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Ashtahnika Parva, Nandishwara Dwipa, Temples, Idols, Aradhanas & Rituals

A descriptive article with images focused on the concept of Nandishwara Dwipa, the concept of Ashtahnika Parva, Nandishwara temples and idols across India, related Aradhanas & different forms of Vratas, shlokas, and rituals prescribed for Shravakas – householders.

Article & Photos: Nitin H P, Bengaluru

Jain cosmology describes the shape and functioning of the Universe (loka) and its constituents such as living beings, matter, space, time, etc. It considers the universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end. The concept of the Universe, related offerings, rituals, are unique of its kind. Ashtahnika Parva is one among these. Let’s understand more about Ashtahnika Parva, related rituals, and other details in this article.

Division of World as per Jain Cosmology: According to Jaina cosmology the world is divided into 3 parts:

+ Urdhva Loka – the realms of the Gods or heavens
+ Madhya Loka – the realms of the humans, animals and plants
+ Adho Loka – the realms of the hellish beings or the infernal regions

Nandishwara Dwipa
Madhyaloka consists of many continent-islands surrounded by oceans, of these the eighth island is Nandishwardvīpa surrounded by Nandishwaroda ocean. It is believed to be having 52 Jain temples. It is believed that during the Ashada, Karthika & phalguna months of an year from the Shukla Paksha Ashtami (8th day) to Purnima or Pournami (15th day) for 8 days the Gods and Goddesses spread across all the 3 worlds (Bhavanavasis, Vyantaras, Jotishkas & Kalpa Vasis) perform pooja at these temples along with their families. As a result of performing these poojas it motivates feelings of Vairagya (renunciation) to them. Nandishwardvipa is beyond the reach of humans. Since, the humans cannot reach Nandishwardvipa they perform pooja to an idol symbolically.

Temples of Nandishwara Dwipa – The Nandishwara Dwipa is said to have 13 temples each along north, south, east & west directions. Every direction will have one Anjanagiri, 4 Dadhi Mukha and 8 Rathikara mountains. Each mountain is believed to have an ‘Akruthrima’ temple. These temples are said to have been in existence since time immemorial and are hence called ‘Akruthrima’ temples. These 13 temples on each side put together adds up to 52 temples.

Nandishwara Temples – We can find many Nandishwara temples across India. below is a list of various Nandishwara Temples.
+ Delhi – Sri Digambar Jain Meru Mandir Constructed in the year 1845 is found in the Chandani Chowk Area of Delhi.
+ Hastinapur – Sri Pancha Meru Nandishwara temple is found at Hastinapur in the premises of Bada Mandir complex.
+ Khaniyadhana – It houses the world’s biggest Pancha Meru Nandishwar Dweep structure, we cannot find a much bigger structure than this elsewhere. Khaniyadhanais found at a distance of 97 Kms from Shivpuri in Shivpuri District of Madhya Pradesh.
+ Sammed Shikarji – A Nandishwara temple is found in the premises of Terapanthi Koti at Sammed Shikarji,  Giridih District, Jharkhand.
+ Songadh – Shree Panchameru Nandishwara Jinalaya is found at Songadh, Gujarat.

Nandishwara Idol – The 52 idols of Nandishwara dwipa are carved on to a single idol with 13 idols on each side is called a Nandishwara idol. below is a list of some Digambar Jain Temples where Nandishwara idols are found:
+ AdagurA Nandishwara idol measuring about 2 feet high is found at Sri Mahavir Temple at Adaguru.Adaguru is a village located at a distance of 21 Kms from the district centre Hassan.
+ Belathangady/Guruvayanakere – 4 different Nandishwara idols with 3 of them measuring about 2 feet high each and the other one measuring about 4.5 feet high are found in the 1st first floor of Sri Shantinatha Basadi of Ratnatraya Kshetra at Belathangady/Guruvayanakere of Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka.
+ Bengaluru/BangaloreSri Vardhaman Mahavir Swamy Digambar Jain Temple, Chickpet, Bengaluru.
+ Dadaga – Sri Shanthinath Swamy Digmabar Jain Temple, Dadaga, Nagamangala Taluk, Mandya District, Karnataka.
+ HassanSri Dodda Basadi located in the heart of Hassan town (Karnataka) houses a Nandishwara idol.
+ Hombuja/HumchaA Nandishwara idol measuring about 2 feet high is found at Sri Parshwanath Basadi. It belongs to around 14th – 15th century, Hombuja is located at a distance of 55 kms from Shivamogga in Shivamogga District, Karnataka.
+ Horanadu, Shanthigiri – A Nandishwara idol is found at 1008 Sri Parshwanath Swamy Digambar Jain Temple, Shanthigiri, Horanadu.
+ Kachaner – A Nandishwara idol made of marble measuring about 3.5 feet is found in the Parshwanath temple at Kachaner. Kachaner is located at a distance of about 34 Kms from Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
+ Karkala – A Nandishwara idol made of pancha loha (5 metals) measuring about 1 feet is found at Matada Basadi, Karkala, Udupi District, Karnataka.
+ Melsithamur – The carving of one of the sides of Nandishwara idol is found on one of the pillars of Sri Parshwanath Temple at Melsithamur, Tamil Nadu.
+ Nittur – A Nandishwara idol made of pancha loha measuring about 1 feet is found at Sri Shanthinath Swamy Temple at Nittur, Tumkur District, Karnataka.
+ Samse – A Nandishwara idol made of pancha loha measuring about 1 feet is found at Sri Shanthinath Basadi, Samse, Chikamagalur District, Karnataka.
+ Sankighatta – A Nandishwara idol made of pancha loha  (5 metals) measuring about 9 inches is found at the Dallina Vardhamana Swamy Temple at Sankighatta, Bangalore Rural District, Karnataka.
+ Varanga – An ancient Nandishwara idol measuring about 1.5 feet high is found at Hire Basadi. Varanga is located at a distance of 40 kms from Udupi in Udupi District, Karnataka.

Worship – Aradhanas/Vidhanas, Vrata & Prayers – The below rituals are defined as Ashtahnika Kriyas i.e. rituals to be undertaken during Ashtahnika:
+ Siddha Bhakti
+ Nandishwara Chaitya Bhakti
+ Panchaguru Bhakti &
+ Shanti

Aradhanas/Vidhanas – During Ashtahnika Parva Jains perform Siddhachakra Mahamandala Vidhana, Panchameru Nandishwara Aradhana and other aradhanas or vidhans.

Siddhacharka Mahamandal Vidhan – This is performed during Ashtahnika Parva. This Vidhana lasts for 8 days, usually an arrangement of 132 Akrutima Jina Chaityalayas with 52 of Nandishwara Dweepa and 80 of Panchameru Parvata will be made. In all a total of 2024 Argyas will be offered to deities.

Photos of Siddhachakra Mahamandala Vidhana conducted at Bangalore/Bengaluru under the leadership of Jinendra Banga.

Nandishwara Ashtahnika Parva Vrata & Prayers – However, for people who are unable to perform these aradhanas or vidhanas different forms of vrata are also prescribed in the Jain scriptures.

Ashtahnika Vrata has 5 different forms: 17 years, 8 years, 5 years, 3 years & 1 year.

Period & Timeframe: Performed for 8 days during the Ashada, Karthika & Phalguna months of a year from the Shukla Paksha Ashtami (8th day) to 15th day.

Procedure: They are prescribed in 3 different types –

Utkrushta (Superior)
+ Ekaasana (eating only once a day) on the 1st half of sapthami (7th day).
+ Fasting for 8 days from the 8th to 15th day and having food after 3 pm on 15th day.

Madhyama (Intermediate)
+ Ekaasana on the Sapthami.
+ Fasting on Ashtami.
+ Having food on Navami (9th day).
+ Either hot water or food on Dashami (10th day).
+ Having limited food on Ekadashi (11th day).
+ Having food the entire day on Dwadashi (12th day)
+ Having tasteless food with water and rice only once a day on Thrayodashi (13th day)
+ Having either boiled water or spicy food or water on Chaturdashi day (14th day)
+ Fasting on Purnima or Pournami (15th day) and having food at the end.

Jaganya (Inferior)
+ Chanting shlokas from sapthami to 15th day until afternoon
+ Visiting basadi/temple every day and having food every day without speaking and without any disturbance.

Prayers – It is suggested to offer prayers on all the days by chanting specific shloka for each day. It is suggested to chant these 3 times a day.
Suggested sholokas are as below –
+ 1st day – Ashtami: Shukla Paksha 8th day – Om Hriim Nandiishwara Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 2nd day – Navami: Shukla Paksha 9th day – Om Hriim Ashtamahaavibhuuthi Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 3rd day – Dashami: Shukla Paksha 10th day – Om Hriim Trilokasagara Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 4th day – Ekadashi: Shukla Paksha 11th day – Om Hriim Chaturmukha Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 5th day – Dwadashi: Shukla Paksha 12th day – Om Hriim Mahaalakshana Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 6th day – Trayodashi: Shukla Paksha 13th day – Om Hriim Swargasoopana Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 7th day – Chaturdashi: Shukla Paksha 14th day – Om Hriim Sarvasampatthi Sangnaaya Namaha.
+ 8th day – Shukla Paksha 15th day: Om Hriim Indradhwaja Sangnaaya Namaha

References:
1. Jaina Dharma (Kannada) – Hindi Original Pandit Kailashchandra Shastri, Translated to Kannada by: K Bhujabali Shastri, B Devakumar Jain, Pg. No. 387, Published by: Lalchand Hirachand Doshi, Jaina Samskruthi Samrakshaka Sanga, Solapur, 1969 (1st Edition).
2. Jainendra Siddhantha Kosa (Hindi) – Kshu. Jinendra Varni, Part – 1, Pg. No. 205, Published by: Bharatiya Jnanapith, 18, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi, 2012 (11th Edition).
3. Jainendra Siddhantha Kosa (Hindi) – Kshu. Jinendra Varni, Part – 2, Pg. No. 138, Published by: Bharatiya Jnanapith, 18, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi, 2012 (11th Edition).
4. Jaina Siddantha Sara Sangraha (Kannada) – by: Dharanendrappa Hanamantappa Guggari, Pg. No. 515 & 516, Published by: Sanmati Prakashana, 2, Neelganga, 24th & 28th Cross, Bandra, Mumbai – 50, 1984 (1st Edition).

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