Arhat Vandanā ► 3.0 Arhat Vandanā - Explanation

Posted: 24.11.2010







seed mantra

Om or Aum is a seed mantra, regarded as the most important of all sounds. The sound of Om awakens our vital energy and vibrates at the top of the head.

Aum also represents the five supreme souls of Arhat, Ashariri (Siddha), Āchārya, Upādhyāy and Muni (Sādhu) i.e. A+A+A+U+M = AUM. In a way this small mantra contains the power of the whole Namaskār Mantra.


seed mantra

Hreem is another seed mantra which represents the energy of the sun. By chanting this mantra we can increase our strength and energy. In addition it helps to awaken our intuition power.

The Namaskār Sutra is a powerful mantra in itself however when it is recited with the seed mantras Om and Hreem it becomes even more potent and effective.

Namo arahantanam

namo - bow;
arahantānam - to enlightened ones

I bow to the Arhats, the enlightened ones. They are those who have conquered attachment and aversion and the four defilements of anger, pride, deceit and greed. The Arhats are the propounders of the four-fold order of monks, nuns, lay men and lay women (Tirth). For this reason they are called Tirthankars (establishers of the Tirth).

Namo siddhānam

namo - bow;
siddhānam - to liberated ones

I bow to the Siddhas, the liberated souls. They are those who have destroyed all the eight karmas and ceased the cycle of birth and death. They have attained the ultimate aim of tnoksha or liberation and reside in the pure form of the soul.

Namo ayariyanam

namo - bow;
āyariyānam - to religious leaders

I bow to the Achāryas, the religious leaders. They are the living representatives of the Tirthankars. They are self-disciplined and maintain the religious order.

Namo uvajjhāyānam

namo - bow;
uvajjhāyānam - to religious teachers

I bow to the Upādhyāyas, the religious teachers. They are those who have knowledge of the scriptures and who teach these scriptures to others.

Namo loe savva sāhoonam

namo - bow; l
oe - of the universe;
savva - all;
sāhoonam - to monks and nuns

I bow to all the monks and nuns. They have renounced the worldly life and observe the five great vows of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possessiveness.


Eso pancha namukkāro, Savvapāvapanāsano.

Mangalānam cha savvesim, Padhamam havai mangalam.

eso - this;
pancha - five;
namukkāro - salutations;
savva - all;
pāva - sin;
panāsano - destroyer;
mangalānam - auspicious;
cha - and;
savvesim -a mongst all;
padhamam - the first;
havai - is;
mangalam - auspicious

These five great salutations, destroy all our sins. Amongst all that is auspicious, this is the first and foremost. The Namaskār Sutra salutes the Arhat, Siddha, Achārya, Upādhyāya and all the saints.

The sutra has such power that by reciting it all problems that cause us misery can be solved. It can also remove obstacles that occur in our life; the reason being that problems and obstacles are caused by sinful behaviour, whilst the five salutations destroy all sins.

By chanting this mantra with deep devotion we can achieve the highest form of bliss.


Je ya buddha aikkanta, Je ya buddha anagaya.

Santee tesim paitthānam, Bhooyānam jagaee jahā.

je - those;
ya - and;
buddhā - omniscient;
aikkantā - have been in the past;
anāgayā - will be in the future;
santee - peace;
tesim - whose,
paitthānam - base (foundation);
bhooyānam - of creatures;
jagaee - on the earth;
jahā - like.

: In this world every being wants to achieve peace. But the fact is that the common man is confined to the enjoyment of transitory happiness, whilst actual peace is that which is eternal. In this sutra Lord Mahavir says that to achieve this peace, one must achieve a state of moksha or liberation which is the ultimate aim of all creatures. Tirthankars continue their spiritual practice until they achieve ultimate peace. So peace is the resting place for all the Tirthankars of the past and future just as earth is the resting place for all creatures.


Se suyam cha me, ajjhatthiyam cha me -

Bandhapamokkho tujjha ajjhattheva.

se - what ever that;
suyam - have heard;
cha ­ and;
me - I;
ajjhatthiyam - what ever has been experienced;
bandh - bondage;
pamokkho - freedom;
tujjha - your;
ajjhattheva - within the self

Jainism believes in karma theory. Accordingly karma is considered the root cause of bondage whilst the creator of karma is one's own soul. The power to get rid of this bondage is also within oneself. The soul due to its laxity and non-vigilance creates its own bondage by attracting karmic particles which result from inauspicious enthusiasm, action, strength, energy, self-exertion and stamina. On the other hand the soul due to its self-awareness and vigilance affects its own liberation from karmic bondage by means of its own auspicious enthusiasm, action, strength, energy, self exertion, and stamina. This sutra therefore says that "I have heard and experienced that both bondage and liberation are within myself".


Purisā! Tumameva tumam mittam,

Kim bahiyā mittamicchasi?

purisā - Oh man;
tumameva - only you are;
tumam - yours;
mittam - friend;
kim - why;
bahiyā - outside;
icchasi - want

There are times where a person may rely on someone else to help them through a situation. This sutra provides spiritual support in such situations: "Oh man you yourself are your friend." The vigilant self alone is your friend. "Why do you seek a friend outside?" An external friend might deceive you, but your inner friend, your soul will never deceive you. So make your soul your friend, be vigilant and self aware and do not waste time in search of an external friend.


Purisā! Attānameva abhinigijjha,

Evam dukkhā pamokkhasi.

purisā - Oh man;
attānameva - only of the self;
abhinigijjha - discipline;
evam - in this way;
dukkhā - from misery;
pamokkhasi - you will get freedom.

It is human nature to seek happiness and to try and get rid of misery. But the question is how can we attain freedom from misery? To answer this question and emphasizing the root cause of suffering this sutra says. "Oh man! Restrain your own soul which is attached to pleasurable feelings and averse to painful ones. In this way you will be free from suffering." Suffering arises from pleasurable and painful feelings. The person who subdues his feelings (passions) can easily get rid of suffering.


Purisā! Tumansi nāma saccheva,

Jam "hantavvam" ti mannasi.

purisā - Oh man;
tumansi nāma - you;
saccheva - that it is you only;
jam - whom;
hantavvam -to be killed;
ti - in this way;
mannasi - you consider

This sutra says, "The one whom you intend to kill is none than yourself". All souls are closely interrelated. From the collective point of view then all souls are the same; thus if we kill or hurt others, we are effectively killing or hurting ourselves. It can also be said that while killing or hurting others, we accumulate bad karma particles; with the lapse of time we have to bear the fruit of these inauspicious karmas. It is therefore true to say that the one whom you intend to kill is none other than yourself.


Savve pānā na hantavvā -

Esa dhamme dhuve, niie, sāsae.

savve - all;
pānā - creatures;
na - not;
hantavvā - to be killed;
esa - this;
dhamme - religion (non-violence);
dhuve - eternal;
niie - perennial;
sāsae - unchanging

: In this world all creatures have a desire to live; nobody has the right to kill any being and thus quash that desire. Non-violence is a philosophy which cannot be confined to a particular sect. It can neither be changed nor destroyed. It is the heart of the Jain religion and will exist for ever.


Purisā! Sachameva samabhijānāhi.

purisā - oh man;
sachameva - only truth;
samabhijānā hi - you contemplate and practice

In this sutra the truth refers to the real nature of the soul which is eternal vs. the non-eternal nature of worldly objects. Unless and until this truth is properly known and understood, there cannot be relief from suffering. Therefore Lord Mahavir says that one should contemplate on truth and practice it accordingly.


Saccham bhayavam.

saccham - truth;
bhayavam - God

Whatever is propounded by the Jinas is necessarily true and free from all doubts because they have experienced it directly. For this reason we can say that the truth is God because it is propounded by God (Jinas).


Saccham loyammi sārabhooyam.

saccham - truth;
loyammi - in the universe;
sārabhooyam - essence;

The above sutra explains that the truth is God. To that extent, this sutra explains that truth (God) is the essence of all that is contained within the universe.


Inameva niggantham pāvayanam saccham.

inameva - only this;
niggantham - of omniscients;
pāvayanam - sermon;
saccham - truth

The meaning of granthi is knot. A person who is free from the knots of attachment and aversion is known as a nirgranth or omniscient. Being free from attachment and aversion means that by definition a nirgranth can not speak any lie so whatever is preached by them, must therefore be considered to be the truth.


Utthie no pamāyae

utthie - once you awake;
no - don't;
pamāyae - fall back into non-vigilance

In this sutra the meaning of awake is to be vigilant or be enthusiastic about achieving the ultimate goal of liberation. Once awake do not fall back into a state of non-vigilance. This instruction is very useful because in the absence of necessary enthusiasm and exertion, a person even though awake can fall back into the state of the un-awakened.


Savvato pamattassa bhayam,

Savvato appamattassa natthi bhayam.

savvato - from all sides;
pamattassa - non-vigilant;
bhayam - fear;
apamattassa - awake;
natthi -no

A non-vigilant person is subject to fear from all sides. All sides relates to fears in respect of substance, space, time and mode. Fear pervades all points of the soul (substance), from all six directions (space), at each moment (time), in all states of existence (mode). The person who is overwhelmed by attachment or aversion is non-vigilant. The person under the sway of attachment fears bereavement from his dear ones. The person under the sway of aversion fears facing an undesirable situation. There is no fear however for the person who maintains an even disposition towards desirable and undesirable objects. The implication is that where there is passion, there must be fear; where there is no passion, there reigns fearlessness.


Samayā dhammamudhāhare muni.

samayā - equanimity;
dhamma - religion;
mudāhare - proclaimed;
muni - monk

Lord Mahavir says "Dharma is nothing but equanimity". A feeling of attachment towards that which is desired and aversion towards that which is undesired is non-equanimity; to be balanced in all favourable and unfavourable situations is equanimity. Attachment and aversion are not innate characteristics of the soul. Equanimity is the intrinsic nature of soul. Dharma and equanimity is one. So the Lord proclaims that "equanimity is dharma".


Lābhālābhe suhe dukkhe, Jivie marane tahā. Samo nindā pasansāsu, Tahā mānāvamānao.

lābhālābhe - in profit or loss;
suhe - in pleasure;
dukkhe - in pain;
jivie - in life;
marane - in death;
tahā - in the same way;
samo - equanimous;
nindā pasansāsu - in criticism or appreciation;
mānāvamānao - in honour or dishonour

Human life is full of conflicts. To show the reality of human life in this sutra five conflicts are explained. It is natural to be pleased in favourable situations and be sad in unfavourable situations but one who remains neutral in gain and loss, pleasure and pain, life and death, criticism and appreciation, respect and disrespect is a real spiritual practitioner; this is the only way to succeed in the pursuit of spirituality.


Anissio iham loe, Paraloe anissio.

Vāsichandanakappo ya, Asane anasane tahā.

anissio - one who is detached;
iham - this (present);
loe - life;
paraloe - in the next life;
vāsi - chisel;
chandan - with sandal paste;
kappo - alike;
ya - and;
asane - getting food;
anasane - remaining starved;
tahā - in the same way

Throwing more light on equanimity Lord Mahavir says equanimous is the one whose mental state is stable when offered the luxuries of this life or the next life, who remains balanced whether cut by a chisel or salved by sandal paste, or whether he gets food or has to remain starved.


Appā kattā vikattā ya, Duhāna ya suhāna ya.

Appā mittamamittam cha, Duppatthiya suppatthio.

appā - soul;
kattā - maker;
vikattā - un-maker;
ya - and;
duhāna - of pain;
suhāna - of pleasure;
mittam - friend;
amittam - enemy;
cha - and;
dupatthiya - indulged in evil deeds;
suppatthio -indulged in good deeds

According to Jainism only our soul can cause us pain or pleasure. Our soul can be considered to be a friend and a foe; a soul endowed with auspicious deeds is our friend while a soul endowed with evil deeds is our enemy. This sutra therefore explains an important truth; that we should stop seeking pleasures from others or indeed blaming them for our misfortunes.


Appā nai veyarani, Appā me koodasāmali.

Appā kāmaduhā dhenu, Appā me nandanam vanam.

appā - soul;
nai - river;
veyarani - one of the rivers of hell;
me - my;
koodasāmali - one of the trees of hell;
kāmaduhā dhenu - heavenly cow;
nandanam vanam - heavenly garden

The soul of Lord Mahavir experienced various forms of existence. The progress and regression of the soul is explained through four kinds of analogy. The two analogies Vaitarani nadi (hellish river) and Kootshālmali vriksha (hellish tree) show the regression of the soul while Kāmadhenu (heavenly cow) and Nandanvan (heavenly garden) show the development of the soul. The river Vaitarani is in hell. Unlike all the rivers of earth it is full of hot blood. One who acquires bad karma takes birth in hell, where to quench his thirst he has to drink that hot blood in the place of cold water. The tree named Kootshālmali is also found in hell. The leaves of this tree are like sharpened swords. Due to their bad karma hellish beings have to suffer the unbearable piercing of these leaves in the place of a cool shadow.

To show the uplifting of a soul the example of a heavenly cow is given. Kāmadhenu can fulfil all the desires of a man. Nandan garden is also in heaven. In this garden heavenly beings rest and enjoy the luxuries of heaven. Thus through the above described analogies the Lord says "A soul that indulges in bad deeds is like the Vaitarani river and Kootshālmali tree of hell whereas a soul that indulges in good deeds is like Kāmadhenu and Nandanvan.


Jo sahassam sahassānam, Sangāme dujjae jine.

Egam jinejja appānam, Esa se paramo jao.

jo - who;
sahassam sahassānam - million;
sangāme - battlefield;
dujjae - difficult to be conquered;
jine - conquers;
egam - one;
jinejja - conquers;
appānam- to soul;
esa - this;
se - his;
paramo - a great;
jao -victory

One warrior conquers a million enemies in a war which is difficult to be won. On the other hand a person conquers his own soul. One is the conqueror in the battle field while the other is the conqueror of his own soul. Between these two victors the greater winner is the one who attains victory over his own self (the real victory). Victory over the self means defeating the moh karma (deluding karma). Moh karma is known as destructive karma because it destroys the true nature of the soul. Thus victory over the self is regarded as the greatest of all victories.


Khāmemi savva jive, Savve jivā khamantu me.

Mitti me savva bhooesu, Veram majjha na kenai.

khāmemi - I forgive;
savva - all;
jive - beings;
savve - all;
jivā - beings;
khamantu - let all forgive;
me -me;
mitti - amity;
me - my;
savva bhooesu - with all beings;
veram - enmity;
majjha - my;
na - no;
kenai - unto none

This   sutra   contains   the   secret   to succeeding in life. Lord Mahavir says that one should forgive all beings and also ask for forgiveness from them. One who knows how to forgive others actually knows how to live life. One can forgive others only when one is able to tolerate others. If we tolerate all, we have amity with all. Forgiveness has the power to establish good relations and to make the whole world a friend. That path leads towards a success which is devoid of enemies and full of friends. So one should always cultivate the feeling of friendliness towards all.



Arahantā mangalam, Siddhā mangalam,

Sāhoo mangalam, Kevali-pannatto dhammo mangalam.

arahantā - enlightened ones; mangalam -auspicious; siddhā - liberated ones; sāhoo - monks and nuns; kevali - omniscient ones; pannatto - propounded by; dhammo - the religion

"The enlightened ones, liberated ones, saints and the religion propounded by the omniscient ones are auspicious."

The idea behind this sutra is that when the mind is repeatedly told that four entities are auspicious and blissful, it is induced to accept it, and then begins to aspire for such bliss.


Arahanta loguttama, Siddha loguttama,

loguttamā, Kevali-pannatto dhammo loguttamo.

arahantā - enlightened ones; l
oguttamā -supreme in the universe;
siddhā - liberated ones;
sāhoo - monks and nuns;
kevali - omniscient ones;
pannatto -propounded by;
dhammo - the religion

"I take refuge in the enlightened ones, I take refuge in the liberated ones, I take refuge in the saints, and I take refuge in the religion propounded by the omniscient ones."

The last sutra pertains to surrendering to such entities. Having realised that the four entities are blissful and supreme, one has a natural desire to surrender to them. This surrender leads to the loss of ego and arrogance, which are sources of evils.


Arahante saranam pavajjāmi, Siddhe saranam

Sāhoo saranam pavajjāmi, Kevali-
pannattam dhammam saranam pavajjāmi.

arahante - of enlightened ones;
saranam -refuge;
pavajjāmi - I am taking;
siddhe - of liberated ones;
sāhoo - of monks and nuns;
kevali - omniscient ones;
pannattam - propounded by;
dhammam - of the religion

"I take refuge in the enlightened ones, I take refuge in the liberated ones, I take refuge in the saints, and I take refuge in the religion propounded by the omniscient ones." The last sutra pertains to surrendering to such entities. Having realised that the four entities are blissful and supreme, one has a natural desire to surrender to them. This surrender leads to the loss of ego and arrogance, which are sources of evils.

The above three verses are known as Mangal Sutra or Mangal Path. In the Jain tradition, just like Namaskār Sutra, Mangal Sutra is regarded as an extremely important prayer. Before starting any new and auspicious activity Jains visit monks and nuns to hear this Mangal Path.

Of the five entities specified in Namaskār Sutra, Achāryas, Upādhyāyas, and Sādhus all belong to the cadre of monks or nuns. They can therefore be grouped together as Sādhus. The five entities are thus covered by Mangal Sutra within the categories of Arhat, Siddha and Sādhu. In addition one more aspect is specified, which is the religion that lays down the path of true and lasting happiness.

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Arhat Vandana

Samani Prasanna Pragya,
Samani Rohit Pragya
Publisher: JVB London
Edition: 2008