The purpose of performing Snatra Pooja is to perceive and praise the virtues and attributes of the supreme beings Jineshwar (24 Tirthankars), and thereby remembering to always conduct ones own daily life with the same supreme virtues and attributes. In the Snatra Pooja ritual, we remember various Tirthankaras and offer kusumanjali for various purposes, re-enact Lord Mahavir’s birth, and pray for the peace and happiness for the whole universe. Snatra Pooja was written by Shri Virvijayji Maharaj.
VJSS facilitate snatra pooja twice per year. To sponsor Snatra Pooja, please contact Manoj Doshi on 0412 212 626.
Overview of Snatra Pooja
The Snatra Pooja is done in temple in front of Bhagwan’s Idol. We place a small, brass or bronze idol of Bhagwan (usually Shantinath Bhagwan, and in absence, any other Tirthankar) in a Sihaasan (or a throne) on top of three tables (tigadu). Three tables and the Sihaasan symbolise the MERU Mountain where Indra Maharaja performed the celebration of Tirthankar’s birth.
The people performing Snatra Pooja should be dressed in clean pooja clothes. They should do a kesar chandlo and wear a nada chhadee (a red string) on the wrist.
To perform this pooja, we need kesar, nada chhadee, kusumanjali, things needed to perform ashta-prakari pooja (panchamrut, water, kesar/sukhad, flowers, dhoop, deepak, rice, sweet, fruit), coins, pearls and jewels, rice, dhoop, kalash of water, mirrors, chamars, fans, rakhis, deepaks, bells, and a kalash in the shape of a bull.
Parts of the Snatra Pooja
Main Parts are:
- Offering Kusumanjali
- Re-enactment of Mahavirswami’s Janma Mahotsav
- Ashtaprakari Pooja
- Aarti and Mangal Deevo
- Shanti Kalash and Chaitya Vandan
1. Offering of Kusumanjali
Kusumanjali is the mixture of flowers, rice, and kesar/sukhad. We use the best and the purest things to prepare the kusumanjali. During the song of Snatra Pooja we offer kusumanjali on the right foot of Bhagwan’s Idol with different intentions every time we hear the words “kusumanjali melo—-Jinanda.” Some of the reasons to offer kusumanjali are as follows.
- To get rid of the sins or bad karmas
- To become Siddhas
- To get rid of all the obstacles in life
- For the peace and the happiness of the Jain Sangh
After offering kusumanjali for these various purposes, we do a Chaitya Vandana that helps us remember special virtues of Tirtankaras and all the places of pilgrimage. At the end of Chaitya Vandana we start the second part of the Snatra Pooja, Janma Mahotsav, which is the description and re-enactment of Bhagwan’s birth.
2. Janma Mahotsav
In this step of the Snatra Pooja process, we re-enact Bhagwan’s birth by remembering and performing various activities and festivities performed by Devs and Devis. The following events are re-enacted.
- Display of the 14 dreams — The meaning and the results of the dreams are discussed
- The birth of Bhagwan is described
- Various activities done by 56 Devis (dikk-kumari)
- Indra Maharaja learns about Bhagwan’s birth. He approaches Bhagwan’s mother and takes Bhagwan to MERU Mountain for the celebration of Bhagwan’s birth. All the activities and festivities that the Devs and Devis did are re-enacted.
After the re-enactment of Janma Mahotsav, on some special occasions, some people also sing a prayer for Shantinath Bhagwan.
3. Ashtaprakari Pooja
Generally Jains use the following eight items to perform Asthaprakari Pooja of a Tirthankar. Each item represents a specific religious virtue. While conducting the pooja, one is reminded of the importance of conducting his/her own daily life with the same supreme virtues.
Jal Pooja: (Water)
Water symbolizes the ocean. Every living being continuously travels through life’s ocean birth, death, and misery. This pooja reminds that one should live their life with honesty, truthfulness, love and compassion towards all living beings. This way one will be able to cross life’s ocean and attain Moksha or liberation.
Chandan Pooja: (Sandal wood)
Chandan symbolizes knowledge (Gnan). By performing this pooja, one should strive for Right Knowledge. Jainism preaches that the Path of Knowledge is the main path to attain liberation. Bhakti or Devotion helps in the early stages of one’s effort for liberation.
Pushpa Pooja: (Flower)
A flower symbolizes conduct. Our conduct should be like a flower, which provides fragrance and beauty to all living beings without discrimination. We should live our life like a flower, with love and compassion towards all living beings.
Dhoop Pooja: (Incense)
Dhoop symbolizes the ascetic life. While burning itself, incense provides fragrance to others. Similarly, true monks and nuns spend their entire life selflessly for the benefit of all living beings. This pooja reminds that one should strive for an ascetic lifestyle that ultimately leads to liberation.
Deepak Pooja: (Candle)
The flame of deepak represents Pure Consciousness or a soul without any bondage (liberated soul). In Jainism, such a soul is called a Siddha or God. The ultimate goal of every living being is to become liberated from karma. By doing this pooja one should strive to follow the Five Great Vows: Non violence, Truthfulness, Non stealing, Chastity and Non possession. Ultimately, these vows coupled with Right Faith and Knowledge will lead to liberation.
After Deepak Pooja, one must perform Chamar Pooja and Darpan Pooja.
Chamar Pooja – While doing Chamar Pooja, the feeling one should have is, “Oh, Bhagwan! Just as the chamar goes down and comes up, in the same way I too wish to bow down at Your lotus feet and attain great spiritual heights, that is – moksh.”
Darpan Pooja – While doing Darpan Pooja, the feeling one should have is, “Oh, Bhagwan! Just as Your reflection is seen in a pure and clean mirror, in the same way, may Your image be reflected in my heart, and may You reside there forever.”
Akshat Pooja: (Rice)
Since rice is a non-fertile grain, it cannot be grown by seeding it. Symbolically, it means that rice is the last birth. By doing this pooja, one should strive to put all their efforts in life as if this is their last life. And after the end of this life, one will be liberated and will not be reborn again.
Naivedya Pooja: (Sweet)
Naivedya symbolises a tasty food. By doing this pooja, one should strive to reduce or eliminate attachment to tasty food. Healthy food is essential for survival; however one should not live to eat tasty food. The ultimate aim in one’s life is to attain a life where no food is essential for our existence. That is the life of a liberated soul who lives in Moksha forever in ultimate bliss.
Fal Pooja: (Fruit)
Fruit symbolizes Moksha or Liberation. If we live our life without any attachment to worldly affair, continue to perform our duty without any expectation and reward, be a witness to all the incidents that occur surrounding us and within us, truly follow ascetic life, and have a love and compassion to all living beings, we will attain the fruit of Moksha or liberation. This is the last pooja performed and symbolizes the ultimate achievement of our life.
4. Aarti and Mangal Deevo
Jai Jai Aarti Aadi Jinanda, Nabhiraya Marudevi Ko Nanda.
Paheli Aarti Pooja Kije, Narbhav Paamine Lavo Lije.
Dusari Aarti Din Dayala, Dhuleva Nagarman Jug Ujavala.
Tisari Aarti Tribhuvan Deva, Sura Nara Indra Kare Tore Seva.
Chothi Aarti Chau Gati Chure, Manavanchhit Fal Shiv Sukh Pure.
Panchami Aarti Punya Upaayo, Mulchanda Rushubh Gun Gayo.
Jai Jai Aarti Aadi Jinanda, Nabhiraya Marudevi Ko Nanda.
Deevo Re Deevo Prabhu Mangalik Deevo, Aarti Utari Bhau Chiran Jivo.
Sohamanu Gher Parva Divali, Amar Khele Amaara Bali.
Dipala Bhane Aane Kula Ajavali, Bhave Bhagate Vighana Nivari.
Dipal A Bhane Aane E Kale Kali, Aarti Utari Raaja Kumara Pale.
Ama Gher Mangalica Tuma Gher Mangalica, Mangalica Chatur Vidha Sanghane Hojo.
Deevo Re Deevo Prabhu Mangalica Deevo, Aarti Utari Bhau Chiran Jivo.
5. Shanti Kalash and Chaitya Vandana
Shanti Kalash and Chaitya Vandana are performed to end the pooja. During Shanti kalash, we pour panchamrut into a pot while reciting Bruhat Shanti for the peace of the Jain Sangh and the entire universe and for removal of all the obstacles in our lives. The water in the pot is considered to have special powers to bring peace and to get rid of obstacles in life for people and places where it is sprinkled. At the end of Shanti Kalash we do a Chaitya Vandana.
The description of the Snatra Pooja given here will help you to understand the purpose of the Snatra Pooja and will make your participation in this ritual an enjoyable experience.