Sometimes the one who wants to renounce the world, may awake to the knowledge of the futility of all that is worldly and become an ascetic without any human help and without receiving instruction from any one. The real life as a monk begins only with the performance of the Pravrajya ceremony. It consists of a number of rites of different types.
The initiation of a monk is done on a day which is astrologically favourable, and it is celebrated with the pomp; the costs needed for this are borne by the one who is renouncing the world or by his relatives if they have the means, otherwise they are borne by the laymen through contribution. The pupil is fetched from the paternal home in a procession by festively dressed men and women accompanied by beating of drums and songs. He is brought in a palanquin or on a horse-back to the place, where the solemn event is supposed to take place.
A saint, mostly an Acharya, awaits him there to initiate him, on occasions even an Upadhyaya does this work. It is either a place away from the town with a holy tree, or an open place in front of the house of the Guru. An altar and an imitation of Samavasarana are erected there. Puja of God takes place in from of this in the presence of numerous ascetics and laymen of both sexes.
The spiritual Andennete of the monk is calculated from the conclusion of the initiation ceremony. The stage he has reached thereby is called Chedopasthapana. By doing penance, uprooting of all passions and by severing all connections from all that is worldly, he is able to climb from here to the three higher stages of his life. The ascetic has to perform a number of duties to achieve this; they are imposed upon him by his Guru. There are a great number of precepts on them. If they are neglected, the consequence is punishments and atonements of all sorts, thus, e.g. reduction of the spiritual Andennete can be imposed.
The promotions taking place within the Sangha, thus when a monk is made reader (Vachaka), teacher (Upadhyaya) or master (Acharya), give an occasion for celebrations. The rites to be performed on these occasions are circumambulation of the Samavasarana, recitation of the hymns and the sayings, applying Vasa; etc Institution of an Acharya is particularly solemn.
Digambara Sect follows their own ritual in organisation of their asceticism. The change over from a layman to a monk and the successive attainment of higher position are characterized by special ceremonies. The Adi Purana (38) enumerates the following stages through which a holy man goes: First comes for a layman Prasanti, giving up the attachment to the objects of senses and the preference for religious study, etc.; this is followed by his leaving the house, after he has given the earnings; one third for pious purposes, one third for the eldest on and remaining one third for other children.
This person seeking salvation does not keep to the position till he dies, but hands it over to his pupil so that he can completely devote himself to penance and meditation once he is relieved of the burden of the office.
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