It is Paryushana in 5 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 of 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 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.
This Bhavana reflects the fact that ultimately we are alone. Here are some examples to illustrate this Bhavana.
Regardless of which life form the soul is born into, there is only one soul in each being. Therefore we are born alone and we die alone.
Do you remember the news about Kylie Minogue discovering that she had breast cancer? The world was shocked and her fans were praying that she would beat it and recover well. However, she was alone in experiencing it, fighting it and recovering from it. Even though she had her family, friends and her then boyfriend, supporting her; there was nothing they could do. They could not truly experience or understand her pain and suffering.
This example illustrates how we endure the fruition of our negative karma alone. Nobody can bear it for us. In the same way, when Kylie became famous, she was alone in truly experiencing all the positive feelings that went with it.
Here’s another take on the same reflection: –
Do you have any possessions? No matter how much wealth you have, I’m sure you will all answer yes. For example, you may have a car, a home, clothes, jewellery, ipod, stationary….something!
If something happened to you tomorrow, what do you really have?
Are you going to be able to take any of these things with you?
The answer is no.
The only thing that is permanent and everlasting is the soul.
There is no mine and yours.
The soul has no real possessions. No real ownership.
With this in mind, we should carefully consider our actions as they will come into fruition in following births. We alone will have to endure it.
Now this sounds negative doesn’t it?
But it needn’t be!
The BLISS that you can feel whilst contemplating, accepting and cultivating this Bhavana is in knowing your soul, immersing yourself in it and being set free by detaching from all materials in the world. By knowing that we are experiencing the ‘now’ because of our past actions, we can relish in the possibility of controlling our thoughts, speech and actions which will determine the karma we bind from here on. How powerful! How liberating! :