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NAMOKARA MANTRA

 

Namokar Mahamantra


 

Daughter 

:

Ma, we recite the Namokara-Mantra daily; what is Namokara-Mantra ? Please tell us.

Mother

:

NAMOKARA-MANTRA is a prayer of virtues. We Jainas worship Arihanta, Siddha, Acarya, Upadhyaya and Sadhu, by reciting Namokara-Mantra. They are Known as "PANCA-PARAMESTHI". Actually Namokara-Mantra is a reverence-Mantra.

Daughter

:

Ma, what do we gain by reverence to Panca-Paramesthi ?

Mother

:

Jainas worship good qualities of a person and not only the person. So, this reverence (deep respect) is impersonal. It is focussed on their virtues (good qualities). Indeed, it is a reverence of their virtues.  It is reverence for their virtues. We wish to instil the virtues of the Panca-Parmesthi in our lives. Namokara-Mantra reminds us to achieve this goal.

Daughter

:

Who are Arihantas ?

Mother

:

Arihantas are supreme human beings. They preach the absolute truth. They know every thing about the universe. At the end of their lives, they become pure-souls (Siddhas).

Daughter

:

Who are Siddhas ?

Mother

:

Siddhas are pure souls without a physical body. They have freed themselves from all kinds of bondage.

Daughter

:

Ma, why do we pay our reverence first to Arihantas in Namokara-Mantra ?

Mother

:

Although, Siddhas are spiritually higher than Arihantas, we pray Arihantas first because they preach us the path of Bliss.

Daughter

:

Who is an Acarya ?

Mother

:

An Acarya is the leader of the monks (SADHUS). He himself strictly practices the teachings of the religion and make other monks to follow such practices. He is a propagator of ethico-spiritual values.

Daughter

:

Who is an Upadhyaya ?

Mother

:

An Upadhyaya is the reader of holy scriptures. He himself learns and teachers other monks. He is a teacher of ethico-spiritual values.

Daughter

:

Who is a Sadhu ?

Mother

:

A Sadhu is completely possessionless naked monk. He is indifferent to worldly pleasures and passions. He follows the path of spiritual progress. His daily routine consists of study of scriptures and meditation. He is a pious personality.

Daughter

:

What is the difference amongst Acaryas, Upadhyayas and Sadhus ?

Mother

:

Acaryas, Upadhyayas and Sadhus are all monks. All of them study and practice the teachings of religion. The basic difference amongst them is that the Acarya is the head monk of the group of monks. A monk who has highest degree of scriptural knowledge is appointed as an Upadhyaya. A Sadhu is a monk who practices the religion under the guidance of Acarya.

      Dear child, Namokara Mantra is a unique prayer. Panca-Parmesthi are the ideals for us to follow. By reciting Namokara Mantra (9 or 108 times), we gain peace, harmony and purity of thoughts. In Jainism, the Panca-Parmesthi are represented by the symbol OM (¬) or AAAUM. It is an acronym formed from the Sanskrit words Arihanta, Asariri (Siddhas who do not have material bodies), Acharya, Upadhyaya and Muni (Sadhu).

 

 

 

-------


Twenty Four Tirthankaras

 

Tirthankaras are famous noble personalities. They are great preachers of the religious order. They take birth from their parents like any other person and they follow the Right Path to achieve salvation.


      Tirthankaras, in their previous lives continuously think and muse all the time for the welfare of all. As a result of this, they attain this status. They have five celebrations in their lives. Thses are: Garbha-Kalyanaka (Celebration of Conception), Janma-Kalyanaka (Celebration of birth), Diksa-Kalyanaka (Celebration of attaining monk-hood), Jnana -Kalyanaka (Celebration of attaining perfect knowledge) and Moksa-Kalyanaka (Celebration of attaining salvation). 

Such Celebrations are known as  PANCA-KALYANAKA.

 After attaining Perfect Knowledge, Tirthankaras deliver sermons for the well being of all. They preach universal love, compassion and harmony; that is the nature of all souls. Their sermon is phonetic like sweet music. This is known as DIVYA-DHVANI which gives clear and correct understanding to all.

      The pavilion for delivering the sermon is known as SAMAVASARANA. In this pavilion,  all living beings get equal opportunity to listen the preachings. All celestials, animals and human beings assemble at the same time and enjoy the preachings with perfect harmony. They forget their natural inherent hostile instincts. This is the influence of Tirthankara.

       In the Jaina temples (Jinalayas), idols of Tirthankaras are worshipped daily by all Jainas. By reciting their virtues, we get peace, purity of thoughts and happiness.

      According to jainism, there are infinite souls who have attained the status of salvation. But in every fourth era of time, only twenty four pure souls attain the status of Tirthankaras in
India (Bharata-Ksetra).

      Each Tirthankara's idol (Jina-Bimba) has an emblem (Cinha). The emblem is given on the basis of the mark noticed on the thumb of the right foot of the Tirthankara at the time of birth. Here, we give the names and emblems of the present twenty four Tirthankaras.

 

TIRTHANKARAS

EMBLEMS  (CIHNA)

01.

Rsabha-natha or Adi-natha

Bullock  (Vrasabha)

02.

Ajita-natha

Elephant  (HATHI)

03.

Sambhava-natha

Horse  (GHODA)

04.

Abhinandana-natha

Monkey  (BANDARA)

05.

Sumati-natha

Curlew  (CAKAVA)

06.

Padma-prabha

Red lotus  (LALA-KAMALA)

07.

Suparsva-natha

Svastic  (SVASTIC)

08.

Chandra-prabha

Crescent (CANDRAMA)

09.

Puspadanta or Suvidhi-natha

Crocodile (MAGARA)

10.

Sitala natha

Wish yielding tree (KALPA VRAKSA)

11.

Sreyamsa-natha

Rhinoceros (GENDA)

12.

Vasupoojya

Buffalo (BHAINSA)

13.

Vimala-natha

Pig (SUKARA)

14.

Ananta-natha

Porcupine (SEHI)

15.

Dharma-natha

Thunderbolt (VAJRA-DANDA)

16.

Santi-natha

Deer (HIRANA)

17.

Kunthu-natha

He-goet (BAKARA)

18.

Araha-natha

Fish (MACHALI)

19.

Malli-natha

Water-pot (KALASA)

20.

Muni-Suvratanath

Tortoise (KACHUA)

21.

Nami-natha

Blue lotus (NIL-KAMALA)

22.

Nemi-natha

Conch shell (SANKHA)

23.

Parsva-natha

Serpent  (SARPA)

24.

Mahavira-svami

Lion  (SINHA)

 

      The series of Tirthankaras, in the present age begin with Rsabhadeva, the first Tirthankara. Bhagavan Mahavira is the last Tirthankara. Thus, we are enjoying the Tirtha or religious order of Bhagvana Mahavira.

      It may be mentioned that the five Tirthankaras, namely Rsebhadeva or Adi-Natha, Ajita-Natha, Abhinandana-Natha, Sumati-Natha and Ananta-Natha were born in Ayodhya. The rest of Tirthankaras were born in different parts of Bharata-Ksetra.

      Resbhadeva attained Nirvana at
Mount Kailasa in Tibet, Vasupujya at Campapura in Bihar, Nemi-Natha at Mount Giranara in Gujrat and Mahavira at Pavapura in Bihar. The rest twenty Tirthankaras attained Nirvana at Mount Sammed-Sikhara in Bihar.

      Five Tirthankaras namely, Vasuppjya, Malli-Natha, Nemi-Natha (Arista-Nemi), Parsva-Natha and Mahavira did not marry.

      We pray to Bhagavana Mahavira and other Tirthankaras to learn the teachings of self-help and non-violence; and learn how to attain real happiness and peace.

Glossary

Harmony

:

Agreement of feeling

Muse

:

To think deeply.

Celestials

:

Heavenly; devine.

Sermon

:

Speech on religious or moral subjects.

Hostile

:

Unfriendly

 

-----


THE RELIGION (DHARMA)

 

Son

:

Ma, what is the religion ?



Mother

:

Religion is a way of life. It teaches us to be a noble person.

Daughter

:

Ma, our religion is Jaina religion, So what is the meaning of Jaina ?

Mother

:

The word "Jaina" is derived from the word "Jina" which means victor. One who conquers one's desires is known as "Jina". The followers of "Jina" are known as "Jainas" and the religion preached by "Jina" is the Jaina religion. Arihantas as well as Siddhas are Jinas.

Daughter

:

Ma, Bhagavana Mahavira was the founder of Jainism. Is this true ?

Mother

:

Jainism is eternal like the universe. Jainism has no beginning and no end. Thus, the question of any founder of Jainism does not arise. Every Tirthankara only preaches the eternal religion.

Daughter

:

Ma, what are Jaina scriptures and who composed them ?

Mother

:

We, Jainas believe that Tirthankaras are omniscient. They preach the absolute truth about Reality. Ganadharas then compose it. Later, the scriptural knowledge was passed on by word of mouth from one generation of Acaryas to the next. Acaryas compose scriptures based on the existing principles of religion.

Son

:

What is the main language in which our scriptures are written ?

Mother

:

Our scriptures are in PRAKRTA, SANSKRTA and APABHRANSA.

Daughter

:

What are our main spiritual books ?

Mother

:

Our main spiritual books are SATKHANDAGAMA, SAMAYASARA, TATTVARTHA-SUTRA, MULACARA, RATANAKARANDA-SRAVAKACARA, MAHAPURANA, ect.

Daughter

:

Which are our holy places ?

Mother

:

There are several holy places forworship. The most important amongst them are : Sammed-Shikharji, Girinaraji, Compapuraji, Pavapuraji, Sri Mahaviraji, Sravanabelagola etc.

Daughter

:

Ma, what is the ideal behaviour of a Jaina ?

Mother

:

We, Jainas wish to have friendly feelings with all beings, delightful respect for the virtuous ones, utmost compassion for the afflicted beings and equanimity towards those whose views are contrary to the religion.

Daughter

:

Ma, Please tell ys what are the teachings of Jaina religion ?

Mother

:

The teachings of Jaina religion are Ahimsa, satya, Acaurya, Brahmacarya and Aprigraha.

Daughter

:

Ma, What is the concept of ahimsa and how to practise it ?

Mother

:

Practice of non-violence is Ahimsa. Ahimsa is the expression of compassion in every action. We should avoid mental and physical violence towards ourselves, towards our parents and other family members and also towards other human beings and animals. We should avoid bad feelings and thoughts. This is a violence of self. We should not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. These things are also bad for our health.This is also violence of self. We should trust that our parents always want the best for us. So, we should try to understand their viewpoint and value their advice. We should love our family members. We should not kill animals, birds, fish and insects for our food or for any other purpose. we jainas are vegetarians.

Daughter

:

What is the concept of Satya ?

Mother

:

Satya is neither to tell a lie nor cause others to tell. The Speech should be for the welfare of others (Hita), to the point (Mita) and without causing violence and suffering to others (Priya).

Daugther

:

What is the concept of Acauraya ?

Mother

:

Acauraya is non-theft or non-stealing. This would mean that we should not accept anything which is not given to us or does not belong to us.

Daughter

:

What is the concept of Brahmacarya ?

Mother

:

Brahmacarya means chastity. This concept does not allow sexual relations with one's spouse only.

Daughter

:

What is Aparigraha ?

Mother

:

Parigraha means passionate attachment (MURCHA). So, Aparigraha is the practice of non-attachment to worldly things and pleasures. The house-holder is incapable of renouncing all parigraha. Therefore he should limit the parigraha of wealth, buildings etc. This is Parigraha-Pariman-Vrata. To achieve Aparigraha, we should limit our wants and control our desires. We should acquire only what we barely need. We should avoid waste.

Daughter

:

Ma, what is so unique about the teachings of Jaina religion ?

Mother

:

First, the Jainism believe in the complete independence of each individual. It teaches that self-help is the only means to achieve such independence. Jainism is the religion which gives us independence even from God. We are responsible for our own lives. Every thing in our lives occur as a result of our own thoughts and actions. Second our all knowledge is relative. So, we should be open minded and fair. We should understand others' view-point. This will enable us to get a proper and complete perspective of the events and situations. This is the unique principle of Anekanta. Third, according to Jainism, truth, non-stealing, chastity and non-attachment are manifestation of non-violence. Thus, non-violence is the supreme religion in Jainism. Jainism teaches us to minimise mental as well as physical violence.

 

 


THE DOCTRINE OF ANEKANTA AND SYADVADA

Anil

:

Every object in the universe has many characterstics and our capability to understand them is limited. So, how do we arrive at a proper understanding ?




Ashok

:

The doctrine of Anekanta presents a technique for understanding and analysing each situation easily. Anekanta provides us an ideal mechanism of explaination of smooth relationships between individuals, societies and nations.

Anil

:

What is Anekanta in Jaina religion ?

Ashok

:

The word Anekanta consists of two words: "Aneka" and "Anta". Aneka" menas many and "Anta" signifies different attributes. The whole word "Anekanta" means that a substance has manifold different attributes. Appreciation of the manifold attributes of a substance is Anekant. For example, a person is a father, son, uncle, brother etc. at the same moment. Thus he has many forms. This proves that the Realitv is manifold in nature.

Anil

:

I have heard the word "Syadvada" also. Please explain it.

Ashok

:

Syadvada consists of two words: "Syad" and "Vada". The "Syad" means "in some relation" and "Vada" Means 'description". Thus, the whole word Syadvada means a process of relative description. Syadvada deals with manifold aspects of truth. With regard to the description of the attribute, it deals with a particular aspect, but does not deny the existence of other aspects. For example, a person in relation to his son is only the father; Whereas the same person in relation to his father is only the son. Therefore the same person is father and son at the same time from both points of view. The concept of Syadvada builds up our patience to appreciate different view points of Reality. Thus this theory of relativity (Syadada) helps us to know the absolute truth.

Anil

:

What is the difference between "Anekanta" and "Syadvada" ?

Ashok

:

The basic difference between them is that Anekanta is concerned with the different but opposite aspects whereas Syadvada indicates the manner in which these aspects are expressed. In short, when Anekanta is translated in to words, it is called Syadvada.

Anil

:

Tell me some example to explain this theory.

Ashok

:

Oh yes, a story of "Five Blind Men and Elephant" is a famous story to explain this theory. Once an elephant came to a small town. Five blind men lived in that town. They decided to touch and feel the elephant. each of them touched different parts of the body of the elephant said that the elephant was like a wall. The other blind man touched its leg said that elephant was like a pillar. The third touched the trunk and said the elephant was like branch of the tree. The fourth touched the tail and said the elephant was like a rope. The  fifth touched the ear of the elephant. He said that the elephant was like a winnowing fan. Each one of them was sure and adamant about his own opinion and called the other as false. They began to quarrel. A wise man happened to come near them. They told him about their individual views. The wise man told them there was no cause for quarrel. Every one of them was correct but only partly. If all of you properly synthesise individual experiences, you will get an exact idea of what an elephant looks like.

      Friend, in story the synthesis of all their individual experiences of the elephant is "Anekanta" and expression of each point of view is "Syadvada". The moral of the story is that each one of us sees things from one's own point of view. We therefore get a view that is partially correct. Hence, we should try to understand others' viewpoints. This will enable us to get a proper and complete perspective of events and situations. Religion, Truth and Reality are like an elephant. We should look at them from variety of angles of vision. This is the philosophy of Anekanta and Syadvada. Jainism is the only religion to have such a unique concept about the truth.

Glossary

Attribute

:

Characteristic quality or quality ascribed to anything.

Adamant

:

Firm in purpose or opinion.

 


THE UNIVERSE

 

Jainism believes that the universe is everlasting. It has no beginning and no end. On account of the intrinsic properties of its entities or substances which include the forces of nature, the universe continuously undergoes transformations. There are two kinds of entities in the universe-living beings and non-living substances.



      Each living being has a soul. In the Universe, souls are of two kinds-the worldly souls and the liberated souls. The worldly souls have bodies, senses, respiration, birth and rebirth. They decay and die. When the worldly soul is free from all bondage of karmas, it becomes pure, such pure souls are called liberated souls.

      The non-living substances are of five kinds; the matter, medium of motion, medium of rest, space and time. Pudgala or  matter possess colour, taste, smell and touch. It has quality of fusion and fission. Dharma or medium of motion assists in the movement of soul and matter. The adharma or medium of rest assists the state of rest of soul and matter. Akasa or space is one which accommodates all the substances. Space is called the Lokakasa. The other wherein only the space exists and none of the other five substances exist is called the Alokakas. Kala or time helps in maintaining and measuring the changeability of all substances.

      Without matter, all other four substances are immaterial. It is important to understand that the immaterial substances of Dharma, Adharma, Akasa and Kala, all behave in a passive manner. It is only by their presence that they make various functions possible. Active causative force is absent in them. This is the way of their functioning. Being immaterial they can not be perceived with the senses. Their existence is deduced from he functions they perform in the Universe.

      Matter and material body of soul can be detected by means of our senses and by using scientific instruments. No other entity of the universe including the soul can be detected by means of our senses or by using any device.
Jaina view of universe preclude the necessity for a Creator. It also affirms that there is no Supreme Being who regulates the events of the world. Natural forces or intrinsic attributes of six substances (Dravyas) govern events. Changeability with permanence is the nature of a substance.
]Tpad-Vyy-2OVy-yuKt. st\: sd\d/Vyl9`.

      Universe is divided in to three regions: Adho-Loka, Madhya-Loka and Urdhva-Loka. At the lowest of this universe (Adho-Loka) is the seventh hell. In the central region of this universe (Madhya-Loka), there are innumerable continents and oceans. Human beings and all animals, plants, insects etc. are living on this region. The upper most part o the universe (Urdhava-Loka) is known as Heaven. On the top of the universe is the abode of Pure Souls. This place is called Siddha-Sila.

Glossar

Hell

:

abode of devils or condemned souls.

Heaven

:

abode of devine souls.

 

 


LAW OF NATURE

 

Son

:

Daddy, we observe several changes taking place around us. For example, when a seed is sown in the ground, a plant grows. Such plants undergo various life processes such as respiration, regeneration etc. How do we explain these phenomena ?



Father

:

We Jainas believes that all object in  the universe change according to their own intrinsic properties. Modern science confirms that the law of nature makes things happen.

Daughter

:

Daddy how do events happen in our lives ? Is it also a law of nature ?

Father

:

My children, all worldly beings have souls living in their bodies. When a worldly soul  takes up a new material body, a new life begins. A living being 

 

 

grows and other life processes take place because of the presence of the body. The pure souls do not have material attachment. Thus, they do not interfere in the events of the universe. The important eternal  qualities are hidden on account of its continuous association with karmas. These factors affect the lives of all worldly beings.

Son

:

Daddy, it is very interesting. Please tell us what are karmas ? How does one obtain karmas ? How does karmas affect the course of our lives ?

Father

:

In ordinary parlance, karma means action, deed or work. In Jainism, Karmas are of two types-Bhava karma and Dravya karma. Bhava karmas are our thoughts and feelings. Dravya karma are very fine particles of matter which continue to remain attached with the worldly souls. Dravya karmas constantly result from our Bhava karmas. Bhava karmas are manifestation of various emotional states such as love, anger, pride and greed.

Like water in milk, these fine particles or dravya karmas get completely assimilated with soul. This assimilation remains throughout the life as well as in migration of soul from one body to another. This assimilation or conditions in such a way as a pill of medicine which when introduced in to the body, produces manifold effects therein.

Further, the things around us such as our body, parents, friends, enemies, toys and other environmental events effect the course of our lives. In Jainism, these are called Nokarmas. These karmas and nokarmas determine the course of our lives.

Therefore, the law of karma is not the doctrine of fatalism. It is the moral la of causation which shows that soul is the maker of its fortunes or misfortunes. Every thing in our lives is a result of our own thoughts and feelings. Each one of us is responsible for his own life.

Son

:

Daddy, we realise that we enjoy or suffer on account of our own good or bad deeds. Please tell us what is the role of god in our lives ?

Father

:

We Jainas believe that there is no Supreme Being who regulates the events in this universe. There is no devine intervention in the lives of the worldly beings. We Jainas do believe that when a soul becomes free from all bondage of karmas, it becomes pure. Such pure souls are called God (Arihantas and Siddhas). Thus, God is a pure soul. They do not reward or punish us.

Son, we worship Arithantas and siddhas as ideals for following their virtues. We aslo get thoughts and feelings when we visit our temples for prayer and worship. Such prayer and worship lead us towards spiritual advancement.

Daughter

:

Daddy, Please tell us what do we do in the adverse circumstances ?

Father

:

Depending upon our good or bad thought, speech and action, we get good or bad karmas. Therefore, we should always have good thoughts, use good words and do good actions in all circumstances even when our karmas and nokarmas are npt favourable. If we continue to have good feelings and thoughts even in adverse conditions, we will get rid of undesireable karmas and obtain good karmas. We may even be able to get rid of our past undesirable karmas with the help of our pure thoughts.

My children, good thoughts and feelings good actions are the keys of success. This is the message of karma philosophy in Jainism.

Glossary

 

Perception

:

Power of perceiving of process by which we become aware of changes.

To get rid

:

To become free.

 


THE SPIRITUAL SUCCESS

 

 

Daughter

:

Ma, what is the ultimate purpose of human life ?



Mother

:

The ultimate purpose of our lives is spiritual upliftment or salvation.

Daughter

:

Ma, how does one achieve this spiritual success ?

Mother

:

Every one can attain spiritual upliftment by faith and knowledge of Jiva-Ajiva and all seven Tattvas as preached by Jina. The seven Tattvas are Jiva (soul), Ajiva (non-living entities), Asrava (inflow of karma in to the soul), Bandha (bomdage of karma in to the soul), Nirjara (gradual disintegration of karma from soul) and Moksa (soul becomes free fro all karmas). These seven Tattvas are instrumental in the journey of the soul from impure state to the pure state.

Daughter

:

What are the obstacles in this path ?

Mother

:

Inflow and bondage of karmic matter are the obstacles in the path of success. The soul of living beings receives the karma particles in every day life through the constant action of mind, speech and body. The inflow and bondage of karmic particles lead to misery and sufferings. So after knowing them well, we should give them up.

Daughter

:

Ma, so what is the solution ?

Mother

:

Stoppage of inflow of karmas and gradual disintegration of accumulated karmic matter lead us to liberation. We should therefore practise them. The need for this two fold action of Samvara and Nirjara provide the basis of Jaina religious practices. these are means to achieve spiritual success, libration or mokse.

My child, we can further explain this by an example. Imagine a person who wants to cross the river in his boat. He starts rowing and he notices that through few holes in the boat, water starts entering his boat. It makes difficult for him to move further. He plugs the makes the holes and manages to stop the inflow of water in to his boat but this is not enough as the boat has still lot of water which got collected earlier. With the help of a little vessel, he gets rid of the accumulated water and by subsequent rowing, crosses the river.

In the same manner, a soul desireous of freedom from worldly sufferings and cycles of births and rebirths purifies itself and attains liberation (moksa). In the  above example, human life is like the boat. The holes in the boat are our ignorance of seven Tattvas because of which the karmic matter inflows in to the soul (Asrava) and karmas get accumulated (Bandha). The process of sealing by right conduct is stoppage of new karmas (Samvara) and gradual removal of the accumulated water in the boat refers to the gradual disintegration of the accumulated karmic particles (Nirjara); which ultimately leads to liberation (Moksa), like crossing the river.

 

 


THREE JEWELS OF JAINISM

 

Daughter

:

Ma, what are the three jewels of Jainism ?


Mother

:

Three Jewels of Jainism are Right (Samyak Darsana), Tight knowledge (Samyak Jnana) and Right Conduct (Samyak Caritra). These are called Ratnatraya. We Jainas are expected to have right faith, right knowledge and right conduct because these together constitute the path of salvation.

Daughter

:

Ma, please explain to me the Right Faith.:

Mother

:

Belief in the seven aspects of Reality (Tattvas) as described by Jina or Arihanta is right faith. So, we Jainas believe in Supreme Soul-Arithanta and Siddha (Deva), in their teachings (Sastras) and towards those Munies who practise the teachings of Jaina religion (Gurus) as a cause of right faith, In simple words, right faith is a spiritual awakening of one's self.

If we attain right faith, abstain from misconception and refrain from pride, quality of our lives would improve considerably. The main cause of a soul wandering in this world is the lack of right faith. So, the right is the first step on the path of salvation.

Right faith gives us a proper attitude by which our knowledge and conduct (life style) acquire the quality of righteousness.

Son

:

Ma, please give me some information about Right knowledge.

Mother

:

In Jainism, the Right knowledge is one by which the person becomes free from attachment and his soul is purified. We can achieve the right knowledge by strong faith in the teachings of Arihantas and through the study of their scriptures.

Daughter

:

I have now understood the Right Faith and knowledge. But how do we practise the Right Conduct.

Mother

:

We Jainas believe that withdrawl from the immoral conduct and devoting one's self to the moral conduct is the Right Faith. Without moral observance, the spiritual practices can not be sustained. The practice of right conduct has been described as of two kinds-the partial and the complete. House-holders (Sravakas) start practising the right conduct partially and in due course of time when they become monks, they practise it completely. The right conduct is based on the practice of Ahimsa, Satya, Acaurya, Brahmcarya and Aparigraha. It should be emphasised that the Right Conduct also includes all religious and spiritual practices like worship, prayer, charity and so on.

Thus, we can achieve salvation only through the three jewels of Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct.

 

 


JAINA RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

 

Daughter

:

Ma, what are the Jaina religious practices ?


Mother

:

Jaina religious practices are Deva-Puja (Worship of Jina), Guru-Upasti (proximity or scriptures), Sanyam (practice of self control), Tapa (penance) and Dana (Charity). We Jainas should practise these six essentials daily. these are essentially performed by the Jainas, so these are known as "Essentials"

Daughter

:

Ma, my friends ask that if  the true practice of Ahimsa and Satya lie in living our daily lives, then why go to temple and why pray and worship ?

Mother

:

Oh my child, our idols of Tirthankaras in the temples remind us of the nature of Reality. They inspire us to make spiritual progress. During worship, we are happy and relaxed, we enjoy peace of mind.

Son

:

What is Deva-Puja and how can we do it ?

Mother

:

Worship or prayer of supreme souls is Deva-Puja. Supreme souls are arihantas and Siddhas. Jainas worship or pray before the idols of Tirthankaras (the supreme souls). The procedure of prayer or worship (Puja-vidhi) has been outlined in religious books. While we are doing puja, we remember the virtues of Supreme Souls. We recite their virtues and we bow down before their idols with deep devotion. During the puja, we should have good thoughts and feelings.

Daughter

:

What do we mean by Guru-Upasti ?

Mother

:

All those monks who practise the teachings of Jaina religion are spiritual Gurus. We Jainas should achieve proximity or nearness with the Guru and always feel their presence in our lives with respect. This is called Guru-Upasti. Our spiritual Gurus have control over their passions and preach the teachings of religion through practices. Thus, Gurus are spiritually ahead of the house-holders.

Daughter

:

Ma, What do we mean by Sastra-Svadhyaya ?

Mother

:

The study of scriptures preached by "Jina" is Sastra-Svadhyaya. We Jainas should study the scriptures and religious books daily. its purpose is to enrich the knowledge or the right path; to practise sympathy and compassion to all; and to refine our moral and spiritual efforts. Svadhyaya is also helpful for educating our youngsters, friends and others.

Son

:

Ma, How can a house-holder practise self-control ?

Mother

:

Self control means not having bad thoughts, anger, greed, jealousy or hatred. So, we Jainas should practise self control on our thoughts and activities as far as possible. Wantlessness should be our goal of life. We should minimise our desires and passions and regulate our daily necessities which would save us from exploitations and committing crimes. We should control our diet and other worldly pleasures. Self control gives us self-satisfaction and inner fulfillment.

Daughter

:

What do we mean by Tapa ?

Mother

:

Tapa or penance is a control on desires. It disintegrates our karmas of bad deeds and induces us to dissociate from bad habits. Penance gives us self-confidence and develops our will-power to do good. So, we Jainas should perform some penance every day. penance can be external like fasting (Upavasa) and internal like reverence (Vinaya), meditation etc.

Daughter

:

What is charity in Jainism ?

Mother

:

All religions highly praise the virtue of the charity or donation. Every body agrees that helping others in cash or kind is admirable. In Jainism, Charity or donation is Dana, which means giving one's wealth for mutual benefits. So, the donation to poor ad needy persons should be with compassion and to the monks with reverence. A donor should not have any desire for material gains from the donations and should draw joy in giving. Actually, charity is self-sacrifice. In Jainism charity is of four kinds-donation of food (Ahara-dana); donation of medicine (Ausadha-dana), donation of books or education (Jnana dana) and giving protection or freedom from fear (Abhaya-dana or Avasa-dana).

My child, by proper practice of six essentials, we improve our faith and knowledge. It makes us a better individual. It helps us to love all and serve all.

 


BHAGAVANA RSABHADEVA

 

Place of birth

:

Ayodhya, India (Bharata-Ksetra)

 

Father's Name

:

King Nabhiraya

Mother's Name

:

Queen Marudevi

Emblem (Chinha)

:

Bullock

Body colour

:

Golden

Name of wives

:

Yasasvati and Sunanda

Date of birth

:

Caitra Krsna 9

Date of monk-hood

:

Caitra Krsna 9

Date of attaining
Perfect knowledge
(Kevala Jnana)

:

Falguna Krsna 11

Date of Salvation
(Nirvana)

:

Magasira Krsna 14

Place of salvation
(Nirvana-Bhumi

:

Mount Kailasa

Total age

:

Many Years

      Bhagavana Rsabhadeva was the first Tirthankara. He was born in Ayodhya. His father was king Nabhiraya. His mother was queen Marudevi-a pious lady. Being the first Tirathankara, Bhagavana Rsabhadeva is also known as Adinatha.

      At the time of conception, mother Marudevi had sixteen beautiful dreams. she was very happy and elated. Next morning, she requested King Nabhiraya to explain the meaning of the dreams. the King was very delighted. he told her that auspicious dreams indicate the conception of a world Saviour and Spiritual Victor-Tirathankara.

      When Rsabhadeva was born, Saudharma-Indra came and performed the "Janmabhiseka". Gradually, Bhagavana Rsabhadeva attained adulthood and married. taught for the first time, the art of Asi (Consructive use of sword for protecting the weak). Masi (Use of ink with pen and brush), Krsi (Agriculture), vidya (Knowledge), Vanijay (Trade and Commerce) and Silpa (Art, Science and Technology). These were the basic but harmless ways to fulfil every one's primary needs for earning livelihood. So Bhagavana Rsabhadeva was also known as "Prajapati". Bharata and Bahubali were his famous sons. His eldest son Bharata was the first Cakravarti. Our country is known as Bharatadesa after his son Bharata. Resbhadeva had two daughters-Brahmi and Sundari. He taught them "Brahmi-lipi" (first ancient script) and "Ank-Vidya" (science of numbers) respectively.

      One day, a celestial Apsara-Neelanjana died while dancing in the court of Rsabhadeva. Seeing this, he developed the feeling of Renunciation. he left all his worldly possessions and became a  nude monk (a Digambara Sadhu). In Hindu scriptures (Vedas) and several puranas as well, name of Rsabhadeva is mentioned with reverence.

      After he became monk, he did penance for number of years and attained perfect knowledge (Keval-Jnan). On attaining Perfect knowledge, he became Vitraga-one who is beyond attachment and aversion. He rid his soul of all karmas, which are cause of anger, pride or desire. He delivered his semons from Samavasarana (Religious assembly). His sermons were to teach all to follow the path of salvation by following non-violence, truth, non-stealing, chastity and non-attachment.

      Order of his religious followers was simple and scientific. It was divided in four folds-Nude-Monk (Muni), Lady-monk (Aryaka), House-holder (Sravaka) and Lady-house-holder (Sravika).

      Ultimately, when all his karmas were exhausted, he rid himself of his mortal body, attained Nirvana and became Siddha.

Glossary

         Renunciation

:

Giving up all attachments;
all desires and all worldly possessions.

 

         Rid

:

Make free.

 

 

 


BHAGAVANA MAHAVIRA

 

Place of birth

:

Kundagrama (Kundalpur)

 

Name of Father

:

King Siddhartha

Name of Mother

:

Queen Trisala (Priyakarini)

Emblem (Chinha)

:

Lion

Body colour

:

Golden

Period of Prince-hood

:

30 years

Marital Status

:

Unmarried

Date of birth

:

Caitra Sukla 13, 599 B.C.

Date of monk-hood

:

Magasira Sukla 10, 569 B.C.

Date of attaining
Perfect knowledge
(Keval Jnana)

:

Vaisakha Sukla 10; 557 B. C.

Date of Salvation
(Nirvana)

:

Kartika Krsna 30; 527 B.C.

Place of salvation
(Nirvana-Bhumi)

:

Pavapura, India
(Bharata-Ksetra).

Total age

:

72 years

 

      Bhagavana Mahavira was twentyfourth and last Tirthankara. he was born in Kundagrama. His father, Sidhdaratha was the king of Vaisali-Janpada. His mother Trisala was the pious daughter of king Cetaka. His mother was also known as Priyakarini.

      At the time of conception, mother Trisala had sixteen meaningful and beautiful dreams. She was much elated and happy. Next morning, she asked king Siddharatha about the dreams. He said that she was going to have an extraordinary child, who will preach the path to salvation for all.

      With the birth of Mahavira, prosperity increased; so King Siddharatha called his son Vardhamana. Once upon a day, simply by seeing Vardhamana, the philosophical doubt, of Sanjaya and vijaya Munies was resolved; so he was given the name "Sanmati" by the Munies.

      He once, controlled and pacified an amuck elephant, therefore the people of Vaisali addressed him as 'Vira'. Vardhamana in his childhood was very brave. He had extra ordinary physical and spiritual power. Once upon a day, Sanamdeva, a celestial being came to test the bravery of Vardhamana. Sangamadeva assumed from of a cobra. Vardhamana fearlessly played with it. So, Sangamadeva bestowed  on him an honour of 'Mahavira'.

      Gradually, Mahavira attained abulthood, but wordly pleasures did not attract him. His parents desired to marry him with a beautiful Princess Yasoda. despite this, Mahavira exhibited non-attachment to mundane desires.

      Mahavira saw that life's pain and suffering are rooted in attachment, likes and dislikes. So, he refused to marry and left his princely comforts. This is known as 'Maha-Abhiniskramana-that is the Great Renunciation of Mahavira, at the age of thirty. From time, Mahavira moved as Nirgrantha-Muni i.e. a naked ascetic.

      He endured with the greatest equanimity, all sorts of abuses and tortures inflicted on him by vicious persons. Mahavira meditated day and night undisturbed and unperturbed. At last, under the Sala tree on the bank of the river Rjukala, outside the town Jrmbhika, he attained supreme knowledge known as Kevala-Jnana and became Arihanta at the age of forty two years.

      After the attainment of Kevala-Jnana, Mahavira remained silent and did not deliver any sermon for sixty six days, in the absence of Ganadhara. Ganahara is the only person who is capable and authorised to tanslate, pronounce and lay down the wordless preachings of Tirthankara in languages for the benefit of all time to come.

      One day, Mahavira arrived at Vipulacala mountain outside the city of Rajagraha (India), where Samavasarana (religious assembley)was organised. As a result of the presence of a renowned brahmin scholar named Indrabhuti-Gautama in the assembly, Mahavira delivered his first sermon at the Vipulacala mountain. This day is celebrated as the "Vira-Sasana-day" by Jainas, Indrabhuti-Gautama was designated as the first Ganadhara (cheif-disciple) of Mahavira.

      For full thirty years, Mahavira travelled different parts of the country (India) and preached the doctrine of Ahimsa and Anekanta. Owing to the magnetic personality of Bhagavan Mahavira and his powerful ethical and spiritual teachings, number of kings, queens, princes, princesses, ministers and merchants accepted him as their teacher. The males and females of all castes and classes became the ardent followers of Mahavira and thus his fourfold order of Muni (male ascetics), Aryika (female ascetics), Sravakas (male householders) and Sravikas (female householders) came into existence.

      Candanabala became a most prominent Aryika and king Srenika became a meain Sriavaka amongst Bhagavana Mahavira's followers.

      Bhagavana Mahavira attained Nirvana at Pavapura in the state of Bihar in India, at the age of seventy two years, in 527 B.C. It was early morning of Kartika Krsna triyodasi. On the same evening Gautam Ganadhara attained as the Supreme Knowledge or Kevala-Jnana. This day is being celebrated as the Dipavali-festival (festival of lights) all over India. We Jainas worship the event by offering sweets (Ladus) before the idol of Tirthankara Mahavira in early morning and also celebrate as the festival of lights, at night.

 


JAINA-DHYANA AND SAMAYIKA

 

Dhyana

 

In Jainism, 'Dhyana' means the concentration of mind on a particular object. When, the mind concentrates on immoral object, it is 'Aprasasta Dhyana'.



      Aprasasta-Dhyana is of two types , namely, Arta-Dhyana and Raudra-Dhyana. When we think about our loss or failure, we become sad. This is called 'Asta-Dhyana'. When we wish bad things for others, we harm ourselves as well. This is called Rudra-Dhyana. Worldly life is full of sufferings on account of these two Aprasasta-Dhyanas. Prasasta-Dhyana is the only way to relieve oneself from these sufferings.

      Prasasta-Dhyana is of two kinds, namely Dharma-Dhyana and sukla-Dhayana. When we think of great souls. remember their virtues, and practise religious activities, we do Dharma-Dhayana. After Dharam-Dhyana, Sukla-Dhyana is practiced. In Shukla-Dhyana, the Munies meditate upon the self, after renouncing all other thoughts. In the present era, the Sukla-Dhyana is not possible to be practised, so the Dharma-Dhyana is the only way to relieve oneself from Arta and Raudra-Dhyanas.

      Dharma-Dhyana induces us to practise non-violence. To avoid physical violence of self, we should keep our bodies healthy by taking a balanced vegetarian diet. to avoid mental violence of self, we should have good thoughts and speak the truth. We should be nice to all. This way of living is helpful for Dharma-Dhyana. So, we should adopt Dharma-Dhyana as a way of life and not as a ritual.


 

Samayika

      IN Jainism, Samayika is a rightous meditation. Samayika is a practice of equanimity. Samayika is the quality of remaining calm and undisurbed. Samayika is a practice of self awaareness. Samayika is a relationship of self with the rest of the universe. It implies evenness of mind and temper. It entails removal of delusion (Moha), attachment (Raga) and aversion (Dvesa).

      Samayika consists of a combination of the study of scriptures, contemplation of the principles of religion and mental or vocal recitation of prayers (Japa) like Namokara-Mantra.

      We should practise equanimity with cheerful state of mind, totally abstaining from the five sins namely violence, untruth, theft, sensual pleasures and attachment through our activities-physical as well as mental for a set time. The minimum time limit for practising Samayika is 48 minutes-three times a day.

 

 


PATH TO LIBERATION : A PRAYER

 

English translation of Budhjan's 
"Prabhu Patit Paawan"
by 
Shri Girdhar Lal Jain

 

 

O Prabhu, I am an impure worldly soul,
and you have broken the cycle of birth and rebirth,
and have revealed the path to liberation,
I percieve this character of yours,
So I have resolved to follow in your footsteps.

So far, before discerning your qualities,
I sought the help of various gods and goddesses,
I failed to apply my intellect to understand the self,
and mistook delusion to be auspicious. 

In the thick jungle of wordly existence, karma,
my enemy, robbed me of my wealth of knowledge,
hence I lost the sense of my direction,
and forgetting my auspicious goal, I too inauspicious paths.

This is the auspicious moment.
this is the auspicious day,
this is my auspicious life; my forfunes have risen,
I have visualised your characterstics, O Prabhu.

You are beyond attachment and aversion,
you are the embodiment of non-possesiveness,
your, image shows you in deep meditation, 
displaying eight external adornments; your qualities are infinite,
they surpass the brilliance of millions of suns.

My dark delusion has been removed,
the sun of self realisation has risen in my soul,
my heart has been filled with real joy, the joy of poor man,
who finds a precious stone, that will fulfill all his needs.

With folded hands, I bow my head,
I express my devotion to your footprints,
You are supreme, the most eminent in the universe,
I pray to you in the exponent of the path to liberation.

I have no desire for heaven or for any kingdom,
or of the company of friends and relatives,
I Budh, wish for the devotion of your virtues,
untill I attain salvation, the most auspicious state.

 


MERI-BHAVANA
(Musing Mine)

 

The Roman Transliteration

Jisane raga-dves kamadika Jite
saba jaga jana liya
saba jivo ko Moksa-marg ka
Nispraha ho updesa diya
Buddha, Vira, Jina, Hari, Hara, Brahma
ya ysko svadhina kaho
Bhakti-bhava se prerita ho yaha
Citta usi men lina raho.  (1)


Bisayaon ki asha nahin jinake
samya-bhava dhana rakhate hain
Nija-para ke hita sadhana men jo
Nisa-dina tatpara rahate hain
Svartha-tyaga ki kathina tapasya
Bina knede jo karate hain
Aise jnani sadhu jagata ke
dukha-samuha ko harate hain.  (2)

 


Rahe sada satsanga unhin ka
Dhyana unhin ka nitya rahe
Unhi jaisi carya men yaha
citta sada anurakta rahe
Nahin sataun kisi jiva ko
Jhutha kabhi nahin kaha karun
Para-dhana Vanita para na lubhaun
Santosamrta piya karun.  (3)


Ahankara ka bhava na rakhun
nahin kisi para krodha karun
Dekha dusaron ki badhati ko
kabhi bhavana aisi meri
Sarala satya vyavahara karun
Bane jahan taka isa jivana men
Auron ka upakara karun.  (4)


Maitri bhava jagata men mera
Saba jivon se nitya rahe
Dina dukhi jivon para mere
Ura se karuna srota bahe
Durjana krura kumarga raton para
ksobha nahin mujhako ave
Samya-bhava rakkhun main una para
Aisi Parinati ho jave. (5)


 Guni-janon ko dekha hrdaya men
mere prema umada ave
Bane jahan take unaki seva
Karake yaha mana sukha pave
houn nahin krtaghna kabhi main
droha no mere ura ave
guna-grahana ka bhava rahe nita
Drasti na doson para jave. (6)


Koi burą laho ya accha
Laksmi ave ya jave
Lakhon barson taka jiun ya
Mrtyu
aja hi ajave
Athava
koi kaisa hi bhaya
ya lalaca dene ave
To bhi nyaya-marga se mera
kabhi na paga digane pave. (7)


Hokara sukha men magana na phule
Dukha men kabhi no ghabarave
Parvata, Nadi Samasana bhayanaka
Atavi adola akampa nirantara
yaha mana drdha-tara bana jave
Ista-viyoga anista-yoga men
Sahana-silata dikhalave. (8)


Sukhi rahen saba jiva jagata ke
koi kabhi na ghabarave
Baira papa abhimana choda jaga
Nitya naye mangala gave
Ghara-ghara carca rahe dharma ki
Duskrta duskara ho jave
jnana carita unnata kara apana
manuja janma phala saba pave. (9)


lti-bhiti vyape nahin jaga men
Vrsti samaya para hua kara
Dharma-nistha hokara raja bhi
nyaya praja ka kiya kare
Roga Mari durbhiksa na faile
Praja santi se jiya kara
Parama ahinsa dharma jagata men
Phaila sarva hita kiya kare. (10)


Phaile prema paraspara jaga men
Moha dura hi raha kare
Apriya-katuka-kathora sabda nahin
Koi mukha se kaha kare
Banakara saba YUGAVIRA hrdaya se
Deonnati rata karen
Vastu svarupa vicara khusi se
Saba dukha sankata saha karen. (11)

 


 

ABC of JAINISM
Author : Shanti Lal Jain
JNANODAYA VIDYAPEETH
BHOPAL

 

Reference: www.adinath.org