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Nandita Kochar

The most significant mantra in Jainism, the Namokar Mantra, is the first prayer recited by Jains while meditating. The mantra, written by Acharya Pushpdant, is also known as the Pancha Namaskāra Mantra, Navakara Mantra or Namaskara Mantra.

While reciting this mantra, the devotees pay their respect to the Panch Parameshti (the Supreme Five):

  • Arihant— Those who have destroyed the four inimical karmas
  • Siddha — The liberated souls
  • Acharyas — The spiritual leaders or Preceptors
  • Upadhayaya — Preceptor of less advanced ascetics
  • Sadhu — The monks or sages in the world practicing Samyak Charitra (right conduct)

There is no mention of specific gods or people. The prayer is addressed towards the gunas (good qualities) of gods, saints and teachers. During this prayer, the devotees do not ask for any favours or miracles. This prayer serves as a medium to offer deep respect towards people who are spiritually more evolved than oneself and this prayer also serves as a constant reminder towards attaining moksha. 

The Navkar Mantra consists of 35 letters and goes as:

Prakrit English Meaning
णमो अरिहंताणं Ṇamō Arihantāṇaṁ I bow to the Arihants
णमो सिद्धाणं Ṇamō Siddhāṇaṁ I bow to the Siddhas.
णमो आयरियाणं Ṇamō Ayariyāṇaṁ I bow to the Acharyas.
णमो उवज्झायाणं Ṇamō Uvajjhāyāṇaṁ I bow to the Upadhyayas.
णमो लोए सव्व साहूणं Ṇamō Lōē Savva Sāhūṇaṁ I bow to all the Sages of the world.
एसो पंच णमोक्कारो, सव्व पावप्पणासणो Ēsōpan̄caṇamōkkārō, savvapāvappaṇāsaṇō This five-fold salutation completely destroys all the sins.
मंगला णं च सव्वेसिं, पढमं हवई मंगलं Maṅgalā ṇaṁ ca savvēsiṁ, paḍamama havaī maṅgalaṁ And, of all auspicious mantras, (it) is indeed the foremost auspicious one.

 

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