Pat h s h a l a : L e s s o n 2 ARAS
Jai Jinendra, The second lesson of the Pathshala series for this year’s Young Minds is a lesson about Jain time cycles or Aras. Here you will learn all about the fascinating topic of how Jains perceive time from the past, present, and leading up to the future. Additionally, we are very excited to announce the YJA Convention 2012! This year we’re going to take the convention to the next level by bringing you the best of the best in the sunny state of Florida!
iJain: Evolution of a
Aras Dear Atma
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We hope you are having a great holiday season, and wish you all a Happy New Year. Sincerely,
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Your YJA Board 2011-2012
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An Introduction to the Time Cycles As Jains, we understand that environments, its inhabitants, and structure are in a state of constant change. Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it is bad. But life moves on. Life starts at a point and ends at a point without informing us of when it will occur. These time cycles provide us insight to the roots for the reason of our religious austerities. Why do we recite the Navkar Mantra? Why do we observe fasts during difficult times or religious holidays? What is the relation to karmic influxes? It is to help us focus on the soul that lasts infinitely, and that everything else in the world evolves over time. Changes occur and the inhabitants of the world evolve with the change. Karma will play its role as needed in all periods. While it may seem difficult, observing the five main principles of Jainism, Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Acharya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy), Aparigrah (nonattachment) allows a person to live in harmony with life and its daily karmic influences. Suppose you know a friend that you have trusted for a long time, but suddenly betrays your trust. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re upset, and decide to either physically or emotionally harm them. Why? They inflicted pain upon you. But at the same time, they have gained a negative karma, while you have paid for a past negative karma. Why keep this cycle in force when in a matter of days or weeks the pain you felt from the friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s betrayal will subside? What did they gain by violating the principle of Satya? A temporary fulfillment of happiness, as well as a lifetime of soiled reputation and a negative karmic stain on their soul that
they must later pay for. A person who holds wealth by stealing from others does not understand the discipline to create what he stole (money, food, etc.). There could come a day when there is nothing left to take. Will all the happiness they obtained through their bad deeds they obtained in this one life be worth the suffering over multiple lifetimes? No it will not. The cycle of Utsarpini and Avsarpini will create good times and bad times. It is our responsibility to do what we can to make the best choices that produce good karmic results. If there is something we can learn, it is that it is not important to just say the Navkar Mantra or observe fasts, but rather to understand what they are teaching us and what they help us focus on. These time cycles test our discipline to stick to our core beliefs. One day, the words of certain prayers, how we celebrate religious festivals, or certain practices may change. Changes will occur, but the soul lasts for an eternity. The core values of Jainism are what help us reach true happiness and enlightenment. Jain principles and core values will always help us live harmoniously among others.
By: Rushabh Shah Rogers, Arkansas
Traditional Agams state that Jains can have pets which are herbivore in nature and those which can be domesticated (ex: cattle, goats, horses, etc.). Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more common household pets, cats and dogs, are carnivores by nature. Feeding them a nonvegetarian diet can result in attaining paap equivalent to eating meat yourself. It is also believed that feeding these same pets a vegetarian diet goes against their nature and can affect their well-being, hence, another way to obtain paap.
Can Jains have pets in their house?
It is also believed that the company of carnivores and animals who hunt their food can generate violent thoughts within yourself.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do Jains believe in
evolution, or creation?â&#x20AC;?
Jains believe in neither. Our Thirtankaras did not create any living being, nor any part of the world we live in. Jains believe in the cycle of life and death, thus our state of being is a result of our accumulated karma from previous lives. The universe is continuously changing. The universe has no beginning or end, it runs according to the laws of nature. The 6 substances in nature, (soul, matter, time, space, motion and rest) are eternal and always undergoing change. Think of it this way: similar to the Law of Conservation of energy, where energy is neither created nor destroyed. Energy is always conserved, but can change forms. Similarly, the substances in our Jain universe are eternal and continuously changing.
According to Jainism, time is eternal—it has no beginning and no end. The Kālacakra, the cosmic wheel of time, rotates ceaselessly. We can compare the time cycle to a wall clock with 12 parts, except the parts are not equally divided as in the case of a clock. The wheel of time is divided into two half-rotations: Utsarpiṇī, or ascending time cycle, i.e 612 o’clock and Avasarpiṇī, the descending time cycle, i.e. 12-6 o’clock, occurring continuously one after another. Utsarpiṇī is a period of progressive prosperity and happiness where the time spans and age are at an increasing scale, while Avsarpiṇī is a period of increasing sorrow and immorality with a decline in time spans of the epochs. Each of these half time cycles, consisting of innumerable periods of time, are further sub-divided into six Aras, or epochs, of unequal periods. Currently, the time cycle is in Avasarpiṇī with the following aras (refer to the table). The order of the Aras is reversed in the Utsarpiṇī starting with Dushma-Dushma first. We are currently in DushmaKaal.
Name of the Ara
Degree of happiness
Duration of Ara
400 trillion *sagaropamas
Average Height of
Utmost happiness and no sorrow
Moderate happiness Two Palyopama and no sorrow 300 trillion sagaropamas Four Miles Tall Years
Happiness with little One Palyopama sorrow 200 trillion sagaropamas Two Miles Tall Years
Sorrow with little happiness
100 trillion sagaropamas (less 42,000 years) 1500 Meters
705.6 Quintillion Years
130 Years Maximum
Extreme sorrow and misery 21,000 Years
Six Miles Tall
Three **Palyopama Years
*Sagaropama—10 crores of crores of Palyopama **Palyopama—countless number of years
References from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
It is scientifically proven that average age and average height of human beings is decreasing with time. We can have a detailed look at these epochs and characteristics of those times. 1. Sukham Sukham Kal - This is a time of absolute happiness. During this phase the people are very tall and live for a very long period of time. Children are born as the twins, a boy and a girl. All the needs and desires of the people are fulfilled by ten different kinds of Kalpavriksha (wish-giving trees). These trees provide places to live, clothes, pots and pans, good food, fruits, sweets, harmonious music, jewelry, beautiful flowers, radiant lamps, and a bright light at night. There is no killing, crime, or vice. 2. Sukham Kal - This is the phase of happiness, but it is not absolute. The wish-giving trees still continue to provide for the peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs, but the people are not as tall and do not live as long. 3. Sukham Dukham Kal - This is a phase consisting of more happiness than misery. During this period the kalpavrikshas do not consistently provide what is desired. Towards the end of this period in the current time cycle Rushabhdev became the first Tirthankar. He realized that things were going to get worse. So, he taught the people useful arts including, sewing, farming, and cooking which will enable them to depend upon themselves. He introduced a political system and became the first king. This era came to an end three years and eight months after the nirvana of Rushabhdev. The first Chakravarti Bharat, Bahubali well known for his strength, and Brahmi who devised eighteen different alphabets were Rushabhdevaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s children. 4. Dukham Sukham Kal - This is a phase of more misery, sorrow, and suffering than happiness. The other twenty-three Tirthankaras and eleven Chakravarties were born during this era which came to an end three years and eight months after Lord Mahavir's nirvan. 5. Dukham Kal - This ara is currently prevailing. It is an ara of unhappiness which began a little over 2,500 years ago and will last for a total of 21,000 years. No one born during this period will gain salvation in their present life, because no one will follow true religion. It is said that by the end of this ara, the Jain religion will be lost (only temporarily, to be revied in next half cycle by future Tirthankars again). 6. Dukham Dukham Kal - This is a time of absolute misery and unhappiness. During this time, people will experience nothing but suffering. There will be no trace of religious activities. The life spans of people will be very short, exceeding no more than twenty years. Most people will be non-vegetarian and the social structure will be destroyed. The weather will become extreme, the days will be very hot, and the nights will be very cold. At the end of the current ara, a period of Utsarpini will start and the time wheel will take an upward swing. Miseries will gradually diminish and happiness will increase to absolute happiness. These cycles will go on forever.
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup Mung dal
4 ½ to 5 cups Water
1 tsp cumin/coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 package Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles
1 can Hunt’s Manwich Bold sloppy joe sauce
1 medium-sized onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 green pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 can diced tomatoes in sauce
2 tsp canola or sesame oil
Hot sauce to taste
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1 medium chopped tomato
Chop vegetables into small pieces and put on the size.
1/2 cup chopped arugala or kale or mustard greens
Use either a big, deep saucepan or a pot. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When sizzling, brown veggie crumbles for about five minutes.
Coriander (cilantro) for garnish
Add vegetables and Manwich sauce. Stir occasionally, keeping medium to high heat.
Add quinoa and water to mung dal so there is a total of 4 ½ cups of water
After about 15-20 minutes, or when the consistency of the mix is beginning to look less liquid, add the tomatoes.
Bring to boil on stove and then lower heat, stir several times, until both grains plump up. Keep heat on low while you add the rest of the ingredients and add water as needed so the mixture doesn’t stick.
Continue to stir occasionally until onions are clear, and most of the water has boiled off to achieve a chunky texture. Depending on your pan, this will be another 20-30 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste if you like your chili a little spicy. Enjoy!
Instructions Measure and rinse mung dal, add 1 cup water and discard rinse water
In a small pot or large spoon that you can put on the stove, heat oil, then add mustard seeds. After 20 seconds or so, add whole cumin seeds. After the mustard seeds pop but before the cumin seeds burn, add them to the pot with the grains
Add cumin/coriander powder, garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and asafetida to main pot Add tomato and greens, add more salt to taste if needed
By: Hetali Lodoya
Top with coriander (cilantro) and eat with Soy Yogurt Kadhi
ANAND SHRAVAK There once lived a king named Jitshatru in the city of Vanijya. There also lived a rich householder named Anand in the same city. Anand was a billionaire. He was so rich that he had 4 million gold coins, an equal amount of cash, had invested an equal amount in trade, in ornaments, and other assets. He also owned 40,000 cows. He was highly respected by the king, as well as, the people of the town. One day, Lord Mahavir visited this town and gave a sermon. After hearing the sermon of Lord Mahavir, Anand decided to accept the twelve vows of a householder. After following those vows for fourteen years Anand decided to renounce worldly affairs. So he called his children and transferred all his business and family responsibilities to them and told them not to stop him in his spiritual pursuit. He was going to spend the rest of his life in penance and meditation. 12
After some time, due to performance of austerities, pure mental condition and resulting of purity of his soul, he attained Avadhijnan (Limited Divine Knowledge). It just so happened that Lord Mahavir and his disciples were in town. One day, while Gautamswami went to collect alms (food), he overheard people talking about Anand's poor health, and that Anand had attained Avadhijnan. So Gautamswami decided to visit Anand. When Gautamswami arrived Anand offered his salutation lying in bed. He told Gautamswami about his Avadhijnan and that he could see up to the twelfth Devaloka (heaven or celestial abode). Gautamswami told Anand that although such knowledge was possible for a householder to attain, it would not be possible to see that far. He told Anand that he should do prayshchit (repentance) for telling a lie. Anand was puzzled because he was telling the truth. He did not want to disobey his spiritual teacher, but at the same time he thought it was not fair to repent for telling the truth. So he respectfully asked Gautamswami, "Guruji, is it necessary to repent even when someone is telling the truth?" Gautamswami said, "No." Gautamswami still did not believe Anand, so he went back to Lord Mahavir to get some clarification. Gautamswami told Lord Mahavir about his conversation with Anand. Mahavirswami said, "Gautam, Anand is right. He has attained such Avadhijnan that he can see that far. How could a knowledgeable person like you make such a mistake? You are the one who should ask for his forgiveness." Gautamswami realized his mistake and immediately went to Anand to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Anand was very happy that Lord Mahavir took the side of truth, and not that of his first disciple, Gautamswami. He was also happy that even a great monk like Gautamswami, who had very high accomplishments, came back to ask for forgiveness. He felt very strongly about his religion and the monks who follow it. Anand fasted until death and was reborn as a heavenly angel in Saudharma Devaloka (a heavenly region). After the completion of that heavenly life, he would be reborn as a human in Mahavideh and would attain liberation from there. The essence of human life is to practice one or more of the twelve vows in daily life. This story tells us how householders (shravaks ) should have faith in truth, religion correct the mistakes of their teachers humbly. It also shows how simple, humble, and a true follower of Lord Mahavir Gautamswami was. When Lord Mahavir pointed out his mistake, Gautamswami went to Anand without any arguments to ask for forgiveness, even though he was the first disciple of Mahavirswami. It also shows how impartial, Lord Mahavir was because, even though it was the mistake of his first disciple, he did not cover it up. On the contrary, he took the side of truth and explained to Gautamswami his mistake. http://www.jainworld.com/education/stories2.asp
Neil Shah 39731 Forbes Dr. Sterling Heights, MI, 48310