24 February 2010

Thirty Four Unique Attributes of a Tirthankar

Jai Jinendra !!

The Tirthankars are worshipped as the loftiest beings in this world because they acquire infinite knowledge, perception, purity of conduct , and power by destroying the four vitiating Karmas at spiritual level. This gives rise to unique attributes in them, both at spiritual and physical levels. In canonical terms those are known as Atishaya or out of ordinary. 

These are-

1. There is no growth of hair on the body.
2. The body remains free of any ailment.
3. The blood and flesh are milky white.
4. The breath is fragrant like lotus.
5. Food intake and excretion are invisible.
6. Above the head there are three canopies (umbrellas) in the sky.
7. A wheel, symbolic of religion, moves ahead and behind him in the sky.
8. At both flanks there are white whisks in the sky.
9. The throne is made of crystal quartz.
10. The flag of Indra moves ahead of him.
11. Wherever he stays there is an Ashok tree.
12. There is a divine aura around him.
13. The land around him is pleasant.
14. Thorns get reversed.
15. The seasons are pleasant and favorable.
16. Pleasant wind blows.
17. Dust is settled due to moisture.
18. There are heaps of five types of lifeless flowers around him.
19. There is absence of unpleasant sound, form, smell, color and touch around him and pleasant things appear.
20-21. His voice is heard with same volume and clarity up to a distance of one Yojan.
22. His discourse is in Ardha-Magadhi language.
23. All present in the audience understand his discourse in their respective languages.
24. In his proximity the natural enemies forget their animosity.
25. His opponents become amiable.
26. His dissenters become speechless.
27-28. Twenty five Yojans around him there is no epidemic or death.
29-33. Wherever he goes there are no afflictions self-inflicted or inflicted by others
including flood, drought, diseases, etc.
34. The touch of his feet pacifies all the earlier disturbances of the area.

22 February 2010

The Twenty Auspicious Practices...basis of Becoming a Tirthankar:

To reach the status of a Tirthankar it is not enough to do certain practices during certain birth. It is the result of a progressive process of unvieling the potential energy through endeavors in right direction during a series of incarnations. It seems that the chief disciples or gods must have expressed their curiosity about the journey towards ultimate purity and the Tirthankars must have provided the details. That is why details of earlier births of all Tirthankars are available.

The counting of these births starts from the birth in which the soul gets the first glimpse of righteousness. This is considered to be the most important turning point for a soul because once the right direction is attained, liberation is certain.

The Earning of Tirthankar-nam-karma

The loftiest of the pious category of Karmas is said to be the Tirthankar-nam-karma. It is important to know when and how it is acquired because this is the basis over which the status of Tirthankar is founded. This Karma is acquired one birth earlier. It is the physical or normal human body that acquires this Karma. The aural alternate body (Vikriya Sharir) does not have the capacity to acquire this Karma. The future Tirthankar descends from the dimension of gods or ascends from the dimension of hell. In both these dimensions the souls have aural bodies. 

As the aural body does not have the capacity of long-term spiritual practices, this Karma is not acquired during this immediately preceding birth. That is the reason that all the Tirthankars do their final spiritual practices of acquiring this Karma during their last but second birth as human beings. During that birth they acquire a high degree of purity perception. They become Kshayak Samyaktvi (the level of purity where the past Karmas are destroyed not suppressed).

The Acharyas say that the goal of spiritual pursuit should not be the status of a Tirthankar. Though its status is very high the Tirthankar-nam type of Karma is still a Karma and as such a tie. On the path of purity and effort to earn pious Karma is not advisible. The spiritualists never indulge in any activity that leads to bondage, irrespective of its being pious.

All activities by spiritualists are directed toward shedding of the Karmas. As a result of certain activities or practices certain Karmas are wiped and as a consequence this specific bondage is achieved without striving for it. 

These practices are numbered twenty. These are also known as the twenty practices leading to the Tirthankar status and are believed to be the fundamental guiding factors for attaining the status of Tirthankar.

1. Worship of the Arihant (Tirthankar).

2. Worship of the Siddha (liberated soul).

3. Faith in discourses.

4. Worship of the teacher.

5. Worship of the senior ascetic.

6. Worship of the scholar.

7. Worship of those whom indulge in penance.

8. Continued application of knowledge for maximum possible time.

9. Purity of perception.

10. To praise the virtues of others and be happy at the progress of others.

11. To practice the six essentials including Pratikraman (self analysis) in the prescribed way and at the prescribed time.

12. Observe all the vows and codes of conducts with ever increasing indulgence.

13. Detachment—always practice apathy for attachment, fondness, conceit, and greed. Develop the attitude of being detached.

14. To activate the potential or to practice penance with all intensity.

15. To give due importance and respect to the four pronged religious organization.

16. To look after and take care of the detached.

17. To enhance knowledge regularly.

18. To have faith on the sermons of the detached.

19. To give charity to the deserving.

20. Devotion for Tirthankar’s sermons and the discipline of the order.

In the eight chapter of the Jnatasutra and in Avashyak Niryukti these twenty practices are mentioned. Intense practice of even one or two of these practices may lead to earning Tirthankar-nam-karma. In the Mahapuran and the Tattvarth Sutra there is a mention of sixteen practices of feelings or attitudes. These encompass all the above twenty practices. Importance had been given to spiritual practices in both of these sets of practices.

Source: Jain World

18 February 2010

Important Facts about Trithankar - Part 3/3

  • From Rishabh to Shreyans all Tirthankars not only did marry but ruled also, Vasupujya altered this tradition by becoming and ascetic when he was a young prince. The nineteenth and twenty second Tirthankar remained unmarried.

  • Bhagavan Rishabh started the process of renunciation at Vinita town and Arishtanemi at Dwarka. All the remaining Tirthankars did theirs at their birth places.

  • Bhagavan Mahavir was initiated alone, Parshvanath and Mallinath with three hundred persons each, Vasupujya with six hundred, Rishabh with four thousand and the remaining Tirthankars with one thousand persons each.

  • Tirthankar Shreyans, Malli, Munisuvrat, Arishtanemi, and Parshva all took Diksha during forenoon, and the remaining nineteen during the afternoon. Sumati took Diksha after having meals, Malli and Parshva after a three day fast, Vasupujya after one day fast, and the remaining Tirthankars after two days fasts (on the last day of the fasting period).

  • Tirthankar Rishabh broke his fast after one year since the day of initiation, all remaining Tirthankars broke the next day.

  • Tirthankar Rishabh got sugar-cane juice as the first alms and the remaining ones got Ksheer (rice cooked in milk);

  • The places where the Tirthankars got their first alms were blessed with a shower of gold equivalent to the dimensions of their respective bodies.

  • All the Tirthankars of Bharat and Airavat areas except the first and last propagate for dimensional religion or the religion with four great vows as its central theme. 

    The four vows are abandonment of or refraining from: 
    1. all types of violence, 
    2. all types of falsity,
    3. all types of unoffered acquisition, and 
    4. all types of possessions. 

    The first and the last Tirthankars propagate five dimensional religion by adding the vow of abandonment of all types of lustful activities to the above four.

  • The Ashok tree under which Mahavir got initiated was of 32 Dhanush height. The Chaitya tree of Rishabhdev of a height equivalent to three times that of his body. All the remaining Tirthankars were initiated under trees having the height equivalent to 12 times the height of their respective bodies.

  • Bhagavan Rishabh attained omniscience after a thousand years of his initiation and Mallinath just after four and a half hours.

  • The area of the divine pavilion of Rishabh was 12 Yojans. There was a gradual reduction of 2 Kosa (1/2 Yojan) in this area for succeeding Tirthankars till Naminath (22nd). The area of the divine pavilion of the twenty-third Tirthankar, Parshvananth, was 1.5 Yojans and that of Mahavir was one Yojan. These dimensions are for the descending cycle, that for the ascending cycle are the same but in reverse order. In the Videh area the dimension is 12 Yojans uniformly. Indranilmani (Sapphire) is essentially used in the decoration of these Samavasarans.

  • The maximum number of chief disciples was one hundred for Bhagavan Sumatinath and the minimum for Parshvanath - ten.

  • When the Karmic ties are completely broken the Tirthankar stops the speech completely.

  • Before the Nirvana (liberation) Rishabhdev had observed a last penance (Santhara) of six days, Mahavir that of two days, and the remaining Tirthankars that of one month.

  • Rishabh, Arishtanemi, and Mahavir all three were sitting in the Paryankasan (a specific yogic posture) and the remaining twenty one were standing in the Kayotsarg Mudra (a yogic posture) at the moment of liberation.

  • Rishabhdev was liberated at the Ashtapad mountain, Arishatanemi at Girnar mountain, Vasupujya at Champa town, Mahavir at Pavapuri town and all the rest at Sammetshikhar (Parasnath hills).

17 February 2010

Important Facts about Trithankar - Part 2/3

  • If the karma responsible for mundane indulgences precipitate, when young, he is married to a good woman from a family of high status. However, he has no fondness for a luxurious family life.

  • During the year preceding his renunciation he gives 10.8 million gold coins in charity every day, making it 388 million gold coins during the year.

  • The moment he takes the vow of abandoning all intentional sinful activities he acquires the Manahparyav Jnan (the capacity to perceive the subtle and gross thoughts, feelings and attitudes of every being).

  • At the time of taking Diksha (the formal initiation to become an ascetic) the Tirthankars utter Namo Siddhanam, offering salutations only to the Siddhas or the liberated souls.

  • At the time of taking Diksha the Tirthankar pulls five fistful of his hair and gives them to Indra. The Indra (king of gods) puts these into a gem studded golden box with due care and immerses in the milky sea.

  • All the Tirthankars remain silent during the period of their spiritual practices, beginning from the moment of initiation till they acquire omniscience. Their discourses start only after they have become omniscient.

  • During their period of practices the Tirthankars move about alone, detached, and unscheduled.

  • As ordinary ascetics they neither give away any discourses nor make any disciples.

  • When they destroy the vitiating Karmas as a result of their higher spiritual practice and acquire virtues like omniscience, ultimate perception, all power, and capacity to propagate religions, then they attain the status of Arihant Tirthankar.

  • They are endowed with thirty four unique attributes and thirty five unique speech attributes.

  • They are free of all the eighteen vices.
The eighteen vices are:
1-5. The five power hindrances (hindrance of charity, progress, pleasure, facility, and potency); 6. mirth; 7. fondness; 8. irritation; 9. fear; 10. hatred; 11. distress; 12. lust; 13. dogma; 14. ignorance; 15. slumber; 16. indulgence; 17. attachment; and 18. aversion.
There is another such list of vice:
1. dogma; 2. ignorance; 3. pride; 4. anger; 5. illusion; 6. greed; 7. fondness; 8. irritation; 9. slumber; 10. distress; 11. falsity; 12. larcency; 13. jealousy; 14. fear; 15. violence; 16. love; 17. enjoy; and 18. mirth.
  • The first Tirthankar, Rishabhdev, in his earlier incarnation, had the knowledge of all fourteen subtle canons. All the other twenty three Tirthankars, In their earlier incarnations had the knowledge of only eleven canons.

  • As soon as the status of Tirthankar is attained Indra creates the divine pavilion (Samavasaran). In the assembly in this pavilion the Tirthankar gives discourses in the Ardha-Magadhi language with the view that the common man may be benefited. The Samavasaran is attended by all, including men, gods, and animals. In this first discourse at least one individual gets inspired to abandon mundane life and become and ascetic. Bhagavan sits in the lotus pose in the Samavasaran.

  • Tirthankar Munisuvrat and Arishtanemi were born in the Harivamsha clan and the remaining twenty two in the Ikshvaku clan.

  • At the moment of their renunciation Bhagavan Rishabhdev was the oldest in age (8.4 million Purva). Bhagavan Parshvanath and Mahavir were the youngest in age (30 years).

  • The tallest among the Tirthankars was Bhagavan Rishabhdev (500 Dhanush) and the smallest was Bhagavan Mahavir (seven Haath/feet)

  • Vasupujya, Malli, Nami, Parshva, and Vardhaman became ascetics as princes during the first third part of their life. Remaining nineteen Tirthankars became ascetics as kings during the last third part of their life. (The three divisions of age are equal parts of average age of human beings of a specific era).

15 February 2010

Important Facts about Trithankar - Part 1/3

  • The southern part of the Jambu continent is Bharat area, the northern is the Airavat area and the central part is Mahavideh area. In the Bharat and Airavat areas there are twenty four Tirthankars in each during every ascending and descending cycle of time.

  • In the Mahavideh area the Tirthankars are always present.

  • The being that earns the Tirthankar-nam-karma gets liberated in the third birth, counted from the birth of gaining this potency and purity.

  • The auspicious influence and indications of a future Tirthankar start appearing six months before the conception or descent (Garbh-kalyanak). The Tirthankars in the Bharat and Airavat areas have five auspicious events (Kalyanak) during their life time.

  • During this descending cycle all the beings that became Tirthankars descended from the dimensions of gods in the Bharat area. Six months before the moment of descent, all the other gods get infused with special feeling of reverence for these would be Tirthankars and they express the feelings by bowing.

  • Six months before the end of their life in hell, the beings that become Tirthankars are relieved from the hellish afflictions through the interference of gods.

  • Even during pregnancy, the being destined to be a Tirthankar possesses three fold knowledge-Mati (intellect), Shruti (literal), and Avadhi (extrasensory) Jnan. He even uses this knowledge if and when need arises.

  • The Tirthankars do not feed on the mother’s milk. The king of gods appoints various goddesses as governesses to take care, with due respect, of chores like bathing, dressing, feeding, and nursing.

  • After the birth of a Tirthankar, 56 goddesses of directions arrive and perform the post-birth rituals. 64 Indras and other gods perform their traditional duties of joyous birth celebrations taking the new born Tirthankar Pandukvan on Meru mountain.

  • There are four unique congenital attributes of a Tirthankar-

1. The divine physical structure is free of sweat, glime or slime, and ailment.

2. His breath is fragrant.

3. Due to extreme compassion and tranquillity the reed blood corpuscles of a Tirthankar turn white. As such the color of flesh and blood of a Tirthankar is Milky white.

4.. His food intake and excretion is invisible to normal human eye.

11 February 2010

About Tirthankar

Who is A Tirthankar?

In this universe, which is without a beginning or an end, the soul continues to experience sorrow and joy, traversing though numerous dimensions and forms including those of gods, animals, human-beings, and hell-beings.

The principle causes of these unending cycles of rebirth are the inherent attitudes of attachment and aversion, and their consequences. The attitudes of attachment and aversion result in the bondage of good and bad Karmas and as a consequence the soul continues its passage from one dimension to the other.

Every soul is a dormant source of infinite energies, uninterrupted light of knowledge and unending joy and happiness. Knowledge and happiness are the fundamental natural activities of the soul. But the accumulated inertia of ignorance and illusion acts as an impediment to its endeavor to activate these inherent infinite energies.

Even when it launches its efforts, the dense accumulation of attitudes of attachment and aversion does not allow these efforts to become successful. As such, the disciplining of these attitudes of attachment and aversion becomes the prime need on this path of salvation.

When its own true form is revealed on the soul it recognizes its inherent potential and gradually starts the efforts to win over the attitudes of fondness, attachment and aversion, as a result of its intense craving for salvation and practices of equanimity, penance, and meditation, it becomes tireless or Nirgranth (a term for Jain ascetic).

Continuing its un-dogmatic practices or the Nirgranth attitude, a day comes when the soul destroys all attachment and aversion and conquers fondness. As a result of this victory the soul attains the status of Jina.

Jina means the victorious one.

The individual who has destroyed attachmetn and aversion; who is absolutely free of fondness and ignorance; who has shed the four vitiating Karmas; namely illusory (Mohaniya), knowledge obstructing (Jnanavaraniya), perception obstructing (Darshanavaraniya), and power hindering (Antaraya); is known as vitarag (the detached one), Jina (the victorious) and Sarvajna or Kewali (the omniscient).

Any deserving soul may attain the status of Jina, omniscient, ultimate or pure soul (Param-Atma), but not a Tirthankar. This is because of the fact that it is only as the result of a specific pious type of Karma that one may become Tirthankar.

The lofty person, an omniscient Arihant, who defines, elaborates, and propagates Ahimsa, Truth, Brahmacharya etc., establishes the four pronged (Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak and Shravika) religious organization, and is endowed with unique powers is known as the Tirthankar.

It is a belief, mentioned in Jain scriptures, that it is only the soul who earns the pious bond of the Tirthankar-nam-karma through a very high level of penance and meditation, can attain the status of Tirthankar.

During one descending cycle of time there may be innumerable omniscients but only twenty four Tirthankars. 

One Acharya has given an explanation about why there can only be this specific number of Tirthankars-

"If the number of things existing in nature is not a fixed figure why the number of things like date, day constellations, stars, planets, oceans, mountains are believed to be fixed? It means that although they are numerous their exact number is fixed as per the law of nature." 

During one descending cycle of time only these twenty four Tirthankars are the originators of religious founders of religious order and persons with divine powers.

A Tirthankar is not an incarnation of the God. He is an ordinary soul that born as a human and attains the states of a Tirthankar as a result of intense practices of penance, equanimity and meditation. As such, the Tirthankar is not defined as an Avatar (god-incarnate) but is the ultimate pure developed state of the soul. Thus he may be called as the God in human form.

In the current descending cycle there have been twenty-four Tirthankars from Bhagawan Rishabhdev to Bhagawan Mahavir.

There names are as follows:

1. Rishabhdev  

2. Ajitnath  

3. Sambhavnath  

4. Abhinandan  

5. Sumatinath 

6. Padmaprabhu 

7. Suparshvanath 

8. Chandraprabhu 
9. Suvidhinath
10. Sheetalnath
11. Shreyansnath
12. Vasupujya
13. Vimalnath 
14. Anantnath 
15. Dharmnath 
16. Shantinath 
17. Kunthunath
18. Arnath
19. Mallinath
20. Munisuvrat
21. Naminath
22. Arishtanemi
23. Parshvanath
24. Mahavirswami