It is Paryushana in 4 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 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 the body is separate to the soul. Here are some examples to illustrate this Bhavana.
As time passes, the body will age and decay. Eventually, it will perish. However, the only thing which is imperishable is the soul.
The soul is the embodiment of consciousness. For this reason we shouldn’t get attached to the body that we are born into as it will not come with us in our next birth.
This applies to the relationships that the body identifies with. They are separate to the soul. They are not everlasting! In one lifetime we may be the parent of a being. However, in another lifetime we could be a sibling to the same being. Therefore we should not be attached to the body or the relationships that the body can identify with. We also need to refrain from indulging in the passions of the physical body, through emotions, such as, greed, anger, ego or lust.
Mahavir Bhagwan experienced 27 significant births prior to liberating his soul. His soul was born into different gatis. Every time his life ended, the body perished and the soul was born into a new form with a different body. For this reason, we should not be attached to the body as it is not ours. As our soul moves from one life form to another our body will not.
Now the bliss in this understanding is all to do with the human birth. Through the human birth one can attain Moksha. This gives us freedom from pain, suffering, greed, lust, ego, loss and much more. So let’s focus on the soul, rather than, the body and let’s empower the soul so that we can be rid of birth, death and rebirth.