Shri Amar Muni
Special Devine Plan Of Samavasaran
The Construction of
the Divine Pavilion of Tirthankars
[Like many other branches of science the branch of
constructing assembly halls has also amply developed. T construct a large
auditorium where thousands of people may arrive, be accommodated, may
listen to the lectures and peacefully leave, requires a trained mind with
engineering skill. For such an arrangement renowned experts display their
skill. Still there are incidents of chaos and stampede in such large
congregations. Even the police forces get nervous in trying to control
such crowds of thousands of people.
Thousands of years ago the divine pavilions were
created for the assembly of a Tirthankar where not only millions of human
beings but also innumerable gods and animals used to assemble.
In a large pavilion or assembly hall covering an
area of one Yojan (4 sq. kosa or 12 sq. km) used to accommodate
innumerable gods, humans and animals. They would arrive and sit in the
allotted sections, listen to the discourses of the Tirthankar and go back
peacefully. There were adequate traffic and parking arrangements for
vehicles. The detailed and scientific description of such arrangements
available in the ancient scriptures is truely astonishing. It also reveals
the highly developed science and intellect during that period. We give
brief description of the structure of these divine pavilions of the
The beholding of a Tirthankar in his divine pavilion,
pondering over his discourses, and following his teachings purifies and
strengthens the attitude, faith and realization of spiritual pursuits.
Sitting in proximity of the Tirthankar, seeing him, listening to his
discourse and coming under the influence of his aura and various unique
attributes is spiritually inspiring not only for the gods and humans but
also for the animals. Men and animals of contrasting attitudes loose their
cruelty and mutual animosity, disease, sorrow, afflictions, fear etc. The
Tirthankar�s discourse also provides benefits in shape of enhancement of
knowledge and science and progress on the path of liberation through
stoppage of inflow and acceleration of shedding of Karmas.
The Great Benefits
Knowing about the arrival of Bhagavan Mahavir in the
Samavasaran the sages said, "O beloved of gods! This is the source of
great benefits for us. When even the hearing of the names of Arihant
Bhagavants is a boon, there is no doubt that approaching, greeting, bowing
admiring and worshipping him in person is highly beneficial." It is a
great occasion to listen to even one word of the august preaching of the
great man. Bowing to him and offering him and offering him reverence is
sure to result in attainment of the pure blissful state of liberation
besides being source of benefits, happiness and peace during this life and
the later incarnations.
What is a Samavasaran? How is it created? Who creates
it? When and for how long the Tirthankar gives his discourse in the
Samavasaran? All these questions have been dealt in various canons (Agams),
and their different commentaries (Niryukti, Vritti and Bhashya) in
The Samavasaran is the religious assembly of
Tirthankars. The literal meaning of the term is proper congregation at a
specific place or a place where beings with different attitudes assemble
in an orderly manner. As such, the assembling of a variety of worthy
beings-specially humans, animals and gods-for the purpose of beholding the
Tirthankar and listening to his preachings is called Samavasaran. It is
something much larger in dimension, much wider in scope, much numerous in
species, and much lofty in purpose as compared to the modern parliament
where representatives from various areas of the country meet.
Special Divine Plan of the Samavasaran
The Mahardhik gods, first of all, inform the Abhiyogya
gods about village, town or area where the Samavasaran is to be
constructed. These gods, then clear, clean and level a 12 sq. km area
pneumatically. Fragrant water is aerially sprinkled over that area and
than in order to make the atmosphere pleasantly perfumed a variety of
suitable flowers are showered. The whole area is decorated with various
gemstones including moonstone and sapphire. Now the Vyantar gods construct
gem studded and gold inlaid gates in all the four directions. These gates
are embellished with motiffis like umbrella, human figure, crocodile arch,
After this the kings of gods with their special powers
construct three concentric parapet walls with serrated design and
embellished with gems and gold. The outermost wall is constructed by the
king of the Jyotishka gods. The innermost wall is full of gemstones and is
made by the king of Vaimanik gods. The decorations and embellishments are
also done by the gods who construct the walls. The main gate studded with
every gem is made by the Bhavanpati gods. Large urns with burning incenses
with mixtures of fragrant powder like black Agar and Kundarak are
installed all around by the Vyantar gods.
Now Ishan gods arrive and plant a Ashok tree 12 times
the height of the Tirthankar exactly at the center of the innermost
circle. Under this tree they make a gem studded platform. At the center of
this platform they make a throne with leg-rest of crystal-quartz. Over
this throne there are three canopies, one over the other. On both the
flanks of the throne stand the Balindra and Chamar gods with whisks in
their hands. The Vyantar gods install the emblem of wheel of religion a
little distance away and in front of the throne. After this all the gods
hail in loud voice and express their feeling of extreme joy.
As a rule, where all the gods arrive, the construction
of the Samavasaran is done jointly by different gods as detailed above.
But where kings of gods with special powers arrive, it is they who
construct the Samavasaran. However, if such gods do not arrive it is the
option of the Bhavanpati and other gods to construct the Samavasaran.
Entry and the Sitting Arrangement
After the construction of the Samavasaran is complete
the Tirthankar enters it by the eastern gate during the first hour after
the dawn or when the second hour is approaching. He moves stepping on
divine lotuses. While walking, seven divine lotuses appear both at the
front and back of him. He first circumambulates the Chaitya tree and then
approaches the throne and sits on it facing east.
Three replicas of the Tirthankar sitting on the throne
are created by gods and installed facing remaining three directions. Thus
the Tirthankar is visible to every one sitting anywhere in the assembly.
At the feet of the Tirthankar the senior most principle
disciple sits after bowing to the tirthankar. The senior Ganadhar sits
near the feet of the Tirthankar in south-east direction. All the other
Ganadhars sit at his side or ahead of him.
Then the omniscient ascetics enter from the eastern
gate, circumambulate the Tirthankar, utter-Namastirthaya (salutation tot
he Tirth), and take their seats at the back of the Ganadhars . After this
the remaining highly endowed ascetics (Manahparyav Jnanis, Avadhi Jnansis,
Fourteen Purvadhars, other Purvadhars etc.) also enter from the eastern
gate, go around the Tirthankars thrice, pay homage to the Tirthankar and
other seniors, and take seats behind the Kewal Jnanis.
Now enter the female ascetics and after formally paying
homage to all the seniors go and stand behind the Vaimanik gods, they do
not sit. Goddesses from the Vaimanik dimension enter from the eastern gate
and formally saluting to the Tirthankar and all the ascetics go and stand
behind the common ascetics. One after another come the goddesses from
Bhavanpati, Vyantar and Jyotishka dimensions, from the southern gate and
paying homage to the Tirthankar and all the ascetics go and stand in the
south-western direction one behind the other in the said order.
After all these arrive gods from Bhavanpati, Jyotishka
and Vyantar dimensions from the eastern gate and after due formalities
take their allotted seats, one group behind the other in the said order in
the north-western direction. Then from the northern gate enter the
Vaimanik gods followed by men and women and after due formalities take
their allotted seats. In front sit Vaimanik gods, behind them are men and
then women. The families sit near the gods with whom they are associated
and nowhere else.
In every direction and the corners sit these clusters
of people in groups of three classes (gods, men and women). As a rule the
juniors pay respects to the seniors at the time of their arrival in the
assembly, irrespective of the order of arrival. At the four gates-east,
west, north and south stand Soma, Varun and respectively as guards of the
Sitting in this fashion there is no if superiority or
inferiority, envy, competition, differences or animosity. Due to the
miraculous influence of the Tirthankar, even the natural enemies from the
animal kingdom loose anger or fear from each other.
This is the arrangement of the first enclosure.
Arrangement of the Second and Third Enclosures
The second enclosure is allotted to all types of
animals (the five sensed ones). The third enclosure is allotted for
parking of vehicles.
Outside these enclosures there are crowds of animals,
humans, as well as gods. Sometimes they come separately and sometimes all
together. However, in spite of the crowd the movement is orderly and
peaceful. There is hardly any rush or stampede or altercation.
The Importance of Beholding the Samavasaran
To behold the Samavasaran of a Tirthankar is such an
important act that an ascetic who has not done so earlier is inspired to
walk and come even if he is stationed twelve Yojan (approx. 144 km) away.
As it is a rule that any ascetic stationed within a distance of 144 km
from the Samavasaran should come and join. One who ignores this for any
reason should observe a four days fast as a penitence. This is because his
right perception is fret with faults of instability, shallowness and
The appearances of the Tirthankar sitting in the
Samavasaran is so breathtakingly beautiful that if all the gods join
together and try to create that beauty in the dimension of a toe, it
cannot surpass the beauty of the toe of the Tirthankar.
In terms of the beauty of the form the list of people
in order of descendence is as follows (The beauty of the earlier being
infinitely more than the latter: Tirthankar, Ganadhar, Ascetics with
normal human body, Anuttar Vaimanik gods, Navagraiveyak, Achyut, Aaran,
Pranat, Anat, Sahasrar, Mahashukra, Lantak, Brahmlok, Mahendra, Sanat
Kumar, Ishan, Saudharma, Bhavanvasi, Jyotishka, Vanavyantar (all
dimensions of gods), Chakravarti, Vasudev, Baldev and regional kings. The
common kings and other people are further down on the scale with much
larger gap. (The traditional reduction being-infinitely less in six
The Acharyas have explained the purpose of this
breathtaking beauty of the Tirthankar that appears due to the
precipitation of the Tirthankar-nam-karma. They say that this divine
beauty of the Tirthankar inspires those attending the Samavasaran to
indulge in religious or righteous activities activities. they feel that
when such a divinely beautiful person indulges in righteous activity, all
those who are earthly, beautiful ought to do so. The utterances of a
divinely beautiful person are listened to with attention. The pride of the
narcissists also shatter sin presence of such an embodiment of pure
beauty. Those are the reasons that make the divine beauty of a Tirthankar
The Ideal of Humility
The first words the Tirthankar utters when he starts
his discourse are "Salutations to the ford of religion." After this he
begins his discourse in easily understandable words of the common man�s
language, Ardha-Magadhi, with the specific purpose that everyone present
may understand and absorb the words and their meaning. As the status of
Tirthankar is gained because of the establishment of Tirth (ford of
religion), salutations, are first of all offered to the Tirth. The cause
of becoming revered is reverential even for the reverend one. The
religious ford or Tirth is revered in the whole cosmos whereas the
Tirthankar is revered only in the revered only in the inhabited region;
the Tirthankar recognizes this fact with due reverence. Another reason is
that when such a lofty and endowed person as a Tirthankar displays such
humility he sets an example for others to follow.
The Volume of the Speech
With the advancement of technology the capacity and
scope of transmission of sound with the help of amplifiers, telephones,
radios and satellites has increased manifold. However, the Tirthankar�s
speech is naturally endowed with unique attributes. As such in the
Samavasaran the voice of the Tirthankar reaches the eardrums or hearing
organs of all five sensed beings. Everyone in the audience thus removes
his doubts and ambiguities.
The Tirthankar gives his discourse only in one
language, but he assembly has the congregation of gods, humans and
animals. How do they all understand this monolingual discourse? It is
something like the single color water turning into a variety of colors
depending on the soil it falls on; black, white, red or gray etc. One of
the unique attributes of the Tirthankar�s speech is this capacity to
automatically get translated into the language of the listener. In this
age of advanced technology it is nothing to be astonished about. In the
United Nations Organization there are representatives from almost all
nations of the world. There is a multiplicity of languages, but the
technology has made it possible that any speech in any language is
immediately translated into the language of the listener.
There are twelve types of congregations in the
Samavasaran. If the preaching of the Tirthankar does not inspire any of
the listeners to take a vow of any one of the four Samayiks (a specific
spiritual practice), Sarvavirati (total renunciation), Deshvirati (partial
renunciaton), Samyaktva (right conduct), and Shruti-Samayik (listening to
the scriptures), all this effort of construction of the Samavasaran and
collecting such a large crowd would go waste. But it is not so. Once the
Samavasaran is created, the Tirthankar does give his discourse. For once
at least, his preaching makes lasting impression on the psyche of the
listener even if he does not accept any of the prescribed vows. The pure
particles of the Tirthankars speech are fast acting. As such, more often
than not his speech does not go in vain. Men take at least one of the four
types of vows mentioned above. The animals accept one out of three leaving
aside the Sarvavirati. The gods as a rule accept the Samyaktva Samayik.
In the Samavasaran, the Tirthankar gives discourse for
the first quarter of the day (three hours). After this he comes out of the
first quarter of the day (three hours). After this he comes out of the
first enclosure, Devachhandak, situated in the second enclosure towards
the east and rests comfortably.
In the village or town near which the Samavasaran is
created, a number of messengers are appointed for giving news about the
movement of the Tirthankar. Some of them are honorary and others salaried.
For this recurring expenditure the Chakravarties contribute 1.2 million
gold coins. The regional kings contribute the same number in silver coins.
Gods like Kuber, various landlords, merchants and other people contribute
according to their capacity and devotion.
How the Gods Work for Spread of Religion?
The devoted gods too follow this practice. They
distribute money to various people appointed for various jobs like
security, maintenance and serving the masses. They also provide assistance
to people in need as well as support to the newly initiated ones. they
consider this to be the worship of the Tirthankar. As a result they
acquire the Satavedaniya Karma (the pleasure causing Karma). They
automatically become virtuous and promote the spread of religion.
After the Tirthankar�s discourse the Ganadhars start
their discourse. This is done during the second quarter of the day.
The Position of the Ganadhars
Ganadhars, the heads of groups of ascetics, give their
discourse either sitting on the thrones resented by kings or the foot rest
of the Tirthankar.
The Ganadhars in their discourse narrate the stories
about past and future. They also answer to the questions of the curious
among the masses. As the Ganadhars answer to all and sundry questions it
is not possible to call them ignorant or lacking in the unique virtues
like Avadhi Jnan and others.
Thus in the Samavasaran of a Tirthankar there are ample
opportunities of hearing to the discourse of great souls, pondering,
accepting vows, enhancing of right attitude, religious activities,
worshipping and serving greatmen as well as masses.
(For further reading see Abhidhan Rajendra Kosh, Vol.
SRI AMAR MUNI
Shri Amar Muni is a scholarly ascetic from Shri
Shwetambar Sthanakvasi Jain Shraman Sangh. He is an accomplished orator,
poet, and singer. He has written detailed commentaries on Bhagavati
Sutra (four volumes), Sthananga Sutra (two volumes) and many
others. He is the one who is responsible for taking the bold initiative to
launch the publication of the illustrated Agam literature.
Illustrated Uttardhyayan Sutra (Hindi-English),
illustrated Antakritdasha Sutra (Hindi-English) and illustrated
Kalpa Sutra have already been published and received well.
The scholarly editor of this illustrated series is
Srichand Surana �Saras.�