October 2018

Page 1





By Monika Jain and Charmi Vakharia

By Siddharth Shah and Dharmi Shah




Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Letter from Director of Project Development

By Achal Shah

By Mahima Shah



Letter from 201819 Co-Chairs

Editor’s Note By Rachna Shah


ProCon.org An interview with Kamy Akhavan

Letter from 201718 Co-Chairs

A Journey to Your Soul


Meet the 20182019 YJA Board

Healthy Recipes By Shivani Doshi

By Manvi Harde


Corn and Cherry Salad By Krina Shah




By Fanil Gada

By Rashi Ranka


Wombs on Rent?


Checking in 800+ Attendees By Sidhant Gandhi


The Reads By Nikhil Bumb and Vatsal Gandhi



The Earth is My Teacher

How Jainism got Me Interested in Neuroscience

An Interview with Rajiv Rathod

By Pranav Mehta



Ahimsa in the 21st Century

Alumni Spotlight With Sanjay Vora

By Namita Gohil



Changing Seasons and Moods

Twelve Vows of a Layperson

By Ayush Bhansali

By Kriti Shah

By Zubin Mehta




Ahimsa in a ProChoice World

Education Corner: Diwali By Parshva Vakharia


The Playlist By Miten Shah, Simmi Nandu, and Sehal Shah

National Dinners, 2018


Trending Now By Chintav Shah

“Spirituality is the search for our meaning, the questions that shake our core: the questions that each religion tries to answer in its own way.The involuntary boundless love I now feel towards Jainism is entirely because of my acceptance of spirituality as my calling.� PAGE 15


Letter from the 2018-19 Co-Chairs Jai Jinendra, We are extremely excited to begin this year as the 2018-2019 YJA Co-Chairs, and would like to give a special thanks to the 2017-2018 YJA Executive Board for all their hard work, advice, and for executing an amazing Convention! We are honored to follow in their footsteps after such a successful year. Just a few weeks ago, our new Executive Board convened in Boston for a constructive meeting. The 16 of us have been working diligently to plan awesome events, progress existing projects, and establish new initiatives for the next year. The theme of this issue is momentum, one word that encompasses our goals for this year as Co-Chairs. We are so fortunate to have an incredibly passionate and engaged Board as we bring YJA to a new level, carrying with us the momentum of the previous Convention. One of our main goals is to get each and every one of you in the YJA community involved and excited. Although there isn’t another YJA Convention next summer, we have many events, projects, and campaigns where you can meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and incorporate your unique ideas in the YJA community. Our main initiatives include bringing YJA to you, whether that is through educational newsletters and online Pathshala classes, through College


Chapters on a campus near you or through app notifications on your phone! You don’t have to be on YJA Board to give back to this organization, and we are pushing for more opportunities to expand YJA involvement. For the both of us, YJA has been very near and dear to our hearts. It is an organization that represents a multitude of things: making friends that turn into family and connecting Jains nationally and internationally. We could not have had all of our experiences without you all, so we thank you for your continued involvement and excitement. Please feel free to reach out to chairs@yja.org if you would like to be more involved in YJA and its initiatives! With #yjalove, Monika Jain and Charmi Vakharia Co-Chairs, 2018-2019

Letter from the 2017-18 Co-Chairs Jai Jinendra, At the onset of the year, we established one major mantra which dictated our approach towards every question, decision, and initiative we faced: Make an Impact. Our organization’s values are centered around impacting our youth, our communities, and our futures. We wanted to empower young Jains around the world with our projects and events so that they can then make a difference in their circles. And what an empowering year it was indeed! Over the past year, YJA experienced tremendous growth, increased outreach, and developed stronger ties with our roots. Our Executive Board worked tirelessly to put together initiatives that allowed our youth to leverage the value of their beliefs, network with other young Jains, and form deep, meaningful connections with like-minded individuals from around the world. Thank you so much to all of our supporters and well-wishers for helping us make an impact on the Jain youth community and beyond. Yours truly, Siddharth Shah and Dharmi Shah Co-Chairs, 2017 - 2018


Introducing the 2018-2019 YJA Board

Co-Chair Monika Jain is a recent graduate from Rice University with a BA in Kinesiology-Health Sciences, and a minor in Medical Humanities. She currently works as a research associate at a healthcare startup company based out of Cambridge, MA. While being an active member of her local Jain community in Memphis, TN, a past local representative for the YJA South Region, and the former Director of Fundraising, Monika is thrilled to take on this year as Co-Chair and to work with an incredibly passionate team! In her free time, she enjoys watching food/dance videos, eating Taco Bell, and tagging people in memes. If you have any questions, comments, or want to know how to get more involved with YJA, feel free to email Monika at chairs@yja.org.


Co-Chair Charmi Vakharia is currently a third year dental student at NYU Dentistry and is also a Rutgers University alum. Her passions include bharatanayam dance, Hindustani vocal singing, and trying new restaurants with friends. After serving as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator from 2010-2012 and Social Co-lead for the 2014 YJA Convention, Charmi is excited to be back and involved YJA once again as co-chair! If you have any questions, or would like to know how to be more involved in YJA, please feel free to reach out to Charmi at chairs@yja.org.

Director of Project Development Mahima Shah is a New Jersey native and is currently a senior studying Computer Science at Cornell University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and discussing philosophy and the human psyche. She is also passionate about Jainism and would love to hear your thoughts on any aspect of the religion. Mahima is excited to return for her fourth term with YJA and encourages people to reach out to her at mahima.shah@yja.org!

Director of Education Parshva Vakharia is a student at the New York University Stern School of Business studying Finance and Accounting. Parshva has a wide range of interests, including tabla, singing, Chinese yo-yo, traveling, and basketball, and he is a diehard Boston Celtics fan. Parshva is extremely excited to continue YJA’s education initiatives this year and expand its efforts even further. For any feedback, suggestions, ideas, or thought-provoking questions, feel free to contact him at education@yja.org. Director of Events Simmi Nandu is a born and raised Texan, currently working as an analyst at Capital One having just recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in chemical engineering. When she’s not working, Simmi enjoys watching sports and medical dramas on TV. She loves discussions on politics, current events, and travel. Simmi had previously served on the 20152016 YJA Executive Board, as well as the 2016 and 2018 Convention Committees. Her love for YJA runs deep and she’s ready for another stellar year with this board! If you want to bring YJA events to your city or are interested in getting more involved with our projects and events, please feel free to email her at events@yja.org. #texasforever #yjalove Director of Finance Having spent the first 17 years of his life in Mumbai, Vatsal Gandhi is a Mechanical Engineering alumnus from the University of Illinois (I-L-L!), Chicago resident and consultant in the financial services industry. Vatsal is a passionate soccer, NBA and music fan and loves spending his free time reading, listening to podcasts and re-watching The Office. He attended his first Convention in 2012 and is excited to bring his spreadsheet skills (and more) to this year’s Board! Reach out to him at finance@yja.org.

Director of Fundraising Aanya Gandhi is currently an Account Executive at FierceMarkets, based out of the Washington D.C. office. As an avid dreamer and passionate leader, Aanya loves to make people laugh, dance like everybody is watching, karaoke until she loses her voice, and dream about being an actress! When she is not working on her passion projects for YJA, you can also find her baking, spending time with family and friends, and of course watching movies. Aanya is pumped to spread some more #yjalove this year, and can’t wait to put the FUN in Fundraising!

Director of IT Vineet Shah is a junior studying computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park. He grew up in Maryland and has been a part of the DC Sangh since he was six years old. Outside of his nerdy life he is on Board for Maryland Minza, UMD’s fusion dance competition. He enjoys chasing sunsets, playing video games, and golfing. If you have any questions, feel free to email Vineet at vineet.shah@yja.org.

Director of Public Relations A recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and now a Partner Manager at Facebook, Sanjana Jhaveri is thrilled to serve as Director of PR this year. When she’s not taking YJA pictures #ForTheGram, you can almost always find her experimenting in the kitchen, belting Tori Kelly classics, or rewatching The Office. Tag YJA in your tweets and posts because Sanjana loves to like, comment, and share! Feel free to also contact her at pr@yja.org with any questions or concerns.

Director of Publications Rachna Shah is a sophomore at Dartmouth College, where she studies economics and public policy. While a Chicagoan at heart, she enjoys living in the woods for a while. Rachna is passionate about civic engagement and healthcare reform. When she’s not writing or reading, she loves traveling and long walks. Rachna loves talking with new and old friends alike, so if you want to talk about anything, contribute to Young Minds, or have any questions, please email her at publications@yja. org!

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Achal Shah is a sophomore at Rutgers University studying Business Analytics and Information Technology and Quantitative Economics. Away from school, he enjoys playing basketball, listening to and recommending music for his friends to listen to, and binge watching “Suits” and “How I Met Your Mother.” This past year, he attended his first convention while serving as a Local Representative and an education subcommittee member. Achal is thrilled to have the chance to plan events and build off of the continued success of the Mid-Atlantic region. Feel free to contact him at achal. shah@yja.org. Mid-West Regional Coordinator As a past LR for Chicago and an active member for the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago, Janvi Shah is excited to finally be on the YJA Executive Board! She is a senior in high school and enjoys writing, listening to music, and meeting new people! Feel free to reach out with any ideas for the upcoming year at midwest@yja.org.

Northeast Regional Coordinator Kaivan Shah is new to the Northeast region and currently started working as a software engineer at InterSystems. He went to UT Austin for undergrad and will be going to UMass Amherst next year for grad school. He has been studying Jainism from a young age and believes it makes him kind, peaceful, tolerant, and a better human being. You’ll find him sleeping at work and being lazy in his free time. He also likes to watch the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and Barcelona FC live, hangout with friends, explore the city and cook questionable food. Kaivan is very excited to meet new people in the Jain community of the Northeast region and increase YJA’s reach and impact this year. Email him at northeast@yja.org with your ideas, questions, or feedback! South Regional Coordinator A lifelong Texan except for that year he lived in Alaska, Ketan Kepasi is currently an internal product manager at Dell. Originally from Houston, he majored in computer science and finance at the University of Texas at Austin. He loves discussing the complexities of traditional Jainism and modern life (but don’t get Ketan Kaka started on politics). He spends his downtime playing FIFA and Fortnite, and his Coldplay karaoke skills have him thinking he could open for Adele. He is also skilled at opening a Dell and is a big fan of England midfielder Dele Alli. And cringe-worthy wordplay. He looks forward to a great year serving as South RC - email him at south@yja.org with your ideas, questions, or feedback! Southeast Regional Coordinator Juhi Nahata was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but now lives in Atlanta, Georgia studying Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, shopping, and learning how to cook. She is also on GT Ramblin’ Raas and a member of BME Robotics. After having been a YJA Local Representative for 3 years, she’s really excited to serve as Sputheast Regional Coordinator and see what the Southeast is all about! Email her at juhi.nahata@yja.org if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns!

West Regional Coordinator Akshay Madhani grew up in the Bay Area and currently works at Facebook. He graduated in 2017 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley, where he was the captain of a Bollywood dance team and a member of the Jain Students Association. In his free time, you will find him supporting the Raiders and Warriors, playing FIFA, or planning his next vacation that’s bound to get canceled. He loves to meet new people and hear new ideas, so feel free to email him at west@yja.org!


Editor’s Note Dear readers, Jai Jinendra. The conservation of momentum states that no external forces act on a system, the momentum of a system will stay the same. From nature comes humanity. If we take the same actions every day and are unaffected by those around us, everything will stay the same. Yet, quite obviously, this is not true. We are constantly pushed and pulled, interacting with and shaping our environment and Jainism just as much as they shape us. Our momentum is changing. In this issue, you’ll find personal stories and reflections on how Jainism has built and guided young Jains’ momentum. As Manvi Harde shares in “The Journey to Your Soul”, “Spirituality is the search for our meaning, the questions that shake our core: the questions that each religion tries to answer in its own way.” Whether it be in Pathshala or YJA events like National Dinners, we grapple with fundamental questions about ourselves and our religion. Momentum also refers to our long-term goals for ourselves, personally and professionally. As Fanil Gada shares in “Tolerance”, “We need to focus on what is most important to us to achieve our goals.” The Jain poem that he shares may shape your outlook on how to clear your path and mind. If your momentum isn’t as clear? As Rashi Ranka quotes Elon Musk in “Wombs on Rent?”, “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” Big events shape our momentum. But so do the small, day-to-day ones. Remember that you’re not in this alone. Our journey is together. With #yjalove, Rachna Shah Director of Publications, 2017-19


Stepping out of my Comfort Zone September 2017. A YJA Executive Board member approached an innocent and confused freshman in myself about starting a Rutgers University Chapter (RU JAIN) for YJA. She recognized me as a friend of her friend and encouraged me to help form, or at least be a part of a Jain community at Rutgers. At this point, I knew little to nothing about YJA and the morals it stood for, but I was willing to give it a try. Little did I know that this three-minute interaction would change my life and lead me to be writing this today. After reaching out to a few of my Jain friends and informing them about RU JAIN, I decided that I wanted to play a more active role in YJA I applied to be an Education Subcommittee member and a Local Representative. As I hopped on my first LR call, I came to notice that the same person who introduced me to YJA was my Regional Coordinator, and under the right mentorship, I was able to help coordinate a Clothing Drive and many of the events at Retreats. Retreats and Convention have provided me with not only friends that will last a lifetime, but more importantly, a family I can always rely on. Thinking about my upcoming role as a Regional Coordinator, I am beyond ecstatic. I cannot wait to host more social events, such as the annual ski trip and local Retreats, as well as organize service projects such as the Clothing Drive and the Holi Color Run (an idea I hope to implement). As a kid, being a Jain always meant going to the temple every Sunday to do darshan, pooja, and attending my Pathshala classes, but as I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that it is so much more. Jainism defines who I am and shapes the decisions that I make on a daily basis. It represents a part of my life and a set of values no one can take away from me. A lot of the time that means constantly reminding my friends that I don’t eat meat or eggs when picking a place to eat, or reciting the navkar mantra to myself before taking an exam. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to seize every opportunity you are given and get involved even if you’re scared to take on a new role. You never know, any opportunity can give you a chance to learn new things, grow as an individual, and find yourself a second family, just like YJA did for me. With #yjalove, Achal Shah Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, 2018-2019


Letter from Director of Project Deve By: Mahima Shah

The Greek myth about Icarus is widely known as a cautionary tale against pride. Trapped on an island, Icarus’s father makes him wings out of feathers and wax, and warns him “Don’t fly too close to the sun, or the wax will melt and you will drown in the ocean!” But Icarus, overjoyed with flying, ignored the warning and flew higher and higher until he finally realized all the wax had melted and he had created his own downfall. Yet, there’s also a lesser known side of the story. Icarus’s father first warns him of complacency, saying “Don’t fly too low or the dampness will clog your wings and you will surely die”. Then, he warns Icarus of pride and the danger in flying too high, and finally he ends by urging Icarus to follow the path of light. Coming back for my fourth term of involvement with YJA, I aim to reveal this path - to steer projects, YJA, and Jainism in new directions - to touch more people’s hearts and have the courage to uncover the essential truths needed for our religion to persist and prosper. No longer should we tread too carefully to avoid questioning Jainism just as we shouldn’t believe we are above it. Rather, we must find our place, our story, and our meaning as we shed our inhibitions and embark on this journey together. To do this, my goal this year is to combine the knowledge, experience, and perspectives from past, present, and future YJA members to create a collaborative effort moving forward. Our projects and initiatives can only surpass their constraints if we wisely build upon what we have by gracefully daring to broaden our imaginations. As such, a revamp of how YJA creates, maintains, and sustains projects is necessary. Furthermore, the amount of passion among YJA members has grown exponentially in recent years and it’s time to harness this energy - to mold it into something that illuminates the path for all to see. In 2016, we became Agents of Change to set the vision for tomorrow; in 2018, we Reconnected with Our Roots to to learn from our pasts; now, we will Embrace the Present to raise the stage upon which our dreams will unfold. By applying right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct, we will create initiatives that speak to our youth to instill an inherent desire to learn more and revel in the beauty of Jainism and strengthen the YJA network.

“You must be afraid dream a li bigger, dar -Incepti 10


tn’t d to ittle rling.” ion

To reach this level, we as the YJA Executive Board and as the YJA community must let go of our attachments, clear our minds, and overcome the effects of our karmas. Our development will be marked by finding this golden path as an organization, finding the true meaning of the myth of Icarus, and finding our most conscious selves who will create impact far greater than ever before. It’s time for us to dare to fly higher, to communicate the value and truth in Jainism as far and as deeply as we can, and above all, to unite as one in our goal of moving forward to form a more compassionate and understanding society. And this is a direct call of action to you! With your desire to engage with YJA projects and initiatives - whether it’s the YJA App and Pathshala to YJA Events and Retreats - we will travel great distances inward to discover Jainism at its core and apply it to our day-to-day lives. As our capstone, we can’t wait to create the foundation with all of you for the upcoming Convention that lies on the horizon: YJA2020! And so, let us venture onto this mission together, connected by a bond like no other, ready to design a new era of Jainism. To the wisdom before us and the opportunities ahead with harmony ---#yjalove, Mahima Shah Director of Project Development, 2018-2019


PROCON.org An Interview With Kamy Akhavan, CEO

ProCon.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity, provides professionally-researched pro, con, and related information on more than 50 controversial issues. Using the fair, free, and unbiased resources at ProCon.org, millions of people each year learn new facts, think critically about both sides of important issues, and strengthen their minds and opinions. Share a portrait of who you were in high school. What did you care about, what values shaped your life, and what did you want to be when you grew up? I was (and am) an Iranian immigrant who grew up in south Louisiana and moved to Los Angeles for high school. I was initially an introverted book snob who become an extroverted debate nerd (and book snob). I cared about music, politics, and literature. At a Junior Statesmen of America chapter meeting at lunch – the second such meeting I had ever attended – I raised my hand to volunteer as next year’s chapter president. I was a nervous public speaker who held no leadership positions at the time. But I knew I wanted to serve as a Justice on the World Court, and that I’d never get there without beginning my journey in debate


and leadership. Raising my hand that day was the bravest and best thing I did all year. Public speaking and debate taught me self-confidence, empathy, world affairs, thinking on my feet, respectful disagreement, and persuasive communication. How have you changed? What sustains you in your work? For the last 15 years, I have served as the CEO of ProCon.org, a webbased public charity that serves more than 25 million people annually with the best pro, con, and related research on important issues of the day. Our motto is “Understand the Issues. Understand Each Other.”

Kambiz “Kamy” Akhavan is the CEO of ProCon.org, the nation’s most used and trusted resource for the pros and cons of issues. For decades Kamy has worked to improve the quality and accessibility of civics education and debate. He has been interviewed on TV, radio, and print, including Reuters, Associated Press, Fox News, ABC, NPR, CNN, CBS. He holds a BA and MA in History from UCLA.

As a sheltered high school student without a mortgage, spouse, kids, debt, full-time job, and other burdens of adulthood, I did not appreciate how easy it is to become apathetic about our civil duties of voting and community participation. In my role at ProCon.org, I have that same passion for critical thinking and civic engagement that I did as a teenager, and now I have a better sense of the scope of our nation’s problems with low voter turnout, hyper-partisanship, self-reinforcing echo chambers, and government gridlock. The debate advocate in me sees an awesome and powerful opportunity to leverage ProCon. org as THE antidote to fake news, bias, and polarization. Serving that nexus would help families at their dinner tables, friends on social media, legislators at their chambers, and folks everywhere who yearn, like I do, for people to do as Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” What have you recently been working on? We work to keep the research current on 70+ issues from marijuana to gun control and from social media to the death penalty. We also regularly add new topics. Some of our latest include police body cameras, NFL national anthem protests, GMOs, homework, and increasing the minimum wage. What are you most excited about at this time in your life? Running the most visited issues-based website in the world. ProCon.org has the unique capability of affecting a major problem in this country. We have the scale (180 million people served since 2004) and our programs work.

“Seek exposure to things you are unfamiliar with. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. That’s where personal growth can happen.”

For example, 36% of our readers changed their mind on an issue based on what they read. That change cannot be accomplished with weapons, and here it has been achieved with thoughtfully presented pro and con information. To me, having that type of impact and purpose, is very exciting. What advice do you have for young people today? Seek exposure to things you are unfamiliar with. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. That’s where personal growth can happen. Exposure to other perspectives,


The Journey To Your Soul by

Manvi Harde


I entered this year with prior knowledge of what it means to be a good person, but that did not translate to knowing what it takes to truly be a good person. The Jain religion prides itself on the selflessness it evokes in others, but what does it actually mean to be selfless? The first question asked in my Spiritualtouch class at Patshala was, “Do you believe we have a soul?” And sure, I’ve been engrained with the knowledge of souls, but do I believe it? Throughout this beautiful year of endless growth, I’ve found new meaning and new explanations to our traditional values. I’ve finally found my soul and I place all my devotion within it. First, what is a Spiritual Touch class? Devotees find that explaining it in this following manner really imparts the overarching grace of our mission to others. You may have heard of Shrimad Rajchandra. If not, you presumably know of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi’s morals are almost perfectly aligned to Jainism-you’ve probably wondered why. Gandhi observed a few incredible beings as his role model, one of which is Shrimad Rajchandra. Gandhi quotes: “This man has won my heart in spiritual matters and no one else has ever made on me the same impression.” Shrimad Rajchandra is highly revered for His extraordinary teachings of Bhagwan Mahavira’s wisdoms and elevated spiritual state. It is quite difficult to put into words the most impactful and important spirit in my life, but here’s my greatest effort! My guru, Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai, is an ardent disciple of Shrimad Rajchandra, but also the living embodiment of where we should be spiritually. In 2001, Pujya Gurudevshri’s (or Bapa, which is what His followers lovingly call Him) infinite compassion manifested in the form of the glorious Shrimad Rajchandra Ashram, which is located in Dharampur, India as a spiritual hub for aspirants but has touched numerous lives across the globe. Bapa has built the initiative Shrimad Rajchandra Divinetouch which is aimed at inspiring children to grow internally and live a more elevating life, in line with the teachings of the Enlightened Souls. Within this blessed program, Spiritualtouch is the self-development education program which leads us through a study of the life of Shrimad Rajchandra.

By spirituality I mean the connection to the world around us, a universal human experience that touches all. Spirituality is the search for our meaning, the questions that shake our core: the questions that each religion tries to answer in its own way. The involuntary boundless love I now feel towards Jainism is entirely because of my acceptance of spirituality as my calling. I have always found myself to be a little more logic-based than emotion-based, which has led to consistent questions in my head that focus in on all the holes I find myself seeing within Jainism. Religions are all trying to answer the fundamental spiritual questions like “who am I,” “why am I here,” or “what is my purpose.” Spirituality is actually asking those questions! Spirituality is the path to be so connected to the Divine, it is the path to actually being religious not just following a religion. My acceptance of spirituality as my calling was my very first and most


monumental journey to myself.

how impermanent all my desires are! The only thing permanent is this moment right now, and I don’t First, I recognized how I am not my thoughts. I may need anything but what is here at this moment have negative thoughts, but that does not mean I to make me happy. I have all I need within myself! am negative! Positive thoughts have the power to These material objects feed our ego: the part of boost our emotional state to make us feel happier ourselves that identifies with our personality, talents, and lighter, as well as boosting our behavioral state self-image, and perceived weaknesses. The moment to inspire us to find a solution. To learn how to think you start to associate yourself with what you have, positively is like learning how to form a connection you see every individual as separate and different, to God. On the other hand, negative thoughts are but really, we all share the same source of spiritual formed from how we perceive events, not from the energy. What helped me the most to separate events themselves. myself from my ego was developing my “higher desire” or true intention: spreading love. This cannot Just like that, one moment doesn’t determine how be achieved by buying petty things like clothes to the next will go, so just stay smiling! Sometimes all bring me happiness or success. Your real purpose we need to remind us that we are in control of on earth is to become more of who you really areour thoughts is to see someone else being blissful to live to the utmost degree what is pure, what is from their positive thoughts, which is Bapa for me. honest, what feels like the real you. The Buddhist teachings open with this exhortation: Don’t forget your original wholeness, your original Due to my understanding of the past two vital goodness and beauty, and turn yourself toward beliefs, I acknowledged how I am my soul! Mahavir what is good, yourself. Understanding that these Bhagwan’s explanations of the soul encompass how: thoughts aren’t me was my first step in realizing The Soul exists, the Soul is eternal, the Soul is the there is a part of me that is more than just this; doer of actions, the Soul is the bearer of actions, there is a part of me that encapsulates my original Liberation exists, and the path to liberation exists. goodness. The soul is the part of each and every one of us that is one with God, the immortal, eternal part I gradually began to appreciate how I am not what of ourselves. We all have our instincts to sleep and I have. Desire is rooted from an insecurity. Until to eat, and to work and survive, and live that way. we have identified our insecurities, we can never Just like that, spirituality is our instinct; to know that genuinely stop ourselves from wanting. I have learnt we are connected to one another, to remember our divine nature, and that desire to seek something higher than your mind and body. The Sufis talk about the homesickness of the soul, of how it calls to you and you yearn for it. When you respond to that call by accepting all of Mahavir Bhagwan’s enlightenments, then your journey to God and a happier self truly commences. Awareness is a word used to help you be


“You may not always understand a situation but being grateful is seeing the sun even when there is nothing but clouds that surround you.” constantly mindful of how you are not anything but a pure, peaceful, and powerful soul. I’ve tried becoming more aware by introspecting if all the choices I make are either going to enhance your spirit or drain it, as there’s no in between! Gossiping drains me, which requires me to be very aware if I am placed in a situation like that as I must remember not to judge others for all are simply pure souls. But sitting in Bapa’s lecture boosts my spirit as I am learning how to be more and more of my true authentic self.

the longest. You need to create the space in your life for someone, you cannot just expect someone to fit inside of it. I try to stop myself from being obstinate in a relationship, building a fake image, and craving simply attention, as otherwise, I will never truly form a soul-to-soul connection with anyone. You not only have to be accountable for the energy you bring, but for the energy you allow from others. You must identify your inner and outer circle of friends. I believe my inner circle to be simply me and my guru, as only the people within that circle can reach my soul. However, my outer circle is the rest This, surprisingly, was the hardest obstacle for me: of the world, for every single person on this earth realizing I am not my emotions. Anger is something is my friend! Personalities are not equal, souls are. I personally struggle with, and it is so vital to You may not be as good at a form of art as another understand that I am not my anger. You can start individual, showing that differences in personalities by saying, “I am aware that there is a part of me exist. However, all of our souls, the part of our self that’s angry,” and in the Bible, Jesus preached to that is eternal, is the same energy, form, everything. cut off any part of you that is a hindrance to your Your purpose roots from being connected to the growth. Instead of allowing the anger to overwhelm energies in this world. The most vital connection is you, little by little, start surrounding yourself with your central one, the one with your soul. To feed gratitude and focus on how blessed you are to show your soul, you can’t give it gifts or money, you have that there is no room for anger, only love. Gratitude to give it love. Once the soul is rich with love and opens a fresh new channel within you, a place peace, you are rich enough to spread it! where the spiritual dimension of your life can flow. As your true self grows in the space of gratefulness, We breathe love, and love is when you choose to you cannot help but feel so much more alive and be at your best when another is not. My soul is not receptive to the beauty that surrounds you. You may I, my soul is naturally selfless, it does not have any not always understand a situation but being grateful “I” or “me” associated with it. At its core, selflessness is seeing the sun even when there is nothing but roots from separating your mind, body, actions, and clouds that surround you. Although it is important thoughts from your soul, as you are losing your to first concentrate on how to deal with your inner sense of “self.” My soul is my connection to myself, energy, it is also essential to understand that others and I form that connection through spirituality. I can get angry and we must listen to them and love describe myself as a devotee of God, the divine, them, because listening is the way to the heart. and all the souls of the world. Jainism in real life, practically, is just this. It’s losing the sense of “you,” Lastly and, arguably, most importantly, I grasped and embracing the infinite wonders that come I am my own best friend. Building bridges are so with losing your worldly attachments. The infinite imperative to us as humans, it has been in fact wonders that come with embracing your soul and proven that those who build lasting relationships live losing your ego. 17

Healthy Recipes VEGGIE SOUP is my favorite dish-the perfect way to relax, detox, or recover. I like to use corn, kale, beans, pasta, zucchini, basil and green beans and a fresh tomato base. I also add parsley leaves and thyme for some spice! This is such a simple dish but it tastes so good and it’s packed with so many vitamins and nutrients!

MOCHA ENERGY BITES are the best way to satisfy that sweet craving while also staying healthy! These are completely raw and super easy to make. Start by making a date paste by blending 10-12 dates in a food processor. Then add rolled oats, dark chocolate chips, and a couple teaspoons of ground coffee and chia seeds. Refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes and then and roll the mixture into balls!


SMOOTHIE BOWLS are my new obsession. They are perfect for a quick, filling breakfast or a sweet dessert! The best part is you can create anything from a lean green smoothie bowl packed with protein, to a light, sweet berry bowl. I typically start by blending frozen fruit, green, and almond/soy milk until I get a thick, creamy consistency. And then I just add my toppings! Some of my go-to’s: granola, dark chocolate, banana, berries, coconut flakes, and mango. The possibilities are endless!

(Above) Coconut yogurt, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, and frozen blueberries topped with fresh banana, blackberries, cocoa nibs, dried coconut, and granola!

Shivani Doshi

UPMA is amazing. It can be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s made from cream of wheat, which is a great source of protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron, and fiber. Sautee cream of wheat, and then take coconut oil in a different pan and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry seeds, and green chillies. You can also saute some of your favorite veggies to make it even more filling and nutritious (corn and edamame taste amazing with upma!) Add water to your veggies and then add the cream of wheat, stir, add some lime juice, and you’re all set! Garnish with coriander leaves and eat with chutney!

Corn and Cherry Salad SERVES 4 | PREP: 10-15 MIN | MAKE: 15 MIN

ONE Steam or boil corn, 2.5 cups boiled corn 1.5 cups cherry halves* 2 cucumbers, sliced and diced 2 tomatoes, sliced and diced 1 green bell pepper, diced ½ tsp black pepper 1 tsp red chili powder 1 tsp lemon juice salt and olive oil, per taste ½ cup cilantro * or pomegranates, grapes

add a pinch of salt. Cut cherries in half, remove seeds. Slice 1.5 cucumbers, dice the rest. Slice one tomato, dice one tomato.

For more recipes, visit krinascorner.com. TWO Add corn, cucumber, Like and follow @krinascorner. tomato, green bell peppers, For information, please email and cherries to a mixing krinascorner@gmail.com. bowl. For taste, add black pepper, red chili, lemon juice, By: Krina Shah olive oil, and salt.

THREE Toss and let sit for 30 minutes or chill. Garnish with cilantro.

Recipe know how

To really bring out the flavor of cherry, use ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract. To store cilantro, place in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator. Alternatively, place in a jar of water and loosely cover with a plastic bag. Lemon juice and hot water is good for a sore throat, since it’s anti-bacterial.


Sahanas The word Sahanasheelata, or tolerance, is of great importance in understanding Jainism and the path followed and preached by Lord Mahavir. So, I’ll start with a Gujarati poem which describes a conversation between Lord Indra (king of the highest heaven, Saudharmakalpa) and Lord Mahavir when Lord Mahavir was about to leave the world behind and take Diksha: “Indra kahe prabhu veer ne, mane ek veenanti karva do, Panth kathin che sadhana kero, saath tarari rehva do, Ghor bhayankar jungle vasta, krul ne hinsak praani, Koi na puch se bhavv tamaro, nahi made anna ke pani, Te maate vinavu chu tamne saath tamari rehva do Panth kathin che sadhana kero, saath tarari rehva do, Zyaan thaki hun joi rayo chu bhaavi maarg tamaro, aavse aandhi tofaan ghana, upsargo ne janjaava toh Te maate vinavu chu tamne saath tamari rehva do….” “Veer kahe che Indra ne, samjhu chu bhaav tamaro, Eklo aavyo aatam pankhi eklo uudi jaase, Kaa toh mukti paamse, kaa toh bandhan ma muukase, Teh thi kau chu Indra raaj ae sahayi karvi rehva do, Sankat upsarg je aave te haste mukhde sehava do…”


Lord Indra is asking Lord Mahavir, let me request this to you, I forsee the path ahead for you is very tough [path of diksha], let me come with you... There are dangerous jungles, and cruel animal on the path you will take No one on the way will ask about your welfare/ health, nor will you get/be offered food or water… That is why I request you to let me stay with you… I forsee the path ahead for you is very tough [path of diksha], let me come with you... With my power/knowledge to see the future I can see your difficult and emotional path ahead... There are storms and thunders on your path,awaiting to trouble/weaken you... That is why I request you to let me stay with you…

To this Lord Mahavir replies, I understand your feeling/concern.. I have come alone to this world and I will leave/fly away alone as well This path will either free me from this world or this world will hold me back in its trap/cycle of life Thus I ask you Lord Indra to not help me in this journey of mine Whatever difficult situations that might come along my way let me face them all with a smile alone...

sheelata by Fanil Gada

This poem emphasizes the importance Lord Mahavir gave to tolerance. Everything the world has to offer? We should take it with a smile and no reply. It’s this strength within us that we need to build to reach the most peaceful state of mind. The world will throw many things at you, but if you react negatively, it shows they affected you. Your goal is to continue doing what you are doing and not let outside elements distract you. The base principle behind tolerance is telling yourself to tolerate pain, words, and thoughts of others that will affect you until the point you can no longer tolerate them. It’s easy to say you can tolerate anything, but is it true? It is this feeling of “I couldn’t resist any longer” that gives the victory to the opposite end. We let these things reach us which shouldn’t even bother us at all and have no significance in our lives. In our daily life, we hear a lot of people tell us what we can’t do or what we shouldn’t do. What you need to do is to focus and keep continuing on your goals until you face a situation which won’t let you move further. Practicing this will not only help you focus on what is important and not let outside elements get in the way of your achievements at school or work.

I know this is easier said than done. You might not be able to tolerate each and everything, but you can try to go to your last point of tolerance. This path of action aligns with many Jain principles like forgiveness and non-attachment, and it helps us avoid anger, bad thoughts, and negativity against any individual. Let’s implement the principle of tolerance in our lives and follow the teachings of Lord Mahavir.

The word Sahanasheelata, or tolerance, is of great importance in understanding Jainism and the path followed and preached by Lord Mahavir. So, I’ll start with a Gujarati poem

We need to focus on what is most important to us to achieve our goals. You might have heard a lot of stories of successful people who had ignored all the criticism and hatred thrown at them and went on to achieve what they were destined to achieve. Enduring this negativity while staying humble in the process will strengthen you from outside and also from within. This will give you a clear path towards what thoughts and actions to take. One such story is that of J.K. Rowling, who went from being a jobless single mother living off unemployment benefits to one of the best-selling authors of all time. But it didn’t happen overnight. She faced rejection and constantly strived for success. She worked hard at her craft before anyone noticed her. That practice, along with strengthening herself against rejection, was what made her work unforgettable.


Wombs on Rent? Rashi Ranka shares her and her team’s experiences while making their documentary, Kokh.

I’d recommend you watch the documentary first. Kokh is a documentary made by a team of 7 on India’s 2016 Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill. The Bill has been introduced in the parliament to ban a deep rooted industry- ‘Commercial Surrogacy’ with its hub being a small town called Anand in Gujarat. The bill allows altruistic surrogacy only for heterosexual infertile couples who have been married for 5 years. This bill was proposed because there only mere guidelines existed; there was no proper regulation of surrogacy practices in the country which have led to exploitation of women. . Surrogacy has become a billion-dollar industry in India and hence, the source of income and livelihood for various women, middle-men, and doctors. Many women, who opt to become surrogates, do so to support their


families and to earn some money. The Government’s ban might be in response to widespread concern about the exploitation of poor women, but if the ban comes into action, numerous lives will be disturbed. Kokh (meaning ‘womb’) presents the views of almost all the stakeholders involved in the process along with the experts. We interviewed surrogates and Dr. Nayana Patel in Anand, Gujarat. We talked to IVF specialist Jatin Shah, Lawyer Amit Karkhanis, and a LGBT Rights Activist in Mumbai. We also interviewed DG of ICMR, representative of National Commission for Women, Chairperson of Centre for Social Research along with other researchers in Delhi. The aim of the narrative was to present all sides before taking biased decisions

based on hearsay. The system needs stringent regulations to protect the rights of all the stakeholders involved rather than a complete ban. The ban on commercial surrogacy also means many unfortunate infertile people would have to give up their dreams of becoming parents. Almost all surrogate mothers and commissioning parents disagree on the issue of commercial surrogacy being banned and often say “how your baby came into the world is far less important than the fact that she’s here”.

The Team and Behind the Scenes We were a team of seven (Rashi, Manisha, Shivani, Tarun, Hiral, Tanya & Alfiya) who played very important roles in bringing together this documentary in four months. We travelled to Anand, Delhi and Mumbai.

our documentary which involved writing: from correspondence with the interviewees, forming interview questionnaires to preparing the script and screenplay of the movie, to the final edit. As a team, the entire experience was challenging and very new, but we all made it.

My Experience of Directing, Shooting and Editing a Documentary

From scripting to directing to shooting and editing, I played a very active role during the entire process. Scripting was a bit of a challenge for me compared to everything else. I had many story lines in my head but each had its challenges. Until the last minute on the edit table, we were going over the script and screenplay again and again. I was not satisfied with the set script, and we kept re-working on it to make sure the communication was straight and clear. With a topic like Surrogacy, ‘Roll.Take.Turn’ for which final year even a slight miscommunication students made documentaries on would lead to a disaster. I was current issues. so emotionally involved after Back then, it seemed almost next to personally talking to all surrogate mothers, doctors, and other parties impossible to imagine ourselves in a place where we would be able to that it felt like a big responsibility to present a very well balanced and a contribute something on our own towards making of a documentary. correct view. I was at a stage where I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Eventually as time came, everything The first rough cut of the fell in place and we knew exactly documentary did not work what we were supposed to do. at all; it wasn’t in sync and the All of us were involved into communication was not smooth at every aspect of the making of The making of our documentary has been one of the best learning experiences we have ever had. It all began way back in our First Year of our college, when we were acquainted with this event called

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” Moreover, the ban can take the industry underground which may lead to real hidden exploitation. Women’s rights, child’s rights, LGBT rights, medical ethics, and other legal issues are some of the major aspects related to surrogacy which need to be taken care of. The rational way forward is not to ban surrogacy but to regularize it.


all. While editing the second rough cut, somehow half the scenes got deleted and it was a mess. Thankfully, I had back-up, which also meant we had to re-do it all over again. It took an extra day to cut all the scenes and put it back together in place. After making multiple errors, I finally got exactly what I wanted by the third rough cut. It took me 168 hours (7 days) to finish the editing. I reached the studio by 11 am everyday and I was working on it until 2-3 in the night, and on the last day I was at the studio until 6am in the morning. Someone from the team or my friends were always

“Life has a funny way of working out just when you start believing it never will.” there in the studio to help me out one way or another. Shooting the entire documentary was the best part. I was very clear with the shots I wanted and thankfully, I was able to get those without much of a problem. One of my friends, Karan, was helping me out with the camera work as I was also directing this documentary. The first time we were setting up, it took Karan and I around 35-40 minutes. The second time around, it took us 2530 minutes and after that we just kept getting better and quicker with our set-up time! Apart from this, we was also able to get sponsorship of Rs 50,000/- from our fantastic speakers Dr. Jatin Shah and Amit Kharkhanis, who are also a part of our documentary. Making a documentary is hard, but teamwork is even harder. When a project becomes a big lesson, you’re thankful to have been through all of it in the end. Now, I take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey. Rashi Ranka Chief Secretary Youth Wing JITO Hyderabad Chapter


Checking in 800+ Attendees From the first person I helped check in at convention to the last, I thoroughly enjoyed greeting each attendee. By the 100th check-in my throat was already sore. “Hello, welcome to YJA Convention, can I see your ID?” “What’s the best phone number to reach you at?” “Okay, you’re all checked in, here’s your room key.” There were some generic questions I had to ask, but every single interaction was unique. Each attendee is unique. Ask any one of them their story of how and why they decided to attend Convention and you’ll get a different answer. For some of the younger attendees it was their first time attending a professional event like this. I made it one of my goals to make them feel welcome and at home. Many of the older attendees were people I already knew, and they were happy to see a familiar face greeting them. Thank you to everyone who attended convention and made my registration desk experience fun and unique. Looking forward to seeing you all at next convention! Sidhant Gandhi Director of Finance, 2017-2018


‘The Earth is My Teacher’ Rajiv Rathod shares his and his team’s experiences while making one of the first documentaries on Jainism. Please describe your spiritual journey. Reading philosophy has always been a part of my life. Since a very early age, I was curious and had an interest in philosophy. I had an interest about different frameworks guiding people in fundamental queries like who we are and where we come from. I spent many years learning about others’ spiritual journeys in a personal capacity. My own journey into spirituality began seven years ago. Though I travel a lot, it was in Bangalore, where I was born and raised, that the gears started turning. The apartment which I was living in had a lot of svetambara Jain families. We had lived there for over 20 years. In one of the get-togethers, they decided that they would raise money together and build a temple. Within a few weeks, the money was arranged and the construction begun. Finally, when the temple was built, during the grand opening they conducted an auction to put the main temple flag. At that point, I started questioning of what and why the auction was going on, leading into why they were building a temple when so many already existed. I was flooded with responses from immediate family and family friends: the money collected was


for maintaining the temple in the long run; that temples bring the community together; that all this happens for keeping the religion alive; that it is for the progress of the religion.

and really resonated with me. Being interested in philosophy, I was really surprised by the depth of my own tradition.

I realized that there is one film on the subject, made by Michael At that point, one of my uncles Tobias in 1987, but it hadn’t asked me what I would do if I really reached people. I thought was given the money. After a few it would be interesting and minutes, I told him that if anything meaningful if I would be able to has changed the world in the last produce the first documentary 20 years, it has been films and TV, on Jainism in 30 years! This idea so I would make films on Jainism. was supported by Pradeep I soon realised that I had never Ghisulal Rathod, and now I was come across a documentary on this journey of researching on Jainism. Out of curiosity, I on Jainism, meeting subject did a quick search online and matters experts, having long there didn’t seem to be any conversations with monks and documentary on the international nuns on the meaning of life, platform on Jainism. All this made existence, and more. Since I had me think and reflect little more taken up the project on making a deeply. Soon, I was reading up film, I had to understand Jainism on Jainism and I realised that and see how relevant it really was some of the principles, like to my life. anekantavada, made a lot of sense

I discovered that most people around me and people who were thinking outside the mainstream traditions believed in a few things. In my view, five of these stood out: sensitivity towards the environment, sensitivity towards food, access to knowledge for all, multiplicity of truths, and questioning the presence or nature of a creator god. Most people around me and in my peer groups believed in these principles. I started to

This started to make more and more sense to me in this world of selfish individualism we are living with and striving towards sustainability. This was the one spiritual idea which really resonated; the notion, and its importance of it in today’s world of violence and aggression in the name of progress and development. There were others who shared many of these thoughts

and of our work. There have also been other friends and colleagues who have been a part of this journey. Trying to meaningfully understand and work with each other through similarities and differences, through conflicts and resolutions, have themselves been spiritual and transformative. This is not the kind of work one leaves back in a desk at the office: it is something that is definitive for me, and perhaps for all of us.

“This is not the kind of work one leaves back in a desk at the office: it is something that is definitive for me, and perhaps for all of us.” reflect more on this and realised that Jainism was already strongly standing by these viewpoints more than 2500 years ago. This made me think then what is Jainism and how is it relevant today. I started thinking about the importance of spirituality in my life and in a larger context in people lives in general. About religion and politics. About their relevance and their mutual relationships. And soon I started realizing that my journey was in sync with the Jain motto parasparopagrahojivanam, or that “all life is bound by mutual support and interdependence”.

and joined us from diverse backgrounds. Dhruva Ghosh who joined the project in December 2013 was on his own journey with a diverse background, questioning the nature of life, religion, politics, and so on. Sweta Daga, who joined the project in March 2014 was also on her own journey of questioning society, working with people and diminishing communities, in the domains of personal and social justice. Both of them had come to inferences similar to mine on their own. However, we have active and healthy debates about different domains of the subject

All three of us have a relationship with stories and storytelling, and we have different kinds of interests in filmmaking. We all deeply agree with cinema as a tool of creation, preservation, as well as transformation: personal, social, political, and even spiritual. We together realised how important it was for the Jain community to think of their dharma in the larger context of society, of the climate and environment. Perhaps not just Jains but all people should think about what they consume and how: food, material products, services, and other things. It


was also significant that Jainism provided a way of spiritual access without talking in terms of a creator god, but through personal efforts alone. We also realized that Jainism needs to be preserved and presented in a way that is lucid and easy for young Jains and for global audiences. Considering that it was one of the most important Indic religions at some point, it is almost invisible today when compared to Buddhism and the various kinds of Hinduism. We also thought that there may be a value in interpreting Jainism through contemporary eyes. Soon, all this crystallised into jainism.com. In all this, I should also specially mention our mentor, the late Madhusudan Amilal Dhaky, who gave us a lot of encouragement, learning, confidence, and love to go ahead with this work. I think that it’s fair to say that he was a polymath. Meeting him and having his grace on us has been very rewarding in countless ways. As I began: I have always been interested in seeking answers to the questions of who we are, where we have come from, what makes us, where do we go, and what are we here for. In my own small capacity, I touched on the many interpretations cultures had on these questions. This lead me on to this question of how religion informs a person or a group of people and how important it is in today’s times. To me, the minute you start observing your actions and their consequences on people and their surroundings, you enter into this realm of inner criticism, into asking questions about existence, honesty, morals, values, and so on. This struggle


itself is the beginnings of what Jains and Buddhists call srama, or spiritual labour. I can’t tell you about moksha, but this appears to be the marga in that general direction. What did you study in college? How did you get interested in filmmaking? I was pursuing a BE in Biotechnology. I walked out of it in my second year as I lost interest in the education system as a whole and dedicated my life to travel. This led me to explore many parts of India. It also brought me to the remote corners of Northeast India, where I interacted with people staying in complete harmony with the environment and self-sustained in their landscape. My interactions with them and their stories inspired me and helped me unlearn many years of information I had I gathered in factory schooling. Documentaries were always a part of my unlearning. I have been interested in them from a very early age. When I realised that film is a good way to change and challenge mindsets, I started getting interested in filmmaking. I got more seriously interested in it when I realized that there hasn’t been an internationally screened film on Jainism. In the process, I realised that I could use films to explore Jainism and also tell lost tales of tribal India. Can you describe your approach to the documentary on Jainism? The documentary explores the question of what Jainism is and how it is relevant today. We are coming from the premise that all religions are in crisis with modernity and we are trying to capture how Jainism is responding

to changing times. Through interviews, and by showing slices of life of the main characters, we hope to unpack some of the key aspects of the Jain religion, its history, and its present state. We wish that this documentary drives the Jain community and other non-Jains to start thinking about interdependence, start questioning their own place in the world, and about personal, social, and environmental justice. It should make them question fundamental notions about the nature of life and death and therefore, everything that lies in between them. It has taken a long time to win the trust of the people, to connect with scholars, to raise funds, and so on. The biggest barrier has sometimes been the community itself. At many junctions we have seen people divided between svetambara and digambara. I hope we can someday speak not as different factions, but as different facets of a shared tradition. Many we met also prize Jainism over all other traditions and belief systems. We respect this, but I hope someday we can speak as participants of one community that is a part of a bigger world and a global, diverse humanity, in the true spirit of anekantavada and ahimsa. It has taken us years to find a voice that everyone will agree to. Since we are literally introducing Jainism for the first time to a global as well as domestic audience, we are respectful towards the tradition, the subject, and the history of Jainism. We also hope to be able to do justice to the sensitivities of identities within a greater context, and towards the responsibility that cinema has, in general.

What you mean by “the earth is my teacher”? This was said by Satish Kumar, a Jain monk who eventually quit the monastery to work more directly with the world. He is quite well-known internationally; his life and work is fascinating. He was influenced by Gandhi, who used Jain principles to bring about profound political change. Though Satish Kumar quit the ascetic order, he deeply and meaningfully adhered to Jain principles throughout his life. I myself walked out of school, and much of my learning was really unlearning, as I have mentioned. Satish Kumar didn’t learn from the modern schooling systems; he learnt in traditional ways, of family, of monkhood, and so on. I too have learnt from my explorations, from our own traditions, and from experiences that cannot be offered within the education system as we know it today. The nature of life and our place within a greater ecosystem has been a constant source of learning for me. I agree that the unchecked application of narrow but specialized schooling can lead us into destruction, while a wider, seemingly naive traditional learning can create harmony if we let it. So, it resonated with me that learning in that sense, comes from the

earth, from the world around us, from the people we meet, the experiences we have, and from our ancient traditions. That’s why in the website, I quoted Satish ji. What advice would you give to young Jains? How can they stay rooted to and connected with Jainism while at college or in the workplace? Be yourself. Question everything and don’t believe anything just because it is told or taught. Don’t be afraid to question bigotry, traditional or modern, religious or scientific, of the self or of other people. Criticize yourself and try to keep working on yourself and exploring reality gradually. Remember the basic Jain notions that all beings—especially all people— have something about them that is identical. That truth has many facets (anekantavada), and that we are all connected by mutual support and service (parasparopagrahojivanam). And, even if the evidence for spirituality seems very little, do go looking for it: you may be surprised by what you find. If you would like to connect with us you can by following us on: Facebook - facebook.com/ jainismdotcom/ Website - www.jainism.com E-mail - atmavit@jainism.com

“And, even if the evidence for spirituality seems very little, do go looking for it: you may be surprised by what you find.” 29

How Jainism Got Me Interested In Neuroscience Pranav Mehta My earliest memories of Jainism

were rekindled by classical stories (Panchatantras) and exciting interPathshala competitions every Sunday. Games like Who Wants to Guess the Panchindiya?, The Sutra Is Right?, and Pathshala Feud: Who Can Recite the 24 Tirthankaras the Fastest stimulated butterflies in my stomach throughout the 45-minute weekly car drive. When I was eight, going to the derasar represented an opportunity for me to improve my sutrareciting skills, sharpen my competitive spirit, and meet my Jain friends. This mindset shifted as I progressed through Pathshala classes. As I got older, class became more than just memorizing sutras and exhilarating competitions. We became introduced to abstract concepts such as Anekantavada, Karma Theory and the Six Substances, which were


presented as the traditional ideologies for the cosmic universe. My unfamiliarity to these “essential” principles cultivated me to learn more about them and how they were applicable in MY life. This curiosity followed not just in Pathshala class, but through each ritualistic decision I made as a Jain, such as Pratikraman. I wanted to know the “What and Why?” behind Jainism and what it actually meant to be a Jain. I started reading Jain scriptures on my car rides home and became more involved within Pathshala and my Jain community. I seeked guidance from PhD professors and Jain professionals to understand Jainism from academic and spiritual perspectives. Slowly, I garnered a broader understanding of my faith and its perspective on jiva in its entirety. The purpose of all life and activity within

Jainism is to recognize the free and blissful state of our true being to attain moksha or “infinite happiness”. This purification of the soul can be attained by maintaining the five great mahavratas - nonviolence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy/chastity, and non-attachment/non-possessiveness. Practicing these five vows helps keep us grounded in each decision we make and serves as the backbone towards achieving the three ranatrayas (right knowledge, right conduct, and right faith) required to attain liberation. These ideologies can be maintained and eradicated through rituals. When I was young, I followed Pratikraman for the pure intent of repenting for my karma and asking for forgiveness. I enjoyed being able to recite each sutra during the ritual but was clueless towards how each sutra contributed towards the ritual’s overall message and why each procedure was completed. However,

committed myself to the testament of non-attachment to determine my inner strength and to repent for all my karma I had knowingly and unknowingly accumulated.

through this extended understanding, I was able to fill in these missing gaps and conceptualize the true depth behind Pratikraman and the impactful role each line of each sutra played in karma repentance.

determining how much karma - good and bad - we obtain and how much we ask for forgiveness. The human mind is essentially the most powerful component in our karma detachment, especially in Paryushan.

Learning more about the grassroots of Jainism made performing Pratikraman feel, ultimately, more fulfilling and allowed me to introspect on my thoughts and actions towards my goal of true karma eradication. This increased understanding quested my curiosity even more.

I decided to test the power of the human mind by completing athai during Paryushan. Being a kid who couldn’t resist the urge to indulge into warm-samosa chaat and freshly baked vada pav every Sunday, I

My novice mind couldn’t help but think: What is responsible for bringing in this karma that Jains seek to detach from in the first place? I scratched my head and it finally clicked. It was the human mind. I mean it made sense to me. By repenting for all of our sins during Pratikraman, we were seeking forgiveness for all of our decisions, thoughts, and actions that we committed knowingly and unknowingly throughout the year. These decisions were all direct results of the conscious and subconscious influences that stemmed from our mind. I learned that the human mind was the deciding factor for each decision, thought, and action we exerted everyday and, as a result, was responsible for


My hunger had severed and my stomach gnawed in pain throughout my body during the first three days of detachment from food. After I reached the halfway mark - Day four - I had lost my craving sensation for food and the pleasure it previously consumed within me. The remaining four days became a product of my willpower and my mind’s strength to keep going. During this time, I resorted to reading more about Jainism to maintain my stability and push through the fast at once. I was finally able to complete it. Completing athai, one of my biggest assumed weaknesses, provided me appreciation for the human mind and its intersection with Jainism that I had experienced first-hand and initiated my passion for neuroscience.

“The human mind is essentially the most powerful component in our karma detachment, especially in Paryushan.”

“Both fields, neuroscience and karmascience, are responsible for producing cognition – one is accepted by science and by Jainism.” Neuroscience is the study of the function of the structure of the nervous system and brain - the basis of all cognitive acts. The brain is the underlying controlling-factor for each decision, thought, and action we commit everyday - consciously and subconsciously. From the pap we receive by harming others physically and verbally and walking on grass, to the punya we accumulate from exercising tapasvi and pratikraman, the human subconscious is responsible for almost all of the karma we accumulate throughout our current janam. It is the powerhouse that determines how we approach our daily situations and how we choose to react to them. If guided correctly, the human mind could play a leading decision towards the right path of moksha. Jainism and neuroscience in essence are connected in their practice. The central theme of Jainism considers religion as a science of conscious practice from an ethical perspective while neuroscience considers it from a cognitive perspective. In Jainism, the basis of cognitive acts is karma. Our neurological acts are essentially developed on the basis of the science of karma. Both fields, neuroscience and karma-science, are responsible for producing cognition – one is accepted by science and by Jainism. Jainism’s descriptive theory of knowledge is shaped by experience and observable behavior – Anekantavada, Karma Theory and the Six Substances. As neurological theory describes the basis of how the

brain’s behavior produces changes, the Jain theory of knowledge is based on karma through the fundamentals of neuroscience. The multiplicity of perspectives (Anekantavada), good vs. good and bad. vs. bad (Karma Theory) and the external universal substances (Six Substances) were all interpretations that were influenced by the human mind and its conscious decisions. Ever since I was young, I wanted to become a doctor, but once I expanded my horizon to the breadth of Jainism, I was able to recognize where my passion for neuroscience lies. Each neuroscience concept ties uniquely in direct correlation to the different tenets of Jainism. This understanding started giving me a purpose for my daily conscious decisions and garnered my appreciation for Jainism. I appreciate that Jainism provides me with a logical underlying explanation for each decision we make and goes hand-in-hand with the scientific study of neuroscience. I learned that each game-show themed competition, story, and experience I had at Pathshala was a factor that led me closer

towards my passion for cognitivescience. The unique moral lessons I learned by going to derasar have shaped the way I view life at large and have given me stability towards each of my conscious and subconscious decisions. As I move forward into college, I am excited to come back to Jain Temple not just to visit my community, but to continue broadening my perspective on life in its entirety. Neuroscience and Jainism have made me more inquisitive towards each of my daily decisions and have given me the confidence to ask “Why?” by proof. I am Jain not by choice, but by my faith in its influence on me.



Here are a few of young Jains’ favorite reads. Take a read, and share your favorites on Forums!

Curators: Nikhil Bumb,Vatsal Gandhi Contribute your favorite reads to our next issue of Young Minds by emailing youngminds@yja.org!


Ahimsa in the 21st Century: It’s More Than Your Diet Namita Gohil Think that all of your mascaras, moisturizers, perfumes, and dishwashing liquids are ethically sourced and conform to the principle of Ahimsa?

and eyeshadows.

Luckily, in this day and age, vegan and cruelty-free products are widely available, both online (e.g. Think again. iHerb.com) and in chain stores (Sephora, Ulta, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s). Some of my We know that meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are favourite cruelty free cosmetic brands include produced from cruel and unsustainable practices. Hourglass, Kat Von D, 100% Pure, Anastasia Beverly However, discussion of animal testing and the usage Hills, Too Faced, Urban Decay, BECCA, and The animal ingredients in cosmetic products is meager. All Natural Face. My go-to skincare companies include Pai Skincare, Mukti Organics, Aesop, Acure Companies such as L’Oreal, MAC Cosmetics, Organics, Derma E and Petal Fresh. I also love Johnson and Johnson, Clarins, Maybelline, and Kat Von D, Lavanila, and Le Labo for Jain friendly Revlon routinely test their products on animals. perfumes.

You will be joining the growing movement that seeks to end harm to our planet, our health, and the voiceless. These companies distribute their products in China, which mandates that all products be tested on animals before being sold. Dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, pigs, and chimps are routinely abused, force fed chemicals, and are subject to surgeries, poison, electric shock, isolation, starvation, and brain damage. They are then dumped back into their cages, left waiting for the next gruesome procedure. If a company has a statement on their website that says: “We do not test on animals nor do we ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law”, it means that they’re testing their products on animals.

The process of making a product also includes packaging. It is important to be aware that some ‘cruelty free’ packaging may not necessarily be so, as in China, health authorities require and carry out animal testing for certain products. Research is paramount for ethical shopping, and with so many resources on the internet, finding out information today has never been easier.

Practising Ahimsa in the 21st century goes beyond avoiding meat, eggs, and leather. The use and abuse of animals is still unfortunately widespread in many industries which we do not even realise, from our coats and handbags to our shampoos and Another important consideration to make as an laundry detergents. By taking the time to learn, ethical Jain consumer is considering the actual research, and use products by brands that do not ingredients in products. Even if the brand calls itself incorporate animal testing and animal ingredients cruelty-free, many of its products may contain in their items, you can be an agent of change. You animal derived ingredients, such as lanolin (from will be joining the growing movement that seeks wool), end harm to our planet, our health, and the 34 beeswax, and cochineal (crushed up beetles), to the latter of which is used to colour red lipsticks voiceless.

alumni spotlight

Sanjay Vora ‘94 Sanjay Vora was on one of the first YJA Boards, helping to organize the 1994 Chicago Convention! Along with his wife Dipal, his son Rushil (21), and his daughter Ruchi (18), he lives in Portland, Oregon. He received a degree in mechanical engineering at Penn State and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon. He is currently a Vice President for Intel Corporation.

W hat brought you to YJA? I helped organize the Youth part of the 1993 JAINA Convention in Pittsburgh and that led me to YJA.

What’s your favorite YJA memory? Being the YJA police at Convention, dealing with escapees. Do you still stay in touch with your YJA friends? Yes, [I] actually just met with Seema Jain a couple months ago when she visited Portland. Also [I] keep in touch with some other original committee folks. What are some lessons you learned during your time with YJA that have served you well in your life after YJA? Nothing gets done alone - it’s all about the team.

What role has YJA played in your life today? Dipal and I met through YJA organizing the 1994 Chicago Convention. We were YJA’s first married couple. So I guess I would not have my wife or kids without YJA. :) If you could do anything differently, what would it be and why? Looking back over the years, I would have prioritized more time with family over work. Sometimes it’s too easy to think your career is your life. It’s not. Advice for current YJA Members: Your friends from YJA will be your friends forever. Cherish the friendships.


Ahimsa in a Pro-Choice World Ayush Bhansali

Being Jain and liberal at the same time isn’t all too hard. Ahimsa seems to fit well with politica advocacy against discrimination, Anekantvad ech sentiments for the separation of Church and St and Aparigraha can be seen as the individual ef of income equality across race and class lines. T similarities are comforting, and as a result, many Jain youth across the country are growing up in environment where it is generally easier for the to advocate for a liberal platform than a more conservative one. Generally. One topic that has caught Jain youth like me in a crossroads is ofte too difficult or controversial to discuss with frie and family and has left us wondering what we v more: our religious or political values.

Reconciling a Pro-Choice stance on women’s ri and a commitment to Ahimsa requires balanci between the significance of the former and the power of the latter. To do this, one must consid questions deeply embedded in Jain philosophy: questions about whether abortion is Paap in ev circumstance, and if it’s problematic to condem a woman’s right to choose. To understand how possible to be Jain and Pro-Choice, it’s necessar we go back past the 1973 landmark case of Ro v. Wade, all the way back to 500 BC, when now Tirthankara Mahavira traversed parts of India.

Mahavira and his companion Goshala had reach a point in their asceticism where they started debating insane points of philosophy which wo shape core Jain beliefs forever. One of these dealt with pre-destination, i.e. whether the futur is already written and cannot be changed. For example, if the future is pre-decided, why do Ja choose a vegetarian lifestyle? Part of it is, of cou to protest harmful treatment of livestock in the meat industry, but Jains also undeniably believe that their intervention is what stands between compassion and senseless violence. Rather than embracing pessimism and saying that the anima has already been killed, Jains choose to abstain eating meat with the belief that their actions no will, in some way, influence the future.


In the same way, will a fetus that is pre-destined al to die inevitably die, or is the act of abortion an hoes interference that influences the future? Mahavira tate, and Goshala debated this question hotly, but in ffect the end, Mahavira’s theory of Karma prevailed, These concluding that we can do things to change y situations, but only through the medium of Karma. n an Mahavir would give us the first variable in our em formula, as applying his conclusion would mean abortion is Paap, because whether a fetus lives or s dies is a result of its Karma, and a woman’s choice en of abortion (or not) would be akin to Paap (or ends Punya, respectively). value

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On a similar note, abortion is often considered in difficult situations where a child would be born into an unforgiving environment inappropriate to foster growth or would not have access to basic human necessities like food and clothing. These perspectives make it easier for youth to weigh a possible Karmic negativity associated with abortion with some of the reasons liberal platforms advocate women’s choice. A debate about abortion isn’t complete without disclaimers concerning political division, and for good reason. For Jain youth, provocative

“Being a responsible Jain requires us to look a little deeper on Ahimsa in a Pro-Choice world.” Obviously, this conclusion is not satisfactory. Jainism should not punish a woman’s choice, especially since a lot of women forced to make these difficult decisions are victims of adverse situations. Just as the controversy around abortion is not black and white, the Karma it generates cannot be similarly cut and dry. One variable that muddies the water is that the debate around abortion often exists as a proxy for broad opposition to patriarchy, misogyny, sexual assault, and other types of systemic violence which affect women daily. Often the rhetoric surrounding Pro-Choice is riddled with demeaning stigmas insisting that women are not, and never will be equal to men; stigmas, which under the complex of Ahimsa, Jains should be very much against. Specifically, opposition to abortion in situations of sexual assault is weaponized to promote a violent culture of victim blaming, as blame is shifted from the assailant to the woman seeking an abortion as a result.

political stances can, if nothing less, go far enough to threaten one’s place within their local Jain community. Jain youth don’t need to take an absolute stance on abortion in every situation, especially since a lot of the facts surrounding an individual woman’s choice are deeply personal. Instead, we should understand that being a responsible Jain requires us to look a little deeper on Ahimsa in a Pro-Choice world. Special thanks to Miten Shah (Chicago), Chintav Shah (Philadelphia/New Jersey), and Twinkle Shah (Dallas), for editing and ideas. If you have any questions, comments and/or concerners, email me at ayushabhansali@gmail.com.

n al Campaigns like these have been unfortunately from successful in recent history and mean that being ow ‘opposed’ to Pro-Choice in the modern world is, to a certain degree, being broadly against gender equality.


Changing Seaso Kriti S

The temperature is going down, the sweaters are coming out, and the hot chocolate, teas and coffees are brewing. There is a breeze in the air that feels so comfortable, and you can almost taste the pumpkins and candy canes. All these could be signs that fall and winter seasons are approaching, and many people eagerly anticipate them. But for some, this might be a season they’d rather avoid at all costs. They start feeling more fatigued, they can’t focus on their work, and getting out of bed is one of the hardest things they have to do. This could a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

experiencing SAD will experience a sudden onset and recurrence of symptoms during a season (Leahy, 2017). In the cooler months, individuals might go through depressive moods, hypersomnia (excessive sleeping), and feel constantly hungry and have increased appetites. During warmer months, individuals might be more irritable, experience insomnia, weight loss, or anorexia (Leahy, 2017). Individuals can also experience impaired functioning in educational or vocational settings, or in their social and familial relationships (Partonen, & Lönnqvist, 1998).

While SAD is a subset of depressive and bipolar disorders, it does not mean that individuals who have SAD are diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder I or II (BP-I or BP-II), though those who do have these disorders might be more vulnerable to SAD. Like most disorders, SAD can be experienced on a spectrum with some of the more severe cases exhibiting more debilitating symptoms.

Researchers still debate about SAD’s etiology , but there are certain aspects of neuroscience that have been statistically concluded with those affected with seasonal affective disorder. A change in neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and melatonin, and low levels of vitamin D are associated with SAD (Stewart, Roecklein, Tanner, & Kimlin, 2014). It is important to know the associated neurotransmitters, because these are also implicated in depression and mood disorders, and thus should be targeted and treated accordingly.

SAD affects people of all ages, and races, although those between the ages 18-20, those living further from the equator, and women are more vulnerable (Melrose, 2015). SAD can be experienced in fall/ winter or summer/spring, although winter seasonal affective disorder is more common. People


There are effective treatments that can help decrease the chance of onset and assist in remission. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is

ons and Moods Shah

recommended for any disorder. This can be done by adopting regular sleep and wake-up schedules, avoiding caffeine and alcohol especially during bedtime, routinely incorporating exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and most importantly, increasing the amount of natural light and decreasing the amount of artificial light one is exposed to. Light therapy is one of the most effective treatments associated with SAD. It is known as bright light therapy (BLT) or light box therapy (LBT) or phototherapy. Individuals with SAD are recommended to sit in front of a light box for 20-30 minutes after waking up, or sometime in the day (preferably in the morning). The light box emits full spectrums lights that mimic sunlight, which is especially helpful during colder seasons where full sunlight might be rare (Leahy, 2017; Melrose, 2015). Other treatments include using pharmaceuticals like serotonin reuptake and reversible inhibitors, vitamin D, and in some cases, antidepressants. Another effective treatment which not only works in SAD, but most mood and personality disorders, is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is form of psychoanalytic therapy that focuses on cognitive behaviours, or thinking, and emotional attachments that have adverse effects on functioning. By studying the process of thoughts, CBT seeks to try

to change those maladaptive processes through more appetitive behaviours. Studies show that six weeks of CBT provided in group format during two 90-minute sessions per week is most ideal (Meesters, & Gordijin, 2016; Melrose, 2015). CBT as a treatment for SAD is specifically tailored. Individuals work with mental health professionals to focus on the physiological and psychological vulnerabilities by increasing behavioural activity, restructuring negative cognitions, and relapse prevention (Evan et al., 2013). Of course, before implementing any of these treatments, it is recommended that you first consult with a doctor. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above appearing, it does not mean that it is a definite sign of seasonal affective disorder, but it could be. You are not alone if you go through this, whether you are just noticing it or you go through it every year. SAD is a real disorder as per the DSM-5, and it should not be disregarded. Any form of mental illness is not a sign of weakness, just like having any other medical illness is not a sign of weakness. If you exhibit these symptoms, reach out and get help. Don’t let the winter blues slow you down!


Twelve Vows of a Layperson Zubin Mehta

We are often asked by our fellow friends, coworkers and other non-Jains about our religion. “Why don’t you eat meat?” “Do you believe in God?” “Do you go to church?” I answer explaining the basic tenets of Jainism and saying it is a way of life, more than just going to Church on Sundays. I began to think about what exactly are we, as lay persons, asked to do? I must credit my sources for this information: Jadavji Kenia, my Pathshala teacher for life and Encyclopedia Britannica. The five great vows are adopted by monks very keen about the uplifting of their souls and ready to sacrifice all worldly enjoyments and family ties. For those who want to remain in family life and for whom complete avoidance of the five principle sins is difficult, Jain ethics specifies that you follow 12 vows. The first five are the main vows of limited nature (Anuvratas). They are somewhat easier in carrying out compared to the great vows (Mahavratas).

N O N -V I O L E N C E ( A H I M SA )

N O N - S T E A L I N G ( A S T E YA )

In this vow, a person must not intentionally hurt any living being (plants, animals, humans etc.) or their feelings either by thought, word or deed, himself or through others, or by approving such an act committed by somebody else.

In this vow, a person must not steal, rob, or misappropriate others’ goods and property. One must also must not cheat and use illegal means in acquiring worldly things, nor through others or by approving such an act committed by others.

He may use force, if necessary, in the defense of his country, society, family, life, property, or religious institute. His agricultural, industrial, and occupational living activities may also involve injury to life, but it should be made as minimal as possible, through carefulness and due precaution.


T R U T H F U L N E S S ( SAT YA )

In this vow, the house holder must not have a sensual relationship with anybody but one’s own lawfully wedded spouse.

It is more than abstaining from falsehood. It is seeing the world in its real form and adapting to that reality. The vow of truth puts a person in touch with his inner strength and inner capacities. In this vow, a person avoids lies, such as giving false evidence, denying the property of others entrusted to him, and cheating others.


The basic intent of this vow is to conquer passion and to prevent the waste of energy. Positively stated, the vow is meant to impart the sense of serenity to the soul.

NON-POSSESSION ( A PA R I G R A H A ) As long as a person does not know the richness of joy and peace that comes from within, he tries to fill his empty and

insecure existence with the clutter of material acquisitions. As Lord Mahavir said, the security born of material things is a delusion. To remove this delusion, one takes the vow of non-possession and realizes the perfection of the soul. This principle helps in equitable distribution of wealth and comforts in society. Thus Jainism helps in establishing socialism, economic stability, and welfare in the world. Nonpossession, like non-violence, affirms the oneness of all life and is beneficial to an individual in his spiritual growth and to society.

Merit Vows (Gunavratas): These vows enhance and purify the effect of the five main vows and raise their value. They also govern your external conduct.

D I K V R ATA - L I M I T E D A R E A O F AC T I V I T Y This vow limits one’s worldly activities to certain areas in all 10 directions; north, south, east, west, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west,

above, and below. One gives up committing sins in any place outside the limited areas. This vow provides a space limit to the commitments of sins not restricted by the limited vows of non-violence. Thus outside the limited area, the limited vows assumes the status of full vow (Mahavratas).

B H O GA- U P B H O GA V R ATA - L I M I T E D U S E O F CO N S U M A B L E / N O N CO N S U M A B L E I T E M S Generally one commits this sin by one’s use or enjoyment of consumable (Bhoga) and non-consumable (Upbhoga) things. Consumable (Bhoga) means enjoyment of an object which can only be used once, such as food, drink, fruits and flowers. Non-consumable (Upabhoga) means enjoyment of an object which can be used several times, such as furniture, cloths, ornaments, and buildings.

A N A RT H A- DA N DA V R ATA - AVO I DA N C E O F PURPOSELESS SINS One must not commit unnecessary or purposeless sins or moral offenses as: 1. Thinking, talking, or preaching evil or ill of others. 2. Doing inconsiderate or useless acts such as walking on the grass unnecessarily. 3. Manufacturing or supplying arms for attack. 4. Reading or listening to improper literature, or carelessness in ordinary behavior.

Disciplinary Vows (Shikhsavratas): These vows are intended to encourage the person to perform their religious duties. They reflect the purity of one’s heart, govern one’s internal life, and are expressed in a life that is marked

by charity. They are preparatory to the discipline of an ascetic’s life.

SA M AY I K V R ATA L I M I T E D M E D I TAT I O N By giving up affection and aversion (Rag and Dvesha), observing equanimity in all objects, thinking evil of no one, and being at peace with the world, one can practice Samayik. This vow consists in sitting down at one place for at least 48 minutes concentrating one’s mind on religious activities like reading religious books, praying, or meditating. This vow may be repeated many times in a day. It is to be observed by mind, body, and speech. The meditation of 48 minutes makes a person realize the importance of a life long vow to avoid all sinful activities and is a stepping stone to a life of full renunciation.

D E SAVA K A S I K A V R ATA L I M I T E D D U R AT I O N O F AC T I V I T Y This vow sets the new limit within the limitations already set by Dik Vrata and Bhoga-Upbhoga Vrata. The general lifelong limitation of doing business in certain areas and the use of articles are further restricted for particular days in the week. This means that one shall not, during a certain period of time, do any activity, business, or travel beyond a certain city, street, house or have anything to do with the enjoyment of objects beyond that limit.

in seeking pleasure from all objects of the senses, and observe due restraint of body, speech and mind. A person follows five great vows (Maha-vratas) completely during this time. He passes his time in spiritual contemplation, meditation (Samayik), self study, and the worship of Gods (Arihants and Siddhas). This vow promotes and nourishes one’s religious life and provides training for ascetic life.

AT I T H I SA M V I B H AGA V R ATA - L I M I T E D CHARITY One should give food, clothes, medicine, and other articles of one’s own possession to monks, nuns, and pious persons. The food offered should be pure and with reverence. One should not prepare any foods especially for monks, because monks are not allowed to have such foods. Donating one’s own food and articles to monks and others provides inner satisfaction and raises one’s consciousness to a higher level. It also saves one from acquiring of more sins if one would have used the same for one’s own nourishment, comfort and pleasure. By performing these twelve vows, a Jain layperson may live a righteous life, advance towards a fuller and more perfect life, and conquer desire.

PAU SA D H A V R ATA LIMITED ASCETIC’S LIFE This vow requires to live the life of a monk for a day. During this time one should retire to a secluded place, renounce all sinful activities, abstain


Diwali: Education Corner 42

Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak! This time of year is extremely joyous and celebratory for Indians all across the world who celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights and the start of a new year! Besides these celebrations, Diwali carries another special significance for Jains. On the Diwali day, which falls on November 7th this year, Mahavir Swami completed giving his final sermon, known as the Uttaradhyayan Sutra, and subsequently attained Nirvan, or salvation. In commemoration of his 48-hour sermon, many Jains complete a two-day fast, known as Chathh, during Diwali. Many also take part in Ratri Jagran, when they stay up at night reciting the mantra “Om Hrim Shri Mahaavir Swaami Paarangataay Namah.”

Swami. To commemorate this day, many Jains listen to the Gautam Swami Raas/story and Navasmaran (nine sutras), and recite the mantra “Om Hrim Shri Gautam Swaami Sarvagnaaya Namah.” On November 9th, we celebrate the Bhai Beej festival. On this day, Mahavir Swami’s sister Sudarshana invited her brother Nandivardhan to her home to console him over his grief of Mahavir Swami’s passing. As such, sister invite their brothers over to their homes on Bhai Beej as a sign of mutual love and respect.

Finally, on November 12th, we celebrate Gnan Panchmi, the festival of knowledge. On this day, Jains worship various scriptures and seek blessings to continue learning. We recite the mantra, “Om Hrim Knowing how attached his disciple Namo Nanassa” in order to Gautam Swami was to him, Mahavir eradicate Gnanavarnia Karma, or Swami sent Gautam Swami away karma that is preventing us from before his Nirvan. When Gautam learning. Swami returned the next day and learned of Mahavir’s Nirvan, he was As you can see, the Diwali overridden with grief. However, he festival is more than just the start soon understood that no one can of a new year for Jains. It is a live forever and that no relationship celebration of our Jain history and in this world is permanent. This a celebration of the lives of great realization led him to achieve Jain personalities who taught and Kevalgnan, or omniscience. preached Jainism. We encourage you to explore these roots of As such, on New Year’s Day, Jainism further by reading about November 8th, we celebrate the the life and teachings of Bhagwan Kevalgyan Kalyanak of Gautam Mahavir!

Diwali Prayers Diwali - November 7th: Om Hrim Shri Mahaavir Swaami Paarangataay Namah New Year’s Day - November 8th: Om Hrim Shri Gautam Swaami Sarvagnaaya Namah Gnan Panchmi - November 12th: Om Hrim Namo Nanassa


Join us for delicious dinners while meeting and connecting with other young Jains in the area! For more information, please contact your Regional Coordinator.


New Brunswick, New Jersey New York City New York Long Island, New York Philadephia, Pennsylvania Lansdale, Pennsylvania Paramus, New Jersey Denville, New Jersey DC, Washington, D.C. Newark, New Jersey Newark, Delaware


Chicago, Illinois Chicago Suburbs, Illinois Urbana-Champaigne, Illinois Ann Arbor, Michigan Detroit, Michigan Louisville, Kentucky Owensboro, Kentucky Cleveland, Ohio Columbus, Ohio Milwaukee, Wisconson Bloomington, Indiana Minnesota, Minnesota



Dinners Northeast:

Boston, Massachusetts Toronto, Ontario Southport, Connecticut Samford, Connecticut Albany, New York


Dallas, Texas Austin, Texas College Station , Texas Houston, Texas San Antonio, Texas


Atlanta Suburbs, Georgia Athens, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia Dothan, Alabama Birmingham, Alabama Gainsville, Florida Orlando, Florida Miami, Florida Chapel Hill, North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina Nashville, Tennessee


Seattle, Washington Milpitas, California San Diego, California San Fransisco, California Los Angeles, California Irvine, California *Italics = to be confirmed.



The essence of Jainism is a message that creates individual transformation and self-realization. Check out the movies below that best contain these core lessons and enable our souls’ rise on the spiritual ladder.

Curator: Chintav Shah

Share your favorite movies on our next issue of Young Minds by emailing youngminds@yja.org! 46


Music is a part of every culture and part of what makes us human. Here are a few of young Jains’ favorite tunes. Head on, take a listen, and share your favorites on Forums!

Curators: Miten Shah, Simmi Nandu, Sehal Shah Contribute your favorite tunes to our next issue of Young Minds by emailing youngminds@yja.org!


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