Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life






Chapter- 8 : MEN OR GODS


However  the struggle for perfection is long and arduous. Few reached perfection; and perhaps as tradition would say, none would become perfect in this age. Among those who have reached omniscience and perfection are the Tirthankaras, the prophets, who have been the beacon lights of Jaina religion and culture they have preached the truth and have helped men to cross the ocean of this worldly existence. They led men, like kindly light, to the path of spiritual progress.

Therefore, they need to be worshipped , the Jainas worship the Titithankaras not because they are gods not because they are powerful in any other way, but because they are human and yet dive, as every one is divide, in his essential nature. The worship so the Tirthankaras is to remind us that they are to be kept as deals before us in our journey to selfrealization. No fervors are to be sought by means of worship, nor are they camoetent to bestow favors on the devotees. The main motive of worship f the Tirithankaras, therefore is to emulate the example of the perfect beings if possible, at least to remind us that the way to perfection lies in the way they have shown us. Even this worship of Tirthankaras arose out of the exigencies of social and religious existence and survival and possibly as a psychological necessity. We find a few temples of Gandhiji today; perhaps, there would be many more. The Buddha has been deified.

Apart from the worship of Tirthankaras, we find a pantheon o gods who are worshipped and from whom favors are sought. The let of the Yaksini worship and of other attendant gods may be cited as examples. This type of worship is often attended by the occult practices ad the tantric ceremoialism. Dr p. B. Desai shows that in Tamiland Yakasii was allotted an independent status and raised to a superior position which was almost equal to the of the Jina . in some instances the worship of Yaksini appears to have supercedes even that of Jina. 10  Padmavati, Yakasini of Paravantha, has been elevated to the status of a superior deity with all the ceremonial  worship, in Pombucapura in Msore area. These forms of worship must have arisen out of the connate with other competing faiths as with the purpose of popularizing the Jaina faith in the context of the social and religious competition. The cult of Javalamalini with its Tantric accompaniments may be mentioned as another example of this form of worship. The promulgator of this cult was perhaps, helecarya of Ponnur According to the prevailing belief at that time mastery over spells or Mantravidya was codidered as a qualification for superiority. The Jaiana Aaryas clamed to be master Mantra vadins.11  Jainism had to compete with the other Hindu creeds Yaksi form of worship must have bee introduced in order to attract the common men towards Jainism, by appealing to the popular forms of worship.

However , such forms of worship are goreig to the Jaina region. They do not form a organic and constituent features of the Jaina worship. These tendencies have been absorbed and assimilated in the struggle for existence and survival. We may here fever to the iconeivable changes the Buddhist forms of worship have undergone in the various countries of the world, like the Tantric forms of worship in Tibeta Lamaism.

We have still some gods in Jaina cosmogony. They are the deva, the gods living in heaves like the Bhavanavasi, Vyantaraasi, Jyotiska, ad Kalapavasi. But they are a part of the Samasara and not really gods in the sees of superior divine beings. They are just more fortunate begs than men because of their accumulated god Karma. They enjoy better empirical existence than men. But we , humans, can pride ourselves in that the �gods� in these worlds cannot reach moksa unless they are reborn as human beings. They are not objects of worship. It is therefore, necessary for us to know the true nature of man and his place in society in which he lives , moves and has his being.