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Ahimsa Times - May 2005 Issue - www.jainsamaj.org

Vol. No.59

May, 2005

TEMPLES

SIDDHAKSHETRA GIRNAR

IS JAIN COMMUNITY LOOSING SIDDHAKSHETRA GIRNAR?
It is astonishing to note that
Siddhakshetra Girnar, the adobe of Bhagawan Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankar, is under the clutches of the non-Jains. Girnar is regarded as a place where lord Neminath undertook diksha and attained Kevala Gnana and Moksha Kalyana. The chieftains of Hinduism have masked the important ancient & archeological traces of Jainism by establishing their claim over the place. The 5th peak of the mountain range belonging to Jain community is being used for installing the idols of Hindu Gods. This has caused a shocking resistance from the Jain community. It is interesting to note that the attempts of many Jain organisations protesting this heinous act have become futile. The Jains organisations like Bharathavarshiya Digambar Jain Mahasabha, Bharatavarshiya Digambar Jain Tirthakshetra Committee, Digambar Jain Maha Samiti, Bantilal Digambar Jain Trust and the organisations of Junagadh have fought against this tresspasing attitude of Hindus. But these attempts have yielded no positive results. It is worth-recollecting to note that Neminath peak was under the state Archeology department and was also declared as the protected monument when Junagadh was a state and also by the Government of Gujarat in the post- independent period. Till now the Bandilal Digambar Jain Karkhana Trust of Junagadh was supervising the place. However the people who invaded this monument a few years ago have declared it as Dattatreya peak and started humiliating the pilgrims unnecessarily. Added to this they started constructing a new structure in 2004 and which was being planned right from the year 1996. The Jain community rose to the occassion and recorded its objection by seeking Justice by the High Court of Gujarat. But some prominent Hindus quelled the stay order issued by the High Court and constructed the new structure and installed the new idol of Dattatreya at the place. Adding to the fire, the foot prints of the great Jain saint Pradyumnakumar and his idol present at the fourth peak was tainted with colour. It is disheartening and painful to know that attempts were made to replace the idols at the 4th and 5th peaks by Hindu specimens. Further Bharatavarshiya Digambara Jaina Tirth Kshetra Committee has approached the Court of Law again.

The Jain organisations have strongly appealed to the Jain community to rise against this act by approaching the Government of Gujarat and also prominent leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in order to put an end to this irrelevant act. - Courtesy: Jain Heritage Centres News Service.

JAINA PRESIDENT WRITES TO GOVT. OF INDIA ON GIRNAR ISSUE
From: Jaina HQ [E-Mail to: jainahq@jaina.org, A copy of the letter written by Mr. Anop Vora, President of JAINA to Shri Jaipal Reddy, The Minister of Cultural Affairs & Information and Broadcasting, India in connection with the prevailing Girnar issue is given below for information of all the viewers

Dear Honorable Shri Reddy Ji:
Subject: Request to enforce law & order and ensure communal harmony by your immediate action of removing unlawful & forced occupation of Jain Shrine at Tonk No. 5, Girnar Hill in Gujarat by religious fundamentalists to ensure communal harmony among Jain and Hindu communities.

We, the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA), a coalition of 63 Jain organizations representing over 100,000 Indian Jains submit this letter of request for your attention on the matter of forced and illegal occupation of an ancient Jain Shrine located in Junagadh District in the State of Gurajat. This is the shrine of the 22nd Jain Tirthankar Lord Neminath and is situated on the Girnar Hill at Tonk No. 5.

This Girnar Hill Shrine is one of the five most important historical tirths for Jains and is being visited and worshiped by thousands of Jain pilgrims every year. It has been so for thousands of years. The Shrine is well known as the Nirvan Bhoomi of Bhagwan Neminath earmarked by Charanpaduka and engraved with Tirthankar Neminath's statue with a sankh as symbol, which distinguishes it from the symbol of other gods (London museum is a reference). This ancient Jain monument is over three thousand years old and has been considered a historical religious and holy site for Jains. The Girnar Hills Jain Shrine site falls under the protected ancient historical and religious monument act under the Gujarat State Government.

Recently, few religious fundamentalists claiming to be Hindus, have unlawfully erected a Statue of a Hindu deity Dattatrey at the same site as that of Lord Neminath, a Jain Thirthankar, and are actively engaged in the construction of a non-Jain temple ignoring our protests (made well in advance) with the state Archeology Department. Numerous communications and advisories (verbal and written) occurred with the Gujarat Government regarding our concern that if permission for chharti repair is given to any non-Jains, illegal occupation will occur.

Historically, twice the chhatri was repaired by Mr. Bandilal Jain Trust in 1902 and again in 1914 accordance with Jain tradition. In 1980 the repair permission was not granted due to the act of 1965 for protection of ancient monuments. However, to our surprise, Gujarat State Architectural Department suddenly gave permission to S.V.M foundation of Junagadh. SVM Foundation has questionable religious ethics regarding respect for non-Hindu faiths. The Jain Organizations around the globe have protested and made the State govt. aware that SVM Foundation intends not only to repair the chhatri but also to erect and install the statue of Dattatrey for temple construction. This could not have been possible without the support and endorsement of some leaders within the Government of Gujarat. It is ironic that the same department responsible for permission is lodging F.I.R on 28TH JULY'04 against S.V.M. Foundation for extra construction; however, we feel that that is only a token gesture and mere window dressing. The Jain community in North America is shocked and saddened that such actions have gone on thus far without the Central Government having intervened with stern action in this matter. While we expect all governments to be sensitive to minority religious rights, we expect that a secular government to be more assertive in protecting the rights of a minority religion.

If this kind of attack on minority community were not checked in time, then the great image of secular and tolerant India, in the land of Mahatma Gandhi would be tarnished around the world. These activities are especially shocking coming from some local Hindu community leaders given the history of violence and destruction of religious sites by other invaders when they were themselves victims of similar actions in the past.

It is well known for centuries that Jains believe in peaceful co-existence and adhere to the sacred principles of 'AHIMSA' and 'LIVE AND LET LIVE'. But no one can accept the loss of their religious freedom by keeping quiet. Jain and Hindu communities share many common traditions and have lived peacefully for centuries. Worships at this site have been done with harmony in accordance to respective traditions, which was never objected in the past by either community. We believe that certain misguided leaders, perhaps endorsed by the State Government, have purposely created rifts between the two communities. It is our belief that if these deeds are not challenged in time, it will have long and serious repercussions, as other sites of Jain tirths may be next targets of such fundamentalist groups. We therefore urge you to treat this matter with utmost urgency and request you to take immediate action to take this site under ASI, which is under your control with a suitable legislation.

We are writing to you because every effort has been made to date to bring this situation to the attention of the Gujarat State Government, to redress this act of injustice and illegal occupation at our holy site. It is our understanding; so far, nothing concrete has been taken by the current State Government to restore our religious site in its original form and to take action against the violators of the law. This kind of attitude of "tacit approval and short sighted politics" can disrupt centuries of communal harmony between Hindus and Jains. This can also spoil the goodwill and the respectable image created for India by NRI communities throughout the world.

Whenever State Governments fail to respond to their constitutional obligation to protect the minority and its fundamental right of religious freedom as granted in the Indian Constitution, then the affected community has no choice but to present their case to the Central Government to seek justice. We therefore request you to maintain the status-quo position (in effect since independence in 1947) by enforcing the law and thereby ensuring religious harmony. The image of Gujarat has been tarnished once by the Godhra tragedy. Let us make sure it does not happen again. We urge you and the Government of Gujarat to act now and stop injustice from happening by not condoning a few loose fanatics who want to drive their agenda to create disharmony among our communities. We look forward to your prompt action and resolution of this matter by your intervention for which we will remain obliged.
Yours truly, Anop R. Vora, President, JAINA, USA

Copies to: Honorable President of India, Honorable Prime minister of India, Honorable Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Convener of UPA Shri Nirmal Bandi, All India Convener, Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain Teerth committee, Mumbai.

FANATICS THREATEN AND INTIMIDATE JAINS AT BADRINATH
Badrinath has been a holy place of pilgrimge for all Jains, it being the place where the first Jain Tirthankar, Rishabh Dev Bhagwan, as an ascetic, performed penance and attained Kewal gyan. In view of its great religious importance, Jain community has been trying to build a temple there for a long time but the local fanatics and diehards are bent upon preventing the Jains to build any temple structure there. Jains are being continuously threatened with dire consequences if any attempt is made to construct a Jain temple, even though the Teerth Committee of Badrinath has accorded its approval and the Civil Magistrate has also informed that the Indian constitution does not stop anyone to follow the religion of his choice and thus legally they can not be stopped from worshipping and adoring their deity. At one stage, when the idol of Bhagwan Rishabh Dev was being brought to Badrinath for installation at a suitable place, it was stopped on the entry point of Badrinath and the opposition was so vehement that the idol had to be returned to Rishikesh. The local administration is always hesitant to interfere fearing any untoward happening. The result is that the temple construction work remains stalled and the devotees visiting Badrinath are at a loss to perform any worship of their Lord.

SAINTS

SADHWI PUSHPAWATI JI HONOURED WITH 'MAHASHRAMANI' TITLE BY ACHARYA SHIV MUNI
At a religious ceremony organised by Shraman Sangh members of Shwetambar Sthanakwasi sect on the occasion of inauguration of "Devendra Dham" in the memory of late Acharya, Shri Devendra Muni at Udaipur, Sadhwi Shri Pushpawati Ji maharaj was honoured with the title of 'Mahashramani' according to the directions received from Acharya, Dr. Shivmuni, head of the Sthanakwasi sect. She is the elder sister of late Acharya Shri Devendra Muni and has devoted her entire ascetic life to austerity, renouncement, spiritual endeavour, self-restraint and self-purification. It is for the first time that a sadhwi belonging to sthanakwasi sect has been honoured with the title of "Mahashramani". On this occasion, few other saints were also honoured with titles like 'pravartak', up-pravartak' etc.

Shri Ramdev Ji discussing current religious and meditation issues with Acharya Mahapragya Ji of Terapanth sect at Jaipur, Rajasthan.

LOK-MANYA ROOP MUNI TO HOLD HIS NEXT CHATURMAS AT BILARA IN RAJASTHAN
Eminent saint of Sthanakwasi Jain sect, Lok-manya Shri Roop Muni "Rajat" conveyed his acceptance to hold the ensuing chaturmas at Bilara town, at a distance of about 60 km. from Jodhpur. Large number of devotees had been urging the saint to hold chaturmas this time at Bilara, which has a large population of Sthanakwasi Jains.

FESTIVALS
Akshay Teej-This Jain's Festival was observed on 11th May, '05. This day is also called Akshay tritiya and falls on Baisakh Shukla 3. It means this occurs on the third day of the bright half of Vaishakh in accordance to Jain Tithi Darpan. This festival is celebrated as (Immortal Third) the day when Tirthankar Rishabha broke his first year-long fast by drinking sugar-cane juice. Bhagwan Rishabh Dev, the First Tirthankar, was the first king of this era and also the first ascetic. We should celebrate this festival like other Jain festivals by greeting each other.

MAHAVIR JAYANTI CELEBRATIONS AT METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON
REPORT BY MR. JAY BHANDARI - Mahavir Jayanti, the 2604th birth ceremony of Lord Mahavir, was celebrated gracefully with great enthusiasm on Saturday, the 23rd April in Metropolitan Washington, DC. The program was organized by the Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington. More than 600 members of Jain community gathered in the celebration held at Paint Branch High School, Burtonsville, MD. The program began with chanting of Navakar Mahamantra, followed by welcome speech by Dr. Manoj Dharamsi, Chairman and a colorful religious and cultural programs performed by children as young as 2 years old. The youth Committee members Nisha Jain, Punam Mutha, conducted the program as MC. Children's program included Jain Stutis, prayer songs, skits on Jain principles, dances and religious drama. Teachers of the Jain Sunday school Veena Dand, Kalpana Hegde, Arvind Mehta directed these programs.

MAHAMASTHAKABHISHEKHA MAHOTSAV, KALASHA DISTRIBUTION AND ACCOMMODATION DETAILS
The details of the Kalasha Distribution and Accommodation of the Gommateshwara Bhagwan Sri Bahubali Swami, Mahamasthakabhishekha Mahotsav, February 2006 are available at www.jainheritagecentres.com. The Phone numbers and the contact details of the Jain Mutt, Shravanabelagola; Mahamasthakabhishekha Mahotsav Committee office and committee members are all provided at this link.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS
SELF-DEVELOPMENT COURSES BEING ORGANISED UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF ACHARYA DR. SHIV MUNI OF STHANAKWASI SECT AT MALERKOTALA
Self-Awakening Camp:- Introduction about religion and meditation. A lecture is delivered specially on vegetarian and nutritious food, ecological balance and how to escape from drug addiction. It is 'Three Days Course for 2 hours a day'. It is oriented for teachers, villagers, industrialists and office employees etc. In this special teaching is given for Prayer, Yoga respiratory system and meditation in which a person more then 15en years can participate of every cast and sect and age. It is a free course.

Self Development Course (For Children):-It is of Three Days for 2 hours a day. In this introduction about meditation, awareness about one's responsibility, good food, how to get rid of addiction and 'Anuvrata's knowledge is given. In this also knowledge Prayer, Surya Namaskar, Pranayam and Meditation is given. In this camp 8 to 14 years children can participate. It is oriented for schools.

Personality Development Course Basic:-It is of '5 Days Course for 2 hrs' a day. Including this Introduction of meditation course,Panchkosh Sudhi, Realizing one's responsibility, becoming a leader, to gain knowledge, total detachment-religion or who am I. From where I have come etc. Usually Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation are practiced. After that course in 2nd step there is one 'Self Indulging Course'.

Atam-Smadhi Course:-Three days course for 2 hrs. Mantra is given by 'Acharya Bhagwant' himself. In this he teaches how to merge in meditation by mantra. The pupils who have done basic course can be entered directly technique of next 'mantra' is taught after every six months by which a normal man can be converted into a true desciple.

Self-Development Course Advance - I:- The people who have done 'Basic Course' can be entered. From the early morning till 5p.m. This class is taken up to three days. In this programme, Meditation, Yoga, Self Service, Yog Nidra, Kaya-Utsarg etc. by different methods are practised by 'Acharya Shri Shiv Muni Ji' himself.'

Self-Development Course Advance - II:- It is 'Four Days Course'. First day it is started at 10a.m. and finished as last day at 4p.m. It is a golden chance to develop overall personality of body soul, meal, breath and ideas by indulging into deep meditation. These camps are arranged into a peaceful area. By this we can overcome the uncurable diseases and realize a spiritual calmness.

Self-Development Course Advance - III:- It is 'Seven days course'. It is started at first day from 10a.m. and over at 4p.m. on last day. It is a good opportunity for sincere desciples to wash their souls through meditation. In this course total silence of body and mind is followed. In this camp meditation through Mantras, Prayers and Chanting 'So-ham' is practized. It is taught that how to live in society, by leading a tension free life. The desciple who steps up to this course becomes a great spiritual desciple and lead a detached life from this world.

To join these courses please contact, "Atam-Dhyan Yog Sadhana Kendra" Shri Adishvar Dham, Ludhiana-Malerkotala Highway, Sanmati Nagar, Po. KupKalan, Distt. Malerkotala, Punjab. Phones: 01675- 273981, 98722-94875, Email: shivacharyaji@yahoo.co.in

2005 GANDHIAN NON-VIOLENCE CONFERENCE SEEKS PRESENTATION AND WORKSHOP PROPOSALS MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Gandhi Institute for Non-violence is currently seeking proposals for presentations at its annual, national Gandhian Non-violence Conference to be held in Memphis, Tenn., October 14-15, 2005. The conference invites students, activists, professors, and others who are interested in the study of nonviolence to submit workshop or presentation proposals related to this year's conference theme: 'Gandhian Nonviolence: Personal Transformation, Political Revolution, and Social Justice." Through this theme, the conference will explore how Gandhian non-violence can bring about a personal transformation, how it can be a tool for political revolution and how it can employed as a method for social change. For further details and submissions via mail contact Dr. Peter Gathje, Chair, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN 38104, E-Mail : Pgathje@cbu.edu or visit www.gandhiinstitute.org or call (901) 452-2824.

The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-violence was founded in 1991 in Memphis, Tenn., by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, and his wife, Sunanda, to promote and teach the philosophy and practice of non-violence. Year-round, the institute offers programs in conflict resolution and non-violence studies. Regularly, founder Arun Gandhi travels around the world to promote his grandfather's nonviolent methods and to promote the work of the Gandhi Institute for Non-violence.

TERAPANTH SECT 4TH INTERNATIONAL PREKSHA MEDITATION CAMP TO BE HELD AT NEW DELHI- Next International Preksha Meditation Camp will be held from 11 November to 18 November 2005 in the auspicious presence of H. H. Acharya Mahapragya. This Eight days residential camp is being organized in New Delhi at 'Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra'. Preksha Meditation is the combination of knowledge from our ancient religious books, modern Science and our experience. Preksha Meditation is the practice of purifying our Emotions and our Conscious (chitta) and realizing our own self. Preksha Meditation has proved a panacea for transmutation of thoughts, development of right emotions, positive thoughts and increasing the over all efficiency of mind and body. Details about the camp and online application forms are available at www.preksha.com

OVER 2000 PARTICIPANTS JOINED TERAPANTH PREKSHA MEDITATION CAMP AT JAIPUR
About 2200 participants joined the Mega Preksha Meditation Camp held in Jaipur under the spiritual presence of Acharya Shri Mahapragya from 27th April to 29th April 2005. The participants coming from various places and belonging to all creed & community got benefitted by this camp. The schedule of the camp was from 6:00 AM to 8:30 AM. Acharyashri himself took the classes on Meditation. Yogasana, pranayama, Anupreksha & relaxation were taught by Muni Kishanlalji & Muni Mahendrakumarji. Information Courtesy: Mr. Arpit Dubey, Terapanth Media Information Centre.

MAHAVEER JAYANTI CELEBRATION AT LONDON

MAHAVEER JAYANTI CELEBRATED AT INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION, LONDON -This annual celebration at the prestigious venue of India House in Aldwych, London, was held on Sunday, the 8th May, 2005. H.E. the High Commissioner, Mr Kamalesh Sharma was the Chief Guest, accompanied by Mrs Sharma who inaugurated the event by lighting the traditional lamp. The event hall at the High Commission was very well filled before the starting time. On arrival, His Excellency was introduced to the Trustees of the Institute of Jainology and was requested to unveil the granite pedestal donated by the Institute for the idol of Bhagavan Mahavir. A plaque recognising the donation of the idol by Shri Sahu Ashok Jain, erstwhile Chairman of the Times Group of India was unveiled by His Excellency. The idol will henceforth be permanently placed on this stand near his office in the High Commission.

Mr Rajatava Bagchi opened the event with a welcome and introduction of the compere, Mrs Nisha Sheth who started the program by calling upon Samaniji Punya Pragya to recite Namaskar Mahamantra and Vitaraga Vandana. Samaniji Pratibha Pragya then delivered a lecture on 'Training in Non-violence and Mahavir", explaining how one can cultivate non-violence through the three guptis: control over mind, speech and body. Mr. Sharma presented certificates to 25 attendees who had completed the Birkbeck - IOJ certification course titled: Jainism: History & Doctrine. Certificates were also handed over to 13 participants of the Basic Prakrit Course which was run jointly with Jain Vishwa Bharati in the summer of 2004. Information Courtesy: Mr. Jay s Mehta jaysmehta@btinternet.com

NEWS FROM TERAPANTH MEDIA INFORMATION CENTER
News Vigyapti from 8 May 2005 to 14 May 2005: Click here: www.terapanthsamaj.com Preksha International is announcing the date of 4th International Preksha Meditation Camp. The camp will be held in the auspicious presence of H. H. Acharya Mahapragya. This Eight days residential camp is being organized in the Capital of India New Delhi at 'Adhyatma Sadhana Kendra'. For Ahimsa Yatra Schedule of H. H. Acharya Mahapragya & Yuvacharya Mahashraman from Jaipur to Delhi Click here: www.terapanthsamaj.com

INTERNATIONAL JAIN CONFERENCE 29TH APRIL - 2ND MAY 2005, NAIROBI, KENYA
The scene is set against a backdrop of a blue tropical sky that often quickly turned into a threatening mass of grey cloud. It was the seasons of the long rains. The stage is the wonderful 'Oshwal Centre' a huge complex of modern halls and conference facilities that majestically stand in the west land suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. Report Courtesy: Ms. Nilpa Shah

SESSIONS AND TOPICS AT THE FORTH-COMING JAINA CONVENTION
The theme of the Jaina convention of 2005 is "Extending Jain Heritage in Western Environment" and the following two topics have been assigned to present under Religious Track. Both the topics of the religious track are very important to Youth and Young adults of North America. Religious Track: 1. "Jain Food, Eating Home & Out" - boiled water, sunset, etc. in North America - Practicality of Ahimsa & Veganism: Definition of Jain food, scientific aspect. How does it help in preventing violence? Guide to reading of food labels. What all is practical to follow in North America? 2. 'Jainism: Ecology and Environment". Theme Track: "Jain Learning & Education: Opportunities in the western world?". Mr. Praveen Shah the moderator of the session requests any information or suggestion/comment on the topics. Pravin K. Shah, JAINA Education Committee, 919-859-4994, E-Mail : pkshah1@attglobal.net

SHRAVANABELAGOLA

ALL INDIA JAIN WOMEN CONFERENCE AT SHRAVANABELAGOLA
FROM 18TH TO 20TH NOVEMBER 2005 - As a prelude to the Mahamasthakabhishekha of Lord Bahubali scheduled to be held at Shravanabelagola in February 2006 the All India Jain Women Conference has been organised at Shravanabelagola on the 18th, 19th and 20th of November 2005. Smt. Shobha Vimuktha Kumar the coordinator of the conference has informed that the preparations for the conference have begun under the able guidance of Swastisri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji of the Shravanabelagola Jain mutt.

During the three day conference seminars, interactive sessions, exhibition and cultural programmes will be organised. The women who have been working towards the up-liftment and propagation of the Jain religion would be felicitated on the occasion. All Jain Women organisations, Sanghs and Mandals are here by requested to register for the conference. The women organisations can register by providing the following details: Name of the organisation, address, phone numbers, year in which it was founded, names of the president and the secretary, total number of members and other details. For further details please contact Smt. Shobha Vimuktha Kumar, Coordinator, National Women Conference, 262/43, Rajagraha, Ashoka Temple Road, 2nd Block Jayanagar, Bangalore - 560011, E-Mail: jainshobha@rediffmail.com, Phone: 080-26565014. Courtesy: Jain Heritage Centres News Service.

EXHIBITION ON ANIMAL CRUELTY AND VEGAN LIFE STYLE INDORE/15TH MAY,2005
It was the occasion of a get-together of Jain community at Nehru Park in Indore and was celebrated as Tiffin Party on the occasion of Mahaveer Jayanti. This program was arranged by Swetamber Jain Mahasangh, Indore. Amongst other things, Vegan Education Center, Indore www.indianvegan.com was invited by the Mahasangh to put up an Exhibition and Film Show on Animal Cruelty and Vegan life style. Manish Jain, Neena Jain and Dinesh Kothari and other vegan members of Vegan Education Center successfully demonstrated Vegan life style with the help of colorful posters on all the animal products. People were shown various movies on cruelties on Animals with the help of computer. The Center also distributed pamphlets for alternatives for all the animal products right from tooth-paste, shaving cream, bath soap, leather, silk, woolens and animal milk. Approximately, 1000 persons visited the exhibition. Some of them showed keen interest in adopting real Ahimsa Life i.e. Vegan Life. Soon, Center would open its formal education center, so that people can visit and learn about compassionate life.

INTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL FOR JAIN STUDIES
To facilitate Jain education within American University System, 'International School for Jain Education", an educational trust is organising its first program which is being attended by students from United States and Canada. The project is initiated by Dr. Sulekh Jain from World Council of Jain Academies, Houston and coordinated in India by Mr. Shugan Jain, New Delhi. The participating students will earn credits towards securing degrees in U. S. and Canadian Universities. The Indian participating institutions include Bhogilal Leharchand Institute of Indology, Delhi, Jain Vidhya Sansthan, Jaipur, Jain Vishwa Bharati, Ladnun, Kundkund Gyanpeeth, Indore, Parshwanath Vidhyapeeth, Varanasi, Jain Academy Educational and Research Centre, Mumbai and Ahimsa Foundation, New Delhi and Jodhpur.

The first batch comprising of seven students (individual profiles given below) and one professor from USA & Canada will arrive in India on 1st June 2005 for eight week intensive course in Jainism. This fast-track, two-tiered program is open to students and professors in American and European universities. Its purpose is to impart advanced grounding / skills in the Jain religion (for an understanding of the many facets of Jainism including its history, culture, politics, philosophy, ethics, and practice). The teaching will include:

  • Interactive classroom lectures using modern teaching aides and tools by eminent Jain scholars.

  • Live interaction by visits to Jain homes, witnessing family ceremonies, temple worship, rituals, festivals, pilgrimage and visual and performing arts.

  • Interactions with Jain monks and nuns.

  • Access to Jain libraries, literature and interaction with prominent Jains.

This program will be conducted each summer, beginning 2005, for a period of two months (June, July). The program is open to all full-time graduate students (enrolled in American or European universities), post-graduate students and to all full-time professors / lecturers employed in an American or European university, regardless of religion, race, or citizenship. On successful completion of the course the World Council of Jain Academies, USA will issue a certificate of competence.

The program and venue details:

Date

Place

1st June to 14th June

C1/47, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi

15th June to 29th June

Jain Vidhya Sansthan, Savai Ram Singh Marg, Jaipur, Rajasthan

30th June to 12th July

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnu, Rajasthan

13th July to 26th July

Kund Kund Gyan Peeth, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

26th July to 31st July

C1/47, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi

INFORMATION ON PARTICIPATING SCHOLARS

Prof. James L. Fredericks

Prof. James L. Fredericks, Ph.D., Los Angles, California
Prof. Fredericks holds doctorate in Theology from the University of Chicago and has been a member of the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University for 14 years. He is a specialist in inter-religious dialogue. Jim is also a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese at San Francisco. Jim's interest in Jain studies comes through his work in Buddhist- Christian Dialogue.

Robin Brinkmann

Robin Brinkmann, Claremont, California
She is a Ph.D. student at the Claremont Graduate University in California in the department of the Philosophy of Religion and Theology, conducting research that will lead to greater communication between Christianity and South Asian religious systems. She has been a teacher of Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavat Purana, and Chaitanya Charitamrta for the past 30 years as affiliates of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. She is interested in studying Jainism as she would eventually like to do an indepth comparative study of Jainism and Vaishnava as a possible dissertation topic.

Sarah Hadmack

Sarah Hadmack, Manoa, Hawaii
She is a second year Graduate Student in Religious Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii, USA. Her special focus is in Jainism: asceticism, diasporic communities, temple worship, relationship to ecology, lay communities, promotion of education of Jainism in America, especially in college religious studies and comparative religion departments.

Tim Helton

Tim Helton, Claremont, California
He is doing Master of Arts in Theological Studies with emphasis on Philosophy of Religion from University of Claremont School of Theology has a interest in Jainism. He has read of Jainism that the ahimsa at the core of Jainism carries with it a radical respect for the autonomy of others. Jainism is relatively unfamiliar to those in the West, it could also be for many, an object of study. By focusing on Jainism as 'another religion" with nonviolence as its center, an instructor mightlead students to consider a non-absolutist approach and to practice that approach on another religion Jainism.

Laura Newberry

Laura Newberry, Claremont, California
She is currently working on her PhD at Claremont Graduate University in the Women's Studies in Religion program at Claramount, California, USA. She holds a BA. in Classical Studies and Spanish from The College of Wooster in Ohio. Her current research interests are primarily focused within the realm of South Asian Religions, particularly Hindu Goddesses and Jainism. She has done extensive research on Homeric expressions of time, women roles in Spanish an'd Classical contexts, and pilgrimages. Jainism? She is particularly drawn to Jainism for its commitment to non-violence (ahemsa) and its devotion to the value of all living things.

Marcel Parent

Marcel Parent, Montreal, Canada
He is presently in the PhD program at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He is an expert in Buddhist and Jain Studies, Indian Philosophy and 20th century French and German philosophy. His interest in Jainism is due to both its place as an influential altern in the South Asian context and also due to its long history of anti-foundationalism and perspectivalism. His own project is to examine these themes in their historical context, but also their applicability in a global setting where he feels Jain thought needs more of a voice.

Christopher Handy

Christopher Handy, Honolulu, Hawaii
He is currently working towards an M.A. degree in Religion at the University of Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. His focus is on religious practices in India; ascetic practices and mysticism. His career goal is to teach Jainism among wold religions at the University level.

BOOKS
JAIN BOOKS AVAILABLE (In English)
1. JAMBU-JYOTI (English) - Muniraja Jambuvijayaji Festschrift - Ed. M.A. Dhaky & J.B. Shah - 2005 250 x 190 mm 436 pp Hardcover Rs. 800
2. CONTRIBUTIONS OF JAINA RELIGION TO INDIAN CULTURE (English) - Valuable Research Work on Jain Contribution to Indian Culture - By Hiralal Jain - 2004 250 x 190 mm 348 pp Hardcover Rs. 800
3. NYAYA & JAINA EPISTEMOLOGY (English) - A Study in Retrospect - A Critical & Comparative Study - By Kokila H. Shah - 2001 220 x 148 mm 230 pp Hardcover Rs. 200
4. ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF JAIN RELIGION in 11 Volumes (English) - A Comprehensive, Elaborate and Systematic Study of Jainism - Ed. by K.L. Chanchreek & M. K. Jain - 2005 225 x 140 3200 pp Hardcover Rs. 7000 for the set
5. JAINA WORSHIP & RITUALS (English) - Ancient & Medieval India - By K. L. Chanchreek & M. K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 251 pp Hardcover Rs. 500
6. JAINA SOCIAL LIFE (English) - Ancient & Medieval India - By K.L. Chanchreek & M. K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 300 pp Hardcover Rs. 600
7. JAINA ECONOMIC LIFE (English) - Ancient & Medieval India - By K.L. Chanchreek & M. K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 187 pp Hardcover Rs. 400
8. JAINA ART & ARCHITECTURE (English) - Western & South India and Jaina Bronze in Museums - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 239 pp Hardcover Rs. 500
9. JAINA ART & ARCHITECTURE (English) -
Northern & Eastern India - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 356 pp Hardcover Rs. 800
10. JAINA PHILOSOPHY in 2 Volumes (English) - Western & South India and Jaina Bronze in Museums - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 584 pp Hardcover Rs. 1200 for the set
11. JAINA RELIGION : HISTORY & TRADITION (English) - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 276 pp Hardcover Rs. 600
12. JAINISM & WESTERN THINKERS (English) - Research Articles on Jainism by Various Western Scholars - Ed. by K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 375 pp Hardcover Rs. 600
13. JAINA AGAMAS (English) - An Introduction to Canonical Literature - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 347 pp Hardcover Rs. 600
14. JAINISM : RSABHADEVA TO MAHAVIRA (English) - By K.L. Chanchreek & M.K. Jain - 2004 225 x 140 416 pp Hardcover Rs. 800
15. LORD MAHAVIRA : LIFE & PHILOSOPHY (English) - By Rajendra Muni - 2003 225 x 140 88 pp Hardcover Rs. 250
16. JAINA YOGA (English) A Survey of the Medieval Shravakacaras - By R. Williams - First published in Oxford : 1963 - - Rs. 290.

All the above books can be obtained from: Hindi Granth Karyalaya, 9, Hirabaug, C.P. Tank, Mumbai 400004. Courtesy: Mr. Manish Modi. E-mail: manish.modi@mtnl.net.in

AWARDS ACHIEVEMENTS

Dr. Narendra Kumar Jain receiving Scientist of the Year Award from PM

DR. NARENDRA KR. JAIN HONOURED WITH SCIENTIST OF THE YEAR AWARD - It is a matter of pride for the Jain community to know that Dr. Narendra Kumar Jain, a senior scientist, working at the Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur has been honoured by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India for excellence in his research contribution for defence preparedness. He has received prestigious 'Scientist of the year award" of Defence Research and Development Organisation at national level from Mr. Manmohan Singh, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India on the 17th May, 2005 in appreciation of his outstanding research on advanced materials for defence applications. Apart from his interests in science and technology, he has been a devoted Jain, strongly believing in modesty, humility and compassion. Ahimsa Foundation conveys its hearty congratulations to him on this occasion.

MAHAVIR MAHATMA AWARDS TO SUSHILA BOHRA

MAHAVIR MAHATMA AWARDS TO MOHAN LAL JAIN AND SUSHILA BOHRA - It is a matter of pride for the Jain community to know that Dr. Narendra Kumar Jain, a senior scientist, working at the Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur has been honoured by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India for excellence in his research contribution for defence preparedness. He has received prestigious 'Scientist of the year award" of Defence Research and Development Organisation at national level from Mr. Manmohan Singh, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India on the 17th May, 2005 in appreciation of his outstanding research on advanced materials for defence applications. The award consists of a citation and an amount of Rs. one lakh. Apart from his interests in science and technology, he has been a devoted Jain, strongly believing in modesty, humility and compassion. Ahimsa Foundation conveys its hearty congratulations to him on this occasion.

MAHAVIR MAHATMA AWARD TO PNR SOCIETY AT BHAVNAGAR
PNR society at Bhavnagar in Gujarat has earned a big name and fame at national level for its humanitarian services in the field of providing elaborate and extensive medical facilities to physically handicapped people, not only from the state but to all coming from different parts of the country. A highly specialized and well-equipped hospital with most advanced surgical facilities is being run by this society at Bhavnagar. Patients suffering from Polio are deriving maximum benefit from the services available at this hospital. For needy patients, who can not afford to pay the cost of treatment, the services are entirely free. The society also makes available the services of specialist surgeons for the Polio surgery camps organised by other institutions, organisations and N. G. O.'s working in the field of Polio eradication.

This time, P. N. R. society has been awarded the Mahavir Mahatma Award instituted by Times of India Foundation, Bharatiya Jain Sangh and a host of Jain educational institutions abroad, numbering about 700, which are represented by 'Federation of Jain Educational Institutions'. This award is being given to individuals and institutions carrying outstanding work in the fields of humanitarian services, education, religion and culture. An impressive ceremony was held at Bhavnagar in the presence of a distinguished gathering to give away this award to P. N. R. society.

DIKSHA

Kumari Lakshmi Kochar, daughter of Shri Moti Lal Ji Kochar, belonging to Dhamtari (Chhatisgarh) accepted Diksha on the 1st May, 2005. She has been inspired by Marudhar Jyoti Gurvarya Shri Maniprabha Ji maharaj. She holds a B.A. degree as well as a diploma in Architecture and a diploma in 'Autocad' computer software. She has studied various religious texts and carried out many austerities and pilgrimages.

MISCELLANEOUS

DR. R. C. JAIN TRUST TO OPEN AN INNOVATIVE SCHOOL IN PUNJAB VILLAGE
Ludhiana, May 18: Dr R C Jain Charitable Trust will open 'Drishti' Dr R C Jain Innovative Public School in Narangwal village. The foundation stone for construction of its first phase 'Shrimati Bhuran Devi Block' will be laid on May 20. Director, Sudesh Alwat informed that, the school will educate 2,500 children and there will be provision for 200 mentally-challenged children also. Separate teachers would be provided for them and they will also be integrated with the society from time to time, so that a healthy society may come up." Alwat, added that the school would work around objectives based on UNESCO's four pillars- 'learning to know', 'learning to do', 'learning to be' and 'learning to live together'. The CBSE-affiliated school, which is to be constructed in six acres, would provide a pollution-free and serene environment to students. Former Director General of Police, Punjab, M S Bhullar and former director NCERT A K Sharma will lay the foundation stone of the school building. The school will start functioning in 2006.

DECISION EXPECTED FROM SUPREME COURT ON MINORITY STATUS
The matter regarding according religious minority status to Jain community in the whole country has been under active consideration by a three-member committee headed by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Hon. R. C. Lahoti. The committee discussed at length the entire issue with the lawers on behalf of Mr. Bal Patil, an eminent social activist on the 28th April, 2005. Justice Lahoti desired to know the grounds on which the religious minority is being demanded by the Jain community. The lawyers explained that according to Sec. 25 of the Indian constitution, the conditions prescribed for declaring any community as minority are being totally fulfilled by the Jain community. Jainism is wholly an independent religion, believing in the theory of Karma and not in any divine God to control our destiny. After obtaining the detailed information, the committee decided to defer the final decision to any day either before or after the summer vacation. It is therefore expected that the final decision will now be announced very soon.

POSTAGE STAMP TO BE ISSUED BY U.S. GOVERNMENT HONOURING DIWALI
Legislation was introduced on Wednesday in the House of Representatives urging the US Postal Service to issue a postage stamp honouring Diwali, India's festival of lights. Introducing the bill, Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, founder of the India Caucus, said an estimated 1.5 million Indian Americans celebrate Diwali, which traditionally takes place for five days during the early fall months of September and October. The holiday is observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Muslims and Buddhists and is considered a time for communal gatherings and spiritual enlightenment.

"Diwali is one of the most important and colourful of the Indian festivals and is celebrated enthusiastically by Indians all over the world," Pallone said. 'The rich culture and spirit of Diwali has survived political, economic and social vicissitudes throughout history, while always carrying the universal symbolism of the triumph of light, goodness, knowledge and truth." Pallone noted that the Diwali stamp has received widespread community support. To date, approximately 115,000 people have signed an online petition to the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Commission in support of the stamp. 'I feel that Diwali is truly a marvellous holiday that deserves recognition," Pallone continued.

"As the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee continues its plans for issuing new stamps, I hope that it will consider issuing a Diwali stamp to honour this culturally significant holiday celebrated in the United States and abroad." The Commission under the US Postal Service currently issues many stamps with themes, including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Eid. Courtesy: - Mr. Sudhir Jain, E-Mail : mrsudhirjain@yahoo.com

NEW JAIN HOSTEL FACILITIES AT MUMBAI ( virar)
SHREE PARSHWANATH JAIN VIDYALAY VARKANA HOSTEL - For the Jain students looking for hostel accommodation a new JAIN hostel is available at Mumbai with all modern facilities including Library campus etc. Interested students may contact Shri Chandmalji Siremalji Hingarh (Committee member). Smt. Kusumben Chunnilal Shri Shrimal Boys Hostel ,Plot no.359, Kusum Vihar, 100 feet Chauda Rasta, Opp. Banjara Hotel, Virar (W), Mumbai , Maharashtra 401 303.Tel: 022 28768211/ 022 28737705. Information courtesy : Mr. Pankaz Jain, E-Mail :ajarotouch@yahoo.com

REGRETTABLE
MCDONALD FINED Rs. 50 CRORE BY US COURT FOR FALSELY OFFERING BEEF
It is reported in the media that McDonalds, a well-known multi-national company, offering a variety of food products through their chain of outlets and restaurants in different countries, has been fined a sum of Rs. 50 crores for offering an item containing beef in a false manner in one of their restaurants in the United States. It is not for the first time that McDonalds has been found cheating its customers. Just a few years back, the finger chips sold by this company as vegetarian items were found to contain non-vegetarian ingredients and the company was punished by the courts. It is certainly not expected of a large multi-national U.S. company to indulge in such false and mis-leading acts and bluff the customers much against their religious sentiments. It only goes to show how little the big companies of Unites States care for the sentiments of their valued customers.

BOOKIE SHOBHAN MEHTA IN POLICE CUSTODY
Mumbai, May 18: A city court on Wednesday remanded alleged cricket match fixer Shobhan Mehta in police custody for four days for further investigations into his role as key member of an international bookie ring. Mehta, who was produced before a local court, was handed over to the crime branch of Mumbai Police for custodial interrogation till Saturday. Police sources say the betting network run by Mehta, also known as Shobhan Kalachowkie, is very extensive and that the investigating Agencies would need time to unearth all aspects of the ring. The police arrested Mehta, 40, late on Tuesday when he came to a city court to seek anticipatory bail that was later rejected. Mehta is charged with cheating, gambling and running illegal telephone exchanges under The Gambling Act, The Indian Telegraph Act (1885), and the Indian Penal Code. During the custodial interrogation, Mumbai Police are likely to question Mehta about his role in the recently concluded India-Pakistan cricket series and whether any cricketers were also involved in match fixing, said police sources. The authorities were unable to arrest Mehta, who is alleged to have been in the match fixing business for over a decade, earlier due to lack of concrete evidence. A manhunt was launched for Mehta earlier this month following information provided by a fellow bookie Nemichand Jain, who was also arrested last month during raids on illegal telephone exchanges in the city.

DEVELOK

Ganiwar Shri Mahimprabh Sagar Ji maharaj, founder of Sambodhi Dham Teerth left for his heavenly abode at the age of 85 years on the 7th May, 2005 at Jodhpur. He was highly respected by the whole Jain community. He had been carrying out severe austerities and penance and for the last three years, he was observing the vow of keeping of silence (maun vrat).

READERS VIEWS
SUBHECT: MISMANAGEMENT AT MAHAVEERJI

I had written the following mail in December 2002, with regards to the mismanagement in Mahaveerji. This was also published in your newsletter and I am sure it was read by the temple board members as well. In the note, I tried to bring out the fact that Mahaveerji is of the most important teerth of Digamber Jains, but is being highly neglected and mismanaged.

Years later, the condition is still worse. It is the same dirty, unhygienic and filthy. Pigs, donkeys, dogs, camels, cows, bulls are excreting all over the place. Shopkeepers throw waste on the main approach road, and the whole place becomes unbearable with flies and bad odour. The music shops and the eating outlets play an awfully loud music making it unbearable for people who are visiting the shrine in search of peace and tranquillity. There are people and temple staff smoking inside the temple campus, who come out fighting if asked to stop. The restaurants are unhygienic and have no standard at all. All animals urinate and excrete at the place people consume food. We approached the temple staff (Temple Managers) and told them about these issues. To a great surprise, they came aggressively and complacently said that this cannot be improved and we may go on complaining like others. They also dared that they do not care about the repercussions of a complaint and nobody can tell them anything. I would like to bring out the fact that though visiting Mahaveerji is so soul-fulfilling, everytime it leaves a painful experience as well. A visit to places like Veerayatan, Shirdi will make it clear that Mahaveerji needs a great improvement. One has to take professional help and assign the responsibility to the younger and more active staff.

I would like to suggest the following;

1. The internal campus and the main approach road are to be thoroughly cleaned up.
2. Provide enough waste bins and cleaning at short intervals.
3. Take professional cleaners help to clean the temple marble and floor.
4. Take tough action against the staff / visitors / workers found smoking in the campus.
5. Take action against shops selling gutka/ cigarettes/ bidi.
6. Take action against the shopkeepers who play loud music.
7. Take action against the restaurants who do not observe hygiene standards.
8. Use organic disinfectants to repel out flies and mosquitoes.
9. Make the place free of all the animals (pigs, dogs, donkeys, mules, camels, monkeys, cows, bulls etc. ).
10. Create awareness in the visitors about the hygiene and cleanliness. Give pamphlets to the visitors to be careful about to throw litter in waste bins. Put up banners / posters / kiosks on station / bus stop/ dharamshalas, and on the roads.
11. Grow more trees in the campus / approach road to make it more shady, and pleasing. Provide sitting benches there.
12. Take the participation of organisation owned by Jains, to sponsor some of the important activities / visuals like kiosks, posters, etc.
13. Create movement and demand for a railway quota for sleeper and AC berths / seats.

Lastly, if this goes on like the way it has been going on, it is absolutely certain that Mahaveerji as a sacred destination to millions of Jains will be lost out of the map, and this precision heritage will be completely forgotten. The people to be blamed will be the temple management for their complacency and inaction. Many thanks. - Sanjeev Patni E-Mail : sanjeevpatni@rediffmail.com

SUBJECT: BAL DIKSHA OR CHILD WELFARE - Dr. Rajeev Jain, Sagar, M. P. E-Mail: jrajeev@yahoo.com
Dear Sir,
I have gone through news BAL DIKSHA OR CHILD WELFARE, A serious issue, in feb issue of Ahimsa Times. Jain community is most tolerant then any other community so mostly the questions are raised when younger generation adopts diksha thus leaving home and adopting religious way of living. This may be true that parents were not fair to child then also is it not right that such child goes to religiously rich atmosphere and learns rituals rather finds way to streets. When biological parents are there who mentally sound no other can decide in matter of their child. How another person from community can claim a child and adopt him and on what basis he can guarantee that he has not got some ulterior motives behind getting a female teen. In other religions like budhhism, a new Dharmguru is installed by recognizing some signs and child is taken away by ministry people. Here neither age is considered nor parents that time big news items published in glorified way how new Dharmguru is found and no child right activist has ever looked and claimed that child to rescued from clutches. They know reaction will be sharp government will intervene but what, Jain are tolerant any body can intervene.

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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- Ahimsa Foundation -
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