--> Skip to main content

Eight Types Of Karma In Jainism – Ashtavarana Karma

Ashtavarana Karma means eightfold effects of the deeds of an individual which influence his future destiny. Ghatiya Karma refers to the action currents of injury and aghatiya karma to the action currents of non-injury. Of the eight types, four are ghatiya and the remaining four are aghatin. Ghatin deeds are purely evil while aghatiya deeds are both good and evil in nature.

Ghatiya Karma are - 

  • Jnanavarana Karma – These actions are detrimental to the acquisition of knowledge. They obscure knowledge received by perception and inference (mati), testimony (shruta), clairvoyance (avadhi), telepathy (manahparyaya) and omniscience (kevalajnana).
  • Darshanavarana Karma – These forms of karma obscure right perception. They are of nine kinds the first four corresponding to five types of perception (darshana) and the remaining to five kinds of sleep.
  • Mohaniya Karma – A form of karma that distorts vision and detracts the soul from the path of right conduct. Mohaniya karma that affects vision is termed darshana mohaniya and that which affects conduct is termed caritra mohaniya.
  • Antaraya Karma – Actions which hinder the accomplishment of a particular end. These are the following five kinds - 

  1. Dana Antaraya – due to which a man fails to make a gift of anything to anyone
  2. Lobha Antaraya – due to which a jiva fails to profit from what he does
  3. Bhoga Antaraya – due to which one cannot enjoy palatable dishes
  4. Upabhoga Antaraya – due to which one cannot enjoy any material comforts
  5. Virya Antaraya – due to which a person fails to achieve his objective

Aghatiya Karma are

  • Yukarma – Deeds that determine the duration of existence in any of the four abodes, namely, the region of gods, region of hell, existence in human form and existence in the world of beasts and birds (naraka ayu, triyanca ayu, manusha ayu and deva ayu).
  • Namakarma – Deeds that determine name, form and body structure which will combine to give the jiva its individuality. There are 142 types but two are important, good and evil, i.e., Shubha nama karma and Ashubha nama karma.
  • Gotrakarma – These deeds determine caste and family position of a person.
  • Vedaniya Karma – The term ‘vedana’ refers to ‘sensation’. The sensations differ with reference to the organ of sense involved and also with reference to the nature of the stimulus giving rise to two forms of karma. They are - 
  1. Satavedaniya – that which gives rise to pleasurable sensations
  2. Asatavedaniya – that which gives rise to painful sensations

Jain acharyas have explained the above eight forms of karma through similes (drishtantas) eg jnanavarana karma is like a bandage on the eyes, darsanavarana karma is like a sentinel, mohana karma is like intoxication and so on. Thus Jaina philosophy delves directly into the study of karma and its effects.