Jain followers perform the most unique everyday rituals when compared to all the other religion across the world. The Jain rituals are not repetitious, pointless activities, but each ritual has a very deep meaning behind them. In every region there are costly things like sweets , foods, flowers and fruits etc are offered to God. But Jains are unique in their own way. Do you know that they offer white and yellow rice to the God in the Jain temple. This rice is also called as Akshat. It is not cooked but it is purified by using water.
Don’t you think it is really strange to offer white rice to the supreme God in the Jain temple?
Do you know that there is a strong reason behind the offering of white rice to Jain god in the Jain temple?
Jain follows the virtues such as non-violence, patience, ease, and frankness. These virtues are actually refined during religious rituals. There are rituals which are performed on daily bases whereas some rituals are there which are performed on certain occasions.
The rituals which must be followed by Jain are called as Essentials (Awashyak). Also, there are various other strict rituals and rules are made for Sadhus and Shravaks.
When it comes to normal Jain followers ritual of offering white rice to God whenever they visit the Jain temple is the must. Also, white rice is the major part of the worship or Puja Vidhan that Jain followers perform in the Jain temple.
Jain follower performs worship or Puja before the Jina idols the Tirthankaras. They entered the temple bowed towards the idols, and also light a lamp in front of the idols.
In Jainism, worship is not offered to an eternal and eternally pure God, but to those great ones who have realized their high ideal and attained Godhood for themselves. There is no offering of food and the like, nor is a prayer made to the deity for boons. In fact, they offer simple things like uncooked rice, almonds, dry coconut etc.
In this article, I am going to reveal the reason of why rice is offered to God in Jain temple-
Though various offerings are made and offered before the image. But the rice is the most significant among all the offering presented in front of Jain God. They offer uncooked white rice which is called Akshat and yellow uncooked rice which is called as Pushpa towards the God.
As we know that Jain religion believes in ahimsa or non- violence dharma. They are strictly against the Jeev hinsa. They offer white rice because it is uncooked. Since it is uncooked it will not have germs due to which it will not decay. To get something which doesn’t decay. They believe that it will lead them towards the Moksha.
Also this there is some other signification as well. Akshat or white rice indicates a sacred stage of God.
It is believed that since the rice once detached from its cover doesn’t grow again. So after becoming Siddha, the God won’t come again in this world. This is so because they attained the Mokhsha. This is the only thing which once attain by the human then he will be out of the circle of birth and death. Thus with the desire of getting a never-ending holy stage, we offer Akshat or white rice to God. It is said as (अक्षयपदप्राप्ताय). This is the reason Jain followers offer white rice to their God that is their 24 Tirthankaras.
Yellow colored rice significance
Similarly, yellow colored rice is also offered to God in the Jain temple. It is called as Pushpa. It is also uncooked and yellow color is given to it with the help of Chandan. Chandan is yellow in color which when mix with the white rice turns it to yellow. There is also a significance behind offering the yellow rice to the God. It is believed that the Colored uncooked rice is offered on behalf of flowers or real flowers in some beliefs. They are considered as flower so also called as Pushpa which means flowers.
It is said that if real flowers are offered to God it will generate germs in it after few hours. This leads to Jeev Hinsa due to which Jain followers never present real flowers. There is some other reason as well. In Jainism, this yellow rice signifies a freedom from desires and worldly cravings. By offering this yellow rice we mean to request destruction of all desires. It is cited as (कामबाणविध्वंशनाय). It is believed that Moksha is attained only after the destruction of all worldly desires and passions.
Grains of rice are arranged in the Puja Thaliby the Jain followers
When a disciple enters the temple with the motive of worship and to preform the puja in the temple he followed a different procedure of offering the grains of rice. He first takes a puja thali and further goes arrangement of rice and other offerings.
First there comes an arrangement of the Grains of rice in the symbolic figure of Jainism. The symbolic figure is called as a swastika. The swastika has a great importance in Hindu religion. It has a great importance in Jainism too. It is really auspicious to make swastika.
Do you know that swastika denotes the four possible kinds of rebirth, as heavenly beings, humans, lower living beings, or creatures of hell)? After making swastika on the Thali, the three dots are made above the swastika. These three dots represent the Three Jewels of Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct)
Then a single dot is made at the top of the three within a curved. This is done inorder to make the final resting place of the liberated souls.
This is how rice both yellow and white has a prominent role in performing the worship or Puja at Jain temple.
The other offerings which are there in the puja thali of Jain followers –
Holy water(Jal)- This is the pure water. It is believed that it is presented by keeping in mind to destroy the cycle of life and death.it is after this only the Mokhsha can be attained. It is cited as (जन्मजरामृत्युविनाशनाय).
Sandal mixed holy water(Chandan)- it is prepared by the diluting the Sandalwood in water. It is offered with the purpose of destroying the suffering of the world. It is offered so that one can get rid off all the heat of his / her life. The heat of pleasure sand desires of the world. It is cited as संसारतापविनाशनाय.
Coconut pieces(Naivaidya) – it is nothing but the dry coconut shell pieces. It means Liberty from greed, insatiability and hunger more than required. These small dry coconut pieces represented to God with an orientation of terminating the never-ending hunger and greediness.it is cited as (क्षुधारोगविनाशनाय).
Yellow colored coconut pieces(Deep)- These are the Colored coconut shell pieces also called as Lamp in some beliefs. These are made by adding Chandan to the coconut pieces. It is believed that candle or Lamp destroys the darkness of the area and filled it with light and hope. Similarly deep also destroys the false knowledge due to which a person do a wrong deeds in their life. It is signified as Awareness, to extinguish the darkness of misbeliefs. It is cited as (मोहान्धकारविनाशनाय).
Cloves(Dhupa)- The cloves are first washed with the jal and then it is used. This is offered in accord with the devastation of eight karmas. It is cited as (अष्टकर्मविध्वंशनाय)
Almonds(Fala)- These are the dry complete almond, cloves, cardamom. People also take green dry fruits where of generation of germs chances is less. It signifies Freedom of a soul in order to attend Moksha. In this the followers offers fala or almonds in order to get Moksha in a form a result from God. This is cited as Moksha(मोक्षफलप्राप्ताय).
Dravyas(Arghya)- This is nothing but the mixture of the all the above offerings. This is called as Dravya. The valuable meaning of this is Arghya. This is given at the end of every puja. This is considered as the respectful offering to God in order to attain. It is cited as (अनर्घ्यपदप्राप्तनाय).
Rice is just not offered to God but Jain Sadhu as well
In Jainism worship is not just offered to an everlasting and perpetually pure God. In fact, it is being offered to even those Sadhus and Jain monks. These are the great people who have understood their high ideal and reached Godhood for themselves. When their disciples go for their Darshan they offer white rice to them. Also when Puja disciples and followers perform the Puja of the Jain sadhu they make use of all the 8 dravas. This includes white rice, yellow rice, pure water, sandalwood water, white dry coconut pieces and yellow dry coconut pieces, Almonds and arghya.
Jain followers believe that no prayer is made by the Jain followers to the god for benefits and boons. In fact, they do puja with the purpose of attaining the Moksha.
Though in every puja which is performed in Jain or in any religion has a great importance. But Jain followers believe that it is ultimately done to purify themselves forever. They pray for the purpose of attaining Moksha. They pray so that their mind change which makes them to forget all the worldly relations and desire.