Thus, having made such a noble resolution and after completing the usual morning routine like answering to the nature’s call etc. take a bath with filtered water. While having the bathe, shampoo or soap should not be used. Then you should go to temple in simple, washed clothes. That is so because if we ut on a bright, gaudy dress for the temple, other people might be distracted from god’s darshan, worship, meditation etc. thereby, putting the gult of sin on us.
The usual dress in olden times for women as well as men visiting a temple used to be a yellow or white saree, dhoti or dupatta (A shoulder cloth), in which, one used to be contained within oneself and thus, was able to pay total attention to religious considerations-meditation etc.
Remember, we should not bring leather objects like belts, shoes, sand, purses etc. into use. That is because with touch of our bodies, bacterias of the same kind as the animal whose leather it is, would keep getting born and dying. Mothers and sisters should not put lipstick on their lips or nail-polish on their nails as both the things are made from blood of living beings. Scent etc. too are manufactured through violent methods, therefore, while coming to temple, even they should not be used. Care must be taken that our mouth does not remain tasted. unrinsed or stale, i.e., there should not be even a trace of clove, cardemon, fennel, betelnut, tobacco, gutkha, paanmasala etc. A clean mouth preserces the purity of our rendering or chanting as well as body and reflects the qualities of our humility and respect for those worthy of our regard.
We should walk eeryapatha, i.e. viewing just four arms length of land below, carrying with us according to our capacity, pure holy water, sandal, akshata, flowers, naivedya (pure foodstuff), earthen lamp, incense, fruits etc., duly placed in a plate or small container or dibia.
There is no hard and fast rule that only these particular offering can be offered to god. One can offer according to one’s individual sense of reverence, devotion, capacity etc. In this context, Pt. Shri Sadasukhdasji has written in his commentary or Ratnakarand Shravakachar.
All Brahmans, Kshatrias, Vaishyas, Shudras, females, males, eunachs, rich, poor, sick, healthy etc. in accordance with time and place, worship Jinendra to the best of their capacity. Some of them live in villages, some in towns, some in forests, some stay in very small villages. Out of all those, some perform their worship with recitation or chanting, in addition ot making their eight kinds of offerings. Some people offer just dry grains of barely, wheat gram, maize bajra, urd, moong etc. Some bring bread and some rabri (condensed milk). Some fetch flowers from their gardens while others come with daal-chawal (cooked pulse and rice) and other preparations. Some offer numerous varieties of ghevar, laadoo, peda, barfi, poori, puwa etc. (all sweetmeats). Some simply say their prayers, some perform veneration while others present devotional songs and dances to the accompaniment of musical instruments.
Thus, just as they have knowledge and society, capability, wealth and power, in keeping with time and place, people are devotees of Jinendra. They earn immense punya (divine credit) by having communion with ascetism, prayer, worship etc.
“There is nothing huilty about placing good things before Tirthankar’s idol. It carries no abnormality. Love of religion brings happiness and well-being to creatures.”
Therefore, we do not need to dispute it with anyone as to what to offer at a temple and what not, Rather, we should apply good sense instead of contention. Then alone shall we obtain appropriate fruits of this act.
In Ajmer (Rajasthan). There are five consecutive nasias (memorial at the spot where a saint leaves this world through samadhi) built there. The first nasia is famous as Soniji’s nasia, because it has beautiful creations og gold. all kinds of people-Indian and foreign, Jains and non-jainis-come to see it. At this very nasia, on the occasions of anant Chaturdashi and Nirvaan Ladoo, home-made preparations, sweet-meats etc. from Soniji’s family are still offered.
We have camped at many places in Bundelkhand (Madhya Pradesh). Even today, on Mahavir Jayanti, Anant Chaturdashi and Nirvaan Ladoo, pure home-made cookies and sweets are offered at Jain temples over there. In Etawah (Uttar Pradesh), my chaaturmas took place. There in Etawah (Uttar Pradesh), my chaaturmas took place. There two shrawaks or the devotees offered streams of panchamrit and many homemade sweets on Anant Chaturdashi.
What more to say on this topic ? Jain Kumbha Mela that comes after every twelve years, the Panchamrit Abhishek of Gomateshwar Bahubali-the ninth wonder of the world, is the centre of reverence and faith for all of us, where all distinction of north and south disappears. What can be a more vibrant, apt proof for all of us ?
Thus, all this proves that there might be dissimilarities in the samagries or articles meant for offering in temples, dictated by region, time and sentiments. In this manner, at least something is carried while paying visit to temple for god’s darshan. But one question arises. God is beyond all attachments, what is the purpose behind making these offerings ? Listen, moralists have said.
रिक्त पाणिनैव पश्येत् राजानां देवतां गुरूं।
नैमित्तिक विशेषेण फलेन फलमादिशेत्।।
Rikti paninaiva pashyet rajanam devatam gurum,
Naimittic visheshena falen falamadishet.
Which means, one should never go to king, god, teacher, doctor, astrologer etc. empty handed. In other words, at least some gift must be presented, because fruit begets fruit. Satisfaction or fulfilment of the emotion with which we visit a temple lies in our material offering. That is why it is said :
द्रव्यस्य शुद्धि — मधिगम्य यथानुरूपं,
भावस्य शुद्धि—मधिका—मधिगन्तु काम:।
आलंबनानि विविधान्य—वलम्ब्य बल्गन्।
भूतार्थ यज्ञ पुरुशस्य करोमि यज्ञं।।
Dravyasya shuddhi madhigamya yathanuroopam,
Bhavasya shuddhi madhika madhigantu kamah.
Alambanani vividhanya valambya balgan,
Bhootartha yagya yurushasya karomi yagyan.
Which means that after obtaining the desired refinement of material or physical objects, in order to attain the refinement of feelings, the essence of whatever we offer as oblation is that we perform the yajna only for those who are worthy of it, i.e. the gods.
You must have read in scriptures, must have even heard that while having darshan of Lord Jinendra, people used to offer precious stones (jems) such as diamonds, pearls, jades, rubies. In Darshan Katha, Manorama took a vow to take her food only after offering gajamukta (a kind of precious stone) to the god and having his darshan. She also observed her rule and even stood the test. Blessed be such a glorious soul silver etc. too is an indication of our devotion, Making the offerings is a means for refining our outcome or fate, and the amount of wealth that we place at god’s feet is in direct proportion to the amount of greed that we get rid of. Having the samagri in our hand, our resolve to visit the temple and have god’s darshan remains with even on the way.
Aho ! Behold !! In Rajgrihi, a frog, a creature of the lower, insignificant form was proceeding towards Bhagwan Mahavir Swami with a lotus (flower) in his mouth. But suddenly, he died, crushed under the feet of king Shrenik’s elephant. So merely by having the holy resolve of Samvasarna’s darshan, he attained the status of divine god. I have heard that when poor Sudama went to Dwariks to see Narain Shrikrishna, he too had carried some rice in a pouch as a gift to him. When even resourceless creatures like the lowest beings and poor, ordinary prople do not go to their objects of veneration empty handed, then if we, despite being resourceful go to visit the master of all the three worlds empty handed, we are not going to receive any blessings out of that darshan.
Everybody should make a daily offering of at least 100 gms. Of good rice, 2-4 nuts, betel, clove, cardamom, chhuharas, chitkas etc. When you can spend in fifties on your addictions like tea. betel, tobacco, cigarette etc. can you not afford five rupees of samagri for Shri Jinendra ? Mothers and sisters too spend quite a good sum over useless fashions, but they act miserly in offering samagri to the Bhagwan. From home, they would bring a full dibbi to the temple. but in reality, offer just a little from it and carry the rest back home. This way, their single dibbi does for 4-6 days.
I would like to ask you, if a guest happens to visit you, bringing a pack of sweets, and after putting four pieces of sweets in your plate, carries away the rest back home, how would you feel about that ? Or, if you, as a guest, do the same to somebody else, how would your host feel. It is a matter of a little bit of introspection on your part. In practice, is it not the same thing that you actually do to the Lord of the three worlds ? What would be the outcome or fruit of such kind of act on our part ? Therefore, we ought to carry just the exact quantity of samagri that we intend to offer in a single visit.
Quite often, people even ask the question as to why is it that we mostly offer rice at the temple. Listen ! Rice forms an important, wholesome diet for the human life. In every province, people-rich or poor, use it in their food. Also, our Tirthankars, after their initiation or diksha have been taking ksheeranna or kheer (rice cooked in milk sugar added to it) as their first meal after that. An amount of one thousand grains of rice is considered as equivalent to a single morsel of our food from chaff, it loses its germinating power, i.e. if sown, it would not grow or germinate. Being white, rice is symbolic of shukla leshya (purest stain). No creature can make its home in a grain of rice. Whole or unbroken grains are also called akshata (that which cannot be broken or damaged). By offering those, people desire and pray for akshya pada, i.e. unbreakable position in life, and so on. Thus there are numerous reasons behind the practice of offering rice at a temple.
Again, another questions arises. When our lord is beyond all attachment or passion, he neither bestows anything on us nor asks for anything from us. Then why do we go to make such expensive offerings to him ? Besides, certain items in the samagri, e.g., flowers, earthen lamp, incense, fruits etc. are not entirely free from violence in any from. Even then we make offerings with those. Why ? All these queries and doubts have been answered by Swami Samantabhadracharya ji in the strotas or psalms eulougising Tirthankar Vasupuiya ji.
न पूजयार्थस्त्वयि वीतरागे न निन्दया नाथ ! विवान्त वैरे।
तथापि ते पुण्य—गुण स्म तिर्न: पुनातु चित्तं दुरिता जनेभ्य:।।५७।।
पूज्यं जिनं त्वा—चर्यतो जनस्य, सावद्य लेशो बहुपुण्य राशौ।
दोषाय नालं कणिका, विषस्य, न दूषिका शीत शिवाम्बु राशौ।।५८।।
Na poojyarthastvaya veetaraga na nindaya nath ! vivaata vaire.
Tathapi te punya-guna smritirnah punatu chittam duritanjanebhyah
Poojam Jinam twa charyato janasya, savadya lesho bahupunya rashao
Doshaya nalam Kanika vishya, na dooshika sheet shivambu rashau.
O God that is absolutely ascetic ! When worshipped, thou art not delighted, and when criticised or condemned, thou brookst no enmity. Even then, the humankind makes its heart holy by the memory of your unblemished attributes. Although there is a certain amount of initial violence involved in the worship of the worthies, and the beginning is tinged with violence, i.e. sin, but your worship lends it immeasurable amount of piety. For that reason, this violence is rendered utterly immaterial.
For instance, if a drop of poision gets into the huge mass of nectarlike water of an ocean, it does not make the water poisonous. Likewise, against the tremendous amount of piety earned through worship etc., where would a single drop of sin stand ? Obviously nowhere. Worship, piety, alms, fasting etc. are indeed not possible without violence.
Through scientific research, that offerings of pure ghee (a form of butter) etc. At a non-violent religious ritual performed in temples tend to purify of the environment. Scientists say that performing yajna with pure ghee tends to weaken atomic radiation in the atmosphere. Yajna with ten grams of ghee produces one tonne of oxygen. That is why lamps duly covered with a glass pane or steel net so that minute creatures are not put to violence.
Thus, one should hold the Acharya’s (teacher’s) word as authentic and not attach importance to unsubstantiated personal views of others.
In the book `Dhawala’, a disciple put a very fine question to Acharya Virsen Swami, “O Master ! When Arihant’s four self obscuring Karmas were destroyed, out of those, by destroying Antaraya (a Karm which blokcs gain) take place his infinite virility. Then why doesn’t he bless us with his infinite charity. Or if he does, why can’t we see it, receive it ?
Acharya Virsen Swami responded to this and said, `O Pupil, the God bestows His infinite charity ceaselessly. If he did not do so, his worth would go down. But if there is not dissolution of one’s Labhantrya karma altruistic deeds, one would not be able to draw benefit from that infinite charity.
All of you must have read or heard the character of Akrut Punya (Dhanya Kumar). In his previous birth, he had ate up (misappropriated) the wealth of a temple. Even then he got born into a wealthy family. But the moment he arrived into his moter’s womb, the rich monied man (his father) lost all his wealth, and the moment he was born, his father died, That was why he was named Akrut Punya.
Akrut’s mother somehow brought him up, working as a laborer. When he became 14-15 years old, he too started working with laborers at a rich farmer’s field. In the evening, other laborers made an appeal to the owner to pay wages to the boy too. Then, the master asked for his introduction. They told him that he was the son of your former master. After his death, the boy and his mother were forced to earn their livelihood through laboring out.
The master was deeply moved by pity for the boy. He sent away the other laborers with their regular wages, but generously gave Akrut precious things like gold and silver. Strangely the moment the boy took hold of those things, his hands started severely burning as if placed on burning fire, which caused unbearable agony to him. He instantly dropped those riches.
Still, out of compassion, the master thought of giving him some additional quantity of grams. He obviously figured out that gold and silver were not in his destiny. Thus he gave the boy a lot of grams bound in a piece of cloth. But most of the grams escaped through a hole, and a very small quantity of it could finally get to his home.
Thus, all this means that whatever wealth, material or samagri we offer at a temple definitely constitutes the instrument of dissolution of Antaraya Karma, because of which, willingly or unwillingly, we inevitably receive things at a temple. When by eating up the barred materials of a temple, one can have to soffer poverty, then if by offering things at the temple, one comes upon wealth and glory, is it any wonder ?