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Who is a Jain Shravak: 29.2 Daily Routine of a Jain Shravak

Published: 21.03.2020

Daily Routine of a Shravak

How should a shravak begin his day? What should be included in the daily routine from a spiritual aspect? There are a few important questions which need to be pondered over. AcharyaTulsi has explained and answered these questions just in three stanzas.

jap namokkaar ka prati din praanaayaami,
kram chale sukhad saamaayik ka aviraami.
svadhyaay pusht pathey bane jeevan ka,
ho aakarshan garimaamay guru darshan ka.
Panchaang pranati jaino ke vandan vidhi hai,
mushkil se milati santon ki sannidhi hai.
avsar par charan sparsh karein dhime se,
hai sabase achchhi bhaav vandana vaise.
Parmesthi vandana' Arhat vandan' ka kram,
sanskaar-jaagaran ka hai safal upkram.
Ho pratikraman paakshik shravak ki charya,
Phir khamatkhaamana ki prashast upcharya

It means, a shravak should start his day with Namaskaar Mahaamantra. Thereafter he should do a saamaayik, svaadhyaay(spiritual study), Guru-darshan(visit to guru or monk) if they are available, prayers such as 'parmesthi vandana' and 'Arhat vandana' daily. He should also do pratikraman once in a fortnight and ask for forgiveness.

This is the minimum routine suggested for a Shravak.

1. The Recital of the Namaskaar Mahaamantra

The chanting of Namaskaar Mahaamantra is a foremost task. In Jain Tradition, this mantra is considered to be the most powerful mantra. Chanting this mantra with full devotion can unravel the complex enigma of life. Ego is the biggest hurdle in attaining bliss. Namaskaar Mahaamantra is the mantra of ego-abandonment. It teaches us politeness and helps develop positive energy and immunity.

If chanted along with praanaayaam, the mantra becomes even more beneficial. Praanaayaam implies control over breathing. This helps develop concentration power. Chanting the mantra in this state of concentration can take one into the depths of internal journey. How can one expect to find precious stones that are found in the depths of the oceans just by swimming over its surface? One has to dive deep to achieve these pearls.

2. Saamaayik

Saamaayik is an important practice of a shravak's daily routine. Saamaayik is an infallible practice for introspection and developing equanimity. Without redirecting the extrovert consciousness internally, equanimity cannot be achieved in life. Chanting mantras, meditation, spiritual study, self-contemplation etc. are practiced during saamaayik. These practices play a major role in awakening our inner consciousness. If one practices to live with the soul for 48 minutes (the duration of a saamaayik) at least once a day, he can transform his direction of life.

3. Spiritual Study (Svaadhyaay)

Spiritual study is also a significant sadhana. Just as food is essential for body, spiritual study is crucial for the development of thinking power. It develops the consciousness of knowledge, concentration, enhances the capacity of understanding and leads to achieving new dimensions in thinking. Undertaking spiritual study for even fifteen minutes daily can lead to great transformations. To accomplish all this, svaadhyaay should be integrated in the daily routine of a shravak.

4. Visit to Guru (Gurudarshan)

The attraction for Gurudarshan or to go pay obeisance to one's guru should be constantly in a shravak's mind. The tradition of visiting the guru is not merely a protocol. It reflects the superiority of renunciation over consumption. If a shravak is in the vicinity of monks who have renounced worldly affairs, even once a day, can be inspired to follow an iota of restraint in their lives. He can develop confidence that life with renunciation is possible. Visiting the guru is not predicated on a mere encounter; rather it is to bring the shravak in contact with an atmosphere of relinquishment.

5. Vandan-Vidhi(The Process of Paying Obeisance)

Vandana, in Jain tradition follows the process of panchaang pranati (way of salutation in which five parts of the body - two hands, two knees and head touch the ground). This is scientifically significant. Panchaang pranati vandana regulates the adrenal gland. This results in the control of emotions. Therefore, the appropriately performed vandana is greatly significant.

There is also another way of doing vandana- touching the feet to seek blessings. The area where the forehead comes in contact with the feet is considered to be a centre of energy. However, one must be aware of the purpose and the decorum while doing so. If the activity of touching the feet continues all throughout the day, it would become inconvenient for the guru. That is why it should be done carefully and only at an appropriate time. The action itself should not be stereotypical. Of the types of vandana, bhav-vandana(mental greeting) is given the most importance.

6. Parmesthi Vandana: Arhat Vandana

Parameshthi vandana and Arhat vandana occupy an important abode in a shravak's life. Arhat, siddh, Acharya, upaadhyaay and sadhu (ascetic) are collectively called panch(or five) parameshthi. They have been eulogized in Namaskar Mahamantra. a-si-aa-u-saa-namah is the abbreviated form of Namaskaar Mahaamantra. Parameshthi Vandana is its extended form in which five parameshthis are venerated in detail. Both the vandanas have been compiled by AcharyaTulsi.

Arhat Vandana is a compilation of some verses from the Aagams or the preaching of Veetaraag. Self-exertion has been particularly emphasized in it. It is performed while sitting in the lotus position (padmaasan), with awareness and rhythm, in a manner which mesmerizes not only the person who sings the hymns, but also spellbinds the audience. The verses are followed by a devotional prayer which can be sung in chorus.

7. The Fortnightly Pratikraman

Another aspect in a shravak's life is the fortnightly (or paakshik) pratikraman. It is a procedure of self-purification and is also known as soul-bath. It aims to rectify the mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly. Explaining its importance, AcharyaTulsi has written -

Nhaayaan jeeyan nidagh mein, hai tan main halkaas
tyun padikamane syun prabal, aatmashakti aabhaas
abhinav kaayaakalp syun, yovan ro ullaas
tyun padikamane syun hue, aatmashakti aabhaas
Paanth shraant nishraant hue, puni pahunchya gharvaas
tyun padikamane syun prabal, aatmashakti aabhaas
suvihit vidhi padikaman syun, puny-bandh utkrisht
tirthankar ro gotra hai, appaanam vyutshrisht

i.e. bathing brings lightness in the body and makes one feel energetic. Similarly, pratikraman makes one realise his inner power. The essence of Pratikraman is for the practitioner to return to their soul and earn auspicious karma of high intensity.

8. Forgiveness (Khamatkhaamana)

Khamatkhaamana is part of pratikraman. It is a practice of seeking and giving forgiveness to all beings and it is done after pratikraman with self-introspection. This is an efficient method of making an abstinent mind healthy.

9. Abstinence from Night-Meals (Raatribhojan Virman Vrat)

Jain Aagams describe various stages for a shravak just as they have narrated for a monk. Twelve vows have been discussed in the context of shravak dharm. Ratribhojan Viraman has not been described independently in those vows. Dashashrut skandh Sutra describes the eleven pratimas. The fifth pratima incorporates the abstinence from consuming food after sunset as one of the principles to be followed by a shravak. From this context, it can be deduced that this guideline was propounded in the Aagamic era and has become applicable to every Jain shravak today. Today, this mindset has been changing gradually with the progression of this era. Busy lives and unmanaged lifestyle results in a culture of having dinner at night which is in contrast to what has been propounded in Jain Aagams. One can practice to eat before sunset if one defines his goal to uphold the Jain tradition.

According to religious point of view, to abstain from night-meals is part of religion or culture. Scientific study too, does not consider late meals appropriate for physical health. The digestive system is active during daytime after sunrise and becomes dormant in the evening. Due to late night meals, a shravak can intake neither enough water nor work efficiently. Keeping these facts in mind, a shravak should avoid eating after sunset which is favourable for health reasons as well.

Jaini sanskriti-sanrakshan par jo bal hai,
nishibhojan – viraman kyon smriti se ojhol hai.
ati mukhar ghosh yah 'sanyam hi jeevan hai',
sanyam sharamnopaasak ka jeevan-dhan hai.

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. Adrenal Gland
  4. Arhat
  5. Arhat Vandana
  6. Bhaav
  7. Body
  8. Centre of Energy
  9. Concentration
  10. Consciousness
  11. Darshan
  12. Dharm
  13. Equanimity
  14. Gotra
  15. Guru
  16. Jap
  17. Karma
  18. Mantra
  19. Meditation
  20. Namaskar Mahamantra
  21. Pratikraman
  22. Pratima
  23. Sadhana
  24. Sadhu
  25. Sanyam
  26. Shravak
  27. Smriti
  28. Soul
  29. Sutra
  30. Tirthankar
  31. Vandana
  32. Veetaraag
  33. vrat
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