Pilgrimages In Jainism & Its Significance
India is a land of spirituality where great persons were born to sing immortal songs. The places stamped by their holy feet became famous as sacred places. Idols of Tirthankara- Parmatmas, promoters of Jainism, were installed there. India has a large number of such sacred places. they are powerful means of crossing the samsara. They provide an opportunity to cure the disease of transmigration. They are made sacred by the touch of holy feet of Arihanta- Tirthankaras. They save pilgrims who get free from worldly affairs and often journey to the temples. The atmosphere of sacred places on high mountains, river banks of level land is filled with the ringing sound of words of wisdom uttered by patrons of spirituality. Sacred places are silent but they tell immortal stories of holy self's of Tirthankaras and other saintly beings. Picture writings and various kinds of idols convey the message of Tirthankaras. The name of sacred places tells glorious stories of its past history, its architecture, its culture, its prosperity and the mind of the masses. Visits of monks and nuns preserve the sacredness of sacred places. Jain temples are also not mere buildings of clay, stone and mortar. Our houses are also made of the same material but there is a vast difference between the two sacred places are that purify the pilgrims. Your mind feels sudden joy and teems with bright thoughts. You recover from greed of money and spend it. Fellow-feeling is promoted and pilgrims from different nations and cities live with love.
Wonderful is the influence of sacred places. Go to Mt. Shaturnjaya. When you reach its foot, you feel the eagerness to see, God, give him gifts and gain piety. The voice from within comes resounding, " Let me sing your virtues and praise you. From a distance I have come, please appear before me." Go to Shnkhevaraji and your mind will be filled with bright thoughts of purification. You will feel that your self is totally transformed. You will return dancing and jumping as if you have gained something. You sing with joy -" O, Shankhesvara! You turn a mere stone into a philosopher's stone and you turn dross into gold." Go to Mt. Sametashikhara. The land of nirvana of twenty Tirthankaras will sing immortal songs and great you. - "Come, worship God's feet and make your life's journey successful." A sacred place has special features. It is a place that purifies millions of lives. it is a place that inspires one to leave off greed of money.
The Significance Of The Visit
Sacred places are innocent places which are free from worldly affairs. They who visit sacred places try to live an innocent life. Sacred places remind us of the holy life of Tirthankaras. Worthy people sing God's virtues and become one with God. Devotional sentiments permeate thought sacred places. Pilgrims who visit sacred places can not but sing the virtues of God. Only sacred places promote welfare and bring happiness. Sins are washed off, there. People who are agonized by worldly agonies get peace there. The modern man has developed hill stations but nowhere can man get the peace that sacred places offer. Hill stations cannot liberate you from sins. Sacred places make the present life and the subsequent lives happy.
A site may be sacred because of an event that took place at that spot, perhaps a vision or the healing of some person. Other sites may be associated with the keeping of relics. A site may be regarded as sacred because of what it represents, a cathedral as an important site for a particular faith.
Some places have become sacred for other reasons. Stones circles and standing stones are sacred, even though we cannot be certain of their meaning to those who were responsible for their erection.
Other places, such as some mountain tops, some beaches, Fairy glen in Wales, are special and sacred. This may have something to do with their remoteness or their stillness, it is very much a matter for individuals to discover what the idea of a sacred site is for them.
Some sites become sacred only to individuals, a place where something occurred that changed our lives in some way that we feel has great significance.
To others a site may become sacred for an event of suffering that took place there. The graves of so many lost during the first world war, a place where many native Americans were massacred, a place where so many Jewish people lost their lives. These all have great meaning for some people.
It is well worth a pilgrim's time to do a little research along a chosen route and to try and discover why certain places along your journey are seen as sacred. It does not really matter whether the site is sacred to you as a person if you are able to see and respect why it should be sacred to someone else. One of the important lessons we need to try and learn in the next millennium is how to increase levels of awareness and tolerance.