Namaskär Mahä Mantra


Twelve Attributes of Arihantas


Eight Attributes of Siddhas


Thirty Six Attributes of Ächäryas - Shvetämbar Tradition

Thirty Six Attributes of Ächäryas - Digambar Tradition


Twenty Five Attributes of Upädhyäys

Sädhus and Sädhvis

Twenty Seven Attributes of Sädhus and Sädhvis - Shvetämbar Tradition

Twenty Seven Attributes of Sädhus - Digambar Tradition


Namaskär Mahä Mantra


Namo Arihantänam

Namo Siddhänam

Namo Äyariyänam

Namo Uvajjhäyänam

Namo Loe Savva Sähunam

Eso Pancha Namukkäro

Savva Päva Ppanäsano

Mangalänam Cha Savvesim

Padhamam Havai Mangalam


Namo Arihantänam: I bow down to Arihanta,

Namo Siddhänam: I bow down to Siddha,

Namo Äyariyänam: I bow down to Ächärya,

Namo Uvajjhäyänam: I bow down to Upädhyäy,

Namo Loe Savva-Sähunam: I bow down to Sädhu and Sädhvi.


Eso Pancha Namukkäro: These five fold reverence (bowings downs),

Savva-Pävappanäsano: Destroy all the sins,

Manglänancha Savvesim: Amongst all that is auspicious,

Padhamam Havai Mangalam: This Navakär Mantra is the foremost.


Namo Arihantänam

I bow to Arihantas  who have achieved enlightenment by overcoming inner enemies and weaknesses, who have attained infinite knowledge, infinite bliss, and showed us the path, that brings an end to the cycle of birth and death.

Namo Siddhänam

I bow to Siddhas  who have attained the state of perfection and immortality by liberating themselves of all Karmas.

Namo Äyariyänam

I bow to Ächäryas   who are the heads of religious order and who practice the supreme virtues.

Namo Uvajjhäyänam

I bow to Upädhyäys who are well versed in all Ägams and teach the same to the deserving pupils and other followers.

Namo Loe Savva Sähunam

I bow to all the Sädhus and Sädhvis (monks and nuns) that follow the five great vows of conduct and inspire us to live a simple life.

Eso Pancha Namukkäro.  Savva Pävappanäsano

These five-fold obesisance is eradicator of all sins.

The Navakär Mantra is the most important mantra in Jainism and can be recited at any time.  While reciting the Navakär Mantra, we bow down to Arihanta (souls who have reached the state of non-attachment towards worldly matters), Siddhas (liberated souls), Ächäryas (heads of Sädhus and Sädhvis, Shrävak and Shrävikäs), Upädhyäys (those who teach scriptures and Jain principles to the followers), and all Sädhus and Sädhvis (monks and nuns, who have voluntarily given up social, economical and family relationships).  Together, they are called Pancha Paramesthi (The five supreme spiritual people).  In this Mantra we worship their virtues rather than worshipping any one particular entity; therefore, the Mantra is not named after Lord Mahävir, Lord Pärshva-Näth or Ädi-Näth, etc. When we recite Navakär Mantra, it also reminds us that, we need to be like them.  This mantra is also called Namaskär or Namokär Mantra because in this Mantra we offer Namaskär (bowing down) to these five supreme group beings.  Recitation of the Navakär Mantra creates positive vibrations around us, and repels negative ones.

The Navakär Mantra contains the foremost message of Jainism.  The message is very clear.  If we want to be liberated from the cycle of life and death, we need to renounce worldly affairs by becoming a monk or a nun.  This is just the beginning.  If we stay on the right path, we will progress to a higher spiritual state, Kevali or Arihanta, and ultimately proceed to become Siddha after nirvana (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).  The goal of every soul is to become a Siddha.


The word Arihanta is made up of two words: 1) Ari means enemies, and 2) Hant means destroyer.  Therefore, Arihanta means a destroyer of enemies.  The enemies referred to here are internal: inner desires and passions.  The passions include anger, ego, deceit, and greed.  Until we eliminate these passions, the real nature or the power of our soul will not be realized or manifested.  When a person (soul) wins these inner enemies, he/she is called a Kevali (omniscient) and Jin (victor).

This state of omniscience  is manifested when that person has completely destroyed the four-Ghäti karmas (destructive) namely:

·         Jnänävaraniya (knowledge obscuring) Karma

·         Darshanävaraniya (perception obscuring) Karma

·         Mohaniya (deluding) Karma

·         Antaräya (obstructing) Karma


These karmas are called Ghäti (destructive) karmas because they directly affect the true nature of the soul.  When these Karmas are destroyed, a person attains the following four infinite qualities (Anant Chatushtay) and is called a Kevali.

·         Keval-jnän (Anant Jnän) - Perfect knowledge due to the destruction of all Jnänävaraniya Karmas

·         Keval-Darshan (Anant Darshan) - Perfect perception due to the destruction of all Darshanävaraniya karmas

·         Anant Chäritra - Passionless state due to the destruction of all Mohaniya Karmas

·         Anant Virya - Infinite energy due to the destruction of all Antaräya Karmas.

A Kevali, who revitalizes the Jain religion and establishes a Jain Sangha (four-fold Jain order) consisting of Sädhus, Sädhvis, Shrävaks (male householders), and Shrävikäs (female householders), is known as Tirthankar or Arihanta.  During every half time cycle, only twenty-four individuals rise to the level of Tirthankar.  The first Tirthankar of our time period was Lord Rushabhdev, and the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankar was Lord Mahävir.  Lord Mahävir lived from 599 BC to 527 BC.

According to some, all Kevalis are called Arihanta as they have destroyed inner enemies.

At the time of Nirvän (liberation from the worldly existence), Arihanta sheds off the remaining four Aghäti (Non-destructive) karmas:

·         Näm (body determining) Karma

·         Gotra (status determining) Karma

·         Vedaniya (feeling pertaining) Karma

·         Äyushya (life span determining) Karma.

These four karmas do not affect the true nature of the soul; therefore, they are called Aghäti karmas.  They are related to the physical body of the soul.  After attaining liberation, (death) the souls of Arihantas are called Siddhas.  Since Siddhas have attained ultimate liberation, we do not have access to them.  However, Arihantas offer us spiritual guidance during their lifetime.  In order to show our special reverence for their teachings, we bow to them first, hence the first line of the Navakär Mantra

Currently, as per scriptures there are no Arihantas alive except in the Mahä-Videha Kshetra.  The last Kevali was Jambu-Swämi.  According to the Ägams, (Jain scriptures) there will be no more Arihantas during the remaining period of the current half cycle.

Twelve Attributes of Arihantas

Tirthankars have in total 12 unique characteristics.  Of those, four are main attributes known as Atishaya.  The other eight attributes are endowed by heavenly gods and are known as Pratihärya.

Four Main Attributes (4 Atishaya)

·         Omniscience

·         Delivers Extraordinary sermon

·         Worshipped by mundane souls of the whole universe

·         No calamities or diseases exist in his vicinity.

Some Jains believe the four Anant Chatushtay (Infinite knowledge, Infinite perception, Infinite Energy, Perfect Conduct) instead of 4 Atishaya.

Eight Other Attributes (Pratihärya - endowed by heavenly gods)



A divine seat from where Arihanta delivers sermons


A halo around Arihanta’s head


Angels are waving fans (Chowries) to show Arihanta’s greatness


A three tier divine umbrella over the head suggests that he is the king of the entire universe, which consists of three regions - Hell, Earth, and Heaven.

Ashok Vruksha

A tree under-which Arihanta sits


A continuous shower of fragrant flowers


A divine announcement declaring Arihanta’s sermons


A celestial music accompanying Arihanta’s sermons


Thirty-Four Atishaya

These 12 attributes, when elaborately explained are counted as 34 Atishaya.  Both Shvetämbar and Digambar account for thirty-four Tirthankar Atishaya.  Some Atishaya are birth related, some are created by heavenly gods (Devas), and some are realized at the time of Keval-jnän.

By Birth, Arihanta has the most beautiful, powerful, and proportionally built body with 1008 auspicious birthmarks.  As he is full of compassion, his blood is white, like milk.  His breath is fragrant, like a lotus and his body do not generate any waste.  He is always disease free.  He has very soothing, peaceful, and serene voice which can be heard from very long distances.  All humans and animals alike, can easily understand his language.  He can be seen and heard from all four directions.  Everyone listens to the sermon keeping his or her animosities aside.

In his vicinity, the weather is always pleasant and there are no calamities for miles.  The Samavasaran can accommodate all.  Dharma Chakra (symbolic wheel of religion) and Ashta Mangal (eight embellishments) are also present at the Samavasaran. 


Siddhas are liberated souls.  They are no longer among us because they have completely ended the cycle of birth and death.  They have reached the ultimate highest state, the state of liberation.  They do not have any Karmas, and they do not collect any new karmas.  This state of true freedom is called Nirvän.  By destroying all 8 types of Karmas, Siddhas manifest 8 unique attributes.  They are as follows:

Eight Attributes of Siddhas


Anant Jnän

Infinite knowledge

Anant Darshan

Infinite perception

Avyäbädha Sukha

Eternal happiness

Anant Chäritra

Perfect conduct

Akshaya Sthiti




Aguru Laghutva

No Status (Neither heavy or light)

Anant Virya

Infinite energy



The teaching of Lord Mahävir, the last Tirthankar, is carried on by the Ächäryas.  They are our spiritual leaders.  The responsibility of spiritual (not social or economical) welfare of the entire Jain community rests on the shoulders of the Ächäryas.  Before reaching this state, one has to do an in depth study and achieve mastery of the Jain scriptures (Ägams).  In addition to acquiring a high level of spiritual excellence, they have the ability to lead the congregation of monks, nuns and laypeople.  Generally, they have the knowledge of various languages and other philosophies and religions of the world.  Ächärya is the head of the Jain congregation.  They possess the following 36 qualities:

Thirty Six Attributes of Ächäryas - Shvetämbar Tradition


Elimination of Eighteen Impurities

Control over the enjoyments of the 5 senses

Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound


To follow 9 restrictions for observance of celibacy

Not to live where householders live

Not to sit alone with a person of the opposite sex

Not to talk alone with a person of the opposite sex

Not to observe the body of the opposite sex

To eat bland food

To avoid food that produces impurity of mind

Not to decorate the body

Not to remember past sensual pleasures

Not to listen to the private conversations of others


To avoid the 4 types of passions 

Anger, Ego, Deceit and Greed



Eighteen Qualities to Acquire

Follow The Five Great vows





Non-possessiveness / Non-possession


Observe The Five Codes of conduct







Observe Five Regulations

While walking, talking, getting alms, putting clothes and other things and disposing bodily waste



Restraint Three Activities

             Regarding activities of mind, speech and body



Thirty Six Attributes of Ächäryas - Digambar Tradition

Digambar list of thirty-six attributes of Ächäryas as follows:

Six External Austerities

01.   Anashan (Not eating for a set period of time)

02.   Unodari (Eating less than needed)

03.   Vrutti-sankshep (Eating within the limits of predetermined restrictions)

°          Material- Eat only a certain number of items

°          Area- Eat only within limits of a certain area

°          Time- Eat only at certain time

°          Mode- Eat food obtained or made only by certain means

04.   Ras Tyäg (Eating non-tasty food - example.  Äyambil Tapa)

05.   Käyä-klesha (Penance, tolerating physical pain voluntarily)

06.   Sanlinatä (Staying in a forlorn place and occupying minimum space)

Six Internal austerities

01.   Präyashchitta (Repentance or remorse)

02.   Vinay (Humility, Respect for others)

03.   Veyävachcham (Selfless service to monks, nuns and needy)

04.   Swädhyäy (Study of religious scriptures)

05.   Dhyäna (Meditation)

06.   Käyotsarga (Giving up physical activities and staying absorbed in the soul)

Ten Virtues

07.   Kshamä (Forgiveness)

08.   Märdava (Humility)

09.   Ärjava (Straightforwardness)

10.   Shaucha (Content - absence of greed)

11.   Satya (Truth)

12.   Sanyam (Restraint of all senses)

13.   Tapa (Austerities)

14.   Tyäg (Charity)

15.   Äkinchan (Non-possessiveness)

16.   Brahmacharya (Celibacy)

Five Ächär (Codes of Conduct)

17.   Darshanächär (Codes of faith)

18.   Jnänächär (Codes of knowledge)

19.   Chäriträchär (Codes of conduct)

20.   Tapächär (Codes of austerities)

21.   Viryächär (Codes of energy or vigor)

Six Ävashyakas (Essential Duties)

22.   Devapujä (Prayer to Tirthankars)

23.   Gurupästi (Devotion and service to ascetics)

24.   Swädhyäy (Studying of Scriptures)

25.   Sanyam (Self restraints)

26.   Tapa (Penance)

27.   Däna (Charity)

Three Guptis (Control)

28.   Mano Gupti (Control over mind)

29.   Vachan Gupti (Control over speech)

30.   Käya Gupti (Control over body)


This title is given to those Sädhus who have acquired complete knowledge of the Jain scriptures (Ägams) and philosophical systems.  They teach Jain scriptures to other ascetics and laypeople.  Upädhyäys possess 25 attributes.  These 25 attributes are the symbolic representation of the 25 Jain scriptures they study.  These scriptures are as follows:

Twenty Five Attributes of Upädhyäys

·         11 canonical texts (Anga Ägams) compiled by Ganadhar, who were the immediate disciples of Tirthankar

·         12 canonical texts (Upängas) compiled by Shruta Kevalis

·          1 scripture of proper conduct

·          1 scripture of proper practice

According to Digambar Tradition, Upädhyäy have Knowledge of 11 Anga Ägams (same for all Jain sects) and 14 Digambar Anga Bähya Ägams.


Sädhus and Sädhvis

When householders desire to detach from the worldly aspects of life and gain a desire for spiritual uplift, they renounce worldly lives and become Sädhus (monk) or Sädhvis (nun).  A male person is called Sädhu, and a female person is called Sädhvi.  Before becoming Sädhu or Sädhvi, a lay person must stay with Sädhus or Sädhvis to understand their life style and do religious studies for several months.  When they feel confident that they will be able to live the life of a monk or a nun, they inform the Ächärya that they are ready for initiation.  If the Ächärya is convinced that they are ready and are capable of following the vows of Sädhu or Sädhvi, he prepares them for Dikshä.  Dikshä is an initiation ceremony, following, which a householder becomes a monk or a nun.  At the time of Dikshä, the Sädhu or Sädhvi take five major vows for the rest of his/her life.

5 Mahä-vratas (Major Vows)

Commitment of Ahinsä


Not to commit any type of violence.

Commitment of Satya


Not to indulge in any type of lie or falsehood

Commitment of Asteya


Not to take anything not given properly.

Commitment of Brahmacharya


Not to indulge in any sensual pleasures

Commitment of Aparigraha


Not to acquire more than what is needed to maintain day-to-day life


The great vows of monks and nuns imply not doing, not asking someone to do, nor appreciating someone’s act of breaching of these vows by mind, body or speech.

Twenty Seven Attributes of Sädhus and Sädhvis - Shvetämbar Tradition


Five great vows as above


Protection of Five one-sensed lives (water, fire, earth, air and plant known as Sthävar souls) and One group of moving living beings (two- sensed to five- sensed living beings) known as Trasa souls


To control pleasures of five senses (Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, Sound)


To observe restraints


To control mind, speech, and body


Not to eat before sunrise and after sunset




Avoidance of greed


Endure hardship


Endure suffering




Keep heart pure



Some scriptures mention following 27 attributes of Ascetics


Five Great Vows (Mahä-vrata)


Control of 5 senses


Devoid of Kashäya – Four Passions: Anger, Ego, Deceit, Greed


Guptis – Control of mind, speech and body


Bhäva (Dharma and Shukla Dhyäna), Karan (following prescribed activities and regulations) and Yoga


Darshan, Jnän, and Chäritra




Samvega - Disinterest in worldly affairs and interest in liberation


Conquering of Parishaha – Enduring hardships and suffering with equanimity


Sanllekhanä - Endurance and fearlessness towards death and associated pains, and also acceptance of  voluntary death



Twenty Seven Attributes of Sädhus - Digambar Tradition

The Digambar account of attributes for their Monks (Sädhus) varies somewhat with one significant requirement that male monks are sky-clad or do not wear any clothes.

5 Great Vows Mahä-vrata (the same five great vows as described above)

5 Samiti

·         Iryä Samiti (carefulness while walking)

·         Bhäshä Samiti (carefulness in talking)

·         Eshanä Samiti (carefulness while getting alms)

·         Ädäna- Nikshepanä Samiti (carefulness while putting clothes and any objects)

·         Pärishthäpanikä Samiti (carefulness while disposing excreta)

5 Control of five senses

6 Ävashyaka (six essentials - same as in Digambar Ächäryas)

6 other attributes

·         Kesha- Loch (Plucking of your own hair)

·         Asnäna (No bathing)

·         Bhumi Shayan (Sleeping on the floor)

·         Adanta-dhovan (No brushing of teeth)

·         Uttisthan-ähär Ähär Sevan (Eating food in standing posture only)

·         Eka-bhukti (Eating once a day only)

Some books include monks do not wear any clothes as an attribute in this section.  According to them Monks have 28 attributes instead of twenty-seven.

The Jain ascetics follow the above attributes.  Their activities are directed towards the uplift of their souls to the state of liberation hence they are very unique.

Total Attributes of Pancha Paramesthi



# Of Attributes









Sädhu/Sädhvis (Monks/Nuns)





108 beads of Mälä (Navakärväli) symbolically represent these 108 attributes of Pancha Paramesthi.