Hoisting the holy flag
On the day of the installation of the image of the
Lord; and every year. on the day of the annual celebration of the event, a
new flag is hoisted on the tower of the temple. On that day, at the time
of the worship of the flag; it is hoisted. On this day the Satrah Bhedi,
the 17 kinds of worship of which Dhwaj puja is one are read out with an
orchestra. At the time of the Dhwaj pujJja, the flag is hoisted.
The holy Chariot procession
Rathyatra means taking the resplendent image of the
Lord in a procession, in a chariot along the main roads of the city or
town so that all people might have a darshan of the Bhagawan's radiant
face. The Rathyatra is accompanied by a band (of musicians and players on
various instruments) and by thousands of devotees, and by the fourfold
society of Jains. It Is a procession of sublime radiance. It is called in
spoken dialect Varghoda but its actual name is Rathyatra or Chaityayatra.
Chaityayatra means having a darshan and worshipping the Chaityas or
temples in the City.
The Sanghyatra is the holy travel of the fourfold Jain
society on bare foot from place to place. They wander thus from place to
place, having a darshan of the Jain temples; and worshipping them; going
on a pilgrimage to various places of pilgrimage; disseminating and
preaching the dharma; and helping the people in distress. This is called
Sanghyatra. During this Yatra. six very important rules should be
scrupulously observed. Hence, It is also called Charipalit sanah or
1) Samyaktva Dharan
They must take the vow of righteousness, with
reverence and devotion.
They must eat food only once a day.
They must sleep on a carpet on the ground and should
not sleep on a bed; and a mattress.
They should keep off sensual and carnal delights.
They should travel on foot (bare foot).
6) Sachitt Tyag
They should not consume any raw and green vegetables.
The Padyatra carried out in accordance with these six
rules really becomes a journey towards salvation. It marks the end of the
journey of worldly life, but the longest journey is the journey inward.
Honouring with a garland.
Any one. who organizes a padyatra; and bears all the
expenses relating to it; and carries out Upadhan (austerity) first. earns
the honour of being garlanded. The ceremony of offering a garland to a
devout person acquires great significance because it is accompanied by the
performance of some special austerities and by the recitation;s of mantras
or holy hymns. Some times. an offer is made for a higher amount. and the
people who pay the highest amount generously are first garlanded. The
securing of a garland in this manner is a sign of being blessed.
Celebration of completing an austerity.
Udhyapan is the ceremony of expressing a feeling of
gratitude for having been able to complete an austerity or spiritual
activity without any impediments. In the spoken dialect. this is called
Ujamana or Ujavana. This ceremony is performed by giving away articles
useful for the temple, articles useful for the dissemination of knowledge;
and things useful for the Sadhus and Sadhvis. The ceremony comprises the
exhibition and the donation of these articles relating to knowledge, to
the temple and to the life of austerity. The devotees offer at the time of
the completion of the vow, with joy, the ornamental canopy, embroidered
velvet back-curtain with gold and silver-thread design for the image of
the Lord in temples and for the platform in Upashray.
Jain community dinners.
All those who meditate on and remember the Navkar
Mantra; and who have devotion and reverence for Shraman Bhagwan Mahavir
gather at a place and dine together and feed one another. This celebration
is called Sadharmik Vatsalya On this day, worship of the Lord and other
devotional activities are organized, These community dinners are
controlled by the code of Jain customs and practices. It is called
Swami Vatsalya or Navkarshi in the spoken language,
Apart from this. other religious activities such as
worship and undertaking of spiritual activities are done or arranged. Of
course, the responsibility of organizing activities during all festivals
is undertaken by pure minded and devout Shravaks. The Sadhus provide only
the necessary guidance for these activities.
In all the Jain festivals, prayers are offered for the
peace, felicity and prosperity (spiritual) of oneself, of society, nation
and the whole universe. The following activities are given special
importance: giving charity to the poor and the needy; rendering help;
giving fodder and water to animals; giving grain to birds; giving free
medicines to the sick and the disabled patients because in the Jain
Dharma, benevolence is given the first place.