(Last Updated on : 19/04/2012)
Jain monks and nuns perform many rituals and practice strict asceticism. They strive hard to make their present birth their last, thus ending their cycle of transmigration. According to the Jains, Devas; demi-gods or celestial beings cannot help jiva to obtain nirvana
. It needs to be attained by individuals through their own efforts and activities. It is rather believed that even the Devas themselves cannot attain nirvana until they reincarnate as humans and undertake the difficult act of removing karma.
According to the Jains true spirituality begins when one achieves Samyak darshana, or true perception. Such souls are on the path to Moksha
, and are striving to remain in the nature of the soul. The different rituals in Jainism
have profound meaning attached to them. Various virtues like ahimsa
, forbearance, simplicity and straightforwardness are cultivated during religious rites. The rituals are performed on daily basis and also on certain special occasions. The rites which are must, are called Essentials (Awashyak), and are meant for Sadhus and Shravaks. It is believed these essentials were revealed by the Jain Tirthankaras
and then, gandhar bhagvan composed in forty-eight minutes for Sangh. These essentials are not to be performed on just certain ceremonies, but should be performed everyday. This would help in achieving control over ones senses. Following are the rituals performed by the Jains.
Samayika is one of the important religious rituals of Jainism. Samayika is a Sanskrit
word that means equanimity. It has been derived from the word `sam`- which means equal or balanced. The goal of Samayika is to achieve equanimity. Samayika is begun by attaining a balance in time. The first step in Samayika is Samta and the total purity of soul is the end result of Samayika. According to this even if someone performs just samayika with devotion, it is regarded that he or she has observed the main tenets of Jainism. When one begins a samayika the first condition is to make oneself balanced, i.e. to remain in samata. Samayika is also related to the word `Samay` meaning time. Samayika is the achievement of being ideal for certain time where one becomes kashaya-free, remains in supreme peace and finally stabilizes in the richness of soul.
An individual when attains sambhav in samayik, the thought of those great personalities who showed the path of `samta` come to the mind. One also thinks about their gunas and can`t avoid praising them. This is the concept behind the chaturvimsati. The Twenty four Tirthankars, who founded the teerths, are remembered along with their gunas. `Loggass` are recited for this purpose. It has profound meaning, and its` construction is like Mantra. Constant recitals of these mantras are beneficial to jives as it helps making Samyaktva very pure. In first verse, performance of stuti of 24 Tirthankars is mentioned. The second, third and forth verses mention about the recital of the names of Tirthankaras. Last three verses are like chulika means it connects the intention with the effort for it; and in the end, it states gain of desired fruit i.e. Siddhi.
Vandana is an important part of the religious rituals of Jainism. It is an important ritual of Jainism to bow down to the gurus. Guru-vandana is inter-connected with humility.
One can realise the ultimate truth only after getting rid of his ego and self-arrogance. Therefore, once a person becomes free from arrogance he becomes empty from inside. This helps in progressing in the path of truth and achieving Moksha
Pratikraman is an important religious ritual of Jainism
. The strength of sanyam is in kriya and kriya`s strength is Pratikraman. Samayika is a goal that is to be achieved and pratikraman is a tool of internal purification of heart. Pratikraman usually means to turn back from shortcomings or mistakes. Pratikraman tells a man to come back from where one does not belong; i.e. where all impurities due to karma-bandh exist.
Kayotsarg is part of samayik-pratikraman and chaitya vandan, and it is performed repeatedly. The time period for Kayotsarg is decided along with number of breath. The survival line for life is breathing, (Pran). Out of ten prans, swas (breathing) is most prominent, if it breaks life ends there. On one side, Kayotsarg is connected to swas- Pran and on the other side; it is connected to Navkar Mantra or Loggas. Thus in Kayotsarg, one recites mantra. When mantras are recited one tries to see the picture of the objects in that sutra. When Kayotsarg is done with bhava, the chetna (conscious) is connected to the chetna of Tirthankaras` and Siddhas`, it is then that in one`s soul, the Parmatma Shakti is created.
Pratyakhan means vow. The incorrect and wrong acts of the past are corrected in Pratyakhan. It one continues to perform inappropriate acts he can never reach his destination. Thus to avoid oneself from performing wrong acts vows are taken. Vows are to control the life. According to the Jain principals unless one takes vows, his ways are open to the areas where all sinful activities take place and one becomes a part of it. The twelve vows of shravak help in forming boundaries. Pratyakhan always comes after Pratikram. Vows are taken to remain clean.