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Fall 2012

Young MMinindds s Young


J

ai Jinendra! Welcome to another exciting year with the Young Jains of America. With a new board in place, and activities already taking place across the nation, students and graduates of Jainism are working hard to live the Jain Way of Life. My name is Malhar Teli, and I will be serving as the Director of Publications for the 2012-2013 year. As part of my responsibilities, I will be publishing the Young Minds magazine each quarter, focusing on a specific subject. For the Fall issue, I chose to focus on the wonderful subject of education, as I have a feeling it would appeal to a number of our readers.

One of our goals during the upcoming year is to keep students interested and engaged with our annual activities, particularly our regional retreats. With this in mind, I hope you will all consider contacting your Regional Coordinator and finding out more information about local activities such regional dinners and community service events in your area! For this issue, we have a group of writers whose experiences and faith have defined the way they live. Hopefully, you will have similar experiences and that you wouldn’t mind sharing in the next issue! Sincerely, Malhar Teli

Welcome to YJA 2012-2013!


Contents 1. Meet the Board

Pg . 1

2. Meet the Regional Coordinators

Pg . 5

3. Practicing Jainism Pg . 8 By Tana Gandhi 4. Jainism is My Way of Life Pg . 9 By Mika Jain 5. Why Some People have a Knack for KnowledgePg . 10 By Priyal Gandhi 6. Spirtuality in Jainism Pg. 11 By Samani Chaitanya Prajna 7. Upcoming Events Pg. 14 8. National Dinner Recap

Pg. 16


Young Minds - 1

M

eet the Board!

Jai Jinendra! My name is Sejal Dhruva and I am excited to be one of the CoChairs for the YJA Executive Board this year! This is my second year on the YJA Board and I know this will be the best year yet.

Sejal Dhruva Co-Chair

A little about me: while I was born in Wisconsin, I was raised in California and am a California girl through and through. I graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelors in Behavioral Psychology and Political Science. I’m currently a full time contracts negotiator at salesforce. com, inc. located in San Francisco, CA. When I’m not working, I’m at the gym, out with friends, doing yoga, obsessively cheering for the San Francisco 49ers or San Jose Sharks or singing whatever song is stuck in my head. My family and my friends are everything to me. I believe that laughter is the best part of life so I challenge you to make me laugh more than I can make you laugh! Get to know me! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter (@SejalDhruva) or e-mail me at sejal.dhruva@yja.org or me and my co-chair at chairs@yja.org. Ideas and suggestions are always welcome – let’s make this 2012-2013 year one of the best one’s yet!

Jai Jinendra! My name is Sheenika Shah and I am one of this year’s Co-Chairs for the YJA Executive Board! I am extremely excited to be leading a group of amazing, dedicated and awesome individuals this year and we have some exciting things in the pipeline for you! A little bit about me: I earned my undergraduate degree in International Relations and Business Administration from the University of San Diego and graduated law school from California Western School of Law. As a non-practicing attorney, I have found my niche in legal marketing as the Business Development Website Coordinator for a national law firm combining my love of law, technology and marketing. In my free time, I love to try new vegan restaurants, travel to visit friends, dance and explore all apps and websites related to social media! Feel free to reach out to me with your ideas, suggestions or questions! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sheenikashah) or e-mail me at sheenika.shah@yja.org or me and my co-chair at chairs@yja.org. Together let’s make this 2012-2013 year the best one yet!

Sheenika Shah

Co-Chair


Young Minds - 2 Hi YJAers! My name is Salonee and I am your Director of Project Development (PD) for the 2012-2013 board! I absolutely love the YJA organization, I have made some of the best friends I have through this amazing group of people. I am currently a Teach for America teacher, teaching technology in a small town called Durant, Mississippi. Yes, I am pretty sure I am in the only Jain in Mississippi.... My job this year as your Director of PD will be to work with your regional coordinators to create some awesome regional opportunities to get engaged with the YJA organization! We all know everyone has non-convention year withdrawals :) I love extreme action adventure sports, traveling, meeting need people, dancing, and chocolate. If there are any questions you have for me, or if you simply just want to chat about my exciting life Director of Project Development in rural Mississippi, shoot me an email at salonee.shah@yja.org :)

Salonee Shah

Jai Jinendra! My name is Krupa Shah and I am your Director of Events for 2012-2013. This is my first year on the board and I’m very excited and eager to bring forth my ideas and helping to put together some great national events for the YJA community!

Krupa Shah Director of Events

A little about me: I was born and raised in New York and graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I currently work at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center as a Conferences and Communications Manager. I love food and trying all kinds of different cuisines, as well as all things chocolate - I have the biggest sweet tooth ever! I am also a huge sports fan and love watching games and cheering on my home teams - Go Knicks, Giants and Yankees! I love to have a good time no matter who I’m with or where I am and am always laughing because as they say, “laughter is the best medicine” :) Feel free to reach out to me with ideas, suggestions or even to say a quick hello! You can find me on facebook or email me at krupa.shah@yja.org. I look forward to hearing from you and joining our efforts in helping to make all our events this year as successful as possible! :)


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Kuleen Shah Director of Finance

My name is Kuleen Shah and I am 25 years old. I live in Tampa, FL and graduated from Keiser University in Tampa. I got my degree in Business Administration as well as Finance. My hobbies are DJing, traveling with family and friends, watching professional sports (Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Miami Heat and Orlando Magic; Tampa Bay Lightning; and soccer)! I love to be involved with different organizations and plan events. I was involved with Fundraising during the Young Jains of America 2012 Convention here in Tampa and ever since then, I wanted to continue to be a part of YJA. I really look forward to meeting new friends and also working hard to make YJA reach a different level. Please feel free to contact me at kuleen.shah@ yja.org if you have any questions!

Jai Jinendra! My name is Sagar Khona and I’ll be serving as this year’s Director of Fundraising. I’m currently an undergraduate student at the Quinnipiac University in the School of Health Science studying Athletic Training and Physical Therapy. I was born in Connecticut, but have been in New York since 2004. When I’m not in the lab, I love to run and hang out with friends (pretty much anything outdoors). The entire board is already buzzing about some awesome events and projects we’ll be organizing for the year, including the upcoming retreats in 2012-2013! If you have any suggestions or want to get involved in fundraising, feel free to contact me at fundraising@yja.org.

Sagar Khona Director of Fundraising

Jai Jinendra! Malhar Teli, your Director of Publications, is on the case! I am a student of Northeastern University, studying Marketing. I am also a rather active community member of the Jain community. I also specialize in video, and image editing, and was a prominent member a non-profit, youth-run organization called Interfaith Youth Action, now known as Youth LEAD. I also love to view movies and listen to music and read fun novels like Ulysses and Moby Dick.

Malhar Teli

Director of Publications

I have also given two lectures on Jainism in popular culture, focusing on media such as film and video games. Interested in submitting an Article? Send it my way! malhar.teli@yja.org


Young Minds - 4 Jai Jinendra folks! My name is Arpit Mehta and I am the Director of Information Technology this year. I currently live in Miami, FL and my hometown is Bhilwara, Rajasthan (India). I did my Masters in Bioinformatics from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) and I’m currently working as a Bioinformatics Scientist at the Miller School of Medicine at University of Miami.

Arpit Mehta Director of Information Technology

I am an adventure lover, and I’ve done all kind of adrenaline-type activities including sky diving, bungee jumping, desert dirt biking, and roller-coasters! I have a keen interest in reading Jain text and connecting it with scientific logic. Being in this position i would like to provide as much help and support to the youth interested in Jainism.I look forward to hear from you any questions, comments or ideas you have about Jainism and its tenets. I’ll do my best to address them. Feel free to contact me at arpit.mehta@yja.org.

Jai Jinendra! I’m Priyal Gandhi, your 2012-2013 Director of Education. I absolutely love YJA and am so honored to be a part of it this year! I am currently a high school senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in northern Virginia - but in my life, I’ve also lived in Kansas and India. I am a total yearbook nerd and love my position as editor-in-chief, especially because I get to go to fun conventions around the country. I am also somewhat of an amateur artist, music (and musical) lover, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream fanatic, and always ready to dance - anything from garba to Persian style! At the temple, I’ve graduated from the JAINA pathshala curriculum and now help teach 5-7 year olds. Learning about how to make Jainism applicable in our daily lives is important to me - as is community service. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering from assisting at nursing homes to teaching slum children English in India, and I can’t wait to give back to my community even more with the great projects YJA will plan! Get to know me - I want to hear about your interests and ideas or any questions you have about Jainism. Feel free to email me at priyal.gandhi@yja.org. Hope to hear from you soon!

Priyal Gandhi

Director of Education

Jai Jinendra! My name is Avni Maru and I’m excited to be the Director of Public Relations for this upcoming year. I had an absolute blast at this past YJA 2012 convention and am looking forward to working with everyone to make this an awesome year! I have some great ideas to help keep our YJA community well connected, but I’d love to hear from all of you too!

Avni Maru

Director of Public Relations

I was born in India but grew up in Owensboro, Kentucky. I am currently working as a general dentist in Cincinnati, OH. When I’m not out saving the world one tooth at a time, you can find me dancing to Bollywood/raas/ bhangra/anything with a good beat. I also enjoy listening to music, baking & cooking, playing tennis (yes, Andy Roddick’s retirement was emotional), singing loudly in the car and laughing. If you have any questions, ideas/suggestions or want to say hi, feel free to contact me at avni.maru@yja.org or find me on Facebook.


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Meet the Regional

Coordinators!

Jai Jinendra! My name is Pankti Doshi and I am your West Regional Coordinator for the 2012-2013 year. I am super excited to serve on this year’s YJA Executive Board, and I can’t wait to meet all of you through the events that we have planned in the West Coast. One of my main goals is to increase the strength and unity of the West, and build a strong community. In doing so, I am really looking forward to host many fun-filled events along with establishing strong relationships that last a lifetime.

Pankti Doshi

West Regional Coordinator

A little bit more about me: I was born and raised in Nor-Cal, specifically San Jose, CA. I am currently a 20-year-old undergraduate junior studying at Santa Clara University pursuing a double major in Bioengineering and Mathematics (Feeling the brownness in me already?). A few of my biggest passions include: volunteering or providing service to those in need, dancing, swimming, doing Henna on people, learning new languages, and how can I forget, singing. Contact me through Facebook, or email at pankti.doshi@yja.org. I am more than excited to get to know each one of you and can’t wait to meet you all. YJA 2012-2013, here we come!

Jai Jinendra! My name is Trishla Parakh and I am your South Regional Coordinator for 2012-2013. I am your average southern belle from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am a big believer of “southern hospitality” and will try my personal best to portray that through the events I plan for my region. Additionally, I consider it an absolute honor and privilege to be a part of the YJA Executive Board this year, and to work with an incredibly talented group of people. I am currently a junior at Louisiana State University studying Petroleum Engineering. My passion in life is to travel the world. I love going on escapades whether it is in a new locale or one I’ve already visited. I can even have an adventure of my own while I wait for a connecting flight at an airport. I love discover- South Regional Coordinator ing new places and always bring a souvenir back home with me to remind me of my exploits. I will incorporate this passion into planning events for the South Region and hopefully my fellow Jains will be able to experience some quests of their own. I can’t wait to meet new people this year! If you have any questions or would just like to get involved Facebook me or email me at trishla.parakh@yja.org.

Trishla Parakh


Young Minds - 6 Jai Jinendra! My name is Paras Vora, and I am your 2012-2013 Midwest Regional Coordinator. I have some great ideas I’d like to implement in order to connect all young Jains in the Midwest region, and am looking forward to meeting you all at the events I’ll be holding. A little bit about me: I’m from Kentucky, and am currently a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. When I’m not busy, I love playing tennis, listening to new music, watching TV, reading, and hanging out with family/friends.

Paras Vora

Midwest Regional Coordinator

If you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or just want to talk, email me at paras.vora@yja.org. You can also find me through Facebook and on Twitter (@paravorheim).

Jai Jinendra! My name is Pooja Nagda and I am thrilled to be the 2012-2013 Northeast Regional Coordinator. I was born and brought up in the suburbs of Boston. I am currently working at Pfizer as a Process Scientist. I love photography, architecture, traveling, the outdoors, dancing, listening to different genres of music and doing charity work. My favorite shows include Suits and Cake Boss. I would love to go skydiving, ride in a hot-air balloon, go scuba diving, parasailing and bunjee jumping. I am looking forward to organizing new events for the year of 20122013, meeting everyone and hearing your ideas. If you’d like to incorporate new ideas into this year’s events, please feel free to contact me at pooja.nagda@yja.org.

Pooja Nagda Northeast Regional Coordinator

Jai Jinendra! My name is Prerak Adhuria, and I am your Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for the upcoming year! I am from Philadelphia (yes, I have the Philly accent) and am currently finishing my prerequisites for pharmacy school this year from Penn State. I absolutely love Philly sports and also watching and playing basically any sport (seriously anything).

Prerak Adhuria Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer for YJA through retreats and conventions. Meeting new youth and connecting with my peers has been the best experience I have attained. I hope to create a better experience for others, as well as become an active part of youth groups across the Mid-Atlantic region! If you have any questions, suggestions (very open to ideas!), or just would like to get to know me email me at prerak.adhuria@yja.org!


Young Minds - 7

Jai Jinendra! My name is Akash Shah, and I will be your Southeast Regional Coordinator for the upcoming year! I’m currently a freshman at the University of North Carolina double majoring in Public Health and Global Studies. I was born in Connecticut, but have been living in the North Carolina for the past seven years.

Akash Shah Southeast Regional Coordinator

I love watching sports, especially UNC, UConn, and Boston sports teams. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, listening to music, and spending time with my family. I also absolutely love food. I can’t wait to get to know all of ya’ll this upcoming year. Feel free to find me on facebook, on twitter (@akeeeshi), or email me at akash.shah@yja.org. Give me a holler if you want to talk or hang out. Let’s make this year a memorable one!


Young Minds - 8

Practicing Jainism

One of the Healthiest things you can do for yourselves

In April of 2012, the JCSC was challenged by a Wellness Committee to lower total BMI. If the entire JCSC community lowers their collective BMI, they will receive donations by the Sarva Mangal Family Trust. I feel very lucky to be a part of this cause and would like to share 3 striking similarities between Jainism and Wellness based on the hundreds of articles we read: (1) Both put a high significance in nutrition and eating habits (2) Both place importance in physical activity and (3) Both find stress management to be a crucial factor for well-being.

By Tana Gandhi

Jainism teaches us that we shouldn’t eat after sunset. It says that in the dark, we might be eating food that’s covered with microorganisms. In Health & Wellness, we shouldn’t eat after sunset because our bodies need that time to metabolize the food and rest. Jainism suggests that drinking milk and other dairy products aren’t encouraged because of the violence that’s manifested in attaining them. H&W state that consuming dairy products isn’t encouraged because of the hormones that are injected to produce it faster. Additionally, H&W claim that a shift to eating more plant-based diets is known to significantly decrease the risk of degenerative disease that are caused by eating meat and dairy products. Similarly, Jain philosophy stresses the importance of doing Ambil and other types of fasting to practice self-control. H&W also encourages self-control in the form of will power and eating in moderation. What about physical activity? Although Jain philosophy does not mention physical activity as much as H&W, it does state that having control of your body through yoga practices leads to self-awareness—a critical factor in shedding one’s karma. In H&W, doing yoga (and other physical activities) regularly and consistently help strengthen core muscles so that our bodies are less susceptible to injuries as we age. H&W studies prove that lowering stress levels decreases blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases. They suggest doing yoga and meditation for stress management. Jainism encourages doing Samayik, Pratikraman, and meditation to put the mind, body, and soul in harmony. This practice also helps with concentration and increasing one’s consciousness—which I’d say is pretty stress relieving, wouldn’t you? See more at www.jcscwellness.org

6.5 Important Features of Jain Food – JainUniversity.org Source: http://www.jainuniversity.org/PDFs/eng-lib/6.5.pdf

Nighttime Fasting May Foster Weight Loss – Melissa Healy, LA Times Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/18/science/la-sci-fasting-diet-20120518

Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It At All Costs – Dr. Hyman Source: http://drhyman.com/blog/conditions/dairy-6-reasons-you-should-avoid-it-at-all-costs/

Forks Over Knives – Prevent and Reverse Disease with a Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet Source: http://www.forksoverknives.com/

Eating in Moderation to Lose Weight – Live Strong Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/72738-eating-moderation-lose-weight/


Jainism is My Way of Life

Young Minds - 9

I have grown up believing in kindness, non-violence, respect, and peace for all living beings. I have been to the Jain Society of Greater Atlanta, the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago, and YJA 2010. Events like YJA, the influence of my family, and the Indian community in Atlanta have helped shaped for what religion means to me. However, it is in college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) that I have truly begun to understand how Jain values apply to my lifestyle and that Jainism is truly a way of life and an inspiration. When I first arrived at UIUC, I knew no one – not one person from my high school, my community in Atlanta, nor my temple came to school with me. During a meet-and-greet led by the Indian Student Association (ISA), I learned about the Jain Student Association and their mission on campus: to increase awareness of Jainism within the university through unique cultural and religious events. I met a number of new people with whom I could relate my experiences with; soon, these students became my very close friends. Now, three years later, I am the vice president of JSA and am very proud of the work the organization has accomplished in just the few months of the 2012 school year. Recently, we coordinated a volunteering event on campus called Be the Change, which is led nationally by South Asian Americans Leading Together. At this event, we had a number of UIUC students commit to one full day of volunteering at homeless shelters and sustainable farms in the Champaign-Urbana area as a way of giving back to the community. Another event that JSA helps coordinate annually is Fast-A-Thon: a day of fasting to raise money to end poverty and pay respects to the late Mahatma Gandhi. This event takes place during ISA’s Gandhi Week, which several religious and cultural organizations help take part in. During the Fast-A-Thon event last month, Jain, Indian, and Muslim Student Associations wo rked in harmony and encouraged all who were able to fast for the day and break fast together at the event in the evening.

By Mika Jain University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finally, I am extremely proud to say that JSA conducted an official Samvatsari Pratikraman event this semester at the start of Das Lakshana. JSA’s philanthropy chair, Deesha Shah, recited the Sanskrit literature, and all other students spoke the translation of the six avshyakas. The experience of having students lead an official Pratikraman prayer event was amazing, and I hope that JSA continues to hold Pratikraman events in years to come. As I leave University of Illinois, I take with me a new set of Jain rituals that apply to my life as a young adult in the real world. I have been fortunate to be a part of such a culturally active group of students and encourage all college students to consider starting a Jain organization at their school.


Young Minds - 10

Why Some People have a Knack for Knowlege If you attended YJA’s October Educational Webinar, you may remember our speaker discussing karma theory. She elaborated on the eight types of karma, the first of which is jnanavaraniya karma, or karma that obscures true knowledge. Just as schools and colleges place an emphasis on learning, so does the Jain dharma. Every soul possesses knowledge, but most of it is clouded with karma. An enlightened soul has pure, infinite knowledge, knowledge that is neither exaggerated nor understated, but that is completely truthful. With right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct, one will be on a path to liberation of the soul. But why is so much importance given to knowledge? What is so bad about stepping on a piece of paper or throwing your books down when you come home? Because we believe in karma, any form of disrespect to knowledge will have its consequences in the future. People who are unfortunately born with learning disabilities, or who are deaf, blind, or dumb, are this way because of their jnanavaraniya karma. If the knowledge a person possesses is obscured with mithyatva, or false faith, they will never be able to follow the right path to liberation. In school and college, we often become frustrated with our workload, but we forget how lucky we are to be able to learn so easily. We must remember to respect our teachers and books and avoid laziness and contempt. In fact, Jains observe a day known as Gyan Panchami, where we respect and worship knowledge. This year, Gyan Panchami falls on November 18. I’ll post more details on what Gyan Panchami is and how to observe this day in the near future, but respecting knowledge is something we all must do every day. So next time you want to complain about a time-consuming homework assignment in frustration, think twice. You’re pretty lucky to be learning in the first place. By Priyal Gandhi Director of Education

Five Types of Knowledge Mati Jnanavaraniya Knowledge acquired through the senses and the mind. All souls possess this type of knowledge.

Shruta Jnanavaraniya Knowledge acquired through scriptures and reading. All souls possess this type of knowledge.

Avadhi Jnanavaraniya Knowledge acquired through clairvoyance; with this knowledge, the soul can see past what just senses and the mind can see. Heavenly and hellish beings have this knowledge, as do certain, very spiritually advanced humans. Thirthankars have this knowledge since birth.

Avadhi Jnanavaraniya Knowledge acquired through telepathy. Thirthankars attain this knowledge when they renounce the worldly life. Some very spiritually advanced monks can also obtain this knowledge.

Keval Jnanavaraniya Infinite knowledge of the past, present, and future. This knowledge encompasses the other four types of knowledge as well. Arihantas, Siddhas, and Kevalis, all of whom have destroyed all their jnanavaraniya karma, possess this knowledge.


Spirituality in Jainism

Young Minds - 11

Philosophy and Science of Spirituality in Jainism

Your journey starts with yourself. Who am I, where am I? This exploration leads to investigation of forms of life and cosmology. This heads to the next level of search—what is spiritual about this science? As you look into that, there arises a further question: why diversity? If you explore all these questions, you know Jainism!!!

By Samani Chaitanya Prajna

The present article is meant to explore philosophy and science behind the idea of spirituality in Jainism. Philosophy refers to intuitive and logical knowledge obtained through spiritual awakening and reasoning. Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena. The idea of spirituality presented in the article is based on intuitive knowledge yet, the facts, on the basis of which the idea of spirituality is developed, relate to the empirical world, the world of common man’s experience. This is the reason why the idea of spirituality in Jainism is having scientific temperament. One thing would be better to clear at the outset of the article that the article is meant to give a blue print of, rather than provide a detailed study, of the Jain idea of spirituality. Further details will be explored in subsequent articles in this series. The idea of spirituality in Jainism is based on its idea of soul. Spiritual awakening, higher plane of consciousness, enlightenment, perfection and divinity are the core concerns of spiritualism. Spiritual awakening is possible through spiritual-awareness and the spiritual-awareness is possible through knowledge of the true self. Thus, inquiry into the nature of our true self is the foundation of spiritual excellence or divine consciousness in Jainism. The philosophy and science working behind the idea of spirituality in Jainism starts with the inquiry of the true self and ends with the realization of the true self. The inquiry of the true self starts with the queries, ‘who am I?’, ‘Where I am coming from?’, ‘Where I am going after death?’ and so on. In the view of Bhagawan Mahavir, the answers to these queries can be obtained clearly and distinctly if one is able to look into his/her past lives. The experience of the past lives opens many secrets of our existence in the world. The secrets can be seen as four watches. The four watches have taken the place of fundamental doctrines of Jain philosophy and science working behind the idea of spirituality. The four doctrines are: • Ātmavād: The Doctrine of Soul • Lokavād: The Doctrine of Cosmos • Karmavād: The Doctrine of Karma • Kriyāvād: The Doctrine of Action


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Spirituality in Jainism (cont’d) Philosophy and Science of Spirituality in Jainism

This experience of the past lives shared by Bhagawan Mahavir in the words, “Only he (who knows the transmigration) is the upholder of the doctrines of soul, world, karma and action.” (Acārānga 1.5) Doctrine of Soul In the first watch one gets insight into all of his previous lives and experiences. With the experience of the past lives one encountered his own transmigration. The experience of the past lives unfolds the secret that it is me who is transmigrating from one birth to another. It is me who is taking various forms of life. It is me who is suffering. The experience gets expression in the words—“my soul, being subject to birth, transmigrates in these cardinal directions or intermediate directions, that (soul) is ‘I’ myself ” (Ācārānga1.4). Thus, the first watch opens the secret that I am an eternal and independent soul. I am not body, speech and mind. I am something different and beyond of all these material stuff. With the realization of this truth starts the intense search of the true self. In the long journey of the true self one has to pass through many other experiences. Doctrine of Cosmos In the second watch, one witnesses the rebirths of all other beings. One realizes that like me there are other beings in the world. The word ‘Loka’ i.e. cosmos, stands for the existence of other living beings and non-living things of the world. In this new experience, one watches that like me all other living beings are also taking birth in various forms of life. In his further search of various forms of life, one perceives four realms of existence or four types of birth occurring in the world. They are: Hellish, Heavenly, Human and Non-Human. Hellish and heavenly forms of life are beyond of sense-experience and therefore, not easy to verify but the last two forms of life are visible and also verifiable. One cannot deny the existence of human and non-human forms of life which are in front of him. The existence of human form of life is clear and distinct to everybody but the non-human form of life is not very much clear to the world even today in the age of science and technology. Some of the scientific studies show life in plants, stone and water but still they lack in clarity. Jain religion has been very clear about the existence of all forms of life from its inception. It is because the foundation of spirituality is laid on the knowledge of the living and non-living world. Equality of all souls, equanimity and non-violence towards all forms of life subtle and gross, have been the core concerns of spirituality in Jainism. Doctrine of Karma In the third watch one discerns the indelible law of karma as the principle that determines the quality of rebirths. The exploration of the various forms of life of the self and others raises a question as to why this diversity. The exploration of the answer opens up a new domain of reality of our existence, which is karma. One realizes that difference or diversity of the forms of life of self and other living beings is caused by the karmic particles. The karmic particles are the subtle psycho-physical energy which affects one’s spiritual and physical growth and causes birth and death, pain and pleasure etc. in one’s life.


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Spirituality in Jainism (cont’d) Philosophy and Science of Spirituality in Jainism

The karmic energy is identified in eight forms affecting different spiritual qualities and physical growth of the living beings. The eight forms of the karmic energy are: • Jñānāvaraņīya Karma i.e. Knowledge-covering energy • Darśanāvarņīya Karma i.e. Intuition-covering energy • Mohanīya Karma i.e. Attitude and conduct deluding energy • Antarāya Karma i.e. Obstacle-creating energy • Vedanīya Karma i.e. Pain and pleasure producing energy • Āyusya Karma i.e. Life-span determining energy • Nāma Karma i.e. Body-shaping energy • Gotra Karma i.e. Status-determining energy The first four karmic energies cover, pollute and block qualities of the true self. The true self is endowed with four qualities: infinite knowledge, infinite intuition, infinite bliss and divine power. If the self had not been covered by the karmic veil, it would have direct access to know and perceive the truth of life and the world without any external means: sense, mind and instrument. Similarly, the self is blissful and divine. The qualities are affected in different proportion in different living beings. The difference of the karmic effect leads to the difference of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development of an individual in particular and among all living beings in general. Doctrine of Action During the fourth watch one realizes another enduring principle—that of Āśrava, the mental, verbal and physical action causing inflow of the karmic energy. The difference of the nature and effect of karmic energy are caused by the nature of the action performed by living beings. No living being is free from action. Where there is life there is action. Where there is no action, one can safely surmise that there is no life. It is important to note that action in itself is not good or bad. It becomes good or bad by positive or negative emotions, intentions and means used to perform the act. If both the intention and means of the act are righteous, the result of the act will always be good. If either of the two — the intention and means of the act — are non-righteous, the result of the act will always be bad. This subtlety is important to note — if the intention is right but the means are wrong or vice-versa, the result would be bad. It is only in the condition when both intention and means are right; the act will yield good results. The criterion of righteousness or non-righteousness of intention and means of the action depends on the purpose of life. There are two types of purpose of life: Spiritual and Social. In the spiritual domain, the purpose of life is spiritual excellence. So the intention is right if it leads to spiritual purification. The means used to serve the purpose are also right if they are devoid of eighteen types of sinful act, such as violence, untruthfulness, stealing etc. In the social domain, the purpose of life is materialistic development and social well-being. The means used for the development are right if they are moral and legal. Immoral and illegal act cannot help to foster sustainable development and healthy society.


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Spirituality in Jainism (cont’d) Philosophy and Science of Spirituality in Jainism

In the concluding remarks, I would like to say that the idea of soul, cosmos, karma and action are main pillars on which the magnificent edifice of spirituality in Jainism is constructed. Self-inquiry leads to the acceptance of other or diversity and the acceptance of other leads to the law of karma, the cause of diversity and the law of karma leads to the principle of action, the cause of karma. Ultimately the journey ends up with the conclusion that one’s own action or behavior is a big obstacle in realizing the true self. This is the reason why the first step towards spirituality in Jainism starts with the control of mind, body and speech. The article, as said in the very beginning, has presented only the blue print of the philosophy and science working behind the idea of spirituality in Jainism. The next articles of the series will focus on the specific doctrine of spirituality.


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National Dinner Pictures 22 Cities. 10 States. 1 Fun Night!

MassachusetTs!

Michigan!


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Wisconsin!

Pennsylvania!


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Indiana!

Washington, D.C.!


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Northern California!

Southern California!


Louisiana

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Texas!


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New York!

North Carolina!


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Upcoming Events - South Region - Save the Dates! Houston November 24th: YJA & JFH Ice-Skating at the Galleria November 25th: 5:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m: Seminar with dinner sponsored by Jain Society of Houston/YJA; 7:30 Speaker Jayesh Uncle (Jayesh Khona) Seminar and Jain topic Discussion Dallas November 25th: Seminar along with a Jain Discussion Topic. After this the youth will go Bowling. November 26th: Charity event- Canned Food Drive/ Coat Drive Austin November 25th: Bowling/Laser Tag with Jain Discussion Seminar November 26th: Meals for Wheels- Charity event

Contact:

Trishla Parakh South Regional Coordinator trishla.parakh@yja.org

New Orleans December 9th: YJA “Habitat for Humanity� & Laser Tag

Upcoming Events - Northeastern Region Contact:

Pooja Nagda

Northeast Regional Coordinator nagda.pooja@yja.org

Boston December 15th: YJA Goup Dinner


Please Make a Contribution to YJA Today to Pass Jain Principles in Practice onto the Next Generation of Youth! Jai Jinendra! The Executive Board for the Young Jains of America (YJA) plans to be very active in bringing Jain principles to all youth across the country. We would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss our current projects and how they will make a difference to the YJA community.

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Monthly webinars to educate and raise awareness about Jain principles and ideals and address youth problems, difficulties, and concerns. Website Maintenance to continue to develop a professional website for Jain youth and create a forum to share Jain principles. Regional Retreats from the East to West Coasts to instill a sense of religious and cultural pride among Jain youth. Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering at soup kitchens to allow youth to participate in charitable community activities. National Dinners in Jain communities to encourage youth to both develop new friendships among Jain youth and strengthen current relationships within local Jain youth groups.

With the support of donors like you, YJA has grown to be the largest Jain youth organization in the world. For the YJA Executive Board, this an honor to be a part of a group that motivates and inspires countless lives. Please consider supporting our efforts with a personal contribution to YJA today. A contribution of any amount will provide tremendous support to instill a sense of among youth about their Jain heritage. The ultimate goal of the YJA Executive Board is to prepare today’s Jain youth to become tomorrow’s Jain leaders. Not only do we appreciate your donations, but the fundraising team would like to hear from you! Please e-mail fundraising@yja.org with your comments, suggestions, or recommendations for improvement by YJA. If you have any questions regarding Young Minds, please e-mail youngminds@yja.org. Thank you for your wonderful contribution.

Young Jains of America Contribution Form *You can make a contribution by credit or debit card at https://www.yja.org/donation/donation.php.* Full Name (Middle Initial): ___________________________________________________________ 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 c/o Kuleen Shah 2853 Safe Harbor Dr. Tampa, FL 33618


November 2012