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JAINA Special Newsletter: Paryushan Mahaparva Day - 6
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Dear Sadharmik brothers and sisters,
Jai Jinendra!

Today is the sixth day of Paryushan Parva. Most of the Jain Centers are celebrating the birth of Bhagwan Mahavir today and remembering Mata Trishla and her 14 dreams.

Yesterday, we announced that Jains will be celebrating the World Navkar Day on September 1st. We will do Navkar Jaap for an hour. While reciting the Navkar, we bow to the Arihantas, Siddhas, Acharyas, Upadhyays, and all Sadhus and Sadhvis. Let us learn the Navkar Mantra Transliteration and its Meaning.

Mahesh Wadher
JAINA President

The Navakar Mantra is the most important prayer in Jainism. While reciting the prayer we bow respectfully to the Arihantas (Tirthankars or Jinas), Siddhas, Acharyas, Upadhyays, and all Sadhus and Sadhvis. Collectively, they are called the Pancha Paramesthis (five great entities). The mantra enables us to worship the virtues of all the supreme spiritual people instead of just worshipping one particular person.


Arihantas are perfected human beings. The word Arihant is made of two words: “Ari” which means enemies, and “Hant” which means destroyer. Therefore, Arihant means “destroyer of enemies”. These enemies are our vices or inner weaknesses (our passionate emotions) namely anger, ego, deceit, and greed. Until we overcome these weaknesses, the true nature of our soul will not be realized. When a person conquers these inner enemies, he/she completely destroys his/her four Ghati Karmas.

Ghati Karmas are destructive Karmas that directly obstruct the true nature of the soul. They are Jnanavaraniya karma (knowledge obscuring karma), Darshanavaraniya karma (Perception obscuring karma), Mohaniya karma (deluding karma), and Antaraya karma (obstacle creating karma). A person, after the removal of Ghati Karma, attains Keval-jnan (omniscience) and is known as a Kevali. Now, He has infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite power, and infinite bliss. He is free from all impurities. Jainism classifies all Karma into eight major categories. Four of them are Ghati Karma and they are removed first when a person becomes Kevali or Arihant. The remaining four are Aghati Karma, namely Vedaniya (feeling pertaining karma), Nam (body structure determining karma), Gotra (status determining karma) and Ayushya (life span determining karma). They are responsible for the environment for our happiness and unhappiness, our body, social status, and life span. When the Kevalis destroy the remaining four Aghati Karma, they become Siddhas


Siddhas are liberated, souls. They are pure consciousness and do not possess a body. They have ended the cycle of birth and death. They have attained salvation. They do not have any type of past karma and they do not acquire any new karma. This state of pure freedom is called Liberation in Jainism. The crescent arc above the swastika represents Siddhashila. Siddhas reside in the space (above the crescent moon) called Moksha.


Acharyas are spiritual leaders and head of the Jain congregation. They have acquired a high level of spiritual excellence. The teachings of Lord Mahavir are carried on by the Acharyas. They are responsible for the spiritual welfare of the entire Jain congregation. Generally, they know various languages and have a sound knowledge of other philosophies and religions of the world.


Upadhyays are ascetics who have attained mastery of the Jain Agams (scriptures). They possess good knowledge of other scriptures and philosophical systems. They teach Jain scriptures to monks and nuns and other desiring aspirants, and they are an authority on scriptural knowledge in the congregation.

Sadhus and Sadhvis

When householders become detached from all worldly aspects of life and want to pursue spiritual upliftment for the rest of their lives, they give up their worldly attachments, family relationships, and all possessions and become monks and nuns. Sadhus and Sadhvis follow the five great vows: Non-violence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya), Non-stealing (Asteya), Celibacy (Brahmacharya) and Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha); and live a simple, pious and compassionate life.

The worship of these five venerable personalities is for removing attachment and aversion to purify our soul. By meditating on their pure qualities we remind ourselves daily of the possibility of attaining the highest state through the right efforts.

Anger (Krodha) is one of our most common weaknesses (Kashaya). We feel angry when we do not get what we want or when we are hurt because of what someone said or did. Can anger be eliminated? Anger can be difficult to eliminate, however its expression can be controlled. Everyone has the capacity to control their behavior if they really choose to.

For example, an adult is speeding on the expressway and yelling at the person in front of them for being too slow! A police officer stops the adult for speeding. What will the adult do? Will they get angry at the police and scream at him? Or even though they are upset at being caught speeding will they speak very politely and respectfully? A person who was angry earlier can become very polite as soon as they face a situation that they need to be calm in!

As a child, you may complain about another child who takes away your toy or pencil and you may fight with that child. But if you are called to the Principal’s office would you get angry and fight with the child there, or would you talk politely to the Principal? We tend to get angry in many unwarranted situations and with people who care about us and who will put up with our behavior. If we become sensitive to this, we can avoid lifelong scars and not hurt family and friends that we care for the most. According to Jain philosophy, the way to eliminate anger is by replacing it with “forgiveness”.

A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of apples to school. Students had to choose an apple, write their name and date on it, and put it back in the plastic bag. Some of their bags became quite heavy within a few days. Then they were asked to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week. They had to put it beside their bed at night, on the seat next to them in the car, next to their desk at school. They even had to take it with them to their friends’ houses. The hassle of lugging this sack everywhere with them made it clear what weight they were carrying. They had to pay attention to it all the time and not forget it by leaving it in embarrassing places. Naturally, within a couple of weeks, the apples became rotten and it turned into a nasty, smelly slime. It did not take long for each of the students to figure out that getting rid of the apples was much more important than carrying them around.

This is a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our anger and pain! Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person. Forgiveness is clearly for us!

Every soul is independent. None depends on another.

- Bhagwan Mahavir
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