Pratikraman

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PRATIKRAMAN

 

The soul, in its pure form, has infinite perception, infinite knowledge,

infinite vigor, and is non-attached. These attributes are not seen in a 
worldly soul because it is soiled with karmas. By following religious
principles principals and activities, we overcome our karmas and uplift
our souls to liberation. There are various kinds of religious
activities, sometimes called rituals, and among them Pratikraman is the
most important ritual. During pratikraman we repent for our
non-meritorious activities on a daily basis. We realize our mistakes
and ask for forgiveness which helps us to minimize the intensity of the
karma�s bondage. Pratikraman is a combination of six avshyakas
(essential rituals). The six Avshyakas are:
1) Samayik - a state of total equanimity
2) Chauvisantho - worshipping the twenty-four Tirthankars
3) Vandana - offering salutations to sadhus (monks) and sadhvis (nuns)

4) Pratikraman - realizing what we have done wrong and annotating on
it
5) Kayotsagga - meditation of the soul
6) Pratyakhyan - renunciation

1) Samayik
In samayik, we stay in equanimity for forty-eight minutes. During
samayik not only do we give up all worldly affairs, but we also stay
away from attachment and aversion. This activity helps us to purify our
passions and desires. To perform samayik, we put on simple, white
clothes, and occupy a quiet place. While in samayik, we recite the
Navkar Mantra, read scriptures, perform meditation, etc. Our samayik
gives us a glimpse at the life of sadhus who live in samayik all of
their life. It directly encourages us to lead the life of a sadhu or
sadhvi.

2) Chauvisantho
Chauvisantho means adoration of the twenty-four Tirthankaras. By
reciting it, we show our respect for the twenty-four Tirthankaras.
While reciting this, we are reminded of how victorious these Jinas, who
overcome inner enemies like anger, ego, greed, deceit, etc., were and
such activity also and encourages us to be like them. It is also called
Chaturvinshatistava.

3) Vandana
During vandana, we bow down to monks and nuns and express our reverence
to them. They are our current religious guides, and preceptors. While
bowing down, we become humble, and thus, help ourselves to overcome ego
and anger. It also inspires us to become like them. (If there is no
monk or nun then we bow down in the North-East direction to Arihantas
who are currently living far away from here.)

4) Pratikraman
Pratikraman is the combination of two words, Pra meaning return and
atikraman meaning violation. Literally, it means returning from
violations. As Jain householders, we are supposed to observe twelve
minor vows. During Pratikraman we review our activities for any
violations that may have occurred among these vows. In this way, we
ask for forgiveness for our actions, purify our souls, and improve our
future activities. If we have not taken these vows then we should wish
that there will come a day when we can take those vows. Pratikraman is
usually done twice a day; once in the morning, Raisi (morning)
Pratikraman and once in the late evening Devasi (evening) Pratikraman.
Those who are unable to perform daily pratikraman should do a Pakshik
(fortnightly) Pratikraman. There are some who somehow can not find even
that much time, they should do a Choumasi (quarterly) Pratikraman,
every four months. However, if someone can not even do that, then they
should do Samvatsari (yearly) Pratikraman, considered a must for every
Jain. By repenting during the pratikraman, you lessen the bondage of
karma to your soul and avoid committing the same sins in the future. If
we do not repent for our deeds at least once a year, then the bondage
of karmas to the soul becomes severe and even harder to shed off. In
all truth, one should perform pratikraman as soon as one realizes he or
she has committed a sin.

5) Kayotsagga
The word kayotsargga is made up of two words Kaya meaning body and
utsarga meaning to give up. Kayotsagga means to give up one�s physical
comfort and body movements, thus staying steady, either in a standing
or other posture, and concentrating upon the true nature of the soul as
being separate from the body. This is a form of meditation and by
practicing pure kayotsargga we slowly gain control over our mental,
verbal, and physical activities.

6) Pratyakhyan
This is a formal renunciation of certain activities, which reduces to
stops the inflow of karmas. This activity helps us to learn to control
our desires and prepares us for a much bigger renunciation.

 

Origin of Paryushan

Its origin is related to the staying of the monks in one place for the rainy season. "Paryushanaa" is staying of the monks in one place. In popular terminology this stay is termed "chaturmasa" because the rainy season is regarded to be about four months. However the minumum duration of Paryushanaa is regarded to be 70 days. For this minimum duration, Paryushanaa must be initiated by panchami (fifth day) of the shukla phase of the Bhadrapada month. In the scriptures it is described that Lord Mahavira used to start Paryushanaa on Bhadrapada Shukla panchami.
The date for the Paryushana festival is thus Bhadrapada Shukla panchami for both major sects. Because of computational and other differences there can be some minor differences among various subsects. Recently there have been an attempt to get everyone to agree to use the same date.
Because at this time the monks have settled in the town for a longer duration, it is time for the householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the Dharma and by meditation and vratas (self-control). In theDigambaras, it is done by starting a 10-day period from Paryushana (Bhadrapada Shukla panchami) during which the dashalakshana vrata is undertaken. In the Swetmbara an 8-day festival is celebrated that ends with Bhadrapada Shukla panchami. The last day is called Samvatsari, short for Samvatsari Pratikramana, as described below.
During the 8-day festival, the Kalpa Sutra is recited in the Swetmbara sect, that includes a recitation of the section on birth of Lord Mahavira on the fifth day. In the Digambara sect the Tatvartha-sutra of Umaswati is recited. On the dashami, the sugandha-dashami vrata occurs. The Digambaras celebrate Ananta-chaturdashi on the chaturdashi, special worship is done on this day. Many towns have a procession leadinbg to the amin temple.

Pratikramana (amayika): Renewal meditation

Pratikramana means turning back. It is a form of meditation where one reflects on his spiritual journey and renews his faith. For both Swetambaras and Digambaras, it takes the form of periodic meditation. The period can be twice daily (morning and evening), once every lunar phase, every four months, or every year. The annual Pratikramana in some form is the minumum for a sravaka.
The annual Pratikramana is Samvatsari Pratikramana, in short Samvatsari. Since it coincides with Paryushana, the terms "Samvatsari" and "Paryushana" are sometimes used interchangably.
Pratikramana includes
  • Samayika: to stay in equanimity by withdrawing to the self.
  • Prayers to the Five Supremes, 24 Jinas and the 4 mangalas, including the Dharma as presented by the ancient Masters.
  • Prayer to the Master(Guru) or the Deity.
  • Reflections on vratas and past transgressions.
  • Kayotsarga: detachment from the body by controlling it.
  • Pratyakhyan: making resolutions for the next period (next year for Samvatsari Pratikramana).

Dasha-Lakshana Vrata

The detailed recommended procedure can be found in the handbooks. Detailed Pratikramana takes about 3 hours, however all essentials can be done in a much shorter time if needed.
Pratikramana is also sometimes termed Samayika in the Digambara tradition.
By tradition certain postures are recommended for Pratikramana. They can be found in the handbooks.
This is a vrata that celebrates 10 components of the dharma: Noble kshama (forbearance), mardava (gentleness), arjava (uprightness), shaucha (purity), satya (truth), sanyam (restraint), tapa (austerity), tyaga (renunciation), akinchanya (lack of possession) and brahmcharya (chastity), as described by Umaswati.
In the full form, it is a 10 day vrata that spans 10 years. It may be undertaken during Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Bhadrapada, Magh or Chaitra. However it it common to do it during Bhadrapada, in which case it starts with Paryushana.

Requesting Forgiveness

At the conclusion of the festival, the Sravakas request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year. This occurs on the Paryusha day for the Swetambara and on Pratipada (first) of Ashwin Krashna for the Digambara.
Pratikaman in English