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Who is a Jain Shravak: 1.1 Representative Scripture of Laymen

Published: 01.02.2020

Gurudev Acharya Tulsi authored the book Shravak Sambodh. At the outset, Gurudev composed two verses dedicating the great work to his sangh (congregation).

The day Shravak Sambodh was to be completed, I was about to proceed to deliver my daily sermon when Gurudev said 'Stay for a while!' I sat by Gurudev. He sang the first two and the last verse in his melodious voice and handed over the script to me. Thereafter, he said, 'Accept it. I am dedicating this book Shravak Sambodh to the dharm sangh (religious order).'

The first two verses of this work are:

anuvrat tripathagaam prekshaapradyotnaatmajam,
jeevan-vigyan-brahma-putrim taranginitrayam.
smritva snaatva, cha vistaarya bodha-trayam viteerya cha,
atha Shravak-Sambodhah, shree-sanghaaya samarpyate.

i.e. In Terapanth order, there is the confluence of three rivers: the Ganges of Anuvrat, the Yamuna of Preksha and the Saraswati of Jeevan Vigyan. By smritva (evoking them), snaatva (diving into them), vistaarya (expanding their flow), and after releasing aachaar bodh, sanskaar bodh, and vyavahaar bodh[1] I am dedicating this work Shravak-Sambodh to the Holy order (congregation).

The concluding verse of the text is:

samvat tirapan sharad-purnima,
bhavya jai-vi-bha bhikshu vihaar.
yah Shravak-Sambodh sangh ko,
Tulsi ka saadar upahaar.

i.e. On the auspicious full moon day of the month of Ashwin, (known as sharad purnima) in V.S. 2053, at the fabulous Bhikshu Vihar in Jain Vishva Bharati, I respectfully dedicate this composition Shravak Sambodh to my sangh.

Sangha - The Foremost and The Supreme Place

It is an ancient Jain tradition of dedicating the composition to the sangh. The sangh is believed to be supreme.

History says that once sangh requested Acharya Bhadrabahu to impart the knowledge of the fourteen purvas to the monks else the knowledge would vanish. Acharya Bhadrabahu replied, 'I am engrossed in intense practice of Mahapran Meditation. In this situation, how is it possible to teach?'

In spite of his refusal, the sangh sent two monks to convey the message, 'It is the order of sangh to teach' Acharya Bhadrabahu was obliged to accept the order of the sangh. This proves the supremacy of the sangh above all.

A lot of importance has been given to sangh and tirtha (four-fold order).

Collective Sadhana is Important

Jain tradition emphasized more on collective spiritual practices than individual spiritual practices. In the words of Dharamanand Kaushambi and other scholars, Bhagawan Parshwanatha introduced group spiritual practice which has been verified by history. Practising meditation alone in the caves of Himalayas is individual sadhana. Though individual sadhana appeals to some, collective sadhana or group practice is considered prime.

The development of collective consciousness is highly emphasized nowadays. Group meditation is in vogue today. People practicing meditation in a group experience that it boosts up their energy level significantly. This happens as the rays emitted from the aura of elevated people also affect those who are haven't been able to reach the level themselves in sadhana. Thus, spiritual practice done in sangh is quite significant, and for this reason sangh is considered supreme. That is why Gurudev Tulsi dedicated the literary piece of Shravak Sambodh to the sangh of the Jains.
Footnotes
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Sources

Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?
Author: 

Acharya MahaPragya

Translator: 

Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
Edition: 
2019
Digital Publishing: 
Amit Kumar Jain

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhadrabahu
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Anuvrat
  5. Aura
  6. Bhikshu
  7. Consciousness
  8. Dharm
  9. Gurudev
  10. Jain Vishva Bharati
  11. Jeevan Vigyan
  12. Mahapran
  13. Meditation
  14. Parshwanatha
  15. Preksha
  16. Purvas
  17. Sadhana
  18. Sangh
  19. Sangha
  20. Saraswati
  21. Shravak
  22. Terapanth
  23. Tirtha
  24. Tulsi
  25. Vihar
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