Jainworld

Jainism

by GUNVANT BARVALIA

STHANAKWASI SECT

In the 15th century of Vikram jain layman named Lokashah felt that jain religion is a path of inactivity (sanyas) and it gives importance to non- violence, self-restraint and austerity. Anekantavad, Syadvad or Sapekshvad is its main principle.

He noted that the importance of self-realization was decreasing in the pompous and high profile rituals of idol worship tradition. He observed that the withdrawal from the original path was deviated and its essence losing due to highly active rituals of chaityavadi, Deravasi tradition.

In those days Agamas were in the possession of monks and they declared that, shravakas should not read the scriptures (agamas) and if they did, they would be under this curse, "one who reads the scriptures, will lose his son," (Je vanche sutra tena mare putra). Thus, they were afraid of this curse and laymen were afraid of read the scriptures. Hence, the total authority of reading the scriptures were in the hands of monks only, apart from this for many things he saw their dictatorship and also their laxity in observing the vows.

Lokashah possessed the skill of beautiful hand-writing so Gyan Yatishri gave him the work of re-writing the scriptures, while re-writing the scriptures, he contemplated and strongly felt that pervertions had entered in observing the true path of dharma. So, he lighted the torch of revolution and made great efforts to convince the people about the true and right path of Dharma.

With his inspiration forty-five persons renounced the worldly life and got initiated to monkhood. They devoted themselves to propagate religion. After that, 152 people took up mokhood in the city of Patan and thereafter in Sirohi, Arhatwada etc. many people started taking the path of monkhood. Lokashah himself got initiated by Sohan muni in the vikram year 1536 on the fifth day of Magshar. For ten years he visited various villages and cities to propagate religion. After completing a chaturmas in Delhi, he went to Alwar and there he observed  three days of fast. On the parana day (breaking of the fast) one of his rivals offered him poisoned food. After taking that
food he died with peace and equanimity. The day of his death was bright eleventh day of Chaitra in the Vikram year of 1546.

After Lokashah, Muni Bhanji, Muni Nanaji, Muni Jagmalji and Rooprishiji propagated his principles. They all were known as followers of Lonkagachcha or Dayagachacha which later came to be known as the Sthanakvasi tradition.

After about 250 years Muni Sri Lavjirishi, Muni Sri Dharma Sinha drop again made efforts to reform the path and was  known as Kriyodharak (reformer) Sthanakvasi tradition firmly believes that in Jain Dharma there is no place for a little violence even in the name of  religion.

Among the four types of Nikshep namely Nama Nikshep Sthapana Nikshep, Dravya Nikshep and Bhava Nikshep, importance has been given to Bhava Nikshep. It includes internal worship, virtue-worship, glorifying the virtues of Vitraga and self-atonement.

The centres of this tradition is spread all over India and are popularly known as Upashrayas, Paushadhshala, Aradhana Bhavan, Dharma Sthanak, Jain Bhavan etc. Even there are Pathshalas and Aymbilshalas. In the presence of monks and nuns religio-spiritual activities like vrata (vows) japa (rosary counting) tapa (penance) observance of non-violence (jivadaya) are performed. In the absence of monks and nuns, Shravakas and Shravikas on their own perform Samayika, Swadhyaya, Pratikraman, Samvar, Poushad etc. The Shravakas of this tradition visit the holy places with great devotion where the tirthankaras had moved about and those places where they had attained Nirvana.