According to the Jainas, the self is naturally pure, free, perfect and divine and is endowed with ananta-catuṣṭaya i.e., four infinite qualities, viz, anantadarśana, (infinite vision), ananta-jñāna (infinite knowledge), ananta-sukha (infinite bliss) and ananta-virya (infinite power). The liberated self possesses these four infinite qualities, while the worldly jīvas do not possess these four infinite qualities, because they are obscured by the veil of four destructive karmans. The four destructive karmans are: jñānāvaraṇīya, darśanāvaraṇīya, mohaṇīya and antarāya. But, the liberated selves are free from these four kinds of karmans.
The Jainas further hold that the self is always subject to change or modification. In the state of bondage, it undergoes changes because of the elements of the body and the mind. In liberation, on the other hand, it changes by itself within its knowledge and vision. They also hold that if the self were immutable, acquisition of knowledge would not be possible. So, before the rise of a particular knowledge, the self is devoid of it and with the rise of that knowledge, the self is endowed with it. The self in the states of action and enjoyment is different from the self in the states of inaction and non-enjoyment. So, from this difference, it may be presumed that the self can never be absolutely immutable. But the Jainas admit that though the self undergoes modifications in its modes, it remains the same substantially. Being a substance, the self also possesses dhrauvya, i.e., permanence. Hence, the self is eternal when viewed from the standpoint of substance, but it is non-eternal from the standpoint of modes.
The jīva is described from two different viewpoints. These are: the noumenal or niścayanaya and the phenomenal or vyavahāranaya. From the noumenal point of view, the self is described in the pure form, while the phenomenal point of view describes the empirical qualities of the self. From the suddhaniscaya point of view, the jīva possesses pure consciousness in the form of pure knowledge and pure vision. However, this consciousness undergoes changes. From the asuddhaniscaya point of view, the jīva is of the nature of impure consciousness having paryāyas or modifications under different conditions.
Jainism holds that the self or jīva is an active agent. They do not accept the Sāṃkhya theory of the passive Puruṣa. The Jainas also hold that pleasure and pain can not belong to an unconscious entity. Consciousness belongs to Puruṣa, so Puruṣa is subject to pleasure and pain.This Puruṣa is an active entity, because an inactive entity cannot be subject to pleasure and pain. Moreover, consciousness itself is active, because the term consciousness implies knowledge or intelligence which is active in character.
The Jainas further hold that the self is the direct enjoyer of all its actions. The Sāṃkhyas maintain that Puruṣa is the enjoyer in an indirect manner, i.e., through buddhi. The Jainas hold that material buddhi cannot enjoy anything. Enjoyment is the function of a conscious substance. As Puruṣa is conscious, so enjoyment belongs to Puruṣa only and not to buddhi which is unconscious. Thus Puruṣa is the kartṛ and bhoktṛ directly.
From the phenomenal point of view, the jīva is the lord (prabhu), doer (kartā), enjoyer (bhoktā), limited to its body (dehamātra), incorporeal (amūrta) and it is ordinarily found with karma. As a potter considers himself to be a maker and enjoyer of the clay pot, in the same way, the mundane self is said to be the doer and enjoyer of the sense objects. From the noumenal point of view, jīva is the doer of śuddhabhāvas or pure thoughts, but from the phenomenal point of view, it is the doer or active agent of karma-pudgalas or karmic matter. It enjoys the fruits of its action in the form of pleasure and pain.
The Stone Pose Origins
by Yogi Sage Limitless & Timeless