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Who is a Jain Shravak: 1.2 Representative Scripture of Laymen

Published: 02.02.2020

Ten Great Dreams

The first two verses may be considered as the auspicious verses, or the verses of dedication, or the preamble. Thereafter, Shravak Sambodh commences with

mahaatapasvi Mahavira ki jeevan gaatha kaalajayi,
atthiyagaam yaksha-mandir main, bane aatmabal se vijayi.

Shulapaani ne kiye upadrav, tandra ki si sthiti aayi,
mahaasvapna das dekhe prabhu ne, sabane saarthakata paayi.

The verse starts with the narration of an incident that took place during the initial period of Bhagawan Mahavira's spiritual practice. The verse describes that the life story of mahatapasvi (the great ascetic) Mahavira is timeless.

Being an ambler, once Bhagawan Mahavira reached a town called 'Atthiyagram' for his meditation practice and penance. Bhagawan Mahavira would meditate in a secluded house, isolated temple, or under a tree. These places were deemed to be perfect for meditation. Evening was about to turn into night. Mahavira wanted to start the meditation soon.

Our mind is influenced by object, space, time and emotion. Practising meditation in an unsuitable place can increase fickleness of the mind. On the other hand, an appropriate place can help to develop concentration during meditation. Therefore, it is suggested that one should not meditate near heaps of grass or dirty places, as the mind can get agitated and can debilitate one's sadhana.

Bhagawan Mahavira found a deserted temple as an appropriate place for meditation in that town. He asked the priest of the temple, 'I wish to stay here tonight. Would you allow me to?' The priest replied with surprise, 'You want to stay here at night? Do you have a death wish? Are you fed up of life? People who sojourn here during the night do not stay alive till the morning. This is the temple of Shulapaani Yaksha (name of a demi-god). At midnight, the Yaksha appears. The Yaksha is so dreadful that one can die merely by looking at him! You seem to be a genuine hermit. It's better for you to look for another place in the village.'

Sensing his fear, Mahavira said, 'You need not worry about who lives or dies. Are you comfortable with me staying here?' The priest replied 'I have no problem. I am only concerned about your life. It's your wish if you accept my suggestion or not. Why should I have any objection?'

The priest left and Bhagawan Mahavira stayed on. Later that night Shulapani-Yaksha appeared. He created a terrible uproar and launched into creating incredible tribulations to Mahavira while he was meditating, but Mahavira remained unperturbed. In the end, the demi God got tired. An ordinary person would never have been able to bear those hardships. He would have come to the end of his teather and died, but Mahavira remained strong. The physical configuration of Mahavira was vajrarishabha-naaraach (strongest physical configuration). Therefore, he had tremendous power to bear afflictions. Finally, the Shulapani Yaksha left as he was exhausted and defeated. Bhagawan Mahavira was still meditating in a trance-like state and soon he became sleepy and took a nap. In that state, he visualized ten great dreams. These dreams are described in detail in Sthananga Sutra, Avashyaka Churni and Paryushana Kalp (the main scriptures of Jains).

The ten dreams, he visualized were:

    1. A giant Tal Pisach demon is standing before Bhagawan Mahavira. He challenges Bhagawan Mahavira. Mahavira accepting his challenge fights with him and very soon defeats him away.

    2. A large male Cuckoo bird with white feathers moves around Bhagawan Mahavira.

    3. A male Cuckoo bird with multi-coloured feathers is standing beside Bhagawan Mahavira.

    4. Two beryl gemstone garlands, one big and the other small, were kept before Bhagawan Mahavira.

    5. A herd of white cows and calves was moving near Bhagawan Mahavira.

    6. There is a beautiful pond before the place where Bhagawan Mahavira was sitting and it was full of lotuses in bloom.

    7. Bhagawan Mahavira is standing in an ocean. He has neither a boat nor any other means to cross it. He is swimming the ocean using his bare hands.

    8. The Sun, eliminator of the deep darkness, has risen up. Its light is very radiant.

    9. Bhagawan Mahavira, standing by the mountain Maanushottar, is encircling it with his intestine.

    10. Bhagawan Mahavira is ascending the Mount Meru without taking a break or getting tired. He succeeds in reaching its highest peak.


Dreams: Realistic and Unrealistic

There are two types of dreams: realistic and unrealistic. It is said that the dreams of Bhaavitaatma Anagaar (a soul assured of realisation) always come true. People often ask, 'I had a dream, is it real or unreal?' It can come true or not. Most people see unrealistic dreams. Dreams that materialize are dreamt by great souls. The study of dreams has been an ancient science in India. Many research papers have been written on it and a lot of research is being done in Psychology on dreams. The study of dreams has been established as an independent branch. The meaning of dreams is also being interpreted. However, believing and acting on the basis of an unrealistic dream is worthless. Acharya Kalugani would say, 'any action based on extreme faith on dreams and deities can put you down.'

A priest was sleeping in a temple. He saw a dream that entire temple was filled with ghevar (a sweet) and he had invited the villagers for a feast. So, the next morning he woke up in a thrilling mood. During the time period, ghevar was regarded as one of the best sweets in existence. He invited all the villagers and announced, 'Today no one will cook food at home; everyone will have their lunch of ghevar at the temple! The people were very delighted to have received the invitation to eat ghevar. However, when the priest reached the temple, he found it empty; not a single piece of ghevar was there. The priest was worried as what would happen to him if the people were not served and thinking of it, he slept again. At lunchtime, people reached the temple, but found the doors closed. They kept on waiting. At last, they lost their temper and started screaming, 'You have invited us and closed the doors.' In a state of fury, they broke the door and found the priest sleeping soundly. They woke him up, and shouted, 'What are you doing? When will the food be served? We are very hungry.'

The priest replied, 'Oh! You have made a blunder! 'What blunder?' people asked.

He said, 'I dreamt of having ghevar in my sleep. I could serve you only if I would have got them again in my dream. But you people disturbed me. Now where do I bring the ghevar from?'

How can one get real things from unrealistic dreams? The only option for the crowd was to return home with an empty stomach.

The moral of the story is that believing in superfluous dreams can lead to defamation like the one the priest had to endure because of the incident. Not everything is trustworthy. So, trust only the reality.

Only realistic dreams come true. The dreams of Jayacharya and Kalugani have come true. In Jain Aagams it is said that the dreams of Bhaavitaatma Anagaar, the one who is pure, always come true.

Dreams in the State of Drowsiness

Mahavira was a legend of spirituality; such spiritual souls are unique and rare. Very few people are fortunate enough to have attained such purity. Thus, Mahavira's dreams had to come true.

During the entire twelve and a half years of spiritual practice (meditation with penance), Mahavira slept for only forty-eight minutes, and that was not at a single stretch, but at several intervals. Surprisingly, in that course of time he also saw ten great dreams. In fact, dreams don't occur during sound sleep. According to the Aagams, dreams come neither in the state of awakening nor in the state of sound sleep, but in the state of drowsiness (state of semi-sleep). Mahavira never took sound sleep. In the state of semi-sleep, he dreamt of the ten dreams and thereafter started meditating again.

Coming back to our story of Mahavira spending the night at the Yaksha temple, the next morning, villagers were curious to know if the ascetic sojourning at the temple was alive or not. They knew that people spending the night at Shulapani-Yaksha's temple couldn't stay alive through the night. They entered the temple anticipating that they would probably be creamating him that day. To their astonishment, they found Mahavira standing stable in a state of deep meditation. The whole village was stunned to see a man alive in that temple, which had never happened before.

Ashtaanga Nimitta: The Ancient Science of Predictions of Dreams

Amongst the villagers was a man, Utpal, a dream predictor, master of the knowledge of Ashtaanga nimitta.

Ashtaanga nimitta is a very ancient science, and the knowledge of the holder of Ashtaanga nimitta is almost equivalent to that of a kevali (omniscient soul). Such a pure knowledge is Ashtaanga nimitta. During that age, many people would know this science. Many Jain monks also had such knowledge. Jain Acharyas have written books on this subject. Ashtaanga nimitta has been described in 'Bhadrabahu, Sanhita, Angavijja and Uttardhyayan!

Armed with the knowledge of Ashtaanga nimitta, Utpal explained to the villagers 'Oh! What are you surprised about? Don't you know who he is? He is Vardhman Mahavira! You are unaware of his greatness! He is an extraordinary spiritual man! You must bow down at his feet! Following the instructions of Utpal, everyone bowed down with respect and left the place. Utpal was the only one who stayed behind.

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. Aagams
  2. Acharya
  3. Acharya Kalugani
  4. Acharyas
  5. Avashyaka
  6. Concentration
  7. Das
  8. Fear
  9. Jayacharya
  10. Kalugani
  11. Kevali
  12. Mahavira
  13. Meditation
  14. Meru
  15. Mount Meru
  16. Nimitta
  17. Omniscient
  18. Paryushana
  19. Prabhu
  20. Sadhana
  21. Science
  22. Shravak
  23. Soul
  24. Space
  25. Sthananga Sutra
  26. Sthiti
  27. Sutra
  28. Yaksha
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