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Our consciousness is just like steel

By Virendra Kumar Jain

There is an old saying, ‘As you sow, so you reap.’ Auspicious deeds bring beneficial results, while evil deeds bring harmful results. All living beings experience individually, the fruits of their past karmas. Nobody can escape the results of their acquired karmas. We must be answerable for our deeds.

According to Jain scriptures, the embodied soul attracts and gets bonded with karmic matter in the form of ultra-fine particles present everywhere in the universe, on account of actions by mind, speech and body or through passion. These karmas may show their results at any time during the life span of an individual or may be after that as well.

A well-known material, steel is essentially an alloy of iron and carbon. Pure iron is too soft and ductile for many industrial applications such as making tools, machines, structures, railway lines, automobiles and others, and it is therefore, necessary to harden and strengthen it. This is best done by adding carbon, the atoms being of small size become a part of the space lattice of iron, thus forming a solid solution. Carbon exercises the most powerful influence on the mechanical properties of steel after heat treatment. Further manganese, nickel, chromium, tungsten, silicon and other alloying elements are added to steel to enhance the characteristics such as tensile strength, hardness, abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance and high temperature resistance of the plain carbon steel. Stainless steel is a product of iron, carbon, nickel and chromium. The changes that occur in the properties of steel are directly related to changes in the structural make-up of steel in the form of ferrite, austenite, cementite, pearlite, martensite, and bainite, which can be seen through a microscope.

Living beings due to karmic bondage possess an alloyed consciousness very similar to steels, which have properties different from pure iron, in terms of hardness and tensile strength. What carbon does to iron is similar to the way karmas impact the soul. A little change in the quantity of carbon or other alloying elements produces a variety of steels having different properties. Similarly, a man with  emotions like anger, ego, pride, deception and greed or forgiveness, compassion, charity and purity, depending upon their intensity, attracts varying degrees and types of karmic bondages with the soul, which as a force, compel the soul to bear consequences of his right or wrong actions. Karmic bondage is low, medium, or intense, in direct proportion to the degree of attachment-like quantity of carbon and other elements present in steel. All living beings, therefore, experience different pain and pleasure, birth and death according to their accumulated karmas.

As per Jain philosophy, there are eight categories and 148 subclasses of  bonded  karma responsible for obscuring  knowledge and perception pertaining to pure soul, causing feeling of pleasure and pain, delusion, determining life span, physique  and status of  living beings  and  causing hindrance in achieving gains in worldly and spiritual fields.

The concept of karma infuses a deep sense of accountability towards our own actions. We should try to refrain from inauspicious deeds and adopt a path of self- control, non-violence and austerity. This will help prepare us in concentrating our mind in deep meditation to seek deliverance from the external world and attain communion with our soul to realise its true nature.

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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