N is for Navkar Mantra
Navkar Mantra is the most
important prayer in Jainism.
When we say the Navkar Mantra, we are paying
our respect to the Arihant Bhagwans, the Siddha Bhagwans, the Acharyas, the
Upadhyayas, the Monks, and the Nuns*. Arihant Bhagwans are in their
last life and they have destroyed the four ghati (heavy) karmas which affect
the condition of the soul. They have infinite knowledge and don't have any
attachment to anything. They don't hate anything either. They will get rid of
the other four karmas called aghati (lighter) karmas before they die. Then
they will become Siddha Bhagwans. They are first in the Navkar Mantra, even
though their souls aren't free because they show us the path to freedom. Since
they are our teachers, we pay respect to them first. Those souls who don't
have any karmas and don't have to go through the cycle of birth and death
anymore are called Siddha Bhagwans. Next we pay respect to Acharyas. They are
the heads of all monks and live a very pure and perfect life. Then we pay
respect to Upadhyayas. They have learned the sacred scriptures and are now
teaching them to the monks and nuns. Last we pay respect all the monks and
nuns who have accepted to live under strict code of conduct.
We should always recite the Navkar
Mantra to pay homage to these great souls. This leads to purer thoughts which
in turn leads to purer activities. It should recite it when we wake up in the
morning and at the night or for that matter at anytime.
* look under S