The text of Ṡrāvakācāra Sangraha (Compendium of Householder’s Conduct) has mentioned three types of rites or duties of the householders starting from conception and terminating into death. The right-faithed persons must undertake them as they result in good effects. The scholars have admitted the following three types of activities:50
|(a) Activities related to Conception||(b) Activities related to Initiation|
|(c) Subjective activities|
There are fifty three activities due to conception, forty eight activities due to initiations and seven subjective activities – thus, (53 + 48 + 7 = 108) one hundred eight in all. These are described in detail in the primary text of Upāsakādhyayana and these are described here in brief on the basis of whatever essence has been learnt by this author.
Following two duties / rituals are intended for the woman having bath on the fourth day of menstruation. This woman should offer worship etc. with her husband and, then, they should copulate only for the issue.
The conception ritual is defined as the sacramentation of the bathed woman through the Jina worship and chanting of incantations before the conception.
The process is given below : ‘Draw three wheels on the right of the Jina image and three sacred umbrellas on the left of the image along with three sacred fire (Puṇyāgni) pits. The couple should worship the Jinas and, then, complete the worship with offerings in sacrificial fires in the fire-pits.
This is ceremoneously celebrated in the third month of pregnancy. This also involves the Jina worship as in the earlier case. There should be adoration of the door of the house and two waterful pitchers should be placed there. Afterwards, the drums etc. should be played daily.
This is ceremoniously performed in the fifth month of pregnancy. It also involves the worship etc. as above.
This is also ceremoniously performed in the seventh month of pregnancy in the same way as above.
This is ceremoniously performed in the ninth month of pregnancy. In this ritual, the priest writes some seed letters on the body of the pregnant woman after reciting the incantations, recites auspicious litany, adore her with ornaments and bind the Kankaṇa thread for preservation of pregnancy.
This is ceremonised when the child is bom.
It is performed on the twelfth day of the birth in an auspicious constellation and time etc. The worship of the Jinas and seers is also essential in the ceremony.
This is performed in the second or third month of the birth. The child is taken out of the delivery room with beating of auspicious musial instmments.
The child is seated or laid on the bed in this activity.
This rite is performed in the seventh or eighth month. The child is given external food materials (cereals) after due Jina worship etc.
This is ceremonised when the child is one year old.
The child undergoes tonsuring of his head on the auspicious day after the worship of the Jina image.
At the age of five years, the child is shown and taught to write letters through various scripts and numbers followed by the reading of the scripts.
The sacred-threading ceremony is performed in the eighth year of the child.
In this ceremony, the (male) child is given to wear metallic girdle belt, white dhoti, sacred thread and hair-crest on the head. All these are signs of waist, thigh, chest and head respectively leading him to be capable for observing celibacy.
In this stage, sleeping on beds and beautifying the body etc. are prohibited. The vows are the five minor vows etc. He has to observe them. The vow of celibacy should be observed until the learning or studies are completed. The child should learn the householders’ practices alongwith studies of scriptures, grammar, logic, astrology and astonomy, prosody, mathematics and lexcography etc.
This activity involves release from the vows of renouncing of sleeping on earth and body-adoration etc. after 12 or 16 years. One can, however, accept good dresses, garlands and ornamentation etc. with the permission of religious teacher after it. Of course, one will maintain sacred thread and observe five minor vows and eight primary virtues etc. during the period after completion of studies.
After the vow-release activity, the marriage with a girl of good family should be celebrated with the permission of the teacher.
This activity involves living seperately with the permission of parents and accepting the proper share of wealth, grains and property.
This activity involves earning livelihood with honesty after getting independence from parents and observing six daily duties like deital worship etc.
This activity involves acquiring headship of the family while observing the family tradition and developing capacity to be the head of the household.
This activity involves to live peacefully while observing fasting etc. and undertaking self-studies after acquiring and enjoying the headship for some time and handing over the responsibilities of the household to the son.
When the votary is ready to renounce the home for forest-residing state, there is the ritual of house and household renunciation.
This activity involves initiation as two-clothed votary (Kṣullaka) – a preliminary stage for full sainthood – from the saint teacher.
This activity involves initiation as a full Jaina saint under the Acārya (Preceptor).
In this activity, the saint studies the scriptures silently until the scriptural knowledge is complete.
This activity involves reflections on the sixteen factors for becoming Tirthankara.
This activity involves acquirement of the position of Acārya when his preceptor thinks him qualified and offers him.
This activity means to be always ready to serve and maintain the four-fold order.
This activity means to hand over the responsibilities of Acārya to one’s own capable disciple.
This activity means to be detached by detaching oneself from the books and the disciples etc. and get involved in the reflection on the self.
This means to be involved in meditation on liberation.
This activity means to be ready for holy death after gradual abandonment of the four-fold foods.
It is having a rebirth in the world of empyreans after abandoning the body (death) through trance of mental, vocal and physical activities.
When one is bom as an empyrean, the deities there gather together and water-anoint him to the position of Lord of the empyreans (Indra).
This is the activity in which the Lord of deities appoints various deities bowing to him to their respective positions.
This is the activity of experiencing and enjoying pleasures of heavens by the lord of empyrean surrounded by many deities for a long time.
This is the activity of renouncing the position of the Lordship of deities after learning about the small life-span remaining and convincing the other deities about it.
This is the activity of being conceived in this-worldly mother after death in the heavens. The mother observes sixteen dreams and there is the rains of gems six months prior to his conception.
The conceived lord is bom with the best of the births. The lord has the sensory, vocable and clairvoyant knowledge while in the womb. The birth with these specialities is called the best of the births.
This activity involves water-anointing of the newly bom Venerable (Bhagavān) on the Mem mountain by the lord of the empyreans after carrying him there.
The lord of empyreans leams that the Venerable is the teacher of all the beings in the world. Hence, he offers worship to the world-teacher.
When the Venerable attains the youthhood, he is crowned as the heir-designate by his parents.
The activity of coronation of the heir-designate as the emperor is called coronation.
This activity involves the acquirement of royal wheel while as emperor.
This activity involves moving for the winning of all countries in all directions with the royal wheel ahead.
This activity involves anointment of the royal wheel when entering the capital city after alround victory.
The Venerable, after getting coronated as emperor, educates and teaches other kings under him the administration of justice and morality.
When adult, the Venerable emperor, gets detached from the emperorship, hands over the kingdom to his son and the world-termination- promoting Taukāntika deities come to encourage him for initiation. This activity involves moving out for Jinistic initiation.
The Venerable saint renounces the internal and external possessions and gets absorbed in meditation. He gets enlightened through the fire of omniscience in this activity.
When the Venerable attains omniscience, the holy- assembly hall (Samavasaraṇa) is constructed by the deities and their lords where he sermonises about the welfare of all the living beings.
The Venerable omniscient wanders throughout the country for sermons with the wheel of religion ahead of him.
When the activity of wandering is completed and the holy assembly hall is dissociated, the Venerable undertakes the activity of ‘cessasion of mental, vocal and physical activities.’
When the non-destructive karmas are destroyed, the Venerable attains the state of salvation and reaches the highest part of the universe-the abode of Siddhas.
Thus, these are the fifty three activities commencing from the stage of conception and ending into the stage of salvation. The liberatable beings should always undertake these activities.
These activities are the specific activities related with the individuals ready for accepting the vows. There are 48 such activities. They consist of 40 activities out of the 53 as described above by deducting the first 13 from them (upto the reading – writing activity) and additing eight additional ones as below :
|(1)Descent into right path (Avatāra)||(2)Acquisition of Vowal Conduct. (Vṛtta-lābha)|
|(3)Positional gain (Sthāna-lābha)||(4)Acceptance of Jinistic Deities (gaṇa-graha)|
|(5)Worship of the Venerable and Tistening to the Scriptures (Pūjā-rādhya)||(6)Sacred-earning Devotional activities (Puṇya-yajna)|
|(7)Deep Practices activities (Dṛdha-caryā)||(8)Standing posture activity (Upayogitā)|
This activity is performed when a wrong-faithed liberatable being is ready to follow the right path of religion. The individual goes to the preceptor, listens to religious sermons, detaches himself from the wrong path and utilises his intelligence into right path.
At this stage, the preceptor alone is his father and the knowledge of right path (and reals) is the refined form of conception. The liberatable being descends into this metaphysical conception and takes birth in the form of new religious man. This activity is taken as equivalent to conception as there is no birth in both these activities (of conception and following of religiosity).
This second activity is undertaken in the form of accepting the vows before the preceptor after listening to his sermons and offering bowings to him.
After accepting the vows, the individual undertakes fasting and is initiated in Jainism with proper rites. This activity is known as ‘positional gain’.52
After acquiring positional gains, the liberatable individual takes the images / photos of perverse deities away from his home while stating, “I have worshipped you for so long due to my ignorance. Now, I will worship the Jaina deities. Please do not be angry with me and you please go yourself wherever you like.” Thus, he keeps these perverse deities in other place and places the Jaina deities in his home and worships them. Thus, this activity involves worshipping the Jaina deities in his home.
This activity involves worshipping of the Jina images, undertaking vows of fasting etc. and listening to the meaning of twelve-fold canonical scriptures.
This activity involves listening to the meanings of fourteen pre-canons (Pūrvas) alongwith co-religious persons and works for activities leading to the increase in sacredness.
When the votary completes the study of own scriptures and starts listening to the scriptures or subjects of alien systems, he develops deep faith and observes Jinistic activities. This process is known as deep practices.
This activity involves undertaking meditation under standing posture in the night during the fasting in holy days.
Thus, when one deducts the first 13 activities out of the 53 described as above, and adds these eight activities, one has (53-13+8 =) 48 activities. All these are known as initiation activities.53
These are the activities incurrable by the individuals undertaking sacred acts which are the results of earlier right practices. There are seven subjective activities :
|(1) Good caste (Sajjāti)||(2) Good householdership (Sadgrihitva)|
|(3) Initiability (Pārivārjya)||(4) Lordship of Empyreans (Surendratā)|
|(5) Cakravartiship or Emperorship (Sāmarājya)||(6) Enlightened Venerability (Arhantya)|
|(7) Liberation (Parinirvāṇa)|
These activities could be there only for the liberatable being who has to live in the world for not too long. The first of these activities – good caste occurs when the nearly liberatable being is bom as human being.
When an individual takes birth in a good lineage capable of initiation, there is the activity of good-caste for him. The purification of the lineage of father is called ‘lineage’ (Kula) and the purification of the linage of mother is called ‘good caste’ (Sajjāti). When the activity of good caste is performed, the individual acquires some good virtues which makes it easier to acquire Ratnatraya.
This ‘good caste’ has been stated by birth in a good family because this is the basic cause for getting all the desires satisfied or accomplished. The person bom in a pure and good family is called twice-bom (Dvija) due to refinements in the same way as the gem found in a purified mine gets high quality after proper treatment.
The twice-bom bears the sacred thread with proper incantations following the sermons of the Jinas. The three strands of the sacred threads are physical symbols while the attributes of right faith etc. are psychical symbols of the votary. This is first activity of ‘good caste’ for the votary refined through the quality of sacred threading.
The liberatable individual associated with good caste activity becomes a good householder and follows the six non-violent professions as prescribed for noblemen. The individual is called a good householder when he follows and practices all that is meant for householders as enunciated by the Enlightened Jinas.
The householder tries to remove the sins caused due to the six types of professions like weaponary and writing etc. through the good inclinations of compassion, friendship and delight etc., means like penitence etc. and conduct like observance of vows etc.
The activity of initiation in the Jina order while maintaining detachment from the household activities is termed as ‘initiatiability’ or ‘wandering sainthood’. In this activity, the individual abandons attachment and accepts nakedness. Only those persons are capable of initiation,55 who are pure by lineage and family, whose conducts are excellent, whose faces are beautiful and whose genious is appreciable. Getting initiated by the saint is the third activity of initiation.
On the fmition of the effect of wandering sainthood, the individual acquires the lordship of empyreans. This is the fourth activity.
It is an activity through which one acquires the emperorship of Cakravarti enriched with all the property of enjoying consummables and non-consummables bestowed through his nine treasures and fourteen gems alongwith the royal wheel gem.
When the enlightened one takes birth after his heavenly life-span and acquires the richness in terms of five auspicious events (Pancakalyāṇaka), the process is called enlightened venerability. This activity excites the whole world emotionally.
It is the highest state of soul when it is liberated from the bondage of the worldly life-cycle. This is the seventh activity.
The liberatable person acquires a good caste, becomes a good householder and goes to heavens after becoming a saint. He acquires the richness of the Lord of empyreans. Afterwards, he dies there and takes birth as an enhghtened one (Arhanta) with high magnanimity and attains salvation.