Kashaya (Jainism)

For other uses, see Kashaya (disambiguation).

In Jainism, Kashaya (loose translation: Passion) are aspects of a person that can be gained during his or her worldly life. According to the Jaina religion as long as a person has Kashayas, they will not escape the cycle of life and death. There are four different kind of Kashayas, each being able to gain their own kinds of intensity.


According to the Jain text, Sarvārthasiddhi, "He who has passions causes injury to himself by himself. Whether injury is then caused to other living beings or not, it is immaterial."[1]

Spiritually, the goal of Jainism is to rid oneself of the worldly life and become free from the cycle of reincarnation. When one develop attachment or passions, this hinders the spiritual progress of their soul. Jainas believe that by reacting without passion and staying tranquil, one can break the cycle which forms more karma.

The Four Kashayas

Further information: Causes of Karma

The four kasaya are: krodha (anger), lobha (greed), mana (ego) and maya (deceit). Out of the many causes of bondage, emotions or passions are considered as the main cause of bandha or bondage. The karmas are literally bound on account of the stickiness of the soul due to existence of various passions or mental dispositions.[2] The passions like anger, pride, deceit and greed are called sticky (kaṣāyas) because they act like glue in making karmic particles stick to the soul resulting in bandha.[3] The karmic inflow on account of yoga driven by passions and emotions cause a long term inflow of karma prolonging the cycle of reincarnations. On the other hand, the karmic inflows on account of actions that are not driven by passions and emotions have only a transient, short-lived karmic effect.[4][5] Hence the ancient Jain texts talk of subduing these negative emotions:[6]

When he wishes that which is good for him, he should get rid of the four faults—anger, pride, deceit and greed—which increase the evil. Anger and pride when not suppressed, and deceit and greed when arising: all these four black passions water the roots of re-birth.

Daśavaikālika sūtra, 8:36–39

Levels Of Intensity

The degrees of strength of the kasayas are illustrated by examples. The 4 species of anger are to be likened unto a line drawn in stone, in earth, in dust and in water. The first can only be removed with great effort, each following one always more easily. Likewise also, the lifelong enduring anger is only combated in its effect with exceeding strength and difficulty whist the effect of the three remaining species accordingly diminishes in power and can, therefore, also more easily be destroyed. The degrees of pride are to be likened unto a pillar of stone, a bone, a piece of wood, and the vine of a creeper; the inflexibility correspondingly decreases. The species of deceitfulness are to be compared to a bamboo root, the horn of a ram, the urine of a cow, and a piece of wood. The crookedness of each of these is removed more easily than in the one preceding it. (The zig zag line of the cow's urine disappears through the influence of wind and weather.) The degrees of greed correspond to scarlet colour, to greater or smaller dirt, and to a spot of turmeric, which soil a garment: the scarlet is hardly removable, the dirt with more or less trouble, and the spot of turmeric can be removed with ease.[7]

See also


  1. S.A. Jain 1992, p. 197.
  2. Jaini, Padmanabh (1998). The Jaina Path of Purification. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1578-5. p. 112
  3. Reichenbach, Bruce (April 1989). "Karma, Causation, and Divine Intervention". Philosophy East and West. University of Hawai press. 39 (2): 135–149. doi:10.2307/1399374. JSTOR 1399374.
  4. Tatia, Nathmal (1994). Tattvārtha Sūtra: That Which Is of Vācaka Umāsvāti (in Sanskrit and English). Lanham, MD: Rowman Altamira. ISBN 0-7619-8993-5. p.152
  5. Kuhn, Hermann (2001). Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate. Wunstorf, Germany: Crosswind Publishing. ISBN 3-9806211-4-6. p.33
  6. Johnson, W.J. (1995). Harmless souls: karmic bondage and religious change in early Jainism with special reference to Umāsvāti and Kundakunda. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-1309-X. p. 36
  7. Glasenapp, Helmuth Von (2003) [1942]. H. R. Kapadia, ed. The Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy. Translated by G. Barry Gifford. Fremont, CA: Asian Humanities Press. ISBN 0-89581-971-6.


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