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Book Reviews
The Path To Inner Peace
By: Subhash Jain - Mantra Books, $13.95

Description: The Path to Inner Peace: Mastering Karma presents the fundamental principles of the Jain karma doctrine through a fictional account of the relationship between a guru and his American student.

Verdict: As the story unfolds, the guru instructs the student on how ‘karmic debt’ is incurred as the result of personal action and how this ‘debt’ can be reduced through behavioral choices.

With an emphasis on nonviolent action, Jainism elucidates the path whereby karmic attachment is decreased, leading to inner peace.

The Path to Inner Peace serves as an in-depth analysis of which actions lead to karmic attachment, how to avoid karmic attachment and what the consequences of karmic attachment are.

The issues of free will versus determinism and good versus evil are also dealt with in detail.

Like Buddhists and Hindus, Jains believe that good karma leads to better circumstances in the next life, and bad karma to worse. However, since they conceive karma to be a material substance that draws the soul back into the body, all karma, both good and bad, leads to rebirth in the body.

Indeed, and as noted on Jain’s own website, the doctrine of Karma has been universally accepted in Indian thought. Ordinarily Karma means human deed and is usually conceived by Indian philosophers as leading to the good or bad results in this life or life hereafter which the performer of the action is to enjoy or suffer.

The soul takes many bodies and goes through the cycle of births and deaths to enjoy the fruits of good and bad Karma. Man is held responsible for all the ills of life due the result of his actions. He is only reaping the consequences of such actions.

Indian sages and thinkers, argue, therefore that the endeavor should be to get rid of Karma and to obtain a state where the Karma has no longer any effect.

Ergo, his book, the newly-released The Path to Inner Peace: Mastering Karma is a virtual thoroughbred of a read that, for even if you knew nothing of the subject matters to hand, well within the opening 20 pages you are fully caught up, highly informed, and, one hopes, on board with the continuation of the always-evolving, always educational, and always fascinating read.

For Karma, we are told, is not a mystic force as some philosophers think. It is conceived as something essentially material, forming a subtle-bond of extremely refined matter which gets attached to the soul, as dust gets attached to the oily body.

Indeed, this Karma principle is accepted as the key to the understanding of all the unexplained facts of life and universe. The essence of Karma principle is that every being of this vast universe is guided by its own Karma.

The heavenly bodies and even gods are not exceptions. Every event of life is due to the Karma of previous life. Birth and death, pain and pleasure, suffering, disease, everything is dependent on the Karma.

Furthermore, on account of good or evil Karma, a leaving creature would be reborn into any species, particularly suited to and measured by the action, from the vilest insect to a god.

For the soul is perfect in its real state. It has infinite knowledge, insight, power and bliss. But the mundane soul is imperfect and limited by Karma. The subtle particles of matter enter into the soul and make the mundane soul bound and put limitations to its capacity from beginningless time (past).

The subtle particles of matter which flow into the soul and cause its bondage, are called Karma. It is Karma that binds the soul to the body. It is caused by the union of the soul with Pudgala (matter).

Passions along with wrong belief, attachment to wordly pleasure or want of control, inadvertence and psycho physical activities of mind, speech and body attract fresh material particles which get transformed automatically into karmic particles and engender empirical bondage of the soul.

To learn more, and to be given a logical perspective, here played out through a dialogue between a Christian student and Indian guru in a critical, rational and concise, clear way, I implore you to purchase this book today and to start reading soon thereafter!

About the Author - Subhash Jain is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil & Environmental Enginnering at The University of Iowa. He was born in India into a family that practiced Jainism and he continued to do so after coming to the US in 1967. After retiring in 2003, he concentrated on studying Indian Philosophy. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

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