Navpad Oli

March, 2023 by https://www.yja.org/navpadoli

Overview:

Navpad Oli is the most important Parva, or festival, in Jainism. Also known as Ayambil Oli, it lasts for nine days, and occurs twice a year. During this time, Jains worship the nine supreme entities of the universe: (1) Arihants, (2) Siddhas, (3) Acharyas, (4) Upadhyays, (5) Sadhus/Sadhvis, (6) Samyak Darshan, (7) Samyak Gyan, (8) Samyak Charitra, and (9) Samyak Tap. Throughout this festival, many Jains complete Ayambil Tap, which means to eat only once in a day and give up “tasty” foods during the meal – this means avoiding milk, curd, ghee, oil, sugar/jaggery, and fried foods. One would also drink boiled water, as is done for similar fasts.

Fun Fact: Navpad Oli is Shashvat, or eternal – it always has existed and always will continue to exist!

Arihant:

We worship Arihants on day 1 of Navpad Oli. Arihants or Tirthankars are liberated souls who helped revive and advance the Jain religion. This entity is represented by the color white.

Siddha:

We worship Siddhas on day 2 of Navpad Oli. Siddhas are liberated souls that are free from the cycle of life and death and have attained Moksh. This entity is represented by the color red.

Acharya:

We worship Acharyas on day 3 of Navpad Oli. Acharyas are the spiritual heads of the Jain Sangh. As leaders, they guide the monks, nuns, and laypeople in their spiritual journeys. This entity is represented by the color yellow.

Upadhyay:

We worship Upadhyays on day 4 of Navpad Oli. Upadhyays are Sadhus and Sadhvis who have mastered Jain scriptures and impart their knowledge to ascetics and laypeople. This entity is represented by the color green.

Sadhu/Sadhvi:

We worship Sadhus/Sadhvis on day 5 of Navpad Oli. Sadhus and Sadhvis are monks and nuns who have left their material possessions in pursuit of spiritual well-being. This entity is represented by the color black.

Samyak Darshan:

We worship Samyak Darshan, or right faith, on day 6 of Navpad Oli. This includes having total faith in the Tirthankars, Jain Gurus, and scriptures. This entity is represented by the color white.

Samyak Gyan:

We worship Samyak Gyan, or right knowledge, on day 7 of Navpad Oli. This includes understanding the separateness of the soul and body, the effects of karma, and the cycle of life and death. This entity is represented by the color white.

Samyak Charitra:

We worship Samyak Charitra, or right conduct, on day 8 of Navpad Oli. This includes practicing non-violence, non-absolutism, and non-possessiveness. This entity is represented by the color white.

Samyak Tap:

We worship Samyak Tap, or right austerity, on day 9 of Navpad Oli. This includes practicing self-restraint, self-purification, penance, yoga, and meditation. This entity is represented by the color white.

The Story of Shripal and Mayna:

Shripal was a common man who suffered from leprosy. Mayna, on the other hand, was a princess. After an argument with her father, Mayna was forced to marry Shripal, whom they would later discover was the heir to the throne of Champa-nagar. Shripal and Mayna wanted to cure his disease. They sought guidance from Achaya Munichandra, who advised that they devote themselves towards observing Navpad Oli. Through their efforts and faith, Shripal’s disease was cured and the couple ruled the kingdom of Champa-nagar.

Mahavir Janma Kalyanak:

Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, or the birth celebration of our 24th Tirthankar Mahavir Swami, is celebrated on Chaitra Sud Teras and falls during the spring Navpad Oli. Mahavir Swami was born in 599 B.C. to King Siddharth and Queen Trishla in Kshatriyakund. Per tradition, Indra Bhagwan took the baby to Mount Meru to bathe him. His birth brought prosperity to the entire kingdom, thus he was named Vardhaman, meaning “ever-lasting prosperity.”

Resources:

Celebrating Navpad Oli away from home? YJA has you covered! Trying these activities organized around the nine supreme entities of the universe that celebrate each day of Navpad Oli will allow you to reflect on Jain principles without going to a temple. These nine entities can also be reflected on so try leading each day with the corresponding Bhav (intention).

Acknowledgement:

https://www.yja.org/navpadoli

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