Philosophy In Jain Agams ► 06 ►ĀCĀRĀ MIMĀNSĀ [Ethics - A Critical Probe]] ► Types of Conduct ► Viryācāra: (Conduct qua Spiritual Energy) ► Practice of Yogic Posture (Remaining in a Particular Posture)

Posted: 19.07.2019

Practice of postures has been sanctioned in the Jain tradition of spiritual practice. Lord Mahavira himself practiced the postures. He used to meditate remaining in a particular yogic posture.[1] The Lord engaged himself in meditation, being seated in the proper posture. The principle postures of Lord Mahavira during the time period of his spiritual practice are the 'ukkuḍu' posture, vira posture, milking posture and standing posture etc.[2] Postures are the main constituent of the Jain tradition of spiritual practice. The 'kāyakleśa' austerities and penances are related to the posture itself.[3] For the Jain ascetics, Lord Mahavira has mentioned some special postures; such as[4] -

  1. Sthānāyatika- The posture in which one has to stand straight is known as Sthānāyatika. This posture is of three types- The exercising in the standing posture that is ūrdhva Sthāna, the exercising in the sitting posture that is niīdana sthāna and exercising in the sleeping posture that is śayanasthāna. The sthānāyatika is the ūrdhvasthāna. In this posture, occupied with the kāyostarga (relaxed state of body with abandonment of its activities), one has to stand bending both the arms towards the knees.
  2. Utkaukāsanika- posture of sitting on the heels with hands on the knee.
  3. Pratimāsthāyī (a pratimā posture) - To be just like a sitting or standing pratimā (idol), is said pratimā posture. This is a type of austerity. In this penance, kāyotsarga and meditation are preferred more in comparison to fast. The Sthānāga commentator has taken the meaning of pratimā as 'remaining in the posture of kāyotsarga'.[5]
  4. Virāsana- The posture of the body after sitting on the lion postured seating (sinhāsana) and to remain in that position without the seat is vīrāsana. This is a tough kind of posture. Its practice can only be done by a strong man. So, its name is vīrāsana.[6]
  5. Naiadhika-It means method of sitting. It is of five types.

So in the āgama literature, there is a mention of many types of postures like Danḍāyatika, Laganasāyī etc. The kāyotsarga posture, meditation etc. have been emphasized, in the Jain tradition of spiritual practice since the beginning.[7]

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