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वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटी समप्रभः
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येशु सर्वदा

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Snatra/Ashta Prakari Puja

You should do the following things to prepare for any type of Puja ceremony:

II. Bathe or shower prior to performing Puja
III. Wear clean (recently washed) clothing and do not eat anything or go to the bathroom after putting
on those clothes
IV. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief

The purpose of performing Snatra Puja is to perceive and praise the virtues and attributes of the supreme beings Jineshwar (24 Tirthankars), and thereby remembering to always conduct ones own daily life with the same supreme virtues and attributes.

Stages in Snatra Puja:
V. Remembering and respectfully worshipping the virtues, attributes and characteristics that allowed the
24 Tirthankars to attain salvation.
VI. Celebration of the birth and re-enactment of the Tirthankar’s first bathing ceremony.
VII. Astha Prakari Puja: Worship with eight symbolic entities.
VIII. Aarti and Mangal Divo.
IX. Shanti-Kalash Ceremonial Process.
X. Bhav Puja: Chaityavandan.

Nine Points of Chandan Puja on idol of Tirthankar (Nav Ang Puja):
1. Right toe, then left toe
2. Right knee, then left knee
3. Right center of forearm, then left center of forearm
4. Right shoulder, then left shoulder
5. Top of head (at center)
6. Center of forehead
7. Center of throat
8. Center of chest

Meaning of Ashta Prakari Puja:
Generally Jains use the following eight items to perform Astha Prakari Puja of a Tirthankar. Each item represents a specific religious virtue. While conducting the puja, one is reminded of the importance of conducting his/her own daily life with the same supreme virtues.

1. Jala Puja: (Water)
Water symbolizes the ocean. Every living being continuously travels through life’s ocean birth, death, and misery. This puja reminds that one should live their life with honesty, truthfulness, love and compassion towards all living beings. This way one will be able to cross life’s ocean and attain Moksha or liberation.

2. Chandan Puja: (Sandal wood)
Chandan symbolizes knowledge (Jnan). By performing this puja, one should strive for Right Knowledge. Jainism preaches that the Path of Knowledge is the main path to attain liberation. Bhakti or Devotion helps in the early stages of one's effort for liberation.

3. Pushpa Puja: (Flower)
A flower symbolizes conduct. Our conduct should be like a flower, which provides fragrance and beauty to all living beings without discrimination. We should live our life like a flower, with love and compassion towards all living beings.

4. Dhoop Puja: (Incense)
Dhoop symbolizes the ascetic life. While burning itself, incense provides fragrance to others. Similarly, true monks and nuns spend their entire life selflessly for the benefit of all living beings. This puja reminds that one should strive for an ascetic lifestyle that ultimately leads to liberation.

5. Deepak Puja: (Candle)
The flame of deepak represents Pure Consciousness or a soul without any bondage (liberated soul). In Jainism, such a soul is called a Siddha or God. The ultimate goal of every living being is to become liberated from karma. By doing this puja one should strive to follow the Five Great Vows: Non violence, Truthfulness, Non stealing, Chastity and Non possession. Ultimately, these vows coupled with Right Faith and Knowledge will lead to liberation.

6. Akshat Puja: (Rice)
Since rice is a non-fertile grain, it cannot be grown by seeding it. Symbolically, it means that rice is the last birth. By doing this puja, one should strive to put all their efforts in life as if this is their last life. And after the end of this life, one will be liberated and will not be reborn again.

7. Naivedya Puja: (Sweet)
Naivedya symbolizes a tasty food. By doing this puja, one should strive to reduce or eliminate attachment to tasty food. Healthy food is essential for survival, however one should not live to eat tasty food. The ultimate aim in one's life is to attain a life where no food is essential for our existence. That is the life of a liberated soul who lives in Moksha forever in ultimate bliss.

8. Fal Puja: (Fruit)
Fruit symbolizes Moksha or Liberation. If we live our life without any attachment to worldly affair, continue to perform our duty without any expectation and reward, be a witness to all the incidents that occur surrounding us and within us, truly follow ascetic life, and have a love and compassion to all living beings, we will attain the fruit of Moksha or liberation. This is the last puja performed and symbolizes the ultimate achievement of our life.


Recitation of Aarti

Jai Jai Aarti Aadi Jinanda,
Nabhiraya Marudevi Ko Nanda.
Paheli Aarti Pooja Kije,
Narbhav Paamine Lavo Lije.
Dusari Aarti Din Dayala,
Dhuleva Nagarman Jug Ujavala.
Tisari Aarti Tribhuvan Deva,
Sura Nara Indra Kare Tore Seva.
Chothi Aarti Chau Gati Chure,
Manavanchhit Fal Shiv Sukh Pure.
Panchami Aarti Punya Upaayo,
Mulchanda Rushubh Gun Gayo.
Jai Jai Aarti Aadi Jinanda,
Nabhiraya Marudevi Ko Nanda.

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