Jainism and Patanjali Yoga (Comparative Study)

by Deepak bagadia | 2016 | 109,819 words

This page relates ‘Significance of the prime Symbol of Jainism:’ of the study dealing with the Spiritual Practices of Jainism and Patanjali Yoga in the context of ancient Indian Philosophy (in Sanskrit: Darshana), including extracts from the Yogasutra and the Tattvartha-Sutra. The system of Yoga offers techniques which are scientifically designed for the spiritual development of an individual. Jainism offers ethicical principles and meditation practices to assist with spiritual development.

Significance of the prime Symbol of Jainism:

The Jain symbol is an arrangement of various spiritual symbols, each having a significant meaning. This symbol was adopted by all sects of Jainism during 1975 while commemorating the 2500th anniversary of the nirvana of Lord Mahavira.

The outline of the symbol represents the shape of the universeLoka. The lower part of the symbol indicates the seven hells (Naraki), middle part of the universe contains the Earth and the planets (Manushya-Loka). The upper part contains the heavenly abodes (Deva-Loka) of all the celestial beings and abode of the Siddhas (Siddhashila). The palm or hand facing upward direction indicates us to stop for a minute and think twice before doing anything to check if we are not hurting anybody directly or indirectly by encouraging others by our thoughts, actions or words. This non-violence is the prime principle of Jainism. The wheel inside the hands indicates that if we carry on violent activities, then just like the wheel we will go round and round through the cycles of birth and death.

The four arms of cross (Svastika) suggest us that during the cycles of birth and death, we may be born into any one of the four realms: heavenly beings, human beings, animal beings (Tiryanch-gati) inclusive of birds, insects, plants and the fourth hellish or infernal beings. Our ultimate aim should be liberation and not the rebirth. One of these four pillars of the four folds Jain Sangha also represented by the same Svastik provides an opportunity for liberation, first by becoming true sravaka or sravika and then, after overcoming all social attachments, one should renounce worldly life and follow the path of Sadhu (monk) or Sadhvi (nun) to be liberated. The four arms are also representative of Dana (charity), Sheel (virtue), Tapa (austerities) and Bhava (noble thoughts/attitude).

The three dots above the Swastika represent the three jewels of Jainism through which one has to follow the path of liberation as mentioned earlier. They are Samyak Darsana (Right Faith), Samyak Jnan (Right Knowledge) and Samyak Charitra (Right Conduct).

The top part known as “Siddha-Shila” is a small crescent representing the abode of Siddhas, the final resting place of liberated souls. The text underneath the symbol, “Parasparopagraho jivanam” translates as “Living beings (souls) render services to one another[1].

Footnotes and references:


Jain Philosophy and Practice, JAINA Education Committee, North America. (2002), p.44

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