: World Religions - Jainism


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Navakar Mantra Video


Jainism is an ancient religion from India. The goal of Jainism is to realise the true nature of the soul. It is a strictly non-violent religion.

Jainism has many elements similar to Hinduism and Buddhism. As per the historians, organised Jainism was founded sometimes between nineth and sixth century BCE.

As per the ancient texts, Jainism is also referred to as Shraman (self-reliant) Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha (who does not have attachments and aversions).

Jainism is commonly referred to as Jain Dharma in Hindi and Samanam in Tamil. Jains believe that Jainism always existed and will always exist.

According to the Jains,every living soul is potentially divine. A Jain is a follower of the 24 Jinas (conquerors), who have shown the way to salvation.

The Jains are vegetarians and believe in karma and reincarnation, but do not believe in a creator god. They believe liberation must be achieved by individuals through their own efforts.

The 24 Jinas, the enlightened ascetics are known as the "Tirthankaras". The latest of the 24 Jinas was Vardhamana, known as Mahavira (Great Hero), who lived from 599 to 527 BC.

jain Temple in Antwerp

Humans, animals, insects etc. are all in the cycle of reincarnation. Tamil and Kannada Jains who are native to their respective places from first century BCE, can be distinguished from the north indian Jains in some of the practises,however the core phylosophy is the same.

The Karma Theory of Jains is totally different than the Hindus and western civilisation. Karmas are grouped as Destructive Karmas, those obstruct the true nature of the soul.

The Non-Destructive Karmas those affect only the body, where the soul exists. Till there exist Destructive Karmas, the soul is caged in body and will suffer in many ways.

The effects of karma in Jainism is a system of natural laws rather than moral laws. The concept of Karma in Jainism is basically a reaction due to the attachment or aversion with which an activity (both positive and negative) is executed in thought, verbal and physical sense.

There are about four million Jains in the world and more than 90 % live in India, who are among the wealthiest people and run hospitals, schools and businesses are run by Jains.

Jains have successfully sustained this longstanding religion to the present day and have significantly influenced and contributed to ethical political and economic spheres in India.

Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship and have the highest degree of literacy for a religious community in India

. There are two main groups of Jains, the Shvetambaras,in the monks wear simple white robes and the Digambaras, in which the monks do not wear any clothes even when they appear in the general public.

Jains daily read their sacred books.They are advised to pass four stages in the lifetime,which are as follows,-


4 Stages in Lifetime

1- Brahmacharya-Ashram : The life of a student,
2- Gruhasth-Ashram : Family life
3- Vanaprasth - Ashram : Family & Social service
4- Sanyasat - Ashram : Life of a monk.


Jainism Holy Symbols

1- Aum

"Aum" is a religious symbol. In Jainism it means wholeness to Panch - Parmeshthi.
Aum of Sanskrit is made up of five letters as follows -
Aum = A+A+A+U+M
A - Arihant
A - Ashariri (Siddha)
A - Acharya
U - Upadhyay
M - Muni (Sadhu)
Chanting and meditation of this symbolic word Aum adds to the power and purity of sadhak.

2- Swastika

The swastika (flyfot) is one of the holiest symbols in Jainism. It is a symbol of the seventh Jina. The three dots above symbolize Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct

3- Jainism Flag

The Jain flag has five colors,which symbolise the Five Supreme Beings.

1- Red - Siddhas

2- Orange - Acharyas

3- White - Arihants

4- Green - Upadhyayes - green

5- Sadu and Sadhvi - black or dark blue


Navakar Mantra

The Navkar Mantra is the most important recitation in Jainism, which can be recited at any time of the day. This mantra is also called as Namaskar or Namokar Mantra because we bow down.

They are all together termed as "Panch Parmesthi" (five supreme spiritual people). In Navakar Mantra we worship the virtues of the supreme spirits.

Hence the Mantra is not named after Lord Mahavir, Lord Parshvanath or Adinath, etc. When we recite Navkar Mantra it, also reminds us that, we need to be like them.

The message of Navkar Mantra is follows - If one has to get liberated from this world then one has to become a Sadhu or Sadhvi, which is the first step of renunciation.

Then by following the right path, we will achieve the higher state, Arihant and ultimately proceed to Siddha after Nirvana (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

This mantra is chanted in respect to the followings -
* Arihantas (the souls who have reached the state of non-attachment towards worldly process),
* Siddhas (the liberated souls),
* Acharyas (the heads of sadhus and sadhvis),
* Upadhyayas (scriptures guides for sadhus and sadhvis),
* Sadhus (men who have sacrificed the materialistic and social life) and
* Sadhvis (women who have sacrificed the materialistic and social life).


Navakar Mantra Video

Lyrics - Gujarati Script

Lyrics - English Script & Meaning

Aum Namo Arihantanam: I bow down to Arihanta
Aum Namo Siddhanam: I bow down to Siddha
Aum Namo Ayariyanam: I bow down to Acharya
Aum Namo Uvajjhayanam: I bow down to Upadhyaya l
Aum Namo Loe Savva-sahunam: I bow down to Sadhu and Sadhvi
Eso Panch Namokaro: These salutations l
Savva-pavappanasano: Destroy all the sins
Manglananch Savvesim: Amongst all that is auspicious
Padhamam Havei Mangalam: This Navkar Mantra is the foremost