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Who is a Jain Shravak: 29.1 Daily Routine of a Jain Shravak

Published: 20.03.2020

Jainism is one of the twelve major religions in the world. It is based on the teachings of BhagawanMahavira. The name Jainism is relatively modern. During ancient times, it was entitled 'Nirgranth Pravachana' or 'Shraman Dharm'. Jainism is a religion expounded by enlightened souls or those who have vanquished worldly attachment. Two classes follow Jain religion - sadhu (ascetics) and shravaks(householders). The prescribed disciplines of spiritual practices for Jain ascetics are five mahaavrat(great vows), five samiti(compartments) and three gupti(control over mind, speech and body). These in aggregation form the thirteen rules. One can become a monk only by observing all these thirteen disciplines.

Bhagawan Mahavira has also explained the twelve types of shravak dharm. A shravak is supposed to follow these twelve vows. In fact, one who observes these twelve vows can be justifiably entitled to be called as shravak. This word has somewhat become generic in the sense that just by simply taking birth in the family of a shravak, one is by default labelled as a shravak/shravika without any merit. A doctor's son cannot become a doctor without studying, and similarly, an engineer, scientist, lawyer etc. One can be qualified in any discipline only after completing the requisite studies and getting an official certificate. Thus, how is it possible to be called a Jain simply by birth right without any effort to understand the religion and practicing its principles? AcharyaTulsi has raised a pertinent question on -

Shravak kul mein le janm Jain kahalaana,
kya badi baat siddhi dhaarmikata paana.
Jainatv gyaan se aur karm se aaye,
shraddhaapurvak guru-dhaaran-vidhi apnaayein.
anivaary kaary yah anusthaan ke star par,
pidhi-darpidhi karein sabhi ek svar.
Parichay prasang mein nirbhay ho muh kholein,
shramanopaasak ki charya bhi khud bole.

i.e. it is not much of an achievement to be known as a Jain shravak simply by taking birth in a Jain family. There are two foundations of being a Jain - knowledge and conduct. Taking birth in a community, family or religion is beyond anyone's control. However, after taking birth in a Jain family, one must become a shramanopasak and introduce himself as one.

Karna, in Mahabharat said - 'devaayattam kule janm, madaayattam tu paurusham' - taking birth in any family depends on destiny. Only effort is within my remit. I have shaped my personality by my efforts, even so, why is it being ignored? Considering the importance of effort, AcharyaTulsi has integrated the concept of being a Jain with knowledge and conduct.

Faith occupies a higher place than knowledge and conduct. Until the faith is right, knowledge and conduct cannot be right. Therefore, it is advised to accept Jainism primarily with faith. In this context, Gurudhaarana is a technical term used in Jainism. This practice is neither blind superstition nor social compulsion. It is concerned with the minimization of worldly attachments or moha-karma. There are two procedures of accepting gurudhaarana. The first method, though not widely prevalent, is comprehensive.

Method of Gurudhaarana

AcharyaTulsi, accepting this tradition as a part of spiritual practice, reframed it.

Method 1:

  • Inamev niggantham paavyanam sachcham.
  • Ittham thiya jiva sijjhanti bujjhanti muchchanti parinivvaayanti savvadukhaanamantam karenti.
  • Tassa dhammass kevalipannattassa abbhuthiomi aaraahanaaye.
  • Annaanam pariyaanaami, naanam uvasampajjaami
  • Amaggam pariyaanaami, maggam uvasampajjaami.
  • Micchatam pariyaanaami, sammattam uvasampajjaami.
  • Namo arhantaanam, namo siddhaanam, namo aayariyaanam, namo uvajjhaayaanam, namo loye savva saahunam
  • Arhante saranam pavajjaami, siddhe saranam pavajjaami, saahu saranam pavajjaami, kevali pannattam dhamman saranam pavajjaami.
  • Arhanto mahadevo jaavjjivam susaahuno guruno,
  • Jinpannattam tattam iya sammattam maye gahiyam.

Arhat is my dev. The monks observing the five great vows with purity are my gurus. The real entities (tattva), propounded by the Jineshvar (Tirthankar) is my religion. I accept this right path.

The Resolutions for Gurudhaarana

  • I will believe in the equality of all souls.
  • I will believe in the unity of human race.
  • I have faith in the soul. The soul is the creator and destroyer of karma Hence, I'll put in all my efforts to purify my soul.
  • I will have faith in the principles of anekant(multiplicity of viewpoints).
  • I will follow vegetarianism and will not use intoxicants.
  • I will celebrate the supreme Jain festival of Samvatsari as the festival of morality once a year and seek forgiveness from all. I will be compassionate towards all living beings.
  • I will not commit suicide due to unrestrained emotions.

Method 2

The second method of gurudhaarana is abridged. It is more commonly used.

  • Namo arhantaanam, namo siddhaanam, namo aayariyaanam, namo uvajjhaayaanam, namo loyesavvasaahunam.
  • BhagawanMahavira is my
  • The present Acharya of Terapanth is my Guru.
  • I follow the principles of Jain Terapanth. The same is my religion.

I am a Jain Terapanthi, therefore -

  • I will keep faith in dev, guru and the dharm
  • I will not commit any sin due to uncontrolled emotions, such as suicide, killing others, running away from home etc.
  • I will not consume intoxicants.
  • I will not uproot massive trees.
  • I will observe upvaas(fasting) on samvatsari.
  • I will chant the Namaskaar Mahaamantra every day.

A shravak can be recognized through two characteristics - verbal expression and conduct.

  1. To identify on the basis of religion, one should introduce themselves clearly as a Jain Terapanthi.
  2. At first glance the lifestyle of a shravak should reflect his identity as a Terapanthi shravak.

Title:  Who is a Jain Shravak?

Acharya MahaPragya


Sadhvi Vishrut Vibha

Publisher:  Adarsh Sahitya Vibhag, JVB
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. Anekant
  3. Arhat
  4. Body
  5. Dharm
  6. Discipline
  7. Fasting
  8. Gupti
  9. Guru
  10. Jainism
  11. Jiva
  12. Karma
  13. Kevali
  14. Mahabharat
  15. Mahavira
  16. Sadhu
  17. Samiti
  18. Samvatsari
  19. Shravak
  20. Shravaks
  21. Siddhi
  22. Soul
  23. Tattva
  24. Terapanth
  25. Terapanthi
  26. Tirthankar
  27. Vegetarianism
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