It is Paryushana in 6 days time. Thus in preparation of the 8 days to come, I thought it would be good to blog about the Bhavnas beforehand. Some food for thought! 🙂

So what’s a Bhavna? Well…Jainism puts a significant emphasis on the thought process of a human being. A person’s behaviour and his actions are the reflection of his internal thoughts, day in and day out. Our thoughts and actions result in the accumulation of Karma. Thus we should be mindful in our thoughts. Jainism expresses a need to make room for pure thoughts, and to drive out the impure ones. A way to do this would be through reflecting or meditating on the twelve thoughts or Bhavnas.

The twelve Bhavnas described here are the subject matters of one’s meditation, and how to occupy one’s mind with useful, religious, beneficial, peaceful, harmless, spiritually advancing, karma preventing thoughts. They cover a wide field of teachings of Jainism. They are designed to serve as aids to spiritual progress, produce detachment, and lead the aspirants from the realm of desire to the path of renunciation. They are reflections upon the fundamental facts of life, intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion.

The purpose of the Bhavnas is to aid spiritual progress, produce detachment, and lead the aspirants from the realm of desire to the path of renunciation.

Sansar Bhavana

This Bhavana reflects the suffering in worldly life. Here are some examples to illustrate this Bhavana.

Even though Mahavir Bhagwan became a liberated soul and a Tirthankar, he did not escape the cycle of birth and death. His negative thoughts and actions had a direct impact on the number of births he went through. Any karmas bound in his previous lives came to fruition in following births. Like us, he suffered the pain of sansar.

Extra info about the cycle of birth and rebirth

In Jainism it is believed that the ultimate truth of our nature is our soul. We are not the body whether it is human, animal, heavenly or hellish. Ultimately we are the soul.

A soul can be reborn in either of the four gatis. A gati refers to classifications of the four forms that a soul can be born into. These are human, heavenly, animal/plant and hellish beings. Karmas from our past and present lives determine which gati the soul will be born into. The being can and does experience suffering in either of these gatis.

The route to escaping from this cycle of birth and death is through the human form. This is because humans have the ability to discriminate intelligently and distinguish between right and wrong. Through this life form, and only this life form, can we liberate our soul and achieve Moksha.

Jainism says that liberating the soul is the true purpose of being born into a human body.

Let’s break these shackles of sansar. Let’s endure our karma without binding more karmas. Let’s recognise that sansar is full of suffering. Let’s use that to help us strive to being free of it by focusing on our soul so that we can attain Moksha.

Jigna Malde and I read this Bhavna in a book called Bhavna Bodh.
We used this to write the article above
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1 Comment

Dr Intaj Malek · November 15, 2009 at 6:41 pm

What are the esoteric and exoteric aspects of 12 Bhavnas of Jainism?
What are the social and Psychological aspects of Bhavnas?

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