Yaksha Puja, Jain Festival
Yaksha Puja is an important Jain Festival where the ‘Jins’, ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are worshipped by the devotees. The ceremony is performed to receive inspiration to become like them.
Yaksha Puja is an important Jain Festivalin which the images of ‘Jins’, ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are worshipped. Jains pay their respect and worship idols of ‘Jins’ for three reasons. Firstly, the ‘Jins’ have liberated themselves and achieved Moksha. Secondly, they have expounded the path of nirvana and thirdly to receive inspiration to become like them. ‘Yaksha’ are a broad class of nature-spirits, generally generous, sometimes harmful or impulsive caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree sources.
Yaksha in Jainism
In Jainism, there are twenty-four ‘Yakshas’ for twenty-four ‘tirthankaras’:
Yaksheshvara or Yakshanayaka
Varanandi or Matanga
Vijaya or Shyama
Brahma or Brahmeshvara
Ishvara or Yakset
Kimpurusha or Garuda
Kendra or Yakshendra
Gomedh or Sarvahna
Dharanendra or Parshvayaksha
Worship of Yaksha
Jains mostly worship the idols of ‘Arihants’ and ‘Tirthankaras’, who have dominated the inner passions. ‘Yaksha’ and ‘Yakshini’ are found in pair around the idols of ‘Jins’ as guardian deities. ‘Yaksha’ is usually on the right-hand side of the ‘Jin’ idol and ‘Yakshini’ on the left-hand side. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.
‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are full of passions and experience the cycles of birth and death. ‘Yakshas’ are males and ‘Yakshinis’ are females. The male ones are also called ‘Shasandevtas’ and the females are also called ‘Shasandevis’. They are regarded as the guardian deities and are also known as angels of order. They are heavenly beings of ‘Vyantar’ group who have supernatural powers including ability to change their forms and sizes. It is believed that either these ‘Yakshas’ or ‘Yakshinis’ were appointed by Lord Indra or were positively associated with ‘Tirthankaras’ in their former lives. It is said that these ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ looked after the ‘Tirthankaras’ and came back to protect Jainism when it became necessary.
Some of the prominent ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Yakshinis’ are Saraswati Devi, Lakshmi Devi, Shri Manibhadra, Bhomiyaji, Nakoda Bhairava, Ghantakarna Veer, Padmavati Devi, Ambika Devi, Chakresware Devi.
(Last Updated on : 17-03-2018)
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