Jainism – a way of life




THERE is a verse in the Uttaradhyayan Sutra (one of the scriptures) in which a disciple asks Lord Mahāvir. “O Lord, what does a man achieve by doing Sāmāyik?” The reply was: “A man achieves complete equanimity and he abstains from the deliberate actions leading to the bondage of karma”.

It is only in human beings that the seeds of perspective of religion lie inherently. The dominant seeds here are knowledge and will to it, the power of decision making and the capacity to discriminate between good and bad

-.Pandit Sukhlālji.


There are many types of Sāmāyik but the one, which is most commonly observed, consists of sitting for 48 minutes in a quiet place, meditating, chanting a few verses and obtaining a state of equanimity. In Sāmāyik one gains a feeling of equality towards everybody. Attachment, anger, worry and all fear are driven out. The mind is purified and the one who performs Sāmāyik becomes more humble and friendly.

Pratikraman is a ritual of confession and a determination to walk onto the right path. One can do Pratikraman every day; in fact two Pratikraman in any single day can be performed for any misdeeds that may have been done. These are called devsi or rāi Pratikraman (daytime or night-time Pratikraman). On top of these there are fortnightly rituals, four-monthly rituals and an annual ritual. The Annual ritual is the longest and has to be done at the last day of the Paryushan festival, which is called samvatsari day. One begs for forgiveness for his or her misdeeds done during whole year period. The word ‘Pratikraman’ means going back to a noble and a religious form.

Pratikraman is like removing all the pollutant thoughts from our minds. We have to review our past deeds and ask for forgiveness for anything harmful we might have done. In this ritual or meditation as some would call it, one sits in a quiet place on a piece of clean woolly cloth, keeps a small piece of handkerchief for covering the mouth, and utters prescribed sutras. Verses written in the book of Pratikraman Sutra were compiled by various authors at different times using different languages.

One of the sutra or verse in Pratikraman text is called Iriya-vahiya. This verse very minutely examines our deeds as seen below-

“With good wishes O Lord!

Bless me as I wish to retract from the path of wrongdoing.

I wish to retract from sins,

Whilst going to and fro,

Whatever types of living being I might have destroyed-

While walking, while attacking, while crushing,

On dews,

In ant-holes,

In water,

In clay,

In cob-webs,

While cleaning or brushing,

Whatever types of lives I might have destroyed;

Those with one sense,

Those with two senses,

Those with three senses,

Those with four senses,

Those with five senses,

I might have kicked them, rolled them, covered them, assembled them, touched them, separated them from their own kinds, or killed them.

In connection with all these things,

May my sins or faults be forgiven?

The whole essence of Pratikraman ritual can be said in this verse that many Jains say to each other after the ritual.

Khāmemi savva jive, Savve jivā khamantu me

Mitti me savva bhueshu, veram majza na kenai

= I forgive all living beings Let all living beings forgive me All in this world are my friends, I have no enemies.

Their (Jain festival’s) greatness lies
in abstinence and not in amusement.

-Dr Hukamchand Bharill


People of Digambara sect celebrate Das-lakshana festival with great enthusiasm every year for ten days. The festival, in a way, does not belong to any sect but is a universal one because it is not connected with any event or a person but is related to soul’s natural qualities and helps bring about the best in human being.

The ten virtues, which are ‘worshiped’ during the festival, are:

1.Supreme forbearance or forgiveness.
2. Supreme modesty.
3. Supreme simplicity.
4. Supreme purity.
5. Supreme truth.
6. Supreme self-control.
7. Supreme austerity.
8. Supreme renunciation.
9. Supreme non-attachment.
10.Supreme continence.

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