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Ahimsa Times - June 2001 Issue

Vol. No.11

June, 2001

ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA'S LITERATURE A NATIONAL TREASURE : VAJPAYEE

Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee has said that Acharya Mahapragya's literature is an invaluable national treasure. Acharya Shri has not only put in proper perspective the various problems that mankind faces today, he has also suggested their solutions.The Prime Minister expressed this opinion in his meeting with Muni Shri Lokprasash Lokesh when he came here on a short visit.Shri Vajpayee felt that the renowned philosopher and Jain acharya of modern times, Acharya Shri Mahapragya's writings should be translated and published in all the languages of the world.The P.M. also saw the manuscript of "Jivan Vigyan Shikshak Nirdeshika" in Gujarati language. Appreciating it, he said Jivan Vigyan was a powerful medium in giving the educational system a base of Indian values.The Prime Minister said that Acharya Shri Mahapragya had placed in a scientific way the knowledge scattered in Sanskrit and Prakrit languages. This was a mighty contribution. Mahapragya's original ideas needed to be evaluated in the universal perspective.

FUTURE OF MANKIND DEPENDS ON AHIMSA: BILL CLINTON
Ahmedabad: Former President of the United States Bill Clinton released Acharya Shri Mahapragya's two books when he visited this city as a private citizen a few months back. The books are: "Economics of Mahavira" and "Mahavira's scripture for Health". Mr. Clinton said that the welfare of mankind lay in the principles of Ahimsa and peace of Bhagwan Mahavir. The former U.S. President agreed with Muni Shri Lokprakash Lokesh that training in non-violence was essential in building a non-violent world. Only Ahimsa could ensure the future of mankind. When Muni Shri Lokprakash Lokesh handed over a message from Acharya Shri Mahapragya to Mr. Clinton, the former U.S. President accepted it with all humility and touched his forehead and eyes with it. He was moved. He said that the message was an unforgettable part of his visit to India.

FIRST BRAHMI AWARDS FOR PROF. KIRAN KR. THAPLLAYAL & MRS. NIRMALA DESHPANDE
Under the auspices of 2600th Birth Centenary of Bhagwan Mahavir, a simple ceremony was arranged at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on the 10th June, 2001,to present the First Brahmi awards to Professor Kiran Kumar Thapllayal and to Mrs. Nirmala Deshpande. The function was presided over by Shri Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan and the award was given away by the Congress President, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The Congress President in her address said that the problems, which the country was facing today were challenges before us and these can be solved only by following the principles of truth and non-violence, as enunciated by Lord Mahavir. By honouring Prof. Kiran Kumar, she said, she had not just honoured a learned person but the honour went to ancient Indian history, archaeology and the rich Brahmi dialect. We have to protect our ancient heritage in order to bring peace and tranquillity in the country. The awardees of Brahmi Awards were given a cash prize of Rupees one lakh, a letter of eulogy, a souvenir, and a shawl. Shri ashok Gehlot also spoke on the occasion and mentioned that Jain philosophy was as much relevant today as it was in the period of Gandhi and Nehru.

The ceremony was arranged in the holy presence of Digambar saint, Acharya Shri Vidhyanand Ji Maharaj. The other two celebrities, honoured on this occasion, were, Shri Trilok Chand Kothari, an old veteran of Jainism, who obtained doctorate degree in Jain philosophy at the age of 75 years, and Dr. Shanti Kumar, famous surgeon, who had contributed immensely in the field of surgery.

The function was arranged by the cooperation of Om Kothari Foundation Trust and Trilok High level Study and Research Centre. Srimati Sonia Gandhi was honoured by presenting her a diamond-studded crown and she was requested to take over the rule of the country. The other dignitaries included Sahu Ramesh Chand Jain, Smt. Saryu Daftari and Shri C. P. Kothari.

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CANADIAN VARSITY HOLDS LECTURES ON JAINISM
The University of Tronto organised a series of lectures on peace and non-violence based on Jainism . The series was based on Acharya Sushil Kumarji's Peaace & Non-violence lecture Series. The Jain monk had been honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for peace, president of the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid Solution Committee and a founding member of the vishwa Hindu Parishad. the inaugural lecture on Religion and Warfare was delivered by internationally-acclaimed academic and author Ephraim Isaac, who teaches Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University in the US. Isaac also is the director of the Institute of Semitic Studies at Princeton. "Had Acharya Sushil Kumarji been alive for some more years , Jain studies would have commenced at the University of Toronto said." We are starting this lecture series his as he firmly believed and propagated peace and non-violence and protection of environment."

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS TARGET JAINISM
CRITICISM OF JAIN TRADITIONS AND AN ATTEMPT TO STOP SPREADING OF JAINISM BY BAPTISTS
Should Jains preach their religion? This is a question which has been recently brought into the foreground of debate due to the activities of certain American Southern Baptist Christian organisation. Having already attracted great international controversy for their distribution of the anti- Hindu pamphlet 'Dewali; Festival of Light, Circle of Darkness', for which they were eventually forced to issue a public apology (but, it is interesting to note, not a retraction), Southern Baptists are now beginning a similar campaign against Jainism.

Students from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky recently traveled to India to conduct research into Jainism for the purpose of converting Jains of Christianity. Converting adherents of other religions to Christianity, or 'evangelism', is considered by the vast majority of Christianity is the only true religion, and non-adherents are punished by God. The seminary's magazine, The Tie, discusses the trip in an article that has provoked a large amount of comment from the Jain community.

The article is mainly concerned with two topics: criticism of Jainism, and tactics for converting Jains to Christianity. Missy Woodward, Student Co-ordinator of the trip, speaks about the 'hopelessness' of Jainism, while Chris Smith, another student present on the trip, curiously criticises Ahimsa for 'affecting the food Jains eat and the way they live'. Presumably referring to Anekantvada, George Martin, the leader of the trip talks about Jains' willingness to accept new people, and advocates using this openness as and aid to conversion. Woodward starkly summarizes the goals and attitude of the missionaries saying "It 's really different when you're talking to somebody and you know that this person will spend eternity in hell if somebody does not come and work with these people".

Many Jains are more concerned about the misrepresentation of the religion than the activities of missionaries. Amar Salgia, former Jain youth leader, remarks that "while it seems fairly certain they won't manage to 'convert' anyone within the Sharvak Jain Snagha, Jain should become more aware of how their way of life is being misrepresented". Baptist philosophy is completely intolerant very violent, and poorly thought out. Why would Indians leave a well respected religion in India for one that is not respected?"

This article is the latest event in a long line of Christian activities which are generating increasing concern in India. The proselytizing activities of Christian missionaries, particularly amongst Hindus in communities in relatively undeveloped areas of India such as Orissa and Madhya Pradesh have been the subject of a great deal of discussion, as it is the poorest and least developed areas which generally attract the attentions of Christian proselytizers. The sinister term 'ripe for the harvest' is often used to describe these communities in Christian literature.

The success of these activities is limited, however. Due to the exclusive nature of the Christian faith as preached by fundamentalist missionaries, many Hindus see these activities as attacks on their culture and react accordingly. Writing in The Organiser, M.V. Kamath comments that "Attempts at conversion should be considered a mortal assault on local cultures and should be totally banned". A level of violence is not unknown in the local reactions to missionaries; the world media has extensively (and indeed almost exclusively) reported the burning to death of missionary Graham Stewart Staines along with his two sons and the recent murder of Father Arun Doss.

The issue of preaching has historically been quite problematic for Jains, due to the philosophy of Anekantwada. However, preaching should not be confused with proselytizing, or converting. In the face of individuals and organisation indirectly concerned with the destruction of Jainism, many believe that spreading awareness of the religion should become a priority of the community. Indeed, much work in this direction is already underway. A report in the Indian Express early last year suggested that vegetarian and alcoholism projects run by Svetambar Jains in the Vadodara and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat are attracting Jain 'converts': over 200,000 in the last six years. Apparently impressed by the non-violent message of Jainism, many tribal Indians in these areas are embracing the religion to the extent that three young Jains from a particular village were recently ordained into the priesthood, and there are now more than 60 temples in the area.

JAIN COMMUNITY DECLARED AS RELIGIOUS MINORITY COMMUNITY IN M. P.
The Madhya Pradesh Government through an ordinance under Art. 1996 has declared that Jains originally residing in the State will henceforth be considered as belonging to minority community. The Chairman of M.P. Minorities Commission Mr. Abraham Kureshi has welcomed the ordinance and mentioned that M.P. is the first state in the country to declare Jain community of the State as Religious Minority community. Henceforth, the religious and educational institutions belonging to Jain community will be eligible for constitutional protection and patronage.

ACHARYA PAD PRATISHTA MAHOTSAVA AT GOMMATGIRI TEERTH KSHETRA BY DIGAMBAR JAIN SECT
Acharya pad Pratishta Mahotsava was celebrated at Gommatgiri Teerth Kshetra near Indore to bestow Acharya position to Muni Shri Guptinanad Ji Maharaj from the Digambar Jain sect. Several other saints and Aryikas were present on the occasion.

PANCH KALYANAK MAHOTSAVA OF SHRI PADAM PRABHUJI CELEBRATED AT UDAIPUR
Panch Kalyanak Mahotsava of 1008 Teerthankar Shri Padam Prabhuji was celebrated at village Parsad, near Keshariaji in Udaipur District of Rajasthan on 20th May, 2001 in the holy presence of Muni Shri Sukumalnandi Ji and Muni Shri Punyanandiji Maharaj.

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BHAGWAN MAHAVEER STATUE RECOVERED BY POLICE
An ancient statue of Bhagwan Mahavir, supposed to be several hundred years old, having an estimated cost of Rupees one Crore was recovered recently from a smuggler by S.O.G. and Gudamba Police in Uttar Pradesh. The statue was being smuggled from Nepal for sale in Sitapur town. The statue is weighing 7.5 Kg. and the metal contains 60 percent gold.

CHATURMAS PROGRAMME OF SOME OF THE DIGAMBAR SAINTS

  1. Muni Shri Dhairya Sagar Ji with his Sangha: Kanpur

  2. Acharya Shri Rayan Sagar Ji with his Sangha Gungarpur

  3. Acharya Shri Abhinandan Sagar Ji with his Sangha Narwari

  4. Acharya Shri Vipul Sagar Ji with his Sangha Kanpur (expected)

  5. Balacharya Shri Yogendra Sagar Ji with Sangha Rishabh Dev (Kesharia ji)

  6. Muni Shri Sukumalnandi Ji with his Sangha Kherwada (Dist. Udaipur)

THE FOLLOWING SAINTS ARE STAYING PRESENTLY AT THE PLACES SHOWN

  1. Acharya Shri Vidhya nand Ji Maharaj Delhi

  2. Acharya Shri Vidhya Sagar Ji Maharaj Bahoribind

  3. Acharya Shri Bharat Sagar Ji Maharaj Jhumari Talaya (Bihar)

  4. Acharya Shri Sidhant Sagar Ji Maharaj Mahmudabad (Sitapur, U. P.)

  5. Acharya Shri Devnandi Ji Maharaj Sagar (M. P.)

GUJARAT GOVT. BANS NON-VEGETARIAN FOOD AT CIRCUIT HOUSES & GOVT. GUEST HOUSES
On the holy occasion of 2600th birth centenary celebrations of Lord Mahavir, Government of Gujarat has ordered not to serve any non-vegetarian food, including eggs in any of the circuit houses or Government guest houses under its control anywhere in the State or in Delhi, Mount Abu or elsewhere. The order will remain in force throughout the current year. Non-vegetarian food will neither be prepared nor served at any of these places. Ahimsa Foundation appreciates the action taken by the Government of Gujarat and hopes that other states will also follow suit very soon.

Rs. 204,89,724/- SPENT BY DIGAMBAR JAIN MAHOSABHA FOR JEERNODHAR OF ANCIENT TEMPLE
An amount of Rs. 2,04, 89,724/- has been so far spent during the last three years for the purpose of resurrection (Jeernodhar) of ancient Jain temples all over the country by the All India Digambar Jain Mahasabha. Jain Mahasabha had recently put up an exhibition at Indore displaying the photographs of various works taken up and carried out in a record time.

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ANUVRAT LECTURE AT IGNOU
New Delhi: The fifth Anuvrat lecture was delivered here at the Indira Gandhi national Open University under the "Annual Anuvrat lecture series" in presence of Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar, a disciple of Acharya Shri Mahapragya.In a short five-minute statement in English Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar told the audience what Anuvrat essentially stood for. The founder of Anuvart movement, Acharya Shri Tulsi, and the present Anuvrat Anushasta, Acharya Shri Mahapragya, put forward a three-pronged programme for the moral renaissance of this nation. On the one hand while Anuvrat aimed at self-discipline, Preksha Dhyan and Jivan Vigyan on the other hand were respectively programmes for the change of consciousness and development of personality through education. They could bring about revolutionary changes in a man's life. Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer pointed out that no religion pleaded for violence. But so-called religious leaders in their own interest set people against each other. He said that Jain religion was unique in the sense that it had no place at all for violence. Shri Engineer explained how Islam stood for peace and brotherhood. He especially mentioned the word "Jehad" and said that it meant to attempt", i.e., trying to improve one's conduct in comparison with other's conduct. It signified controlling one's desires. When we don't follow our religious traditions, and in the name of religion promote self interest, then only violence's begins. It may be mentioned here that the All India Anuvrat Trust had placed a Rs. seven lack endowment find with the INGOU to hold annual Anuvrat lecture when. Acharya Shri Tulsi was honoured with Indira Gandhi National Unity Award.

JIVAN IN VIGYAN IN VALUE-VASED EDUCATION
New Delhi: Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar took part in the third meeting of the special group constituted by the union ministry of Human Resource Development held here. Detailed discussions were held as to how to make value-added education an essential part of our present educational system. The idea is to collect the precepts of different religions which are of universal nature. The ministry of Human Resource Development has granted a sum of Rs. one Crore to the NCERT for this purpose. Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar was invited to take part in the discussions so that he could give the input in the proposed changes based on the experience of Jivan Vigyan Course.

KOREAN TEAM VISITS ANU VIBHA
Rajsamand: A twenty-member Korean delegation visited Anuvrat Vishwa Bharati under the cultural exchange programme in March last. During their three-day stay here they showed keen interest in the principles of Anuvrat, Preksha Dhyan and Jivan Vigyan. In fact, the Korean delegation had especially come here to study how Anuvrat Vishwa Bharati was propagating peace and non-violence, and also strengthening human values through Anuvrat, Preksha Dhyan and Jivan Vigyan. The Korean team was very much impressed by Anuvrat Balodaya Karyakram i.e., the Programme for the proper growth of children. Some of the members of the Korean delegation showed special interest in Yoga and Dhyan Sadhana as to how they cured physical ailments and removed mental tension and depression. Saman Shri Sthit Pragya taught them about Preksha Dhyan and Jivan Vigyan. On this occasion Anu Vibha organised a get-together in which the Korean delegates interacted with the local intellectuals and exchanged their experiences on various topics. One of the members of the Korean team said that they always had an impression of India as a land of mystery. By visiting the place they were overwhelmed by the warm treatment they received and also what they saw and learnt. They could not express their total experience in words. Another delegate said that when they went back to their country they best to propagate the principles of Anuvrat i.e. peace, non-violence and co-existences. The man behind Anu Vibha, Shri Mohan Bhai, expressed his confidence that a new chapter of friendship and mutual co-operation between India and Korea had begin. The district education officer, Shri Ramakant Ameta, Presided over the function.

WOMEN'S CONFERENCE IN KOLKATA
Kolkata: A women's conference was organised here to discuss the various challenges faced by Indian women in the new century. Acharya Shri Mahapragya's disciple Sadhvi Shri Jatan Kumari said that the problems of today could be solved only through non-violent ways. Sadhvi Amit Prabha described in details how Acharya Shri Mahapragya had established Ahimsa Samvay to bring all people and organisations believing in non-violence's on one platform. The conference was inaugurated by Calcutta's Deputy Mayor Shrimati Meena Purohit and presided over by Smt. Pushpa Bengani, President of Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Mandal. Delegates from various women organizations such as Anamika, Rajasthan Maheshwari Sangathan, Punjab Kalyan Sangh and Christian Seva Mandal took active part in the deliberations. Reviewing the proceedings of the conference, Smt. Tara Devi Surana made a fervent appeal to all participants to work unitedly to promote vegetarianism, and create a climate against the trend of killing the foetus of female child.

FREE EYE CAMP AT SHAKTI NAGAR, NEW DELHI
On the eve of 26th birth centenary year of Bhagwan Shri Mahavir Swami and most auspicious occasion of the arrival of Jain Dharma Divakar Acharya Smarat Pujay Shri Shiv Muni Ji Maharaj at Shakti Nagar the Swetamber Sathanakvasi Mahila Mandal of Shakti Nagar, Delhi-110007., under the guidance Shri S.S. Jain Sabbha Shakti Nagar is organising a free EYE CAMP for everyone. The camp will start functioning from 10a.m. in the morning at 14/24 Jain Sathanak, Shakti Nagar on 29th June 2001 (Friday). The camp will be conducted by several experienced renowned Doctors of Delhi. Hundred of patient are excepted to visit the camp. Any one requiring more information on the camp may contact Shrimati Padma Jain 17/31, Shakti Nagar, Delhi-7., Ph No. 7131902 or Shrimati Rajani Jain 18/21, Shakti Nagar, Delhi-7., Ph No. 7247009. Source : Press Correspondent Miss Mukta Jain, New Delhi.

POSTAL STAMPS ISSUED ON JAINISM
Date Subject
18.10.29 Girnar (Issued by Saurashtra state - Part of India before independence)
06.05.35 Bhagwan Sheetalnath Jain Temple, Calcutta
15.08.49 Shatrunjay Temple, Palitana
01.07.66 Mediaeval Sculpture from Parshwanath Jain Temple, Khajuraho
30.12.72 Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai (Famous Jain Atomic Scientist)
13.11.74 Bhagwan Mahavir 2500th Nirwan Anniversary (Pawapuri Jal Mandir)
10.01.75 World hindi convention (image of jain saraswati)
12.04.75 World telgu conference (image of jain saraswati)
27.07.78 Kachchh Museum (Piece from old Jain Temple)
09.02.81 Gommateshwara Bahubali 1000th Anniversary, Sravanabelgola
09.05.88 Dr. Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil (social reformer and Educationist)
24.08.91 Jain Muni Mishrilalji
20.12.94 Baroda Museum - Bronze idol of Bhagwan Rishabhnath
28.01.98 Dr. Jagdish Chandra Jain (Famous Jain writer and Educationist)
20.10.98 JAIN MUNI Acharya TulsiJI
06.03.99 Sculpture from Parshwanth Jain Temple, Khajuraho
31.12.00 JAIN RAJA BHAMASHAH
06.04.01 BHAGWAN MAHAVEER 260th JANMA KALYANAK FOREIGN
23.08.79 EAST GERMANY BHAGWAN MAHAVEER
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ALL INDIA JAIN WOMEN'S CONFERENCE- NEW DELHI
On the occasion of 2600th Birth Centenary celebrations, an All India Jain Women's Conference is being arranged at New Delhi on 26th and 27th June, 2001. Representatives of various national level women's organisations and office bearers will take part in the conference. In the present context, the role of women in the development of society will be discussed at this forum. Women who have contributed to the cause of social service, education, Jain literature, Jaina art and culture and industry will be honoured on this occasion. Eminent women in the field of politics, administrative services and journalism will also be honoured. An exhibition displaying the researches carried out by women in the fields of Jain principles and philosophy and jain literature and that of learned Jain sadhwis will be set up.

AHIMSA UNIVERSITY AT GUJARAT
The Government of Gujarat is considering establishment of Ahimsa University in the State on the occasion of 2600th Birth Centenary celebrations. A scheme is being planned for this purpose. The Government of Gujarat has announced that the name of North Gujarat University at Patan will be changed to Hem Chandra Suri University with immediate effect.

WEB SITE ON JAIN ASTROLOGY
The first web site on Jain Astrology, named www.jain-astrology.com was inaugurated by Shri N. Thomas, Information and Public Relations Minister of Nagaland. The site provides information about astrological predictions. Registration of boys and girls for matrimonial purposes is done on the site free of cost.

AKSHYA TRITIYA CELEBRATIONS AT NOKHA, BIKANER
Five mumukshu from Jain families were accepted to Jain order on Akshya Tritiya, 26th April, 2001, at Nokha near Bikaner, in the holy presence of Acharya Shri Ram Lal Ji Maharaj, disciple of Late Acharya Shri Nana Lal Ji Maharaj.

UP PRAVARTAK, MUNI SHRI PHOOL CHAND JI M.S BREATHED LAST ON THE 25TH APRIL, 2001
Up Pravartak, Muni Shri Phool Chand Ji Maharaj, belonging to Shraman Sangha of Sthanakwasi sect breathed his last on the 25th April, 2001 at Ratia in Haryana after taking 'santhara' (vow for not eating or drinking anymore). The holy saint spent 74 years in the Jain order, having accepted the same in the year 1927. He had the distinction of having been honoured with titles of Sant Shiromani and Sanyamsurya.

SHRI SIREH MAL JI NAVLAKHA BREATHED LAST ON 17TH MAY, 2001 AT JAIPUR
Shri Navlakha, famous social worker, philanthropist and Past President of Jaipur Shri Sangha breathed his last on 17th May, 2001 at Jaipur at the age of 79 years.

TULSI ANUVRAT DARSHAN SETUP AT RAJ SAMAND
A large religious museum containing complete material on Acharya Shri Tulsi depicting his whole life in the form of his photographs, literature, charts, audio-visuals, models on preksha dhyan and other rare collections which depict his unique personality has been set up at 'Anuvibha', or Anuvrat Vishwa Bharati institution at Raj Samand in Rajasthan. The museum complex, named as Tulsi Anuvrat Darshan, is going to be formally inaugurated by Mr. Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, in the holy presence of Muni Shri Tara Chand Ji Maharaj on 24th June, 2001. The function will be presided over by Shri Hira Lal Devpura, Former Chief Minister and Chairman, State Finance Commission, Rajasthan.

 

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