07 March 2010


The soul, in its pure form, has infinite perception, infinite knowledge,infinite vigor, and is non-attached. These attributes are not seen in aworldly soul because it is soiled with karmas. By following religiousprinciples principals and activities, we overcome our karmas and upliftour souls to liberation. There are various kinds of religiousactivities, sometimes called rituals, and among them Pratikraman is themost important ritual. During pratikraman we repent for ournon-meritorious activities on a daily basis. We realize our mistakesand ask for forgiveness which helps us to minimize the intensity of thekarma?s bondage. Pratikraman is a combination of six avshyakas(essential rituals). The six Avshyakas are:1) Samayik - a state of total equanimity2) Chauvisantho - worshipping the twenty-four Tirthankars3) Vandana - offering salutations to sadhus (monks) and sadhvis (nuns)4) Pratikraman - realizing what we have done wrong and annotating onit5) Kayotsagga - meditation of the soul6) Pratyakhyan - renunciation1) SamayikIn samayik, we stay in equanimity for forty-eight minutes. Duringsamayik not only do we give up all worldly affairs, but we also stayaway from attachment and aversion. This activity helps us to purify ourpassions and desires. To perform samayik, we put on simple, whiteclothes, and occupy a quiet place. While in samayik, we recite theNavkar Mantra, read scriptures, perform meditation, etc. Our samayikgives us a glimpse at the life of sadhus who live in samayik all oftheir life. It directly encourages us to lead the life of a sadhu orsadhvi.2) ChauvisanthoChauvisantho means adoration of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. Byreciting it, we show our respect for the twenty-four Tirthankaras.While reciting this, we are reminded of how victorious these Jinas, whoovercome inner enemies like anger, ego, greed, deceit, etc., were andsuch activity also and encourages us to be like them. It is also calledChaturvinshatistava.3) VandanaDuring vandana, we bow down to monks and nuns and express our reverenceto them. They are our current religious guides, and preceptors. Whilebowing down, we become humble, and thus, help ourselves to overcome egoand anger. It also inspires us to become like them. (If there is nomonk or nun then we bow down in the North-East direction to Arihantaswho are currently living far away from here.)4) PratikramanPratikraman is the combination of two words, Pra meaning return andatikraman meaning violation. Literally, it means returning fromviolations. As Jain householders, we are supposed to observe twelveminor vows. During Pratikraman we review our activities for anyviolations that may have occurred among these vows. In this way, weask for forgiveness for our actions, purify our souls, and improve ourfuture activities. If we have not taken these vows then we should wishthat there will come a day when we can take those vows. Pratikraman isusually done twice a day; once in the morning, Raisi (morning)Pratikraman and once in the late evening Devasi (evening) Pratikraman.Those who are unable to perform daily pratikraman should do a Pakshik(fortnightly) Pratikraman. There are some who somehow can not find eventhat much time, they should do a Choumasi (quarterly) Pratikraman,every four months. However, if someone can not even do that, then theyshould do Samvatsari (yearly) Pratikraman, considered a must for everyJain. By repenting during the pratikraman, you lessen the bondage ofkarma to your soul and avoid committing the same sins in the future. Ifwe do not repent for our deeds at least once a year, then the bondageof karmas to the soul becomes severe and even harder to shed off. Inall truth, one should perform pratikraman as soon as one realizes he orshe has committed a sin.5) KayotsaggaThe word kayotsargga is made up of two words Kaya meaning body andutsarga meaning to give up. Kayotsagga means to give up one?s physicalcomfort and body movements, thus staying steady, either in a standingor other posture, and concentrating upon the true nature of the soul asbeing separate from the body. This is a form of meditation and bypracticing pure kayotsargga we slowly gain control over our mental,verbal, and physical activities.6) PratyakhyanThis is a formal renunciation of certain activities, which reduces tostops the inflow of karmas. This activity helps us to learn to controlour desires and prepares us for a much bigger renunciation.

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