October 2011

Page 1

Do you have what

Is it Karma, or

it takes to take a




around, comes around”


Pat h s h a l a : L e s s o n 1 P u n ya a n d Pa a p Young Jains of America

October 2011


Jai Jinendra! Welcome back to a another year of Young Minds, the online Jain magazine created by Young Jains of America. This year, the Young Minds theme will be “Pathshala,” and each individual issue will be a mini lesson over a Jain topic. The first issue will be over Punya and Paap. Also, included in each issue will be a section covering the Nav Tattvas by the Director of Education. The 2011-2012 Board is quite excited for this upcoming year in particular. Gear up, fellow YJAers, as this year brings camping retreats, ski retreats, national dinners, and the very much anticipated 10th Biennial YJA Convention!! The convention will be held in Central Florida during July 5th-8th weekend in 2012. Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming events and the 2012 Convention, and in the meantime, we hope you enjoy the magazine!


Executive Board Tattva Corner


Actions Speak


Louder Than Words National Dinner


Memories Taking a Badha


Is it Karma, or God? 10 Recipes


Fall Camping


Retreat Pictures Jain Story—Mahavir 13 and the Cow Herder South Regional


Retreat– FrightFest YJA Donation Page


Sincerely, Ruchita Parikh, Director of Publications

Interested in writing for Young Minds? Contact Ruchita Parikh: youngminds@yja.org


Co-Chair: Pavak Shah

Director of Finance: Neil Shah

Co-Chair: Ami Maru

Director of Project Development: Aakash Shah

Director of Fundraising: Director of Publication: Naman Jain Ruchita Parikh

Director of Events: Paras Doshi

Director of Education Arpit Mehta

Director of IT: Jigar Vora

Director of Public Relations: Vishal Mehta

Northeast Regional Coordinator: Dipti Dehdia

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator: Charmi Vakharia

South Regional Coordinator: Bonita Parikh

Southeast Regional Coordinator: Hetali Lodoya

Midwest Regional Coordinator: Kushal Doshi

West Regional Coordinator: Sejal Dhruva


By; Arpit Mehta, Director of Education Tattva Corner is a Young Minds initiative to explain these elements to our young readers. We will discuss each of these Tatvas in details in the coming editions. Jain metaphysics is based on nine (in some text seven, with subcategories) truths or fundamental principles also known as tattva or navatattva, which is the attempt to explain the nature and solution to the human predicament. At the very fundamental level, every element existing in this universe has it's own unique "nature". And it is this uniqueness of "nature" that gives identity to each of these elements. For example, water by nature is cool and fire by nature is hot. There are 9 tattva* identified 1. Jīva : Soul/Aatma 2. Ajīva : Non-living things (this includes Karma) 3. Āsrava : The āsrava is the influx of karmas 4. Bandha : This binding of the karma to the consciousness is called bandha. 5. Punya : Meritorious karma (good karmas) 6. Pāap : bad/evil Karma *in some texts paap and punya are considered types of Asrava there by they have 7 tattvas 7. Saṃvara : the stoppage of the influx of the material karmas into the soul consciousness 8. Nirjarā : The process of relieving the soul from karma 9. Mokṣha : means liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul


Nav Tattvas can be divided in three groups: Heya, Jneya and Upädeya. Heya means worth abandoning - PÄAP, Äsrav and Bandha are Heya.  Jneya means worth knowing - all nine fundamentals: Jiva, Ajiva, Punya, PÄP, Äsrav, Samvar, Nirjarä, Bandh and Moksha are Jneya.  Upädeya means worth attaining - Punya, Samvar, Nirjarä and Moksha are Upädeya. (Punya is eventually worth abandoning). Now, let us use a simple analogy to illustrate these Tattvas ( Source Jainworld.com): There lived a family in a farm house. They were enjoying the fresh cool breeze coming through the open doors and windows. The weather suddenly changed, and a terrible dust storm set in. Realizing it was a bad storm, they got up to close the doors and windows. By the time they could close all the doors and windows, much dust had entered the house. After closing all of the doors and windows, they started cleaning away the dust that had come into the house. We can interpret this simple illustration in terms of Nav-Tattvas as follows: 1) Jivas are represented by the people. 2) Ajiva is represented by the house. 3) Punya is represented by worldly enjoyment resulting from the nice cool breeze. 4) Pap is represented by worldly discomfort resulting from the sand storm, which brought dust into the house. 5) Asrava is represented by the influx of dust through the doors and windows of the house which is similar to the influx of karman particles to the soul. 6) Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house, which is similar to bondage of karman particles to the soul. 7) Samvar is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop the dust from coming into the house, which is similar to the stoppage of influx of karman particles to the soul. 8) Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of accumulated dust from the house, which is similar to shedding off accumulated karmic particles from the soul. 9) Moksha is represented by the clean house, which is similar to the shedding of all karmic particles from the soul. We will discuss these Tattvas furthermore in the coming editions, stay tuned. For any question and suggestion please write to me at ar-

Arpit Mehta, Director of Education 5

By: Krupa Shah

“What goes around, come around.” “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” We hear these sayings all the time and so we have come to build our own general understanding of what they might mean. But when it comes to the actual explanation, it varies person to person. Some obey it and follow them, some choose to apply certain parts and not others and some don’t follow it at all. In Jainism however, when we think of these sayings we correlate them to Punya and Paap. According to Jainism, Punya is committing good deeds, following proper behavior and not doing or saying anything that would reflect poorly upon one’s self. Paap is committing the wrong type of action, sometimes of the evil/harmful nature and reflecting a negative side to one’s self. Both of these directly impact the way one conducts them self around others, what actions they take in certain situations, and how the fortunes/misfortunes that result from their actions impact the thinking and reasoning behind what one says or does. In my every day life, I have always been taught that the things I do and say from the moment I am able to first speak to when I become an adult are the lessons and pieces that will shape me as a person. Bearing this is mind while growing up, my interactions and associations with various people have led me to have a more clear understanding of what Punya and Paap really mean and how it affects me. There are always outsiders who have their own subjective views and form judgment on what is considered right and wrong and form their opinion of one’s character, but for me it comes down to how I as a person create more Punya and avoid Paap because ultimately I want to be able to distinguish what is right and wrong for myself and sometime to do that you need to go through certain experiences. On several occasions I have reacted on impulse without really thinking about the consequences that would come to me after all was said and done. One recent example, a friend of mine was quite down because of stress at work, overwhelming school work and pressure at

home from her family and she had become frustrated because she could not seem to catch a break. Every time she would think something positive was going to happen, it ended up being the opposite and this began affecting herself esteem. Whenever I would talk to her, I could hear by her voice she was down, didn’t want to do anything, even though I tried to find ways to cheer her up. I tried to talk to her and tell her that it is okay to vent and let out emotion because sometimes that’s the best way to get over hurdles and move on. However when she tried to talk about all the things that were happening to her and vent about the hard time she was having, she just couldn’t bear to break down anymore and so began to shut all her other friends and me out. At the time I had many things going on myself that took up a lot of my time but when I saw how upset my friend was, I immediately realized that I need to put aside whatever I have going on and find a way to be there for her and change her mood. I had to make her realize she can move past this and things will change for the better and so I thought of ways to cheer her up by gathering some of our mutual friends and having them assist me in baking a cake for her in her favorite flavor and also buying a few things we know she loved, that we felt would bring comfort and joy to to her and let her know we were thinking of her. To me this is was my way of being there in a time of need, where I felt like I had to step up into a bigger role and take initiative to make sure my friend did not stay in this mood for a prolonged period of time. We all go through hardships and deal with many different obstacles that life throws our way but there is always a way to come out of it, especially if you have a solid support system consisting of friends and family that can help show you that it isn’t the end of the world and you can always overcome obstacles and turn them into positive things. In this particular instance, this was my way of committing Punya because it shows my loyalty to friendship and not being selfish by being there for someone who needed me. From disagreements between friends to being a shoulder to


lean on when someone has gone through a personal loss, which I have done many times- instances like this are only one of many where I am able to show that the benefits of positive,behavior, thinking, and kindness all tie together in committing Punya. I use these examples as a daily reminder when interacting with people to show that there isn’t just one right way to be a good person. It can sometimes be shown discreetly by simply offering a compliment, or using a kind gesture and taking care of someone and doing things for them as a close friend or family member. Where Punya is committing good deeds that build positive moral character, Paap is being involved in actions that may bring harm/hurt upon someone, be it in the physical or emotional manner and these deeds also bring bad karma upon yourself. Being human, we all naturally make mistakes but it is the lessons you learn after making these mistakes that teach you how to turn Paap into Punya. When you think of Paap, you naturally think about doing something wrong, and it having a negative impact upon someone or something, or sometimes both. I have made mistakes that have resulted in Paap and affected the principles that I believed in and have always tried to maintain. One situation, in which the unfortunate result was a form of Paap happened, was when I had been going through a stressful period at one point when I was burdended with meeting deadlines on work assignments, making sure I had planned out certain events for people and making time for friends and family. All of this at once kept me from being able to give the attention I usually did to family and friends. Every time they would try to talk to me and plan a gathering, I would make up excuses and occasionally get angry and give them attitude and this would lead to arguments. Things were said which I did not mean but at the time my mentality was one of that where I did not want to be bothered with anyone or anything. This led to people who are in my immediate circle to distance themselves and not want to be in my company because of how I had reacted and gave them the impression that I just didn’t care. After realizing what I had done, it occurred to me that I had committed Paap by causing them to be hurt and start to resent me, and this affected their attitude towards me. I had to have a reflection period in which I saw that pushing people further away was not the answer to solving my problems and trying to get through a stressful time. This taught me that people can easily succumb to their personal emotions they feel and allow it to take over and force them to say and do things which they later come to regret.

When we are older, and wiser, we try to do the right thing but sometimes get caught up in the moment and do the wrong thing instead and it ends up creating a negative situation. At that moment you are an adult who has to own up to his/her mistake and try to resolve it, redeem yourself and turn a negative into positive. If the act of Paap that you committed was something that was harmful to another person, it is up to you to realize your mistake and do all that you can to rectify the situation and make sure you repair any relationships that might have been affected including the one you have with yourself. Punya and Paap are two things that allow us to maintain a steady balance in life because they let us see how things are from both sides. This allows us to assess problems and take the proper course of action. How we react to situations and handle them show a great deal about our character and whether we are able to create good and positive energy around us and surround ourself with Punya or whether we succumb to temptation and engage in wrongful acts against our better judgment and commit Paap. Just because we have done something that despite warnings and involvement of others trying to prevent us, we still went ahead with it, there is always a chance after it has happened for us to realize our mistake and learn a lesson so that we can avoid that situation next time. These two beliefs have helped me learn how to make decisions in life and show me that how I conduct myself as a person reflects my character. “Actions speak louder than words”, that’s what they say..This holds true for me when I am thinking about Punya and Paap because I want my actions to be those that carry over and reward me with positive karma.

Krupa Shah, 26 Queens, NY A chocoholic. Giants, Knicks, and Nets fan. Loves to roam around NYC.




How to commit to take a vow During Paryushan, many of us take a Badha to give up, or limit ourselves , from our favorite dishes, entertainment such as TV or Facebook. Or we might take a Badha to do something everyday during Paryushan such as doing Pratikraman every night, or attending the evening Swadhyay at a Jain Sangh. But to commit to for a Badha for a full year? Not for the faint-hearted. Read on to find out about why our own YJA-ers took on a Badhaa for a year. Inspire yourselves to try it for yourself!

In July, of this past year, I decided to finally commit to taking a badha that I had long thought about doing. I’m just a regular, 25 year old student, and I’ve learned most of what I know about Jainism from my dadi. In simple terms, she told me that a badha is when you take a vow to not have or do something, whereby you’re practicing selfrestraint. Ever since I was a child, I have been drinking Coca Cola. Throughout high school and my undergrad, you would catch me drinking 2-3 cans of Coke a day. I have always known how bad it was, but I would always shrug it off thinking, ‘everyone has their guilty pleasure.’ When initially deciding on a badha, I knew I wanted to take one on something I truly couldn’t go a day without, and it was obvious that it would be Coke. It has been a month since I’ve started my yearlong badha and I still have ridiculous cravings for Coke, especially when I catch my friends, my roommate, or family drinking it. Trying to get my mind off the taste is the hardest part and I try to push past it by distracting myself with other thoughts or telling myself how good it will feel a year from now, knowing that I didn’t give in to this addiction. Everyone has their own reasons for taking a badha, and for me it was to become a stronger person by practicing self-restraint, with an extra benefit of cutting out an unhealthy drink. Exercising the selfrestraint to not give in has been a wonderful experience so far and I’m glad to have finally committed to taking my first badha. - Aakash Shah

Badha, or Pachkhaan, is something I was introduced to right after last year’s Samvatsari Pratikraman by my grandmother. Every year after Samvatsari Pratikraman, my grandmother asks everyone who comes to our home for Pratikraman, to commit to a one year badha. A badha, also known as a vow, is something you give up for a certain period of time. Usually, you give up something that you really enjoy doing, such as a favorite food, or activity. Last year after Paryushan, I gave up paneer for one year. I have always enjoyed eating paneer. Doing a one year badha on an item that I love eating showed that I do have selfcontrol. After this year’s Paryushan, my paneer badha was completed and I wished to start a new badha on another item I enjoy. Therefore, I have taken a badha on Taco Bell as well as any carbonated drinks. This, I believe, is a little bit more difficult than the paneer badha since I eat Taco Bell and drink carbonated drinks more frequently than paneer. Doing a badha not only makes me control my desires, but it also makes me realize that there are other options available for me to eat. If you wish to do a badha, choose something that you really like or enjoy. I plan on doing a new badha every year. If you feel that one year may be too long, perform a badha on an item for one month and perform a badha on another item the next month. In my opinion, badhas are actually quite fun for me to do since it gives me full control of my desires. - Paras Doshi


By: Chintav Shah Some believe it exists. Others do not. But everyone, even you, has come across the question of whether Karma has made a difference in his or her life. The truth is plain and simple: Karma governs everything that we do not have complete control over. It determines your physical features, family status, happiness, life span and much more. You know that time when you asked God to help you right before a major final exam? Or the time you asked God to help you in a tournament or competition? Unfortunately, it is useless to ask God for help with anything. In Jainism, our 24 Tirthankars cannot change the present, or help you out physically, or mentally. The Tirthankars are mere observers of time and space but they have no higher power that controls matter. In reality it is one’s karma; specifically, one’s fruition of karma that will directly affect the outcome of a situation. You’ve probably heard of Christians who believe that God is the creator and controller of the universe, claiming that suffering is the cause of a fallen, deplorable world? Who believe that after death there are only two paths: an eternity in heaven or hell? The truth is that religions like these, place the blame of bad luck and misfortune on someone or something else. But as everyone says, we should take responsibility for our actions. Jainism does exactly that. In essence, Jainism is an atheist religion. You know, when I say that sentence to people, even Jains look back shocked that I just combined the words atheism and Jainism in one sentence. Atheism generally comes with the thought of not practicing religion and not believing in any being higher than human life. Atheism only describes a belief that there is no higher power that has direct control over humanity. According to Jainism, no person, or being, controls fate; karma controls fate. So how does Karma work? Jainism states that karma is actually one of the 8 types of matter in the universe. It is literally a minute, physical piece of this world that we cannot see due to its miniscule size. However Karma, while small, is the strongest force in the universe. The soul, which travels with every one of us from life to life, attracts these karmas like dirt or dust. Every thought, action, movement, and breath we take attracts some amount of these particles to our souls. These karmic particles, once they become

attached to the soul, remain dormant for a set period of time based on the intensity of the good/bad deed. You will only eradicate the Karma when you feel its effect when it goes into fruition and you are forced to bear the results. Karma can also be the result of a good deed. In this case, the karma is due to the Punya you have acquired. When the Karma is a result of your bad deeds, or Paap, you feel pain or suffering. Uday, the term for when Karmic particles exit their dormant stage and bear their fruits describes the situation when you miss a once in a lifetime job interview or end up being the one person who lost his seat and was forced to stay behind on the flight that crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11. You may consider it good luck or bad luck, but in the end it all comes down to your past Karma. Here are some ways to help you if you want to reduce the intensity of the karma you bond. Some Karmas can be completely erased while others are permanent and have to be bore by the soul. If a Karma is lightly bonded to your soul, true regret can often reduce the intensity of the Karma. If it is more strongly bound to the soul, an apology or asking for forgiveness can eradicate the Karma. The next stage of intensity will necessitate austerities such as fasting or meditating to reduce. And finally, the strongest Karma is called Nikachit Karma. For these Karma, the soul must wait and bear the result of the Karma. It may even take multiple lives for the Karma to manifest itself. If there is one thing you should take from this article and hold with you forever, it is that all the good deeds and bad deeds you do right now will affect your future in one way or another. Do not underestimate the power of Karma and do not blame your misfortune on anyone but your own past Karma. Even the Bible bluntly states - ‘You sow what you reap’

Chintav Shah: Currently studying at University of Pennsylvania


Pumpkin Bread 1-½ cups sugar ½ cup Vegetable Oil 1 cup pumpkin 1-3/4 cup flour

Recipe by: Sejal Dhruva, San Francisco, CA

1 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt ½ tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg ½ tsp. allspice

Blend sugar, vegetable oil, pumpkin together. Blend the dry ingredients together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding the water as it gets thick. Add 1 to 1½ tsp. of cider vinegar to encourage rising. Grease pan(s) with margarine or cooking spray, dust with flour. Bake in pre-heated oven, 350° Farenheit, for 1 hour, 10-15 minutes.

1 tsp. cider vinegar 1/4 tsp. cloves 1/3 cup water

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

2 c unbleached all-purpose flour 1-1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 c granulated sugar 1/3 c canola oil 4 very ripe bananas, mashed 1/4 c water 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 c non dairy chocolate chips Recipe by: Dipti Dehdia, Norwalk, CT


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease your muffin tins.


In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and the oil. Then add the mashed banana and chocolate chips. Stir in the water and vanilla until incorporated. Add flour mixture, a little at a time and stir until just incorporated.


Fill all 12 muffin cups evenly and bake about 30 minutes, until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of one or two comes out cleanly.






Neil Shah 39731 Forbes Dr. Sterling Heights, MI, 48310



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