Rites and Rituals
150. As we have seen, the rules of lay conduct are very strict. The rites and
rituals make them charming and attractive. Jainism in the strictest terms does
not prescribe invocation, propitiation, offerings, prayers and the like. But in
popular practice a devotee expresses his or her devotional attachment to idols
which symbolize the glorification of the spiritual state and he attributes
manifested in the idol Jonahed itself.
151. There are six obligatory duties (Sadavasyakas) in Jain tradition, which are
prescribed for both laity and mendicant order as well. They are: 1) Samayika,
the practice of equanimity or meditation, 2) Caturvimsaatistava, praise of the
twenty-four Tirthankaras, 3) Vandana, veneration, 4) Pratikramana, expiation for
transgressions, 5) Kayotsarga, abandonment of the body in standing or sitting
poses, and 6) Pratyakhyana, renunciation of certain foods or activities for
certain times. Jinasena and Somadeva make them more popular for laities by
replacing them with 1) Devapuja, 2) Guru- upasana, 3) Svadhyaya, 4) Samyama,
Tapas, and 6) Dana.
152. A Jain devotee worships the Jain image with two ways, the first is the
abstract worship (Bhavapuja), which needs neither idol nor ritual, and the
second one is formal worship (Dravyapuja), which needs the idol and some ritual
performances. The mendicants usually perform the abstract worship. It is also
performed by those laities who do not have the sufficient facilities for
accomplishing formal worship. There is a certain method prescribed for formal
worship. After taking a bath and wearing clean clothes, the devotee goes to the
temple and recites Namokaramantra (the Mahamantra) with devotional songs and
hymns, puts down a few grains of rice, bows and goes around a circumambulatory (Pradaksina)
path three times, and repeats Arihanta-Siddha etc. Then on a rosary of 108
beads, he starts performing Astadravyapuja, which is eight-fold worship. First
of all, he bathes the image with pure water, which is a kind of reminiscence of
the post-birth illustration of the bathing of the Tirthankara by Indra, the Lord
of Gods (not of Jinas). Then he recites the verses, drops one after another the
water, sandal wood paste, cleaned rice-grains, flowers or saffron colored
Astadravyas (rice, coconut, lamp, incense, fruits like cloves and almonds and
the last one mixed offerings Argha) in a platter placed on the table in front of
him. This procedure of paying homage to the Jina or Tirthankara, the ideal Guru
and the Sastras or Scriptures may be done individually or in a congregation.
After this the devotee concludes his worships with the recitation of Santipatha
expressing his wish for universal peace: "May Lord Jinendradeva, bestow peace on
the land, the nation, the city and the state and welfare on all the citizens,
may the rulers and the administrators be strong, law- abiding and righteous, the
rains be timely and adequate, all the diseases and ailments disappear, no one in
the world be afflicted with famine or scarcity because of theft, loot, plunder
and devastation, nor with epidemics, even for a moment: Peace be to all".
153. Among other Jain rituals, idol installation includes Jinabimbapratistha or
Pancakalyanakapratistha (five auspicious events) with devotional songs and
hymns, which initiates the image for worship in a Jain temple. It is preformed
with a great ceremony under the leadership of a learned priest through depicting
the five auspicious events of a Tirthankara's life, namely, conception, birth,
renunciation, enlightenment and Nirvana. The Pancakalyanaka Mahotsava continues
for several days with great sprit and devotion.
154. There are some social ceremonies like Samskaras, which are somehow
connected with spiritual and with physical purity. They are of three types viz.
I) 53 kriyas (rites) which cover the entire life of a person from conception to
death (Garbhanvayakriyas), ii) 48 rites which are related to new converts and
their spiritual development (Diksanvayakriyas), and iii) 7 rites which are meant
for personality development of meritorious souls (Kartranvyayakriyas). It may be
noted here that prior to Acarya Jinasena, the lay conduct was dealt only with
the Vratas and Pratimas. Jinasena then borrowed the Sanskaras from Vedic sides
and introduced them into Jain society. Jinasena adopted this policy to protect
Jain society from outside dangers. This was the need of the day to avoid the
dangerous situation from Brahmanical society. The history confirms the
successful endeavor of Jinasena to reduce intercommunity friction and raise the
status of Jain society in the eyes of Brahmanical counterparts. Looking to the
surface similarity over rites and rituals between Jainas and Hindus, some
scholars express the view that Jainas are indistinguishable from Hindus and
should not be considered an independent group at all. But this is not correct.
As has already been discussed and explained earlier, Jainsim is an independent
religion. It is not and has never been the branch of Hindus
155. Among festivals celebrated by Jainas are: Paryusana, or Dasalaksana Parva
held during the rainy season for eight or ten days in Jain temples where the
sermons on the Dasadharmas, which are the ten virtues of the soul described in
the Tattvarthsutra and Kalpasutra Scriptures are regularly read to an audience.
At its end, Ksamavaniparva or Samvatsariparva is celebrated, which is the day of
universal forgiveness, when every Jain asks for forgiveness from everyone else
and he himself forgives others for wrongs done towards him during the past year.
Other festivals such as Raksabandhana, Sodasakaranvrata, Aksayatrtiya,
Mastakabhiseka, Srutapancami, Dipavali, Mahaviranirvana Jayanti,
Siddhacakravidhana, Astanhikaparva, Nandisvaravidhana, etc. should also be
mentioned which are social festivals of the community. Worship is the form of
Dharmadhyana. It is an act of selfless devotion done with joy, cheerfulness and
due humanity and as the result, the worshipper earns Punya (merit) and destroys
demerit. It is transcendent attachment (Prasastaraga) and devotion to the
Vitaragi Jina with the view to get inspiration and guidance from him for
achieving purified stage of mind and soul. In the eye of Jainism, the Paramatman
or Vitaragi God cannot be an instrument for construction, destruction and
protection of the universe.
156. Every morning the lay aspirant is expected after taking bath and donning
the clean dress to pay homage to the Jina to temple for his Darsana and
devotion. He usually takes with him the few grains of rice or coconut etc. by
way of token offering. On entering temple, he recites Nisei, Panca namokaramanta
and some verses from scripture in praise of the Jina.
157. There are some other rituals also to be observed by the householder, which
are known as Siddhacakra Vidhana, Indradhvaja and other Vidhanas,
Jinabimbapratistha, Pancakalyanaka Mahotsava, Vedipratistha, Mahavira Jayanti,
Rsabhadeva Jayanti, Dipavali, Raksabandhana, Samadhimarana etc., which are
celebrated with the great zeal.
158. There are some Samskaras or ceremonies, which cover the entire life of a
person from conception to Nirvana. But these rites do not include the offering
of the funeral cake (Mratyubhoja) and propitiation (Tarpana) to the spirit of
the departed. Likewise, to take the bath in the sacred water of the Ganga is not
treated as the merit or Punya.
159. There is also an importance given to the Mantras in Jainism. But these
Mantras are prescribed only for spiritual attainment and not for worldly
affairs. Jainism does not believe in violent sacrifices. It also does not
worship to such Gods and Goddesses who are violent. Om, Sri, Svastika, Triratna,
Mangala Kalasa etc. are the important mystic symbols and signs, which are used
at the auspicious times. 160. Fasting is also a sort of rite and ritual. It is
of two types: I) Itvarika - to give up food for the specified period up to six
months, and 2) Yavatkathika- fasting till death. It is called Santhara or
Smadhimarana or Sallekhana, which has already been discussed earlier. The second
fast is Unodary, which means to eat less than usually required. Rasaparityaga
(abstinence from delicacies), Bhiksacarita (to take alms through begging with
its code of conduct), Kayaklesa (enduring physical hardships) are other types of
penances prescribed for householders and mendicants
161. Spiritual pilgrimage to places is also associated with the rites. It is the
pious longing which one tries to accomplish in the span of life. It is called
Tirthayatra. There are numerous places of Jain pilgrimage throughout India.
Vaisali, Rajagrah, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Sravasti, Kausambi, Prayag, Sammeda
Sikhara, Pavapur, Girinar, Nakodha, Satrunjaya, Resandigiri, Dronagiri,
Ahicchatra, Kesariya, Kunthalagiri, Kakandi, Bhadravati, Campapur, Kampilya,
Hastinapur, Mathura, Sauripur, Kundalapur, Gunava, Udayagiri, - Khandagiri,
Sonagiri, and so on. There are so many Atisayaksetras, Siddhaksetras,
kalaksetras and Sastrabhandaras for taking the pilgrimage.
162. Despite the attitude of peaceful coexistence, Jainism could not have
continued its existence without struggle. Right from seventh to thirteenth
century and onwards, the Jain community had to face so many violent opposition
from Brahmanic and Muslim societies. They destructed their thousands of temples
and converted them into Hindu temples and mosques. Likewise, the rich
Shastrabhandaras were also perished and reduced to ashes. For instance, the
mosque Adhai dina ka jhopada of Ajmer and the Kutub Minar of Delhi were
originally Jain temples, which were converted into Mosques. by Muslims.
Likewise, the Saiva Lingayatas and Alavarapanthis committed mass killing of Jain
community in South and converted Jain temples into Saiva temples. However,
Jainism could survive through its nonviolent approach, moral and spiritual
attitude and compromising policy with Hindu society. The internal reform
movements in Jain community, though not much like Buddhism, have also assisted
in keeping cohesive atmosphere in the societies.