BHAVNA


THE TWELVE BHAVANAS
OR CONTEMPLATIONS.

Bhavana means Thinking.

In the Jain Dharma 12 kinds of bhavanas are mentioned; and they enable people to attain mental peace and tranquility. If we lose our tranquility and equa imity on account of some events, no unhappy things will take place, if we can allow our minds to travel on the sublime waves of noble thoughts. The mind will remain calm and stable. These bhavanas are also called anupreksha.

Bhavana means the contemplations by means of which you impel your soul to carry out lofty reflections. The bhavanas are of 12 kinds:

(1) ANITYA BHAVANA:
All external substances including the body are transitory (Anitya). They are perishable; therefore, why should we have attachment for them?

(2) ASARAN BHAVANA:
Seeking the refuge of Dharma. Human beings are experiencing tremendous agitations like a deer in the claws of a hungry lion. Such things as the emergence of sinful karmas such as ashata are compared to the lion. When death occurs; when the soul has to leave the body, there is no one who can save the jiva who is helpless. Wealth, family etc. have to be given up at such a time. Dharma is the only refuge.

(3) SAMSAR BHAVANA:
In the cycle of samsar mother can become wife; wife can become mother; and an enemy can become a friend etc. how futile is samsar! Why should we have attachment for it? Oh! Birth, old age, death, disease, killing, bondage, desire, displeasure etc. are the sorrows that abound in Samsar. Developing the spiritual power of renunciation by such contemplations.

(4) EKATVA BHAVANA:
“I am alone, I am born alone, I die alone, I am sick alone, I have to suffer alone, I have to experience the karmas, I have earned alone”. Therefore, one should be cautious and keep away from attachment and hatred and then one should become free from attachment and interests. This is Ekatva Bhavana.

(5) ANYATVA BHAVANA:
“This body is transitory, without base, without roots and it is different from me; it is not myself, I am always the pure soul which is not perishable and which is the mine of knowledge. Even wealth, family etc., are absolutely not mine; they are different from me; therefore I discard attachment for all these things.” This is
Anyatva Bhavana.

(6) ASUCHI BHAVANA:
This body is made up of impure substance. It is being nourished by impure substances and it pollutes food, drink and anything that is smeared to it. I will discard my attachments for this body and engage myself in self-discipline, renunciation and spiritual endeavours.


(7) ASRAVA BHAVANA:
Thinking of the passages of sins. Every Asrava is tremendously harmful. We should think of this ,thus: “Just as a river carries away grass: in the same manner, the various sense organs and other Asravas carry thejive towards spiritual ruin. On account of this, we have to gather many karamas. So I will discard it.”

(8) SAMVAR BHAVANA:
Samvar means blocking the passage of sins. One must think of the tremendous benefits of each samvar. Thus, “Oh! How magnificent are the samvars like samthi, Gupti, yathidharma etc. one must carry out these activities and try to reduce or to get rid of the bondages of Karama.

(9) NIRJARA BHAVANA:
One must think of the benefits that accrue from each of the 12 kinds of Tapas or the austerities. One must think thus: “On account of dependence and because of bearing with vexations involuntarily karmas cannot be fully destroyed. Karmas can be fully destroyed by means of austerities both internal and external. In this manner, one should carry out a contemplation on the way to destroy sins.

(10) LOKASWABHAVA BHAVANA: This means one must contemplate on the three Lokaswabhavas namely – The upper world, the middle world and the nether world and the whole universe filled with jivas and pudgals.

One must contemplate on the principles of production existence and duration, Samsar, Moksha etc. and must chasten renunciation and spiritual knowledge.

(11) BODHIDURLABH BHAVANA : One must carry out this contemplation, “How difficult of attainment is the Jin Dharma for jivas that are wandering aimlessly in the four stages of existence in the Samsar? There should be not even the slightest negligence when this Bodhi has been attained.

(12) DHARMA SWAKHYATA BHAVANA : “Oh : Arihant Bhagwan, the omniscient has expounded an excellent Shrutha Dharma and Charitra Dharma. I will engage myself in these Dharmas”. He should carry out this contemplation again and again according to opportunity and necessity. One should investigate these contemplations. These are also called Anupreksha.