Ahimsa Times October 2007 Issue - www.jainsamaj.org
Wish You a Very Happy Deepawali
a Very Prosperous New Year
DIPAVALEE FESTIVAL IN JAINISM
MR. CHANDRAPRAKASH SHAH UK
All benevolent, infinite knowledgeable and infinite powerful Shree Tirthankaras establish a Dharma tirth to elevate all living-beings from this beginning-less and unbelievable horrible and materialistic world to unending and permanent bliss and happiness of salvation. I bow down to them and seek their blessings. The day on which Sraman Bhagwan Mahavir attained emancipation is famous as Dipavalee in Jainism and observed in different manner compared to Laukik Dipavalee celebration. We have forgotten our Dipavalee and accepted Laukik Dipavalee nowadays. There are about eight days Dipavalee celebration in Jainism. It begins from Dhan Terash and ends on Gyan Pancham or Labh Pancham or Shrut Panchami. There are last three days of Ashwin month and first five days of Kartik month.
SAINTS ALSO WANT TO BRING REFORMS IN JAIN MARRIAGE RITUALS & CEREMONIES
Recently, Sikh Priests ( Akaltakht ) had announced strict code of conduct to be observed in marriages. Taking clue from this, now Jain Saints have also expressed their displeasure over the vulgar show of wealth and wasteful expenditure in marriages. It is inspirational to see, Delhi Jain Society has also accepted the suggestions of the saints and agreed to put checks in this direction. Jain Mahasabha of Delhi, which is headed by Prof. Ratan Jain has taken initiative to pilot this movement of social reforms. Prof. Ratan Jain a Jain Samaj activist, is also successful in mobilising support from Jain Saints in this mission.
The Proposed guidelines are as follows.
1. Avoid night marriages
2. Only two programmes, one from bride side & other from groom side.
3. No Dances on roads
4. No liquors.
5. No fire crackers
6. Restriction on food items
The above guidelines have been endorsed by Uadhay Rajendra Muni ( Sthanakwasi Sect ), Sri Ratan Sunder Surishwarji ( Mandir ) Sri Sumer Muni ( Terapanth ) and may others. Speaking about the success of this movement, Prof. Ratan Jain said, inspiring from his mission some jain families have cancelled their bookings of night marriage & changed it to day ceremony. He was also hopeful that Jain Samaj will officially adopt and announce the code of conduct for Jain Marriages before Depawali.
Board of Trustees of Ahimsa Foundation & Ahimsa Times editorial board congratulates Prof. Ratan Jain for initiating this subject of utmost importance & relevance to entire jain samaj & wish him luck in his endeavor to bring reforms in Jain Samaj.For more information contact: Prof. Ratan Jain, Jain Mahasabha Delhi, A-161, Ashok Vihar, Phase – II, Delhi – 110 052, Tele : 011-272-15644 & 98-992-28882.
LADY ASCETIC SMT. RATAN BAI BABU LAL JI BAFNA COMPLETES HER 75 DAYS FASTING AT NEW PAWAPURI
On the occasion of completion of 75 years of age by Poojya Acharya Shrimad Hem Chandra Surishwar Ji maharaj, holding his chaturmas at New Pawapuri Teerth in Sirohi district of Rajasthan, Smt. Ratan Bai Babu Lal Ji Bafna ended her 75 days long fast amongst great rejoice and jubilation by the devotees present on the occasion in the holy presence of Acharya Shri Hem Chandra Surishwar Ji maharaj. The entire family of Sri K.P. Sanghvi, who has built this unique temple complex few years ago, along with the members of Jeev Maitridham Trust Mandal of Pawapuri, were present on this occasion. The Acharyashri bestowed his blessings to the lady, Ratan Ben Bafna for her devout austerity and vigorous penance.
NANDGIRI: A JAIN CAVE TEMPLE IN MAHARASHTRA
Nandgiri, also known as Kalyangad, is a fort situated in Satara District of Maharashtra. This fort was built by the Shilahar King Bhoj II in early 13th century. He built 16 forts in total in western Maharashtra. The Shilahar Dynasty was follower of Jainism. This dynasty ruled all over the south Maharashtra and North Karanatka between 11th to 13th Centuries. King Bhoj II was disciple of Jain Acharya Maghnandi. Acharya Maghnandi was his spiritual and political Guru. The Kings, Queens and Generals of this dynasty were staunch Jains and promoted Jainism in their region. After decline of Shilahar Dynasty, the Nandgiri fort was captured by Adilshah of Bijapur. The fort was taken back by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1673 A.D. As this fort was very difficult to climb, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's treasury was kept on this fort.
UNIMAGINABLY BAD CONDITION OF MANJUPATTU JAIN TEMPLE Jains Raj,E-Mail
Dear Jain brothers and Sisters - Please see attached pictures of another neglected (not ruined) Jain temple of Manjupattu Village in Tamilnadu. This village has many Jain families mixture of well to do families as well as farming community and professionals. As evident from pictures It is not maintained, even basic necessities of temple are not met(eg dipak, pooja, abhishek, cleaning etc). Idols are kept in very bad condition, overall structure of temple is used for temporary accommodation for few homeless. It is probably used as a time passing place for unemployed or retired people. One of our team member visited the spot , he was shocked to note the way Jain temple is maintained. Temple has very attractive features and quite ancient. I would like some of our Jain brethren to come forward and help maintain this. This is our own Jain temple. It needs around 25000 Rs /year for basic maintenance. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NEGLECTED JAIN TEMPLE OF PAKISTAN
From: "Atul Bafna" E-Mail : email@example.com The reason why a Jain Temple in Tharparkar is in shambles is because the masses are becoming increasingly apathetic towards heritage. The Jain Temple of Pari Nagar, situated at Virawah, some four miles from Nagarparkar in district Tharparkar is in shambles. This is because of the general apathy of our people towards heritage and scarce resources available with the Department of Archeology, Sindh. It has also been an eyesore to religious bigots who reportedly disfigured two idols, which were in an intimate embrace.
Similarly, while the road network in Tharparkar has connected the impoverished land with urban centres, including Karachi, it has also been a bad omen for heritage sites. Picnickers who frequent the desert after monsoon when it becomes lush green visit Tharparkar and feel no qualms in taking away statues from the temples just for fun. The more enterprising amongst them indulge in such acts in the hope that they will make a fortune by selling the artefacts to foreign buyers. "It is presumed that the Temple is a part of the city of Pari Nagar. If the area is properly excavated we can find a lot about the history and layout of the lost city besides precious artefacts of that unique period," Qasim Ali Qasim, Director, Department of Archaeology & Museums, government of Pakistan, told TNS.
NEWS, PROGRAMMES AND EVENTS ABROAD
THE MONTERREY MEXICO CONFERENCE-2007-PARLIAMENT OF WORLD RELIGIONS
Inter-religious Conference was held in Monterrey, Mexico from Sept. 20 through 27, 2007 and attended by over 6000 people. About 30 prominent religious and spiritual leaders from Bahai, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikkhism from all over the world as well as Mexican indigenous leaders blessed the conference. The purpose of the conference was to build harmony and friendships among the people of different religions and faith traditions, to discover new areas where interests and convictions converge and where the religions can work together for a better and more peaceful world.The Chairman William Lesher and The President Dirk Fika too were a part of the Conference. Ms. Raksha Shah, the only Indian lady at the Monterrey Conference, organized by the Council for the Parliament of Worlds Religions with the UNESCO. She delivered a 90 minute presentation on 'Mutual-Co-existence and Interdependance'- from the Jain Perspective, the need of the hour for Peace and Harmony. She also gave her presentations at the 3 Panels and discussed and debated on issues like Euthanesia, Religion and Values and Supporting the Family. JAINA team from USA included Divya & Vivek Jain (New Brunswick, NJ) and Anop Vora. The panel discussions were centered on armed conflicts, terrorism, and transmitting religious values and were jam-packed with over 5000 people. The audience responded with a thunderous applause. Divya gave an outstanding dance performances in a similar plenary session and made the audience very euphoric. Should you require any additional information, contact Mrs. Raksha J Shahm 71-B/1,Adarsh, Saraswati RoadSantacruz [West],Mumbai-400054 ,Tel- 9819102060 26490164 26490378.
US HOUSE PANEL APPROVES RESOLUTION COMMEMORATING DIWALI
Washington, Oct 24: Showing support to Indian Americans and the Indian diaspora throughout the world, a US House of Representatives panel has approved a resolution commemorating Diwali. The resolution, ''Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali'', sponsored by Congressmen recognised Diwali as an important festival. It would go before the full House of Representatives for a vote later this week. The festival of lights, marked the beginning of the Hindu New Year, and was also celebrated widely among Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. The resolution acknowledged the international, religious and historical importance of the festival and appreciated the religious diversity in both India and the United States. It supported the new relationship of collaboration and dialogue in international efforts between the two countries. Congressman Joseph Crowley, who represents a large number of South Asians and Indians in Queens, New York, said, ''Every year, Diwali is marked by millions in the United States and billions throughout the world. Representing one of the largest Indian American communities, I take pride in observing Diwali with my constituents annually. The legislation would receive full consideration in the House of Representatives.
DIWALI FESTIVITIES LIGHT UP TRAFALGAR SQUARE AND HOLD JAIN DANCES
London : Trafalgar square, London’s fabourite point of assembly, will light up with Diwali lights for 2007 celebrations of the festival of lights, Organised by the mayor of London and the Diwali in London. Committee, an sponsored by Tilda Basmati, the free event on October 28 will be open to all and will see the cemented square transformed by magical light displays, floating lanterns, and music and dance performances. Diwali on the Square” run from midday until 8 p.m. with music and dance, including Jain dances and other famous dances of India. There will be also be dance representing symbols of India, such as the peacock dance, lotus and snake and dances commemorating India’s 60 years of independence, the mayor’s office announced on Tuesday. Other attractions will include Sikh martial arts, a sari-wearing demonstration and a fancy dress parade.
LONDON CELEBRATES AN EARLY DIWALI WITH A BIG BANG
New Delhi: It was an early Diwali in London this year with thousands gathering at the Trafalgar Square for the annual Diwali celebrations. Even the rain didn't dampen the festive spirit. “It’s a shame about the weather but we are enjoying ourselves,” said Susan, a resident of London. "Not only do we have Hindus here but Christians, Muslims and Sikhs and it’s really nice since it brings all the religions together,” says another resident, Anita. For past six years, the Mayor of London's office has been organising Diwali festivals at Trafalgar Square, an event that has become an annual feature and marks the beginning of the festive season in the city. "Happy diwali to all Londoners. I am sorry about the weather but what’s remarkable is that we have a full Trafalgar Square,” said Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London.
SWETAMBER STHANAKWASI SANGH IN MOMBASA CELEBRATED PARUSAN WITH 400 SANGH MEMBERS
To mark the end of paryushan festiwal Shree Swetamber Sthanakwasi Jain Sangh in Mombasa celebrated their annual swami vatsalya with more than four hundred (400) Sangh members with an extended invitation to the invited guests who witnessed and graced the occasion in the most homely atmosphere and befitting arrangements. Under the Chairman Rajnikant Vora the present Managing Committee recognized and decorated all the past Chairmen and Trustees of the Sangh (SSSJS) way back from 1936 - 2006. In addition to this the Sangh also respected and awarded special Silver Plaques to all including the Elderly members who are aged 70 years and above as 'Senior Sangh Member' by the way of their contribution of voluntary services in various fields as and when required by Jain fraternity in the City of Mombasa. The celebrations first of its kind (Be-stowing respects to Elderly members) was organized at the ultra modern Air-conditioned Hall courtesy of Shree Navnat Vanik Mahajan (behind Hotel Sapphire). All together the Hall was vibrating throughout the function with tunes of religious verses. Prior to such celebrations many members, fasted for continuous eight days by only drinking water from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and offer prayers for two hours in the evening. On the fifth day of fasting Jains celebrated the birthday of their Lord Mahavira. After eight days of fasting, they contributed in cash, kind towards the betterment of the less fortunate members regardless of their, cast, religion or color.
SHRI DIGAMBER JAIN SAMAJ TEMPLE IN BANGKOK
Shri Digamber Jain Samaj, Bangkok has completed the transfer of ownership of a 3-storey townhouse property on 19th July 2007 in the name of “Digambar Jain Foundation” (DJF) at house # 143/3, near K. Building Apartment, Soi Putha Osoth, off Maha Set Road, Suriwong, Bangkok. It is indeed a memorable event and a milestone for the growth of Jainism in Thailand and for all Digambar Jains living here for past several years. The Jin Bimb (statue) and prayer hall are located on the 2nd Floor. Ground floor contains store, shower and WC area. 3rd Floor is an open hall for Swadhyay. The space is adequate for the current size of Digamber Jain community. There are over 500 Jain families living in Thailand, mostly in Bangkok, for past several years. Out of them, about 100 are Digamber Jain families and the rest are Shwetamber families. Shwetambers also have their Derasar in the vicinity, built few years ago. In April 2004, current President of All India Digamber Jain Mahasabha, Shri Nirmal Kumar Ji Sethi, had visited Bangkok and had inspired us to construct a temple for the Digamber Jains. This year DJF invited a very knowledgeable Shri Bharat bhai and 2 Musicians from India and celerated Das Lakshan Maha Parv from 16th to 25th September, 2007 with full devotion. DJF is also proud to send 3 Thai post graduate scholars (2 in year 2006 and 1 in year 2007) to India to participate in a 2 months' intensive summer course organised by International Summer School for Jain Studies (ISSJS) to study the Philosophy of Jain religion. These scholars will help DJF in propagating Lord Mahavir’s teachings to local people. For further information, please contact: Pramod M. Jain, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TENTH ANNUAL YOUNG JAIN PROFESSIONALS CONVENTION IN USA
The 10th Annual Young Jain Professionals Convention was held in St. Petersburg, FL from September 28 to October 1, 2007. The theme of the convention was 'Back to Basics'. A primary aim of this convention was to bring everyone in a natural setting and provide a forum for learning about and discussing issues that we as Jains face in the professional stage of our lives. Participants came from all over North America, including Seattle, Toronto, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. The convention began Friday evening with introductions. Participants were also called upon to think about the concept of forgiveness for the duration of the week-end and reflect on how we can be more forgiving and seek forgiveness from others to a greater extent than what they might normally do. Later that night, participants sat around a camp fire and enjoyed roasting vegan marshmallows, as they got to know each other better. Saturday morning began with a yoga session led by Tushar Mehta. Participants got the chance to try out various yoga postures that Jain munis have been doing for centuries. After breakfast, participants got a chance to learn about Vegan Fashions. Rina Shah, whose company has won awards for manufacturing “animal-friendly” products and for donating to “animal-friendly” causes, educated participants on the availability of such products. Her designs, which are available in stores in several countries and online, include non-leather and non-silk shoes, purses, belts, etc. In the session, she showed that one does not need to give up fashion to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.
FIRST INSTITUTE OF JAINOLOGY AHIMSA AWARD GIVEN TO DALAI LAMA
LONDON, 8 October: At an elaborate function at the House of Commons, the London-based Institute of Jainology gave their first ever Ahimsa Award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, and Mr. Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa. The finely decorated thick glass memento award in recognition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “valuable contribution towards non-violence” was presented by the Chief Guest Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to Mr. Tsering Tashi, who received it on behalf of the Tibetan leader. Mr. Tashi
is the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for London, Poland and the
Baltic Countries based at the Office of Tibet in London.
LECTURES ON "JAINISM AND OUR UNIVERSE IN RELATION TO MODERN SCIENCE"
Dr. Sneha Rani Jain, Ph.D. delivered a series of lectures on the 13th and 14th October, 07 at JCA-NY Art Gallery/Cellar on the subject of 'Jainism and Universe in relation to modern science' under the auspices of 'Scholar Lecture Series' and organised by the Jain Center of America. The main topics on which she spoke included Origin and structure of universe, Jain metaphysics and Cosmology, soul and karmic interelation and living and non-living entities. The topics were of keen interest to the students as well as scholars of Jainism and the lectures were well-attended by a large audience.
CONFERENCES, SEMINARS & EVENTS
JITO - 2ND JAIN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR AT MUMBAI: 3RD - 6TH JANUARY 2008
The Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) will be organizing the next trade fair from 3rd January to 6th January, 2008 again at Mumbai Exhibition Center, N.S.E. Ground, Goregaon (East), Mumbai. The convener of the fair, Shri Padam Chand Jain from Jaipur informed the press that the sole objective of holding the fair was to strengthen financial, educational and spiritual status of Jain community. The fair will include seminars, group discussions, a trade exhibition of the products manufactured by members of Jain community in India and abroad and a Jain cultural pavilion. It has been planned to put up about 800 stalls at the fair, which will go a long way in establishing international contacts. Eminent industrialists, scholars specialists, management managers, ministers and parliamentarians will be speaking in different sessions of the seminars.
20TH ALL INDIA SUMMER SCHOOL ON PRAKRIT LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE- 2008
B. L. Institute of Indology, Delhi is organizing the 20th All India Summer School on Prakrit Language & Literature (Both Elementary and Advanced Courses) from Sunday, 11th May to Sunday, 1st June 2008. The minimum qualification for the entrance in Elementary Course is Post Graduate Degree in Prakrit/Sanskrit/Pali Language. Preference will be given to the scholars and teachers on the basis of Merit. The participants who have passed Elementary Course conducted by this Institute could be admitted in Advanced Course on the basis of their past performance. Interested participants may contact:Dr. Balaji Ganorkar,Director, B L Institute of Indology, Delhi 110036,Tel: 011-27202065, 27206630, E-Mail: email@example.com Website: www.blinstitute.org
DR. SOHANLAL JAIN GANDHI TO SPEAKS ON "JAIN CONTRIBUTION TO INTERFAITH HARMONY" AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
CHALLENGES OF INTERRELIGIOUS AND INTERCULTURAL COOPERATION TODAY
(Invited by the President of the United Nations General Assembly as a speaker on October 4th, 2007)
A Dismal Scenario -The main aim of a religion is to enable its followers to live a good moral life based on truth and justice but when we look back and examine the role of religion during the last three millenniums of recorded human history, we are shocked to discover that instead of inspiring people to follow an ethical code of conduct and abstain from sinful acts it was instrumental in generating bloody conflicts and causing discord and disharmony in society. Our beliefs result from our social and cultural environment. No two persons think alike hence it is natural that there will be different beliefs, different languages, different dresses and different cultural, moral and social values. Diversity of beliefs and views is a natural attribute of humanity.
The situation today is extremely grim and complicated since the extremists are exploiting religious differences to further their selfish ends and fulfill their political aspirations. Economic disparities, abject poverty and unemployment are also adding fuel to the fire of religious tensions. India is facing the worst crisis of terrorism. Thousands of innocent people have lost their lives and the potential threat still exists. It is time we took immediate steps to strengthen inter religious and intercultural cooperation. We are of the view that only a meaningful dialogue among religious heads can create an environment of goodwill and friendship leading to cooperation.
FIGHTING AIDS DISEASE THE GANDHIAN WAY
NEW DELHI: Inspired by Bollywood character Munnabhai, a group of Gandhians in New Delhi have launched a campaign against HIV/AIDS by urging people in a "Gandhian style" to keep themselves away from illicit relationship. Activists of the 'Universal Peace Foundation' are distributing Gandhigiri pamphlets, which contains the messages of Mahatma Gandhi on values like being trustworthy in relationships and on the institution of wedding. The pamphlet urges people to take a pledge that they will keep away from illicit relationships before or after marriage and will be faithful to their partner throughout their life. It also contains passages from sacred texts of various religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Zorastrianism and Ba'ahai. The campaign was designed under the guidance of eminent jurist L M Singhvi, who died recently. "We are trying to reach out to the masses using the Mahatma's teachings to fight against HIV/AIDS," David McLackLand, a Britisher associated with the campaign, said. MacLackland, also a consultant with a charitable trust 'Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace', said they chose the principles of the Mahatma because his ideals have an universal appeal.
ADMISSIONS TO NEXT BATCH FOR STUDY OF JAINISM IN SUMMER SCHOOL IN INDIA
The Program of Summer school in Jainism started with just 7 scholars in 2005 and grew to 14 in 2006 and 33 in 2007. The total participation so far is of 50 Scholars. They came from USA, Canada, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia (more than 85% from North America) and represented about 20 universities from six countries. Atleast 5 Alumni of ISSJS have already started offering regular classes in Jainism at their school/university. Last year, nearly 500 hundred students were exposed to Jainism and its philosophy. University of Ottawa, Canada, University of Bombay, Rajasthan University, Maglayatan University (in Aligarh, U.P) and Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in New Delhi are providing Academic support to ISSJS program. As a result of visit to Harvard University in August 2007, we have engaged two highly motivated and qualified Graduate Students from Harvard Divinity School under the work-study program to help us in publicizing ISSJS program at University campuses throughout the world. The aim is to draw the best qualified students and faculty from a larger pool to participate in future ISSJS programs. This program is jointly funded by JAINA, ISJS and the Harvard University Work-study Grants.
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE EXAMINATION IN JAINOLOGY
Institute For Jain Studies, Pune has announced an examination in General Knowledge in Jainology. The examination is open to all and can be given by correspondence. The question paper will be objective, covering subjects like Philosophy, Culture, Literature and History. No study material will be provided to the students, as the purpose of this examination is to check the General Knowledge. Students can give the answers in English or Hindi language. Successful students will get a certificate from the institute. For further details, please send a self-addressed envelope to: Institute For Jain Studies, Post Box No. 58, Jagannath Complex, 199 Mumbai-Pune Road, Chinchwad East, Pune 411019. Courtesy: Mahavir Sanglikar, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAURABH DALAL GETS `HENRY SPIRA GRASSROOTS’ AWARD IN LOS ANGELES
Vegetarian Society of D.C. (VSDC) President, Saurabh Dalal received the newly renamed `Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Award’ at the Animal Rights 2007 Conference held in Los Angeles in July. Henry Spira who died in 1998 is renowned for pioneering grassroots activism in the U.S. Animal Rights Movement. Last year in 2006, he was given `AHIMSA AWARD’ by JAIN FRIENDS, an International Jain Internet Organization, H.Q. in Poona, India. Saurabh Dalal has been the Pioneer in the Vegetarian, Animal Rights, and Environmental Movements among Indian Americans in U.S.A. He has the wide range of contacts with writers, researchers, professors, and others in these fields. He is the President of Vegetarian Society of District of Columbia (VSDC) for over 10 years. It is the second largest and the oldest vegetarian society in North America (U.S.A. and Canada) with over 900 members. He is the Chairman of the Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA). He is also the Vice Chair of International Vegetarian Union (IVU) which holds World Vegetarian Congress every other year in different countries of the world. His presentation at the last July 2007 JAINA Convention in Edison, N.J. on GLOBAL WARMING was acclaimed by Dr. L.M. Singhvi as well for its researched information unknown to many as Non-Vegetarian Diet was the Largest Contributor to Global Warming, which is deliberately Ignored by Politicians and Vested Interest Groups.
Among Jains, Saurabh Pioneered in the Organization of Young Jains of America (YJA), Young Jain Professionals (YJP), and Young Jains International (YJI). He has been a member of JAINA Executive in the past. He was the First to Introduce JAIN JEOPARDY in U.S.A. He keeps in touch with `Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC), head quartered in Poona, India and Vegetarian Society of Bombay, India. He has convinced and converted many into Vegetarianism / Veganism ( Plant – Based Diet, not using any Animal Products including Dairy/Milk, Silk, Leather, Wool, Fur, Eggs, in addition to Meat, Fish, Fowl, etc.) being a VEGAN himself for over 15 years. Apart from his above Mission for Non-Violence, he is by Profession, an Optics Engineer with Two Graduate Degrees of M.S. in Engineering and Physics from John Hopkins University, Baltimore. Courtsey: Fakirchand J. Dalal,
VEGANISM SPREADS IN U.S. CAPITAL, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Washington Post is one of USA’s Foremost Daily. In a Lead Article in FOOD Section of October 10, 2007, titled `Vegan Soul Grows in Anacostia (Washington D.C.)’. It has reported a story of Levita Mondie-Sapp, a woman on a mission to teach her neighbors `How to Prepare Food in More Healthful Ways. The Lady is neither a Jain, nor a Hindu, nor even an Indian Immigrant to U.S.A. She has grown up in Memphis, TN in the Conservative Southern Bible Belt. She is now, a 37-year-old Maret School Teacher in Anacostia, Washington, D.C., predominantly a Black African American Residential Area. Every weekend in a leafy neighborhood, her low-key Revolution gets underway. She makes Sweet Potatoes with a light orange glaze or spicy peanut Vegetable Stew or her hibiscus Tea with the Help of her Young Daughters. The Folks down the street, Relatives, and Church Members drop by to See what’s in the Oven or to Watch as she prepares for a Private Cooking Lesson or Someone’s Housewarming Buffet. Every-body gets a Taste. Her Dishes are MEATLESS And HEALTHFUL. That’s How Eating Habits Can CHANGE, referring to Her One-Woman Campaign. This is Not An Area Known for Liking Vegetarian, she says with a Thoughtful, Intent Gaze and Quiet Confidence.
She Changed Her Family’s Diet after being Motivated by a Cause. When Her Mom got CANCER, she started Reading about How Food Can Contribute to Degenerative Diseases, or It Can Promote Longevity. Her Mother Died in 1996. She did not Attempt Immediate Drastic CHANGE. In Graduate School, Her Roommate was Vegan. Her Culinary Transition Began then To Cut Back on Sugar, she Blended her Grape Juice with Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice. Her Informal Business called `Vita’s Eatery’ kept Rolling by Word of Mouth. She Catered to her Real Estate Agent’s House Warmings. There she was asked to Give Lessons. Then some one asked her to Demonstrate Vegetarian Cooking at Her Church, Union Temple. Modifying with Vegan Ingredients, she used Rice Milk in Corn Bread. Now, she Cooks Ghanaian, Mexican, Thai, Italian, and Indian Dishes. She has Cabinet full of Cookbooks. She Professionally Caters for Weddings. The Teacher’s Revolution won her Prizes. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, recently came to Hand Her Two Large Plaques. Someday, she would Make `Vita’s Eatery’ an Enterprise, Café on the Bottom and Cooking Classes Upstairs, where she could Teach People the Benefits of a Diet based on Whole Foods and Whole Grains THE LESSONS TO LEARN: `Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY’. The PURPOSE and MOTIVATION here is HEALTH of/for the COMMUNITY. Non–Vegetarian Diet is the Largest Cause of Global Warming, yet even Nobel Laureate, like Al Gore does not have Moral Courage to Mention in his `Inconvenient Truth’. We are A Community with Culture and Religion. In Addition to Physical Health, We Can Gain in Mental and Spiritual Health too. Can JAINS who Talk about AHINSA–NON-VIOLENCE Adopt Vegan (Plant-Based) Diet in Place of JAIN Diet which is Not Truly A Vegetarian Diet as It Contains DAIRY (Products), The ANIMAL Products. They USE Dairy and other Products in Their TEMPLES Too. It will be Laudable for HINDUS and Others as well to Follow the Purification Process at Temples and Homes. In Addition to Next Life, it will Help Purifying the SOUL in This Life Too. [Courtesy: By F. J. Dalal, 9001 Good Luck Road, Lanham, MD 20706. USA].
JAINS WANT RECOGNITION AS RELIGIOUS MINORITY
In a programme organised under the banner of Jain Mahasabha, Delhi to honour Sri Jai Prakash Agarwal on his appointment as Chief of Delhi Congress, Prof. Ratan Jain clarified that jain are demanding recognition as religious minority group. We are not looking for caste based minority & government must understand the difference. Sri Jai Prakash Agarwal assured the jain community, that congress will full fill the promise of its C. M. ( in election manifesto ) to provide jain religious minority status. The progarmme was attended by community members in large number from all sects. For more information contact: Prof. Ratan Jain, Jain Mahasabha Delhi, A-161, Ashok Vihar, Phase – II, Delhi – 110 052, Tele : 011-272-15644 & 98-992-28882
JHARKHAND GUJARAT SIGN MOU TO DEVELOP TOURIST SPOT AT PARASNATH
RANCHI: The state government has entered into an agreement with the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat recently in a bid to develop the famous tourist spot at Parasnath, a Jain centre of pilgrimage. Tourism secretary N.N. Sinha, who signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of the tourism sector in Ahmedabad during the ‘Travel and Tourism Fair’ organised in Gujarat capital, said that both the states will support each other to develop tourism. Lakhs of tourists from Gujarat, especially Jains, visit the Parasnath hills near Hazaribag to worship the 23rd Jain Tirthankara Shri Parsavnath. The MoU
with Gujarat would enable a partnership between the two states to provide more
transport linkage to the tourist spot to ensure healthy flow of tourists from
the western state and enhancement of infrastructure scenario at the spot. Parasnath Hill located at a height of 4431 ft is the highest mountain south of the Himalayas. It was made accessible since the construction of a road in 1838. The Parasnath Hills hold special significance for the Jains which arises from the tradition of 23rd Tirthankar who attained nirvana on the hill.
AS BELIEVERS IN THE TENETS OF 'AHIMSA', WE JAINS DON'T EVEN KILL INSECTS. SO HOW CAN WE KILL THE GIRL CHILD? - SHANTILAL MUTTHA, PUNE
"As believers in the tenets of 'ahimsa' , we Jains don't even kill insects. So how can we kill the girl child?" Using such emotional appeals based on the fundamental principle of the right to life, coupled with hard data on female foeticide and infanticide, the Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) here has claimed to have made a breakthrough in Maharashtra in curbing the crime against the girl child.
Numbering barely 42 million in the ocean of 1.02 billion Indians (2001 census), community elders among the Jains began seeing the impact of a declining sex ratio on the rising unavailability of eligible girls for marriage. This first came to light during a mass marriage movement initiated in by BJS president and businessman-social worker, Shantilal Muttha, in 1986-87.
During a 1993 survey of eligible boys and girls (18-25 age-group) in 25,000 Jain families in Maharashtra, the organisation found that there were barely 780 females of marriageable age per 1,000 males. “This worked out to a male-female ratio of 61:39,” BJS national secretary Prafulla Parakh . Parakh said the findings were in tune with the national census statistics on declining child sex ratio. While the 2001 census recorded a child sex ratio of 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 0-6 years as against 945 in the 1991 census, Maharashtra's child sex ratio stood at 913 girls per 1,000 boys, declining sharply by 33 per cent from 946 girls in the 1991 census.
These statistics, coupled with the Jain community's difficulties at match-making events, motivated Muttha to address the issue.Two decades on, the BJS is now convinced that the numerous mass awareness drives and the multi-pronged initiatives that it undertook to discourage female foeticide have borne fruit.
UP GOVT. ACCORDS PERMISSION TO ESTABLISH TIRTHANKAR MAHAVIR MEDICAL COLLEGE AT MORADABAD
The establishment of the biggest medical college and Research Centre of Uttar Pradesh at Moradabad has been accorded due approval by the Central Cabinet and accordingly the State Government has also given its permission. Shri Mayawati, Chief Minister of U.P. has informed the college authorities that they can go ahead with the work of its establishment. The college has been allowed to have its intake capacity as 150. The land for this purpose has already been allotted by the State Government on the national highway no. 24 on Moradabad-Delhi road.[Courtesy: Jain Gazette, 20th Sept.,07].
JAIN COMMUNITY MOST MEDIA-SAVVY THAN OTHERS
Hindus are slightly more exposed to the media than Muslims in India, but the Jain community, both men and women, is far ahead as far as reading newspapers or magazines is concerned. According to the findings of the latest National Family Health Survey III, 76% Jain women read newspapers or magazines at least once a week as against 40% of Christian, 33% of Sikh, 30% of Buddhist, 23% of Hindu or 18% of Muslim women. The number stands at 95% for Jain men compared to 61% for Buddhist, 60% for Christian, 56% for Sikh, 53% for Hindu and 45% for Muslim men. SCs and STs have the lowest media exposure - 55% of ST women and 38% of ST men are not regularly exposed to media. Overall, in India, 65% of women and 82% of men aged 15-49 years are regularly exposed to any media. The most common form of media for both women and men is television. Over 55% and 63% of women and men respectively watch television at least once a week. However, for women, the next most common media source is the radio.
GUJARAT MLA DECLARES WAR AGAINST 'HINDU AND JAIN' PRINTS ON KURTAS!
A police station in Ahmedabad was stormed by an angry mob led of local MLA Bhavin Sheth during Dussehra festiwal. The rioteers were armed, not with any weapon but with heaps of kurtas, apparently confiscated from hapless local vendors. The BJP MLA had come to lodge a complaint against an apparel store in the city, which sells fashion garments at budget prices to attract youngsters. With Navratra season on, kurtas brought out by the store, inscribed with ‘Om’, ‘Gayatri mantra’ and ‘Navkar mantra’ have been a big hit in the market. Sheth told the police officers that these garments hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus and Jains and immediate action must be taken to ban their sale.
Sheth explained why his followers object to these kurtas: “The boys, donning these fashion kurtas inscribed with the holy text, invariably perform unholy acts – like dating girls or going to the ‘Garba’ programmes where they lure the girls performing ‘Garba’ religiously! This pollutes the religious fervor of elders and offends the sentiments of the religious-minded Hindus and Jains!” “Such clothes should be banned as they hurt the religious sentiments of a section of the society. The sacred texts are used freely and abused in certain cases by youth knowingly or unknowingly” . He also presented one of his underlings who threatened to immolate himself if strict action was not taken against the “blasphemy”.
Many Jainology scholars vehemently oppose bracketing Jains with Hindus. They point out that Lord Mahavira founded the religion after rebelling against the antiquated and inhuman system that was advocated by the then Hindu leadership - like Varnashrama dharma (which imposes birth-based categorisation of people and prohibits healthy social interaction between different classes).
NIRMAL DOSI, CHAIRPERSON JAINA SCHOLARS PROGRAM DISCUSSING JAIN UNITY IN INDIA
During my last recent trip to India this year, I had the opportunity to meet and talk about Jain unity at various centers. The discussions were organized in conference type settings. The views were openly put forward. Leaders from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Songarh spoke about the depleting Jain populations and ways to increase solidarity and influence the world. In Mumbai the meeting was arranged with help from our scholar Ms. Raksha Shah. Dr. R. K. Jain (President of Bharat Jain Mahamandal), Shri Pranlal Sheth (Prominent Shravak), Shri Suresh Gadia (Jain Shravak), and I spoke about need for Jain unity. The meeting concluded with understanding that the only way Jains from all sects can unite is to first have a common door and they should socially unite first.
The meeting in Ahmedabad was arranged by our scholar Dr. Shekharchandra Jain. Nirmal Dosi started the meeting . He said that the Jain population was a significant portion of the Indian population one thousand years ago, and going back 3000 years ago, the world had only Hindu, Jain and Jewish religion. There were no Muslim, Christian, and Buddhists. Five thousands years ago (before he Aryans invasion) Shravan Dharma (Jain Dharma) was the only religion propagated in the universe by our Tirthankaras. In fact all religious knowledge in the world has come from our All Knowing Masters – Tirthankars. One of the reason Jains have gotten weaker is due to the unfortunate division two thousand years ago. Therefore, Jain Unity is of utmost importance for our survival.
Shri Kataria said it is time to think about our bright future. As the time elapsed new gachchas came in to beings. It is today’s requirement that we should complement each other. Idols are signifying us but our thinking should be right. Jain Dharma has capability to be World religion. We should concentrate on the common themes. The division increasing due to rituals has to be subsided. We should create such temples where all sects can come together. Unity will be our strength. Gotambhai said that decreasing Jain population is a big concern. We should think why this is happening. Some of the things we should do are to increase the education level and our poor Jains should be helped. He gave formula “J for J” (Jain for Jain) that should be carried out and should organize such way. He gave example of Tirthankar Gardens built by Gujarat government. We should built similar gardens to make aware of our culture to the world. We should also include youngsters in all our programs.
Dr. Kumarpal Desai said that all Shravakas should joint together and let monks help them. Jain professional should join the movement. Society should have commitment for young Jains. He referred to the type of commitment Swaminarayan provides. Young Jains over 16-18 years should be part of each program. Today’s time Jain Unity is most important. Shri Niranjanbhai Juva exhorted for Jains to develop identity by providing helping hand to society around them. One example could be funding for eye treatment for poor. Shri Vinodbhai Harsh gave importance to forgetting the differences. We should work like various political parties joining together. We should stay politically active. Shri Pramodbhai Shah expounded that we should join the poor in their struggle. Time demands that we should join politics and fight for our rights.
Shri Santosh Surana gave thoughts that we should take U turn. We should contemplate over the reason for opposition for any act. We should think, live and eat together and make planning for beautiful future. We should take with us all those on which we agree. Using last name as Jain could also be useful. Dr. Shekharchandra Jain said we should work on principle of unity at national and international level. Our young Jains should be molded in our culture so that they believe in Jainism. Our aim is to struggle at every level. If we build temples then we should also build hospitals for poor and develop program for women’s progress and help. 95% principles between sects are same. We should have 18 days of Paryushana. Our shravak should be Anuvrati and unite. Shri Rajiv Doshi said time demands Jain unity. Meeting in Songarh was attended with their trustee and scholars Shri Chimanlal Modi, Shri Ramesh Mehta, and Shri Niranjan Shah. They are in Unity for Jain Unity. For further information , contact: Nirmal Dosi
EDITOR OF RAJASTHAN PATRIKA RETURNS ACHARYA TULSI AWARD
Shri Gulab Kothari, Editor of Rajasthan Patrika, a popular Hindi language daily, who was honoured with 'Acharya Tulsi award, consisting of a letter of eulogy, a memento and a cash amount of Rs. 51,000 in October, 2003 at Surat on behalf of "Acharya Tulsi- Mahapragya Vichar Manch" has retuned the award to the organisers. He has expreesed his unwillingness to retain this award with him saying that his newspaper is resting solely on the faith and support from its esteemed readers and the present working style of the said Vichar Manch does not conform to the thinking of his newspaper. The members of the Executive committee of the newspaper, having given due consideration to the whole matter has come to the conclusion of returning the award, with due respects to the Acharyashri, before any mis-givings appear in the minds of the readers of Rajastha Patrika. [Courtesy: Raj Patrika, 3rd October, 2007]
THE JAIN PATH -By Aidan Rankin Ancient Wisdom for an Age of Anxiety English ,By Aidan Rankin,2007 215 x 140 mm 258 pp, Paperback Rs. 250,"Jainism is one of the forgotten jewels of the world's faiths. Aidan Rankin introduces us to the essence of this spirituality in a book that is full of wisdom and intelligence". -William Bloom. Jainism is one of the world's oldest religions. It is rigorous, rational and unequivocal in its teachings on non-violence and insistence on nobility in thoughts, words and deeds. Self-reliance is the cornerstone of Jain philosophy. Jain cosmology is very advanced and Jain theory of karma is highly rational. It revolves around a profoundly spiritual personal journey where each soul is enjoined to be of assistance to one another but remain detached throughout. The Chapter Scheme is as under: Preface ,Introduction,1. Why Jainism?,2. The Faith of the Pathfinders,3. The Gentle Conquerors,4. A Matter of Karma,5. Learning to Live Lightly: Jainism's Ecological Vision,6. Non-Violence of the Mind: The Doctrine of Many-Sidedness,7. Ahimsa: The Way of Humility,8. Ancient Wisdom for an Age of Anxiety. Book available at: HINDI GRANTH KARYALAY, E-Mail: email@example.com
PICTURES THAT REALLY HURT
We Bring Him home and take care of Him with so much love, and then this is what ultimately happens to Him. After immersion, the bodies of God Ganesh lie scattered across the sea and ponds. Wake Up Peoples. It is our GOD. Let us respect him. If at all necessary to have immersion ceremony, let us prefer clay idols (The pictures in the attachment (ganesh Visarjan.eml Pic.1) are taken in the morning after immersion in the sea.)
PARYUSHANA AND DAS LAXANA PARVA - NIRMAL DOSI
Jains around the world celebrate Paryushana and Das Laxana Parva every year. The span of the period is during August – September, during which time there is heavy monsoon. The monks would like to stay one place to avoid hurting small insects during rainy season. They give Pravachanas to strengthen the belief, propagate knowledge and help purify conduct of the listeners. Eight days of Paryushana starts on 12th day of Shukla Bhadrapad and ends on 4th day of Krishna phase of Bhadrapad (and some times on panchami of Bhadrapad when Chaturthi and Panchami combines).
During Paryushana Kalpa Sutra is read in the morning. Kalpa Sutra is one of the oldest scriptures describing the life of Bhagwan Mahaveer Swami. It depicts the coming of in human life (Garbh), birth, and life of Bhagwaan. The scripture also tells about Lord Parshvanath, Neminath, Rishabnath, and all other Thirthanakars. The story of past life of Lord Mahaveer is read with great respect. In the evening Samayik and Pratikraman is done and monks/scholars give Pravachanas to the audience. Fasting is done as much as possible including children. Usually on Sunday Bhagwan's Janma Divas is celebrated with great vigor. Eighth day Samvatsari Pratikraman is done to ask forgiveness from all living beings in the universe. The Pratikraman has recitation of Navkaar Mantra (vanadan of Arihants, Siddha, Acharya, Upadhyaya, and Saints) and Logassa (Vanadan of 24 Tirthanakaras) done repeatedly. Navkaar Mantra is called Beej Mantra of all fourteen Purvas. It brings highest quality to a person because bowing down to highest level without any bias or name. Logassa, Navkaar recital, and repentance, also called Chaturvishtistva, Vanadan, and Pratikraman respectively are part of six necessary and required conduct of Jains. Recitation of 160 Navkaar Mantra or 40 Logassa is done by all, sitting in Samvatsari Pratikraman. Next day Parna is done by all who have been fasting. At the end of Paryushana everyone feels more purified due to fasting, keeping vows and listening to scriptures.
During Das Laxan Parva lasting for ten days starting on Bhadrapad Panchami (usually next day or same day of end of Paryushana), people do fasting, listening to Pravachanas each day for one Dharma, and do Samayik. On Dasvi – it is called Dhoop Dasam; people go to temple and light up Dhoop. (incense). Dhoop describes the burning of Karmas. Last day of Das Laxana ends on Chaturdarshi (called Anant Chaturdarshi) with fasting and Pratikraman. Ten Dharma are part of Samvar (stoppage of incoming Karma), and Nirjara (Annihilation of Karmas). We will use following sequence from Tattvartha Sutra leading to Das Laxana (Ten Dharma):
1. Samyaka Darshana Gyana Charitrani Moksha Marga: Right belief, right knowledge and right conduct are the path of Moksha.
2. Tatvartha Shraddhanam Samyak Darshnam: Belief in Tattva is Samyak Darshana.
3. JIvajivasravbandhsamvarnirjaramokshasttvam: Jiva, Ajiva, Ashrava (incoming of Karma), Bandh (Bondage of Karma), Samvar (stoppage of incoming karma), Nirjara (annihilation of karma), and Moksha (liberation) are seven Tattvas.
4. Kaayavagmanakarma Yoga Sa Ashrva: Karma comes in due to activity of mind, speaking and doing things.
5. Mithyadarshanaviratipramadkshayayoga Bandhahetavah: Bondage occurs due to wrong belief, not keeping vow, carelessness, emotions and yoga (activity of mind, speaking, and doing).
6. Asravanirodha Samvar, SaGuptisamitidharmanuprekhaparishajaycharitreh: Stoppage of incoming karma is Samvar and it is done through observance of three Guptis, five Samitis, Ten Dharma, twelve Anuprekhsa, victory over twenty two Parishah, and five Charitra.
7. UttamKhsamamardavaarjavashochsatyasayyamtaptyagakinchanbramhcharyanhidharma: Forgiveness, no proud, straightforward, contended, truthful, keeping control, austerity, giving up, limiting material world, and living with own soul with Samyak Darshana is following of Ten Dharma.
8.Anshanavmodryavritiparisakhanrasparityagviviktashyyasankayklesha bahya Tapa. Prayashchitavinayvaaiyavrityaswaddhyavyutsargadhyananyuttram: Fasting, eating less, keep limit, not eating heavy food, spend time alone, and doing hard Asana are six out side Tapa (austerity). Feeling sorry for wrong things, respect, helping others, reading scripture, keep material limitation and meditation are Inner Tapa. Meditation of two highest and positive qualities are called Dharma Dhyan and Shukla Dhyan.
9. Agyaapayavipaksansthanavichyaya Dharmapramattsanyatsya: Following Lords and scriptures guidance, teach right things to people doing wrong things, link results to karma, and keep wider view is Dharma Dyana ( right meditation – leading to Heaven and Moksha).
10 Prithktvektvavitarkasukshamkriyaprtipativyuparatkriyanivritteeni: Prithktvvitark, Ekattvavitark, Sukshakriyaprtipaati, and vyuparatkriyanivrati are four types of Shukla Dyana leading to Moksha (liberation).
Following the Ten Dharmas thus lead to heaven and Moksha.
Four levels of meditation for going to higher level of consciousness are Pindastha (separating soul from non soul), Padastha (i.e., Navkaar Mantra Uccharan), Roopastha (imagine praying to Tirthankars in Samosaran), and Roopateet (Deep meditation of Parmatma). During eight days of Paryushana, this higher level of consciousness is achieved by reading of Kalpa Sutra, pravachana, Navkaar Mantra and Logassa Uccharan, Deep Bhakti, austerity (Tapa) and learning and staying with our pure soul. During 10 days of Paryushana ( Das Laxana), this is attained by removing anger, deceit, ego, and greed from our conduct, be truthful, Keeping limitations on senses, austerity, giving up worldly things, keep restrictions on 14 internal and 10 external Parigrah, and staying with soul. By concentrating on our soul, removing impurities using 12 levels of austerities, the person can attain the stages of Pindastha, Padastha, Roopastha, and Roopateet.
How do we do together? One suggestion - by incorporating Ten Dharma pravachana every day during eight days of Paryushana, and by including Kalpa Sutra reading (similar to 1st Anuyoga - consisting of learning about 63 Salaka Purush), recital of Navkaar Mantra and Logassa (prayer of 24 Tirthankaras) during 10 days of Paryushana. More better we can do together Paryushana and Das Laxana in 10 days from Friday, and concluding on Sunday of 2nd week, keeping last as day of Samvatsari Pratikraman and Alochana Path , Parna and Tapasvi‘s Bahumaan. All can celebrate Bhagwan’s Birth on 1st Sunday.
Please refer to my article in 2007 JAINA souvenir how many of our brilliant centers (11 of them) put together creatively the Paryushana/ Das Laxana program using inclusiveness. Please write to me how your center has advanced Jain Unity during our pious days and planning to do going forward. - Nirmal Dosi, Chairperson JAINA Scholars Program, E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org