Who is a Saint ~ Spiritual Insights through Namaskāra Mantra

When we think of a saintly person, we imagine someone who is kind and compassionate, simple in his eating and dressing, truthful in speech and content with what little he has. This is what we search in our guru, our spiritual guide. But there are also fake God-men. What if there was a guidebook to help identify a venerable saint, a spiritual guru, irrespective of caste, creed and religion? This is what this book is all about.
 
Conceptualised by Upādhyāya Rishi Praveen who is known for his revolutionary way of thinking and hermeneutical approach, here is a guidebook for every person who aspires to walk the inner path. Lucidly compiled by Pratibha Jain, it is simple to read even while expounding profound concepts. Enjoy your journey within.

 

Who is a saint - Namaskara Mantra book

 

Specifications

100 pages, Paperback | First print Jan 2021 | Dimensions: 5*8 | Author: Upādhyāya Rishi Praveen | Compiler: Pratibha Jain | Design: Ruchika Toshniwal | Publisher: Sugal Group | Rs. 99

 

Who is a Saint Jainism book

 

About this Book

We can study the concept of a saint from many perspectives. One time-tested and successful way of understanding saintliness is seen in the Namaskāra Mantra. It is a five-dimensional model of spiritual growth. The roadmap begins with the dimension of sādhu and culminates in the dimension of siddha – the ultimate state of liberation for any soul. The Jaina scriptures are replete with stories of great souls who followed this path and attained liberation.
 
Immediately, a question arises: does one have to renounce the world to become a saint? No, not necessarily. A householder can also walk the spiritual path. But, while a householder has to take care of his family and worldly life, an ascetic is free of worldly bondages. He can dedicate his total energy to his spiritual goals. In many ways, the ascetic life facilitates the spiritual path. However, it also comes with its challenges. An ascetic also strives to be free of anger, pride, deceit and greed. He has to use his inner strength to attain victory over the senses, mind, passions and perversions, just like everybody else. His journey is to go inwards as much as possible, to work on passions with each passing day, and to find peace and divinity within.
 
This book is divided into three section: Section 1 sets the stage for a saintly life. Section 2 sheds light on the five kinds of saints mentioned in the Namaskara Mantra. Section 3 dwells on the qualities one has to sow within to acquire purity and saintliness.
 

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CONTENTS

Section 1 – Setting the Stage
1. Introduction
2. Namaskāra Mantra
 
Section II – Saints in the Namaskāra Mantra
3. Five Dimensions of a Saint
4. Sādhu: The Renunciate
5. Upadhyaya: The Knowledge Giver
6. Ācārya: The Guiding Force
7. Arihanta: The Spiritual Victor
8. Siddha: The Liberated Soul
9. Benefit and Reward
 
Section III – What Does a Saint Sow?
10. As You Sow, So You Reap (Karma)
11. Observing Major Vows (Mahāvrata)
12. Restraining the Senses (Indriya Viṣaya Nigraha)
13. Restraining the Passions (Kaṣāya Nigraha)
14. Becoming Mindful (Samiti, Gupti)
15. Purity in All Spheres (Yoga Satya)
16. Three Jewels of Liberation (Ratnatraya)
17. Fivefold Observances (Pañca Ācāra)
18. Forgiveness (Kṣamā)
19. Desire for Liberation (Saṃvega)
20. Overcoming Obstacles (Pariṣaha Jaya)
21. Art of Dying (Sallekhanā Santhārā)
 
Epilogue
i. Threefold Guidance
ii. Reflections for the Five Padas
 

INTRODUCTION


I still remember how enchanted I was when I met my guru, Pūjya Ācārya Anand Rishiji, for the first time. I was all of ten; a naughty young boy engrossed in pranks and friends. My parents were religious and tried their best to instil religious values in me, but I was too young to comprehend the idea of divinity. Yet, I was drawn to this person clad in white, to his saintly look and compassionate gaze. My guru had an aura which drew everyone in unconditionally. Soon after, I joined him and there was no looking back. In 1974, when I turned 16, he initiated me into becoming a sādhu. Every step of the way, I experienced his gentle guidance. Even now, he lives in every breath of mine. I am fortunate I found him – a genuine guru, a sincere sādhu, and a true saint.
  
When Pratibha Jain showed me the outline of this book, I was drawn to the title, “Who is a Saint?” The possibility of attaining sainthood is not limited by age, gender, class, caste or faith. Saintliness is a quality which can be embraced by anyone at any age, at any stage of life. Its traits are kindness, contentment and peacefulness. In a nutshell, a saint is one who uses his wisdom to choose spiritual gain over material gain.
  
A model of saintliness
We can study the concept of saintliness from many perspectives. One time-tested and successful way of understanding saintliness is seen in the Namaskāra Mantra. It is a five-dimensional model of spiritual growth. The roadmap begins with the dimension of sādhu and culminates in the dimension of siddha – the ultimate state of liberation for any soul. The Jaina scriptures are replete with stories of great souls who followed this path and attained liberation.
  
Immediately, a question arises: does one have to renounce the world and become a sādhu to attain liberation? No, not necessarily. A householder can also walk the spiritual path. But, while a householder has to take care of his family and worldly life, a sādhu is free of worldly bondages. He can dedicate his total energy to his spiritual goals. In many ways, the ascetic life facilitates the spiritual path. It is built on a strong foundation of powerful vows, namely non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possession.
  
However, even a sādhu’s life comes with its challenges. He still strives to be free of the four kaṣāyas of anger, pride, deceit and greed. He has to use his inner strength to attain victory over the senses, mind, passions and perversions, just like everybody else. His journey is to go inwards as much as possible, to work on passions with each passing day, and to find peace and divinity within.
  
Although a sādhu may spend hours studying scriptures and observing external austerities, these actions cannot offer any guarantee that he will be able to attain the inner quality of sādhutvā (saintliness). For this, he has to internalize the knowledge so that it becomes part of his conduct. He has to practice austerities externally and internally so that he attains purity in body, mind and speech. Therefore, it is possible for one person to renounce the world but not become a true sādhu, and for another not to renounce, yet be a genuine sādhu at heart.
In the same way, every dimension of saintliness in the Namaskāra Mantra can be attained only by a genuine pursuit and complete dedication.
  

Namaskāra Mantra
A universal mantra from the Jaina tradition, the Namaskāra Mantra is anibaddha, meaning eternal and uncreated. It has nine padas (lines, steps) of which the first five are a veneration to five dimensions of saintly beings. Each dimension also represents a certain stage of spiritual progress. The last four padas describe the auspicious benefit of reciting this mantra.
  
The most unique feature of this mantra is its emphasis on guṇa pūjā, meaning veneration or worship of qualities. It guides us to draw inspiration from those qualities which lead to purity and perfection, and which make people worthy of reverence. There is no mention of any specific person, religion, god or goddess; not even Mahāvīra or any other tīrthaṅkara. Any individual who attains the qualities of saintliness is worthy of reverence. Thus, it truly lends itself to being a universal prayer.
  
Each pada of the Namaskāra Mantra is significant because of the qualities that lead spiritual seekers to that stage, irrespective of tradition, caste, creed, colour, country, culture or sect. As a result, infinite arihantas, siddhas, ācāryas, upādhyāyas and sādhus are revered by uttering the Namaskāra Mantra. What a grand gesture and expansive feeling! What a beautiful picture this paints about the shift from the individual to the universal!
  

I hope that this book helps you on your spiritual journey. As you utter the Namaskāra Mantra, may you experience undying faith in all the great saints who have crossed the sea of attachment and aversion. By using that faith to boost your spiritual energy, you can bring all sorrows to an end, and find the key to bliss.
  
Titthayarā tava pasīyantu, siddhā siddhiṁ tava disantu.
May tīrthaṅkaras bestow blessings upon you, may siddhas bestow success upon you.
Rishi Praveen
 
 

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