Doctrine of Gunasthana


Doctrine of Gunasthana

Doctrine of Gunasthana

Fourteen stages of spiritual development of the jiva have been propounded based upon the purity of the soul attained through the gradual shedding of karma. These stages are called jivasthana or gunasthana. The fourteen gunasthana of the soul are:

1. Mithyadrsti - This is available to souls trapped in perverted belief. Such souls hold a perverse notion about Truth. In the first gunasthana, the minimum purity of soul is possible on account of the least suppression-cum-elimination of Mohaniyakarma. The drsti (belief) obtained through the minimum supression-cum-elimination is called Mithyadrsti and the soul possessed of such drsti is also called Mithyadrsti.

The Mithyadrsti soul does not believe in the soul, the liberated soul, emancipation etc.; yet every soul is endowed with an iota of right understanding. Such understanding of a Mithyatvi is Mithyadrsti Gunasthana.

2. Sasvadana Samyagdrsti - This state is not obtained while climbing up, but gained by the soul proceeding to Mithyatva, abandoning the Samyaktva. This state is comparable to a leaf which has started falling, but still has not reached the ground.

3. Misra - This state stands for the intermediate state between the Samyaktva and Mithyatva. This state is attained if there is any doubt in any of the categories of truth. This stage prevails for an antarmuhurta, after which the soul either falls back to the first stage or rises up to the fourth stage or above.

4. Avirati Samyagdrsti - In this stage, right belief manifests completely but the capability of accepting vows is not developed.

5. Desavirati - In this stage, the soul attains the capacity of observing the partial vows prescribed for lay followers.

6. Pramatta Samyata - This is the stage of the soul which becomes fully self-restrained by accepting the great vows of an ascetic, but he is still in the grip of remissness (pramada).

7. Apramatta Samyat - Here the ascetic becomes free from remissness. Each moment is spent in complete alertness and Spiritual vigilance. But this state cannot last for a time longer than an antaramuhurta.

8. Nivrttibadara or Apurvakarana - The soul attains the special purification which it had never experienced before. This gunasthana is also known as apurvakarana. Here starts the subsidence or elimination of the gross passions. A pair of ladders originates from this gunasthana-

1. Upasarna Sreni - the ladder of subsidence.

2. Ksapaka Sreni - the ladder of elimination.

In the former ladder, the soul progresses further by subsiding the conduct-deluding karma, whereas in the latter one, the soul climbs up by eliminating it.

The soul's maximum stay at this stage is for antarmuhurta.

9. Anivrttibadara - At this stage, the aspirant starts getting control over the subtle forms of passions.

10. Suksama-samparaya - At this stage, the soul becomes free from the influence of all the passions except very subtle greed.

11. Upasantamoha - In this stage, Mohaniya Karma gets fully subsided.

12. Ksinamoha - In this stage, Mohaniya karma gets completely annihilated.

13. Sayogi Kevali - In the very first instant of this stage, the jiva destroys the remaining three ghati karmas viz., Jnanavaraniya karma, Darsanavarniya karma, Antaraya karma. The soul now becomes omniscient (Kevali) but still indulges in the activities of body, speech and mind.


14. Ayogi Kevali - This is the last and final stage of spiritual development. Here the soul becomes free from all activities and becomes motionless like a mountain. After staying in this state for a short time (equivalent to the time taken for the pronunciation of five short vowels) the soul becomes emancipated. 

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