16 Bhavanas

Posted: 18.07.2005
Updated on: 02.12.2010

Bhavana means mental thinking.

  • The purpose of bhavanas is to enable people to attain mental peace, tranquillity, and spiritual uplift.
  • One should entertain and expand auspicious and useful thoughts.
  • One should not allow one's soul to get entangled in the various materialistic events taking place around oneself.


Typ of Bhavana




Anitya Bhavana means thinking about the transitory nature of things around us.

All things of the worldly life are perishable; and nothing is permanent. It is fruitless to mourn over the loss of perishable, and we should not lose our mental peace and emotional poise over them. Therefore, when someone dear to us dies or when we lose something then we should think that in this world, the body, wealth, family, relatives, and status, etc., are transient, and we will not feel so bad.



Asharan Bhavana means thinking that no other individual can provide a refuge.

Nothing external can offer the permanent refuge. When death occurs and the soul has to leave the body, there is no one who can save the jiva from this. Wealth, and family, etc., stay behind and you have to face the future by yourself.



Thinking of worldly life.

In the cycle a of different worldly lives (samsar) the mother can become a wife; a wife can become a mother; and an enemy can become a friend; and a friend can become a foe, etc. How fruitless is this samsar, where relationships go on changing. Therefore, I should not develop bondage for others.



Thinking of being alone.

In this Samsar (worldly life) the Jiva (soul) is born alone and dies alone. It accumulates the Karmas alone and it experiences the fruits of its Karmas alone, too. Who belongs to whom in this world Though jiva is living in the middle of the crowd, he is absolutely alone. Therefore, give up the attachment for others.



Thinking of the soul as separate from the body.

The body and the soul are different and separate from each other. The body is inert, but my soul is the very embodiment of consciousness. The soul is imperishable. It will not die. The body; of course, burns and becomes ashes. Agonies afflict only the body and not to the soul. I am not the body. The body is not mine.



Thinking that the body is unclean.

This body is made up of impure substances like blood, urine, and faecal material, etc. I will discard my attachments for such body and engage myself in self-discipline, renunciation and spiritual endeavours. The body is made up of the substance that decays very easily.



Thinking of the causes of the inflow of karmas.

Ashrav means inflow of karmas. Evil tendencies and actions pollute and corrupt the soul with karmas. Therefore, one must think to be free from all such activities to avoid the inflow of karmas.



Thinking of taking the action to stop the inflow of karmas.

Samvar means blocking of inflow of karmas. One must think of the tremendous benefits of each Samvar like Samiti, Gupti, Yati-dharma, etc. One must carry out these activities to reduce the inflow of karma.



Thinking of destroying karmas.

By performing austerities, we can destroy our Karmas. There are such twelve kinds of austerities. Therefore, we should think of when can we perform such austerities to destroy our karmas so that we can be liberated.



Thinking of the universe.

Think of the creation of the fourteen Rajlok (universe) which are made up of the substances which are subject to the law of origin, existence and destruction. This whole universe is filled with jivas and pudgals.



Thinking of developing faith in the dharmik (religious) principles.

One should think that it is hard to attain human life, healthy body, dharma, and to act according to dharma, etc. It is even more difficult to develop a true and abiding faith in the dharmik doctrines. We should think to make our faith strong and stronger forever.



Thinking of the influence of dharma.

How much have we been benefited by the Jinas and their doctrines! This life is possible only if there is dharma. We have attained comforts and happiness by the benevolence of dharma. It would be difficult to live without dharma. One should think of dharma from the practical points of view.



Thinking of friendship.

Think to be a friend of all beings in this universe. Once you are a friend you can not think bad of anyone, but rather make their life easier.



Thinking of honouring superiors.

Think of having heartfelt affection, regard and esteem for people, who are superior to us in virtues, knowledge and ability. Not to entertain such feelings as jealousy and envy; and not to look at anyone maliciously and with a sinister feeling. Think to be cheerful and happy at the sight of virtuous people; and to express cordial happiness on seeing such people.



Thinking of compassion.

Think to show compassion to those who are in distress, want; and to those who are weak and helpless. Think to help them by giving your support to remove their sorrows and agonies.



Think to stay neutral.

Think to treat with indifference those people who even after realization and knowing the right from wrong, arrogantly and obstinately refuse to walk on the path of righteousness. Think that may be one day they may improve, but I do not have to be affected by their behaviour. Think of being in equanimity even in such circumstances.

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