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The Ṇamōkāra mantra (Prakrit: णमोकार मन्त्र), also variously referred to as the Navakār Mantra (Prakrit: नवकार मन्त्र), Namaskār Mantra or the Pancha Parameshti Namaskār, is the most significant mantra in Jainism. This is the 1st prayer recited by the Jains while doing Samayik. While reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to the Panch Parameshti (the Supreme Five) in the order of their sanctity of soul.
The Navkar Mantra is the most important mantra in Jainism and can be recited at any time. While reciting the Navkar Mantra, we are bowing down with respect to Arihantas (souls who have reached the state of non-attachment towards worldly process), Siddhas (liberated souls), Ächäryäs (heads of sadhus and sadhvis), Upädhyäyas (those who teach scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis), Sädhus (monks, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships) and Sädhvis (nuns, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships). Collectively, they are called Panch Parmesthi (five supreme spiritual people). In this mantra we worship their virtues rather than worshipping any one particular person; therefore, this Mantra is not named after Lord Mahavir, Lord Parshvanath or Adinath, etc. When we recite Navkar Mantra it, also reminds us that, we need to be like them. This mantra is also called Namaskär or Namokär Mantra because we are bowing down.
The Navkär Mantra contains the main message of Jainism. The message is very clear. If we want to be liberated from this world then we have to take the first step of renunciation by becoming a monk or a nun. This is the beginning. If we stay on the right path then we will proceed to a higher state, Arihant, and ultimately proceed to Siddha after nirvana (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). The goal of every Jain is, or should be, to become a siddha.
They are as follows:
- Those who have cleared their gati karmas (arihants)
- The fully liberated souls (siddhas)
- The spiritual leaders or Preceptors (acharyas)
- The teachers (upajjhayas)
- The monks or sages in the world.
There is no mention of any particular names of the gods or any specific person. The prayer is done towards the 'guna' (the good qualities) of the gods, teachers and the saints.
Jains do not ask for any favors or material benefits from the Tirthankaras or from sadhus. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings they believe are spiritually ahead and to remind the people of their ultimate goal of nirvana or moksa.
It is noteworthy that the Namaskära Mantra is not found in earlier scriptures. The Acharänga Sootra and The Suyagdänga do not contain the Namaskära Mantra. The text of the Tattvärtha Sootra does not have the Namaskära Mantra at the beginning and this was composed in the first century AD. The Digambara scriptures like the Samay Sär or the Niyam Sär do not have the Navkära Mantra at the beginning of the text. A part of this mantra is seen at the beginning of the Bhagavati Sootra, but is not in the same form as is now generally accepted.
The practice of writing the Namaskära Mantra at the beginning of any text must have been started after around the first century AD. Even most manuscripts of the Nandisootra and the Anuyogadwär (composed after first century AD) also do not have the Namaskära Mantra at the beginning of the texts. The manuscripts of theKalpa-sootra (which was penned in 453 AD3) are seen with the Namaskära Mantra at the beginning of the main texts.Some believes A 162 BC inscription, the Hathigumpha inscription mentions the Namokar Mantra and Jain monarch Khārabēḷa. Therefore it seems that the tradition of writing the Namaskära Mantra at the beginning of any texts was developed quite late. The question is therefore: was the Namaskära Mantra composed quite late or is it true that the practice of writing the Namaskära mantra at the beginning of any sacred texts started quite late.?
The answers to these questions may not be found anywhere. Jains believe that the Namaskära mantra is eternal. But then again it is not seen in the earlier scriptures. Let us see two more sources which are the inscriptions found on rocks. The Khärvel inscription says: ‘Namo Arihantänam, Namo Savva Siddhänam’ . Another inscription discovered from Mathurä says: ‘Namo Arihantänam, Namo Siddhänam’ This one is believed to have been carved in the sixth century AD.
It may be possible that the Namaskära Mantra in it’s present form was composed much later then the general belief of most people. Jain writers were only writing a sentence or two in obeisance to Mahävira1, and not the Namaskära Mantra. Again one cannot deduce that because the Namaskära Mantra was not written at the beginning of any texts, it did not exist. The Trishashti Shaläkä Purusha Charitra , which consists of the lives of 63 great personalities, has mentioned an incident in the life of Pärshvanätha. In the incident, Pärshvanätha recites the Namaskära Mantra seeing a snake who was about to die after accidentally being burnt in a fire. If this incident did in fact occur then, the Namaskära Mantra was in existence during the 9th Century BC.
Digamber – Shvetambara View
According to the Jainendra Siddhänta Kosha vol. 3, page 247, the Namaskära Mantra was composed by aDigambara ächärya, Pushpadanta. According to the Shvetämbara text the Mahänishitha, the Namaskära Mantra was composed in the form of a sootra (present form) by the disciples of Mahävira but its main essence was derived from the words of Mahävira himself.
The Ṇamōkāra Mantra
|Ṇamō Arihantāṇaṁ||I bow to the Arihants, the Conquerors.||मैं अरिहंतों को नमन करता हूँ ।|
|Ṇamō Siddhāṇaṁ||I bow to the Siddhas, the Liberated ones.||मैं सिद्धों को नमन करता हूँ ।|
|Ṇamō Ayariyāṇaṁ||I bow to the Acharyas, the Preceptors.||मैं आचार्यो को नमन करता हूँ ।|
|Ṇamō Uvajjhāyāṇaṁ||I bow to the Upadhyays, the Teachers.||मैं उपाध्याओ को नमन करता हूँ ।|
|Ṇamō Lōē Savva Sāhūṇaṁ||I bow to all the Sages of the world.||मैं लोक (जगत्) के सर्व साधुओ को नमन करता हूँ ।|
|Ēsōpan̄caṇamōkkārō, savvapāvappaṇāsaṇō||This five-fold salutation (mantra) completely destroys all the sins.||ये पाँच नमन के उच्चार, सभी पापो का पूरा नाश करते हैं ।|
|Maṅgalā ṇaṁ ca savvēsiṁ, paḍamama havaī maṅgalaṁ||And, of all auspicious mantras, (it) is indeed the foremost auspicious one.||और, सभी मंगलों में, यह बिलकुल प्रथम मंगल हैं ।|
- णमो अरिहंताणं
- णमो सिद्धाणं
- णमो आयरियाणं
- णमो उवज्झायाणं
- णमो लोए सव्व साहूणं
- एसोपंचणमोक्कारो, सव्वपावप्पणासणो
- मंगला णं च सव्वेसिं, पडमम हवई मंगलं
- அருகரை வணங்குகிறேன்;
- சித்தரை வணங்குகிறேன்;
- ஆசாரியரை வணங்குகிறேன்;
- உபாத்தியாயரை வணங்குகிறேன்;
- சாதுக்கள் எல்லாரையும் வணங்குகிறேன்;
- இந்த ஐவர் வணக்கம் எல்லா தீமைகளையும் ஒழிப்பது.
- இம் மங்கலம் எல்லா மங்கலங்களிலும் முதன்மை ஆனது.
- ಓಂ ಣಮೋ ಅರಿಹಂತಾಣಂ
- ಣಮೋ ಸಿದ್ಧಾಣಂ
- ಣಮೋ ಆಯರಿಯಾಣಂ
- ಣಮೋ ಊವಜ್ಜಾಯಾಣಂ
- ಣಮೋ ಲೋಯೆ ಸವ್ವ ಸಾಹೂಣಂ
- ಯೆಸೊ ಪಂಚ ನಮೊಕಾರೋ ಸವ್ವ ಪಾವ ಪಣಾಸಣೋ
- ಮಂಗಳಾಯ ಚ ಸವೆಸಿಮ್, ಪಡಮಮ್ ಹವಹಿ ಮಂಗಳಂ
- Namo Arihantanam
- Namo Siddhanam
- Namo ayariyanam
- Namo Uvajjhayanam
- Namo Loe Savva sahunam
- Esopancanamokkaro, savvapavappanasano
- Mangalanam cha savvesim, padamama havai mangalam
- Jaina, Ravīndrakumāra and Kusuma Jaina (1993). A Scientific Treatise on Great Namokar Mantra. Delhi: Arihant International, Keladevi Sumatiprasad Trust. ISBN 81-7277-029-4.
- Shah, Natubhai (1998). Jainism: The World of Conquerors. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 1-898723-31-1.
- Rapson, "Catalogue of the Indian coins of the British Museum. Andhras etc...", p XVII.
- Full text of the Hathigumpha Inscription in English
- "History of the Namokar Mantra".
- Jain, Yogendra (2007). Jain Way of Life - A Guide to Compassionate, Healthy and Happy Living. Boston, MA: JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations of North America). p. 6. ISBN 978-0-9773178-5-1.
- J. Srichandran(1981),ஜைன தத்துவமும் பஞ்ச பரமேஷ்டிகளும், Vardhamanan Padhipakam, Chennai, Page 214