Do We Really Need More Jain Temples & More Tirthankaras Idols?
By Mr. Chandraprakash Shah
All benevolent, infinite knowledgeable and infinite powerful Shree Tirthankaras establish a Dharma tirth to elevate all living beings from this beginning less and unbelievable horrible and materialistic world to unending and permanent bliss and happiness of salvation. I bow down to them and seek their blessings to finish this article.
These Tirthankaras proclaimed and established several four types of Padartha (Materials). They are:
1. Dharma: Daan Sheel, Tap and Bhav (Charity, Good Character, Penance and Bhav)
2. Purushartha: Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha (Diligent: Dharma, Wealth, Sensual pleasures and Salvation)
3. Kashay: Krodh, Maan, Maya and Lobh (Passion : Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed)
4. Sangnya: Aahar, Bhay, Maithun and Parigrah (Sensation : Food, Fear, Sensual pleasures and Possessiveness)
5. Dhyan: Aarta, Raudra, Dharma and Shukla (Concentration: Bad, Worst, Dharma and whitest)
6. Shashvat Jins: Chandranan, Varishen, Rishbhanan and Vardhman
7. Caturvidh Sangh: Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak and Shravika (Four-fold order : Monk, Nun, Layman and laywoman)
8. Gati:Dev, Narak, Manushya and Tiryanch (State : God, Hellish, Human and Animal)
9. Narak Dwar: Ratribhojan, Raudra Dhyan, Parstrigaman and Mahaarambh (Gates of Hellish : Dinner after Sunset, Worst concentration state, Sensual pleasures with other women and activities with heavy violence) etc.
Shree Jineshwara placed first Daan Dharma in four types of Dharma. Because Daan can be easily performed. Even commonest person can afford smallest type of Daan. The items like wealth, money, clothes, foods and grains as well as property are attached with the word Daan. There several kinds of Daan prescribed in Jain Philosophy. They are:
1. Gyan Daan (Giving away Knowledge)
2. Supatra Daan (Offering alms to Tirthankaras, Gandharas, Jain Monks and Nuns)
3. Abhay Daan (Allow to live)
4. Anukampa Daan (Compassion)
5. Sat Kshetra (Seven Fields: To erect Jina Temple, To prepare Jina Idol, To write Jain Scriptures and literature, assisting in all respect Four fold organisation) etc.
Vyahar naya (Practical stand point) derives the definition of Daan as, what we obtain with the rising of good merits and the same is offered to needy, is called Daan.
Nischaya naya (Real stand point) derives the definition of Daan as, the materials, which are of our own property and same being offered to others is called Daan; such as Knowledge, Darshan, Caritra etc.
Gyan, Darshan and Caritra etc therefore fall under the best category of Daan. Shree Tirthanakaras had suggested offering Daan according to one’s capacity in seven fields and sowing the seeds of Punya (Good merits)
Out of all kinds of Daan, Gyan Daan considered being the supreme one. Why? It conceives the seed of real Dharma. Then gaining of real Dharma becomes possible with slowly destruction of Gyanavarniya Karma (Knowledge obscuring). One can become preacher of real Dharma and several souls can be driven towards the salvation path. One can be born in future birth as Tirthankar with proper attention and worship of Gyan Pad.
In the present scenario, particularly in the western region of India, Gujarat and Maharashtra, there is tremendous increase in the activity of erection Jinalayas and formatting Jina idols. Along with it the competition in the construction of Guru Mandirs has also increased. A common man does not understand why all these activities are being carried out. It is beyond his imagination. Like me he wonders the wastage of money, time and energy are involved in it when a poor common man does know how to meet both ends at the end of day. Of course Jinalayas and Jina idols are necessity wherever they are not. It seems to me that the idea behind all these activities may be:
1. To get a fame
2. To be acclaimed throughout world.
3. Being honoured with Garlands
4. Being honoured and praised everywhere
5. May be introduced as donor at all places
6. May receive utmost attention in all functions
7. May get right in succession for Dhaja and Kalash.
8. Name may be displayed on the monument
9. Name may be sung in songs etc.
If the temples, idols and gurumandirs are built with such thinking, maximum fruits of such activities are elusive. Instead, becoming blind in the pride of wealth, power and attachment one will invite bad demerits.
At present we are unable to manage old Jinalayas and worship of Jina idols are not carried out then what is the importance of erecting and creating more Jinalayas and Idols. We may stand in long queue in the temple of Adeshwar on the mount of Shatrunjaya. We may indulged in hand to hand fighting, shouting, quarreling, try to find out the ways and means to move ahead out of the turn and with these activities we invite vices of deceit and attachment. But we shall not think to do worship of those idols, which remain unattended. We shall leave all those idols to Pujaris. We turn blind eye towards such idols. But we do not understand being shown carelessness and neglecting such idols we welcome bondage of karmas like, Darsnavarniya, faith obscuring, energy obscuring and mean tribes etc. What is the advantage of creating new Jinalayas and Jina idols where there are no respect and honour for them and older one?
Jinalayas, which look like celestial palaces are lying vacant for want of worshipers in the cities like Khambhat, Patan, Radhanpur and Ahmedabad as well as at other places. Many idols are found in toilets and unclaimed in South India and Jinalayas are found occupied with cattle in South India. We do not care for these and just go on creating new temple and idols. The idols in the Jinalayas of the abovementioned cities are not even properly looked after and offered Pujas. This is everyone’s experience. When this is the situation prevailing at present, is it not a dishonour to supreme soul of the world? Is it not a dishonour to the best Dharma of the world? Some times, at the time of evening Aarti persons are not available to perform Aarti. But we shall with pleasure participate in “Mahapuja and Aarti of King Kumarpal.” What a ridiculous and what hypocrisy! But this is we are doing because we are earning a fame. People will remember us for long time. We shall take the pride out of such activities and consider ourselves as the man of Dharmic nature.
Such business of Dharma is the business of loss to both, one that perform and another who preach to perform it. This only proves that the Dharma is carried out for own fame and name along with the name and fame of own “Guru” resulting into creation of new Jinalayas and new idols.
We have never heard of building Guru Mandirs of Shri Bhadrabahuswami, Devrdhi gain kshamashraman, Kali kal Sarvagnya Hemcandracarya, greatest critical commentator Siddhsen, Upadhyaya Yashovijayji, Vinayvijayji, Virvijayaji, creator of meaningful Stavans Aanndghanji etc. They had promoted Jainism in all directions and at multilevel. We have forgotten them completely. Only occasionally we remember them. Their contribution to promotion of Jainism is incomparable. They never indulged in erecting and constructing Jinalayas and Jina idols. Only they preached to do so. They never had projects on hand except spreading ”Jinvani” It is learnt from their life sketch that their entire time was devoted to promote Jinvani, its knowledge and writing of scriptures. They were in the possession of mystic power but they neither used for their own benefits nor for helping their followers. They did help them but they saw first the interest of Jainism. They helped them for the Dharma of Tirthankaras. They were all capable of starting new sect but they refrained themselves from doing so. Today we see total u-turn. All the constituents of four-fold order are responsible for such chaos.
Out of the seven fields only two are flourishing nothing wrong into it. But Tirthankaras preached to flourish all the seven fields and not two only. Why the honourable preceptors do not pressurize for other five fields, when they lend their support for Jinalayas and Jina idols? When the tremendous flow of wealth is moving in the direction of two fields only, is it impossible to flourish other five fields? It is impossible to believe that Jains do not have wealth, they have but their Dharma is only confined to two fields only and hence other five are neglected.
We are experiencing the competition being held to erect Jinalayas and Idols on all major highways and towns of Gujarat and Maharashtra. There may be a name of “Aradhana Dham” but in fact they have become “Picnic spots” and places for “Honey-moon.” Do we really mean that with the increase in the numbers of Jinalayas and Jina idols increase the values and awe of Jainism? Is it not the responsibilities of those who are sitting on the bench and those who are sitting on the ground to flourish other five fields, which are deprived of?
In the craziness of erecting and constructing new and new Jinalayas, the four types Dharma proclaimed by Tirthankaras are forgotten. Is it not appropriate to call, those human beings who preach and pressurize to fill two fields only, as Mithyatvi? Do we know the present state of Agams and canonical literatures? Do we have an idea of health of four-fold order in the present circumstances? If this four-fold order is not taken care of appropriately, we may not be surprised to foresee that newly built Jinalayas and Jina idols turning into business centre. It is all possible that covetous, greedy and ardent desirous persons may take over possession of these places and we may loose what our predecessors had given us in legacy.
This may happen because we will have more and more income of Devdravya. An income of devdravya will increase due to more and more erection of Jinalayas and idols. We may find very less persons who can manage an accounting administration with morality in this fifth “Hunda Avasarpini Time Cycle.” More and more persons will turn to be immoral as we do experience today. Further Government is another subject to fear with. At what time it will bring forth the legislation and take control of all Dharmic trusts. As a result all our Jinalayas, which are the reasons of up gradation of soul, will fall into undesirable hands. Before it gets too late all Gurus sit together and find out some amicable solutions.
It is mentioned in Avashyak Sutra that offering a service to a sick person is the preaching of Jina. It can be applied here too. That one should donate not only in two fields but also in other five fields. Each year we are experiencing famine and floods in several parts of India and if we spend our additional wealth towards rescue of such horrible droughts and floods, it will be a living example of Mahavir’s teaching, “Compassion.”
When Shree Devardhigani tried to mount oral knowledge on papers, he might have faced strong opposition because in those days situation was quite different for transfer of knowledge. There might be a thought if the knowledge was mounted on paper there could be bondage of Gnyanavarniya Karma. It is a matter of regret that today we have misused these facilities. He might have thought, in the larger interest of all souls, to provide benefits of the beneficial speeches and quotations of Tirthanakaras. We are certainly obliged and greatful to him and his team for such Herculean task. In similar way, if accumulation of Devdravya is sorted out towards the benefit of Jain Community at large, by investing this money in other five fields it will be great service to Jainism. All our hanging problems can be resolved.
Thus suffering small damages let us hope for the big profit. Otherwise accumulated Devdravya will invite more troubles in future because future generation may not have proper moral and spiritual knowledge. The serpent of materialism is wide spreading its net. Further those who have a control over it will become proprietor instead of Trustee. We are feeling the symptoms of the same today.
There are many examples available in the scriptures that those who had built hundreds of Jinalayas and constructed thousands of Jina Pratimas had not become Tirthanakaras. Some of them are listed below:
1. Bharat Cakravartin
2. Sagar Cakravartin
3. Samrat Samprati
4. King Kumarpal
5. Gorgeous lady Anupamadevi
6. Vimal Mantri
7. Vastupal and Tejpal
8. Cakrayuddh, the son and Ganadhar of Bhagwan Shanti nath
10. Pandavas etc.
Tirthanakaras might not have preached only two fields if only these two fields can provide and accumulate meritorious winning acts. But they had preached seven fields. After Bhagwan Mahavir till the beginning of 19th century the sowing was in full swing in all the seven fields. But with the beginning of 20th Century the trend has changed. It is natural that when there is accumulation of materials and wealth takes place at one place it creates scarcity at other places. Is not a Parigraha?
Those who cannot provide two room flats are canvassing for Moksha by donating your wealth only to two fields. They make us fool and we too become fool. They are totally ignorant of Compassion as well as benevolence of their own and others. They will sink and those who follow them will also sink.
Let me quote here Anandghanji M. S.
“ Gaccha na bhed bahu nayane niharata
Tatva ni vat karta na Laje
Uder bharnadi nij Kaj karta thaka
Moh nadiya kalikal raje….Dhar tarwar ni sohli dohli.”
“It says we can see and experience several bifurcation and segments of community and they talk about Tatva ( Teachings of Tirthanakaras). Further it remarks that they engage themselves in money making activities to feed their stomach due to the rising of attachments and worldly pleasures.”
What a strange difference of past and present lessons from Sadhu institutions. In past they were living and staying in Upashrayas in present they prefer to live in flats and bunglows. Previously they embrace all kinds of tolerances today requirements for AC, Fans and lighting etc have risen considerably. It may be said “They have one opinion for the chamber and another for the platform.” One has to get an appointment for Vandan while those who are blackmarketeers and persona non grata can meet them without any hindrances because they understand that those who are sitting in chambers are one of us only they have put on uniform of Sadhu. Previously the Sadhus were asking for staying facility just like begging for alms. Today climate has changed. When they come for Caturmas they demand percentage from income occurred during Caturmas. See the degradation of one of the staunch pillars of Caturvidh Sangha. Shravakas are responsible for this. May be all sadhus are not of the same category.
But they do not oppose and hence the standard of decorum of monastic living is decreasing day by day. Even if this small minority raise their voice majority will suppress them. It has worsened in such a way that it becomes difficult to return to original simple living in monastic environment. White ants have begun eating all the four pillars of the Sangh and turning them weak. The so called Aparigrahis (Non-possessors) created network of illusive Parigraha (Possessiveness) in the form of Jinalayas, Bungalows, flats and Upashrayas. A common and simple man unaware of such illusion is trapped like a small mosquito trapped in spider net.
The reasons behind this are what ever we listen from the platform we accept it blindly. We do not care to ask question, nor do we go into the details of what is told, we are never anxious to learn Tatva. We are only interested in storey telling and follow in faith blindly.
Laymen and women, Shravakas and Shravikas listen carefully, read the example of Lap Shreshthi from Mahavir Caritra. Learn more about Savdhyacarya and Arya Vajrasen from Pratimashatak. They are the glaring examples of fruitful use and misuse of wealth and other cash and kinds. Please do not invest your Laxmi only in erecting Jinalayas and Jina Pratimas. Just look after other suffering fields such as, Tirthanakaras had told them.
1. Jain Canonical Literature
Do not build castle in air to become Arya Suhasthisuri, Hemcandracarya, Dharmaghoshsuri, Abhadevsuri, Bappabhattsuri, King Samprati, Kumarpal, Vastupal and Tejpal, Vimal shah, Pethad shah, Dharana shah and Anopamadevi etc. Come down on plain earth, be simple and avoid hypocrisy. Think ourselves are we doing pure Dharma through constructing and flourishing only two fields.
It is a matter of high time that we stop erecting Jinalayas and Jina Pratimas and invest our well-earned Laxmi in other five fields.
Author : Mr. Chandraprakash Shah, 49, High field Avenue, Golders Green, London NW11 9EU
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org