This article may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia's layout guidelines. Please help by editing the article to make improvements to the overall structure. (February 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Jain rituals play an everyday part in Jainism. Rituals take place daily or more often. Rituals include obligations followed by Jains and various forms of idol worship.

Jains rituals can be separated broadly in two parts: Karyn (obligations which are followed) and Kriya (worships which are performed).[1]

Six essential duties

In Jainism, six essential duties (avashyakas) are prescribed for śrāvakas (householders).[2][3] The six duties are:[4]

  1. Worship of Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (five supreme beings)
  2. Following the preachings of Jain saints.
  3. Study of Jain scriptures
  4. Samayika: practising serenity and meditation
  5. Following discipline in their daily engagement
  6. Charity (dāna) of four kinds:[5][6]
    1. Ahara-dāna- donation of food
    2. Ausadha-dāna- donation of medicine
    3. Jnana-dāna- donation of knowledge
    4. Abhaya-dāna- saving the life of a living being or giving of protection to someone under threat

These duties became fundamental ritual activities of a Jain householder. Such as spreading the grain for the birds in the morning, and filtering or boiling the water for the next few hours' use became ritual acts of charity and non-violence.[2] Samayika was used as a word for all spiritual activity including icon worship during medieval times.[2]


Samayika is the practice of equanimity, translating to meditation. It is a ritual act undertaken early in the morning and perhaps also at noon and night. It lasts for forty-eight minutes (Two Ghadis) and usually involves not only quiet recollection but also usually the repetition of routine prayers. The ritual is chanting and also praying about the good things.[2]


Pratikramana is performed in the night for the repentance of violence committed during the night, and in the evening for the violence during the day and additionally on certain days of the year. During this, the Jain expresses remorse for the harm caused, or wrongdoing, or the duties left undone.[2][7]

Annual and lifetime obligations

There are eleven annual obligations for a year and some obligations for once in a life which should be completed by Jain lay person individually or in a group. They are prescribed by Shravak Pragyapti.[8]

11 annual obligations

They are following:[8]

  1. Deva dravya : Fundraising for temples
  2. Mahapuja : Elaborate ritual in which temples and icons decorated and sacred texts recited
  3. Ratri-jagarana : singing hymns and religious observance throughout night
  4. Sadharmik Bhakti: Deep respect to fellow follower of Jainism
  5. Sangha-puja: service to Sangha
  6. Shuddhi : confession of faults
  7. Snatra puja : a ritual related to Janma Kalyanaka
  8. Sutra-puja : veneration of scriptures
  9. Tirth prabhavana : promotion of Jainism. by celebrating important occasion
  10. Udyapana : displaying objects of worship and participant at end of religious activities
  11. Yatratnika or Yatratrik : Participation in religious festivals and pilgrimage to three sites

Obligations performed at least once in a lifetime

They are the following:[8]

  1. Build a temple
  2. Celebrate renunciation of a family member
  3. Donate a Tirthankara icon to a temple
  4. Participate in Panch-kalyanak Pratishtha


Devapuja means worship of tirthankaras. It is usually done in front of images of any liberated soul (Siddha) such as Tirthankara, or Arihant. In Jainism, the Tirthankaras represent the true goal of all human beings.[9] Their qualities are worshipped by the Jains.

Sthanakavasi oppose idol worship. They believe in meditation and silent prayers.[10] Jain idols are seen as a personification of ideal state which one should attain.[10]

During medieval period, worship of some Yaksha and Yakshini, heavenly beings who are not liberated souls, started. They are believed to help a person by removing obstacles in life.[10]

Elaborate forms of ritual usually done in the temple. Jains wear clean three clothes for many rituals and enter temple with words related to respect for Tirthankara. He bows down to Tirthankara at main shrine and will circumambulate him three times.[10]

Jain form of worship is also called Jain Puja. The worship is done in two ways:[11]

Jains worship the God, the scripture and the saint.[12]

Dravya Puja

Dravya puja (worship with articles) includes Ashtaprakari Puja(means eight worships) which is done by paying homage with eight articles in prescribed way. It is also called archana:[11][13] The following articles are used, in the Jaina Puja:

Puja Material used Purpose
Jala Pure water Get rid of cycle of life and death, i.e., Moksha
Chandana Sandalwood diluted in water Get rid of (metamorphic) heat of this life i.e., Moksha
Akshata Uncooked rice To get something which doesn't decay i.e., Moksha
Pushpa Colored uncooked rice representing flowers or real flowers in some beliefs Freedom from passions and worldly desires i.e., Moksha
Naivedhya Dry coconut shell or sweets in some beliefs Freedom from greed.
Deepak Colored coconut shell or Lamp in some beliefs Omniscience, to destroy the darkness of delusions.
Dhupa cloves, sandalwood powder or Incense stick To get rid of karmas i.e., Moksha
Fala Fruits like dry complete almond, cloves, cardamom or even green fruits in some beliefs Liberation of soul i.e., Moksha
Arghya Mixture of all of the above Moksha

The combination of all the eight articles is called arghya. Of these, rice and coconut bits and almonds are to be washed and then all the articles are to be placed in a plate side by side, excepting water which is to be kept in a small pot separately. There should be provided a bowl for the pouring of water, another for the burning of incense, and a receptacle for lighting camphor.[14]

After that some Jains also use Chamara (Whisk), Darpana (Mirror) and a Pankho (Hand fan) also for worship.[11]

Bhava Puja

An aarti plate.

Bhava puja(means Psychic worship) is done by ritual called Chaitya Vandana. It includes number of prayers and rituals done in prescribed manner and positions.[15]

Aarti and Mangal Deevo

Aarti and Mangal Deevo is a lamp ritual waving it in rotational manner in front of icons same as Hindu traditions. Lamps represent knowledge. It is performed everynight at all Jain temples.[16]

Other forms

Many other forms of worships are mainly performed on special occasions.[17] Some forms of worships have close relationship with these five auspicious life events of Tirthankara called Panch Kalyanaka.[13]

  1. Anjana Shalaka: It is a ceremony to install new Tirthankara icon. An Acharya recite mantras related to Panch Kalyanaka followed by applying special paste to eyes of Tirthankara icon. After this an icon becomes object of worship.
  2. Panch Kalyanak Pratishtha Mahotsava: When a new Jain Temple is erected, these Five Auspicious Life Events are celebrated known as Panch Kalyanak Pratishtha Mahotsava. After these an icons of Tirthankara gets a status of real Tirthankara which can be worshipped by Jains.[13]
  3. Panch Kalyanak Puja:This ritual solemnizes all five Kalyanaka. It was narrated by Pandit Virvijay.[13]
  4. Snatra Puja: Snatra Puja is a ritual related to birth of Tirthankara are bathed symbolising Indra doing Abhisheka on Tirthankara on Mount Meru after birth of Tirthankara. It performed before many other rituals and before starting of new enterprises, birthdays.[13]

Others are:[17]

  1. Adhara Abhisheka(18 Abhisheka: It is temple purification ceremony. 18 urns of different pure water, herbs etc. used to clean all icons for purification. It is performed periodically.
  2. Antaraya Karma Puja: It comprises a series of prayers to remove those karmas which obstruct the spiritual uplifting power of the soul.
  3. Arihanta Mahapujan: paying respect to the arihants.
  4. Aththai Mahotsava: It is religious celebration in which various religious activities are performed including some pujans for eight days.
  5. Shanti Snatra Puja: It is performed in intention of universal peace. It is related to Tirthankara Shantinath.
  6. Siddha-chakra Puja:It is a ritual focused on the Siddha-chakra, a lotus-shaped disc bearing representations of the arhat, the liberated soul, religious teacher, religious leader and the monk (the five praiseworthy beings), as well as the four qualities namely perception, knowledge, conduct and austerity to uplift the soul.


Both the Digambara and Śvetāmbara celebrates eight-day observance (ashtahnika) thrice every year.[18] It takes place every four months, from the eighth of bright half of the months of Ashadha (June–July), Karttika (October–November), and Phalguna (February–March) through the full moon and is in direct imitation of the eight day celebrations of Nandishvara Dvipa by the god.[19]

See also



  1. ^ (Shah 1998, pp. 169)
  2. ^ a b c d e Jaini 1998, pp. 188–191
  3. ^ Shah 1998, pp. 171–173
  4. ^ Jain, Vijay K. (2011), Acharya Umasvami's Tattvārthsūtra, Vikalp Printers, p. v, ISBN 978-81-903639-2-1, Non-Copyright
  5. ^ Ram Bhushan Prasad Singh 2008, pp. 82–83.
  6. ^ Sangave, Vilas Adinath (2001). Facets of Jainology: Selected Research Papers on Jain Society, Religion, and Culture. Popular Prakashan. p. 157. ISBN 978-81-7154-839-2.
  7. ^ Shah 1998, pp. 174
  8. ^ a b c Shah 1998, pp. 173–175
  9. ^ Zimmer, Heinrich (1953). Joseph Campbell (ed.). Philosophies Of India. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 978-8120807396.
  10. ^ a b c d Jaini 1998, pp. 191–196
  11. ^ a b c Shah 1998, pp. 177–179
  12. ^ Jain 1926, p. 1.
  13. ^ a b c d e Jaini 1998, pp. 196–203
  14. ^ Jain 1926, p. Introduction.
  15. ^ Shah 1998, p. 179
  16. ^ Shah 1998, p. 181
  17. ^ a b Shah 1998, pp. 181–185
  18. ^ Cort 2010, p. 85.
  19. ^ Cort 2010, p. 85-86.