Navkar Mantra is the fundamental prayer of Jainism. It is also known as Namokar or Namaskar (salutation) Mantra
because it is a means of paying respect to the 5 supreme beings. These beings are namely the ‘tirthankar’
(one who has attained omniscience), the ‘siddha’ (one with liberated soul), the ‘acharya’ (ascetic leader), the ‘upadhyaya’ (ascetic preceptor), and the ‘sadhu’ (ordinary ascetic). The person reciting this chant has to bow down as a mark of respect. There is no particular reference to any particular deity or monk in the verse. All the spiritual figures in general are worshipped through it.
The very essence of Jainism is embedded in the Navkar Mantra. It acts as guide to a person seeking liberation. According to it, renouncing worldly affairs and becoming a monk is the key to ultimately attaining the status of the Siddha, the one with the liberated soul. This chant emphasises the worship of the ascetics, which is the fundamental principle of Jain religion.