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Ahimsa Times - October 2001 Issue

Vol. No.16

October, 2001

 

JAINS MAKE HISTORY IN THE STATE OF OHIO, USA
Jains of Ohio made history when disciples of Acharya Mahapragya, Her Holiness Samani Shri Akshay Pragya and Her Holiness Samani Shri Sanmati Pragya from Houston, Texas, became the first Jain spiritual leaders to offer the opening prayer in the Ohio Senate in celebration of 2600th birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir. They were invited by The State Senator and the President of the Ohio Senate, Honorable Richard H. Finan and Senator Bruce Johnson to offer the prayer. In the history of two hundred years of Ohio's state-hood this was the first time that the Jains recited the prayer in the Senate, a prayer for healing, peace, non-violence and love for all. After the prayer, the Senator Johnson paid rich tributes to the Jain philosophy of non-violence and to the Jain community of Ohio for organizing this event. On behalf of the Senate, Hon. Richard Finan and Senator Bruce Johnson presented a Resolution honoring both the Samanijis for their work in spreading the message of non-violence and peace through out the world. Senator Johnson also spoke about Dr Salgia's contribution to the Jain community in the United States and more particularly in Ohio. In response to Senator Johnson's remarks, Dr. Tansukh Salgia expressed his appreciation for providing the opportunity to celebrate the Jain spirit in the Senate Chamber. Dr. Salgia also offered his deepest and heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families of tragic and gruesome attack on New York City and Washington, D.C on September 11, 2001. Dr. Salgia also presented a set of books on Jainism to Senate President Hon. Richard Finan and Senator Bruce Johnson and package of books and brochures were also distributed to other State Senators, their staff and statehouse press Corps. After the ceremony, Jain Center of Ohio held a reception for all the attendees. The reception was held in the Statehouse. In observation of Lord Mahavir's birth anniversary, sweets were distributed by the courtesy of Atul & Shilpa Shah. Ohio Statehouse Education & Visitors Center Staff also arranged an extensive tour of the newly renovated State Capitol Building to all attendees. For further information, please contact: Dr. T. J. Salgia, E-Mail: tsalgia@att.net

KILLINGS AND ROBBERY AT JAIN TEMPLE, NEW DELHI
Unidentified assailants armed with a cleaver and razors plundered Shri Digambar Jain temple in Pitampura, New Delhi, on 20th September, brutally stabbing to death the three temple caretakers sleeping inside. The three precious Ashtadhatu ( eight-metal ) idols, a couple of gold and pearl necklaces & several miniature silver umbrellas and thrones were stolen. However, the assailants could not break open the cash box of the temple. The assailants motive appears to be "Murder for gain. Crime branch officials suspect the presence of at least four assailants who may have known the victims. In a show of solidarity against this unfortunate incidence, a few jain families staged a protest March on 23rd September from Madhuban Chowk. It was expected that about a lakh of community members will join this protest rally, but the actual turnout was rather low. This was an opportunity for the entire community to come on a single platform and request the administration & the Government to provide security to all Jain temples in the capital. Unfortunately, nothing much could be achieved due to persistent differences between the members of various jain sects.

INTER- RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING IS THE NEED OF THE DAY
After the tragedy and violence of Tuesday, September 11, unfortunately, some persons have been targeted for their generalized anger toward Arabs, Christian palestinians and Muslims. Even Sikhs have been targeted at some places due to their appearance. Demonization of the "other" becomes simplistic rhetoric and reaction. In response to all threats to religious freedom, human dignity and life itself, we must take additional steps to promote inter-religious understanding and cooperation. We must use the tools of listening and dialogue to understand the causes for actions such as in New York and Washington, and act out of love rather than fear or hatred. We must learn from each other, across religious boundaries, the healing winds of spirit in the world. This tragedy proves that even as we maintain religious diversity, the growing challenges in our world demands the insight, interpersonal relationships and methods pioneered in interfaith movements and the organizations engaged in this crusade during the past century. Some of the organizations working for this cause are listed below:

CONEXUS MULTIFAITH MEDIA CENTER - www.conexuspress.com
HUMANITARIAN RESOURCE INSTITUTE - www.humanitarian.net
INTERFAITH NEWS NETWORK - www.humanitarian.net
INTERFAITH CENTER OF NEW YORK - www.interfaithcenter.org
TEMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING - www.templeofunderstanding.org
WORLD CONFERENCE ON RELIGION AND PEACE - www.wcrp.org
NORTH AMERICAN INTERFAITH NETWORK - www.nain.org
UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE - www.uri.org
UNITED WAY of NEW YORK - www.uwnyc.com
INTERFAITH CONFERENCE WASHINGTON - www.interfaithmetrodc.org
WORLD INTERFAITH CONGRESS - www.interfaithcongress.org
To respond to the author please visit www.interfaithcongress.org

Readers are requested to forward this news to their friends and colleagues.

PREKSHA DHYAN CAMP IN GENEVA
Samani Shri Mangal Pragya and Vineet Pragya, in their three-day visit to Geneva gave discourses on Ahimsa and principles of Jainism. A Preksha Dhyan camp was also organised during their visit. The entire programme was highly appreciated by all the participants.

RELIGIOUS SECTARIANISM CREATES VIOLENCE IN SOCIETY
According to Terapanth Saint Muni Sukhlal , Ahimsa really meant freedom from attachment. Man's greatest enemy was false ego. Religious sectarianism too created impediments. It was because of communal approach that many countries today were being ruled in the name of religion. Muni Shri Sukhlal especially mentioned Pakistan & Afghanistan in this respect. War cries were raised in the name of religion and Jehad had become their another name for terrorism. Addressing an Ahimsa training camp at Rajaldesar, he said the crucial question was how to meet the situation through non-violent means?

ACHARYA SHIVA MUNI FOR CO-OPERATION TO PROMOTE PEACE
New Delhi: The Acharya of Sthanakvasi Shraman Sangh, Dr. Shiv Muni, said while talking to Muni Shri Mahendra Kumarji of Terapanth that all the people believing in Ahimsa should come together to do some thing concrete to promote peace, harmony and non-violence. Acharya Shri Mahapragya also, in a message sent to Acharya Shri Shiv Muni, pointed out that the year of peace provided an opportunity to the community to co-operate in specific programmes which would make Bhagwan Mahavir and his religion of Ahimsa better known. Acharya Shri Shiv Muni fully agreed with the suggestion, and observed that some well-planned programme should soon be devised in this respect. He pointed out that despite the court's order no action had been taken in Delhi to stop illegal killings of animals.

MAHAVEER AWARDS FOR 2001
The jury appointed for the selection of recipients for Mahaveer Awards for the year 2001 met at New Delhi, under the Chairmanship of Justice Sri M.N. Venkatachalaih and nominated the following persons:

  1. Excellence in the Sphere of Non-violence and Vegetarianism - Dr. Nemi Chand Jain, 65, Patrakar Colony, Kanadia Road, Indore 452001 Madhya Pradesh

  2. Excellence in the Sphere of Education and Medicine - Dr. H. Sudarshan , Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra, B.R. Hills, Yelandur Taluk 571441, Chamaraj Nagar. (Karnataka)

  3. Excellence in the Sphere of Community and Social Service -Bharat Sevashram Sangha, 211, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta 700 019 West Bengal. For any information on these awards, please contact Mr. N. Sugal Chand Jain, Managing Trustee, Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation, 11, Ponnappa Lane, Chennai-5.

PREKSHA MEDITATION CAMP CONDUCTED AT CALIFORNIA
A Preksha Dhayan Camp was conducted from September 14th to September 17th at YMCA Point Bonita Sausalito, California under the guidance of two Samanjis. The Camp programme included exercises, yoga, meditation, discourses and spiritual activities. The response to the camp was tremendous. For further information, please contact Ms. Kirti Doshi, E-Mail:
kirtiddoshi@yahoo.com or 586 Woodward Place, Fremont, CA 94536 Phone: 510-792-1652

JAINS NOT A MINORITY COMMUNITY
Superseding its earlier decision, Rajasthan High Court has ruled that Jains do not constitute a minority community and the Jain religion is one of the branches of the Hindu religion. Minority status could not be conferred on a community only on the basis of the number of its followers. Justice Maghraj Kalla and Justice N.P. Gupta jointly set aside a single-bench earlier judgment which had directed the State Government last year to grant minority status to the Jain community. The State Government had filed a special appeal in the division bench, Jodhpur challenging the verdict. The Court observed that the Jain religion was not fundamentally different from the Hindu religion and conferring minority- status on the jain community would go against the spirit of the constitution. The family laws applicable to Hindus in the country include Jains and Sikhs in their purview but exclude the Muslim, Christian, Jew and Zorastrian communities. The Judges quoted references from the Vedas, Srimad Bhagwat Gita, Swami Vivekananda's writings and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan's books in support of their decision holding Jains to be a part of the Hindu community. The Court said the founder of the Jain religion Lord Rishabh Deo, was himself a Kshatriya (Hindu) and Jains believed in all the deities worshipped by Hindus. If each section worshipping separate deities was recognized as a different community, it would lead to fragmentation of society. Minority status could not be granted on the basis of the population figures alone. Earlier, Justice Rajesh Balia on September 15, last year had declared the Jains to be a minority community while allowing a writ petition moved by Vijay Shanti Educational Trust. ---News Courtsey Mr. M. D. Rajendran.

12TH YEAR OF SAMADHI SALLEKHANA OF PUJYA ARYIKA VISHUDDHMATI MATAJI
Samadhi Sallekhana Vrata is most important Vrata in the Jain Religion. It is for 12 years period and step by step within this period Sadhu / Sadhvis takes Samadhi. Pujya 105 Aryika Vishuddhmati Mataji had taken this 12 year's Samadhi Sallekhana Vrata in the year 1989. This is 12th year of her Samadhi Sallekhana Vrata. Digamber Sadhu / Sadhvis take their Aahar (food/water) only once in the 24 hours. Since last year, she was taking Aahar every alternate day only. For last four months, she had been taking aahar consisting of only one cereal on every third day. From 27th July 2001, she has left all the cereal food for whole life. Even then her daily routine of religious discourses, teaching of agams etc. still continue. She is doing her Chaturmas at Nandan Van (Dhariawad) District Udaipur, Rajasthan under the guidance of Param Pujya Acharya Vardhaman Sagarji Maharaj.- News By courtsey: Mr. Sudhir Jain E-Mail : mrsudhirjain@hotmail.com, jwala@vsnl.com

DELHI JAINS DEMAND MINORITY STATUS FROM DELHI GOVERNMENT
The Sthanakwasi Jain Maha-Sangha has represented to Smt. Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi presenting her a Memorandum for declaring Jain community in the State as minority community, in line with Section 25 and 51 of the Indian Constitution. This status was available to Jains up to the year 1992 but it was later withdrawn. The General Secretary of Mahasangha, Professor Ratan Jain has mentioned in the Memorandum that minority status has already been granted to other States in the Indian Union, such as Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana and Chhatisgarh. Similar demands have been made by Jain community in Uttar Pradesh and other States.

ILLICIT TRADE OF ANIMALS FROM RAJASTHAN
The Forest Department of Rajasthan is not able to carry out the orders of the Indian Wild Life Board, the highest advisory authority for the protection of animals. As a result, illicit and un-authorised trade and sale of animals to adjoining states is rampant. Hunting of animals in the prohibited and protected areas is also going on a large scale but nothing is being done seriously by the State Government. Those holding high positions in the Forest Department and supposed to be responsible, are showing their helplessness due to lack of resources and staff provided to them to them by the Government.

KSHMAPANA DAY CELEBRATED IN THE CAPITAL
On the eve of Paryushan Parva, a mass celebration of Samvatsari and daslakshan Parva was held on Ramlila grounds in the capital. A large gathering of people from Jain community as well as other communities representing various sects participated in the programme. Dr. Hukum Chand Bharill, a celebrity and an authority on Jain philosophy was one of the distinguished guests on the occasion. Shri Milap Chand Jain, Lokayukt was the Chief Guest. Shri Bhanwar Lal Saraogi presided over the function. Some of girl students of Delhi who had shown bright performance were also honoured. The Chief Guest in his speech, stressed the need to purify the thoughts so that peace and tranquility could prevail in the families and in the entire society.

JAIN ACHARYAS TO JOIN IN FRAMING OUT JANAM KALYANAK PROGRAMMES
Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar Ji stated at a Vishwa-Maitri cum Kshamapana Divas celebration in Delhi that not much headway has been made so far in chalking out and carrying out programmes for the 2600th Birth Centenary celebrations of Lord Mahavir by the officially constituted committees. He therefore suggested that Jain Acharyas had a vital role to play and they should join together and chalk out a fresh programme which can be undertaken with speed and efficiency.

MANEKA GANDHI WARNS CIRCUS AUTHORITIES TO STOP CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Mrs. Maneka Gandhi Chairman of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (SPCA) has taken up strongly the issue of cruelty towards animals caused by the Circus authorities in the capital and warned them not to indulge in rough and cruel treatment towards them, which were owned by them. Demonstrations are being planned for this purpose to attract the attention of the masses and the Government.

PANCHSHEEL JAIN, INDUSTRIALIST HONOURED WITH NATIONAL AWARD
Mr. Panch Sheel Jain, Managing Director of Sharp Diamond Tools Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur has been recently honoured with national award for the year 1999 as the best industrialist from small scale sector. At a simple function arranged in the Convention Hall of Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi, Shri L.K. Adwani, Home Minister presented the award to Mr. Jain. Others present at the function were Smt. Vasundhara Raje, Minister of State for Small Industry, Agriculture and cottage Industry. The business was started in the year 1993 with extremely meager resources but it has acquired great success in a short period by virtue of high quality standards, continuous research, wide network of dealership and excellent customer relations.

SPECIAL PIZZA FOR JAINS BY AMUL
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. has decided to produce and supply special variety of Pizza for the specific consumption by Jains around the country, under the brand name of Amul' pizza. To start with, supply has already been commenced in few cities, which will soon be spread over 100 major towns through 3000 pizza shops and it will be sold at Rs. 20/- each. The Pizza will be purely vegetarian and will not contain onions or any other ;jamikand' items.

USE OF LIVE FROGS FOR DISSECTION IN COLLEGES NO MORE REQUIRED
The Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan, Ajmer has accepted to waive off the requirement of dissection of live frogs during the practical examinations in Biology for the 12th class students. The issue had been taken up strongly by various sects of the Jain community at various levels. These steps have already been taken in many other States.

DEVLOK GAMAN BY SAINTS
(I Jain Acharya Muni Shri Dharam Ratna Sagar Ji Maharaj left for heavenly abode at the age of 95 years on 20th August, 2001 at Surat after a prolonged illness.
(II) Shri Ram Dhari Muni breathed his last at Peetampura, New Delhi at the age of 83 years. Having been on fasting for the previous 8 days he took santhara'. He was a disciple of Shri Roshan Lal Ji Maharaj.
(III) Mahasati Shri Tara Kunwar Hi Maharaj belonging to Shraman Sangha breathed her last at Indore on the day of Rishi Panchami. Before death she had spent 42 years of her life as a Jain Sadhwi. She belonged to Kawar family of Karahi from Madhya Pradesh.
(IV) Pandit Mangi Lal Shastri, a retired teacher in a Government school at Koon village in Udaipur district accepted Digambar Muni Diksha from Muni Shri Samant Bhadra Sagar Ji Maharaj at 11 A.M. on the 11th August, 2001. Just one hour after the Diksha ceremony, his soul left the body for ever. The incident aroused great respect and reverence for the departed saint and thousands of devotees gathered at the time of cremation which was held on the same day.

US AMBASSADOR SHOWS INTEREST IN JAIN RELIGION AND JAIN HISTORY
Mr. D. Blackbill, the Ambassador from USA on his visit to Jaipur recently, showed curiosity and appreciation for the ancient art and architectural work on display at the Sawai Man Singh Museum. He evinced keen interest in the history of Jain religion and discussed at length its principles and philosophy with the Museum Director, Mr. Yaduvendra Sahay.

JAIN SAINTS APPEARING ON CABLE TV
Saints belonging to different Jain sects have appeared on various channels of Cable TV during the last two months for giving discourses on Jainism:
(I) Acharya Shri Maha Pragya Ji on JEE TV.
(II) Upadhyay Shri Manohar Muni Ji on ETC channel.
(III) Shri Amar Muni on Astha channel.
(IV) Muni Shri Tarun Sagar Ji Maharaj on Astha channel.
(V) Acharya Shri (Dr.) Shiv Muni on Astha channel.

DISTRIBUTION OF EGGS STOPPED IN TAMILNADU SCHOOLS
Government of Tamilnadu has declared in Vidhan Sabha that hence-forth distribution of eggs to children studying in Government schools will be stopped with immediate effect and in its place, children will be given fruits and potatoes. This historic step has been taken after a great deal of persuasion by Shri Kamal Muni Kamlesh' holding his chaturmas stay at Chennai and united effort of various institutions there. The Government has passed a budget of Rs. 25.19 crores for this purpose.

JAIN MEDICAL RELIEF SOCIETY TO BUILD EYE HOSPITAL AT CHENNAI
The Jain Medical Relief Society at Chennai has resolved to establish Bhagwan Mahavir Eye Hospital and complete the project within a period of one year. Shri Kamal Muni Kamlesh' has been prevailing on Jain Samaj and this Society in particular to come forward and carry out this task for the benefit of people of Tamilnadu during this period of Birth Centenary of Lord Mahavir. Sri Jay Kumar, Minister in Tamil Nadu Govt. was approached to sanction five acres of land and he has reportedly accepted the request.

ACUTE SHORTAGE OF MILK AFTER THE YEAR 2005
According to a study carried out by a Non-Government organisation, "Initiative", in Bombay, there is going to be acute shortage of milk after the year 2005 unless immediate steps are taken to avert the crisis. In its report, named "White reality", the present per capita availability of milk in the country is hardly one-twelveth of that in advanced countries. The quality of feedstock given to cattle is poor, the population of unproductive cows is fast increasing, adequate care of cattle is not being taken and furthermore no steps are being seriously taken to improve either the quality or the yield of milk. The average consumption of milk in rural areas presently is hardly 121 grams per day per person, which is much too low by any standards. After the year 2005, milk supply is going to be reduced by 20 million tons every year, the average demand being around 1000 tons or more. It is therefore high time that necessary steps are taken at national level to create consciousness among the official circles as well as milk-producers to take the matter seriously and avert the situation.

APPEAL BY DIGAMBER JAINS OF PATIALA

The Digamber Jains of Patiala, Punjab have decided to construct a Digamber Jain temple and for this purpose they have registered a trust in the name of Shri Digamber Jain Sabha Patiala'. Patiala has a unique place in the history of Punjab and India. It has a population of nearly 4 lakhs. All the Digamber Jains and some non-Digamber Jains too, have contributed for this project but it is not possible to build the complete temple from local resources. Shri K.S.Jain, General Secretary of 'Shri Digamber Jain Sabha, Patiala' has appealled to the community, associations, trusts, to come forward and provide financial assistance for this purpose. For further details please contact, Kanwar Sain Jain, General Secretary, Shri Digamber Jain Sabha, #Q 58-B Grid Colony, Near Rly Station, Patiala Tele:- 0175-221686, Punjab, (India), E-Mail: koolvinay@sancharnet.in

WORLD PEACE CONFERENCE AT NEW DELHI
In the 2600th birth centenary year of Bhagwan Mahavir, Acharya Shri Gyanmati Mataji is organising World Peace Conference from 21st October to 28th October near Delhi Gate, Phiroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi. The arrangements are being made for the participation of members on large scale for the devotees from India & abroad. The programme is being organized by Digambar Jain Trilok Shodh Sansthan Hastinapur. For further information on the subject, please contact Shri Agarwal, Digamber Jain Mandir, Near Shivaji Stadium, Connaught Place, New Delhi - 110001

CONGRATULATIONS : JUSTICE N. K. JAIN
Justice N. K. Jain has been appointed the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. The oath taking ceremony was conducted by Governor Smt. Ramadevi, at Governor Bunglow. Prior to this, Justice Jain held the position of Chief Justice, Madras High Court. The oath taking ceremony was attended by Chief Minister S. M. Krishna along with Home Minister, Law Minister and other dignities from the state of Karnataka.

ALL INDIA SHWETAMBER JAIN MATRIMONIAL MEET
Swetamber Social Group of Indore organised a matrimonial meet at Ravindra Theatre, Indore on the 6th and 7th October 2001. It is second such effort by this institution. Prior to this, in 1996 also a similar programme was organised which was highly successful. Mrs. Nirmala Mehta, Mr. Gajraj Singh and Mr. B.L. Jain were the main organisers of this meet. The meet received excellent response from all over the country. The details of all the participants are published through a souvenir.

AHIMSA TIMES INVITES NEWS CORRESPONDENTS FOR HELPING IN NEWS COLLECTION
We invite Jain volunteers from different geographical area to join the team of Ahimsa Times Correspondents. The interested readers may send their profile and a photograph to The Editor at E-Mail: ahimsa@jainsamaj.org.

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