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Asrava In Jainism

Asrava is one of the stages in the Jaina theory of Karma. Ashrava refers to the process whereby karma particles flow towards the jiva (self). Karma, according to Jainism, is of a subtle material nature. It has the property of accumulating the effect of deeds, namely, punya (merit) and papa (demerit). Ignorance of truth and involvement with passions cause sticky substances of subtle karma matter to be formed. In the stage of asrava, there is inflow of karma to the individual self. To take in karma particles, the individual self must have certain powers due to which it draws the subtle matter into its various areas or pradehas. These powers are – mithyatva (concealing or misrepresenting the truth), avirati or attachment, kasaya or propensities, prama and yoga or the functional activities of body, speech and mind.

The psychical condition whereby the self attracts karma is termed bhavasrava and the condition wherein the karma is actually drawn towards the self is called dravyasrava. Jain religion has classified asrava into 42 kinds, as being due to the five sense organs or indriyas, four propensities or kasayas, five avratas or non-keeping of the ethical vows, 25 kriyas or works and three yogas or the functional activities of the body, speech and mind.

Asrava ultimately leads to the next stage of bandha, of penetration of karma into the self, thereby binding it. The stage whereby karma is stopped is samvara and the wearing away of all karma already present is the stage of moksha. In moksha, the partnership between the self and the subtle matter of karma is dissolved and the self regains its pure blissful nature.