June 2009

Page 1


A publication by the Young Jains of America


Page 1

Email: youngminds@yja.org

TABLE OF CONTENTS BRAHMACHARYA AND THE INTENSITY OF SPORTS by Sonia Shah Parents love watching their kids play sports. You have to be there to support them, motivate them and cheer them on. However, with the way parents have been acting lately, I am almost ready to tell them to not bother coming! Parents vouching for their kids have been taken to a whole new level.

Brahmacharya and the Intensity of Sports…page 2 A Quest to Learn Jainism…page 3 Jain Perspectives…page 4 Jain Recipe of the Month…page 6 Passion for cooking…page 7

I coach recreation league basketball for girls in middle school and the behavior in the stands is far from recreational. Parents are screaming at each other and they are yelling at other kids, referees and coaches especially when their kids do not get to play or felt a bad call was given. When did playing basketball for fun turn into a nightmare? The parents get so wrapped up in their intense dislike for other children and any that goes against their own child!s best interest, they forget their own child playing for love of the game. Their anger and passion for the moment causes them to act younger than the girls on the court.

Green Party Ideas…page 7 Shardule!s Educational Corner…page 8 Youth Swadhay…page 10 Regional Updates…page 11 Donate to YJA!...page 14

I want to give them a lesson on Brahmacharya. The fact that they are so upset and worked up will hurt them later in life, not only in a spiritual way, but also for their health and blood pressure. The key is to not be caught up in the intense passion of the moment. Nothing should get you too upset or too happy, and you should have the will power to control your behavior and feelings. It is very important to maintain a level of equanimity in everything we do in life. You should be able to transform yourself from a raging, violent person to a calm and peaceful individual. This is not an easy task, but practicing Brahmacharya will make your life healthier, simpler, and more fulfilling. Everyone should be passionate about the things they love, but this passion should be cultivated in a healthy way, not in ways harmful to both your soul and body. Making this transition into this kind of living could be the best thing you can do for yourself. A Gurudev once said, “Those who practice transmutation [Brahmacharya] awaken many latent talents from within. It becomes second nature to create and express, being in tune with the essence of creative energy.” Thus, once this way of life is established, you will not only notice your capabilities have increased, but you will feel full of energy and ready to take on anything in life.


Page 2

Email: youngminds@yja.org

“A Quest to Learn Jainism” – Mahaveer Youth Group Eighteen months back, we asked ourselves questions, which made us ponder again and again – what is Jainism? Who are the Tirthankars and Agams? What is Karma and why do we need to practice and follow Jainism? The urge to answer these questions gave birth to Mahaveer Youth Group (MYG), under the umbrella of Jain Society of Houston, Houston, TX. MYG was founded to understand and learn Jain principles, to foster and strengthen the Jain fundamentals and to create a forum for sharing Jain virtues and beliefs. Members of the group started attending Pathshala every Sunday and indulged in religious discourse and discussions. They learned how to practice Jainism in day-to-day life and at workplace. At regular intervals, fellow members prepare presentations on topics taught in Pathshala for those who missed the classes. Being in Houston, we got the opportunity to attend classes by Samanijis who impart knowledge on the principles of Jainism and explain the origins of Jain religion as compared to other Vedic religions. Furthermore, we started organizing monthly Samayik wherein we would have interactive discussions related to a wide range of Jain topics. Some of them are: Shant Sudharas lectures (based on 16 Bhavnas/Reflections), Tapa, 4 Kashayas, Jain principles, etc. This activity will soon see a year from its inception. Jainism holds a special importance for bhakti, and true bhakti is the appreciation and adoration of the virtues possessed by the Jins and the expression of passionate desire to achieve these virtues in one's own life. For this very reason, we decided to hold Stavan Bhavna on various occasions such as Mahaveer Jayanti, Samvatsari, and Adhar Abhishek. Many of our members sing Stavans while many play different musical instruments. MYG kicked off with a group of mere 15 people and has been growing since then with more than 50 active members. We hope to continue our quest of learning about Jainism and have a social network of Jain friends. MYG is committed to create a renaissance in the lives of the youth through the invaluable teachings of Jain dharma. Be a true Jain! Contact us at mahaveeryouth@yahoo.com


Page 3

Email: youngminds@yja.org

JAIN PERSPECTIVES The ancient Jain texts often explain the concepts of Anek"ntv"da with the parable of the blind men and an elephant: A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable." The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said "This being is like a drain pipe." For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, "I perceive the shape of the elephant to be like a pillar." And in the case of the one who placed his hand upon its back said, "Indeed, this elephant is like a throne." Now, each of these presented a true aspect when he related what he had gained from experiencing the elephant. None of them had strayed from the true description of the elephant. Yet they fell short of fathoming the true appearance of the elephant. A wise man explains to them they are all correct. The reason they are describing the elephant differently is because each one of them touched a different part. So, actually the elephant has all the features mentioned. This parable illustrates the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems and the truth can be stated in different ways. - www.jainworld.com

QUESTION: WHAT DOES ANEKANTVADA MEAN TO YOU? Vinay S. Shah says: In January of 2009, my younger brother Vishal, 22, was tragically killed and run over by a bus in Newark, NJ. At his funeral, and in the months and weeks that followed, my family heard many new stories of Vishal from his friends, fellow Ambulance squad members and classmates. We soon realized just how many people Vishal influenced in his short life. By being inquisitive and curious, Vishal encouraged others to learn more about their own culture and religion. By doing so, he not only learned about his friends' cultures and backgrounds, but asked questions which required his friends to research their heritage to be able to thoroughly answer Vishal's questions. Vishal volunteered on an ambulance squad in Teaneck, NJ - an area with a significant Jewish population. The influence of some of these members wore onto Vishal, to the point where he would wear a kippah while on duty or while having dinner with fellow ambulance squad members' homes. A number of his friends remarked "He knew more about Judaism than we did, and he inspired us to learn more


Page 4

Email: youngminds@yja.org

about our heritage." Many of his friends were completely confused when they heard "an Indian kid who would talk to you in Hebrew one second, and then switch into pretending to be an Indian computer sales person". Along the way, they began having discussion with Vishal about Jainism. In addition to knowing when every major Jewish holiday was approaching, Vishal knew most of the significant holidays of other religions. He would call or visit friends before Holi, or break fast with his Muslim friends during Ramadan. He knew (and reminded) his Catholic friends of upcoming Saint's birthdays. In Jainism, we're told to respect other beliefs. However, it seems more often than not (to me anyways) that we practice Anekantavada in a more reserved and conservative approach. While we observe others practicing different beliefs, we don't engage ourselves in their traditions or engage ourselves to learn about their practices. In today's world, our actions are also equally important. Vishal not only practiced Jainism and taught Jain beliefs to others; he encouraged others to learn and practice their faiths while maintaining his own beliefs. Ajay Dagli says: To me, Anekantvaad is being able to understand the multiple viewpoints that I can take on a subject, object, or experience and apply the best judgment for all parties. Having an understanding of multiple viewpoints has been a part of my upbringing from the earliest point of childhood. From my time spent with people of all walks of life at a small university that recruits youth from around the world to make their dreams in engineering and management a reality, I was able to gain the perspective of a multicultural, diverse world and understand many walks of life. Out of this experience, I was able to gain valuable friendships from people who want to make a difference from Mexico to Kerala. However, my greatest experience in anekantvaad has been working with Jain youth of today in the Metro Detroit community. As an assistant pathsala teacher for high school students, I have been able to gain an understanding of the viewpoints of all the major issues that lie with students, as well as how to motivate them to become strong leaders in their community. In essence, I feel that as Jains, we can encourage leadership and diversity with the ability to analyze a situation, subject, or experience with multiple viewpoints to apply the best decision.

Payal Kapadia says: Anekantvad is one of the most important and fundamental doctrine of Jainism but to me it means way of living. By terminology it is the notion that truth and reality are perceived differently by everyone, and that no single point of view is the complete truth. But I see it as the art of living and full of challenges to practice because it means conquering your ego and accepting that someone else maybe right from their point of view.


Page 5

Email: youngminds@yja.org

JAI N RECIP E FOR T HE M ONT H MEXICAN KURKURE Our Jain recipe for the month comes from Manoj Jain, M.D. M.P.H., a physician, a writer, and a national leader in healthcare quality improvement. Visit his Web site at http://www.mjain.net/ to purchase this wonderful cookbook! Preparation Time: 30 minutes Ingredients • 10 Ready-made taco shells • Refried beans (recipe below) • 1 # cups shredded lettuce • # cup chopped tomato • # cup chopped cucumber

Cooking Time: 20 minutes For the refried beans • 1 cup red kidney beans (rajma) soaked 4-5 hours • 2 cups chopped tomatoes • # teaspoon chili powder • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seed (jeera) powder • 2 teaspoons sugar • 3 teaspoons oil • Salt to taste

Serves: 4 For Tomato salsa • 3 tomatoes • 1 small capsicum • $ cup chopped coriander leaves • teaspoons green chilies in vinegar • # teaspoon oregano • # teaspoon sugar • # teaspoon salt

For Refried Beans • Combine the beans, tomatoes, and green chilies with some water and pressure cook until the beans are done. Drain. Keep aside the drained water. • Heat the oil and fry the beans mixture, chili powder, cumin seed powder, sugar, oil and salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Mash the beans coarsely. • If the mixture is dry, add a little drained water and mix well. Keep aside. For Tomato Salsa • Put the tomatoes in hot water for about 10 minutes. Remove the skin and chop finely. • Pierce the capsicum with a fork and hold over an open flame until the skin blackens. • Remove from the flame, rub off the burnt skin and chop finely. Heat the oil in a pan. • Add all the ingredients and cook for 3-4 minutes. Keep aside Fill the taco shells with refried beans, shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Before serving top with salsa, sour cream, and grated cheese.


Page 6

Email: youngminds@yja.org

PASSION FOR COOKING by Sonia Ghelani According to Wikipedia, the term %Brahmacharya” directly translates to “dedicated to the divinity of life” and abstaining from one!s sensual desires for food and taste, as well as materialism. While I am well aware that Wikipedia is not the final authority on Jain terminology, it is still a good start. From a Jain perspective, this Mahavrat is about limiting pleasures from all of the five senses and maintaining an equanimous state of mind for the all ups and downs in life. In other words, we must strive to control our intense likes and dislikes (raag and dwesh) towards life!s daily struggles and successes, whether it is in eating, dancing, swimming, doing chores, or any other day-to-day activities. I remember once reading a story about an excellent vegetarian cook who took great pride in the dishes he made. He intensely savored the chopping of vegetables and plants for his meals to the point where he could just smell the aroma and taste the delectable dish as he cooked, and turned extremely upset whenever something was the slightest bit off. The cook maintained this attitude toward his foods up until his last breath. Needless to say, he was later reborn in hell because of his passion and attachment. The point of the story is to realize that even intense liking or disliking for someone, something, or some thought should be avoided. We should each strive to maintain a level of equanimity in everything we do so we can keep away from getting caught up into the “heat of the moment.”


Food – Use organic, locally grown foods to provide to your party-goers. Organic foods contain no GMO!s (Genetically Modified Organisms). Little is known about the long-term effects of eating GMO!s, but there is some concern considering that their existence is NOT natural. Buying locally for a Certified Farmer!s Market not only enhances the local economy, but it also reduces the amount of energy to produce, transport and sell produce. Eco-friendly Party Supplies – Do not buy Styrofoam!! Styrofoam is virtually indestructible. Even though it is made largely of air, it does not biodegrade. A piece of Styrofoam is used once and then lies dormant in a landfill forever. Make sure to use biodegradable plates, cups, napkins and utensils. There are many alternatives you can find such as corn-based plastics. Lights Out – In order to really show a commitment to being Green, one must commit to reduction in consumption in all facets. One way to do that at a party to is to use as little energy as possible. Try hosting your party under candlelight. Not only does it create a fun and intimate experience, but it also reduces your energy consumption. Eliminating all other distractions such as television drives the focus toward human interaction and a much greater party.


Page 7

Email: youngminds@yja.org

SHARDULE!S EDUCATION CORNER by Shardule Shah, YJA Director of Education Topic: Brahmacharya and Celibacy The ideal of celibacy is misinterpreted by Jain youth in America. The reason it is misinterpreted is because there is no definition of celibacy in regard to how it might apply in this country. In my opinion, while growing up, your energy should be focused on your family, friends, academics, interests, hobbies, etc. From birth until sometime in your early twenties is the only time in your life you will be able to develop who you are as a person without the pressure of marriage, family, full-time job, etc. Because of this, your time, money, and mental energy should not be spent chasing men or women. By that, I mean that you should not so focused on going to clubs every weekend looking to hook up with many different boys or girls because in the long run, you're not going to gain anything from it. There is a debate as to whether celibacy includes dating or not. In my opinion, so long as a relationship is supplementing who you are as an individual, then that should be permissible. A relationship should give you more tools to accomplish your own goals and dreams, because you know you have someone who is specifically rooting for you. By supporting each other you will build a strong foundation upon which your relationship can grow. In regard to physical contact, sex before marriage is dangerous even with condoms and other forms of birth control. In addition, STDs such as herpes can still be spread even with condoms. In my opinion, there are many ways to enjoy a relationship and have it benefit your academics, personal goals, and other friendships without having to dive into the complexities of sex. Regardless of your opinion and what you choose to do, you should remember that the ultimate intention of celibacy is not to cut off your fun or prevent you from having a good time. The intention of celibacy is to ensure that you reach your full potential as a human being before you reach an age where many complicating factors may limit that development.

MAY SUTRA Guru Sth채pan채 - Panchindiya Sutra Compiled from texts prepared by Pravin Shah of Cary, NC, and Mukesh Doshi, Darshana Shah, and Pradip Shah of Chicago, IL Hello everyone, this edition!s sutra, Panchindiya Sutra, is reflective of the qualities of a Guru Maharaj (learned one). Panchindiya Sutra was composed by &ch"rya Haribhadra Suri between 470 and 520 AD.


Page 8

Email: youngminds@yja.org

Any religious activity, especially S"m"yika (meditation) and Pratikraman (reflection), is most beneficial when performed in the presence of a Guru Mah"r"j. However, we may not always have a Guru Mah"r"j to instruct us while performing these rituals. This sutra is indicative of the qualities of a Guru Maharaj so that we may mentally establish the presence of one during any period of mediation or reflection. Specifically, 36 attributes are described and by reciting this, we give ourselves motivation to strive to adopt these attributes. Recitation of this sutra along with placing a Muhapatti (handkerchief) in the left hand and extending the right palm towards a scripture as part of Samayik establishes the mental presence of a Guru Maharaj. Of course, this sutra is equally effective when recited outside of Samayika as long as it is done so with concentration and passion.

pancindiya sutra pancindiya-samvarano, taha nava-viha-bambhacera-guttidharo. cauviha-kasäya-mukko, ia atthärasa-gunehim sanjutto... ... 1. panca-mahavvaya-jutto, panca-vihäyära-pälana-samattho. panca-samio tigutto, chattisa-guno guru majjha... ........... ... 2. A Guru possesses control over the five senses, which are touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. This is known as five Indriya Nishedha. He/She observes celibacy by following its nine stipulations: • •

Not looking at a person of the opposite sex with the sense of sensual pleasure Not thinking of the past sensual pleasure of one!s life

Not staying with a person of the opposite sex, the eunuch (third gender person) or the animal

• •

Not talking about a person of the opposite sex with pleasure Not occupying, the seat that was used by a person of the opposite sex for even a short while

• •

Not staying nearby where a couple might be staying Not consuming intoxicants

• •

Always eating less than one!s hunger Not decorating the body


Page 9

Email: youngminds@yja.org

These steps provide proper protection to the vow of celibacy known as the nine Brahmacharya Väda. He/She avoids four defilements of anger, ego, deception and greed. This is known as control over the four Kashäyas. He/She follows five great vows: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and nonpossession. This is known as following the five Mahävratas. He/She observes the five fold spiritual codes of conduct: Right Conviction (Samyak Darshan), Right Knowledge (Samyak Jnän), Right Conduct (Samyak Chäritra), Right Austerities (Samyak Tapa), and Vigor (Virya). This is known as following the five Ächäras. He/She is very alert and careful while walking, speaking, accepting anything, placing or replacing any items, and disposing human waste and other items. This is known as following the five Samitis. He/She constrains the faculties of mind, speech and body. This is known as following the three Guptis. He/She thus possesses 36 qualities.

TELEPHONE CONFERENCE SWAD HYAY SESSION Gurudev Shri Kanji Swami encourages Young Jains to learn true Jain Sidhhant Principles and implement those principles in daily life! In this session, students will be instructor and will conduct swadhyay session. We will conduct this session in En glis h through telephone Conference.

Sat urda y, J une 13, 2009 at 10.00 am EST Telep hon e Con f erenc e Dia l P ro c edu re 1. Call 1- 231-962-8000. You will then hear a recording, which will ask you to dial the Access Code. 2. At that time you dial 591613# 3. The recording will repeat this access code and ask for your confirmation by dialing 4. You dial 1 to confirm. 5. You will then enter the conference. Please announce your name. • • •

Please make sure you join the conference 10 minutes before These are interactive classes, so feel free to ask questions or give your responses when requested by the speaker and make sure to be as brief as possible. Keep the phone on MUTE throughout the class until you want to speak. P lea se, mu te th e phon e by dia lin g * 6. You can M UTE o r UNM UTE you r p hon e by di ali n g *6.


Page 10

Email: youngminds@yja.org

Regional Updates Want to know what’s going on in your region? Here is a brief update from your regional coordinators! Keep a look out for your regional activities and participate in them! If you have any questions, feel free to contact your regional coordinators!

S O UTH R E GI ON Past Events: • May 16: Dinner in Austin at Mandola's. The turnout was good and the food was even better. Congratulations to those who graduated high school and college recently! • The Austin temple was very active in sending kids to serve breakfast to the homeless on Saturday mornings! Future Events: • The temple in Houston has a youth banquet planned with many awards and a look back on the past year. • Additionally, there will be a lake trip, and some dinners planned throughout the summer. Email Paras Shah at paras.shah@yja.org to help plan some of these fun events!


Monthly dinners were held at Finale, Tantric Indian Cuisine, and Sunset Cantinax Mahavir Jayanti celebration with discussion, food, and prayer Social outings with youth in the Boston area Contact Sonia Shah at sonia.shah@yja.org for more information!


Page 11

Email: youngminds@yja.org

You are cordially invited to:

Chicago Pratishta Mahotsav

June 20-29th, 2009 tan Chicago located at:

Jain Society of Metropoli435 North Route 59 Bartlett, IL, 60103

The 10 day celebration will commence on Saturday June 20th, 2009 with the symbolic lighting of divo (lamp) followed by

Ph No.: (630)837-1077


Bhagawan Panch Kalyanak celebrations that will span over a week. There are many things planned for the 10-day event including culture program, musical drama of

‘Chandanbala’, bhakti sangeet, grand

M IDW ES T R E GIO N In mid-March JYFC hosted a day trip to Wisconsin, where they hit the slopes for a quick social outing. In April, the Indian Student association of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign hosted a holi event and it was heavily attended by the Jain Student Association. Currently YJA is working with JSMC to lead a sessions during their Pratishtha Mahotsav Celebration. YJA will be attending a walk through the Quaker Oats facilities with JSMC to learn more about their Jain friendly offerings. Through this we wish to educate them about Jainism and our cause while developing a relationship with Quaker for future Jain events. Contact Kunal Shah at kunal.shah@yja.org.

procession with decorated floats. Lastly, ending with Dwaar opening ceremony.

S O UTH EAS T R E GIO N Past Events: • Dinner at Cafe Istanbul: It was fun and entertaining with dinner and a bellydancing show! Future Events: • Dinner and Movie night in June • Back to school camping trip in August • Contact Sejal Shah at sejal.shah@yja.org for more information!


Page 12

Email: youngminds@yja.org

W ES T R E GI ON Past Events: • The West region held a World Tour Dinner on March 8, 2009. Dinner was held at The Wheel of Life, a 100% Vegetarian and Vegan Thai & Chinese Cuisine in Irvine, CA. Future Events: • Look out for another World Tour Dinner to be held in Los Angeles in June or July. Contact Suraj Devraj suraj.devraj@yja.org for the next date and time.

15th JAINA Convention 2009 Thursday to Sunday July 2-5 2009 Jain Center of Southern California


http://convention.jaina.org Online registration closes June 24, 2009! Don’t forget to visit the YJA booth and participate in the Jain networking events!

M ID -A TLA N TIC R E GIO N The Mid-Atlantic Region will be making a trip to Hershey Park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania on July 19th. More information regarding transportation and time will be available soon. Contact pathik.shah@yja.org for more information!


Page 13

Email: youngminds@yja.org

Donate to YJA today and make a difference in youth lives! Jai Jinendra. My name is Rajiv Vakani and I am the Director of Finance & Fundraising for YJA. This year, YJA continues to be active in bringing Jainism to the forefront for all youth across the country. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about what we are busy doing to make this a successful year. • • • • • •

Regional swadhyays by YJA scholars for youth of all ages and all sanghs so that every Jain youth will have a pathshala they can attend. Jain information Website as well as major upgrades to the yja.org Website so youth can gather information, interact with one another and stay connected. Seasonal social events that are balanced with Jain activities to keep members engaged. Annual YJA Ski Retreat Local events coordinated with our Regional Directors and Representatives, which will provide a forum for Jains to interact with one another and learn Jain values. JAINA convention 2009 and planning for YJA convention 2010.

With the support of donors like you, YJA has grown to be the largest Jain youth organization in the world. It is an honor to be a part of something that supports and inspires countless lives. Please consider supporting our efforts with a donation today. Your contribution will provide critical support in nurturing the youth of our future. Thank you and Jai Jinendra.

YJA DONOR FORM Donor Name: ___________________________________________________________________ Company Name (Optional): Address:


_______________________________ City: ____________ ST: ____ Zip: _______

Daytime Phone:


Evening Phone: (______)_________________

Email Address: __________________________

Please make your check payable to Young Jains of America and mail it to: Young Jains of America Sonia Ghelani 1319 Alto Drive Richardson, TX 75081


Page 14

Email: youngminds@yja.org