By Lawrence A. Babb
What does it suggest to worship beings that one believes are thoroughly detached to, and fully past the achieve of, any kind of worship whatever? How could the sort of courting with sacred beings have an effect on the non secular lifetime of a neighborhood? utilizing those questions as his element of departure, Lawrence A. Babb explores the ritual tradition of image-worshipping Svetambar Jains of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.Jainism strains its lineages again to the 9th century B.C.E. and is, in addition to Buddhism, the one surviving instance of India's historical non-Vedic spiritual traditions. it really is identified and celebrated for its systematic perform of non-violence and for the serious rigor of the asceticism it promotes. a different element of Babb's research is his linking of the Jain culture to the social id of present Jain communities.Babb concludes through displaying that Jain ritual tradition could be obvious as a version on pan-Indian ritual styles. In illuminating this little-known non secular culture, he demonstrates that divine "absence" could be as wealthy as divine "presence" in its probabilities for informing a spiritual reaction to the cosmos.
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Sin is so easy, and the sins of one life can pursue you through ― 51 ― many births. Not only will sins send you to hell, but they will result in many births in the classes of two- to four-sensed creatures after you have emerged from below. Arunvijay reflects at length on the sin of abortion, and it is significant that, in his eyes, part of the horror of abortion is that it cuts the newly incarnated soul off from the possibility of a human existence. His conclusion is that one must set a "goal" (laksya ) of release from the cycle of rebirth in the classes of living things.
Indeed, even a human body is not in itself enough, because liberation is actually available during the merest sliver of time in comparison with all of time. And even in eras and places where Jain doctrine can be heard, not everyone hears it. Here, then, is the pilgrim at last in human form and in contact with Jain teachings. Lucky is such a pilgrim, and so valuable an opportunity must not be wasted. Arunvijay's main concern is not with proselytizing asceticism. His primary goal is to raise the general level of piety of his lay audience.
A Jain temple (mandir ; in Gujarat often called derasar ) is a place where consecrated images of the Tirthankars (Figure 5) are worshiped. Images of ancillary deities and revered ascetics of the past are usually present in Jain temples, but the Tirthankars are central. Some of the images in a temple are fixed; others are smaller and moveable. S. Jaini 1979: 196). It is also a place of ritual isolation. Prior to consecration, Tirthankar images are simply inert objects of stone or metal; afterwards, they are sacred things that must be treated in accord with exacting rules.