Ahimsa Times - April 2002 Issue
AHIMSA YATRA BY ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA
Head of Terapanth, Acharya Mahapragyaji, commenced his extensive 3-year Ahimsa Yatra, non-violence promotion journey, covering the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. More than 300 sadhus, sadhwis and hundreds of followers joined on the way in the Yatra, walking on foot from village to village, with short stop-overs at selected places, spreading the message of non-violence, peace, communal harmony, moral and ethical values and austerity in life through speeches, discussions, discourses, holding of prayers, distribution of literature and display of posters and banners. The theme of the Mahjapragyaji and the Yuvacharyamuni Mahashramanji have been awakening of non-violence consciousness, education and training, development of backward communities, improvement of moral values, building of healthy and tension-free society which can live with peace and harmony. A Seminar was organised during his stay at Jodhpur where students from the University and other institution along-with teachers participated to discuss the subject of "Influence of Science of Living on Value-based Education". A Regional Conference was arranged on the theme of "Economics and non-possessiveness of Mahavir", where the Finance Minister, participated as Chief Guest. A National Conference on Ahimsa was organised on 20 - 21 January 2002 at Jaipur, when the Rajasthan Governor, eminent jurist and M. P. Dr. L. M. Singhvi, High Court Judges and many others participated.
KALYAN MAL LODHA HONOURED WITH COVETED BIHARI AWARD BY SHRI K. K. BIRLA
Eminent educationist, Hindi writer and literateur, literary critic abd social reformer, Professor Kalyan Mal Lodha, originally hailing from Jodhpur was honoured with coveted Bihari Award by K.K. Birla Foundation at Calcutta. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. one lakh. It was presented for highly appreciated book, "Vagdwar, which comprises of a deep and thorough study of the productions of eight Hindi poets, Tulsi, Soor Das, Kabir, Nirala, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Jai Shankar Prasad, Mahadevi Verma and Makhan Lal Chaturvedi. Prof. Lodha has been the head of the Department of Hindi at Calcutta University and Vice-Chancellor of Jodhpur University. After his basic education at Jodhpur, Lodha passed his Master's degree in Hindi with high merit from Allahabad University. He then moved over to Calcutta and settled there in teaching profession. He has contributed immensely to the cause of Jain religion and Jain society and now at the age of 81 years, he is wholly devoted to religious activities and social welfare.
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TEMPLE IDOLS DAMAGED & VALUABLES STOLEN FROM JAIN TEMPLE AT SWARN GIRI HILL, JALORE, RAJASTHAN
- Ugly incidents of theft of valuable items and cash and mutilation of idols has become a common feature in Jain temples of Rajasthan. The occurrences have become very frequent but in-spite of complaints lodged with the local and State authorities, no action seems to have been taken as regards the safety and security of Jain temples. Many such cases have been reported in this bulletin also in the past. The latest incident is one in which three idols of Tirthankar bhagwan installed recently at a famous historic temple on Swarn Giri mountain on the outskirts of Jalore town in Rajasthan were mutilated by dacoits and valuables, including gold and silver were stolen and carried away by them. In-spite of reporting the matter , the culprits have not been brought to book and there is serious concern among the Jain community of the region about the safety of the temples. Last year also, almost one dozen cases of theft had occurred involving loss of lakhs of rupees. The jalore Pravasi Sangh at Ahmedabad has also taken up the matter strongly and sent representations to the President and Prime Minister of India, Governors and Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Gujarat and Human Rights Commission.
GURU MANDIRS TO BE BUILT IN MEMORY OF LATE SHRI KALA POORNA SURISHWAR JI M. S.
It is reported hat eleven memorial temples, in the form Guru Mandirs will be built at different places in the country in revered memory of divine saint Acharya Shri Kala Poorna Surishwar Ji Maharaj. The first such temple is being built at Pawapuri complex, near Sirohi in Rajasthan by the K.P. Sanghvi Religious Trust, the foundation stone of which was laid by Shri Babu Bhai Bafna, Founder Chairman of the Trust on 7th March, 2002. The announcement in this regards was made by Shri Bafna at Girnar, on the occasion of concluding ceremony of the a foot march by a large group of followers including both saints and pilgrims from Palitana to Girnar. Another temple of the saint is planned to be built at Ajmer in Jain Aradhana Bhawan situated on the Pushkar road. The one in series will be coming up at Rajnadgaon in Maharashtra, where the Acharya had inspired a large number of followers.
NEXT CHATURMAS OF THE HOLY SAINT, ACHARYA SHRI NITYANAND JI AT CHENNAI
It has been announced that the long out-standing request of the Jain murti-pujak samaj of Chennai has after all been accepted and the chaturmas of Acharya Pravar Srimad Vijay Nityanand Surishwar Ji Maharaj will be held this time at Chennai. There is great jubilation on hearing the news amongst all the Jain community of Chennai.
MICROSCOPIC WRITING ON RICE GRAINS BY A JAIPUR ARTIST
Smt. Neery Chhabra (Jain), a State Award winner belonging to Jaipur has developed the skill and expertise to write names and quotations with a brush on the grains of rice. Recently, when the President of Kazakistan, Mr. Noor Sultan Najarvaheb visited Jaipur, she presented him and his wife few grains of rice, on which were written the names of the President, his wife, "Live and let live", "Bhagwan Mahavir" and "Only one voice of 21st century, destroy terrorism". Earlier, Mrs Chhabra has written the whole Navkar Mantra and Bhaktamar Stotra on rice grains. She has presented such grains to President Clinton on his visit to Jaipur, past Presidents, Shri R. Venkataraman, Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Shri Rajiv Gandhi and the present Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpai. She has received the blessings of Jain Acharya Shri Vidhyanand ji, Shri Vardhman ji and Bhattarak Charukeerti ji to develop the genius.
CLUBS TAKE THE SHAPE OF A MOVEMENT TO EDUCATE CHILDREN
Shri Duli Chand Jain, President of the Karuna International organisation at its annual ceremony held recently in Chennai said that Karuna Clubs started in various schools in Chennai and elsewhere to inculcate and develop respect, kindness and compassion towards all living-beings and appreciation of human values in growing children have grown much beyond expectations and have expanded in various parts of the country. The activities of these Clubs, carried out with full cooperation of school management and teachers have taken the shape of a mass movement specially in South India. He elaborated that presently, Karuna Clubs were being actively run in 133 schools in Tamilnadu, 127 schools in Andhra Pradesh, 22 schools in Rajasthan and 27 schools in Delhi. At many other places, the activities of Karuna Clubs are being initiated. At the ceremony, a rolling trophy and cash prizes were awarded to promising schools and children.
VEENA AJMERA OF BHILWARA HONOURED WITH NATIONAL AWARD FOR DANCING
Vice-President, Shri Krishna Kant in a formal ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi honoured a 14 year old girl Kumari Veena Ajmera of Bhilwara in Rajasthan with national award on behalf of Sangeet Natak Academy for her unique dance performances in India and abroad. She has shown exemplary brilliance and skill in her "Mangal Kalash" dance , in which she kept metal 36 pots (Kalash), one resting over the other, and each one representing important themes of Jainism, such as truth, non-violence, vegetarianism, ecology protection, non-addiction to drugs and universal brother-hood. She has so far given 60 performances of this dance , both in India and abroad. Her dances are aimed not just at public recreation but at public consciousness towards the various themes inscribed over the Kalash. As she says, her objective of dancing is "Music for Mankind". Her grand father, Sahitya Ratna, Shri Nihal Ajmera, has himself been a devoted artist. He informed that Veena has been giving performances in major towns for noble causes of earth-quake relief, blindness eradication, education to poor and medical relief to the needy persons.
ACTS OF COMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN GUJARAT ARE MOST SHAMEFUL,ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA
While holding hid short stay at Balotra in Rajasthan during his Triennial Ahimsa Yatra, Acharya Mahapragya in a message said that the communal violence in Gujarat, which has rocked the whole country is an act of great shame for all of us. The whole period after the tragic incident in Godhra has been frightening and dreadful. He said that everyone must join together and put in sincere efforts to stop the inhuman acts of crime and cruelty. The communal bigotism can not be a solution to any problem. Acharya Mahapragya is expected to enter Gujarat in the second week of April. Hr said, he will make special efforts to spread the message of communal amity, love and goodwill for all.
STOP MIXING RELIGION WITH POLITICS, IF YOU WANT TO SAVE RELIGION: ASHOK GEHLOT,CM
While laying the foundation stone of 'Yash Vihar', a large religious and social complex, aimed at spreading education among the women, practising ahimsa and meditation at a glittering ceremony, Shri Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan said that religion can not and should not be mixed with politics. It will not be in the interest of national unity and integrity to mix these together. The moment we do so, the religion will be destroyed. It was announced by Shri Himmat Gang, Chairman of Yash Kunwar Charitable Trust that during the first phase of the Project, a sum of Rs. 2.5 crores will be spent on the construction and development of the entire complex, which is coming up on Suvana Road near Bhilwara with the inspiration of Sadhwi Shri Yash Kunwar Ji. Several other personalities, such as Shri Hira LLal Indora, State Minister of Mines, Shri Devendra Singh, Deputy Speaker of State Vidhan Sabha were present on the occasion. The latter compared Sadhwi Yash Kunwar Ji to Mother Terresa for her unstinted efforts to spread education amongst the poor women and children in Bhilwara area.
UNIQUE IDOL WEIGHING 25 Kg. (1,25,000 CARAT) OF DADA GURUDEV JIN KUSHAL SURI JI INSTALLED AT MALPURA
The gold idol of the highly esteemed and revered Dada guru dev, saint Shri Jin Kushal Surishwar Ji Maharaj which is weighing 25 kg. and measures 17 inches by 11 inches has been installed at Jain Dadawadi at Malpura on the 10th February, 2002 in the holy presence of saint Shri Mani Prabh Sagar Ji. A web site, named www.dadaguru.com
has also been built depicting his life and his contributions to religion.
PREPARATIONS ON FOR THE CELEBRATION OF AHIMSA AMRIT-MAHOTSAVA AT JAIPUR
On the eve of 2600th birth centenary of Bhagwan Mahavir, a twelve day programme has been chalked out in which people of Jain community from all over the country and abroad are expected to join in a big way. Acharya Shri Shanti Sagar Ji will be reaching the place soon to inspire the organise the organisers and bless the participants. The programme is being arranged by Shri Kalyan Shanti Parishad, Jaipur. One of the special features of the celebrations will be continuous recitation (Jaap) of 26,26,262 navkar mantra, spread over a couple of days. 2600 Indra and Indrani couples will also appear all in identical dresses with Mangal Kalash. The programme will be concluded on the 25th April, 2002.
Malpura (Rajasthan) :
Nutan Muni Shri Ji son of Shri Madan Lal Ji Salecha of Balotra under the order of Upadhyay Shri Mani Prabh Sagar Ji Maharaj of Murti Pujak sect on 22nd February, 2002 at Malpura Dist. Tonk, (Rajasthan)
Mitesh Prabh Sagar Ji Salecha under the order of Upadhyay Shri Mani Prabh Sagar Ji Maharaj of Murti Pujak sect on 11th March, 2002 at Malpura, Dist. Tonk. (Rajasthan)
Sadhwi Priya Sreyanjana Sri Ji under the order of Upadhyay Shri Mani Prabh Sagar Ji Maharaj of Murti Pujak sect on the 11th March at Malpura Dist Tonk (Rajasthan).
Km. Rekha and Santosh bafna (renamed as sadhwi Asma Shri and Shraddha Shri) under the order of Mahasati Darshan Prabha Ji in the holy presence of Shri Vinay Muni 'Vagesh', belonging to Shraman Sangh of Sthanakwasi Shwetambar Jain sect.
Jasol (Rajasthan) :
As many as 16 aspirants belonging to Tera panth sect of Shwetambar Jain samaj were accepted to sainthood on the 3rd March, 2002 by their guru, Acharya Shri Mahapragya at a small village, Jasol in Barmer District of Rajasthan. Out of 16, two were male and the rest were female.
: Sushri Neelam Chambad (renamed as sadhwi Charam Shri) accepted as Jain sadhwi by Mahasati Shri Darya Kunwar Ji and Sadhwi Shri Jay Prabha Ji, disciples of Acharya Shri Shubh Chand Ji Maharaj belonging to Sthanakwasi sect of Shwetambar group on 17th February, 2002.
Mokalsar (Rajasthan) :
Upadhyayshri Maniprabhu Sagarji initiated Ashok Lookad as Muni Neelesh Sagarji at on 16 January 2002.
Five diksharthi, namely Shri Deepak Jain, Shri Ashish Bhansali, Shri Abhay Mutha, Km. Usha Nirmal and
Km Ujjwal Jain were accepted to Stanakwasi Jain Shraman Sangh order by the Acharya Dr. Shiv Muni and Upadhyay Shri Vishal Muni on the 17th February, 2002. Dr. Satya Narayan Jatia, Central Minister for Social Justice and Shri J.D. Jain President of the All India Shwetambar Sthanakwasi Jain Conference were present on the occasion.
Shri Arvind Jain was initiated to Jain order under Sthanakwasi Shraman sangh by Shri Subhadra Muni Ji on the 24th February, 2002 at Rishabh Nagar, Delhi.
For the first time, in the last 400 years, mass Diksha (initiation) of 36 individuals was held at Adinath temple of Shatrunjaya, near Palitana in the holy presence of Acharya Gunratna Surishwarji on 16 February 2002. 'Samovasaran', similar to the one used by Bhagwan Mahavir during his discourses after Kewalgyan enlightenment, was arranged at the place of Diksha. The Maharaj has initiated 175 persons in to the Jainism. On the previous day, a huge and colourful procession was paraded throughout the city as a part of the celebrations.
Acharya Sidhant Sagarji, granted muni Diksha and initiated Shreyans Sagarji on 20 January, 2002 at Kanpur.
SHOCKING ATTACK ON BHUVANAKEERTHI BHATTRAKA MAHARAJ AT KARNATAKA
Parama Pujya Swasti Sri Bhuvanakeerthi Bhattrakha Maharaj of Kanakagiri (a Jain pilgrimage place near Mysore, Karnataka, India, having a history of over 1000 years) was attacked by a group of dacoits when he was on his way back to Kanakagiri from Mudabidri. His car was attacked at a place called Kikkere near Srirangapattana and K.R.Pet by a group of arround 6 to 8 members with the dacoits hitting his car with clubs. After the attack Maharaj told the driver to run the car and go to Kikkere police station. Latter a complaint was lodged against the miscreants and the police acted immediately and arrested 4 of them. No injuries to any body has been claimed in the incident but the car was damaged severely. It is said that Maharaj was on his way back to Kanakagiri from Mudabidri after attending a religious function at Kanakagiri. No harm has been done either to Maharaj and other 3 passengers including the driver. The brave work done by the driver was appreciated by all. For more information contact E-Mail :
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SECOND JAIN PATHSHALA TEACHERS CONFERENCE
The programme, as announced earlier, will be held on May 25-27, 2002 at Los Angeles, CA, and will be organized by - JAINA Education Committee, Federation of Jain Associations in North America. It is being hosted by the Jain Center of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA.
This call for papers is an invitation for you to submit a proposal for presentation on one of a variety of possible topics relating to effective teaching and learning of Jainism. The presentation time slot is about 15 min. For more information
ADHAR ABHISHEK OF ALL JAIN MANDIRS
For the first time in the history of Mumbai all th Jinalaya's and Gruh Mandir's of Mumbai, will perform th Maha Pooja of Adhar Abhishek at 9.31 in the Morning on 21/04/2002 ( CHAITRA SUD NOM. RAVI PUSHYA YOG ) Approximately more than 700 Vidhikars have been retained for Shshtrok Vidhi, which will be performed with Jayana. All the Dravyas to be consumed will be totally Ashinsak. For any more details contact 91 022 3887637/3895857.
FIFTH BIENNIAL CONVENTION OF YOUNG JAINS OF AMERICA
The 5th biennial Young Jains of America Convention has begun registration and the planning is well under way. The purpose of the YJA convention is to help Jain youth explore Jain ideas, values, beliefs, and culture through numerous workshops, panel discussions, seminars, and lectures. This year's convention will be held in Mahwah, New Jersey from July 4th to July 7th. The 2002 YJA Convention promises to be the best yet. This year's theme, Walking the Path of Jainism, focuses on showing Jain youth the importance of Jainism in their daily lives. As an added bonus, participants over the age of 21 may participate in the Jain Networking Forum (JNF), a social experience dedicated to helping young adults to meet their future partner for life and build business contacts. You may register for the convention by going online at www.yja.org. For details, contact: Chintan Shah & Ronak Shah , Young Jains of America 2002 , E-Mail :
JAINOLOGY PROFESSOR URGES GOVERNMENT TO CELEBRATE POET PAMPA'S
Dr. Kamala Hampana, a scholar and former professor of Jainology, University of Mysore, today urged the state government and other academies to hold special programmes to mark the 1,100th birth anniversary of well-known Kannada poet Nadoja Pampa. Addressing a news conference here, she said the poet who born in AD 902 at Annigeri in Navalgund taluk of Dharwad district had contributed a lot for the enrichment of Kannada language. Kannada literature witnessed its golden era during the Rashtrakoota period and the poet got patronage under King Arikesari of Chalukyan dynasty. Pampa wrote two mahakavyas in 941 AD and then penned Adi Purana within three months and Vikramarjuna Vijaya in the next six months. These works popularised the Kannada language in that period.
MCDONALD'S IS SORRY FOR USING BEEF
Fast food giant, McDonald's have agreed to publicly apologise to "Hindus, vegetarians and others" for failing to disclose the use of animal products in foods, it identified as vegetarian. The company will also donate $10 million to concerns to espoused by these groups as part of a settlement in a class- action lawsuit initiated by Indian-American attorney Harish Bharti. However, the McDonald's India clarified on Friday that it has never used beef, pork or animal extract in its vegetarian products sold in India.
Starting next month, McDonald's will insert ads in newspapers apologising for its mistake, acknowledging that, upon our switch to vegetable oil in the early 1990's for the purpose of reducing cholesterol, mistakes were made in communicating to the public and customers about the ingredients in their French fries and hash browns", the ads will say "We regret we did not provide these customers with complete information, and we sincerely apologise for any hardship that these miscommunications have caused among Hindus, vegetarians and others, "the settlement-ad will say. The lawsuit arose from an episode in April 2001 when some Indian-American vegetarians on the West Coast accused McDonald's of misleading customers by presenting its golden fries as vegetarian. Source : Mr. Atul Shah, Ahemedabad. E-Mail :
BHAGWAN MAHAVIR'S 2600TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY EVENTS
Ahimsa University at Indore: Madhya Pradesh State Government has accepted the proposal submitted by Jains to establish an Ahimsa University at Indore and to provide the necessary land. Digambar and Shwetambar sects have joined hands to put forth the proposal. It was further declared that out of the total requirement of Rs. 20 crores for the project, Rs. 10 crores will be raised by the Jain community and the Central and State Governments will contribute Rs. 5 crores each. The state government will allot the land in lieu of the cash grant.
PARK NAMED AFTER BHAGWAN MAHAVIR AT LUCKNOW
Hathi Park in Lucknow, India was renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Park. The local Jain community, led by Acharya Viveksagarji and other sadhus brought a 9 feet high marble murti of Bhagwan Mahavir in Padamasan posture brought in a procession for installation in the centre of the park.
AHIMSA VARSH, THE YEAR OF NON-VIOLENCE
Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, USA and all Jain organisations of New York, New Jersey and vicinity areas have jointly planned the concluding event on April 13 & 14, 2002 at Fords, New Jersey. Dr. L. M. Singhvi is the keynote speaker and several scholars, sadhus and sadhvis will give lectures. Presentations, publications, cultural events, recitation & rendition of Navkar Mahamantra, art & book exhibition, youth speech and essay contests are organised.
ANCIENT JAIN TEMPLE UNEARTHED
The 100 feet excavation carried out in May last year in Vadnagar, Gujarat, has unearthed an ancient temple, which is said to have housed Hindu and Jain Gods. It is said that in 1968, a local farmer had stumbled upon two Jain murtis near the site. Accordingly, the local villagers and leaders of the two communities carried out the excavation. It is believed that the temple is dated back to any time between 11 to 13th centuries. Over forty Jain murtis were carefully preserved in sand near the foundation of the temple. It is thought that the villagers buried the murtis to protect them from destruction caused by the Muslim invasions common at that time.
ANCIENT JAIN SCULPTURE OF PADMAVATI DEVI FOUND
An ancient stone sculpture of Padmavati has been found at the famous pilgrimage place of Shankara Honda, Sirsi, Karnataka. The black stone sculpture of about 50 cms in height, 25 cms in width and 8 cms thick from 14 - 15th century are of post-Vijayanagar period. This is characterised with the carving of Jain Yakshinis on either side of the Tirthankar sculpture. It is the Samabhangi standing posture with Dvibhuja (two hands); a lotus in her left hand while the right hand is in the Abhaya mudra. However, the facial portion is damaged. The sindoor on the forehead is visible. The hair is neatly combed and adorned by hair ornament. The sculpture was probably installed in a Jain settlement, and may have later been thrown into the lake, as it might not be worshipped. This reveals the existence and survival of the Jain tradition in the Kannada region.
JAIN STATUES STOLEN FROM KANPUR TEMPLES
Three Ashtdhatu (8 metals) murtis of Tirthankar Bhagwan have been stolen recently from the Digambar Jain temple in Kanpur, India. It is sad to observe that such incidents of theft of murtis and other antique items from Jain temples have been happening more frequently in different parts of India but rarely, the thefts are uncovered and the culprits brought to book by the local police.
JAINS JOIN HINDU - MUSLIM PEACE MARCH
Ahemedabad, India: Hindus and Muslims marched together on 4 March 2002 through the streets shattered and blodied by India's worst religious strife in a decade to demand peace as an uneasy calm held after days of killings. Wearing white clothes symbolising peace, about 250 people walked down roads in Ahmedabad littered by debris, past the wreckage of torched shops and homes to the riverside spiritual retreat where Mahatma Gandhi declared his philosophy of non-violent protest. Few Jains also joined in the rally. Soldiers and paramilitary troops enforced an uneasy peace in Gujarat's main cities and towns.
SPECIAL COVERS AND SPECIAL CANCELLATIONS ISSUED
A special cover and a special cancellation was issued on 10 February 2002 at Malpura, Rajasthan. Special cover depicted coloured picture of beautiful local Jinkushalsuri Temple and the special cancellation had the footprints of Gurudev Jinkushalsuri.
At New Delhi on 70th Birthday (born: 11 December 1931), a special cover of "Osho" Bhagwan Rajneesh (Originally a Jain) was issued. This Special Cover has an image of Osho with thousands of his disciples in the background and his message at the back of this cover that says: "I want to remind you that whether I am here or not, the celebration has to continue. If I am not here, then it has to be more intense and it has to spread around the world. Celebration is my religion. Love is my message. Silence is my truth".
On 2nd March 2002 a special cover has been issued at Patna on Jainism. Indian Postal Department has provided a special cancellation on it. In the 2600th Janma Kalyanak year of Bhagwan Mahavir, Bihar Puravid Parishad and Jain Sangh of Patna jointly organized National Seminar on Lord Mahavir in Art, Archeology " Literature at Patna (Bihar) on 2nd & 3rd March 2002. Special cover issued on this occasion on 2nd March 2002 depicts photo of a broken idol of Jain Tirthankar. This idol of Maurya Period, 3rd Cent. B.C. is the oldest Jain idol of the world. It was found in Lohanipur, near Patna and exhibited at Patna Museum. Special cancellation bears line sketch of bronze Jain Dharma Chakra of 2nd B. C. Source: Mr. Sudhir Jain,
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON JAINISM AT POMONA, USA
"Celebrating Mahavira's Teachings: Lessons of Ahimsa and Anekanta for Contemporary Life", was the theme of the two-day international conference that brought together an international group of scholars to celebrate 2600th birth anniversary of Vardhaman Mahavir. California State Polytechnic University hosted it during 19 - 20 January 2002 at Cal Poly Pomona. The conference was co-sponsored by the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences (CLASS), Infinity Foundation, and Jain societies of Southern California and San Diego. Close to 200 people attended the conference.
Cal Poly Pomona President, Dr. Bob H. Suzuki and CLASS Dean, Dr. Barbara Way welcomed the speakers and audience. Prof. Tara Sethia, Organising Committee Chair, provided an introduction highlighting the need to explore the significance of the Jain principles of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Anekanta (non-absolutism) in the context of violence and intolerance that prevails in our world today. The Conference served as an opportunity to better understand the ideas and ideals of Jain principles of Ahimsa and Anekanta in terms of their practical significance for peaceful, harmonious coexistence of individuals, families, communities and nations.
The inaugural Keynote Speaker was Mr. Satish Kumar from England's Schumacher College and the Editor of the Resurgence magazine.
"The whole conference weekend was most pleasant experience, not the least because it was so efficiently organised and hosted by yourself. All papers were interesting. There were of course differences of emphasis and approach amongst speakers but I do think the listeners derived some benefit from hearing them. I was particularly impressed by the youngsters I met who were serious minded about the conference," said Prof. Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
AHIMSA AND HUMANITARIANISM IS THE BIGGEST RELIGION
Mahavir International organised "World Peace Through Non-Violence", a two-day World Religious Conference at Mumbai, India. Leaders from different religions joined to express their views on world peace, communal harmony and non-violence and other related issues. It said that Ahimsa and humanitarianism were the biggest amongst all religions in today's context. Inculcation of respect and understanding towards other traditions is the need of the day. Ms. Indu Jain mentioned that the responsibility for avoiding violence and maintaining peace can not be thrust entirely on the Government. The religious leaders should ensure peace, unity and harmony amongst different sections of society. Others who spoke included were, Acharya Sadhwi Chandanaji, Kushal Chand Jain and Surendrasingh Savai (Jain), Archbishop Cardinal Dais of Bombay (Roman Catholic, Christian), Maulana Karim Parekh (Muslim), Dasturji Jamapasa (Parsi, Indian Zoroastrian), Jayendra Sarsawati (Hindu), Lama Lonbjeng (Buddhist), Mukhya Granthi and Gyani Pooran Singh (Sikh). They all emphasised the need to develop mutual harmony, respect and goodwill amongst all sections of communities and religions.
SAFFRON SHOWERS ON CHINMAYA SAGARJI
Nature showered saffron for 27 minutes on Chinmaya Sagarjii Maharaj, a disciple of Acharya Vidhyasagarji while he was giving his discourse at Bhatpara, India. It is said that similar showers had occurred on the day of commencement of Chaturmas and at the conclusion of his 4-months stay at that place.
JAINISM , BIOETHICS AND THE END OF LIFE
Continuing the fine tradition of the annual Rooplal Jain Lectures, Dr. Christopher Key Chapple presented an exciting and informative lecture on 7 March 2002 at the University of Toronto entitled "Jainism, Bioethics, and the End of Life." Dr. Chapple, a Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Asian and Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, opened his lecture with a fascinating historical overview of the sacrament of sallekhana (fasting to death). Explaining the religious meaning of the ceremony within its earliest cultural contexts, he then continued with an elucidation of the significance underlying several contemporary examples of the custom. This was followed by a detailed examination of the questions and concerns raised in contemporary medical bioethics over such issues as religious fasting to death and both passive and active euthanasia.
To paraphrase Dr. Chapple, the current bioethical dilemma is that Western social institutions must somehow come to terms with Eastern religious perspectives. For example, the rite of sallekhana is not, and should not, be considered as an act of suicide or active euthanasia - and therefore an act to be discouraged. However, an extremely significant religious from spirituality and divinity, an act that ought to be supported within the contemporary medical community. In other words, sallekhana is just one example of what could be called a 'good' or "wise death, an act that could be utilised in the West to successfully guide those near the end of life through the process of death and into the next birth. The lecture concluded with an animated discussion by an audience of about seventy in attendance over the "pros" and 'cons' of sallekhana within the contemporary, Western environment.
This year's Rooplal Jain Lecture, which was first established in 1990 as a series of talks honouring the memory and contribution of Rooplal Jain to the academic study of the Jain tradition, was also presented in other Canadian towns of London and Windsor. The purpose of the lectures is to contribute to the scholarly knowledge of Jainism, and to make that knowledge available to a much broader audience of both Jain and other than communities. The first nine lectures have been published in as a book, Jain Doctrine and Practice: Academic Perspectives, published by the Centre for South Asian Studies of the University of Toronto.
108 FEET MONUMENT OF NAVKAR MANTRA INAUGURATED
108-feet high, beautiful and magnificent structure, solely devoted to Navkar Mantra was inaugurated at Aradhanadham, Jamnagar, India. This was a dream project of Shashikant Mehta, a daily worshipper and a strong believer in the power of ancient Navkar Mantra. One bows down to five God figures while reciting Navkar Mantra. These are Arihanta - enlightened souls, Siddha - liberated souls, Acharya - head of spiritual teachers, Upadhyayas - teachers and Sadhus & Sadhwis - monks & nuns. Since 108 attributes have been described in Jain texts, the monument is 108 feet high and depicts Panch Parmeshthi - five godly figures. The murtis are of these five parmeshtis in the colours as described in the Jain texts. Therefore the monument has been designed to incorporate these colours, which is similar to the Jain flag. One can climb inside this monument by using a spiral staircase and ring a bell of victory. There is a circular hall, which is partly sunk below the ground level and has been designed for meditation. It has the Navkar Mantra inscribed on a wall with the murtis of all Parmeshthis and Mahavir Swami in the centre.
During the past two years many people had written 6.8 million times Navkar Mantra in the books. These books were wrapped in prescribed colours of the mantra and ceremoniously placed in the small cellar of the circular hall. The idea was to keep the positive and divine pudgalas particles by permanently storing these hand-written books.
The ceremonies started on 18 January 2002 and the final part of door opening was conducted on 20 January 2002. More than a thousand people participated in this unique event. All ceremonies were conducted with the blessings of many Acharyas and monks. Vajrasen Vijayji was the inspirational force behind this project. Three well-known Jain families from UK and East Africa performed these auspicious ceremonies. They were: Mrs. Vijyaben Mehta, Mrs. Nishaben & Mr. Mahendra Mehta's families, Mrs. Suryakalaben & Mr. Maganlal Motichand Chandaria and Mrs. Sumatiben & Mr. Harakhchand Nemchand Shah. A book explaining all aspects of Navkar Mantra by Jashubhai Kapashi was released on 19 January 2002.
NO VOLUNTEERS ! CARETAKER COMMITTEE - TORONTO, CANANDA
An unusual situation arose at the recent annual general meeting of the Jain Society of Toronto. The society had invited the nominations for the 15-member executive committee (EC) but no one came forward voluntarily to serve the Society! In the past, an election was a great excitement. However, this year, interest amongst the 460 families and about 90 present was totally lacking. After much persuasion, only Vice-president and Treasurer positions were filled up. As many as thirteen positions remaining vacant, the outgoing EC could not hand over the charge and the same EC had to continue as the Caretaker Committee. Now the election process will be repeated within ninety days. Other regular businesses like reports, financial statements and other items were approved.
HIGHEST PAID DEAN- MR. DEEPAK JAIN
Deepak Jain, Dean of Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Illinois University, became the highest paid head of an educational institution as per the report of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Jain earned US$587,000 yearly, more than even the North West University's President Henry Binen's $387,000.
MEETING GOD - PHOTO EXHIBITION
Steve McCurry's "Portraits of Worship: Personal Shrines of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in and around New York" was part of the "Meeting God" exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition of pictures portrayed devotees at a variety of venues, from Wall Street to suburban New Jersey. The exhibition was on view through March 31, 2002. Steve McCurry is one of the world's finest photographers.
FRANK PALLONE AND GAREY ACKERMAN: Two best friends on United States Capital Hill were awarded with Padma Bhushan award on the India's Republic Day, January 26, 2002. Congressman Frank Pallone and Garey Ackerman, both Democrats representing New Jersey and New York were recognised for their contribution in improving ties between two nations, by conferring on them, one of its highest civilian honours. Last year Pallone arranged for Jain prayer in the Congress as part of the American Jains celebrations of 2600th Mahavir Birthday celebrations.
SHRI GYAN CHAND JAIN,the Chairman of Shri Chintamani Parshwa Nath Jain Shwetambar Teerth Trust, Hardwar, has been honoured with the prestigious award of "Padamshri" by the Government of India for his immense contribution to religion and society. He is also the Founder Chairman of Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital at Rohini in New Delhi and other religious institutions. The ceremony was arranged on 2nd February, 2002 at India International Centre at New Delhi.
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PRPF. MANUBHAI SHAH,
founder and managing trustee of Consumer Education & Research Centre, Ahmedabad, Gujarat was presented with the "Great Son of the Soil" Award by the All India Conference of Intellectuals. The citation for Prof. Shah referred to his tireless work for consumer rights and their protection. He is now concentrating on promotion and protection of public interest law and legal services to the disadvantaged groups. It said that the AICOI "is proud to have a genius, a man of calibre". Recently, he was also appointed, on the three member, Consumer Disputes Appellate Committee of the Bombay Suburban Electricity Supply Limited's representing the consumer interest.
MS. KARALIN M.G.MAJUMDAR
is a research scholar in Jainism, doing Ph.D. for the last three years from the University of Delhi, Department of Anthropology on the topic "The role and significance of Women Ascetics in Jain Religion: Past & Present".
MR. AMIT RAJAT PATEL,
23 years, Crew Chief of USA's UH-60 Black Hawk 101 Aviation Squad, was declared the "Soldier of the Year". Amit joined US Army in 1998 after completing studies in New Delhi, India and currently studies at Aeronautical Science of Daytona Beach in Florida.
MEHTA , was awarded Best Businessman of the year by the Asian American Chamber of Commerce at its sixth Annual Award Function at Izlin, NJ, USA.
DR. AMEET BAKHAI ,
was involved in a major heart disease research study led by Dr. Marcus Flather at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.Their revolutionary findings could save 10,000 lives in Britain each year.
DR. BHARAT SHAH ,
of Mumbai was awarded Samaj Ratna (Community Jewel) for his honorary services for more than quarter of a century. Dr. Shah provides honorary services at many hospitals following Jain principles. He has addressed national as well as international medical conferences, representing India.
MR. VIMAL SHAH ,
of Bidco Oil received the Best Professional Manager Award from Kenya Institute of Management.
FORTHCOMING EVENTS, FESTIVALS & CELEBRATIONS
APRIL 25: MAHAVIR JAYANTI :
2600th yearlong birthday celebrations of Bhagwan Mahavir ends.
MAY 14:AKSHAY-TRITYA :
(Immortal Third) celebrates the day when Tirthankar Rishabha broke his first year-long fast by drinking sugar cane juice.
UNIQUE JAIN SINGLES EVENT :
Jain Centre of Southern California is hosting an event for Jain Singles with the purpose of providing a platform for them to make friends and form relationships by promoting interfaith interactions. The three-day convention will be held from Friday May 17 to Sunday May 19, 2002. This fun filled 3 days and 2 nights convention will provide Young Jain Adults of ages 21 and above, the opportunity to make new friends with similar backgrounds, faith and interests. Please visit the site for this event at
TORTURE OF COWS FOR LEATHER GETS UNDER MPs' SKIN
Members Hold Protest to Urge Indian Government to Stop Illegal, Cruel Cattle Transport for UK Market
London - Flanking a PETA 'cow' holding a banner reading, India: Stop the Cruel Transport of Animals,' several members of Parliament (MP's) will gather at College Green on Tuesday to protest the cruel transport and slaughter of Indian cows, buffaloes, goats and other animals killed for leather. England is the third-biggest importer of leather from Indian animals. In defiance of Indian law, corrupt skin-traders march cows, buffaloes and other animals for days and cram them into overcrowded lorries, which causes many to suffer broken bones and suffocation. Those who collapse from exhaustion or injuries have their eyes smeared with chilli peppers and their tailbones broken in an effort to keep them moving. At abattoirs, the animals typically have their throats hacked in full view of one another and are often dismembered and skinned alive. PETA's boycott of Indian leather has been joined by dozens of top retailers worldwide, including Lambert Howarth, Buffalo Boots and Clarks, costing India an estimated US$40 million in lost contracts.
"It's time for the Indian government to wash the leather industry's blood off its hands,' says PETA's European coordinator Dawn Carr. 'Mahatma Gandhi would have been pleased to see British MP's defending India's animals. For more information, please visit our Web
12 YR. OLD "GENIUS KID" PREACHES VEGETARIANISM AND NON-VIOLENCE
ASHLAND, VIRGINIA, JANUARY 21, 2002 - Boy genius Gregory Smith finished high school in two years with an A+ average. He was years old. A television crew from "60 Minutes" filmed his speech to the graduating class, and he lost a baby tooth on stage. His IQ is "off the chart." According to parents Bob and Janet Smith, Greg began speaking simp words at three months old and full sentences quickly followed. He could recite memorized books before his first birthday and read on his own shortly after. He solved arithmetic problems at 14 months and at two he was reading about dinosaurs and chatting knowledgeably about the Cretaceous Period.
He observed that people had flat teeth, like plant- eating dinosaurs, and concluded that human beings must be herbivores, not carnivores. He persuaded his family to become vegetarians. Greg, now 12, is a college senior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland Virginia. In addition to his vegetarianism, Greg has a rigid moral code: He walks out of a movie at the third curse word because he considers profanity verbal violence; when a film in class contains nudity or sex, he puts his hands over his eyes or leaves the room; when his family rents movies, Greg vetoes anything rated PG-13 because he is only 12.
Since starting college, Greg has made the acquaintance of a handful of Nobel peace laureates. Because Greg had a previous speaking engagement in Denver, he had to decline an invitation from the Dalai Lama, but he hopes to have another chance. He has discussed current events with world leaders, lunched with Mikhail and Queen Noor, shaken hands in the Oval Office with President Clinton, and been blessed by tribal elders in a African village. His simple appeal for nonviolence and human rights for children has mushroomed into a philanthropic foundation called International Youth Advocates, with young representatives around the world speaking out on behalf of the world's innocents. Last year alone, Greg Smith travelled to six countries on four continents to lobby on behalf of children whose lives have been shattered by war and violence and poverty. He writes and delivers eloquent speeches and personally answers some of the thousand-plus e-mails and letters he receives each week. From a 12-year-old in Singapore: "Our world is dying . . . I see of no other way but to wait for the present generation of adults to die. But what if they pass on their greed to us. Help us." From a 17-year-old Rwandan boy: "Yes, I do have experience of war . . . I lost all my friends, parents, brother and probably myself. I know about all the kids who are soldiers 'cause I was. Ever wondered how much money is made during the war? Look, all I wanted to make you understand is that corruption brings hard-core capitalism. Each person on their own." Greg wrote a long letter back to the Rwandan boy. "I hear the sorry and pain in your words . . . I am ashamed of us . . . We stood by and did nothing . . .I will try with every breath that I have to make sure that it does not happen again . . . I will never give up or accept that we must tolerate the greed and viciousness of others. We must show the world that violence, and especially the capitalization of violence, is not acceptable. "Source: Washington Post.
GREAT ATTEMPT AT PEACE AND AMITY: L. K. ADVANI
New Delhi: The Union Home Minister, Shri Lal Krishna Advani, has said that Acharya Shri Mahapragya's Ahimsa Yatra is a great attempt at promoting mutual understanding, religious tolerance and peace. Shri Advani pointed out that saints and social reforms who propagated peace and amity had always been honoured as great men. In a meeting with Prof. Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar last month the Home Minister said that taking the message of peace and brotherhood to every nook and corner of the country was the need of the hour. Communal narrowness harmed the national interest as much as it harmed the community concerned. Muni Shri Mahendra Kumar acquainted Shri Advani with what was being done during the three-year Ahimsa Yatra of Acharya Shri Mahapragya to train people in ahimsa, and to usher in moral renaissance and establish communal amity.
BALVIJAYJI FOR ORGANISING PEACE ARMY
New Delhi: The Chairman of Ahimsa Samvay, Sarvoday leader Shri Bal Vijayaji feels that dedicated workers must visit those areas of the country which have been severely affected by organised violence. He has pointed out that by and large the people have come to the conclusion that problems could not be solved through violent means. Therefore, non-violent approach to solve project like this active, dedicated workers are needed. Beside this, he feels, that such an organisation cannot be run as educational institutions nor managed as business organisations.
FERNANDES PREFERS SOCIALISM BASED ON AHIMSA
New Delhi: The Union Defence Minister, George Fernandes, has said that the history of modern socialism is only 100 years old. But Bhagwan Mahavir had thought of a socialism based on non-violence more than 2600 years ago. If we had accepted that path, then mankind would not have faced the present challenge of terrorism. Shri Fernandis was speaking in a function organised at his residence here to release the English translation of Acharya Shri Mahapragya's Sanskrit commentary on Acharang Sutra. He said the present attempts at globalisation were against the ideology of socialism. We would establish real socialism only by following the way shown by Mahavir.
Acharya Shri Mahapragya in a statement for this occasion had pointed out that Acharnag Sutra was basically concerned with the lifestyle based on non-violence. Disarmament was its main subject.
"INDIA DID NOT WANT WAR WITH PAKISTAN", SAYS JASWANT SINGH
Pachpadra: The seventy second Diksha Divas of Acharya Shri Mahapragya was celebrated here as "Ahimsa Divas". The Union Minister for External Affairs, Shri Jaswant Singh, came here to pay respect to Acharya Shri. Shri Jaswant Singh hailed Acharya Shri Mahapragya as a saviour of mankind. He was confident that the Peace March would strengthen our ancient cultural values. The Union Minster for External Affairs said the Indian culture stood for peace and amity. India did not want war. But if Pakistan started one, then this time it would be difficult to find out its name on the world map. Shri Singh implored Acharya Shri Mahapragya
to give proper instructions to people like him who faced such difficult
Acharya Shri Mahaprgya said that the nation could be changed only through training in Ahimsa, and the training in peace meant changing the mind of man. Unless we went to the root of violence and non-violence, this problem could never be solved. He wished India would never be incriminated as an aggressor nation. The society which did not care for moral values could not live in peace and non-violence, Acharaya Mahapragya added. He raised the question before the vast audience: Who is a good minister? Acharya Shri
himself provided the answer: He who increased the state fund without levying
extra taxes. He, who could defend the nation without restoring to violence, was
Acharya Shri cautioned that we had to think not only about our borders, but about condition with the borders as well. He said that day would be very lucky for the entire mankind when a policy of world peace would came forward by common consent. The human mind had to be given a new orientation. The change had to be brought at the emotional level through training in non-violence. With foreign policy too Ahimsa had to be given a new form. The minister of defence also had to take into consideration the efficacy of Ahimsa along with the strength of arms.
ACHARYA MAHAPRAGYA A SAVIOUR OF MANKIND: R. VENKATRAMAN
New Delhi: Former President of India Shri R. Venkatraman has said that considering the way violence is engulfing our society, once again we will have to work to make people aware of the effectiveness of Ahimsa. The former President was commenting on Acharya Shri Mahapragya's ongoing three-year Ahimsa Yatra. He felt that Acharya Shri Mahaporagya's approach was unique one. There was a ray of hope in that. Saintly people like Acharaya Tulsi and Acharya Shri Mahapragya were actually the saviours of mankind.
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MULTI MILLION POUND JAIN COMPLEX IN KENYA
The pioneering and highly talented Visa Oshwal Jains in Nairobi will open their new community centre in Nairobi on 31st March 2002. The complex includes three gigantic wedding/reception halls that can cater for thousands of people, a modern theatre complex, offers and a large reception area with picture glass windows. It is an ideal venue for organising international Jain gatherings. Kenya could not be a better host.
JAINS AT THE MUSEUM OF WORLD RELIGIOUS IN TAIWAN
The first Museum of World Religions (MWR) was inaugurated in Taiwan on 9th November 2001, concluding the ten-year effort of Buddhist Monk Dharam Master Hsin Tao, at a cost of $60 million, to highlight the essence of all religions - love and peace.H. H. Amrender Muniji from Siddhachalam, along with four monks of other religions, prayed for world peace in inaugural session. The President of Taiwan, along with Mr Bawa Jain and other world-renowned religious leaders and scholars, cut the ribbon to declare the museum open. An international conference held during this event discussed the unfortunate destruction of sacred sites in Europe, India, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Acharay Chandanji and Sadhvi Shilpaji represented Veerayatan, while Mr. Naresh Jain represented International Jain Sangh (US) of New Jersey at this three day inaugural event that concluded by establishing a Global Commission for Preservation of Sacred Sites. Chosen for their antiquity and the number of followers by the Centre for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University, ten rigours are included in the museum displays: Hinduism, Shinto, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Ancient Egyptian and Indigenous Maya religions. Jain representatives discussed the antiquity and the influence of Jainism with Hsin Tao, who agreed to include it in museum. IJS will formulate a list of appropriate items for display in its Great Hall of world Religions in concert with the museum staff, consultants and the Jain community. For further information visit
JAIN ACHARYA VIJAY INDRADINN SURISWARJI :
(97 years) passed away on 16 January 2002 at Ambala City, Punjab. He had accepted the Jain order at the early age of 17 years and had studied Hindi, Sanskrit and Prakrit and other languages over which he had full control. His Guru Vijay Samudra Surishwarji bestowed him with the title of Acharya
in 1971. His contribution to the Jain literature as well as to the society in
the form of development of backward communities in Gujarat, spreading of
education through establishment of schools and colleges have been immense for
which he will always be remembered.
ARYIKA SUPARSHWAMATAJI, :
disciple of Acharya Vardhmansagarji passed away on 28 December 2001 at Dhariavad, Rajasthan. She had taken a vow for 12 years Samadhi and she observed fasting during the last Chaturmas
period by consuming limited items of apple and water only once in every three or
attained Devlok on the 12 December 2001 at Dhariavad in Rajasthan in the holy presence of her Guru, Acharya Vardhmansagarji after 27 years of life of austerity, self-restraint and religious fervour. She had been only accepting limited items on alternate days during the four months of Chaturmas monsoon and lately for the last 12 days, she had been living only on water once in a day.
SADHWI VISHUDDHMATIMATAJI's :
last rites was performed on 22 January 2002 at a Nandanvan pilgrimage centre, Udaipur, Rajsthan. On 17 January 1990, she had taken 12 years Samadhi Sallekhana Vrata from Ajeetsagarji Maharaj. During the 12 years, she had followed the rites in the scriptures to perform Samadhi. Vishuddhmatimataji was fully conscious and listening to Navkar Mantra chanting at the time of her Samadhi. On 27 July 2001, she had given up food. In the past 3 months, she was taking only water and juice of one fruit after every three days. Since 16 January 2002, she had given up water also. Acharya Vardhmansagarji and 33 other sadhus were present at the time of her Samadhi. she was cremated on the same day at 10 am. More than ten thousand people attended the cremation. It was the first Samadhi of any Aryika, which had been performed after completion of full 12 years of Sallekhna Samadhi. 72 years old Aryika
was a very learned scholar and had written about 36 books.
ACHARYA KALPURNA SURISHWARJI
(80 years), breathed last and left for heavenly abode on 16 February 2002 at Kosholav, Jalore. The Acharya commanded great respect from everyone and hundreds of people thronged to have his darshan. He was an apostle of austerity, renouncement, abstinence, self-restraint, self-introspection, purity, humility and spiritualism. He always maintained his serene and compassionate composure and worked relentlessly for public consciousness about spiritualism, devotion, righteousness and liberation. He was born in Loonkar family at village Phalodi near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. He is said to have premonition about his death and had announced publicly at Palitana Chaturmas during 2000 that the next Chaturmas at Phalodi in 2001 will be the last one, which has come true. His body was taken in chariot by his followers to Shankheshwar, Gujarat, his favourite
place of devotion and worship. His body was consecrated there in the presence of
thousands of followers on 18 February 2002.
(74 years) left for his heavenly abode at Indore. He was a great scholar and had served the cause of the religion for half a century.
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