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