Article: Songs of devotion

Contributed by M. Whitney Kelting

Other hymns and rituals

A man plays music after the ordination of a new mendicant while monks, nuns and lay Jains celebrate. The initiation ceremony to become a monk or nun – dīkṣā – is a time of joy, music and festivities for the whole Jain community.

Celebrating initiation
Image by Jayesh Gudka © Jayesh Gudka

Some types of hymns are performed in particular ritual contexts. For example, lay Jains sing mendicant welcome songs – sādhu swāgatam gīt or gahuli gīt – on three specific occasions. Firstly, the hymns salute mendicants when they join a congregation for the rainy season retreat. Secondly, the hymns are sung to honour ascetics before they give a sermon. Thirdly, householder Jains perform these songs before offering food to a mendicant.

Auction songs – boli gīt – are performed during ritual auctions. These take place during Jain festivals and public ceremonies, particularly the festival of Paryuṣaṇ. Ritual auctions are also part of the ceremonies surrounding the renunciation of a new monk or nun.

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