Navkar Mahamantra And Its Meaning

Jain's Nav Devta
1. Arihantas 2.Siddhas 3. Acharya 4. Upadhayaya 5. sadhu
6. Jin Mandir7. Jinvani 8.Jin Bimb (Image) 9. Jin Religion

Navkar Mantra
Namo Arihantanam: I bow down to Arihanta,
Namo Siddhanam: I bow down to Siddha,
Namo Ayariyanam: I bow down to Acharya,
Namo Uvajjhayanam: I bow down to Upadhyaya,
Namo Loe Savva-sahunam: I bow down to Sadhu and Sadhvi.
Eso Panch Namokaro: These five bowings downs,
Savva-pavappanasano: Destroy all the sins,
Manglananch Savvesim: Amongst all that is auspicious,
Padhamam Havei Mangalam: This Navkar Mantra is the foremost.

The Navkar Mantra is the most important mantra in Jainism and can be recited at any time. While reciting the Navkar Mantra, we are bowing down with respect to Arihantas (souls who have reached the state of non-attachment towards worldly process), Siddhas (liberated souls), Acharyas (head of Sadhus and Sadhvis), Upadhyas (those who teach scriptures to Sadhus and Sadhvis), Sadhus (monks, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships) and Sadhvis (nuns, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships). Collectively, they are called Panch Parmesthi (five supreme spiritual people).

The mantra enables us to worship the virtues of all the supreme spiritual people instead of just worshipping one particular person. For this reason, the Navkar Mantra does not mention the names of any Tirthankars, Siddhas, Acharyas, Upädhyäyas, Sädhus, or Sädhvis. At the time of recitation, we remember their virtues and try to emulate them. In this mantra we bow down to these supreme spiritual personalities, and therefore, it is also called Namaskar or Namokar Mantra. Jains receive inspiration from them for the right path of true happiness and total freedom from the karma of their soul. This mantra serves as a simple gesture of deep respect towards beings that are more spiritually advanced. The mantra also reminds followers of the ultimate Goal, Nirvana or Moksha.
The Navkär Mantra contains the essence of Jainism. It points out that if we want to be truly liberated, we have to give up worldly life (sansar).

The first stage of renunciation is to become a Monk (sadhu) or Nun (sadhvi). While progressing on a spiritual path, some may be designated as Upadhyas or Acharya. The ultimate aim is to attain Omniscience, becoming an Arihanta, which leads us to liberation, the becoming a Siddha.
                                           
Panch Parmeshthi:
Ashiri (Siddha)
Arihant
Acharya
Upadhyaya
Muni (Sadhu)

Arihants:
The word Arihanta is made up of two words:
1) Ari, meaning enemies, and
2) hanta, meaning destroyer.
Therefore, Arihanta means a destroyer of the enemies. These enemies are not people like you, me, or any animal, or plant, etc. These enemies are inner desires known as passions. These include anger, ego, deception, and greed. These are the internal enemies within us. Until we control our passions, the real nature or the power of our soul will not be realized or manifested. When a person (soul) wins over these inner enemies he/she is called Arihanta. When that happens, the person has destroyed the four ghati karmas namely Jnanavarniya (knowledge blocking) Karma, Darshanavarniya (perception blocking) Karma, Mohniya (passion causing) Karma and Antaraya (obstacle causing) Karma. These karmas are called Ghati karmas because they directly affect the true nature of the soul.

Arihanta attains:
1) Kevaljnan, perfect knowledge due to the destruction of all Jnanavarniya Karmas,
2) Kevaldarshan, perfect perception due to the destruction of all Darshanavarniya karmas,
3) becomes passionless due to the destruction of all Mohniya Karmas, and
4) gains infinite power due to the destruction of all Antaraya Karmas.
Complete knowledge and perception means they know and see everything everywhere that is happening now, that has happened in the past, and that will happen in the future.

Arihantas are divided into two categories:
1) Tirthankars and
2) Ordinary Arihants.
Tirthankars are special Arihants because they revitalize the Jain Sangh (four-fold Jain Order) consisting of Sädhus, Sädhvis, Shrävaks (male householders), and Shrävikäs (female householders). During every half time cycle, twenty-four persons like us rise to the level of Tirthankar. The first Tirthankar of our time period was Lord Rushabhdev, and the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankar was Lord Mahävira, who lived from 599 B. C. to 527 B. C. A Tirthankar is also called a Jinä. Jina means conqueror of passions. At the time of Nirvän (liberated from the worldly existence), Arihanta sheds off the remaining four aghati karmas namely
1) Nam (physical structure forming) Karma,
2) Gotra (status forming) Karma,
3) Vedniya (pain and pleasure causing) Karma and
4) Ayushya (life span determining) Karma.
These four karmas do not affect the true nature of the soul; therefore, they are called Aghati karmas. After attaining salvation these Arihants are called Siddhas.
 
Ordinary Arihants are those souls who attain salvation, but do not possess Tirthankar Nama Karma and hence, do not establish the Jain Order. After attaining salvation they are called Siddhas. Since Siddhas have attained ultimate liberation, we do not have access to them. However, Arihantas offer us spiritual guidance during their lifetime. In order to show our special reverence for their teachings, we bow to them first, hence the first verse of the Navkar Mantra. Currently, as per scriptures except at Mahavideh kshetra, there are no Arihantas. The last Arihant was Jambuswami. According to the Agams (Jain scriptures) there will be no more Arihantas during the remaining period of the current half-time cycle.

Siddhas:
Siddhas are the liberated souls. They are no longer among us because they have completely ended the cycle of birth and death. They have reached the ultimate highest state, salvation. They do not have any karma, and they do not collect any new karma thus freeing themselves forever from the cycle of birth and death (Akshaya Sthiti). This state of true freedom is called Moksha. Siddhas are experiencing ultimate, unobstructed bliss (Aksha Sukh) and are not subjected to any kind of suffering. They possess perfect and total knowledge (Anatjnan, Kevaljnana, Omniscience) and perception (Anat Darshan, Kevaldarshana, omniperception), that means they know and perceive everything in total that is happening now, that has happened in the past, and that which will happen in the future all at the same time and they also possess infinite vigor (Anant-Virya).

Acharyas:
The message of Jina, Lord Mahavira the last Tirthankara, is carried by the Acharya, our spiritual leaders. The responsibility of the spiritual welfare of the entire Jain Sangh rests on the shoulders of the Acharyas. Before reaching this state, one has to do an in-depth study and have a thorough mastery of the Jain Agams. In addition to acquiring a high level of spiritual excellence, they also have the ability to lead the monastic communion. They should also know the various languages of the country and have acquired a sound knowledge of other philosophies, ideologies, and religions of the region and the world.

Upadhyayas:
This title is given to those Sadhus who have acquired a special knowledge of the Agams and philosophical systems. They teach Jain scriptures to Sadhus and Sadhvis.
 
Sadhus and Sadhvis:
A male person who renounces the worldly life is called a Monk or Sadhu, and a female is called a Nun or Sadhvi. When householders become detached from the worldly aspects of life and aspire for spiritual uplift, they renounce their worldly lives and become Sädhus or Sädhvis, by accepting Deeksha. Before such initiation, they must stay with Sädhus or Sädhvis for a period of time to understand religious studies and to observe the code of conduct for renounced life. When they feel confident, they request an Ächärya to initiate them into the renounced order. If the Ächärya feels that they have the desire and capability to face the rigors of renounced life, then he gives them Deekshä. At the time of Deekshä, the newly initiated sadhu or sadhvi adopts five major vows which are as follows:
1. Observance of Ahimsa (Non-violence)-not to commit any type of violence (Savvao Panaivayao Virman Vrat)
2. Observance of Satya (Truth)-not to indulge in any type of lie or falsehood (Savvao Musavayao Virman Vrat)
3. Observance of Asteya (Non-stealing)-not to take anything unless it is given by the owner (Savvao Aadinnadanao Virman Vrat)
4. Observance of Brahamcharya (Celibacy)-not to indulge in any sensual pleasure (Savvao Mehunao Virman Vrat)
5. Observance of Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness)-not to acquire more than what is needed to maintain day to day life (Savvao Pariggrahao Virman Vrat)

Some other things they observe are:
1. They do not accept the food cooked specially for them;
2. They do not eat before sunrise or after sunset;
3. They drink boiled water;
4. They walk bare footed and do not sit in a car, train, airplane or any other vehicle;
5. They do not stay in one place for a longer time;
6. They do not touch any person of the opposite sex even the children of opposite sex;
7. They do not get involved in social or society affairs;
8. Some monks wear no clothes while others wear white clothes;
9. All nuns wear white clothes;
10. They offer spiritual guidance to us, Self-discipline and purity is the part of their daily life.
That is why Jain monks and nuns are unique. Their activities are directed towards the uplift of their souls to Paramätman (the state of liberation).