| India is a land
of spirituality where great persons were born
to sing immortal songs. The places stamped
by their holy feet became famous as sacred
places. Idols of Tirthankara- Parmatmas, promoters
of Jainisim, were installed there. India has
a large number of such sacred places. they
are powerful means of crossing the samsara.
They provide an opportunity to cure the disease
of transmigration. They are made sacred by
the touch of holy feet of Arihanta- Tirthankaras.
They save pilgrims who get free from worldly
affairs and often journey to the temples.
The atmosphere of sacred places on high mountains,
river banks of level land is filled with the
ringing sound of words of wisdom uttered by
patrons of spirituality. Sacred places are
silent but they tell immortal stories of holy
selfs of Tirthankaras and other saintly beings
. Picture writings and various kinds of idols
convey the message of Tirthankaras. The name
of sacred places tells glorious stories of
its past history, its architecture, its culture,its
prosperity and the mind of the masses. Visits
of monks and nuns preserve the sacredness
of sacred places. Jain temples are also not
mere buildings of clay, stone and mortar.
Our houses are also made of the same material
but there is a vast difference between the
two sacred places are that purify the pilgrims.
Your mind feels sudden joy and teems with
bright thoughts. You recover from greed of
money and spend it. Fellow-feeling is promoted
and pilgrims from different nations and cities
live with love.
Wonderful is the influence of sacred places.
Go to Mt. Shaturnjaya. When you reach its
foot, you feel the eagerness to see, God,
give him gifts and gain piety. The voice from
within comes resounding, " Let me sing
your virtues and praise you. From a distance
I have come, please appear before me."
Go to Shnkhevaraji and your mind will be filled
with bright thoughts of purification. You
will feel that your self is totally transformed.
You will return dancing and jumping as if
you have gained something. You sing with joy
-" O, Shankhesvara! You turn a mere stone
into a philosopher's stone and you turn dross
into gold." Go to Mt. Sametashikhara.
The land of nirvana of twenty Tirthankaras
will sing immortal songs and great you. -
"Come, worship God's feet and make your
life's journey successful." A sacred
place has special features. It is a place
that purifies millions of lives. it is a place
that inspires one to leave off greed of money.
of sacred places of Jains :-
It is said that there
are as many gods in India as there are humans.
This statement is of course discerning.
But the omniscient God of Jains says that
the embodied pure self in its own form is
identical with the Supreme being. As the
cover of Karmic body opens, the self appears
as the Supreme being . this is a special
feature of Jain philosophy. It is a special
feature of sacred places of Jains that they
are regarded to be supermundane in the sense
that the worship offered in the sacred places
of Jains, had nothing to do with worldly
beliefs Tirthanlaras say, " Worship
God and become God." Perfect cleanliness
is maintained in sacred places of Jains.
The atmosphere is clam holy because eating,
sleeping and sitting idly are prohibited
there. Cleanliness of body, clothes vessels
and possible purity of mind are insisted
on.The management of sacred places of Jains
is not in the hands of individual owners.
The sangha looks after their management.
Almost all necessities are provided in small
as well as big sacred places. The Jain Sangha
believes that pilgrims should be helped
in their spiritual pursuits, Pilgrims also
extend their possible co-operation in maintaining
the sacred places in a dignified way. In
Jain philosophy, Tirthankaras are held in
very high esteem. The past, present and
future groups of twenty four Tirthamkaraas
and the presently journeying twenty Tirthankaras
alone are regarded to be worthy of worship.
They have their own dignified position in
Sacred Places. Endowed with perfect knowledge
and pure conduct, the Tirthankaras alone
are promoters of religion. It is Tirthankaras
who render splendour to the Sacred Places.
Of Visiting Sacred Places :-
Sacred places are
innocent places which are free from worldly
affairs. They who visit sacred places try
to live an innocent life. Sacred places
remind us of the holy life of Tirthankaras.
Worthy people sing God's virtues and become
one with God. Devotional sentiments permeate
thought sacred places. Pilgrims who visit
sacred places can not but sing the virtues
of God. Only sacred places promote welfare
and bring happiness. Sins are washed off,
there. People who are agonised by worldly
agonies get peace there. The modern man
has developed hill stations but nowhere
can man get the peace that sacred places
offer. Hill stations cannot liberate you
from sins. Sacred places make the present
life and the subsequent lives happy.
A Brief Outline
Of The Jain Religion :-
Let us first understand certain terms.
A Jina is he who subdues attachment. The
followers of Jinas are Jains.The way of
good life tempered compassion and concern
for welfare of others is dharma. Dharma
is the pure nature of self. There are many
kinds of dharma which serve as instrumental
causes of manifestation of self. Forbearance,
softness, sincerity, freedom from greed,
thoughtfulness, restraint, penance,renunciation,
freedom from the sense of ownership and
celibacy- these excellent virtues are kinds
of what is supreme dharma. They had to right
faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
That which holds is dharma. Dharma upholds
those who go astray and fall into miseries.
Dharma brings cquanimity in universal consciousness.
It is a special feature of the Jain religion
that its promulgator is the omniscient Vitaraga
(one who is free from attachment) who showers
only love and mercy on worldly souls and
shows them the right path. Externally, the
Jain religion purifies practical life and
internally, it purifies the soul. The result
of both these purifications is realisation
of the self which leads to the final liberation
and unobtructed bliss. The human soul is
capable of final liberation. He who worships
ultimate purity attains the final liberation.
The chief mantra of Jain religion is the
Navkar Mantra. There are four shelters -
Arihanta, Siddha, The monk and the religion
promulgated by omniscient Gods. The Jain
religion believes in twenty- four Tirthankars
and the last of them is Mahavira. The Tirthankara
does not take birth again because he has
no stock of karmic defilemt. Every Tirthankara
establishes the fourfold sangha of monks
, nunes, laymen and laywomen. There are
four conditions of soul after death - the
life of gods, the life of humans, the life
of lower animals and the life of hellish
beings. The Jain monk keeps the five great
vows- ahimsa, truthfulness, non-stealing,
celibacy and non- attachment. Especially,
it preaches compassion.The Jain religion
believes that the self can attain the pure
state of emancipation by means of right
faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
The conduct of a layperson consists of the
five minor laws and he keeps twelve vows
in all. Besides a layperson worships God,
bows down to guru and visits sacred places.
The ultimate means of final liberation according
to the Jain religion is meditation. The
Jain religion shows various spiritual stages
by means of the nine tattvas, reals. It
says that the universe is autonomously managed
by the six dravyas. The Jain religion believes
in God who subdues attachment, gets absolute
purification, attains nirvana and is not
born again because he has no stock of karmic
partides necessary for a rebirth. He has
no desire to do anything and bear the fruits
of his doings. Since he is omniscient he
knows the whole world as it is.
What is the
contribution of Jainism to society ?
The Jain religion
believes in the pure state of the self and
teaches purification. It teaches to cultivate
the attitude of friendliness, admiration,
compassion and indifference towards all
living beings. Not a king, nor an emperor,
nor a pauper nor anyone else can get happiness
by paining or hurting others. All living
beings have an equal right to live. It is
man who can think well of miseries of others.
Of course, a householder's life involves
some violence, but Jainism teaches us do
even indispensable duties with awareness
and carefulness. In order to avoid indulgence
in even little violence , they who are entitled
to emancipation, renounce the world and
live a restrained life. "Live and let
live ." - this is the motto of Jainism.Human
life is too highly valuable to be entrusted
to non- restraint. If a diamond falls from
the hands of a merchant sitting on the desk
in ship in the midst of the sea, he cannot
get it back. Similarly, if the human life
is wasted by indulging in pleasures of senses,
spiritual diseases such as anger etc. Selfish
acts and worldly affairs, it is extremely
difficult to get a human birth again and
the best aim of human life is realization
of self. For this, vices should be scaled
down and virtues should be scaled up. It
is necessary to live a restrained life preached
by guru. The man who does not desire unhappiness
and desires happiness, should abstain from
worldly affairs and devote himself to God's
worship. In order to develop innocent love,
nobility, equanimity, integrity and good
conduct, he should engage in worship and
keep company with saintly people. Know that
the samsara is full of miseries and in order
to cross it, practise the pure religion.
If you live a householder's life, insist
on ethics, good conduct and kindness and
aspire to live a monk's life. If you think
that have gained nothing in the life that
you lived, grasp this instruction and you
will get peace and happiness.Forbearance
is an excellent virtue of Jains and its
festival is "Samvatsari" or "Kshamapana
Day". If during the whole year, insects
or animals are hurt, if someone is pained
or offended by activities of mind, speech
or body, you should beseech forgiveness.
This quality has purifying and philosophical
significance. It reduces the burden of karma.
By virtue of the excellent quality of forgiveness,
great selfs have attained the final liberation.The
Jain religion is not a sect but it is a
way of living an excellent life. Without
distinctions of class, colour or creed,
all can follow it. He who strives, succeeds.