in a more casual manner. ed. Apurva may be stored and coordinated in the soul. Vkinagram Sanskrit Series. i n which he still refers primarily t o the older view that there is a " d h a r m a without s u b s t r a t u m " (anasrito dbarmah). 273 ff. .Z$2 WIS H E L M HM. Vidhivivtrka. cd. m Bbasbya of Praiastapada. CSS. While Kumarila cautiously adopts for his own context what he finds useful in the Nvaya or Vaisesika discussions. b u t a l s o b e l o n g s t o a n d is c a u s e d b y . 639 ff. VyomavatJ (Vy) by Vyomasiva. it is not found in R u m a n i a ' s Slokavarttika.BFASS apurva as a samskara is introduced only in the Tantravarttika. it is and remains 48. together with the \yaytikandali. For him. In MImamsa. S&kti by jagadTsa. the question of personal authorship and responsibility is less important here: what produces apiirva is rather the impersonal p o w e r of the sacrifice itself. the official act of initiating the sacrifice. V. and Vyonmvati by Vyomasivacarya. Nyayakandali f'NK) by Sridh#a. Dvivedin (Benares. of which we have to bear the consequences as traces in o u r o w n soul." Although Kumarila maintains that the soul (atman) of the sacrifice* is the subject or the " d o e r " of the sacrificial action.1. Examples may be found in Sridhara's Nyayakandali and in j a y a n t a ' s NyayamanjarT. 49.. only the utsarga. wa^ already discussed and refuted by U d d y o t a k a r a in his Nyayavarttika on Sutra 1. In accordance with the main direction of the karma theory. pp. Gopinath Kavirai fBenares. has to be done by the sacrifices the actual performances themselves may be left to "paid agents. 4 ® A shorter. Tarkilahkara. less specific discussion is found in Vyomasiva's Vaisesika c o m m e n t a r y . . pp. representatives of these systems in turn try to cope with the MImamsa theory of sacrificial causality or specifically with R u m a n i a ' s explication of apurva.7 A major difficulty which Sridhara sees in R u m a n i a ' s apiirva is the way in which it is still supposed to belong to the sacrifice itself and not just to the sacrihcer. which is only unleashed. yet it is not merely and not even primarily a quality or subordinate ingredient of the soul. P. he also refers to Mandana. basically a m o u n t i n g to the idea of a substrateiess and impersonal power which is invoked and manifested by the sacrificial performance. Sridhara quotes from ihcapitrvadkikarana of TV. a pre-Rumarila version of the theory of apurva. t h e f e t i n g person (purnsa): we are the responsible causes of our actions. adrsta as understood in Vaisesika i1* n o t o n l y s t o r e d in. this passage does not indicate any acquaintance with TV. 1924—1930). . 1895).

A c u r i o u s d i s c u s s i o n of t h e q u e s t i o n o f p e r s o n a l a u t h o r s h i p in s a c r i f i c i a l p e r f o r m a n c e s is f o u n d in S a h k a r a m i s r n ' s U p .K A R M A . 6 . H e does not accept the Mimamsa restriction to specific and exclusively sacrificial contexts of causality. 1934—1936). e d .7. the magieo-ritualistie world-view of the Brahman a texts. 3(>9 f f . Kashi S a n s k r i t S e r i e s . . 5 1 jayanta quotes repeatedly from the sacrificial discussions in Kumarila's Slokavartdka. is q u o t e d t w i c e .7. t r a n s . SV. A N D "NATURAL. S m h a ( A l l a h a b a d . 3 7 0 ) . in a rare case of concrete biographical information in Indian philosophical literature. 5 . yet he does not accept the Mimamsa strategy of defense. . S u k l a . S a u k a r a m i s r a o b v i o u s l y m i s u n d e r s t a n d s t h e purvapakifc in M S 3. 51. p. 195 ff. 1[>11). as a samskara of the soul. ( B e n a r e s . In his Nyayamanjari. w h i c h w a s f o l l o w e d b y t h e a c q u i s i t i o n of t h e village G a u r a m u S a k a . C f .19 f f . 5 0 Although Kumarila has made various adjustments to the way of thinking exemplified by the Vaisesika doctrine of categories and to the theories of samskara and adrsta. but sees a much more open field of possible interaction and interference with other karmic influences. he mentions an immediately successful siimgrdhatti ceremony performed by his own grandfather. J ay ant a discusses the problems of sacrificial causality in accordance with the N y a y a tradition of Vedic apologetics. v. C i t r a k s e p a p a r i h a r a . S a c r e d B o o k s of t h e H i n d u s . \yayama»jdr] ( N M ) o f J a y a n t a H h a t t a . S. he constantly refers to a view which. : : b e soul is i n d i s p e n s a b l e as an a & a y a . which presupposes an impersonal mechanism of forces to be invoked by the rituals. a l s o S v o n S u t r a 2." CAUSES 283 the effect and the stored power of the sacrifice. N . b y N . . 2 5 0 .3S ( r e j e c t e d M S 3. 5 2 . p p . i s k n r j o n VMsesikasfitra ( V S ) . 1 . w i t h S a h a r a ) as Jaimini's o w n view. is m e n t i o n e d o n p . 2 5 5 . 5 2 Jayanta places the theory of sacrificial efficacy more resolutely in the general f r a m e w o r k of the theory of karma and samsara. a v a i l a b l e in m a n y e d i t i o n s (first C a l c u t t a fhb. T h e "samskaric" view (samskriyapaksa) is presented as a specialty of the Nyaya school. H e is far f r o m questioning the specific role and efficacy of Vedic rituals.no. w . remains present as an underlying factor in his discussion of apiirva. ISfil). TV. p p . apurva. t m K s S t & g n & a p i c e r e m o n y . p p . however. p . 2 v o l s . . of the Tantravarttika. 366 ff. t h e s i m i l e of t h e c a m e ! . b u t r e m a i n s c o m p a r a b l e t o a m e r e c a r r i e r ( c f . In his criticism of the Mimamsa theory of sacrificial causality. c f . 2 6 . 24S f f . Ind. unlike the theory of Tantravarttika. N M . T h e possibility of "defects 1 1 1 the sacrihcer" (kartrvaigunya) is seen as much m o r e relevant and as a potential cause of delay for the reaping of the 50.: die pitritsii is n o : t h e s a d h a n a of the rfesulis. he does n o t give any indication that he is aware of die apurvadhikdra. does not recognize the storage of sacrificial effects t of apiirva.

the sacrifice is not supposed to perish without anv fruition at all {adfttaphala. In classical Vaisesika. p. lyottstoma). as represented by Prasastapada. f i I ASS sacrificial results. exemplifies the encounter of a system of cosmology. cf. 249 ff.f o u r qualities (gutia) enumerated in the list of "categories" ipadartba) of the system. Adrsta. 254). However. and " N a t u r a l " Causality In the development of the Vlimamsa concept of apiirva. . where the relationship between the dominant apurva of the jyatUtoma (the means of attaining heaven) to the negative potential of the act of killing which is subordinate to this sacrifice is discussed in a way which is characteristically different from R u m a n i a ' s way of dealing with this q u e s t i o n 5 4 — t h a t is.M H A l . Jayanta tries to integrate it into the general f r a m e w o r k of karma and samsara. SV on Sutra 2. The threefold division of sacrifices into those iffhich hear fruit alter death (e.. TV. 47 above]) on 2. . 54. without renouncing the Special role of sacrificial causality. any basic distinction in the nature of the sacrifices themselves. in particular in R u m a n i a ' s presentation.. Karma.57 ff. NM. which is rejected as a general explanation by Kumarila. has only a list ot 53. 368. it becomes unnecessary f o r Jayanta t o assume. and those which bear fruit in this life (e. the Nyayabhasya (NESh) (in NjjS |see n. the Vaisesikasutra attributed t p Kan ad a.13. adrsta is a comprehensive term for dfyarma and adharma.' 1 "invisible"). we f o u n d the encounter of Vedic exegesis and of the theory of the sacrifice with the general theorv of karma. 239 i f . p. chose which hear fruit irregularly (eaj. Finally." t w o of the t w e n t y . " m e r i t " and "demerit. and categorial analysis witSi soteriologic?! ideas and the attempt to explicate and to justify within its own conceptual f r a m e w o r k the theory of karma and samsara. demerits and retributive causality.284 WILHM. 5 3 Thus. on the other hand. integrated into a general theory ot merit. harm) is jayanta's direct target of criticism (NM.1. we may mention here a section in Vacaspati's Tattvavaisaradi on Yogasu!ra 2. the attempt to defend and to explicate the uniqueness of sacrificial causality and at the same time to cope with more general and basic problems of causality and action.g. p. philosophy of nature. as Kumarila does. the basic text ot the school.. vv. Since the varying degrees of immediacy and regularity in the appearance of sacrificial results can he explained by referring t o various factors of merit and demerit. At any rate. 252). The Vaisesika concept of adrsta ("unseen. On the vntgmtya theory.g. citra).

Mai van ta lAhmedabad. and it may be questioned whether or to what extent there is an original conceptual unity in these t w o usages. as qualities of the soul. ed. 28 Upaskara)..8 of the Upaskara version).3 is repeated as 10.2. 2 . Another section 5 7 uses adrsta and dharmaladharma in a more religious and ethical perspective.2. referring to the "invisible" results and purposes of ritual and ethical activities. s s ft is obvious that adrsta covers at least t w o different sets of problems and implications.20 (10.. Candratianda o n VS 5.1 ff. As far as the physical and cosmological usage of adrsta is concerned. 59. 57. Cf. 28 (9.2. VS 9. that is. the circulation of water in trees. cf. the upward flaming of fire.). with commentary. 6. such events as earthquakes are indicators of good and evil IsubbasiibhasFicana) for the Inhabitants of tlitr earth. the horizontal blowing of wind or air. etc. 5 4 Although there 5ft.15. w . 5 . the oldest extant commentary on the Vaisesikasiitra. it would obviously imply some kind of "group karma. dbafma c a u s i n g t h e m o v e m e n t of a t o m s t o w a r d t h e f o r m a t i o n of b o d i e s . The Jaina author JinaBhadra (probably sixth century and apparently not familiar with Prasastapada's work) states explicitly that the number ol qualities m Vaisesika is seventeen." . in the extraordinary type of cognition k n o w n as arsa. if this were 10 be expressed in terms of the karma theory. " Although the Vaisesikasiitra does not list adrsta among the "qualities. M. Visdiavasyakabbasya.2. the initial movements of a t o m s and " m i n d s " ( manas . " Dharma is further mentioned as a causal factor in dreams. the third " c a t e g o r y .2. " p a d a r t h a ) } adrsta moves objects in ordeals and magnetic processes. 58. A N D " N A T U R A L " CAUSES 308 seventeen gutias which does not include dharma and adbarma. Most of the occurrences of adrsta are f o u n d in a section 5 6 which deals with various causes of mostly physical movements (karman in the technical meaning of Vaisesika. and so f o r t h .2. it causes extraordinary movements of earth and water.2. 56.1. 8. to their " m e r i t " and " d e m e r i t .ation of Vaisesika and of its attempted merger of soteriology and " p h y s i c s . 2972 ff. according to Candrananda's Vrtti.5. 2 . and there is no reason to accept the later claim that they were implicitly considered Asgurtas. 1966-1968). its primary function seems to be to account for strange and extraordinary p h e n o m e n a in nature which would not be explicable otherwise (magnetism. upward movement of fire. a l s o VS 4." the term and concept is nevertheless quite familiar in this text.24.9. VS 5 .e. in the process of forming new organisms). |9. as Well as for phenomena which seem to be signs or t o Contain an element of reward and punishment. i.D . 4 . VS 6.KARMA. 5 5 The integration of dharma and adbarma into the list gunas is a symptomatic step in the process of the final systemati?. AI'IJRVA.

h 0 In cases like this. nor does it state that they are different. retributive. the Suite text does not indicate in any way that the adrsta. the regeneration of o u r universe starts again.However.1.286 WILHE LM HALBFASS is an obvious ethical implication in the second group of cases. adrsta appears simply side by side with other causes of physical motions like "gravity" (guruti/a) or " f l u i d i t y " (dravatva). it s h o w s a close analogy with apurva. T h e most m o m e n t o u s function of adrsta seems to be referred t o in the statement that it causes the initial movements of atoms and " m i n d s " — the function of a "prime m o v e r " when after a period of mabapralaya. repeatedly uses the word apiirva in this context. NBh on NS 3. also 4.. Cf. Candrananda's and Sahkarjmisra's attempts in this direction art not very convincing.1. at the beginning of a new world period arc meant. Already the Nyayabbasya of Vatsvavana has a more unified concept of dbarmai adbamta as being inherent in the soul.iih lengthy remarks on Mimamsa. etc. likeadrstA. In this sense.f o u r gunas. or psychological implications are suggested. 61. is to be u n d e r s t o o d as inhering in souls (atman). which is taken for granted by Prasastapada and later Vaisesika. Sankaramisra on 5. for which no ethical. which inhere in those material substances which they affect. Sankaramisra. was first established in an explicit and definite manner. This assumption w o u l d seem to be even m o r e remote in cases like the u p w a r d flaming of fire. and the connection between the retributive efficacy of deeds. "gravity" and " f l u i d i t y " are explicitly classified as "qualities" only in the later list of t w e n t y . O n the other side and in an obviously different perspective. which is supposed to cause these events. adrsta or dbarmaiadbarma is introduced to ensure the retributive efficacy of actions which have a ritual or moral significance. 62.5. We d o not k n o w when the identity. . 6 .* 1 The Vaisesikdsutra does not state that the unseen physical power behind such p h e n o m e n a as the u p w a r d flaming of fire and the retributive p o w e r of past deeds stored in the soul are identical.44 ff.13 (14 Candrananda) suggests that only first movements of llaminp. v. also his comments on VS 6.2. and certain physical processes has been made more explicit.63 ff. it does n o t consider the specific kinetic functions oi adrsta mentioned in the Vaih'sikasutra. stored as "dispositions" (samskara) of the soul..2. and it does n o t use the term adrsta as a s y n o n y m of dbamntladbarma. during which the whole world process has come to a complete rest. Instead the term is used with reference to a theory which is rejected by the Nyayabbasya and 60. cf. the author of the Upaskara on the Vaisesikasutra.

K A R M A . the word adrsta is introduced at NS 3. and religious f u n c t i o n s . which gives them the kinetic impulse needed f o r the f o r m a t i o n of bodies. and its ethical and soteriological implications remain at least very obscure. although atfarma and adbarma function as media of motion and rest and may evert be called their causes (Kundakunda. pp. in dreams. PaAcastikayasara. On the role of . There is no good reason to accept the suggestion ot Vacaspati's Nyayai . 308 ff. pleasure. of its basic c o n d i tion of breathing as well as of mental processes like desire and cognit i o n / ' 5 In particular. cf. in NK (see n. as a mechanism of reward and p u n i s h m e n t .. adrsta seems to f u n c t i o n primarily as a principle of phvsicalistic. which deals with the conditions of perception and corresponds to PB. also generally in the explanation of phenomena like desire. but only conditional and auxiliary causes (upagraha. VS 4. pp. 48 ff. adbarma as a factor in the occurrence of doubt. 96). 48 above). . 186. AI'IJRVA.17}. Tattvartbasutta 5. p.73. Vy. and SO f o r t h .'nttikatatparyatika that this is a jaina view. also in the " m i n d " (martas). leaves no d o u b t concerning the unity of adrsta in its various physical. jiid a certain spontaneous causality is left to the movable things themselves (cf. o r karmic retribution. that is. 65. We cannot discuss here the question of the influence of the "Great Lord" (Mahesvara) in this process. ethical. v. naturalistic explanation. Kundakunda.2. p.9. There remains a tendency to separate the contexts of physical or CQsmological explanation and of ethics. does not mention dharma. Umasvati. NBh on 3. m this view. Prasastapadabhasya (PB).1 T h e theory \kmi adrspi resides in the a t o m s and not in the atman is also referred to and rejected b y Prasastapada's c o m m e n t a t o r V y o m a s i v a . 66. AND "NATURAL" CAUSES 287 which maintains that there is an "invisible f o r c e " (adrsta) in the material a t o m s (anu). 186. PB. 63.idrstahlbarma in the process of sense perception. etc.72.2. 6 4 In the tradition of the Vaisesika school. Prasastapada emphasizes the role of adrsta in t h e cosmic processes of the periodic destruction and regeneration of the w h o l e universe. v. they are not supposed to be efficient (ibid. p. pp. its final s y s t e m a t i z e ^ Prasastapada. v. H e universalizes its application as an indispensable factor f u n c t i o n i n g in the processes of life and consciousness: dbarma and adbarma are s u p p o r t i n g causes and conditions ot life in general (jivanasabakarin). 6 6 T h e r e is no d o u b t that adrsta (dharmaiadbartna) has n o w become all-pervasive and that it f u n c t i o n s as the key factor in re-interpreting the " n a t u r a l " %vorld as samsara. 95). 6 . 175. 64. It may rather he a view which at a certain time had its proponents within Vaisesika or Nyaya itself. !S4. even the great systematizer Prasastapada has n o t been able to harmonize completely o r cover the ambiguities and dichotomies inherited f r o m t h e Vaisesikasiitra. 102: gamar&tibidikaranani).1. p. Yet. 638 ff. aversion. The question of the causality of atomic motion is highly ambiguous in jama thought.

hl P r a s a s t a p a d a savs t h a t . a p a r t f r o m its o t h e r f u n c t i o n s . as w e h a v e s e e n . 90 (trans. it is a s e c t i o n in t h e c h a p t e r o n " m o t i o n " (i. I n s t e a d . pp. n o t in s o t e r i o i o g i c a l s c h e m e s and m e t h o d s of l i b e r a t i o n f r o m samsara. karma n in its technical Vaisesika meaning) w h i c h p r e s e n t s adrsta in its m o r e specifically p h y s i c a l a n d b i o l o g i c a l r o l e and w h i c h refers t o t h e p e c u l i a r k i n e t i c f u n c t i o n s at- tributed to it in the Sutra. p. There is a rule in Vaisesika thai "invisible" causes should not be invoked as long as "visible" causes art available. t h u s not s i m p l y s u p p l e m e n t i n g . f>9. a n d Vedic a p o l o g e t i c s . this s e c t i o n f o c u s e s . in p a r t i c u l a r t h e specific e x a m p l e s g i v e n b y the Sutra. " isvara. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d . of w h a t is beneficial and harmful to u s ."s This twofold condition illustrates a b a s i c a m b i g u i t y in t h e m e a n i n g of adrsta: o n the o n e h a n d . 308 t'f. yet inevitably speculative thesis o r n o t — i t r e m a i n s u n d e n i a b l e t h a t the s o t e r i o i o g i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n is n o t g e n u i n e l y at h o m e in Vaisesika. " v i s i b l e " a n d t h e r e f o r e p r e f e r a b l e causes fail. E. ^ W h a t e v e r t h e o r i g i n a l s t a t u s of t h e Vaisesika m a y h a v e b e e n — w h e t h e r we accept Frauwallner's stimulating. it serves as a d e v i c e t o i n t e r p r e t the w o r l d p r o c e s s as samsara. on s o c i o r e l i g i o u s d u t i e s a n d t h e i r k a r m i c i m p l i c a t i o n s . Frauwflilner 2.f i l l e r in t h e realm of p h y s i c a l causality. are left o u t of c o n s i d e r a t i o n in the s e c t i o n o n dharma a n d adharma within the s y s t e m a t i c s u r v e y of t h e q u a l i t i e s . also t r y i n g t o i n t e g r a t e t h e " L o r d . T h i s w a s clearly felt even w i t h i n t h e I n d i a n t r a d i t i o n .. . t o w h o m w e o w e the m o s t p e n e t r a t i n g a n d reliable a n a l y s i s of the Vaisesika s y s t e m . PB. 68. r e t r i b u t i v e causality. i n t e r e s t e d in the e x p l a n a t i o n of n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a . adrsta has t o a c c o u n t f o r s u c h p h e n o m e n a in the m e r e l y materials p h y s i c a l realm of t h e e l e m e n t s (mahahhuta) w h i c h d o n o t have a n o t h e r w i s e ascertainable c a u s e (anttpalahhyamanakarana) a n d w h i c h can b e beneficial o r h a r m f u l (upakarapakarasamartha) to us.. t h e d h a r m i c c o m m i t m e n t and t h e s o t e r i o i o g i c a l r e l e v a n c e of the Vaisesika d o c t r i n e of c a t e g o r i e s w e r e 67. has s u g g e s t e d that in its o r i g i n s the Vaisesika w a s a " p u r e " p h i l o s o p h y of n a t u r e . F r a u w a l l n d r . t h e o r e t i c a l in its o r i entation. Jbid. Cf. b u t p o t e n t i a l l y r e p l a c i n g t h e w h o l e c o n t e x t of " n a t u r a l " p h y s i c a l c a u s a l i t y . 60). it serves as a k i n d of g a p .e. in t e r m s of r e w a r d a n d p u n i s h m e n t .Wll HE 1 M HALHFASS s o t e r i o l o g y . p. T h e p h y s i c a l f u n c t i o n s oi adrsta. p r o v i d i n g a p r i n c i p l e of e x p l a n a t i o n w h e r e o t h e r . q u i t e in a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e m o r e p o p u l a r c o n n o t a t i o n s of dharma. I'ffasastapada t e n d s t o u n i v e r s a l i z e the p r e s e n c e a n d i n f l u e n c e of d h a r m i c .

a m o r e positive response in a school which has a much m o r e genuinely soteriological orientation than the Vaisesika: the Sankhya. N B h on 1.s a principle of cosmologicai explanation was rejected b y the Mimamsa. pp. just like the absence or presence oi o t h e r factors. AFQRVA. 404 ff (trans. as well as that of the final redactors of the Vaisesikasiitra.. 318 ff. Frauwallner i. N B h shows the influence of Buddhist thought. ANL) "NAfURAL" CAUSES 2S9 repeatedly questioned. to account for karma in terms of a comprehensive metaphysics and categoriology.). or what is called karma in most of the other systems. 7 0 Adrsta. The most c o m m o n suggestion in Prasastapada's work is that of a causal aggregate in which adrsta functions as one among other causes (karatia): its absence or presence. C f .9 contrasts the Vaisesika categories. 7 1 We need not discuss here in detail the more technical problems of h o w adrsta is supposed to function in the contexts of physical and mental causation. and it has obviously contributed to the scholastic petrification of the Vaisesika. dharmai adbarma.1. the question of h o w it relates to or interacts with other causal factors. however. See above. as mere neutral objects of knowledge. with the soteriologically relevant Nyaya category of prameya. which may primarily have been a gap-filler in the causal explication of the universe. . may in part be understood as a response to such charges. this use of \tarmtdadrsta a. 72. may decide whether an effect. in particular as the moving force ot its periodic regenerations. takes place or not. be it an act of perception or a physiological process. has found its theoretical accommodation m a context which remains primarily ihat of a philosophy of nature and a doctrine of categories. 71.. 285. pp. This is a balance which is at the same time a compromise. In the presentation ot its soteriological claim. Prasastapada's procedure. Insofar as adrsta is presented as a potentially allpervasive factor in the universe. a karmic f r a m e w o r k has been provided for the functioning of " n a t u r a l " causality. At the same time. it f o u n d . on the other hand. this theory of the universe and of the categories of reality was presented as a framework and basis for explicating in a theoretically coherent manner the status and functions of retributive causality. found in the Nyayabhasya and other texts.K A R M A . O u r main concern is its status in the general field of causality. p. subsequently offered itself as a channel for a much more decidedly dharmic and soteriological reinterpretation of the Vaisesika theory of die universe. 7 2 H o w 70. As we have noticed earlier. or ii may add to or subtract from what other causes may bring about.

a specific jurisdiction over the particular body wrhich serves as a vehicle of retribution for that soul which is the adrsta's " o w n " underlying substratum. 109). may potentially function anywhere.7-3 An important condition of the understanding of adrsta is that its substrata.2. to provide an opportunity of retributive experience. Dvivcdin (Calcutta. or counteract causa! influences in the mental as well as in the physical sphere. together with the senseorgans and the " m i n d " (manas% provides thedtman with its karmic rewards and punishments. In this sense.67 calls t h e functions ot karma with reference to the body "restrictive" (tiiyatnaka). neutralize. The body. N'V on . the sou is. and NK. Fraiawal&er Z.29c W'lLHKt M HALBFASS ever. it becomes the function of the tree. which may unleash. p. or something like a medium and condition of causa! efficacy.!. \yayavarttikjm i'NV) of Lidvosakara Miira. The necessity of merit and demerit for the explanation of organic processes and structures is already a theme in the Ny ay a ultra. mu Jssekad ik armafertam blioktuh karinjpcknm prtliivyididnatuna A i i u g r h n a t j . which is included in the categoriaj systems of the Prabhakara school and of Candramatt's DasapadartbT. . it has. Since any atman is omnipresent. the process of fertilization and growth. its adrsta can function anywhere and affect all those entities which may become relevant for it in terms of karmic reward and punishment. Bihliotheca Indiea." sakti. p. its function would come closer to that of the "category" of "potency.. 154 (trans. in73. may be influenced by the karma of the person who at a later time will eat the fruits of the tree. the success of his action. on 4. 74. that is. p. V. but is rejected in classical Vaisesika. 194. 1887-1914). An illustration of this is given in Uddyotakara's Nyayavartuka: if somebody waters a tree. ed.>. are supposed to be omnipresent (vibbuJ. Its efficacy is thus not at all restricted to that particular body which is attached to its underlying atman as an instrument of samsaric experience. bakti is Ejected by Vy. pp. of course. sometimes it seems to represent not so much one causal factor among others. directed by the karmic potential of a soul which may or may not be that of the person who watered the tree.47. 7 4 Although any soul's adrsta. but rather another level of causality. Cf. and the Nyayabhasya and its subcommentaries give us elaborate ant! formalized " p r o o f s " for this necessity: there have to be vehicles. and the adrsta regulates their appropriate distribution. of enjoyment. 144 ff.

The implication seems to be that there is no life without karma. 7 7 The Vaisesikasiitra itself remains 75. 27.63 ff.2. and Jaina schools.2. as that which distinguishes living organisms from lifeless matter. Even within Hinduism. and the complex instrumental character of organic bodies (sarira) would remain unexplained if they were not seen as fulfilling this very function and as being shaped by the retributive causality of dharma and adbarma. AI'IJRVA. p. This purvapaksa is already referred to in NS 3. as we have noted earlier.l. N b h on 3. that is. Yet. which includes even minerals in its horizon of living. however. far from being a living challenge to the general acceptance of the karma theory in classical Indian thought. AND "NATURAL" CAUSES 291 struments of retributive experience. but as mere "objects'" (visaya). need not concern us here. are exactlycoextensive. 7 6 This radical materialistic denial of karmic causality remains. that there is no need to postulate karma as the formative principle of organisms. The definition of sarira is given in l.63: Bhutebhyo murtvupadavat tadupadanam. and its rejection is common to the Hindu. samsaric existence. that life and samsara. of transmigratory existence and of retributive causality. there has been some room tor questions and disagreements and f o r historical changes in this matter. the inclusion of the plants or vegetables has not alwayrs been accepted in all the philosophical schools of H i n d u i s m . . they are nothing but special configurations of the element earth. Is that it comprises the whole sphere " f r o m Brahma to the tufts of grass" (brahmddistambaparyanta). P B . in the realm of life. and it is not always simply taken for granted that life and samsara are exactly coextensive. 76.75 Karmic causality may affect material. Buddhist. A diametrically opposed view is presented and rejected in the h'ydyabhasya— the theory that there is no basic distinction between mere matter and living organisms. as receptacles ot experience. In Prasastapada's systematization of Vaisesika. just like stones. the realms of biology and of soteriology.K A R M A .l I. The standard idea of samsara. it appears as the most basic and decisive factor. 77. Yet there are certain questions and ambiguities concerning the demarcation line between the realms of life and lifeless matter. vegetables are not classified as living organisms (siirTra). The special case of Jainism. Ibid. that all forms of life are just spontaneous configurations of matter. physical processes in general.

pp. creatures which are called ksudrajantu. p. Sridhara in NK. jivanamaranasvapnapraiagaranarogabhesajaprayogabijasaia tiyanubandhanukulopagamapratikulapagamadibhyah prasiddhasarlravat: trees. later usually jarayuja and corresponding t o jivaja). 79. Cf. or " s p r o u t . denies souls in trees. An explicit discussion of the problem is found in U d a y a n a ' s Kiranavali: although trees are seats of experience. Chandogya Upanisad 6.3.3. predominantly the fourfold one.5. p.b o r n " (udbbijja. curability. Ktranavati of Udayanacarya. 39-40: vrksadayah pratiniyatabhoktradhisthit. 39 Cf.b o r n " ( svedaja. in a more general sense: born f r o m warmth and moisture).2. we find these schemes. . because their internal awareness is extremely faint (atimandantabsamjnata) and because they are mostly mere subsidiaries to other living beings. Jetly (Baroda. tri u different context.b o r n " (udbhinnaja). N.b o r n . Prasastapada chose not to include them in the class of sarira. the Chartdogya and the Aitareya. born f r o m something that bursts. 404). Upaskara on VS 4. svedaja. sense organs.. seeds. 83. the ijuestiuti is referred to bv Vvomasiva (Vy. The Sutra which divides the products ot earth into organisms. the whole issue is tacitly dropped or its treatment is adjusted to the more comprehensive view of samsara. 1971). " " s p r o u t . p. |. The two Upanisads neither explain nor exemplify exactly what they mean by these classifications. moreover. with certain variations in many later texts of differ78. the Aitareya Upanisad81 has a fourfold one: " e g g . seeking what is favorable. ed. sleep. Prasastapadabhasyam with the comm. dying. which we find also in die case of what is geucrallv accepted as iarhu. Aitareya Upanisad 3. Certain border-line problems are also found in the case of the lowest animals. splits).2. experiencing beings. GOS.60 all living beings are either " b o r n of an egg" ( a n d a j a ) . attachment to their own species. 81.1. the kind ol " b i r t h " of the various creatures. are inhabited by particular experiences. this scheme is already found in t w o of the oldest Upanisads. since they show al! the characteristics such as living. although they have all the basic attributes of living. T h e most familiar type of biological or zoological classification in India follows the criterion of the origin. disease. and finally " s w e a t . and objects is found only in the Upaskara version (4.1). Instead of this threefold scheme. and so forth in the Indian tradition. which includes the vegetables. " b o r n alive" (jivaja). also Sankaramisra. 7 8 In later Vaisesika texts. etc. In t w o different versions. H o w e v e r . " b o r n with an embryonic s k i n " ( jarttja. such as worms and insects. 7 4 Udayana still argues for what his successors usually take for granted. peculiar philological problems in this connection.ih. waking. avoiding what is unfavorable.292 VILHFLM HALBFASS ambiguous and poses. According to the Cbandogya Upanisad. 80. etc.

jalabuja. nor even of the more problematic group of the ndbhijja creatures (which are not always sirnplv understood as plants or vegetables.16- .2.4. APURVA.K A R M A . the biological and soteriological status of the creatures k n o w n as ksudrajantu and svedaja seems to be rather precarious in several texts. pp. Vanaspati (Calcutta. insignificant creatures." which is a cycle leading back to an earthly existence. p. "little.8. IS88I. lice. Cf.10. V.1-16. 85. and so forth. Vy. von Glasetiapp. maggots. p. nor the " w a y of the gods.. Cf. pp. Seal. Cf. in dharma literature. It has been suggested that this means that their existence is a merely ephemeral one and that they do not take any part in the processes of transmigration and retribution. 73).b o r n " creatures often coincides more or less with what in other contexts is called ksudrajdjittu.). Majumdar. 8 4 Sueh an interpretation would go beyond the ambiguous statement of the Upanisad. in philosophy. for example. P. 229: ksudrajantavo yikadayah.). 209. A classification of four types of birth (yoni) is also found in Buddhism: andaja. Opapatika refers to the "sudden" origination of gods. cf. mostly mammals). but rather with a form of soteriological failure which would relegate these creatures to an endless repetition of their state of being. etc. 1. N." 2 W'c need nor discuss here the implications of the andaja (birds. Stiti helpful as a general survey. (trans.) and jwaja groups (viviparous. 2. but occasionally also as animals coming from a larva. 193 ff.a.).. Trenckner I London.83 where we are told that these creatures live according to the rule " b e born and die" and do not enter the "way of the fathers. but to be used with caution: B. Frauwaliner 2. 1927). fish. and similar creatures are supposed to originate in various 82.8: kindrajantavab. The class of "sweat-bprn" or " h e a t . 83. 6. Cbandogya Upanisad 5. p. On Jaina classifications. not giving them any opportunity for soteriological ascent. samsedajaopaptatika \Majjbimanikaya 12. nan-karmic origin of these forms of life suggests itself. H. Indiscbe Geisteswelt (Baden-Baden s. Wrbadaranya^ta Upanifad 6. and more than once the possibility ot a spontaneous. Worms. esp. on plam life: G. The group which is of primary interest in the present context is that of the "'sweat-born" creatures. The Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus (London.2. vol. Manu 1. 1915).43 ff. Cf. Patarijali has various suggestions on the exact meaning of the term. vol. etc. ed. and it would not have the support of the parallel version of this text in the Brha da ra nyaka Upanisad. Panini 2.93 It seems that we are dealing here not with completely extra-transmigratlonal forms of lite." T h e expression ksudrani bhutani is already found in the Cbandogya Up a nisad. in medicine. At any rate." which is without return to earth. ANL) " N A T U R A L " CAUSFS m ent branches of Indian learning. 26lb ff.

. 257 (quoting from the Ratirdhasya and the Aitah^arahga)." cf. Atah&fahiisya on Panini i. mkrasoriinidivad dadbyavayathn vikrtan upadasyate• . pp. TatkaTahaSyodipika on Haribhadra's Saddarsanasamutcaya.1911).4.294 W1LHKLU HALBFASS disintegrating materials. R. M. in rotting f o o d . On the same "phenomenon. . And if this is possible in the case of worms. Beitragf zur mdiscbcn Erotik (Berlin. 1969). ) . into the bodies of w o r m s . there is no indication of an agency of " s o u l s " and their karma in these processes. . p. non-karmic origination of certain forms of life. 87. When the p o t is opened again some time later. C f . 49. 8 9 The Jaina commentator G u n a r a t n a even turns the appearance of worms in corpses into a direct argument against materialism.. there can be no d o u b t that it is the presence of souls (atman) and the efficacy of their karma which transforms parts of rotting substances.30: a casual reference in the origination ol "dung-beetles" (vrscika) from cow-dung. and f r o m other kinds of organic warmth and moisture. p p .g.Paesi. s p o n t a n e o u s origination ot life. Schmidt. ed. such as rotting sourmilk.1. F r a n it all n e r 2. w h o conducts various " e x p e r i m e n t s " to demonstrate the non-existence of the soul and the soulless origination of living creatures. rudbirodbhava) in the female sex organs and cause there the " i t c h i n g " (banditti) of sexual passion. v. 22+ ff. Jain (Calcutta. Hft F o r example. in excrement. since it had been sealed.6. e. 89. NM 2. he has a person executed whose corpse is p u t in an iron p o t which is then sealed up. . It is not surprising that the appearance of maggots in rotting materials was used by the Carvakas and other materialists in their argumentation for a non-karmic.1. why not also in the case of humans? The materialistic reference to the allegedly spontaneous origination of life in rotting materials is still mentioned in the piirvapaksa sections of various later texts such as Jayanta's Xyayamarijari. on the other hand. jniniapitha Murtsdevi Jaina Granthamila.. in pus. . 2 9 7 f f . thus creating peculiar vehicles of karmic retribution. K. so there must have been soulless. we hear about a materialistic king by the name of Payasi (Prakrit form: Paesi). Saiikara (also Bhiskara) on Bfi 2. 8 S . For Payasi. Cf. AcHrarigasiitra 1. ( i r a n s . p. this means: no souls could get into the pot. in corpses. Other examples may be found in medical literature." 7 N o n e of these texts gives us a theory of the spontaneous. 9 " In such classical S6_ Cf. the corpse is full of maggots. Pararijali.. In the canonical writings ot the Buddhists as well as of the Jainas. spontaneous origination of life f r o m mere matter. 2 1 6 f f . in j a y a n t a ' s Own view.6. 8 6 we even have the curious case of the small worms (krmi). which according to some writers on the science of erotics (kamasastpa) are produced f r o m blood (ntktaja. 90. p p .

t h e p o s s i b i l i t y of " u n d e s e r v e d " s u f f e r i n g caused b y " m e r e l y " n a t u r a l causes? In his p r e s e n t a t i o n of " p l e a s u r e " (sttkha) a n d " p a i n " (duhkba) as t w o " q u a l i t i e s " ( g u n a ) of t h e s o u l . an i n c r e a s i n g l y s y s t e m a t i c a n d rigid s u p e r i m p p s i l i o n of religious a n d s o t e r i o l o g i c a l s c h e m e s and p e r s p e c tives u p o n biological. vol. p. Samyutturukaya 26. the " r i p e n i n g of k a r m a " (kammavipaka) is o n l y 93 o n e of t h e s e . APORVA. . T h e c o n c l u s i o n Is t h a t t h e v i e w r e f e r r e d t o b y 9L We are no: considering certain developments in medical literature. w h i c h is c o n t r o l l e d n o t b y k a r m a b u t by the i n t r u s i o n of n o n . 4 (London.A L.k a r m i c causes m a y e x t e n d i n t o w h a t s h o u l d be t h e d o m a i n of k a r m i c r e t r i b u t i o n . L. T h e old s c h e m e s of biological a n d z o o l o g i c a l classification are n o t f u r t h e r d e v e l o p e d o r e m p i r i c a l l y s u p p l e m e n t e d .. in f a c t . c o s m o l o g i e a l o b s e r v a t i o n s . reference is made ioadbarma. it m a y be an a p p r o p r i a t e e x p e r i m e n t t o reverse o u r p e r s p e c t i v e and t o ask w h e t h e r o r t o w h a t d e g r e e t h e efficacy of p h y s i c a l a n d o t h e r " n a t u r a l . of t h e e m p i r i c a l o p e n n e s s i o r n a t u r a l p h e n o m e n a . " n o n .k a r m i c f a c t o r s ? Is t h e r e . specifically in Vaisesika. W e h a v e d i s c u s s e d earlier h o w k a r m i c causality. specifically of t h e T h e r a v a d a t r a d i t i o n . P r a s a s t a p a d a states t h a t they arise " i n r e l a t i o n to d h a r m a " (dharmadyapeksa)^2 a p a r t f r o m this. a d d r e s s this q u e s t i o n . Peer. cf. i n t e r a c t s w i t h o t h e r c a u s e s . o r r e p l a c e d by. h o w its s o v e r e i g n t y is e x t e n d e d a n d stabilized in t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of Vaisesika t h o u g h t . 1894). T h e B u d d h a r e s p o n d s b y e n u m e r a t i n g eight d i f f e r e n t causes of diseases. I n x\\e SamyutUinikaya.21. Since r e t r i b u t i o n t a k e s place in t h e r e a l m of a w a r e n e s s . z o o l o g i c a l .K A R M A . 93. T o c o n c l u d e this d i s c u s s i o n . A N D " M A ' I ' L . soteriological h i e r a r c h i e s . w e m a y f o r m u l a t e this q u e s t i o n as f o l l o w s : is t h e r e a n y t h i n g in t h e r e a l m of e x p e r i e n c e . pp. pp. l > ] T h e i n t e r e s t in s u c h classifications is m o r e and m o r e o v e r s h a d o w e d b y the i n t e r e s t in t h e w a y s a n d levels ot samsara." C A U S E S 295 and later s o u r c e s . R. PB. of t h e experience (bhoga) of p l e a s u r e o r p a i n . a n d a g r a d u a l e v a p o r a t i o n ot t h e spirit ot o b s e r v a t i o n . 230 ff. M o l i y a s i v a k a asks w h e t h e r it is t r u e t h a t all p l e a s a n t . 41 ff. o f p l e a s a n t a n d u n p l e a s a n t states of a w a r e n e s s . f o r e x a m p l e . ed. (trans. pp. In the case of dubkha (p. 260). 23). h o w it i n f l u e n c e s o r c o n t r o l s p h y s ical and o t h e r n a t u r a l p r o c e s s e s . T h e r e is c e r t a i n l y n o t h i n g t h a t m i g h t be c o m p a r e d to t h e v e r y p r o n o u n c e d and explicit w a y in w h i c h s o m e B u d d h i s t texts. 92. the o l d s c h e m e s of classification are r e d u c e d t o . Frauwallner 2. t h e r e is. p a i n f u l . a n d n e u t r a l feelings are caused by p a s t d e e d s f p u b bekatahetu). On the Vaisesika way ot including the biological materials in mythical soteriological schemes. n o t m u c h explicit a t t e n t i o n is paid t o t h e p r o b l e m in Vaisesika literature. 259-260.

(n. s h o w a certain lack of universality and a rigidity in the application of the karma principle. with certain variations. a m o n g o t h e r questions. 1919).2 (= iatapatba Brahmana 14. " 94. " " n e u t r a l " causality. the question w h y the " o t h e r w o r l d . of Indifference t o w a r d s karma and its peculiarly " s e l f i s h " and " p r i v a t e " causality.Leipzig. pp. " 9 7 T h e text first p r e sents the " f i v e . p. The two sections are found in dhandogya Upanisad 5. 1 ^ 4 T h e answer is that there can be such experiences. V. and that he Is still subject to such diseases w h i c h are not due to karmic factors. 216 ff. Deussen has called " t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t and most explicit text on the t h e o r y of t r a n s m i gration which we have f r o m the Vedic p e r i o d . specifically 7. .3 1921. 137. 134 ff.9.3—10 and Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 6. yet in the w a y in which it exposes even the B u d d h a t o " o r d i n a r y . and it has certainly not become the prevailing view in T h e r a v a d a o r t h o d o x y . T h e Milindapariha q u o t e s this passage f r o m t h e Samyuttanikaya and relates it to the question of w h e t h e r there t a n still be painful experiences f o r the Tathagata w h o s e stock of k a r m a has been eliminated. " " n a t u r a l . vol. pp. 1 (Leipzig.f i r e d o c t r i n e " (pancagnividya).1). Cf. it illustrates a p r o b l e m which was usually disregarded or simply precluded bv defi nition. 97. At the very least. in fact. Remarkable debates o n the scope and limits of karmic causality are also f o u n d in t h e K a i b a v a t t h u . repr. Die Fragcn ties Milindo. 1962). it o p e n s a dimension of f r e e d o m . KathaVatmu 7. 9 5 T h e r e has been a t e n d e n c y to disregard or reinterpret the viewexpressed in the Milindapanba.i<)6 W ! L H K L. a c h a p t e r w h i c h P.7—12. Epilogue: T h e " W a y of the l a t h e r s " and the Theory of Karma in Ankara's Advaita Vedanta Both the Cbandogya Upanisad and the Brbadaranyaka Upanisad c o n t a i n . 1880. the statements of leading Sinhalese authorities referred so by Nyanatjioka. 121). St'cbzig Upanishads da Veda (. t h e y illustrate the controversial status of this t h e m e as well as the basic contrast w h i c h was seen between the " p r i v a t e " and experiential processes of the " r i p e n i n g ot k a r m a " and such " p u b l i c " and cosmic processes as the f o r m a t i o n of the e a r t h . which is supposed to answer.10 establishes a sharp distinction between kamma and kaiTjnwvipaka. The Milindapartba. 9$:.M HALBFASS MoiivasTvaka is n o t tenable. caused bv physical events like the falling of a stone. Trenckner (London. 1963). ed. repr.7: pathavi kammavipako ti? 7. 9 6 T h i s view may.

then he becomes soma. Siitupiithj firjhmjiu 3. cf.e. food." According to the Kattsitaki Upanisad. and liberation from earthly existence. in the Kaitdtaki Upanisad. On the transformation into water.43 f f . reach the "world of brahman. h o w and w h y there is return f r o m that world into this earthly sphere. H W. in his return.1 ff.18. M We cannot and need not enlarge here on the specific problems and highly controversial issues connected with the interpretation of these d o c t r i n e s . "faith". but have ultimately been unable to avoid the return into an earthly existence. T h t j k i m i n t y a versions differ III various ways from the other versions. the " t w o paths" found outside this combination.4 99.." However. deceased man) is "sacrificed" by the gods in "that w o r l d " as sraddha. that is. is the way of those w h o have done pious and sacrificial works and have enjoyed the reward resulting from these deeds in heaven. man (i. for a good survey. Translation and Commentary (Leiden. A "third a b o d e " (trtlyam sthfwam) is also referred to. Kauiitaki l^panisaa 1. in fact. rain. and. Jjirttimyit Btdhrrtdnd 1. The "way oi the fathers. the "combineJ" version: 1. this doctrine is combined with the distinction between the "way of the fathers" (pitryana) and the "way of the gods" (devaydna). O u r primary concern is the character of the sequence of events which constitutes the " w a y oi the fathers. The downward part of the " w a y of the fathers" coincides basically with the sequence of the "five fires. side by side with the combined version. does not become full. has to pass through five stages or transformations which are all considered to be sacrificial fires. food. all those w h o die proceed at least to the moon f r o m where they may be turned back. for example. and the way in which man is seen as participating in it. describing the sequence of events as a series of natural transformations rather than a sacrificial series: there is trans98.1—65. The " w a y of the gods" is the way of those who. it is more naturalistic in its presentation. AND "NATURAL" CAUSES 320 in spire of so many creatures dying and passing into it. Bodewitz. In the sacrificial language of the Brahmanas." beyond the sun. 243 ff. Jaimuiiya Br&bmana 1. semen." its type and pattern of regularity. .4. in the Jaiminiya B f i h m a n a . pp.K A R M A . Subsequently. seed. or as taking place within the context of sacrificial fires." on the other hand. through their knowledge and faith. AI'IJRVA. 1973).7. from which he will again arise as a human being. cf. The doctrines of the "five fires" and of the " t w o paths" obviously do not form an original unity. we learn that man. it means existence as low animals and is for those w h o do not reach the "way of the gods" or the "way of the fathers.

c o s m i c . r a i n . T h e texts u n d e r d i s c u s s i o n are still far f r o m a clear a n d 100. t h e m o o n is t h e l o r d of t h e s e a s o n s . w h i c h d e t e r m i n e t h e s c o p e and the limits of t h e " w a y of the l a t h e r s . p r i m a r i l y sacrificial acts. with the notes by H. s e a s o n a l p h e n o m e n a are used as v e h i c l e s of the m i g r a t i o n s o r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s of t h e h u m a n b e i n g b e t w e e n its e a r t h l y existences. t h e seasonal rains. it is just t h e o r d i n a r y . Brahmana MS. t h o s e regularities w h i c h i m p l y t h e r e c u r r e n c e of life a n d d e a t h . a v e g e t a b l e . t h e division of the " t w o w a y s " t a k e s place a l r e a d y h e r e o n e a r t h . c o i n c i d e w i t h n a t u r a l . t h e s e . m e t e o r o l o g i c a l e v e n t s . In the versions of the Cbandogya and Brbadaranyaka Upanisads. 55 ft. t h e s e a s o n s . seasonal p r o c e s s e s . m a y lead t h e o n e w h o has g o n e t h r o u g h these stages back i n t o h u m a n o r p o s s i b l y a n i m a l e x i s t e n c e . T h e y d e c i d e w h e t h e r o n e rem a i n s c o n f i n e d t o t h e " w a y of t h e f a t h e r s " o r r e a c h e s the " w a y of t h e g o d s " . d e c i d e s h o w l o n g o n e is a l l o w e d to stay in t h e r e a l m of the m o o n .1. " H e is the g u a r d i a n of h e a v e n . is n o t in itself a f o r m of r e t r i b u t i o n a n d p u n i s h m e n t . 117 ff. s u c h as t h e ascent of s m o k e to the sky. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 3. t o a p e r m a n e n t h e a v e n o r t o t h e w o r i d of b r a h m a n . w i n d . cf. a n d f o o d — t h a t is. the phases of the moon. in the Kausltaki Upanisad. n o u r i s h i n g vege t a b l e s . " t h e m e r i t o f p a s t d e e d s . A p a r t f r o m this. and so forth. t h e p h a s e s of t h e m o o n . he examines the k n o w l e d g e of t h o s e w h o ascend t o h i m after t h e i r d e a t h . f n t h e jaimtniya Brahmana. being eaten a n d t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o s e m e n . 46.. introducing several additional stages of transformation. " I he version of the j&handogya Upanisad is more detailed. . a n d h e d e c i d e s w h e t h e r t h e y m a y p r o c e e d t o t h o s e s p h e r e s w h e r e t h e y are f r e e f r o m t h e s e a s o n a l cycles a n d t h e r e p e t i t i o n of t h e i r e a r t h l y existence. r e c u r r e n t .J ff. a s c e n t and r e t u r n — t h e p h a s e s a n d p h e n o m e n a o t m a n ' s existence relate t o o r even. pp. KdUsitaki Upanisad 1 Jaiminlya. T h e goat is t o get b e y o n d t h e s e cyclical. n o such f u n c t i o n is assigned to t h e m o o n . 1 0 0 N a t u r a l cycles. " n a t u r a l " w a y of r e t u r n i n g to t h e e a r t h . In several a n c i e n t texts. \V. 1 0 i T h e r e are o n l v a f e w s t a t i o n s in t h e s u c c e s s i o n of e v e n t s w h e r e k n o w l e d g e a n d m e r i t b e c o m e r e l e v a n t . w i t h i n t h e " w a y of t h e f a t h e r s . 101. D e a t h a n d b i r t h .298 WILHf 1M HAL BFASS f o r m a t i o n i n t o e t h e r . B o d e w f e . T o b e s e n t i n t o a p l a n t . e n t e r i n g u p o n t h e " w a y of t h e f a t h e r s " m e a n s to b e s u b j e c t t o a s u c c e s s i o n ot e v e n t s and t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s w h i c h f o l l o w s its o w n " n a t u r a l " o r d e r a n d is n o t d i r e c t e d o r k e p t in m o t i o n b y the r e t r i b u t i v e c a u s a l i t y of o u r d e e d s . On the connection between life and death and day and night. t h e s e a s o n s t h e m s e l v e s a p p e a r as g u a r d i a n s a n d c o n d u c t t h e decisive e x a m i n a t i o n .

10. its c o n s u m p t i o n and a p p r o p r i a t i o n by a h u m a n being or by an animal. 4. A s a matter of tact. 1 0 2 P r o b l e m s of t h e c o n t i n u i t y and coherence of Act and retribution or of the durability and identity of the subject in the various processes of t r a n s f o r m a t i o n d o n o t become explicit. refer specifically to this p r o b l e m a t i c transition. 5. the next step is obviously of a different order.liM and it has been taken for granted bv the traditional c o m m e n t a t o r s that this has t o be u n d e r stood in the context of the " w a y of the f a t h e r s . 5 Later s y s t e m a t i z e ^ in particular Sahkara. and of the processes of c o n c e p t i o n and birth.10. Brahmasutrabhdsya 3.1 ff." specifically the "way of the fathers.4.6. T h e most exemplary account of the f o r m a t i o n oi the semen. Aitareya Upanhad 2.KAKMA. extract its essence. and thus raise it to its o w n level of being. 104. AND "NATURA1CAUSES t h o r o u g h c o n c e p t i o n of karmic.1-27. While natural processes take care of the transp o r t a t i o n up t o the vegetable existence.13. fully developed t h e o r y of karma. Chandogya Upattisad. CI. is found in the Aitareya Upanhad.3 ff.). most notably in the version of the Chandogya Upanhad." Sahkara emphasizes that only iruii is a really authoritative source f o r o u r k n o w l e d g e and u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the processes of k a r m a and 102. b u t at the same time making explicit the differences and tensions between this scheme of t h o u g h t and the later.7. " O n l y t h e version of the Chandogya Upanhad tries to establish a relationship b e t w e e n one's t y p e of birth and the preceding good or bad c o n d u c t (carana)t in a passage which appears s o m e w h a t a b r u p t l y and seems to be a later addition. . A transition w h i c h seems particularly delicate and problematic. t h e question " w h o o r w h a t transmigrates?" is not really asked. 2. deals primarily with the exegesis of the " t w o w a y s " and t h e "five fires. T h e m o s t explicit and m o s t c o h e r e n t discussion of k a r m a and t r a n s m i g r a t i o n which we find in Sankara's writings. trying to h a r m o n i z e and to reconcile. 105. T h e Chandogya Upanhad emphasizes that it is a very 103 difficult t r a n s i t i o n . it seems to be left to mere c h a n c e which kind of living being will c o n s u m e a particular vegetable. Brbadaranyaka Upanisad 3. o t h e r passages in the Brbadaranyaka Upanhad may indeed come m u c h closer t o such a c o n c e p t i o n . is the transfer f r o m the vegetable being into the organism and to the level of being of its eater. t r a n s f o r m it into the semen of a new creature. APORVA.1. 1 1 .2. iC3. (= Aitareya Aratnaka Chandogya Vpuniiad 5. a " s e c o n d diman" in the b o d y of the father. its o w n offspring.1 ff. retributive causality.5.

it is more significant that his exegesis ot the " t i v e fires" and the " w a y of the f a t h e r s " ultimately and explicitly demonstrates the unreconciled 106. w i t h o u t such a long and complicated interlude as t h e p i t r y a n a .1. iQfi Nevertheless. and keeps it there as long as the sacrificial merit l a s t s .1. to establish that the transition f r o m the vegetable to its " e a t e r " is not left t o mere chance. the various theories and conceptualizations presented by the Sankhya or the Vaisesika." into the condition of a vegetable. On BS 3. 323. fiartkara tries to bridge w h a t might appear as a gap in the causal sequence.3 co wilhelm halbfass transmigration: attempts to explain this matter in t e r m s ot assumptions p r o d u c e d hv h u m a n t h o u g h t alone (purusamatiprabkavah kalpanahj are inevitably futile. F o r o u r present discussion.3. constitute the apurva which " e n v e l o p s " the soul of the sacrihcer.9.$aiikara criticizes the MTmarpsa apurva. Bad a ray ail a refers to Karsnajini in BS 3.1. it states that subtle ingredients or transformations of the sacrificial oblations. specifically ot the sacrificial water. On BS 3. This or a similar theory is already referred to and rejected by Piabhakara.. Cf. As used in HrhadaYanyaka Upanisad 4. 1 0 8 F o l l o w i n g an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w h i c h had already been suggested by Badarayana's predecessor Karsnajini. are contradicted by one a n o t h e r as well as by sruti. Sahkara states that once a transmigrating soul (jiva) has been led back to earth by the " w a y of the fathers. S'ankara develops a rather elaborate scheme of reasoning designed t o h a r m o n i z e and systematize the teachings of sruti. accompanies it to the heavenly spheres. p. to reconcile the pattern of the " w a y of the fathers" with that understanding of transmigration which is expressed in the m e t a p h o r of the caterpillar. On US 3. In his explanation and apologetics. T h e ass u m p t i o n of such a residue wh ich remains after the processes of e n j o y m e n t and cancellation of karma in the heavenly spheres is explained and justified in an elaborate discussion.8 ff. In this way. Brh. 1 0 7 an understanding which seems to imply a much more direct transition f r o m one body into the next one.6. 108. ". 107.l> It is a familiar p h e n o m e n o n and need not f u r t h e r concern us here that Sahkara in his interpretation and apologetics presupposes and e m p l o y s doctrines and conceptual devices developed at a m u c h later time than the texts he is dealing with. by the Buddhists or the j a i n a s .4. on BS ff. its karmic residue (anusaya) will determine its f u r t h e r d e v e l o p m e n t . . 109. Sahkara also uses a peculiar interpretation ot the theory of apiirva.

For the "gu«st jiva.a n d " n a t u r a l " causEs 301 disparity of these old Upanisadic models and the later systematic understanding of karma and transmigration. Sahkara tries faithfully to preserve the peculiar teachings on the "five fires" and the " t w o ways. rain is thus attached to an organism which is already occupied and operated by a jiva of its own. he arrives at a curious juxtaposition of t w o different transmigrating entities (jiva) in one and the same organism. with which karmic processes do not interfere. the allocation of a particular vehicle of retributive experience. . of different historical layers of the Indian tradition: a scheme which is. in the wider framework oi Sahkara's thought. It is only located in it as a kind of "guest jiva. the notions of karma and samsara have only one meaning and function: to provide a counterpart and steppingstone of liberating knowledge. I tO. cosmic regularities interferes with the more comprehensive context of the universalized theory of karma and samsara. The descent according to the " w a y s of the fathers" has its o w n order and regularity. T h e rain which falls to earth nourishes the plants. A jiva which is sent d o w n to earth by. " " T h e juxtaposition and contrast of the t w o jivas Illustrate the interference of t w o different models of thought and. " seasonal. this means a form of karmic retribution.1. AI'IJRVA." Yet. a jiva docs not accumulate any new karma. or in the form of. nor does it experience the results of previous k a r m a . The duplication of the }ivas t or rather the allocation of "guest jivas" is repeated when the vegetable is eaten and appropriated by s human being or an annua! (on BS 3. but it does not give them their liie-principle. apart f r o m certain crucial junctures. Following the lead of Badarayana. Ramariuja and other later commentators agree with Sahkara On the basic issues of this interpretation." Sahkara is very explicit on this distinction of different jivas in one vegetable organism. primarily left to " n a t u r a l . Ultimately.26). these ancient Upanisadic schemes appear as curious epiphenomena or as fossilized relics in a universe now thoroughly governed by karmic causality. t o show us wrhar ultimate reality is not.1. for xhejiva that has been " b o r n i n t o " and is embodied in a vegetable. to expose the spatio-temporal universe in its ontological deficiency.k a r m a . to the realm ot vyavabara. as far as this part of the journey is concerned. O n BS 3. It cannot really be embodied in such an organism. no karmic retribution is involved at this particular stage. moreover. the explication of the peculiarities of karma and the exegesis of the sacred texts on this matter remain confined to the " l o w e r level" of truth.24 ft." on the other hand.

to accept its realitv as well as one's o w n worldly reality. means to act in the world. Causality is in its very essence karmic causality. of practical consequences.56: yavadd hetuphalavesah. also Suresvara. a reality which can be defined only in terms of means and ends.}C2 WILHELM HALBFASS T h e whole world is only a stage for karmic processes. According to the tradition of Ad v ait a Vedanta. sarnsaras tavad ay at ah. the Lord (isvara) is the only subject of transmigration (samsarin}t according to Sahkaraj 1 1 4 in an even more radical sense. mayaj are identical. Naiskarmyasiddhi 4. 1 1 1 or rather: it is itself nothing but a karmic play. LfrtiversaltzatioRS w h i c h are at l e a s t e q u a l l y r a d i c a l a n d a m b i g u o u s are f o u n d in Buddhism. of " r e w a r d " and " p u n i s h m e n t . it constitutes the "reality" of the world. It owes its very existence to karmic attachment and superimposition.56. To be in samsara is n o t Just the function of a particular demerit. . ksine hetv. Cf. 111. Cf. Gaudapada. Karma is thoroughly universalized and implemented in Sabkaia's philosophy.aiiekapraiukannaphalcipabhogayogyauckadhisthanavad}. " and which becomes transparent as soon as the practical involvement in the netw o r k of means and ends is terminated. San Lira's commentary on Aitareya Upanisad 2.phalavese samsaro na upapadyare'. 112. to accept it as a network of causal relations. this radical and u n c o m promising consummation ot the principle of karma is at the same time a radical devaluation. 113.1.5. it is the function of and coincides with the "involvement in causes and results" (betuphalavesa) as such. Cf. there is no samsarin at all. Saiikara on BS 1. while Suresvara was Sahkara's direct disciple. MattdHkyakirika 4. Gaudapada was the teacher of Sankara's teacher povinda. Yet. 5 1 2 The domains of karma and of cosmic ignorance and illusion {avidya. as a context of practical. pragmatic truth and confirmation. ! 14. ot desires and results. To be in the world.1: the world as providing manifold facilities ("scats") which are suitable lor the manifold living beings to experience their karmic results i. to that ignorance (avidya) which is the root-cause of our karmic involvement and in fact coextensive with it. 1 1 .1 In a sense. It is well known that Gaudapada is strongly influenced by the philosophy of Nagarjuna.

Textual authority for such a transactional analysis (in addition to its L For Marriott's and tnden's "transactional" analysis. 3°3 ." Transactions and Meaning: Directions in the Anthropology of Exchange and Symbolic Behavior. 109—142. David. 1976). Mocropaedut i n . 1974). involving giving and receiving (in the modalities of " o p t i m a l . See also the introduction to this volume. " and "minimal") within the context of a unified coded substance and encompassing the entire range of varnairamadbcirma with all of its rules and principles regarding food. Wind: Changing Identities in South Asta. Mouton. 982-991 . world Anthropology Series (The Hague. and Marriott. Marriott and Indcrt." " m a x i m a l . K. Marriott and ft. and kinship. 15th edition (Chicago. see the following: M. pollution. ed. B. B. Ivapferer. pp. 1976). ASA Essays in Social Anthropology. A. pp. " 1 The former appears to correlate with McKirn Marriott's and Ronald Inden's transactional analysis. ed.12 Karma as a "Sociology of Knowledge" or "Social Psychology3' of Process/Praxis GERALD JAMES LARSON Introduction An interesting theoretical puzzle that has emerged from the series of conferences on the notion of karma in South Asian thought is the apparent anomaly between what might be called the "transference of karma interpretation" and the "non-transference of karma interpretat i o n . work. I (Philadelphia: ISHI Publications. "Caste Systems." Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Toward an iithnosociology of South Asian Caste Systems. marriage. InJen. "Hindu Transactions: Diversity without Dualism. " "pessimal." The New.

in the non-transactional. involving t h e notions of lihga. .t r a n s f e r e n c e " interpretations. the sapindikarana.g. nivrtti orientation of Potter). to indicate why I find conceptual limitations in the " t r a n s f e r e n c e " and " n o n . Potter's contribution in this volume. Textual authority for such a " n o n transference perspective 5 ' is. I also wish to suggest that this larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k of karma serves as a rough equivalent in South Asia to what w e would usually call a "sociology of k n o w l e d g e " of an interactionist social psychology. the darsana literature or at least those portions of darsana literature concerned with rnoksa. in the epics. T h e "non-transference of karma i n t e r p r e t a t i o n " appears t o correlate with certain philosophical traditions (for example. in which a person's karmic heritage and karmic possibilities are construed individually with apparently n o provision for transactional transference. the kind of reconciliation attempted in the GttaJ2 I wish to argue here that there are conceptual inadequacies both in the "transference of karma interpretation" (that is to say.p e r s p e c t i v e " and the " n o n . Karl H . in the transactional.. Yoga and Vedanra). the Purdnas and later bhakti traditions. of course.}°4 GERALD JAMES LARSON contextual data) includes n o t only Manu and other traditions of dharma-sdstra but also Vedic traditions of transference (e." and yet the t w o 2. for example. See Karl H." Potter has also suggested that these t w o perspectives may represent divergent historic traditions in South Asian thought that have coexisted with one another over many centuries and have generated various efforts at reconciliation—for example. id am as and samskdras. and that there is a larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k within the South Asian tradition that encompasses both " t r a n s f e r e n c e " and "non-transference. and so forth) and more popular notions of transference f o u n d . I want. pravnti orientation of Marriott and Inden) and in the "non-transference of karma interpretation" (that is to say. karmdsayas." Moreover. for these limitations became the occasion for my attempting to devise a larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k . The p u r p o s e of these conferences was to uncover and describe the system of karma in South Asia as an "indigenous conceptual system.t r a n s f e r e n c e " orientation the "tt/LT2fj-perspeerive. however. Potter has suggested that the "transference" Orientation be designated the " / r a f c r a j . Before setting forth the larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k . T h e conceptual inadequacies or limitations to which I am referring emerge in the following way. first of all.

for at some stage in our work we as modern interpreters of South Asian culture must " e n c o m p a s s " (in D u m o n t ' s sense) w h a t S o u t h A s i a n c u l t u r e r e p r e s e n t s in o u r e x p e r i e n c e . it appears that South Asians themselves seld o m if ever used such an explanation. but methodologically this is an unwarranted move. Q u i t e apart f r o m the merit or lack of merit of an historical interpretation. It is a zero-category. one accepts a " n o n ." " n o n transference. In other words. If." and that.dge' most cogent interpretations (namely. In other words. shows itself which cannot be resolved without moving to a different level of interpretation. Why? Because it introduces the interpretive notion of "history. we are not really talking about a pervasive or widespread "indigenous conceptual system" so much as we are talking about what is m o r e adequately described as a m i n o r elitist ideology." At this point." and so forth.k a r m a as a sociology of knowlf. however South Asians themselves dealt with the issues of "transference. then." a category which has no demonstrable place within any South Asian "indigenous conceptual s y s t e m " (at least prior t o the middle of the nineteenth century). on the other hand. There is nothing w r o n g with the latter enterprise. then it must be conceded that such an "indigenous conceptual syst e m " was implicitly or explicitly accepted by everyone except those members of the culture w h o were primarily concerned with devising indigenous conceptual systems. indeed a kind of dilemma. historical interpretation is ours. if. and by providing historical interpretations of South Asian thought and culture modern interpreters are more or less talking to themselves. to put it directly. in fact. the obvious move is to argue that we have here a clear case of "divergent historic traditions" in need of cultural reconciliation. one accepts a "transference" interpretation. or . "transference" and " n o n transference") appear to make that purpose unattainable. on the one hand.t r a n s f e r e n c e " interpretation. Regarding karma as an "indigenous conceptual s y s t e m " in South Asia. of course. however. An impasse. The crucial methodological issue. interpretive w o r k thus far has reached an impasse. not theirs! In a South Asian environment. historical interpretation is no interpretation. is that the " e n c o m p a s s e d " can never pass itself off as an adequate characterization of an indigenous interpretation. it certainly was not f r o m the perspective of historical interpretation. then it must be conceded that only a very few spiritual " v i r t u o s o s " (to use Weber's terminology) or "athletes of the spirit" (to use Zaehner's terminology) ever accepted such an "indigenous conceptual system.

O n the one hand. that we are talking about two or more "indigenous conceptual systems. tor such an alternative forces us either (a) to move back to the first part of the dilemma or (b) to argue that there is no "indigenous conceptual system" of karma that encompasses in any important theoretical way the plurality of systems that have been uncovered. there is indisputable evidence tor both a "transference" and a "nontransference" perspective (and various ambiguities in between). Or some other n o n . is to interrogate the South Asian tradition further in order to find a broader conceptual framework that overcomes the glaring anomaly ot the "transference" and "non-transference" interpretations. a kind of dilemma.S o u t h Asian interpretation) or (b) karma as an "indigenous conceptual system" was never recognized as such by those theoreticians within the tradition who were responsible for creating "indigenous conceptual systems. That is to say. T h e acid test of a theory like Marriott's must surely be the tradition 's own theoretical reflection. Me Kim Marriott's transactional interpretation. which nicely avoids not only unwarranted historical interpretation but a number of other methodological biases as well. what is the meaning of karma as an "indigenous conceptual system" in South Asia? T h e only way out of this impasse. if one is tempted to suggest a third alternative. the darsanas." Moreover. All of the possibilities. in other words. structuralist. and yet the theory appears not to pass the test. O n the other hand. in my judgment.306 G E R A L D J A VIES LARSON indeed. and in the sequel I shall try to reconstruct such a broader conceptual framework. comes up against a remarkable piece ot counterevidence. and it is not really possible to resolve the apparent anomaly by utilizing an historical interpretation. This impasse then leads to the following dilemma: either (a) karma as an "indigenous conceptual system" harbors an anomaly which cannot be resolved other than by going outside the indigenous tradition (in the direction of historical. namely." that does not solve the anomaly. since that approach methodologically begs the question. as suggested above. Marriott's transactional interpretation. nevertheless appears t o be falsified by theoretical interpretations within the tradition which represent the tradition's o w n theoretical self-awareness. which is designed to be a theoretical clarification of indigenous South Asian social reality derived from within the theoretical categories of South Asian thought itself. 1 shall . namely. lead to the remarkable conclusion that the original question for research cannot properly be asked — namely.

I feel more confident in reconstructing f r o m it what 1 take to be a larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k for an interpretation of karma as an "indigenous conceptual system" in South Asia. 1979). a Sahkhya inflection of the indigenous conceptual system. that Sahkhya refuses to make an ontological distinction between what Western thought would call 3. second revised edition. it is the reverse of crude materialism in that Sahkhya argues that gross stuff is an epiphenomenon of subtle material energy. fantasizing. Sahkhya philosophy. feeling. see my CLta 1cal Satitkhya. the epics. and willing can finally be reduced to a modality or function of sheer materiality. both a "transference" and a "non-transference" perspective. imagining. and so forth) and in so-called non-transference environments (namely the technical darsdna literature). (b) it theoretically maintains. For a study of the history and meaning of the Sahkhya (together with the Sanskrit text and English translation of t h e K a r t k a ) .) Toward a Larger (Encompassing) Conceptual F r a m e w o r k I shall proceed. f r o m more abstract general considerations t o the specific issue at hand. (Moreover. nevertheless.VOVVL E D G F ' 307 utilize the Sahkhya philosophy as my primary body of evidence because (a) it is admitted by all researchers to be one of the oldest conceptual systems in South Asia. in my judgment. in Other words. 1969.. and (c) its influence within the tradition is evident in so-called transference environments (for example.KARMA AS A " S O C I O L O G Y O H k. by moving sequentially f r o m the " o u t s i d e " to the " i n s i d e " (or. hence. to be sure. University of California Press and Motila! Banarsidass. as it were. is not a crude materialism in the sense that awareness is simply an e p i p h e n o m e n o n of some kind of gross stuff. My treatment oi the S. namely karma as a conceptual system). as was already indicated.3 AN ONTOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLO'GY OE REDUCTIVE MATERIALISM APART FROM "CONSCIOUSNESS" T h e notion of prakrti in Sahkhya philosophy implies a closed causal system of reductive materialism—"reductive materialism" in the sense that all thinking. An Interpretation of Its History and Meaning (Delhi: Motilaf Banarsidass. It is true. indeed.iiikhya position is based largely on t h e S d h k h y a k a n k a and its important commentaries. . the Puranas. and. utilizing. I can claim a greater expertise in Sahkhya philosophy than in most other systems.

n o r d o e s any (purusa) transmigrate. this entire manifest world (vyakta. Because ot its contentlessness. O r d i n a r y "awareness" (antahkuranavrtti) (titta-vrtti). e g o (abarhkara). act. Similarly. It only reveals what has always been the case. "consciousness" appears as what it is not. " A c t i o n " in any of its modes is a manifestation (vyakta) of the continuous transformation (parinama) and combination (samgbata) occurring within materiality (prakrti). as are such residual constructs as intellect (buddbi). has significance solely within the subtle material system. therefore. is sheer contentless presence (saksitva).jo8 g e r a l d j a mrs i a r s o n " m i n d " and " b o d y " or "thought and " e x t e n s i o n . namely that there is a principle beyond the closed causal system that never. according to Sahkhya philosophy. "consciousness" (purusa) cannot think. Whereas " a w a r e n e s s " is active. the discrimination of purusu) occurs within the closcd causal system oil the level ot the buddbi and. and the experience of "release" in Sahkhya lias n o ontological implications whatever. " preferring. is b o u n d . thus. engaged. be ontologically involved or intentionally related in any sense whatever Xo prakrti. to encompass all such distinctions within the closed causal system of emergent prakrti. is a manifestation ot prakrti. An obvious corollary ot this reductive materialism is that kaftnan is also a manifestation of subtle materiality and can only be construed within the closed causal system. and at every m o m e n t 3 reflection of subtle materiality. in Sahkhya the realization of discrimination (viveka) changes nothing ontologically. ksetra." and it is this double negation occurring within buddbi that generates the epistemological confusion . and so forth). " C o n s c i o u s n e s s " (purusa). rather. That is to say. is b o u n d and is released. from the point of view of the analysis of experience. Moreover. the assertion ot the Saiikhya acarya: N o t any (purusa). atta-vrtti). in other words. m i n d (manas). ( O n l y ) p r a k r t i in its various f o r m s transmigrates. the problem of bondage and release is to be construed solely within the closed causal system. yet another corollary of this reductive materialism emerges. in fact. gross body (sthida-sarira) — indeed. and "awareness" appears as it it were "consciousness. this realization itself (that is to say. Hence. n o r released. sarga. therefore. has been in bondage. subtle b o d y (lihga-sarira). namely that in Sahkhya a definite distinction is made between "consciousness" (purusa) and " a w a r e n e s s " (antabkarana-vrtti. intentional. (Sankbyakarika 62) In addition.

and the jivan-mnkta has moved to a new meta-level of apperception referred to as kaivalya." and all "strivings. Put simply and in reference t o these conferences on karma. again o n the level of the buddbi." and m o r e than that. is that wre are dealing here with a way of looking at the world that is remarkably different f r o m o u r o w n . the final discrimination is that " b o n d a g e " and "release" as contraries or sub-contraries are both negated. Expressing these oncological and epistemological assertions in the m o r e precise and technical N y a v a terminology. moksa shows itself as being the case. whereas the fundamental ontological differe n c e b e t w e e n purusa a n d prakrti is a n e x a m p l e of anyanydbbava. and the lack of relation b e t w e e n purusa purusa md a n d prakrti is a n e x a m p l e o f atyantabbava. between To my k n o w l e d g e there is no analogue m the history of Western t h o u g h t to this eccentric f o r m of Indian dualism ( w h e r e i n p r a k r t i as a reductive materialism encompasses gross and subtle matter as well as " a w a r e n e s s .k a r m a as a s o c i o l o g y of knowlf. " o u r "identity." and purusa as " c o n s c i o u s n e s s " is simply contentless presence). the cycle of rebirth and the actions that determine our position in the cycle are functions of an " u n c o n s c i o u s " (in the Indian sense) subtle materiality that is unfolding by m e a n s of continuous t r a n s f o r m a t i o n (paritjdma) and combination (samgbdta). as it were. " b r a c k e t e d " in any discussion of karma (either in terms of a " t r a n s - ." and all of our " i n t e n tional" acts have n o t h i n g whatever to d o with o u r "consciousness. as having always been the case and forever to be the case subsequently. the first: point to be stressed is the admittedly paradoxical one that " c o n s c i o u s n e s s " and its f r e e d o m (katvalya) must be.dge' of b o n d a g e . In attempting t o construct a larger conceptual f r a m e w o r k . or "antecedent non existence"." "intellection. In other w o r d s . T h e issue. although even in these traditions the non-intentionality of consciousness has never been seriously entertained. the Sankhya perspective would appear to be the following: " b o n d a g e " is an example o f p r a d b v a m s a b b d v a . or "reciprocal non-existence" (or the logical absence of identity between purusa and prakrti u n d e r all circumstances). T h e only possible exception could be certain traditions in p h e n o m e n o l o g y . and m o r e than that." and "release" is an example otpragdbbava. then. or "abso- lute non-existence" (or the material absence of relation prakrti u n d e r all c i r c u m s t a n c e s ) . our " a w a r e n e s s . W h e n the f u n d a m e n t a l epistemic distinction between " c o n s c i o u s n e s s " and " a w a r e n e s s " is correctly apperceived. " "egoity. then. or " c o n s e q u e n t non-existence.

According to Sahkhya philosophy. what we usually mean by the term "subjective" — or (b) rdmasa (or bbytadi). n J A MI'S 1 A R S O N f e r e n c e " interpretation or a ' ' n o n . and the awareness of "pleas u r e " carries with it a reductive comprehension of what has been appropriated. in other w o r d s . these primal feelings are taken to be manifestations of three procedural and structural tendencies that characterize the closed causal system of reductive materialism. Intentional externalizations reified into subtle and gross objects (tanmdtras and fnahabbiitas). and the awareness of "alienation" carries with it a neutralization ot motivation and affect.t r a n s f e r e n c e " interpretation). t h e c o n s t i t u e n t p r o c e s s of o b j e s t i v a t i o n {sthiti or tamas). that is to say. reflexive internalizations reified into ideas. verbal constructions. " C o n s c i o u s n e s s " is not a function of the closed causa! system of reductive materialism. and the awareness of "pleasure" (sukha. in other words. "Pleasure" as an awareness is a feeling of joyous and quiet fulfillment (ianta% of having appropriated (or mterionzed] an object or an activity so that one is free from it. and the awareness of " p a i n " always carries with it a desire to be free f r o m it. internalization and objectivation (both as constituent processes and as constituted constructs) cannot manifest themselves as . These constituent processes generate in turn a " c o n s t i t u t e d " world wherein the residual or " c o n s t i t u t e d " constructs are either (a) sdttvika (or vaikrta)—that is to say. OBJECT IV AT1QN. what we usually mean by the term "objective. of having been turned into an entity among entities. or. the constituent process of externalization (pravrtti o r rajas). priti). or.S S E R A I . visada). namely. "Alienation" as an awareness is a feeling of reifieation (mudha). and so f o r t h . apriti)." This " c o n s t i t u t e d " world (made up of residual constructs that Arc sdttvika and tamasa) is mediated by the constituent process of externalization. the awareness of "alienation" (m'oba. In other words. and the constituent process of internalization ( prakhya or sattva).f u l " ) . and neither bondage nor release pertains to it! THE CONSTITUENT PROCESSES OF EXTERN A I J Z A H O N . " P a i n " as an awareness is a feeling of disc o m f o r t (ghora) arising out of the encounter with what appears to be outside of oneself (either f r o m the outside world or f r o m one's own mind/body insofar as it presents itself in awareness as " p a i n . A N D I N T E R N A L I Z A T I O N O r d i n a r y experience or apperception (as a m o d e of subtle materiality) presents itself as the awareness of " p a i n " ( duhkha.

" THE TWOFOLD CREATION (dvividha-sarga): lihga and bhava According to Sahkhya philosophy." or lihga." or trayodasa-karana). the constituent processes are to be construed not as three (namely. From the point of view of the " c o n s t i t u t e d " world. manas. "taijasad ubhayam"). as was indicated above. is made up ot buddbi. "tasmad dubkbam svabhavena" or as the Yuktidipika puts it. a "residual construct" made up of what I shall call a "marked c o r e " (lihga). externalization cannot show itself as what it is without the dialectically implicit processes of internalization and objectivation. Hence. samskaras. rajas. "suffering is of the nature of things" (Sahkbyakarika 55. as two mediated bv one (namely. sattva. therefore.asanas. we have not yet reached the level of analysis in which it is appropriate to use the word " k a r m a " in its ordinary Indian sense. the entire manifest world (vyakta) with all of its constructs (buddbi. T h e "marked core. the "individual p e r s o n " in our ordinary Western usage is construed to be "dividual" (in McKim Marriott's sense). then. and 1 would argue that it is the structural basis for the notion of karma in all of its modes. rather. This "marked core. the five sense-capacities and the five action-capacities (and referred to as the "thirteenfold instrument. Similarly. The experience of suffering constitutes the basis for all reflection and all alienation as well as the desire to overcome suffering. " d u b kbam raja iti"). and a manifest "gross b o d y " (stbiila-sarira). perhaps better. and so forth). and this "dividual" "residual construct" is located in a manifest world (bhautika-sarga). is devoid of ordinary experience (nirupabboga). sattva and tamas as mediated by rajas). a transmigrating "subtle b o d y " (lihga-sarira). in its intenuonality. and is .K A R M A AS A SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLf. a "projecting set of predispositions" ( bhavas. for there can be neither internalization nor alienation without a prior process of externalization. and so forth) shows itself as either (a) sattvika or (b) tamasa with rajas (taijasa) m e d i a t i n g t h r o u g h o u t ( S a h k b y a k a r i k a 25. ahamkara." or lihga. z. It can be predominantly sattvika or tamasa. however.DGE' what they are without the dialectically related process of externalization. H o w e v e r . is fundamental and basic in Sahkhya philosophy. The constituent process ot externalization. ahamkara. We have only reached the level of fundamental "constituent process. or. Because rajas or the constituent process of externalization is a fundamental mediation throughout the closed causal system. and tamas) but.

a stage. T h e h u m a n realm is the realm in which rajas or externalization is d o m i n a n t {Sahkbyakarika 53 54). 6 r rajas. The transmigrating "subtle body" (lihga-sarira) is made Lip of the five tanmiitras. T h e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n emerges in the f o l l o w i n g manner. O n every h u m a n level. and R a m a n u j a (especially in the lengthy £ » » d .}°4 G E R A L D J A M E S LARSON mediated throughout by the constituent process of cxternalization (rajas). tustis. 24. h o w e v e r (following kdnkas 5 3 .p a s s a g e s of chapters 17 a n d IS of the Gita together with Saiikara's and R a m a n u j a ' s c o m m e n t s ) ." or bhavas. or to use a favorite Sahkhya analogy. or. can be easily r e c o n s t r u c t e d on the basis of references in the Git a. and lack of power (ahaisvarya). (Cf. a human realm wherein the constituent process of externalization (rajas) is dominant." of viparyayas. The non-transmigrating "gross b o d y " is the genetic tamasa-form of body that is produced from the sexual relations of father and mother. Sahkbyakarika 23. this manifest world (bhauhka-sarga) functions as a kind of theatre. power (aisvaryaj. unmeritorious behavior (a-dharnia). notlknowJedge (a-jhana). and 40. knowledge (jftana). or "intellectual creation. Such.5 4 ) .) The "projecting set of predispositions" (bhavas) are meritorious behavior ittharma). and an animal and vegetable world wherein the constituent process of alienation (tamas) is dominant. and is the subtle -vehicle that accompanies the lihga in [he process of transmigration. Safikara. they can be predominantly sattvika or tamasa wiih the constituent process of externa lizacion mediating throughout. is t h e closed causal system of reductive materialism f r o m " B r a h m a d o w n t o a blade of grass" (brahmadistambaparyaritab " Sahkbyakarika 54). and siddhis— in other words. so also with the "projecting set of predispositions. absence of passion (vairagya). on which these various constructs play their roles. asaktis. or subtle elements. These fybavas reside in the buddbi and generate or project the praiyaya-sarga. these bhavas are the presuppositions or predispositions that render "ordinary awareness" or apperception possible. externalization. in brief. . Finally. as the f r e q u e n t l y quoted refrain p u t s it. Since the w h o l e system is a closed reductive materialism. and this manifest world is made up of a divine realm wherein the constituent process of internalization (sattva) is dominant. again. "guna vartanta iti. and on the lowest h u m a n level there w o u l d naturally be a t e n d e n c y t o m o v e into a p u r e l y alienated (animal or vegetable) c o n d i t i o n . t h o u g h n o t directly stated in technical S a h k h y a texts. on the highest h u m a n level there w o u l d naturally be a tendency to m o v e i n t o a purely internalized (divine) c o n d i t i o n . must be present. T h e social extention of the system. passion t'raga). T h u s . As is the case with the lihga.

Brahmana — . or a " p r o j e c t i n g set of p r e d i s p o s i t i o n s . Ksatriya — Sudra — "optimal" "maximal' "pessimal' . O n o n e level there is a lihga. " successively being correlated with a o n e . and this b b d v a ^ i e v d makes u p the social reality of everyday life. according to S a h k h y a . bhava. (tamas) (tamas) (sattva) (sattva) 'human realm" sattvairajas rajoshattva rajastamas tamas ra jas . is devoid of o r d i n a r y e x p e r i e n c e . a concept that also includes the crucial corollary that each level " f e e d s " the other.o n l y genetically generated " g r o s s b o d y . or " m a r k e d c o r e . . O r d i n a r y awareness o r experience w i t h i n a hierarchical w o r l d arises w h e n these subtle material c o m p o n e n t s come together.-j f rajasisattva) "animal realm T h i s is . is sufficient to s h o w t h e basic thrust of an indigenous sociology." 333 . o r tiirttpabhoga.. . " and this lifcga-level is a sort o i " d e e p . Vaisya — "minimal" tii>77. " characterized by o r d i n a r y awareness or experience In a hierarchical w o r l d . thus. and a kind of " f e e d b a c k " continually operates on t w o distinct levels. ) O n another level there is a bbdva-eons t e I lat io n. "divine realm" sattva (I) (2) (3) (4) (rajas lamas).admirredly a very general and schematic reconstruction. and there is a surface-structural " p r o j e c t i n g " or experiencing (a kind of usage. and u n d o u b t e d l y m a n y o t h e r kinds of c o m b i n a t i o n s and s u b c o m b i n a tions could have been and p r o b a b l y were w o r k e d out (especially in juridical environments). as it were) in the everyday social world which generates traces o r f u r t h e r residues that will accrue to the " m a r k e d c o r e " and in t u r n determine the f u t u r e placement of the lihga.. however. . stbula-sarira.s t r u c t u r a l " p r e d i s p o s i t i o n s ! set of possibilities. . the "individual p e r s o n " in our ordinary Western s e n s e — i s .t i m e . a peculiar blending of lihga. a n d itpautika~sarga. T h e " d i v i d u a l " residual c o n s t r u c t — t h a t is t o say. In a n y " d i v i d u a l " life there is a deep-structural " m a r k e d c o r e " (linga) which determines the place of the " d i v i d u a l " life in the hierarchical scheme of things. Each level presupposes the other in a dialectical fashion. This general presentation. all of which are manifestations of the closed causal system and its constituent processes (gitna gunesu variant a iti).s t r u c t u r a l " to indicate that the lihga-level. (1 use t h e expression " d e e p . lihga-'sarira. Both levels reside in t h e b u d d b i . .K A R M A AS A " S O C I O L O G Y OT K N OWLi-DGF. T h e very notion of a " m a r k e d c o r e " (lihga) . according t o S a h k h y a p h i l o s o p h y .

) T h e Sahkbyakarika. does assert the dialectical significance ot the two levels. while remaining silent on the issue of temporality. contextual environment). therefore. " or p u r p o s e f u l human activity (namely. to use Marriott's idiom. substance-code transactions) can occur itself presupposes a sequence of " m a r k e d cores" (lihgas) being diachronicaliv reborn. bhava).instant does not provide for " t r a n s f e r e n c e .). one diaehronic (namely. the lihga-level) at any given point.}°4 G E R A L D J A M E S LARSON being diachronicaliv reborn presupposes a previous systemic " p r o jecting" matrix in w h i c h the " c o r e ' s markings" were synchronies Hy derived. the /ingii-level defines the appropriation of " p a s t n e s s " in the present point-instant. T h e latter (that is to say. dharmalaksana-avastba. The lihgQ cannot function without the bhavas. a twofold creation {dvivuihiife sargab ) Operates called lihga and bhava. . or " m a r k e d core. and its modalities. Therefore. T h e f o r m e r (that is to say. (An intriguing piece of evidence that is symptomatic of this point that a " m a r k e d c o r e " is always presupposed even in the most thoroughly transactional set of matrices is the obsessive concern with astrology on all levels of Indian social reality. therefore. whereas the bhava-leviel defines the projective. the systemic substance-codes interacting vis-a-vis the living "entities" manifesting themselves iti a given projective. " o r ksana. At any given point-instant. f o r only a diachronicaliv derived " m a r k e d c o r e " could provide the constituents necessary for a (subjectively and objectively) meaningful set of synchronic transactions to occur m a given social reality. " since." since it provides the futural projection for any subsequent pointinstant. it w o u l d appear to be the case that the term " k a r m a " can be used appropriately both in the sense of determined " p r o c e s s " (namely. Putting the matter another way. there would appear to be Operating an intersecting (in the buddbi) set of transactions.j. futural possibilities f o r any subsequent point-instant in the present point-instant> (Such a temporal interpretation ot these two levels finds some s u p p o r t in the Yoga discussions of the " m o m e n t . The bhavas cannot function without the An t. of course. By the same token. a giw&lihga. it is given at that instant. (Sahkbyakarika 52) According to Sahkhya philosophy." being re-embodied in a one-time-only genetically derived "gross b o d y " ) and one synchronic (namely. tYi&bbavalevM) at any given point-instant does provide for "transference. the systemic matrix in which " m a r k i n g s " (that is to Say. lihga) and in t h e sense of determining " p r a x i s .

i n s t a n t . socio-biological process occurring within the system as a whole. differs f r o m such loose affinities in f u n d a m e n t a l and striking w a y s . According to the Sahkhya. t w o kinds of perspective are always possible.DGE' The dyad process/praxis (or. T h e Sankhva emphasis on karma as process/praxis avoids either "idealism" or " c r u d e materialism" b y encompassing both in a reductive materialism that transcends our usual polarities of " s u b j e c t i v i t y " and "objectivity. the " d i s t r i b u t i o n " of k n o w l e d g e in a society is completely and utterly determined by the phylogenetic. et al.e n d e d ontogenetically in so far as m y . the dyad m a r k e d ' m a r k i n g . however. regressive /progressive. t r a n s f e r r e d / t r a n s f e r r i n g . there is finally a radical principle of freedom apart f r o m the system. w h i c h in turn is the dialectically most significant constituent process of the entire closed causal system itself. T h e system. to be sure. it One prefers. T h e Sahkhya conceptual system as a whole. and so f o r t h ) manifests itself as the specifically human modality of the c o n stituent process of externalization. " " i d e a s " and " o b j e c t s . F r o m one point of view. F r o m a n o t h e r point of view. avyaktalvyakta. or rdjas.KARMA AS A SOCIOLOGY OF KNOWLf. the system is completely o p e n . the system argues thai there is a consciousness that is fundamentally " n o n . the least that can be said is that it invites us to look at the h u m a n c o n d i t i o n in a way that is remarkably different f r o m o u r usual perspectives. and with the sociology of k n o w l e d g e as set f o r t h by Peter Berger and T h o m a s L u c k m a n n in The Social Construction of Reality. " Whereas o u r " a w a r e ness" is derived f r o m within the closed causal system and can be studied and measured and tested vis-a-vis the closed causal system. Conclusion H o w e v e r one wishes to assess the significance of such an indigenous conceptual system. " and so forth.i n t e n t i o n a l " and that m u s t be clearly distinguished f r o m our " a w a r e n e s s . of course. d e e p . however. and let me conclude by briefly calling attention to the most striking differences in orientation.s t r u c t u r e . at any given p o i n t . I would argue. most notably." " m i n d " and " b o d y . d i a c h r o n i c / s y n c h r o n i c . At the same time.s t r u c t u r e / s u r f a c e .). has interesting affinities with certain kinds of recent Western social-scientific theorizing. with the p h e n o m c n o l o g i c a l sociology of everyday life (in the w o r k of Alfred Sehutz). with the school of " s y m b o l i c interactionism" in social p s y c h o l o g y (in the w o r k of G e o r g e H e r b e r t M e a d .

o r what Max Weber has called variously the Wertgesicbtspunkt (the " v a l u e v i e w . even my " m a r k e d c o r e " (likga). be described as a "sociology of k n o w l e d g e " in the sense that it accounts f o r the " d i s t r i b u t i o n " of knowledge in a society by correlating "ideas" and "systems of t h o u g h t " with certain distinct social realities and expectations (varnasramadharma). though continuous over a potentially endless series of embodiments. T h e Sahkhya conceptual system oi karma as process-praxis can. N o t i o n s ot the "individual." " e g o ." a p r o d u c t of the interacting of a "marked core. is itself only a residual construct operating in the larger karmic environment. and a social field (varna'sramadharmaj wherein a continuous process. and. and f r o m another point of view the system is absolutely radical and revolutionary. Vis-a-vis consciousness. o r the Wertbezicbung {the "value-relation") of a conceptual system. . What is so strikingly different. to be sure.}°4 G E R A L D JAMES LARSON contextual praxis allows me to change m y status either marginally (by becoming a " b e t t e r " or " w o r s e " Brahmana or Vaisya) or radically (by becoming a sadbu and thereby opting o u t of the pbylogenetic. again. or purusa." "caste. one can describe the Sahkhya conceptual system of karma as a kind of interactionist social psychology in that it treats the "individual p e r s o n " as "dividual. and as such it traces both "ideas" and "social reality" to a m o r e fundamental level of process/praxis. our simple presence to ourselves. however. O r ." are only apparent realities. finally.p o i n t " ) . namely. o u r consciousness in and of itself. and the Sahkhya would appear to be suggesting that both points of view are true." a gross genetically inherited physical body. socio-bioiqgical system altogether). however. one encounters the remarkable conclusion that all of o u r "ideas" and all of our "social realities" are valuable only to the extent that they make us aware of that which is closest to us and yet irreducible to any intellectual or social f o r m u lation. is the valuation which Sahkhya assigns to its sociology of knowledge and its social psychology. " "society. When one inquires into what Werner Stark has called the implicit "axiological g r i d " of a conceptual s y s t e m . to be sure.1 praxis unfolds. F r o m one point of view the system is absolutely conservative and hierarchical (and was so developed in later Vedanta theorizing). neither the one nor t h e other pertains. since " b o n d a g e " and "release" are both mtrasystemic constructs that have no relevance outside the system.

San Diego E. Seattle A. University of Washington. Canisius College McKim Marriott. University of Chicago Wilbelm Halbfass. Los Angeles S. Pasadena Padmanabh S. Bruce Long.Participants in the First Two American Council of Learned SocietiesSocial Science Research Council Karma Conferences First Karma Conference (October 1976) Ashok N . University of Washington. Seattle j . Fuller Institute. University of Pennsylvania Paul Hiebert. Social Science Research Council Allen Thrasher. University of California. Valentine Daniel. Chan. University of Pennsylvania David L. University of California. Syracuse University Daniel Bisgaard. S. Berkeley Charles Kcyes. University of Chicago 317 . Szanton. University of Chicago Karl H . M. Seattle (organizer) Ludo Rocher. University of Illinois Kees W. Jaini. McDermotr. University of Washington. Seattle Edwin Gerow. Bolle. Gabrielle Tyrner-Stastny Second Karma Conference (January I97&) Roy Amore. University of Windsor Agehanartda Bharati. University of California. Cornell University James P. Aklujkar. University of British Columbia Frank Conlon. Potter. University of Washington. University of Chicago Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty.

Fuller Institute. San Diego Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty. University of Delhi Robert Gimello. Seattle (organizer) A. University of CaJiiornia. Santa Barbara Paul Hiebert.P A R T IC IP A N T S I N K A R M A C O N F t'. McMaster University Allen Tlirasher. University of Chicago Karl H. University of Wisconsin. Seattle Guy Welbon. Pasadena Padmanabh S. Santa Barbara M c K i m Marriott. University of Washington.RI N C E S Joseph Elder. University of Washington. Potter. University of California. Berkeley Charles Keyes. University of Chicago K. University of California. Seattle David M. Rnipe. University of Chicago Gananath Obeyesekere. Jaini. Ramanuian. Larson. University of California. K. University of Pennsylvania . Sivaraman. University of Wisconsin Ram Chandra Gandhi. Madison Gerald J. University of Washington.

Besant. edited by S. . " T h e C o n c e p t s of Bondage and Liberation in Ancient H i n d u T h o u g h t . Karma. " Buddhist Review 9 (1917): 3 0 . J. " Barsbana 10. 1909. B h a t t a c h a r v a . London. Bowes-Taylor). History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas.Bibliography The Beginnings of a List of Publications Relating to Karma and Rebirth Compiled by Karl H. C o l u m b i a University. H . " A t t a i n m e n t of M o k s a . " H i n d u C o n t r a d i c t i o n s of the D o c t r i n e of K a r m a . Press. Unstcrblichkeit und Seelenwanderung. K. M . " Prabttddha Bharata 62 (1956): 101-104. Reincarnation. A d a m s . M. Aiyangar. Roy C l a y t o n . L o n d o n : T h e o s o p h i c a l Publishing Society. Leipzig: S. 1954. B. 1905. M o h r . 1945. A m o r e . . " Visvabharati Quarterly 3 ( 1 9 2 5 . V. Basu. " K a r m a . 1 (1970): 5 9 . V. " T h e C o n c e p t and Practice of D o i n g Merit in E a r l y T h e r a v a d a B u d d h i s m . Julius.6 6 . 1910. Oriental Bertholet. B h a t t a c h a r y a . Rangaswami Aiyangar (Moksakanda). 124-143.4 0 . dissertation. 1951.2 6 8 . " T h e D o c t r i n e of the C o l o r s of Souls in the M a h a b h a r a t a : Its Characteristics and Implications. S. Exposition of the Doctrine of Karma. " T h e D o c t r i n e of K a r m a . L o n d o n : TheOsophical Publishing Society. Also in Philosophical Quarterly (Atnalner) 3 (1927): 226-257. 1906. H a r i s a t y a . — —. 14 of Bhatta L a k s m i d h a ra J s Krtyakalpataru. Ailred. A r t i n a c h a l a m . edited b y K. C . " Buddhist Review 2 (1910).1 0 0 . D . n o . 2 (1968): 3 7 .2 6 ) : 2 5 7 ." Annals of the Bhandarkar Research Institute 49 (1968): 329-338. H .London: T. Annie. 1971. A r v a . " East and West ( R o m e ) 22 (1972): 9 3 . " T h e Brahmanical C o n c e p t of K a r m a . no. P.) Barua. Arts ha (W. Potter. B a u m a n n . Arthur L. H i r z e l . M. Bedekar. Wadia: Essays in Philosophy Presented in His Honor. U s h a r b u d h . B. (120 pp. " Mahabodhi m 33 (1925): 7 5 . Aseshananda. " P h . " Saiva Siddhanta 3 (1968): 132-136. I n t r o d u c t i o n to vol. . R a n g a s w a n u . Seelenuanderung. " [n A.8 5 . Basham. with Supplementary Material by fames P McDermoit Ahhedanarid. H a r i d a s s . R. Radhakrishnan and o t h e r s .3 5 . Baroda: Oriental Institute. S h o b h a Rani. " K a r m a . " P r a r a b d h a K a r m a and G r a c e . " H i n d u View of I m m o r t a l i t y . V. " Darshana 8. M a d r a s : G . S. T u b i n g e n : J . 1895. " K a r m a and C a u s a t i o n .

"The Theory of Karma and Its Difficulties. (103 PP. "Auch etwas fiber Wiedergebtirt. 1930. 3 (1893): 1-5. N . no. 1967). Maharaja of. Chakravarti. Karma. 1940. Budhindu Chandra. Calcutta. 55-58. Mysore: University of Mysore. Light on the Path and Karma. Das. • "Karma." Carlos. Death and After. no. "Karma and Nirvana. Siddheswara.' . 39 (1907): 397-401. Kaiidas. Evil. Are the Buddhist Doctrines Nihilistic?" Monist 4 (1893-94): 4 1 7 . East and Bhattacharya. Dandoy. The Indian Mind ( H o n o l u l u : East-West C e n t e r Press." Aryan Path 22 (1951): 315 ff. and in C. Walter E. Calcutta: University of Calcutta. Mabel. . 4 7 .e x i s t e n c e a n d I m m o r t a l i t y . The Stains of the Individual: West ( H o n o l u l u : East-West Center Press.1 2 . pp. and Punishment." Buddhist Review 2 (1910): 162-182. Karma. 299—319. 1894." Open Court 8 (1894): 4259-4261. 3 (1897). Ernest R. Paul.) Constable. Cbakravarti. "Karma. A.320 BI B I O G R A P H Y Bhattaeharva. Dahlke. 1 . 1896. A Tale with a Moral. 195C. Rasvihary." Philosophy East and West 14 (1964): 131-144. A. "Advaita Vedanta and Liberation in Bodily Existence. Chicago: Open Court. "The Status of the Individual in Indian philosophy. A Story of Early Buddhism. Chatterji. N . 1968." Quest (1959): 15—18. —. Indian Conceptions of Immortality. .3 ." journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. "Eschatological Concepts in Indian Thought. K.3 4 4 . A. Paul." Der Buddhist 2 (19061910). Chatterjee." Journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India 1. pp. Ranc-hh Catholic Press.6 4 . 1934. Moore (ed. Sudhamov. "Is Indian Philosophy Deterministic {"Philosophical Quarterly (Amalrer) 34 (1961): 49-55. Das." Visvahharati Quarterly 17 (1952): l9\-207. Satischandra. "There is N o Modification in the Karma Doctrine. The Karma Theory." journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India 5. Collins." Prabuddha Bbarata 72 (1967): 3 2 8 . " Open Court 8 (1S94): 4315—4317. A.J. Clark. " O n the Translation of the Soul from One Body to Another (The Story of Prince Blue-Neck)." Phdoso22 phy East and West 4 (1954): 113-124. pp. Harvard University Press. n. Reprinted in C.]. Fundamentals of Hinduism. "Immortality and the Buddhist Soul-conception. Carus. . N e w York: Lane. "The Doctrine of Karma and Fatalism. Bhide. S. Bohhili. Adolph. C. " P r e . Das. 7 . 1968). Chattopadhyaya." Hawaiian Buddhist Annual.4 3 9 . S. "The Doctrine of Transmigration. N . 1904. G." Open Court 8 (1894): 4217-4221. Moore fed. Sarat Chandra.d. "Transmigration in the East and West. "Law of Karma in jainism.

Feer." Open Court 8 (1894): 4261 ff. Saiva Siddbanta as Expounded in the Siva/nanasiddiyar and Its Six Commentaries. L. . Henri Leon. Edmunds. Demicville. & T. S. 1 . Der indischer Seelungswahaksungsglauhe. Franklin. "Gedanken fiber das karma." Buddhism I."/d/tt Journal 7 (1973): 133-14). N e w York: Dover." Bulletin de I't. Chicago: Open Court. "Divine Grace and the Law of Karma. Dharmapala. S. Mahadevan. S." In Essays in Philosophy Presented to Dr. V. j . 1962. "The H o u r of Death: Irs Importance for Man's Future Fate in Hindu and Western Religions. Translated by C. or Pre-existence. System of the Vedanta. 636-638. Johnston. 4 5 2 . Paul. . Geden. A. "Kammic Asccnt and Descent of Mat). "The Place of the Soul in Saiva Siddhanta." Philosophy East and Wen 15 (1965): 3 . Clark. Philosophy of the Upanishads. C. "Le sejour des morts selon les Iridiens et selons les Grecs.3 3 5 .8 2 . "A Buddhist on the Law of Karma. Ernst. Dhammaraina." AUgemcme Missions-Zeitschrift 35: 2 7 9 . U. 3 (1973): 1-14. 1913." Revue d'Histoire des Religions 18 (1888): 297-319. 1955." Sphinx 21 (1896): 117-120." Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute 8 (1926): 2 1 9 . "Der Se<?1enwandetungsglaube tmd seln Finfluss aul das religiose und sittliche Leben." Mahabodbi 63 (1955): 4 4 . I960. S. K. Eliot. A. T. M. "Sur la mcmoirc des existences antcrieures. " D e I'importance des actes de la pensee dans le Bouddhisme. Albert J. W. Dixit. Basel. Devasenapatfei. 4 (1904). R. no. "The Law of Karma: A Critical Examination. "Problems of Ethics and Karma Doctrine as Treated in Bhagavatisutra. "Karma: Its Value as a Doctrine of Life. 1910. 1912. P p . "Karma as a 'Convenient Fiction' in the Advaita Vedanta." Mahabodbi 49 (1941): 122-127.4 6 . Madras Department of Indian Philosophy Publications 7.1 2 . Datta. Madras. Paul. P. "The Philosophy of Karma. Basler Missionsstudien 37. de Silva." Prabuddha B bar a to. I O G K A P H V Dasgupta.4 5 9 .ssen." Sambodhi 2. 1919. "Fourfold Kamma. N . "Sin and Its Removal in India. . " D o l d e n . 382-386. de Smct. . Edinburgh: T.2 4 9 .cale Frangais d'Extreme Orient 27 (1927): 2 8 3 . Dtwakar. Farqhar.B3 H I .8 . C. Berlin-Lichterfelde: Erlange.3 4 . Dilger. pp." Hibbert Journal 20 (1921-22): 2 0 . 1973. Die Seelenndening. K." Revue d'Histoire des religions 13 (1886): 7 4 . Deutsch." Indian Philosophical Annual 2 (1966): 3 2 8 .2 9 8 . 66 (1961): 104-113. B. V. Deu. . Edgerton. no. Falke. "Personal Identity and the Law of Karma. Dicstel." Indian Antiquary (3rd series) I (1964): 163-173. Robert. Translated bv A." Allahabad University Studies (Philosophy).2 9 8 .

(178 pp. New Delhi: Motilai Banarsidass. Richard. A l s o Journal of the Indian Academy of Philosophy 7. no.4 3 5 .9 0 . Richard. " Vedanta Kesari 54 ( 1 9 6 7 .2 9 . " O n Transmigration." In Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Julian Press. Law of Karma. 5 6 . G. IS3S. 1938. Leipzig: Fried rich. 'Transmigration (Indian). Kandv: Buddhist Publication Society. Leipzig: O t t o H a r r a s s o w i t z . Arthur L. "The Theories of Karma and M a y a and the P r o b l e m of Evil. "Karma. Gupta. S. de. 194-221. Franz. L'dme et le dogme de la transmigration dans les livres sacrees de I'lnde. "Karma and C r i m e . 167-169). "The Mahabharata and Hindu Eschatology.Unsterhlichkeit mid Erlosung m den Indischen Rehgionen. R.322 BI B I O G R A P H Y Gandhi. Translated into English by E. 1915. " K a r m a — I t s Many A s p e c t s . Garbe. Vol.3 2 (1967— 68): 3 8 2 . .2 4 . G e i s t e s g e w i s s c n s c h a f t l l c h e Klasse 14. Henseler. Alf. "A Philosophical Approach to the D o c t r i n e o f Karma. 12. de Boccard. Gogerly. P a y n e . Wirken und Werden. " Vedanta Kesari 54 (1967): 220— 227. Buddhist Reflections on Death. C. G o m b r i c h .6 0 . Pp.1 3 5 . 1965. 1963. Hartman. C o l o m b o . B o m b a y : Popular Prakashan. G o m e z . 1942. Hara. . Australian National University Press. Ramchandra.2 1 9 . 1966 ( T h e Wheel. 1897. 1897.2 9 6 . no. 1976. M i n o r u . F. j. Paris: E. 333-350. D a n i e l John. G .). 25 (April 1972): 2 0 . "Transfer of Merit. 1 (1971)." Journal of Religious Studies 3. "Studies cm Punarjanma or Rebirth." Mahabodhi 79 (1971): 8—13." The Friend 2. "Karma and P u n i s h m e n t . 102-103). E. Neville. Reincarnation in World Thought. " Philosophy East and West 25 (1975): 8 1 . Hastings. E. pp. 1 (1968): 5 4 . J o h n . 196S. 440-464." History of Religions 11 ( N o v e m b e r 1971): 2 0 3 . Gunaratna. "Merit Transference in Sinhalese Buddhism: A Case Study of the Interaction b e t w e e n Doctrine. Religious Consciousness. Karma oder Wissen. Bombay. 2 7 7 . Die Lehre vom Karma in der Philosophic der Jainas. .) Herman.6 8 ) : 2 4 . " S o m e Aspects of the Free-will Q u e s t i o n in the N i k a y a s ." Indian Philosophy and Culture 19. "Reincarnation: A Critical Examination of O n e F o r m of Reincarnation Theory. Kandy." History of Religions 12 (1972): 9 5 . no. . Hallet).) Head. Gunaratna.6 9 . 1971 (The Wheel." Adyar Library Bulletin 3 1 . no. Gksenapp. V. (192 pp. Luis O . 3 (1974): 2 0 9 ." Radical Humanist (Calcutta) 3 5 . as Im- mortality and Freedom in Indian Religions Calcutta. Sch rift en der Konigsberger Gelehrten Gesellschaft. 4 3 4 .2 2 8 . H i c k . " Vedanta Kesari 53 (1966-67): 398-403. . Rebirth Explained. P.and Practice. The Doctrine oj Karman in Jain Philosophy. Hiltebeitel. Hall. nos.4 1 1 ." Lotus Bluthen. edited by James A. The Problem of Evil and Indian Thought. G h u r y e . Gnaneswaranaflda. Joseph (ed. 1967. Hall. 1928. nos. E. . Helm nth von.

2 (1972): 1-22. Madras: Christian Literature Society. pp. Kaelber. 7 8 . Kalghatgi. G. 1909. "The Jaina Theory of Karma/* Indian Philosophy and Religion 3 (1920): 149-164. "Tapas. (75 pp. 1959. j . and Other Essays on Reincarnation." Vedanta Kesari 45 (1958). Iyer. . 1969 (The Wheel 8). "Liberation: The Avowed Goal of Indian Philosophy. . How We Remember Our Past Lives. Isenberg. "Reflations on the Concepts of Karma and Dharma in Sanka ra's Advaita Vedanta." Sambodhi I. Jmarajadasa. "Metempsychosis. 5th ed. Does the Soul Reincarnate? Puranattukara. . 1942. 665-672. |ain. Banaras. 1906. K. 145 ff. Jayatifieke." Madhya Bbarati (Journal History of the University of Religions of Saugar) 16 (1965-67). G. Inada. 7 8 ." Mahabodhi 76 (November-December 1968): 314-320. C. . Survival and Karma in Buddhist Perspective. "Modifications of the Karma Doctrine. Series 38. C." Man in India 12 (1932): 7 3 . T. 140-147. k . Institute of Indology. N. . Mutton. M. I (1972): 41-62. S." Vedanta and the west S (1945)." Aryan Path 1 (1936): 350 ft. Reprinted in Popular Essays in Indian Philosophy. "The Doctrine of Kanna in Jaina Philosophy. Pure a Mimamsa in Its Sources." International Philosophical Quarterly 9(1969): 101-119." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.9 0 ." Man in India J.3 8 6 . K. K. "Karma —Its Operation and an Appraisal. Ahmedabad: L. Hodson. V. "Some Ba«=ic Misconceptions o) Buddhism.lOJ3KAPH. 30-34 and 43-48. K. "Reincarnation and Karma." 15 (1976): 3 4 3 . Humphreys. Christmas.) Jnaneswarananda. 1964. "The Finite Self: Its Nature and Destiny." Indian Philosophical Annual 4 (1968): 21-27. 1915. no." Philosophy East and Wesr 15 (3965): 229-242." Prabuddha ' Bharata 71 (1966). Karma and Rebirth.BIBI. 1907." Mahabodhi 78 (1970): 350-355. pp. "The Concept of Liberation in Yoga Philosophy.Ti 3-3 Hmvanna. A. (tOC pp. "Reincarnation: Some Indian Views. £.7 6 . "The Doctrine of Rebirth in Various Areas in India. — — . "The Buddhist Doctrine of Karma. . and Spiritual Rebirth in the Vedas. D. Walter O. Karma and Redemption. 1972. Jha. L. Adyari Theosnphieal Publishing H o u s e . Hogg. no. Col. pp. Hopkins. H. Mysore. D. no. Birth. "The Case for the Buddhist Theory ot Survival and Kamma. Ganganatha. 1964. Kandv. A. 2 (1921): 1-17."Determinism and Karma Theory. W. Iswarananda. V. 5SI-594.) . T." Philosophy East and W<M 18 (1968): 77-81.8 8 . London: John Murray. See Bohhili above for a response. Joshi. Karma and Rebirth. "In the Vestibules of Karma " Sambodhi I. Champat Rai.

6." Journal Asiatique 10. Raw.3 8 7 . Some Fundamental Problems in Indian of Asian New Philosophy. . "Rebirth—A Philosophical Study. 1930-1962. 87-95. Village Life in Northern India. Calcutta: Ramakrishm Mission Institute of Culture. K u n h a n Rata. Princeton University. Katre. II. Vol. 2 (1903): 357-450." Indian Culture 13 (1946): 134-138. (Esp. 39 (1902): 237-306. Mysore. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. . James P." Adyar Library Bulletin 16 (1952): 5 9 . Poona. "Religious Anxiety and Hindu Fat ^Journal Studies 23 (1964): 71-79. Hoshiarpur. Lamotte. "Jain View of Karma.-.. "Sadhina Jataka: A Case against the Transfer of Merit. 1917. C . . D. "Re-Birth: The Need for Clarification. 1961.3 4 7 . "Buddhist View of Karma. "The Problem of Psychological Causation and the Use of Terms for 'Chance' in the Early Buddhist Texts. Louis de. Lewis. 1952. "Doctrine of Karma tn Jainism. no. . pp. 1967. Delhi." Ph. Pp. Eti cnne. . ." Review of Philosophy and Religion (Poona) 5 (1935). "Developments in the Early Buddhist Concept of Kamma Karma. no. Hiriyanna Commemoration Volume. P. E958." The Cultural Heritage of India. . C ." Sambodbi 1. "Le traite de l'Acte de Vasub. " In Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.3 2 4 BI B I O G R A P H Y . History of Dharmasasrra. The Doctrine of Recognition (Pratyabhijna Philosophy). 7. "Karma. Hastings.) L a w . Ling. Oscar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. V. V. Kane.. . Hibbert Lectures. "Dogmatique Bouddhique: Nouvelle recherches sur la doctrine de t'acte." Journal of .mdhu Karmasiddhiprakarana.. . S. Oriental Society 94 (1974): 3 8 5 . j .D. R. 673 -676. 1 (1969): 37-41. W. K. 2nd ed. Pauline." Bharatiya Vidya 6 (1945): 145-147. . 1916. 1967. no.. "Concepts of Freedom and Responsibility in Theravada Buddhism. 537-546. Government Oriental Series B. Karunaratne.. Trevor. pp." Vidyodaya 2. . M. fvolenda. 29-31.. 30-106. 3 (1972): 1-32. "Some Fundamental Problems in the Upanisad and Pali Ballads. 1958. "Is There Group Karma in Theravada Buddhism?" Nutile h 23 (1976): 67-80. S. The Way to Nirvana." University of Ceylon Review 17 (1959): 73-89. Dissertation. etc. edited by James A. " Professor M. ia ValleePoussin. ." Melanges Chmois et Bouddhiques IV (1935-1936): 151—288. edited bv S. "Dogmatique Bouddhique: La negation de I'ame et la doctrine de Yucxe" Journal Anatique 9." journal of the American Oriental Society the American 93 (1973): 3 4 4 . " D o c t r i n e of K a r m a . I. Pp. " K a r m a . B. "Nibbana as a Reward for Kamma. 1971." Aryan Path 23 (1952): 124 ff. no..— . Radhakrishnan and others. "Where Ancient Thought and Modern Science Meet. Kalupahana. McDermott." World Buddhism Veesak Annua! 2 (Buddhist Annual 2511).8 6 .

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See karmic residue anyonyuhhava (reciprocal nonexistence). See awareness antara-bhava. 1 8 1 . anattS (doctrine ot no-self). 262. soul). See also tiryancas Ahkayarkanni. 21S a say a (substratum). See fruition. 4S. vanapr&stba.1 1 5 . 2 4 3 . 35. karmic Asfdrtgabrdaya Samhita. Atb. Pitrs. adnta-janma. 159 asrama (four stages ol lite). 3J2. L43 afterworld. 7.7 7 7 Abhidharmakoia. See in-between-state-ofbeing antecedent tion-existence. 2 7 0 .0. 262. 112. 21. 25. 254-256. 132 apiirea (remote or unforeseen consequences of an jet). L66 ancestors. and Trobriand arc placed in Roman alphabetical order. 55 Artabhaga. I7S. xiv. 220 ahamhara (ego). 101-102. Sanskrit. 140. xiv. 47 aggregates (khandbas. 64. 312 Aditi. ? ? A . Pah. 255.) ahhazva (souls u n a b l e to obtain liberation). 164. 16. xxiii. LSI Appar.I R S adbarirni ( v i o l a t i o n o f cosrrtic r e l i g i o u s l a w ) .1 8 2 . 123 a/tat man. skandhas). 131. 192. Andhakas. 269 art ha (worldly goals). 24. 102. I6S-1ZQ. 2. 71. 37. I S 7 . ethical. ajiva (insentient being). 166. See subtle-bodv at man (self. liZ Agnivesa. 55 anusaya. 166. samnydfin. 9 3 . 16. Tibejafl. 3C9 Apastamhha-dharnta-sfitra. 165. See lifetimes. xix.. 183. astava. UL L53 Advaita Vedanta. athahika. L43 Agastya. See 281. 153. 20. 33 1 . 157. SO. 22&=229 Arnuagau. 2 S W -2M1. 1 1 4 . L K 9 Angnttara N'tkaya. |_Q6. L55 Apollo. 32. 172. H6 ahimSa (non-nuiirv). 266 Aryans. 93-?4. 298. lOSL 172 A than'a Veda. xxiii. 139. 66. iVc Vedanta afflictions. 236. 44 Aitareya Upanisad. 116-117. See karmic residue asceticism.Q7 asura (demon). 191 animals. 171. See also brahniacarin. L L 4 antahkarana-vrtti. xxvi. M9. prdgdbbava anubbdga. other adulter). 292. See also pin da.Index and Glossary (Words that have been transliterated from IgtiO. !KI. !70. karmic Atiugha. 220 Ajivakas. l_6L 224. ltd Arjuna. 215 A nan da. See klcw afterlife. 93. Tamil. L 2 agni-botra (obligation to Agni). 104. 2 4 7 . L12. [4. 114 Agnivesa Tantra. 1_L 163 ativdhika.9 Apa Tan is. 104. sraddha S O Z Aristotle. 308-311. See influx. 147. 2-19. x m . 258. 6^10. 292. 204 Agni. 79-80. 151 Ariyapariyesamt Sutta. grhastha.9 4 •igurttlaghtttVii (undergoing neither gain nor loss). pitryana. 6 adrsta (unseen results).

176. HI. 48. 36. xxii. Z6_ See also rakiasa Brabma-Sambita. 32. 24. 290. IS2-189 Avimukta. 2R6. 176. 133. gross-body. See also gati. See also semen bile (pitta). ^ £7. See inbetween . 22 Berger. 60. 293 Badarayana.119. IDS. 16. 208. 31 bhuta. Bod hi sattva. 311=316 bbavivasa. pradhdna. 294 Blue Lapis Lazuli. 210. 190. xxii. 2 S . 315 Bbagavad-Gita. 218. dyuh-karma (establishment of the length ' of tine's life). 253^ 258. 2S bhakti (devotion).dnhi. See also dividual. 24 bali sacrifice. 99. See predestination iibela Samhita. 92. 76 Benares. 268. 309. 210.2 6 . 19. 229 Brahma-Prajapati. 27.yid. 129. 28 Brabmasiitra. 271. 60.chags. 216. 92. Sec brahmahatyii . 173. to enjoy or experience.2 9 . bbiksu. 223-224. 206. A. Peter. 200. 90-115.. 156. rice bondage. luminousbody. 236. 280-282.Ihs. 224 bhdva (predisposition). 13.can (bar. 41 Brahmin (priest). 21. 34. 258. vajra-body boiled rice offerings. 43.do). 309 avidya. 236 body. 123.kyi. 49. 156. See bondage. 93. 56. 52. 299. xxv.st at e -o f . 316 Book of the Dead. 24. 27 awareness (antabkarana-vrtti. physiological determinism. See atman bija (seed). 125. L. 204. 269. karmic Bar. 46. 207. karmdna-sarlra. 266-267. See earn. 316. 2 5 . 2JJL 220-222. do. See atman atyantdbhdva (absolute non-existence). soul Atreva Punarvasu. 174-175. 129-130. to eat or copulate with). 61. 211-212 birth. Swami. See also pudgala-vada. subtle-body. [67. 95 baldma (soul). 130-131. 103. 235. 246. Brahman. 291. xxv. 29-31. 1ST. 2i> Bharadvaja. 253. 13. 103 — 104. 264. 41. 304 Bhaktivedanta. 102.98. 163 Brahma-Ioka (the world ot Brahmin). abnormal birth rites fjata-karma). 221. 249. 4 7 . 312 brahmaedrin (chaste student). bodv ot Bali. 63. shrine of. Sec Tibetan Book of the Dead bar. 29R. 48 bbaga (experience). 142. See monk Bhima. 36. 50. L57 bhuj (verb. 56 Brahmaraksasa (Brahmin ogre). karmic (bandba). 53. See also pujdri Brahminicide. 198. 304. 253. 246. 33. See elements bhiitatman. Sec cxperience-bodv Bhrgu. See Brahmin Brahman as.sons. xxi. 297 Brahmanism. 8.33^ INDEX AND GLOSSARY atman (continued) 191. 103 Bhartrhari. 24. 291. 131 — 132. 112 bbikkit. eittavrtti. 97. 264.4 8 Bhisma. viparyaya). 215. 18-23. 106. 212. H3. 101. body of. 52. 232-23^ Ayurvedic medicine. 158. procreation. 264 Brahmana. S4_. 123-125. 18. 27. See Lapis Lazuli Bodhtsatra. 18. 198199. thought impression. See Tibetan Book of the Dead Brahma. 190-191. 1AL Sec also soul bandha. 12. 62. 196. xxv. 206-207. 232. individual. 93. experience-body. 253. 114 atta.See ignorance avijnapti (latent act). 2.62 brabmahtva (slaying a lirahminj. 86-87. 5 4 . 76. 254. 299 Brahmavidya (knowledge ot Brahman). 197. 300-^01 bag.be i n g Basham. 279 BrahmajaU Sutta. 19. 16. 751—751 Brahnntsiitrabbdsya. See thought impression. 295 bhoga-deha. 196. 312 Bbdeavata Parana.69.5 5 . 70. 107. 9. 2KS Baudhayana-dharma-sutra. 5 blood. S3 begging. 97-108. 157. 219.

174-175. 2i4 conception. 122-123. 10-11. 114 fate cit^fjij (energy centers or nodes). 21.4 . 169-170 buddhi (intelligence). See also varna causality. Cod Deussen. Caiva Cittanta. 155 breath (pram). ISO. Surendranath. 249. 304. ij. LL 28. 31. 293. 60. xxv. xix-xxii. See also dhatma Dhatnmapada.203. 2. 109-112. See pratitya-samutpdda Chandogya Upanisad. 25. \ x i . 1S4-iB5 chain. 209. See also kdrana cessation of karma (karma-wrodha). 269.61. See samgbSta darsanu ( p h i l o s o p h v ) . violations of.9 6 . 4Q. 53. 290 Dasgupta. 261-267. 4[. 263. 6. fate. causal. 1. See also sallekhand deba. 102. dependent. 197-216. the. 158. 114-115. 75^79 caitcinya (consciousness). 266. 294 caste. l_33. 59. 94 death. LI0 Ciiappatikaram. 316. 25. Seealso caitanya. 250. 29. 55. See pradhvam sabhdva continuous transformation. 181 -182. pitrttsa consequent non-existence. 179. 37. 24. prakrti code-substancc. 161-162. 192. See bhakti dhannua. 271.-26 devayana. 13. 207. 29fi.3 4 . xv. raksasas dependent co-originatiofl. J22 r j23. 234. 11 1-316 Cuntarar. Z6 Candarnabaroiana Tantra. 142. See Saiva Siddhinta 44. See also antra. 15-18. 30. Sec also consciousness daiva (fate sent by the gods). xxv. xvi. 93. Paul. 155 Chi. 10.Dante Alighieri. 5. 13-14. 131. See way-of-the-gods Dev-ayani. 18 desire. 256. 124 Dallas. 293. 139. 187. 314 combination. 137-216.6. 203. divine ordinance (divya viddbi). See pratityasamutpada descendants. abnormal. L49 consciousness. iii Candramati. 160 Deutsch. 252. L33 ettra ceremony. 106. i0. 95. xxii. 25!. 26. MA Buddhism. 27. 242 Confucianism. 44. 33-34. 235. 154 Buddha. L4Z 159. Cakrapanidatta.Z See also birth conceptual scheme. 1QL. 1. Georg. 13. 59. 19. 255. causation. Eliot. 39 Devaki. !94. 172. 112=143 child.INDEX A N D G L O S S A R Y 333 common sense. 10. 162-163 Christian Science. See also destiny. 196. 153.H citta. providential acts oi gods (divya kfiyd). 42. 2K5 Caraka Sarnhitd. 24S. 2L 24 Brhati. coded substance. 292-296. 304^316 darsa-pdrna-miisa-)SU (new. 9 6 . 308-311. 197200. 232. xxii. passim. 24J. 29L 2M4. 24.70. See pratityasammpada core. 9B-1I5 earn (olfenngs of boiled rke). 27b Bridge of the Requirer. 29S-299 Chenchus. 169. See body demons. 169-170. marked (Itnga). 270. See kama destiny. 139. 18. 214 cetanS (volition).4 213 Candalas. 225.6 Dasapadarthi. 99-100 Christianity. 23. See awareness. 238. |00. LL 54-56. 233. 119. 165. 27. 30. 169. Sec also daiva. 211. 10. 55.0 Brhadaranyaka Upanhad. siv.C Bubler. 225 Buddhsghosa. 21. 3 3 .-iri. 175 Dhanvant. 34.0 Candrananda. 192. 9_C. 269-271. 307-310. 216. 9 Carvaka. 218. 221.and fullmoon sacrifice). See par mama co-origination. citta-vrtti. 104. 298-299 Brhaspati. 42 demotion.

40. See food and eating Ebibi. 117-164 eternalism (sassata). 46 Dharmasastras. ?. 96. I0L 109-110. 225 Durkheim. painful. 172. 90. 2Dii Garuda Parana. K. karmic (dtutbbdga). 304 dbdtus. 90. 288 Freud. 9 3 . 285 Drona. Jaina theory ot (transmigrating consciousness). 8. material basis of. 204. See Gartdharvas Gandhari. Ll£ eschatology. See ahamkara ekeruhiyas (beings having onlv one sense organ). See embryo Garland of the Vajra Tantra. 81. ethical ethical prophecy. See also dusa foetus. 198. 172-173 duhkha (misen-. 26. 262. 76. Sigmund. 32 Elysium. 23 27. 95. ifi^. 6. 48 Dhruva. 32. HQ Dumont. 40.ih<i parents.4 7 drai va. 1102. 2 U . 248 ego. 2 7 . 168. 273. 204. destiny father. 166 ethical asceticism. 80. See asceticism. Mircea. 79. 223. 13. 220. Margaret Trawick. 243. 237. IS6. 213. 40. 245. 80. Draupadi. 312 Dharma (personification of dharma).. inn fluidity of karma. 217. 247. 307 epidemics. 18-19. xvii. 109-111 dista. See lifetime. 121 fruition. 253. 83. 61 . 53. 200. See paradise embryo. ?3_. 313 Eliade. 297-298. xxv. E. 14. L2J Gangadean. 2L 56. 23 Digambaras. A. See pradhana existence. 23) Gandharvas. See destiny divya-viadhi. 228 Dlgba Nikdya. 22L See . pain). Sec substance Drdhabala. 113-115 escape clause.9 4 dreams and dreaming. 24-26. xxii. 90. 300. 18-20. 33. 305 Epics. 212 elements fbhiita. 160 Duryodhana. 262-267. present duggati (painful existence. 95 Egnor. 254-255. 303 forest-dweller (vdnaprastha).AZ. xviii. embryology ( garbha). 99. 270". xvi garbba. 222. 4. 170. 246. 52. 210-211. 176. [3. xxi. 79. 10. 225. dbdtus). 54. 13. See parinama existence. 44. 112-113. ethical ethicization. flaw). 2 ^ 25. 138. 158. 34 35. 17. See also bile. 115. See destiny doomsday ( pralaya/. a bad incarnation). Thomas.2 8 . 218 funeral rites. 183. 24 dividual. 40-41. 172. 45. 710-711 . 22 gati (condition or situation ot a soul passing through various lives). xxiv. 284. 304. 4 6 . S e t also daiva. 281. 17 expiation (prayaseitti). role of. See fate Diti. xv. 96-108. 286 dose (humor. 244 encompassment. 16. L43 effort. See embryo food and eating. 22. 170. 171-172. 92. role of rive-fire-doctrine (pancagnividyd). 151 disease. human (purusakdra). xxiv.33^ INDEX AND GLOSSARY itharma. See duggati experience-body (bboga-dcbal.' 9.. Z gandbana. Louis. 273-274. 270. 14Z See also srdddba Gandhabbas. L46 evolution. See sngati existence. 46. 10Z LLL. IZ3 Dionysian mysteries. L5JL. 200. 51. 47. 221 fate. 25. xxi. 46-47. 37 drsta-iamna. 24. 45 eating. Emile. 26L 3LL 316 dkya-kriya. xxi. 257 fatalism. 262 Frauwallner. 44. 250. 62. See elements Dhrtarastra.8 9 . 34. 98. phlegm. See prophecy. 234. 102. the (Mahdbbdrata and Rimayanai. wind Howling. xxi. 197. 209. 221." 204. 19.295. 229. 296. 295-296: etiology of. 35. joyful.

dobi. xiv. 70 Haimendorf. 196197. 45 =46. ideal-type. 270. 171-172. 9 . ZB±L-2&3^ 5ee also rajas. Sec Buddha. 5 4 . 144 Hiitebcitcl.. 52. Robert. 51. 139. 291. 145. ?1. 55. 295] strands of nature. 44-47.sems. 276-277. 28J Heesterman. 131. 303 individual. 13^ 141. 172. 27. 23. L55 Gosala. 231 Greek eschatology. 228 Gotama. 79. See also Isvara Gonds. 262-263. 220. IS. skadus). . \x. 43. 14. 9.7 Hinduism.1 0 . male. See wanderer householder. 254255. [. Makkhali. tamas gurutalpaga (sleeping with the teacher's wife). jntti. 224-225. 154 ignorance (avidya). the Gautmntt-dkarma-sutra. 23-24. 79-80. 169.5 6 . 111 intercourse. 300-301 . 103. 181.. 143. 12 hell(s).b e i n g (antara bhdva. 48.4&. S3 Gautami. 99. 5. 198-199. L43146 Igbo. 162^163 Island of the Dead. 172. 206. definition of. parents ideal-model. 3M-J17 heaven(s). 217-237. hungry. in bodies. I. 3. !22-f23. 157-159 Islam. 221-222. 148. 80.1. 259 incest. 241. 273_. 6 gross-body (stbula-iarira. of South East Nigeria. 5ec effort. 29. human humors. 9. 172. 4^5. L55 happiness. 148. 143. See also father. 148. 32. 18. 4 3 . See sukha Haribhadra. 256. 23-25. See dosa husband. S3. 279 Hertz. acts of. See lihga ghosts. 218219. 153 Inden. See pre La gifts and gift-giving (dana). 142143. 43 genitals. sattva. 263 . Helmuth von. . 56 imprints. 294 gurias (human qualities). 218 insanity. Ronald. exogenous (unmada). 300 Jalandhara. 19. 291. 195. 23C. 177 God: "arranger" (dbatr). . 18. C.-267 Iran. 246 . 250-251. 253. role of. 164 jiva (living entity). 30 Jambudvipa. 157. 37. 195-198. 140. 32 haired. 34 Jdtakas. 19=20. 261. xxi. 85. 302 immortality.5 . 4 . 3. 294 Jesus. LS3 Gunaratna. sexual. 57. 24.4 6 . 25]. See yon: genitals. 254.33^ I N D E X A N D GLOSSARY Gautama. 241. 107. 282-283. 157. 170-171. 308. 243 Jaimini.1 Jata-karma. 150=152 grhastha (householder). 24. k. 3. 233-235. See memory ol previous lives jayanta. HO. 138.0 Harijans. xiv-xx.. See Buddha. 249. Alf. See also procreation interpretation. 247. the gorra-karma (social or familial environment}. 9. Herbert V. See grhastha human effort. S. 40. 220.). 236. See birth rites idti-smara. See Chi Guenther. 40. xxv. 91. xix. 258. 92 Gtta. Igbo. 9. 59.6 jintu. 50. 209. 284. 13. ordinances of. 157 influx. See Bhagavad-Gita Glasenapp. 302 Iyer.o f . 262 Grbya Sutra. 18. 16. 77..05 hkhyam. von Fiirer. 120. in souls. C. 211. 24. 297 jainism. 274 Jaimintya Brabmana. 39. 258. 266. bar. 270. 63. of theory of karma.L See also dividual Indra. 263. karmic (asrava). 157. 3 -133. 311 guardian spirit. 126 Hariti. See Tuma Isvara (Lord). 206 -207. 2_88. See also Brahmanism history and historical interpretation. female. Sec lak sari a in-betvv een-s tat e . 93.. 251.

!85 karma-vipaka (ripening of karma). See also pravrtti karmaiaya. 26?. 98. 3 Kali-vuga. kramamukti. See body kdya-kamma (body karma). 283 Kasdya-prabhrta. 316. 14. 1Z9 Kiranavali. 1S9 Kamakst. 244. a say a. See vyavahara Luckmann. Thomas.. 30. 119. 304 Kama. 123. 155 kamtna-niroddha. 249. 194. J a m e s . 1157 Kumarila. See karma-vipaka Kanisa. 289 kdriti (rain-producing rites). 95. L4 jyoliffoma (ritual means of attaining heaven). 133 K. salvation. 25 kdmya-karman (rites lor specific ends).ba. Sec cessation of karma kamrna-vipaka. ngraha-gati lifc-of-action. 28. 178. See pravrtti lifc-of-renunciation. 5. See Carvaka lower levels of truth. 169. See also memory of previous lives Liiiga (genitals. 236 Lokavata. 140 liberation. 251 -252. 243. sancita-karma lifetimes. See subtle-body. See also liberation knydyoga (yogic practice). 4S Karsnaiini. 24. 204. See avijnapti Levi-Strauss. 297-298 bay a. 48. L13 Job. See also jhian-mukti. 266. 209. 263. 2U. 300 kartr-vaigunya (faults in the sacrificer). 249. 95. 244/257. nirvana. male). 93 kama (desire. 20L 205. 50 Krsna. See karmic residue Karrnasiddhiprakarana. Sec semen killing. mukti. rydga lifetime. 257. 309 jndnabhaskara. 294 kdma-dhdtn (region of wishes). 105. 217 karma-mimamsd.5 8 Kjatriya (warrior). 40. 154. 2S4 Kaca. 284 Kannaki. 256. SI. 295 karma-yoga. 26 kramamukti (progressive liberation). 84. 292 klesa (affliction). 52. 90. 245 krodha (wrath). 27a Karma-grantha texts. 253.innap. 52. 52. 18.ir. 3. 69. 98. 27_4 ff. 206. 256. 315 luminous-body itai/asa-sarira). See rirvrtti Sec also renunciation. Winston. samnyasa. 23. 123-124. 47. 116. 178. murder king(s). soteriology. 214. 2CZ 2LI latent act. IHI Keith. 27.33^ INDEX AND GLOSSARY jivan-mukta (released in this life). 300. 132 J o y c e . 200-201. 9. 18S. 230. 243 Knipe. siddha. 249. marked hnga-iarira. 128 King. 157 kbandbas. 244. 51 l apis Uzuli. B. 262. See also prdrabdhakarma. 52. 120. S. 16 liquor. Claude.. 253. 2Z1 Kali. Sec phlegm karana (cause). 272. moksa. 217 Kasvapa. 265. 296 Kausrtaki Brdbrnana. 43 Kali. 24'J. 156 lokakasa (space 3t the boundary ol the Jaina universe). See karma-patha karmic residue (an nitty a. See blood khu. 24-26. David M. 264 Klibera. 128. LID kapha.118. karmisaya). See cessation of karma karma-patha (path of action). other (adrsta-janma). present (drffa-janma > . 161-162 lakhtna (imprint ol acts). 44-45. lust). A. 10. 1ZS Kanada.] karma-nirodha. 260. Sec Mimamsa kdrmana-sarira (karmic body). See aggregates kbrav. 33-34. 157 Kausitaki Upanisad. 50. 231 . 58 Kathdvatthu. 5 7 . LiQ Kamars. 116. See also brahtnahatyd. See also core. laity.

3S-59. 266-267. 152 Nagasena.. 139. I7JL 207. 273 -2*4. xv. 133 natna-karma (name-giving). See ideal-model Mohammed.62. of King Milinda. 164 mokfa (release). See hell(s) Njrjyanlyas. See also begging. 41 ndlatiyar. 145 Mallisena. 219} 225-226. 6S ff.15 medical textbooks. See Ayurvedic medicine meditation. 224227.. 9?j 126. 42 Narrinai. [39. purva- nance of this world). LRA^ISi See also brabma-batya. 294. role of. 327. 214 memory of previous lives. i l l Marnnda. George Herbert. IJ3. 271. !0Q. other (adrsta-/anrna) mendicants. 21fJ Manaca-dhdrma-iilstra. xxiii. 329. Sec also renuncia- tion. 713-715 MahakcrnimavibhahgaSHtta. 23J n arnica. 27 marked core (Itiiga). 161-162. 3flB miscarriage. Makkhali Malinowsky. xxii. See nirvana higodas (communal organisms).. Sci Gosala. 102. 7. wile mukti (release). See . 218. abnormal model. 16C Mab atari hisankh a yas una. 304. 290. \v. S material basis tor existence.anil full-moon sacrifice. monk nitya-karrmw (regular sacrificial rites). 245- N'agarjuna. marked Marriott. xxii. 117 new. 30.r/sn procreation. 160. 34-35. 32. 20. Sfc also liberation murder. 206. 257. 43. 22. 260-265. 1.ikntudayi Sutta. 287. iramana).kdma l y i n g . satnana.. xxi. 4j 63. xxv.0. 23. 66. 139-140. 2S5. tySgd . See also Carvaka. 4J. 1S4-IS5. 269. 257. See core. 221-224 uttara- Madhava. 179. xxi-xxii. 176. 22H. prakrti Meade. naraka-loka. I5_S. 1. 295 monk (bhikku. 133 moon. 306. 213. LSI Manu. Manusmrti. f o r mimdmsa. 152. LL6 Nayatis. L92 also lifetimes. See transfer. 120 rtatukal (divine stone). Six. xii. 1. See darsapHrna-mSja-ifft ntbbana. xvi. 253 manes. pitryana. B.4 mother. 249. See also liberation Motfyastvaka. See Mann mandala.. killing Murugan. 171. 55.. See mind mindf mafias). m . See Question. merit Mllinda Pariba. See nirvana. 194. satnriyaSa. I05j IDS.69 Mahavlra.ZQ Madurai. 252. L L 7 muno-kitmmA (mirid karmi). 12-) MahabbdTflta. 215 Mandana Misra. $cc ancestors: PItrs. 250. 60. see Vedanta MJniibnsilsiitra. 104. 166. Ml. The Mimamsa (far ma-mImdinsJ. 30. 60. 279 menstruation. 176 Mabapdrchibbana Sutta. See also parents. 27.INDEX AND GLOSSARY 337 lust. 22S Majjima Nikaya. 167-16S Nahusa. 149[50. 19Q »htlhtpdtaki< See mortjl sin Mctha S. 304 Mara.. 184. 49-52 Markandeya Purana. 273. 303.4 manas. 267. IM. 210. 32-33. Sraddha Manimekdlai. 10. 269 Mabakala Tantra. McKim. 4. Murukan.22.4. 3. bbiksu. 169 nivrtti (activity not directed to mainte- merit transfer.69 Makkhali Go sal a. 61 f 1. 25. 164. S. See pradbana materialists. 219. SI. MS. 236 246 njhilatiunism (ucebeda). S2j 265.4 mortal sin (mahUpataka). 6 4 j 154 mimamsa: a philosophy of Vedic ritual). 2. 190 Markandeya..

47. 2K6 2RI pratisanahi. 246=242 Oedipal conflict. See expiation pet a. LtJ Pitrs (fathers). xxii. role of. 2bt 5. 17h. 56-5" pradhvamsabbava (consequent nonexistence). Sec also Yoga patent act. 13. transformation). 206. pragdbhava (sfitet'itient aon -existence). 221. 10. 282-283. 227.254. ff. LSI pleasure. see expiation predestination (bhavtvaia). 23 parents. 263. See itnJtmart Nyaya. 108. See othcrworiJ Parasara.s. IC3 possession bv spirits or gods. i 2 Patanjali. 300. See way-uf-tbe-fathers pin. Set anyonydbba 'Jd ntj^self. 265. 2 1 See also father.9 ft. 2. II t. See ijitkba pollution.li. consequent. Parsons. other otherworld (parjloka). taiieita-katma prasJda (food left over after offering to the gods). See also predestination.9. xxii. 221 . See also heaven paTdloka. 3 . iC Parthasarathi.6. 29. 26S. reciprocal or astecedcnt. See father omnipresent! sou!. 20N. See pattsandhi pratisedba (sacrificial prohibitions). present. 93. 145. S i See uh» Brthm i . 304. 25ft-257. xvi. mother parinamd (evolution. 309 philosophy. Set1 five-hrc-doetrine Pindavas. See vijnapti piiticca-samnpp Hda^ See pratityasamHtpada pafisanahi (consciousness-linking rebirth). Orphic mysteries. L26 prji'rni {activity directed towards maintenance ot this world). See bile plants. 173. 109 Nyayahbasya. 132 PMupatas. lfa9^LZC Payasi. See dubkba pancagnividya. Sec also heaven. ilesman). 233 pradhana (material basis of existence). 13-36. Sec pre ta phenomenology. See doomsday pratadbb&rkarman (acts to be worked out in present life). 22. 247 -248. 1+5. 1UL See also karmti-pdthu praynscuta. 263. 27. See Pavasi pain. 211 Paesi. 222 object lit die senses (visaya).29S. 12 Prasastapada. See JIso lifetime. sraddba Pisacas. 4Z. 270. See vibhii Orpheus. 312 Plato. 50. 97. predispositions pilgrimage.P raj apati prajnaparadha.222. 282. Talcott. 156. 290 h'yjyavartlikd. 2S0-28L 2M. 147. 25 pinda (ball of rice offered to ancestors). hell INDLX AND GLOSSARY phlegm (kapha. 249. l i . nature). philosophical texts. 10. 217. Prajapati. xvn. 2 i L See also ancestors. 166. 52 paradise. 29 H Ny5rjjrjikiindj. 231 Nya'yamanjart. 93. 2S4. 2ZL 280.4 tf. 30 Paseiiadl. 99. H7-IIS Prabhakar. 243j 242. 2X2 XvHyasiitra.7. 24 96 .33* non -existence. 45.h . 2 1 See aha ancestors. 9 7 10S. See common sense.224. 244-243.i. 267. xviii. See pradbvatftsabhdva non-existence. l_5IL=Jj2 other lives (adrsta-jarirnai. See lifetimes. f i 60. fi. 82. 40. svay-of-ihe-iathcrs pitrydna. 9. 36. violations of praMrti (the material world. 173. See dariiititi physiological determinism. 3 0 8 - iii prdlttya. 229 pfatitya-samutpada (causal chain of dependent co-origination). If. 220. 291. 282-2S3. 278 Parvati. 294 penance. 232.

See redeaih panarvrtti (return). skmskara. 3. 137-192. 125. LL 56. 152 purgatory. puggaU-vada (doctrine of a soul). 248. Z. 149. Ser liberation renunciation. 280-281. xv. sesa.See also liberation samsdra (transmigration. rebirth . 301. snuldha. 280. it'iii. 2M. IDS. -fi9 punishment. 127 Pu'mnas. xxi. 51. 268. 159. rain.4. 147. I3L 219. human pih i a-rnbrianiid. M. 264 . LIZ. tydga residue (karmasiiya. 273 . See effort. 1 1 7 . ! 19-12]'. See also cdru: pinda ripening (. 139. 197.m . 1. 62. See MimdmsS Pythagoras. 211-214. 149-150. 120. 10D. See lifetimes. 96-108..C. xsiv. 5 M mskdra (predispositions). 22 See also nrsrhi. 263. 5. 3QS See also consciousness puntsakdra. samnyasa. 187. 3.imisra. 243. See also mokfa. 10-11. See also Brahmin Pulkasas. abnormal. 27X. 90.r-_29jS) saricita-karma (acts that remain latent in the present life). ICS. 297-298. pasand preta (spirit of deceased person).See also birth prophecy. 283. 236 Sahkhacuda. Sftmsara redeath (pmtarmrtyuj. 234. 69.i. 291. 138. 167-168. 3QL=Jii2 SAtttskara (Vedic rite of passage). 286.4 . lb. 93. ICS. l_3l. 133. See predispositions reward. 139-140. 2H5. 5S. 245-247. vdsand Samyutta Nikoya. See also harm raj tf (quality of passion). 102. See also bbdza. 152.hbrcL See pratitya-samutpada. 163 pudgala-vada. 126.. See vajra-body realism. 225 s&Uckhiind (Jains practice of lasting until death).9 Sammntiyas. 190. L5t _15S rice. L4i Rg Veda.soteriology idmana. xxii. IS punarmrtyii. m raksasas (demons). predisposition. 97 purum (spirit).96=302. ?. 23b The. 250-267. pUjiri procreation. other. 304. 2ii. 144 rtcn. 2$0 sacrifice. Sec >apindikarjtia. 122 Sanjava. 277. 4.4=45 Sahkara. Vedic rituals Sad-danana-samncea\ii. 112 Saiikaramisra.274. 166. specialized. 2B2. 213 salvation. L59 vdti. 79. 247. IM. 27-2S. 19. 57. II. 105 rationalization. 22N. re nouncer). See expiation punnukkhdya (waning ol merit). 103. xviii-xix. 3 _ 8 _ . 2~>7. 245. 58.. 21hi 11% 23Q Salikajiadi. 9. 124 PmamnSr. See ktirma-vipfika rites of passage. j .265. 262. xix. 58. 2. 249. pee monk satnghdia (combination). 277. 154. 150-152 Qttestiuris of King Milimia. 203. 26£i re in cam at ion. U L S piijari i pi'iest). 116. See also patnandhi. 162 Protestantism. [75. 25. 220 Saiva Siddhanta (Caiva Cktanta). 311-315. 272. nirvana. priesthood.rjeJus. See also bbSva. See farvasti-vdda rebirth. 158. 270. 221-222. 61-89. 13-15. 120 samnyasaj samriyasbi (renunciation. 1JJ. circuit ol mundane existence). 217-23S. 63. See hell purification. 248. Rudra.if karma. medical. 3i2 rasa (fluid). 2G3 saneiyamdna-kanria. 22L 229 Pfittakalpa. Zfll 223. 22b. LLL See also asurd Ramanui. 50. 2fiii.INDEX AND GLOSSARY 337 release. 122-123. 24 Sahara. 32. Set' Brahmin.79. 105.. 1 A J sakti (power). 4. 164. ethical. See Siincittt-kdTma San gam. 202-203. 172. 304. vdsana). 29 predispositions. 131..

193-216. 198. lfi-17. 190. 22=25. See gross-body Shulman. 236. 174 . 220.. See also ancestors. 132 saSsata. essence). 3. part of Aeiraddha rite). 91. 206. Sir body Sartre. 200. 156-157. See gross-bodv substance (dravyai. 7. xxn.2A7.4 sraddbd (faith. 3L 33. 62a 173.if/". Jean-Paul. 122 Saf-khan dagam a. lan. 60 . 100. 22. L5. 105. 246. 230. 249. xvj. xv svarga. L13 Susruta. Alfred. lirlgti. IJ2 Sutta Nipdta. 2SZ=233 sense objects. 18. 236_-. Sec Vedic rituals Sri. 220. See code-substance subtle-body (ativabiha. 230-251. Sdhkhya-karikd. l_9j 26. 116. 50. 141. 221. 263^ 28!.91.176 ivubhdva (own-being. starvation sukha (happiness. 207. pleasure). 2J0_.5 substance-code. 120. sugari (joyful existence. 270 Sarva-sididbiintd -samgra ha. 55_. 23% 300. 93. See subtle-body sihiyata.. 55 Susruta Samhitd. 46.See also predispositions sex. 29. See liquor Su res vara. 36. 160. Werner. 254 . suksntasarha). See theft Stevenson. 2]5. 308. L L > 16. 129-130.26. 254-255.. JH. 3110 Staal. 2. See also liberation siddhi (yogic power). 219 SVadharma. 264 suffering. 235 stealing. See heaven(s) . the Veda). Pitrs. 84. 288-289. 220. 208. 2S2 iruti (revealed texts.114 Sanskrinzation. 22D sdrvasti-vada (Buddhist doctrine of realism). 247. 25. 223. See aggregates Sjtoka-vdWika. 129=110 siddha (one who has become perfected). 170. 2i_9. 148. See objects of the senses INDEX AND G L O S S A R Y 337 (visaya) iesa (remainder). furs. 4L 56. 308. See also salvation soul. 20. good deed). HQ saknam (good luck. !9^2L M. See also ancestors.1 Stbili (karmie duration). See also satlekhans. 154 soteriology: medical. sapindikarana rite srdfndna. 226-227. L4 Surva -aarsarta-sarjlgraba. 27. 207. 278-279.hts. 63. 22]6. See monk sranta rituals. 263. 69 . 185 Sclmtz. 12 Stark. 250 spontaneous origination. 3j 2G±. 29-30. speculative. 291.^ l " 2 1 6 . 124-125. 255 Surya. xxvi. 156 Siva. trust). 103. 113 skatidbas. 22Z srdddba (ccrcmonv for ancestors). x!v. xxi. sexual sba. 2 2 1 See also dim an.340 Sankhva. 11 sUksma-iarjra. 20S_. 9. 234-235. 311-312. L5J sati (widow's self-immolatum at husband's cremation). good incarnation). 76. 232^2 S3 soma (a sacrificial drink. 8. 14 ioreery. srdddha sarlra. 220. See eternalism Satapatha Brdhmana. 3. 145. J. See intercourse. 219. 2 1 0 . 283.7 Somaka. David. 26. 216 surd. 41. pudgala-vada speech. 120. 186 svadeba-panndma (current state of bondage of soul tn body). 295.10 SaMtr&itikas f Buddhist "followers of the sutras").. baloma. >L 98. K. 217 sattva (quality of goodness or purity). 207. 172-173 suicide. (. 3i. 247 sin. 30 Sridhara. 218 sthula-sarlra. See also bija semen. 3_U W r a (servant). 79. 144. sometimes personified as a god). 197. 39j 138 Sthala-puranas. See dubkba. 118. 29. 315 seed symbols. 116 starvation. 37. 199. 129 sdptWffiarviRd rite (ceremony directed to the ancestors.

156 I'dsand (predisposition). predi spositions. See lokakasa Htimddit.3 0 2 . 221. 241-242 Theravada. 160. 131. Jaina. 40 Swanson.-223 transfer: family. 295-296 thought-impression. 173. 2S2-2S3 tapas (ascetic beat). 10. [45. See also vibbu Vaisesika. 101. . 98. 188. 185 Vasudeva. 255. !8_5. 21. .pit ah a. 30. 3i6 Varuna. Dalflas. LL2 Vaibhasika. Tibetan Bopk of the Dead (Bar. 3. See luminous-body tamas (qualify of darkness or inertia). 275. 304. 2K. 28 theft. 310 Tamils. 18j fruits of actions to God. 69. Set also speech Vagbhaia. 2 8 . 170-172.-256 libtaprastba. 229. 57.3. 177. good and evil.chags. 85 Vasubandhu. Victor C. 155 Tuma. lower. t _ 3 _ 2 _ . 11 Utkramayoga. 145. 222. 10. 193-216 Tmtra-mhasya. See j h a transmigration. 1ST. 250.6 transformation. 41-42. Sudra. 2S3 Tantra-varttika. samtiydsa UecbeHa. S. . 122 / It'MZ' !laiyatarpHta>ji!7n.V. food. 153 truth. 264. merit. 154 theory. 29. 172. 248 Tantra. 4.). I4I. See dsn Brahmin. Sec nihilation Uchendu. 266. 282_. [95. See Kamiastddbiprakaratia tribal religions of India. power). 82. saskdra Vaiistha-dbarma-siitni. Reddis). 58 tarpana (satisfaction or contentment). See Tipitaka Trobriand Islanders. 58 Tevijja Sutta. [29 tiryaricas (animals). 225 Svetdivatara Upanisad. See also samsara Treatise on Karma. Kattutaki Usas. 10. 63.INDEX AND GLOSSARY 337 Svetambaras. power. 60. 152—153. contemporary (Apa Tanis. 58. 29-30. . See also renunciation. See parinama transmigrating soul. HZ. 21*4 vadkamma (voice-karma). 93. 54. See kala T'. 76. do. 82. caste. [42. 156. 9 te/ai (hen. Guy. 268-302.L-1C2 Vaiiesika-siitra. See forest-dweller varna (class). 257. 1KI-183. 1. Tamilnad.3. 248-249. 214 Vajrayana. 292. 248. L95_-211 time. 181. 12. 243245. 248.-L42 tyiga (renouncing). ksatriya. 42. 29. 155 Trtpuaka. 116-133. xv. 19. See 'cyavahara . xix. 29. Vaisya var$a~dsrama-dbarma (rules governing various social classes and stages of life). xxvi. . Kamars. Brbaddranyaka. 189. 69-70. Cbarldogya. 220 universe. 57. 71. 190 Tirukkural. 217. Chenchus. 12. 2QI-2Q2. 1±2 Udavana.. 245. 148. See speech Vacaspati. . 18. 157^158. 274 Vamadeva. See also Aitareya. 336 va/ra-body. 69. xv. See also bbdva. 64. 25 taija$a-iaTir<i. 137. 97. 269. HO-143. Sec insanity Upanisads. !6K. See also transference and non-transference transference and non-transference.. 9S. substance. J83. 58.4 tittata~mimamsd. 205 Uttahka. 264. XV. xiv. 45 Vac. See Tantra Vakyapadiya. 14. 2 9 6 . 163 textual variants and multiforme.).2 9 . 107. 105. 102. L99 Utpaltikramayoga. S3. xxvi. 292 L'ddyoiakara. 12. body of (bag. xxii. 284^286 Vaisva (merchant). xviii. 62-63. See Vedanta Uttarayayati. 147. 86-87. 103-31. 191.

Vedanta. See womb Yudhisthira. J. U £ 137. role of. [44. 199. 37-31 itisava. i t . 2%-}02. 62. 2iS wife. 2S. 2iL4 vow J. 35. 35 (omnipresent soul). 4{j 56-57. 234. D. 255 wrath.274.. 243. C. 245. 24S-267. 23. JS Yoga. M -K9 Ytikiui. 192.iramond VIP Garamond HoIIiston Roxite C 57533 l. 23 Yam a. 4h 43. 243-267. 220 Vicakhti.9 Yjjnavalkya-db#n?ia~idstra.x v i i . R. 96-108. 27. srumana Watson. siif'iri di-hii rJW(i. E r a u n . E. 219. 23-24. 8. 68. 32-33. Z2 See also mother. 2fiii I't'dariiya-karfiia (actions that are intended to be made known). See also samrtvdsin. -302 wav-ol-tbe-gods (devayana). 17 5L. 34 /aehner.inen lb Offset. See plants Vena. 13.INDEX A N D G L O S S A R Y 337 mta. 1&2=I£3 Designer* CtJtTipOsitor: Printer: Binder: Text: Displays Cloth: Paper. 211. 17. 25. 232=231. 1M. 51. 149. 99. 29 -31. parents wind ivatj. 13 vidbdjpa. 270. 42=43 Vvasa. H i Whitehead. 22Jj 22S. See also samskdru. V I P $j.' J rJ^i vegetables. 253 Vimu-smrti. 59. See krodka Yajnavalkya. 35. xxi-xxii. S. Zoroaster. 251. 226. L20 Vatsyayana. 8j 2L 24. . O. 231. x v i . 304. 53-54. 304.42 Yoga-tuttd. See dfestiny VidHifabbavattbu. L6S Visvedevas. LK2 violence. William Snyder Viking Typographies B r a t m . 237.B i u r t l f i e l d Inc. !44. 116 Vedic rituals. 2]3.. 154. 172. Max! 140. 2. 42. 42. 283.i.^ I Ynktirfipikj.2 volition. 251. 229. xvf— w ii. 2Sb Veda(s). 156. 47. 15. 21S wav-of-the-fathers ipitrytina). 245 vywiibtira (lower truth). 107. See also liberation vitrhipt! (patent act). vayu). . 113.. 158-162. 22S womb {ydnib xxti. 156. 26. LL2 Wilson. 49. 81 8Z. 204. 125. LZ5 vigraka-gAti [intermediate condition free of embodiment). See wind Vacsivaputras. See objects of the senses Visntt."P Yayati. 292 Weber. 305. 242 Vinaya Pitak. 176. 273. Henry. 45. IS? ff. 158-159. 12-13. 230. See eetiittit Vrsaparvan. 2i6 viparyaya. 2JC. 5. 112 Yoga-hbdfytt. vikdrd (derivative modification). 9S. 129. 197-716. 6. 4 t 21. See awareness Vipascit. iOJ wanderer {bkkyant). 163-164 Zoroastrtanism^ 154. 214. fcL5 Visuddhibifiggii.B r u m f i d d Inc. 200! 205.

the incorporation of philosophical theories into practical religions with which they are logically incompatible. This book will have a considerable impact upon the teaching of Indian philosophy. and the reformulation of questions chat the volume presents but does not pretend to settle. is the author of numerous studies of Indian religion and related subjects. . Professor of the History of Religions and Indian Studies at the University of Chicago. Finally. At the very least.respond to one another in a stimulating process of dialectic. it raises basic methodological problems about the study of a non-Western system of soteriology and rebirth. it demonstrates the impossibility of speaking of "the theory of karma." as is so o f t e n done. It also supplies the basis for a full study of this important theory. questions regarding the interaction of medical and philosophical models of the human body. W E N D Y D O N I G E R O'FLAHERTY. opposition. and the problem of historical reconstruction of a complex theory of human life.

A superb piece of scholarship and a lively. ." — Times Ijterary Supplement "This btxik is a n o t h e r d e m o n s t r a t i o n of the author's amazing knowledge of H i n d u mythology and her ability to h a n d l e systematically and creativelyc o m p l e x t h e m e s in t h e H i n d u tradition that have been i g n o r e d ." — Parabola " A b o u n d s in intriguing c o m m e n t s and m e m o r a b l e insights and is written in a lively. her fluent and lucid style make reading a pleasure.T H E O R I G I N S O F EVIL in H i n d u Mythology By Wendy Doniger O Flaherty O'Flaherty has accomplished an i m p o r t a n t double task. . It will reward its readers in much greater measure than the rime invested. She has reoriented our t h i n k i n g on the Indian experience of evil as it has been given literary expression in the mythological texts of the Sanskrit tradition. T h e range and n u m b e r of m y t h s handled is dazzling. . engaging. . . . a v o i d e d .m o n o t h e i s t i c culture. Moreover. and o f t e n h u m o r o u s style." — South Asia hi Review "This v o l u m e is must reading 1 f o r anyone w h o is concerned with the problem of evil in a n o n ." —Journal of the American Academy of Religion "This is D r ." — H i s t o r y of Religions University of California Press Berkeley 94720 ISBN 0-520-03923 . or inadequately treated by Indolegists in the past. O Flaherty's third book on Indian mythology a n d t h e best yet. a new set of vantage p o i n t s f r o m which to re-read familiar m y t h s and e n c o u n t e r new ones. . in this rich and exquisitely crafted book. witty and engagingly written book. . She has also provided. . . . . T h i s book is a major contribution to the study of religion in g e n e r a l and H i n d u i s m in particular.