Nov 28, 2007

Keval Gyan - Omniscience

-By Dr. C. Devakumar

Let me summarise some of the agamic knowledge on the subject.

Yog, upayog and Keval gyan

Yog is physico-psychic act of the bonded soul. Upayog in agamic lexicon means the cognitive attribute of the soul. Almost all Indic languages have absorbed it to mean “utility or purpose”. So our yog must bring us proximic (upa) to our pure soul. That is the upayog of yog. That is verily purusharth. Keval gyan and Keval darshan are pure twin paryaya’s (modifications) of the upayog. It is being said that Keval darshan or the modification of perception comprehends one’s own soul (svaprakashak) and Keval gyan is the modification which measures others (par prakashak). However about this distinction, I need more light from other members in the board. Generally, differentiable measurement is called gyan and integrated view is called darshan in agam. Together, gyan and darshan complement the function of upayog. Incidentally, the utility of yog(a) (=) is to reach pure upayoga.

The meaning of Keval

The agamic meaning of Keval is alone and independent. In other words, it is a process not executed through any other substance including sense organs. Neither it depends on the aid of any substance for it to express. Interestingly, keval has assumed common usage in Hindi to mean “only or lone”. The distorted usage nowadays in Tamil is the “contribution’ of medieval culture towards discrediting this noble term. Kaivalya is the state of pure soul illuminating as it is through keval “radiations”.

There is another agamic meaning too. It is the state being pursued by all sages.

Keval gyan is a modification

This might be the reason that it was personified by poets as a woman (for the wavering and perhaps dazzling nature) and Kevali is said to be artha naarishvar which term has now taken illogical connotations.

If Keval gyan is a modification, is it then dynamic?

The very term modification or change refers to dynamism. In that sense or in paryayartika viewpoint, it is dynamic but its content at every moment (samaya) does not change and in that sense (dravyartika view point) it is “static’ = constant. It is complete in all aspects. It keeps refreshing instantly and constantly. Quite often, we get saddled with the artificial spatial and temporal boundaries (three worlds and three tenses – past, present and future) and try to comprehend within these boundaries. Kaivalya or Keval state does not depend on these divisions. To measure any substance or its infinite paryayas, it doesn’t need that substance to be present in that paryaya at that instant. It is not a shooting camara which needs an object to be shot at. In fact Keval gyan even does not approach any substance for comprehension. It is vision par excellence. In fact, its reach is even beyond alokakash, the empty space. That is why it is supreme, sacred and incomparable. One cannot fathom Kevali state except being in that state.

Keval gyan is both ultramicroscopic and inframacroscopic.

Let me explain what I try to convey. To measure distant objects we need telescope and to measure microparticles, we need microscope. These physical observations are conditioned by the Heisenberg limit or popularly known as Heisenberg uncertainty principle which sets a certain factor of uncertainty in our physical measurements due to the interaction of matter during observation. That is why our sensory knowledge too is conditioned by this limitation. Overcoming this limitation is to pursue Keval gyan which is para-sensory. For every instrument, there is a term called resolving power. Higher the resolving power, superior is an instrument. Here is Keval gyan, the supreme ‘tool” of the pure soul, which has both the reach and depth beyond the comprehension of all sensory and related knowledge’s. Its resolution, speed and canvass are beyond imagination.

How does keval gyan knows the events yet to unfold?

It is like asking a farmer how does he know this seed will produce this particular crop and it would yield its produce in such and such time etc. It is in the seed and a lay farmer can know it! Each substance has grains of information encoded and the Kevali knows all instantly and constantly. Otherwise, He is not Omniscient.

Since Kevali knows all about my future, why should I do purusharth?

This question has been raised now and then. The real meaning of purusharth is to make your effort manly and meaningfully (purush + arth). The other name for pure soul is purusha (puru = supreme, grand sha = state). Again spoken language has adapted this agamic lexicon Purush to mean a person having valour, intelligent, happiness and wealth. Kevali has all infinitely.

It is a common knowledge in Jain dharma that you are your master. So just because Kevali knows my course of life in no way would help me to remain idle. Idleness is not the nature of any substance. Of course, if one understands by purusharth is to pursue lesser and mortal goals, it is one’s choice. Here again Kevali does not come in the way. Bhavitavyata or the future course is in one’s own hand whether your impartial neighbour knows it or not. Further more, doing things other than noble till the appointed time arrives does not speak high of one’s attitude as well. So I humbly believe that such discussion would not serve our purusharth.

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