Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Matter, Essence and Modes: CONSERVATION OF MASS

Here I am going to put some facts of the Universe. It is explained by our Tirthankars (Ford-makers or Enlightened Masters). I love physics and astronomy and I found the Jain philosophy very close to physics… In fact, we should say that physics is rather close to the Jain Philosophy!

Lord Parshva, the earliest Jain leader whose historicity has been accepted

The last two Tirthankars Lord Parshva (877-777 B.C.E.) and Lord Mahavira (599-527 B.C.E.) were very close to us and we have their teaching recorded in the scriptures. People all around the world will have some basic knowledge of physics. We know that everything what we can see, smell is made of particles or atoms. Atoms get together and create some state of matter (i.e. liquid, gas, plasma or solid). Everything is made of particles. A table, a chair, water, a star, or a galaxy everything is made of particles. Now according to Jainism, the Universe is made of six Dravyas or substances. They are Soul, Pudagal, Medium of motion, Medium of rest, Space and Time. All these six are eternal. Nobody has created them and nobody can destroy them. Bhagwan Mahavir said that all these six Dravyas are eternal. The second Drayva Pudagal means atoms and molecules. “Pud” means “to accumulate” and “gal” means “to depart”. Atoms are getting together and depart. This process is eternal. By getting together they form some state of matter like liquid, solid, gas etc. Our sun is a giant ball of plasma, our earth is solid, the water is liquid etc. But they don’t last forever. Their present state will change and some new form will emerge. We are the first Drayva, the soul.

new stars are taking their shape from an emission nebula

Like sub-atomic particles, our soul is also eternal. Our soul also goes through the process of change. It gains various bodies according to its Karma. But such soul can be liberated and can be free from the cycle of birth and death.

Lord Mahavir has said that, “everything emerges, everything vanishes but their essence is unchangeable. For example, many particles accumulate and form a cloud in the sky. You will see a cloud but after sometime it will disappear. The particles will disintegrate. Infinite particles create a star (or sun) and after billions of years due to the chain-process the star will lose its previous form and will gain a new form (a planetary nebula). But the total amount of the particles will remain the same hence their total density is constant. That is called dravya (substance or matter), guna (essence) and paryaya (modification). The total amount of the particles remains constant.

We all in this world focus directly on paryaya (form or mode). We take paryaya different from dravya but actually both are same. We are soul and we possess a physical body which is ultimately made of particles and thus it is Pudagal. We take this body as our self but in fact, our real self is consciousness, the soul. So whenever we face death we become unhappy because our focus is on the body (paryaya). Whenever we experience paryaya (change of form) we become either happy or unhappy.

A person will like a thing made of gold and will value it more than a stone. If someone steals gold from him then he would be unhappy but if someone steals a stone then he won’t be unhappy that much. In fact both the gold and a stone are made of same particles (electron, proton and neutron)!

The sole cause behind everyone’s happiness or sorrow is paryaya (form). If we change our vision and take paryaya and dravya to be same then all the problems can be solved and we can attain the state of perfect equanimity. All the Tirthankars and other Shramanas gained Omniscience or Perfect Knowledge by practicing the highest equanimity. They take their helper and enemy to be same. They take a bacteria and an elephant the same because they directly focus on their essence, the soul or the conscious energy. We should not feel happy on good occasions and sad on bad occasions because now we know that whatever happens is the change of state but the essence remains the same. Thus we can attain Samyak Darshan (Right Vision) and Samyak Darshan is the root of Omniscience (Kewal Gyaan) and thus the final liberation.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Whatever happens with us is due to our own karma (good or bad deeds). It is like action-reaction and we have to pay for whatever we have done. They don’t give instant result but it takes time to give results.

There is an inspiring story of Rukmani. She was a queen and wife of Shri Krishna. According to Jain accounts, Shri Krishna was a cousin of Lord Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankar (Ford-Builder). Lord Neminath was younger than Shri Krishna. By seeing the animals which were to be slaughtered for his marriage, Prince Nemikumar had developed great compassion and after releasing those innocent animals he announced his decision for renunciation.

Meditating on mount Girnar for 54 days, he attained Omniscience and became the 22nd Tirthankar of the present era. He gave his first sermon in the magnetic voice by sitting on Samavasaran (A Divine Preaching Pavilion created by the Heavenly Beings). Thousands of people were present there including Vasudev Shri Krishna and his wife queen Rukmani. By seeing the great power of Omniscience, the absolute knowledge that allows one to see everything in the entire Universe, Queen Rukmani could not stop herself to ask her problem to Lord Neminath. Her son was kidnapped by the time of birth and returned to her after 16 years.

She asked Lord Neminath, “Oh Lord! What mistake I have done in my previous lives so I had to suffer 16 long years without my son?”

Lord Neminath said, “Oh queen! We are the only cause behind our misery and happiness. In your one of the previous lives, you were married to a rich family. Few days after your marriage you went into the jungles with your friends to enjoy the beauty of nature. You all were happy, some one was singing, some one was dancing.”

“After some while you all waited to rest. Just beside the place where you were staying was a nest of a peahen and there were two eggs. By hearing your voice the peahen became threatened and immediately left the nest. You approached the nest and just in fun you carried those eggs in your hands. Your palms were painted with color called mahedi (in India, in many occasions girls and women pain her palms with color). And because of that, those eggs became colorful. You put them back but didn’t notice that the eggs are now colorful.”

“After a short while the peahen returned back to her nest when you left that place. She could not identify her eggs as they were now looking ruddy. The peahen became sad and started to look around for her eggs. The peahen started crying and tears began to flow from her eyes.”

“After sometime the sky became dense of dark clouds and the rain started. The color from the eggs was now removed by the rain and the peahen immediately identifies her eggs. She began dancing in joy and started to hatch her eggs again but because of your mistake, oh queen, the peahen didn’t hatch her eggs for 16 ghadis (1 ghadi =24 minutes). So that’s why, in this birth you suffered without your son for 16 years.”

By hearing this, the queen became shocked and thought, the mistake was 16 ghadis and the punishment is 16 years?

By reading her mind, Lord Neminath said, “yes!”

All the people present there learned about the law of causation and took various vows to get rid of the endless cycle of birth and death.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


There once lived a traveler. He got lost and no one could give him exact direction where to go. He got lost in the dense jungle. Four robbers chased him but the traveler could escape easily by lurking in the dense forest. In the forest an elephant chased him. To save himself from the elephant the traveler jumped down into a well. He grabbed a branch of a tree which was just beside the well. Below him, in the well, were an alligator and four snakes. Up, he saw two rats, one black and the other white. They were chewing the branch on which the traveler was hanging.

Then, at the same time few honey drops from beehive fell in his mouth. The elephant that chased the man approached there and began to shake the branch violently. Now, as the tree was shaking, a few bees stung the poor traveler but as he licked the honey, he would forget his problems (the snake and alligator, the elephant and the rats and the bees).

Now, at that time an angel couple was flying by. By seeing the miserable position of the traveler, angel offered him help. The traveler, now absorbed in taking taste of the honey drops asked the couple to wait for a second until he tasted the next drop of honey, so they waited. Then angel asked him again and the traveler said for wait for few seconds and this went on. The couple got tired of waiting and eventually they left. Few minutes later the mice cut down the branch and the traveler fell inside the well and ultimately died.

1. The story is symbolic for the troubles of any living being.

2. The traveler represents a worldly soul.

3. The elephant is death, something everyone must face.

4. The four snakes and alligator represent the four passions (anger, deceit, greed and pride) and rebirth respectively.

5. The branch cut by the two rats represents the life-span of a living being which is continuously being reduced by the day and night. The white rat represent day and the black rat represent night.

6. The bees represent daily problems.

7. The honey represents sensual pleasures in which all living beings are absorbed.

8. The celestial couple who offered the traveler a shelter represents True Religion.

Thus, enlightened beings have given the above simple example to describe the real nature of mundane world. We would realize that how unsafe it is to be absorbed in the sensual pleasures instead of indulging in our real self. One can get rid of the cycle of birth-death and rebirth only by realizing his/her real self and by destroying all karmas by performing external and internal austerities.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Lord Parshvanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankar or Ford-Maker had taken 10 births after attainment of Samyak-Darshan or Right View. Here is the detail of his 10 births.

1. Marubhuti- a Brahmin and King’s minister

2. An Elephant

3. Birth in the 3rd Celestial World called Sahasrar
4. King Agniveg

5. Birth in the 12th Celestial World called Achyuta

6. Emperor Vajranabh

7. Birth in the higher groups, dwelling in the Mid-Greveyak (There are 9 Greveyaks above the 12 Heavens as per Jain Cosmology)

8. Emperor Anand

9. Birth in the 10th Celestial World called Pranat

10. Birth as Tirthankar Parshvanath (877-777 B.C.E.) in our part of the Universe

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Jains all over the world celebrate Diwali in remembrance of Nirvana of Lord Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankara. We celebrate this occasion with lights and feel the absence of that enlightened light that departed us in 15th October 527 B.C. Lord Mahavir was a great warrior who conquered the inner enemies like Anger, Deceit, Pride and Ego. These are our permanent enemies always present with us. He who destroys these enemies is Mahavir.

Words are unable to describe the beauty of Lord Mahavir. His glow, his knowledge, his strength, his compassion, his inner peace were infinite. He was a living temple. The day he departed us and attained liberation the people felt darkness because the light was gone. It is mentioned in the scriptures that 16 kings, 9 Malla, 9 Lichachhavis along with thousands of people celebrated the day of Lord Mahavir’s Nirvana with lighting lamps. In the same day his chief disciple Indrabhuti Gautam Swami attained Omniscience, so that day was very special in Jain history.

The oldest reference of Diwali is a related word, Dipalikaya, which occurs in Harivansha Purana, written by Acharya jinasena. The meaning of Dipalikaya is “Light Leaving the Body”.
ततस्तुः लोकः प्रतिवर्षमादरत् प्रसिद्धदीपलिकयात्र भारते
समुद्यतः पूजयितुं जिनेश्वरं जिनेन्द्र-निर्वाण विभूति-भक्तिभाक्
(The gods illuminated Pavanagari by lamps to mark the occasion. Since that time, the people of Bharat celebrate the famous festival of "Dipalika" to worship the Jinendra (i.e. Lord Mahavira) on the occasion of his nirvana.)
The purpose behind this celebration is to remind the absence of Lord Mahavir. He taught us to overcome inner weakness, fear, anger, attachment, delusion because all these things bind the soul with the never ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth. Lord Mahavir also taught that each soul, whether it is human, animal, plant or one-sensed micro organism, each has potential to get rid of this endless cycle of rebirth. The human body is the supreme machine that can lead the soul to liberation and it is rare and very hard to being born as a human. One should never waste any moment of this precious human birth. Because if we will waste this rare occasion of being born as human then the soul will again go through countless births in the other form of body. So each moment one has to be aware. Every moment we are emitting bad vibrations to the Universe. These vibrations are full of lust, desires of mundane life etc are the cause of bondage and the soul attracts Karmic particles like a magnet attracts iron particles. When these vibrations reflect to us we feel bad and good happenings with us.

So it is important that in this occasion of Diwali one has to remember the teaching of Lord Mahavir and develop desires for Liberation.

Friday, October 29, 2010


There are 12 Reflections given in Jainism to meditate and there are also four compassionate Reflections or Bhavanas some times known as auxiliary Bhävanäs. They represent the positive means of supporting the Five Vows. They are intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion. They play a very important role in the day - to - day life of a householder and these reflections can be practiced very easily. Adopting these Bhävanäs in daily life can make a person very virtuous.

These four Bhävanäs (reflections) represent the positive means of supporting the Five Great Vows.
The qualities, which a devotee of nonviolence must possess, are:

• Maitri (amity, love, friendship): Friendliness strengthens each other; friendliness softens the heart and nourishes the capacity for forgiveness and forbearance
• Pramod (joy and respect): Praising the virtues of others with joy and respect corrodes one’s own ego and conceit.
• Karunä (compassion): Compassion for their misfortune fosters a charitable heart
• Mädhyastha (neutrality): The cultivation of neutrality and equanimity has the power to chastise vainglory in self and others.
These Bhävanäs are designed to make the devotee a good person, to serve as aids to spiritual progress, to produce detachment, and to lead the devotee from the realm of desire to the path of purification. They are intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion.

01. Maitri Bhävanä (Universal Friendship)
The cultivation of friendliness without any selfishness towards all living beings is Maitri (Universal friendship). The devotee should show equal friendship to all living beings without any reservation due to gender, color, race, wealth, nationality, look, size, and so on. Bhagawän Mahävir said that we must be friends of all living beings. Feelings of friendship should be the foundation of all our future thinking. Thus, when we become friends with someone or for that matter with all living beings, how can we possibly think of harming, deceiving or quarreling with them? How can our actions be harsh towards anybody? We would never hurt our friends; on the contrary, we support them and protect them. That way we develop bonds with each other. Friendship teaches us to be tolerant, to forgive, and to care and share among one another. There will be times when our thoughts may be reactionary and harsh; at that time instead of reacting right away, it would be better to wait and think of friendship with the person concerned. This always serves to ease the reaction, making you more reluctant to do anything that is not desirable. Since human nature is such that it always happens to react, Bhagawän Mahävir said, “If you want to react, then react with Pramod (respect)”.

02. Pramod Bhävanä (Respect for Virtue)
Pramod (joy, praise, and respect), or delight in the virtues of others, is defined as a state of experience of real joy and enthusiasm for those who possess higher and superior qualities. In this Pramod Bhävanä, we admire the successes and virtues of our friends, and spiritual leaders. Whenever we come across virtuous people, we should really respect, honor, and admire their virtues. When we are overwhelmed with joy because of such fine virtues in our friend, and spiritual leaders, the process of becoming virtuous begins. Good virtues are the right faith, the right knowledge, the right conduct, and the right penance. We should praise and show our highest respect to Tirthankars who showed the path and Gurus who help us in following that path for our spiritual journey.

Human nature is such that sometimes it cannot tolerate even the successes of friends or virtuous people. Sometimes, we are so jealous that we label their good virtues as bad qualities. When we are burning in the fire of jealousy, it ignites the fires of cheating, lying, and hurting others. However, instead of being jealous of the success or higher virtues of our friends or our spiritual leaders, we should feel content that if not me at least my friends are doing well; that way our unhappiness will turn into happiness. In addition, as soon as such thoughts come in our mind, we may feel silly that we had become jealous. That way the friendship or feeling of admiration would turn the negative impulses into the positive ones and we would be more at peace.
When we consider everyone as our friend, hostility stops, and when we start admiring successes of our friends even a negative force like jealousy would disappear.

03. Karunä Bhävanä (Sense of Compassion)
There are two types of compassion, (1) material and (2) spiritual. When we see someone is homeless, poor, and sick, or in need of something, the feeling we get to help is called material compassion. By helping the needy materially, we are able to reduce their material suffering. At the same time, there are people who are ignorant, have wrong beliefs, are suffering from internal passions such as anger, ego, deceit and greed; the feeling to help them is spiritual compassion. We try to show them the right spiritual path to reduce their internal suffering.

04. Mädhyastha Bhävanä (Neutrality)
To have indifference or to stay neutral in an irretrievable situation is Mädhyastha Bhävanä. In Mädhyastha Bhävanä one should stay neutral, uninvolved with those who, even after realizing and knowing what is right and wrong, carry on wrong ways. We can try our best to help, support, or advice; but some, out of their arrogance, obstinacy, stubbornness, or ignorance, may refuse to walk the right path. Instead of developing hatred, anger, contempt, or abhorrence towards them, we should think that we have done all we can; and changing is up to them. We should not let our mind be disturbed by what they are doing. Even though we desire the well-being of such people, we do not get involved unless they come for help.

May the sacred stream of amity flow forever in my heart

May the universe prosper, such is my cherished desire;

May my heart sing with ecstasy at the sight of the virtuous,

And may my life be an offering at their feet.

May my heart bleed at the sight of the wretched,

And may tears of compassion flow from my eyes;

May I always be there to show the path to the pathless wanderers of life,

Yet if they should not hearken to me, may I bide

May the spirit of goodwill enter into all our hearts,

May we all sing together the immortal song of brotherhood

The immortal song of sisterhood,

The immortal song of brotherhood

- Chitrabhanu


Sunday, October 10, 2010


Here are the six fundamental truths related with soul, preached by the Tirthankaras (The Enlightened Masters) and explained by Shrimad Rajchandra.

"Those enlightened, who have attained true knowledge of Self, have described the following six fundamentals as the supreme abode of right faith".

1. Soul Exists - First fundamental:
‘There is an existence of the soul’. As there is an existence of physical objects like pot, cloth, etc, so is the existence of soul. As the properties of pot, cloth, etc. are the evidence of their existence, so the obvious property of consciousness to manifest itself as well as others is the evidence of the existence of soul.

2. Soul is Eternal - Second fundamental:
‘The soul is eternal’. A pot or a cloth stays as such for some time; but the soul stays forever. The pot and cloth are composed of some materials, but the soul is a substance on its own because it is not possible to produce a soul. Consciousness cannot arise out of any composition, so it is not a product. Because the soul is not created, it is nonperishable. As what cannot be produced cannot merge into anything else.

3. Soul is the Doer of its Action - Third fundamental:
"The soul is the doer (Kartä)’. All objects are associated with purposeful activity. All of them are seen with some or the other process that causes alterations. The soul also is imbibed with activity. Having the actuation, it is doer. The omniscient Lords have described three types of such actuation. In the absolute state when the soul stays tuned to its pure nature, it is the doer of that nature; in normal practice (which can be experienced; which comes in close contact), it is the doer of material Karma; and nominally, it is the doer of physical objects like buildings, towns, etc.

4. Soul Bears Consequences of its Action - Fourth fundamental:
‘Soul bears consequences’. (Soul is Bhoktä) All activities are fruitful. It is the obvious experience that whatever is done has its consequences. Consumption of poison or sugar and contact with fire or snow do not fail to produce their respective consequences. Similarly, if the soul indulges in defiled or undefiled state, that state too is bound to be fruitful and it produces consequences.

Thus being doer soul is Bhoktä and it bears the consequences as well.

5. Soul Can Be Liberated - Fifth fundamental:
‘There is liberation’. Soul has been described above as being doer of material Karma and being subject to their consequences. Those Karma can, however, be terminated as well; because even if prevailing defilement etc. are very acute, they can be reduced by discontinuance of practice, by avoiding contact and by calming them down. They are reducible and can be destroyed. The state of bondage thus being destructible, the pure state of soul devoid of all bondage is the state of liberation.

6. Means to Achieve Liberation - Sixth fundamental:
‘There are means to achieve liberation’. If bondage of Karma simply continues to occur, its cessation can never be visualized. There are, however, factors like right faith, right knowledge, right conduct, conviction, staying tuned to soul, detachment, devotion etc. that are manifestly opposites of the bondage of Karma. By the intensity of these means, the bondage gets loose, gets pacified and can be destroyed. Therefore, knowledge, faith, restraint etc. are the means for attaining liberation.

These six fundamentals, which are termed by the blessed enlightened as the supreme abode of right faith, have been narrated here in brief. The soul that is closer to liberation would easily find them accurate and entirely convincing. Consideration of these aspects in all perspectives would lead to the rise of discernment within. The supreme entity has pronounced these six fundamentals as beyond all doubts. Discernment arising from these six aspects can be helpful to the soul in comprehending its true Self.

The enlightened entities have laid down the teaching of these six aspects for removing the sense of ego and attachment of the worldly soul that arises from its dreaming state, which has been prevailing since time without beginning. If the soul realizes that its true nature is beyond that state, it would easily gain awareness and obtain right faith. By gaining right faith, it would attain liberation in the sense of realizing its true Self. The sense of exultation, grief or other interaction would not occur to it from any perishable, impure or such other impact. That awareness would lead it to experience, from close proximity, its own natural purity, perfection, imperishability and boundless joy.

It has been accustomed to identity itself with unnatural states. It would now gain a clear, visible, vivid, manifest experience of being completely distinct from such states. The interaction with the perishable or such other objects would not be viewed by it with the sense of desirability or undesirability. It would feel gratified with the knowledge and experience of its own true Self as being the abode of perfect greatness, free from any affliction of birth, old age, death, disease etc.

All the people, who are convinced of the soul, by the appropriate description of these six fundamentals by the supreme entities, have realized their true state. In the past, such people have gotten free from worries, disease, afflictions and all other interactions; presently such people do get free and the same will happen in the future.

Let our highly devoted obeisance be to the enlightened entities who have laid down the path to abide at ease within the true self that can forever end the affliction of birth, old age and death.

The true nature of the soul can arise by daily and continuous adoration of their innate compassion. Lotus like feet of such enlightened may always stay within our hearts.
It is not possible to define the attributes of the enlightened, the adoption of whose instructions easily leads to the manifestation of true Self as evidenced by these six fundamentals. By such manifestation, the soul gains fearlessness that arises from the attainment of everlasting bliss.

By their innate compassion, the enlightened entities have conferred the supreme disposition without desiring any thing whatsoever and yet have never conceived that so and so is my pupil or is mine because he is my devotee. Repeated obeisance with intense devotion is to such enlightened entities.

Such entities have laid down devotion for the true Guide solely for the benefit of Pupils. They have prescribed devotion so that the tendency of pupils may stay towards the state of the Guide’s soul, self-indulgence may come to an end by witnessing their unprecedented attributes and the true Self may be easily visualized. Our all time obeisance will be to that devotion and to those enlightened entities.

Omniscience has of course not been presently manifested. It has, however, been clearly known as a potentiality from the words of the enlightened entities. Omniscience exists as a matter of faith, as a state to be contemplated and a state to be aspired; and from the absolute point of view, it is prevalent within. Repeated obeisance with supreme devotion is to the benevolence of the enlightened entity, by whose grace this soul easily got worthy of attaining omniscience that manifests the unobstructed bliss.

article courtesy: Jain Philosophy & Practice

Saturday, September 25, 2010


It is not true that only humans can develop compassion and love toward all living beings. Some animals also have capacity to develop such level of compassion toward other living beings. In the ancient Jain texts it is mentioned that how compassion plays major role for the progress of the soul toward liberation. There is a beautiful story in the history of an elephant in the history of Jainism which states that how compassion and kindness toward all living being plays major role in spiritual upliftment.

This is a story about an elephant. Once, there was a wild fire in the forest where that elephant used to live. All the animals came running and took refuge on the safe place. The elephant also went there. During that time, the elephant raised his foot to scratch his body because of an itch. That very time a rabbit was pushed in that space by the pressure of other animals. As the elephant tried to put the foot back, he felt the presence of the rabbit and decided to hold the foot up in order to save it. The fire raged for two and a half day during which the elephant continued to hold the foot up out of compassion for the rabbit.

At the end of fire as the animals retreated, the elephant tried to lower his foot. It had however stiffened during that time. The elephant could not maintain his balance and fell down. He felt agonizing pain and could not get up. That way he spent three days and night facing much affliction and acute pain. Ultimately the elephant left that body and were born as the prince, named Meghrath of King Shrenik, because of compassion for the rabbit.

At the age of 8 he was sent to school where he learned all 72 arts and crafts and became known as an accomplished youth. He was then married to 8 beautiful girls with whom he enjoyed all the pleasures of the worldly life. Once Lord Mahavira came to Rajgruhi and camped in Gunashil monastery. Almost every resident of Rajgruhi used to go to His sermon. Meghkumar went as well, and was very much impressed. Realizing the transitory nature of the worldly situations, as explained by the Lord, he decided to renounce his worldly life. But his parents were sad to hear about his intentions. They tried every means to stop him from renouncing. He however remained very firm. He left everything and became a possession-less monk of Lord Mahavira.

After becoming a monk in Lord Mahavira’s order, Meghkumar undertook fasting, meditation and other austerities in order to shed his karma. The Lord and his chief disciple Indrabhuti Gautam too praised him for that. When his body became very weak and could no longer observe the rigors of monk-hood, he decided to observe fast unto death. That he did for a month on mount Vaibhargiri near Rajgruhi and took birth in heaven. The Lord has stated to Indrabhuti Gautam that at the end of the heavenly life, he would be reborn in Maha-Videha part of the Universe and would attain salvation.

The story states how an elephant reached the level of higher purity of soul just because he had compassion for the rabbit in that birth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It is said that a soul attains liberation after countable births after it attains samyak darshana (Right View). Jainism declares the hallmark of a person who has the right vision are, spiritual calmness (Prasanna), desire for liberation from the endless birth-life-death cycles (Samvega),without any attachment or aversion to anything (Nirveda), kindness (Anukampa), and belief in these fundamental principles (Astikya). After attaining Right View, the soul attains liberation after few births either by becoming a Tirthankar or by becoming ordinary Arihant.
If we glance in Lord Mahavir’s previous births then we would know that the soul of Lord Mahavir attained Right View in his birth as Nayasar. Before being born as Nayasar, the soul had transmigrated through infinite births but after attaining Right View in Nayasar’s birth the soul that became Lord Mahavir attained Liberation after 26 more births. So there were total 27 births along with Nayasar’s birth. Below is the list describing Lord Mahavir’s 27 births.

1. Nayasara – A village headman who secured samyaktva or partial enlightenment in this birth on account of preaching of true dharma by Jain monks
2. Birth in the 1st Celestial World (Heaven) called Saudharma
3. Prince Marichi – Grandson of Rsabha, the first Tirthankara and Son of King Bharata
4. Birth in the 5th Celestial World called Brahmloka
5. Kaushika – A Brahmin
6. Pushyamitra – A Brahmin
7. Bith in the 1st Celestial World called Saudharma
8. Agnidyota – A Brahmin
9. Birth in the 2nd Celestial World called Ishaan
10. Agnibhuti – A Brahmin
11. Birth in the 3rd Celestial World called Sanatkumar
12. Bharadwaja – A Brahmin
13. Birth in the 4th Celestial World called Mahendra
14. Sthavira – A Brahmin
15. Birth in the 5th Celestial World called Brahmloka
16. Prince Vishvabhuti
17. Birth in the 7th Celestial World called Mahashukra
18. Triprishtha Vasudeva – First Vasudeva of this half-time-cycle
19. Birth in the 7th Hell called Mahatamaha Prabha (pitch dark hued)
20. A lion
21. Bith in the 4th Hell called Panka Prabha (Mud Hued)
22. A human being (Name unknown)
23. Priyamitra – A Chakvartin (The universal ruler of seven continents)
24. Birth in the 7th Celestial World called Mahashukra
25. Prince Nandana – Accepted the vow of self control and gained Tirthankara nama karma
26. Birth in the 10th Celestial World called Pranat
27. Birth as Tirthankar Lord Mahavir, the final birth

Note: Between the births 5th as Kaushika Brahmin and 6th as Pushyamitra Brahmin, the soul transmigrated through countless births as insects, animals, plants, birds etc. Those births are not counted in Lord Mahavir’s 27 births. Again after the 21st birth as a hellish being in the fourth hell the soul had taken countless births as insects, animals, plants, birds etc and those births are not counted.

Monday, September 6, 2010


The Uvasagaharam Stotra is composed by Acharya Bhadrabahu (433-357 B.C.), is dedicated to Lord Parshva, the 23rd Tirthankar. Acharya Bhadrabahu had a brother named Varahmihir. Both were in the same kingdom. When a son was born to the king, Varahmihira declared that he would live for a hundred years but Bhadrabahu declared that he would live for only seven days, and that he would be killed by a cat. On the eighth day the prince died because of a door's anklet falling on his head which had a picture of cat drawn on it. Due to this humiliation Varahmihira left the kingdom and died after some time.
According to the story Varahmihira became evil and tortured and terrorized the Jains, especially disciples and followers of Bhadrabahu. Acharya Bhadrabahu then formed a mantric prayer to 23rd Jain Tirthankara Parshvanath called the Upsarga stotra (now known as Uvassagaharam Stotra) and called upon Dharnendra, the divine follower (a "devta") of Parshvanath. As an effect of it, Varahmihira was defeated and Jain society was relieved. That mantric prayer is still famous among the Jains and they chant it with due respect and faith. And that prayer had made Bhadrabahu's name immortal among Jain ascetics.

The Stotra is as below:


The meaning of the Stotra in English is as below:

I bow to Lord Parshwanath, who is served by the demi god. Parshwa, who is the remover of all afflictions, free from all sorts of Karmas, the destroyer ofthe poison of the poisonous animals, and is the abode of bliss and well-being.

If a man(manuo) who can recite this mantra by-hearted will get healed from all vish(poison) of life.All his problems will be solved by reciting this mantra daily

Aside from that charm, even bowing to you would be highly fruitful (resulting in divine life etc.); all beings would not (thereby) be in an unhappy or a miserable state.

If one gains the truth presented by you, which is superior even to thedesire yielding tree, the soul can gain age-less and immortal state withoutany obstacles. Great graceful Lord, I have adored you this way with devoted heart, therefore Lord Parshwanath, kindly bless me with the true knowledge in every(remaining) birth.

Friday, August 27, 2010

MEDITATION AND KAYOTSARG (abandonment of body)

Meditation (Dhyäna) is the process of concentration of the mind on a single topic preventing it from wandering. We are always every moment in meditation; either virtuous or non-virtuous. This concentration could arise from intense passions like attachment, aversion, hatred, animosity, etc. This is not virtuous meditation. Since non_virtuous meditation is a cause of rebirth, it is worthy of rejection. On the other hand, if it arises from the search for the truth and from absolute detachment towards worldly affairs, it is virtuous meditation.
According to Jainism there are four types of meditation:

  1. Sorrowful Meditation (Arta Dhyana)
  2. Wrathful Meditation (Raudra Dhyana)
  3. Righteous Meditation (Dharma Dhyana)
  4. Pure (spiritual) Meditation (Shukla Dhyana)

    If you observe the state of mind of the people, animal you will realize that most of them are always absorbed in the first two types of meditation (sorrowful and wrathful). Only few of them who are seeking liberation will be found in the righteous and pure meditation.


    The thought or activity caused by an outburst and intensity of sorrow is sorrowful meditation. In other words to desire for worldly pleasures, desire to get rid of sorrow or to get rid of disease is sorrowful meditation. The result of this type meditation is birth as animal, insect or plant.


    The meditation involving inclement thoughts is called inclement or wrathful meditation. In other words, one becomes happy by performing sinful acts like killing or desire to kill animal, insect, human etc is Wrathful Meditation. The result of this type of meditation is birth in hell.

    Summary of above two types of Dhyäna

    Sorrowful and wrathful meditations hinder spiritual uplift. They obscure the attributes of soul. They cause the natural disposition of self to disappear and initiate corrupt dispositions. Both these meditations are inauspicious and lead to an undesirable destination by accumulating more Karma. They are not related to spiritual advancement in any manner.


    In this kind of meditation an aspirant meditates on teachings of Tirthankars, chanting mantra, meditates on the 12 Bhavanas (reflections) and asking for forgiveness for our bad deeds. Also the aspirant reflects on the 9 Tattva of the universe in this kind of meditation. The self should think that he/she is simply a light which has no foe or friend. Thereby he/she should leave all desire for beauty, age, strength, wealth etc.

    Types of Righteous Meditation:

    Doctrine oriented (Äjnä_vichaya) righteous meditation:

    It is contemplation about reality as described in the scriptures. Äjnä means whatever an all-knowing omniscient has said about religious truth is correct and true. One should not raise any doubts about them. Instead, one should think that it is possible that because of degrading time, the absence of an omniscient person, low caliber of my intellect, or any such reasons, I cannot comprehend the said religious truth but it is the truth. Omniscient Bhagawän has no reason to tell anything untrue. To think this way is called doctrine oriented righteous meditation (Äjnä Vichaya Dharma Dhyäna).

    Suffering oriented (Apäya_vichaya) righteous meditation:

    To think of the nature of unhappiness and misery as generated by defilements like attachment,, hate, strong desire for worldly pleasure and then to think about how to get rid of the defilements, is called universal suffering oriented righteous meditation (Apäya Vichaya Dharma Dhyäna).

    Karmic fruition oriented (Vipäk_vichaya) righteous meditation:

    To think that whatever pain or misery I suffer at every moment, wherever I move in the cycle of birth and death in worldly life, whatever ignorance I suffer are the results of my own deeds (Karma). I must practice equanimity during the fruition of different kinds of Karma so that new karma are not acquired. I must perform austerities to get rid of the existing Karma. This is karmic fruition oriented righteous meditation (Vipäk Vichaya Dharma Dhyäna).

    Universe oriented (Samsthäna_vichaya) righteous meditation:

    It is contemplation about the nature and structure of the universe. There are three world in the universe. They are the upper world, middle world (consist of billions of galaxies or dweeps) and lower world. These three worlds are filled with living (Jiva) and non_living (Ajiva) elements. The trans-migratory soul has gone through all these three worlds since beginningless time. As a result of the fruits of one’s own past deeds, the soul has been going through the infinite cycle of birth and death. This has happened due to ignorance, false beliefs, and not understanding the truth and reality. To think this way is called universe oriented righteous meditation (Samsthäna Vichaya Dharma Dhyäna).


    The concentration achieved by an immaculate mind is the spiritual meditation. Spiritual meditation occurs to very highly progressed spiritual souls. It occurs at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th stages of spiritual progress (11, 12, 13, and 14 Gunasthänas). The highly spiritual soul has either suppressed or removed all deluding karma. This meditation is of four types as mentioned below. It consists of four states: Multi aspect (Pruthaktva_vitarka), single aspect (Ekatva_vitarka), subtle activity (Sukshma_kriyä Apratipäti) and absorption in self (Vyuparat_kriyä Anivritti). Vitarka means scriptural text or Sutra. A person who is in 11th and 12th Gunasthäna and is versed in the Purva texts performs the first two Shukla Dhyäna. There are exceptions possible like Mäsatusa and Marudevi, even though not versed in the Purva, can engage in Shukla Dhyäna. Only Kevali (13th or 14th Gunasthäna) can engage in the last two subtypes of Shukla Dhyäna.

    Types of Purest Meditation:

    Multi aspect spiritual meditation (Pruthaktva_vitarka)

    It is performed by an aspirant with scriptural knowledge. Here the aspirant is attempting to attain the spiritual stages of subsidence or destruction of the conduct deluding Karma. The aspirant concentrates upon the three modes - origination, cessations, and continuity- of a particular substance (one of Shad Dravya). This type of meditation involves shifting of attention between the meaning, word and activity of the aspects of the substance. Hence, it is called multi aspect meditation with shifting. This meditation suppresses or eliminates conduct - deluding Karma (Chäritra Mohaniya).

    Single aspect spiritual meditation (Ekatva_vitarka)

    It is contemplation on a single aspect of reality on the basis of scriptural knowledge by an aspirant who is in the delusion free (Kshina_moha) spiritual stage. The aspirant concentrates on one particular form, word, or activity of the aspect of a substance without shifting. Such meditation is the single aspect stage of spiritual meditation. Thismeditation eliminates the four destructive (Ghäti) karma, namely perception obscuring, knowledge obscuring, deluding and obstructing Karma. Thus, it leads to omniscience.

    Subtle activity spiritual meditation (Sukshma_kriyä Apratipäti)

    It is performed by an omniscient who has eliminated the gross activities of body, speech and mind, and has only subtle activities. Here the association of soul with body causes only subtle movements of the space_points of the soul. Hence, it is called the subtle activity stage of spiritual meditation.

    Absorption in self spiritual meditation (Vyuparat_kriyä_anivritti)

    It is performed by an omniscient that eliminates even the slightest activity of the soul in spite of its association with the body. All activities (of the space points of the soul) cease in this meditation. Thus the influx of even the pleasant feeling pertaining (Shätä Vedaniya) Karma is stopped. Finally, all karma are shed and the soul attains salvation. At the end of this meditation, the soul obtains nirvana. The Soul becomes free of all karma, reaches the permanent adobe of Siddha (Siddha Loka) and resides in pure happiness forever.
    According to Jain Scriptures, Shukla Dhyäna is not possible here on this planet at present time. Some misinterpret Shukla Dhyäna as a meditation of bright white color. However, here Shukla does not mean white but pure and it involves the meditation of the self (soul). Maximum time, one can be in meditation is less than 48 minutes.

    Meditation means the process of concentration of the mind on a single topic. Meditation purifies the body, speech and mind and most importantly the soul. It is of no avail to inflict pain on the body without purifying thoughts. One who stabilizes the mind and concentrates on the self definitely achieves salvation. There are four kinds of meditations - sorrowful, inclement, righteous and spiritual. Sorrowful and inclement meditations are inauspicious and make the soul wander in the transmigratory state with resultant suffering of innumerable births and deaths. Righteous meditation is of an auspicious type. Spiritual meditation occurs at a very high level of spiritual growth of the soul and it ultimately ends in salvation - nirvana of the soul. Now the soul lives in
    permanent happiness in a pure state forever. One should not be misled that physical exercises, Äsana and similar health improving activities, are Dharma Dhyäna. However, good health for good spiritual practice is desirable. Dharma Dhyäna is essentially a spiritual contemplation.

    KAYOTSARG (abandonment of body)

    Kayotsarg means abandonment of body with self-awareness. Body and soul cannot be experienced at the same time. To experience the soul and stop experiencing the body is Kayotsarg. In Kayotsarg the aspirant stops all activities of mind, speech and body. This type of meditation can be done in any posture. It can be done in standing, sitting and sleeping posture. In Kayotsarg, the aspirant feels death-like experience and also imagines, “I am not this body, I am soul” by minimizing the activities of 1) The muscles, 2) Vital flow of energy and 3) Brain activities.

    During Kayotsarg the body is brought into a motionless posture. Starting with the big toe of the right foot up to the highest point of the head and led into unimportance= a death-like state. This meditation like state is one part of the religious activities of followers of Jainism. During Kayotsarg, an aspirant takes vow to remain in a motion-less posture for finite time period like 48 minutes etc.

    Kayotsarg is a very useful meditation technique to realize the real self, the soul.

    Kayotsarg: Purification

    The objective of Kayotsarg is purification of soul. A Jain monk or a householder does retrospection. Kayotsarg forms a part of retrospection. An aspirant accepts Kayotsarg with the following resolution. “I practice Kayotsarg in order to destroy the sinful karma through annulment of past negligence, through penance, purification and freedom from pain”. When the activities of mind, body and speech are stopped in Kayotsarg, the soul starts to get free from much karma accumulated in the past.

    Kayotsarg: Duration

    Bahubali, the son of Lord Rishabhdev stood in Kayotsarg for 12 months without any movement of mind, speech and body. Lord Rishabhdev also remained engrossed in Kayotsarg for 6 months. A question arose as to how long could one practice Kayotsarg? In the scriptures, it is mentioned that the maximum time for one to stay in Kayotsarg is 60,000 years!! It’s not possible for one to do so in the present time period as the life-span of individual has decreased. But one should practice Kayotsarg everyday for at least an hour to destroy previously accumulated karmas.

    -Rahul Zota (Bhuj-Gujarat)