The Navkar Mantra is the most important mantra in
Jainism. While reciting the Navkar Mantra, we are bowing down with respect
Arihantas, Siddhas, Acharya(heads of sadhus and sadhvis), Upadhyaya
(those who teach scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis), Sadhus
(monks, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships)
and Sadhvis (nuns, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family
relationships). Collectively, they are called Panch Parmesthi (five supreme
spiritual people). In this mantra we worship their virtues rather than
worshipping any one particular person or Tirthankar. This mantra is also called
Namaskar or Namokar Mantra as we are bowing down.
The word Arihanta is made up of two words: 1)
Ari, meaning enemies, and 2)hanta, meaning destroyer of the
enemies. These enemies are inner desires known as passions such as
anger, ego, deception, and greed within us. When a person (soul) wins over these inner enemies he/she is called
Arihanta. Arihanta destroys the four ghati karmas namely Jnanavarniya (knowledge blocking) Karma, Darshanavarniya (perception
blocking) Karma, Mohniya (passion causing) Karma and Antaraya (obstacle causing)
Karma. Arihanta attains: 1) Kevaljnan, perfect knowledge due to the destruction of all Jnanavarniya Karmas, 2)
Kevaldarshan, perfect perception due to the destruction of all Darshanavarniya karmas, 3) becomes
passionless due to the destruction of all Mohniya Karmas, and 4) gains
infinite power due to the destruction of all Antaraya Karmas.
Siddhas are the liberated souls. They are no longer among us because they have
completely ended the cycle of birth and death. They
have reached the ultimate highest state, salvation. They do not have any karmas, and they do not collect
any new karmas. This state of true freedom is called Moksha.
Acharyas carry the message of
Jina. They are our spiritual leaders. Acharyas must have
to do in-depth study and achieve mastery of the Jain scriptures (Ägams). In addition
to acquiring a high level of spiritual excellence, they have the ability to lead
the monks and nuns. They know various languages with a sound knowledge of other
philosophies and religions of the area and the world.
The title Upadhyayas is given to those Sadhus who have acquired a special knowledge
of the Ägams and philosophical systems. They teach Jain scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis.
SADHUS AND SADHVIS
When householders become detached from the worldly aspects of life and get the
desire for spiritual uplift (and not worldly uplift), they give up their worldly
lives and become sadhus (monk) or sadhvis (nun). A male person is called sadhu, and a female person is called sadhvi. At the time of
Deeksha, the sadhu or sadhvi voluntarily accepts to obey following five major vows for the rest of his/her life:
1. Commitment of Total Ahimsa (non-violence)-not to commit any type of violence.
2. Commitment of Total Satya (truth)-not to indulge in any type of lie or falsehood.
3. Commitment of Total Asteya (non-stealing)-not to take anything unless it is given.
4. Commitment of Total Brahmacharya (celibacy)-not to indulge in any sensual activities
5. Commitment of Total Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)-not to acquire more than what is needed to maintain day to day life.